Monday, August 04, 2014


News to Know July 28, 2014

BERLIN NEWS TO KNOW  July 28 , 2014
This  communication is put together and distributed on a volunteer basis by resident Corinne Stridsberg simply in an effort to share information and build community, it is not from the town of Berlin.
Please share this with your Berlin friends and neighbors.  If you're not already receiving this news directly by email, send an email to request this to
Check out the "Berlin, Vermont" Community News page on facebook to find bits of current news, some not included here:

NOTE:  "The Latest on Parking" in Montpelier with the thought of jitneys sounded cool - are there reasons why that wouldn't work?

What type of community events would you like to have happen in Berlin?  Would love to hear your suggestions... especially if it's something you can help make happen!!

Below you will find:

WILD TURKEY SIGHTINGS... please take note
THE LATEST ON PARKING - Letter to the Editor 7/15/14
Posted 7/26/14 WCAX by Logan Crawford
video -
   MONTPELIER, Vt. - Karen Zecchinelli's son has a rare genetic disorder called "9P Minus." She says only a few hundred people in the world are living with the disorder, so she's invited families from across the globe to Montpelier for a get together.
   "We're celebrating our 'Family Reunion' that we have every 3 years for the 9P Minus chromosome deletion, which our son Nicholas who's 18 happens to be the only one in
Vermont that has it," says Karen Zecchinelli, of Montpelier.
   9P Minus is similar to Down's Syndrome. But with Down's Syndrome patients having an extra chromosome, those with 9P Minus are missing a chromosome. The condition comes with severe developmental issues.
   "It has a lot of symptoms that come along with it, depending on how much is missing. A lot of them have certain symptoms in common like the low muscle tone - they're very floppy. Behavior issues also come into it," says Jacqueline Bair, of
Tillson, New York.
   The Chromosome 9P Minus Network has been together for 30 years, families affected by this genetic disorder providing support for each other. This year's host family invited a special guest: a genetics counselor to discuss advances in treatment for 9P Minus.
   "As we go forward and learn more about the genes that are in the deletions that the children - the patients - have, we can have a better understanding of what's going on for them biologically and that will help tailor treatments better in the future," says Stephanie Gandomi, of Ambry Genetics.
   The weekend-long conference is a chance for kids with 9P Minus to socialize with each other, with activities like cookie decorating. Zecchinelli says the Family Reunion is therapeutic for all, but especially for her son Nicholas.
   "He has had a host of problems but it's been nice to have a family of 9P parents that you can talk to and find out what's expected down the road for you, and what other parents are going through and how they've helped the situation with their kids," says Zecchinelli.
   Zechinelli says 36 families are attending the Family Reunion this year for support, education, and fun.
Berlin's own Scott Williams is running for State's Attorney. Find out more at:
Primary election day for Vermont's state-wide offices and legislature will be held Tuesday, August 26th at the Berlin Town Office from 8am - 7pm. Early voting/absentee ballots are now available from the Town Clerk's Office. Call to arrange mail delivery of a ballot - 229-9298. You can stop in to early/absentee vote Monday through Thursday 8:30am to 3:30pm. If you're not yet a registered voter, stop in to fill out the form to get on the check list. Note that on Wednesday, August 20th, the Town Clerk's office is open until 5pm for voter registration, this is the final day to register to be able to vote in the primary. Please come out and vote!
WILD TURKEY SIGHTINGS... please take note
   The Department of Fish and Wildlife is again asking the public for help in the annual turkey brood survey starting Aug. 1, 2014
   If you see a group of young turkeys in Vermont during August, the department wants you to go to the turkey brood survey at, where you can record where and when you observed the young turkeys, or poults.
   According to the department, over-abundant turkey populations can damage crops and food stored for livestock in bunker silos.
   Hunters killed more than 5,100 wild turkeys in
Vermont’s 2014 spring hunt. The department said that was less than last year’s record spring hunt total of 6,362 turkeys, likely due to poor poult production caused by extended wet weather and harsh winter conditions in some areas of the state in 2013.
You never know what community or family will next need help from Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers. If you're interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer in Central Vermont, please call 802-223-3701.
THE LATEST ON PARKING - Letter to the Editor 7/15/14
Montpelier’s parking situation remains contentious, as evidenced by recent letters to The Times Argus. Most writers suggest more parking but in different, competing locations.
   Why not take a page from
Montpellier, France, where cars are banned from the inner city and the streets are lined with bustling outdoor cafes? Instead of buying or building another expensive in-town parking site and installing new “smart meters,” why not buy a small fleet of nice jitneys and have people park on the outskirts, at selected sites, and ride into town for a small fee, say a quarter or so?
   Opponents of such a plan say it would “hurt business,” but that hasn’t been the case in
Montpellier. There’s no good reason why our streets should be clogged with emission-producing vehicles in which frustrated drivers circle and circle looking for parking spots.
   Strat Douthat,
   July 24, 2014 Times Argus BERLIN — The town’s website could be in for an extreme makeover courtesy of funding being funneled through the Snelling Center for Government.
   That funding is scheduled to run out in October. Local officials eager to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain a free update and upgrade the town’s website have formed a committee to work on the content that will be incorporated into a template being used by many other towns that experienced flood damage during Tropical Storm Irene.
   The municipal website was one tool for getting information to residents in the midst of the storm, and the new template will include an emergency notification feature. It will also open the door to the potential for residents to make online payments in the future.
   Select Board Chairman Ture Nelson, board member Jeremy Hansen, Town Treasurer Diane Isabelle and the town’s current webmaster, Norbert Rhinerson, will be working with the
Snelling Center on the proposed upgrade.
Pub. 7/15/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Plans to build a truck stop-like welcome center just off Exit 7 aren’t quite ready for prime time, and what looked like a busy night for the town’s Development Review Board has turned into a night off.
   Tonight the board was scheduled to hold its first hearing on the 9,000-square-foot development proposed for Paine Turnpike and to resume its review of the $2.2 million redevelopment plan for what’s known as Hooker’s Plaza on the
Barre-Montpelier Road. However, the 7 p.m. meeting was canceled at the request of both applicants, and their projects will be on the agenda Aug. 5, town officials said Monday.
   Officials said one of the applicants, Patrick Malone, of Malone Properties LLC, needed more time to gather supplemental information that the board requested earlier this month when it opened its review of his plans to raze and redevelop the aging plaza that is currently anchored by Newhouse Furniture and Barre Electric & Lighting Supply.
   The other, Wayne Lamberton, of Superior Development LLC, is still submitting information to support his application to construct a huge new convenience store that would include a state-sanctioned welcome center on the undeveloped field next to Comfort Inn, they said.
   Among the most recent additions to a growing file are a 60-page traffic study and the requisite sign-offs from the local police and fire chiefs.
   Materials submitted so far outline plans to create a rest area at a location that already includes the Comfort Inn, an Applebee’s restaurant and the Maplewood Convenience Store.
   According to plans filed with the town, the 3,000-square-foot convenience store would be demolished as part of a project to build a much larger structure on the vacant lot next door. The new building would have a footprint of 8,000 square feet and would include a 1,000-square-foot mezzanine thanks to its 30-foot-high roofline.
   In addition to a convenience store — complete with a 16-seat delicatessen — plans call for restrooms and a visitors center area featuring local products and information. 
   Parking for more than 60 commuter cars and five tractor-trailers is planned on the 6-acre property that would include 22 new fueling stations — most of them on four regular gasoline islands on the back of the proposed building. 
   An existing curb cut directly across Paine Turnpike from Shaw’s supermarket would become the entrance to the complex, while traffic exiting the property would use a separate curb cut about 560 feet farther up Paine Turnpike and away from the intersection of Route 62.
   Although plans call for big rigs and personal vehicles to enter and exit the property at the same locations, the two types of vehicles would be segregated on site to improve internal traffic flow.
   The site would be heavily landscaped along Paine Turnpike, as well as along the entrance on the Comfort Inn side of the property and the exit, which would run much closer to some residential properties near
Crosstown Road.
   Documents filed with the town suggest the proposed convenience store — like the one it would replace — would be open around the clock, as would the rest area component of the $1.75 million project.
Pub. 7/23/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — An interim town administrator is now in place, 11 resumes are in hand, interviews will be scheduled over the next several days and the Select Board is moving swiftly to replace Jeff Schulz.
   Though he accepted a job offer in neighboring
Northfield earlier this month, Schulz was still on the job in Berlin last week. He took over as Northfield’s new municipal manager on Monday, hours before the application deadline for candidates interested in his old job.
Berlin is now officially in transition mode, but Select Board Chairman Ture Nelson predicted Tuesday it won’t be there for long.
   After huddling in executive session to review newly submitted applications Monday night, Nelson said he’s hoping the board will be in a position to make a job offer by mid-August and that a permanent replacement for Schulz will be on the job by Labor Day.
   It is entirely possible he already is.
   Among those who applied for the job is Tom Badowski, who was hired as Schulz’s assistant last October and on Monday night was appointed as his interim replacement until the search is complete.
   Nelson, who said the board has settled on a “short list” of five candidates, described Badowski as a viable option, though he stressed he would be “treated equally” with the other four semifinalists.
   According to Nelson, the job opening attracted candidates from
Vermont and beyond, though he said most of those still in the running are from Vermont or New Hampshire or have previously worked in Vermont or New Hampshire. Several, he said, have something Badowski doesn’t — extensive municipal experience working for comparably sized communities.
   “Some of the candidates have more ‘town’ experience than Tom (Badowski), but Tom has Berlin-specific experience,” he said. “That’s what this whole process is about … deciding who will be the best fit for
   A school board member in Moretown, Badowski is relatively new to municipal government, having spent the bulk of his career working in the private sector. Before taking the assistant administrator’s job in
Berlin he was employed as the general manager of the now-closed Moretown Landfill. Badowski has a background in civil and environmental engineering and got his start working for a three-county solid waste authority in Pennsylvania.
   Although Badowski is something of a known commodity, Nelson said he was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of many of those who applied for a position that wasn’t even available a month ago.
   “I was extremely happy with the candidates we got,” he said, suggesting the board has what appears on paper to be five solid options and won’t waste any time drilling deeper.
   Board members Jeremy Hansen and Roberta Haskin have been tasked with conducting an initial round of interviews, Nelson said. That process will likely start later this week and continue through next week.
   If all goes well, Nelson said, Hansen and Haskin will recommend the full board bring back one or more of the finalists for a second interview next month. He said he was hopeful that recommendation would be ready for the board when it meets Aug. 4.
   Though there is no rush, Nelson said he is optimistic the board would be in a position to make a job offer next month.
Pub 7/23/14 Times Argus by David Delcore 
   BERLIN — A Select Board that is now weeks away from soliciting bids for a $5.5 million municipal water system hopes to finally set a tax rate sometime next month. When it does, members will decide whether to approve their police chief’s request to reserve $3,200 of unspent funds to cover a couple of unbudgeted expenses.
   Before auditors book the money as part of an anticipated surplus for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, Police Chief William Wolfe has asked the board to reserve it so that he can buy a new computer and acquire new “duty firearms” for his soon-to-be-expanding department.
   Though the item was on the agenda for their Monday night meeting, board members balked at Wolfe’s request, agreeing to take it up during a yet-to-be-scheduled special meeting when they will belatedly set the tax rate for the fiscal year that started July 1.
   It is unclear whether Wolfe’s department, which is scheduled to add an officer midway through the current fiscal year, actually finished the last fiscal year under budget. However, Town Treasurer Diane Isabelle said the department didn’t spend as much as planned on several line items. Wolfe, she said, has asked the board to reserve $3,200 of that money to cover the purchases he has proposed.
   According to a memo dated Monday, Wolfe would like to use $1,600 to purchase and install a new computer and the remaining $1,600 to facilitate a gun “swap” that will equip his officers with firearms he indicated were “safer” and had “increased ammunition capacity.”
   “The weapons will cost nothing as the vendor will do a ‘one-for-one’ swap,” Wolfe wrote. “The $1,600 is needed to replace holsters and magazine carriers and purchase additional ammunition.”
   According to Wolfe, the extra ammunition will be needed so that officers can familiarize themselves with their new firearms.
   The memo raised more questions than it answered during a discussion that was quickly curtailed in favor of taking it up on another night.
   “It doesn’t say what he (Wolfe) is buying,” Selectman Pete Kelley said.
   “What’s wrong with the old guns, are they worn out?” Selectman Brad Towne asked.
   Acting on the recommendation of Chairman Ture Nelson, the board agreed to postpone action on Wolfe’s request and add it to the agenda for the special meeting that must be held to set the tax rate.
   On Monday night the board mistakenly assumed that meeting would be scheduled sometime next week. However, Town Clerk Rosemary Morse said Tuesday that was overly optimistic.
   According to Morse, while Vermont Appraisal Co. is expected to finally lodge the Grand List this week — an annual event that typically occurs in June — the board won’t be able to set the tax rate until the 14-day grievance period has expired.
   Morse said the board is tentatively planning to set the tax rate during a special meeting on Aug. 11. That, she said, presumes the Grand List is lodged as expected this week. Once the rate is set, tax bills must be printed and mailed and taxpayers given 30 days to make their first quarterly payment.
   Typically the rate is set in early July and the first installment is due on Aug. 15. However, due to delays in lodging this year’s Grand List — a figure equal to 1 percent of the value of all property in town — it now appears the first installment won’t be due until mid-September. Early payments will be accepted and are encouraged and the delay in setting this year’s tax rate won’t affect the three remaining voter-approved tax due dates —
Nov. 15, 2014, and Feb. 15 and May 15, 2015.
   While the delay in setting the tax rate is much longer than board members had hoped when Vermont Appraisal Co. first requested an extension back in May, they were told a voter-approved water project is progressing nicely and is about to enter a key phase.
   Tom Badowski, who was formally elevated from assistant to interim town administrator early on in Monday night’s meeting, said the town has received a permit to work in state rights-of-way and is in the process of procuring seven easements needed to accommodate the project.
   With plans virtually complete and federal financing already in place, Badowski said the town is perhaps three weeks away from soliciting competitive bids for construction of a municipal water system that will serve the Berlin Four Corners area.
   “The project is going full steam ahead,” Badowski said.
   The proposed municipal water system contemplates the installation of five miles of distribution line for water from three town-owned wells that have already been drilled, tested and permitted on
Scott Hill Road.
   The service area include portions of Airport, Crosstown, Fisher, Granger, Scott Hill, and Shed roads, as well as the full length of Industrial Lane and a significant section of Paine Turnpike North. Though
Central Vermont Medical Center will continue to buy water from neighboring Montpelier, the town’s water customers will include the newly opened state hospital, the Berlin Mall, the local elementary school, the volunteer fire station, the town offices and several commercial buildings along Airport Road. The Northfield Savings Bank office building that is now under construction just across Stuart Road from the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and a major new convenience store that would include a state-run welcome center component on Paine Turnpike are also projected customers of a municipal water system that has taken seven years to get to this point.
   Barring any unanticipated delays, construction of the proposed system could start before winter, though much of the work will likely be done next year.

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