Tuesday, September 09, 2014


News To Know September 9, 2014

BERLIN NEWS TO KNOW  September 9, 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 corinnestridsberg@gmail.com.
Check out the "Berlin, Vermont" Community News page on facebook to find bits of current news, some not included here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Berlin-Vermont/205922199452224

My favorite day of the year is coming up this month - Sunday, September 21st! (see below)

The Weathersfield Historical Society has invited University of Vermont Professor Emeritus Frank Bryan to speak at its annual meeting Oct. 25. His topic: The impact of the Interstate. 

Below you will find:




Pub. 9/7/14 Times Argus by Kevin O'Connor
   Fifty years ago this week, New Jersey teenager Ginger Wimberg picked up the paper and grimaced at the tragic Vermont tale making news throughout the nation.
   Sometime in the dark night of Sept. 12, 1964, a 64-year-old Weathersfield farmer named Romaine Tenney, awaiting bulldozers set to plow through his lifelong home to pave the way for Interstate 91, shuttered himself inside and set everything ablaze.
   “I can remember just where I was sitting when I read this,” Wimberg recalls. “It just stuck out to be so sad.”
   A half-century later, the
Garden State student turned Green Mountain State senior is president of the Weathersfield Historical Society. She knows Tenney’s story is one of the most haunting moments in the timeline of Vermont. Yet upon its anniversary, you won’t find much of a memorial.
   “We talked about establishing some sort of marker — his house was near where the ‘park and ride’ is — but nothing ever came of it,” Wimberg says. “Someone asked, ‘would it be glorifying suicide,’ but no one I know looks at it that way. They see it as a tragedy and a true injustice.”
   That’s why — in an era when more and more property owners are fighting pipelines, cell towers and big-box stores — family and friends continue to share his story.
   In young President John F. Kennedy’s Space-Age New Frontier, Tenney, born in 1900, was defiantly old-fashioned. Sporting overalls and a bushy beard, the bachelor milked and maintained a herd of dairy cows without electricity, truck or tractor, relying instead on a few horses and his own two hands.
   “My fondest memories are of the farm the way it was,” says niece Joan Newcity. “Uncle Romaine never complained about anything. He loved his land. That was his entire life.”
   Seemingly everyone else was motoring forward. Eight years before, Congress decided to fund a National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Budgeted at a cost of more than $1 million a mile, it was said to be the largest public works project ever attempted on Earth.
   For Vermonters at the time, it sounded like science fiction. Only 9 percent of their roads were paved. Fifty-one percent were gravel and 40 percent were classified as partially improved or primitive.
   Workers broke ground on Interstate 91 at the
Massachusetts border in 1957 and finished the first stretch — six miles to Brattleboro — a year later. In 1961, U.S. Sen. George Aiken celebrated the highway’s arrival in his hometown of Putney, where the road covered the cellar hole of his childhood home.
   “It isn’t given to everyone in his lifetime to help dedicate a monument over his own birthplace,” Aiken said at the opening. “We’re on the verge of the greatest development
Vermont has ever seen.”
   Some 30 miles north, Tenney didn’t share such enthusiasm. His father had bought the family farm in 1892 and little had changed since. Tenney didn’t have a toaster, let alone a television. Everything he needed was already there.
   Highway surveyors saw things differently. Peering through their scopes, they viewed the seemingly archaic barn as an easy bull’s-eye for their road map.
   The government has the authority under “eminent domain” to take private property for public use if it gives the owner “just compensation.” The state offered $10,600 for the farm; a jury upped that to $13,600. Told to move by
April 1, 1964, Tenney watched as workers prepared to blast dynamite.
   He didn’t budge.
   On Sept. 11, authorities, armed with a court order, began clearing out his buildings.
   He didn’t budge.
   On Sept. 12, shortly before 3 in the morning, 23-year-old volunteer firefighter Rod Spaulding heard the wail of an alarm.
   “When I came out of my front door a mile away,” he recalls today, “I knew it was a big fire.”
   One of the first to reach the farm, Spaulding discovered the cows, horses and dogs set free, the doors to Tenney’s house seemingly nailed shut.
   “We broke in, but it was so smoky we had to get out.”
   The next day, people searched the woods for Tenney as firefighters sifted through the charred remains.
   “We found a bed frame, a gun and some bones,” Spaulding recalls.
   Tenney had told many: “I was born here and I will die here.”
   The story made national news, only to be replaced two years later by headlines of Aiken cutting a ribbon to open Exit 8 — the strip of asphalt that sliced Tenney’s farm.
   “I wish the interstate had never gone through,” his niece says today. “We were there the night before the fire, just to check on him and see if he was going to come and stay with us. We left, and then we got a phone call. We would never have thought something like that would happen.”
   Spaulding the volunteer firefighter would go on to become chief, then raise a son who has taken his place heading the local department.
   “For my kids, the interstate has always been here,” he says, “but this used to be a quiet little crossroads. Boy, have things changed — a lot more traffic and the whole town is expanding. There are still a few people who remember Romaine, but a lot have moved on or moved in. He was an old
Vermont farmer who, I don’t mean this in a derogatory manner, lived in the wrong century.”
   The Weathersfield Historical Society has invited
University of Vermont Professor Emeritus Frank Bryan to speak at its annual meeting Oct. 25. His topic: The impact of the Interstate.
   “Romaine is remembered in town,” Wimberg says. “He’s certainly not forgotten.”
   And although you won’t find a plaque at the park and ride, you will find Tenney’s name chiseled in a cemetery nearby.
   “Guardian of his land,” his gravestone says, “and friend to all.”
Whether it's your child or grandchild who rides with you in a car seat, take the time for a free inspection to make sure the seat is properly installed. In Berlin inspections can be scheduled for the first Saturday of the month by calling 802-371-4198.  https://www.cvmc.org/events/car-seat-inspections
If you're looking for a volunteer opportunity, or are a non-profit wanting to post the need for volunteers, visit Green Mountain United Ways Volunteer Network. Scroll down to Washington County / Berlin for local opportunities: http://gmunitedway.org/volunteernetwork/
The Montpelier Senior Activity Center on Barre Street is open to all, (yes, including Berlin residents!) ages 50 and up. They have a newsletter that gives a lot of details regarding this wonderful organization. http://www.montpelier-vt.org/upload/groups/373/files/september_newsletter_pdf.pdf
Pick Your Own Potatoes on Sunday, September 21st at the Chappelle's in Williamstown, VT!!! One day only! 
The Chappelle crew plans to be at the field
9am - 5pm on 9/21. If the weather could be a problem, check back to the Berlin, Vermont fb page as it will be posted if it's postponed. 
Look for "POTATOES" signage on Route 14 in Williamstown (or from whatever direction you're coming from) to get up to South Hill. 
Bring some buckets, milk crates, grain or coffee bags, whatever works for you to carry them. Wear sneakers that can get dirty! Some like to wear gloves. Bring a water bottle! You wait for the digger to go through and then pick the size and quantity of potatoes you want. Some pick 25 lbs others 500 lbs. Bring them over to the scales to be weighed and pay. 
Pick for yourself, friends, neighbors, relatives, a community breakfast, church dinner, etc. The cost is by the pound and it's always a fantastic deal. I think last year it was 35 cents a pound. 
They will also have pre-picked 50 lb bags of potatoes at the field and throughout the season at their warehouse. 50 lb bag prices vary depending on the type you get (unclassified, #1, chefs, bakers). 
If you have questions feel free to ask as we've been going for about 25 years! Check out the WCAX story from last year:http://www.wcax.com/story/23496106/families-gear-up-for-potato-picking - that's my daughter and grandson in the story! 
This is really my favorite day of the year - that big pot of mashed potatoes... knowing there is something yummy in the house to eat all the way through spring! We made a slatted bin to store several hundred pounds of potatoes in downstairs.
Pub. 8/5/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Select Board members interested in seeing if the Barre-Montpelier Road could stand to lose a couple of travel lanes along its widest section have agreed to test drive a “road diet” for the commercial strip next year.
   You could call it the “skinnification” of the Barre-Montpelier Road, but the distance from shoulder to shoulder won’t change under the plan advanced by the state. The trial run will show the board how one of the town’s busiest roads will function with the two outermost lanes dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians.
   It’s an idea that has worked in
Essex, Norwich and Williston, but was recently abandoned in Rutland where a trial run ended earlier this summer with city officials agreeing to put Woodstock Avenue back the way it was.
Berlin decision was greeted with mixed reactions in June. Board members were told this week there would likely be some critics of the plan to reconfigure the five-lane stretch of the Barre-Montpelier Road, from the traffic light at Berlin State Highway — near CVS Pharmacy — almost to the Steakhouse Restaurant.
   That section features two lanes heading in each direction and a center turn lane. The turning lane would remain once the “road diet” is implemented, but the travel lanes in each direction would be reduced to one. Both outer lanes would be striped, creating exclusive paths for cyclists and pedestrians on a stretch of road that isn’t particularly accessible for either.
   Bob Wernecke, chairman of
Berlin’s Development Review Board, urged the Select Board to approve the trial. He is a retired engineer who has been working with the state on a scoping study for the Barre-Montpelier Road, which is also Route 302.
   “I think it will be successful and we’ll be happy with the results,” Wernecke said, noting the state’s plans to repave the road next year created a 30- to 60-day window of opportunity to conduct the experiment.
   The state plans to solicit bids for the paving project over the winter. Barring any unforeseen delays, the contractor would put down a base coat of pavement sometime next spring or early summer.
   At that time, Wernecke said, the road would be restriped to incorporate the bike and pedestrian lanes, which will either remain or be removed when the top coat of asphalt is eventually applied. As was the case in
Rutland, that decision will be based, in part, on feedback during the trial period, though Wernecke is optimistic the change will be embraced, as it was on Route 15 in Essex and Route 10A in Norwich.
   Though the
Barre-Montpelier Road is well-traveled, Wernecke said five lanes are excessive and eliminating two wouldn’t result in significant delays.
   According to the state’s estimates, the change could add up to 11 seconds to the time it takes to drive from the
CVS Pharmacy to the Price Chopper plaza. In exchange for what he characterized as a modest delay, provisions would be made for pedestrians and cyclists in keeping with the state’s “complete streets” philosophy, and there would be a traffic calming effect on motorists.
“Safety is a primary feature of the road diet,” he said, noting the outer lanes on the stretch of road in question are frequently used by motorists anxious to pass before the road narrows to two lanes.
   Board members unanimously agreed to ask the state to incorporate the suggested modifications into the final design of the paving project so they can evaluate it.
   Chairman Ture Nelson said it would help if the trial occurred over the summer, when cyclists are more prevalent, than in the spring as was the case in
   Wernecke agreed but noted his bigger concern was that the trial period be long enough for motorists to adapt to the change and for officials to meaningfully assess it.
   david.delcore @timesargus.com
Pub 9/5/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Town officials are trying to manage expectations about a municipal water system they hoped would be under construction months ago and pumping water before snow flies this year.
   It isn’t, and it won’t be.
   Officials say the process is moving forward, though it is roughly a year behind schedule, and most — if not all — construction is expected to be completed in 2015.
   That wasn’t what the Select Board had hoped nearly a year ago, when Chairman Ture Nelson penned a letter urging potential users of the $5.5 million water system proposed for the Berlin Four Corners area to commit to buying water from the town.
   “It is the town’s goal to have sufficient commitments in place, final design complete, and all permits/approvals in place to place the project out for construction bids in late February or early March 2014,” Nelson wrote a little over 10 months ago. “With that goal, construction will be complete by the fall of 2014 and
Berlin will have a functioning water system!”
   But the goalposts have been moving ever since.
   Recruiting enough customers to make the system financially viable took far longer than anticipated. The design work was delayed, and the town only recently turned its attention to securing construction easements that must be in place before the project can be put out to bid.
   The delay has been a source of frustration for some who badly want the water and fueled rumors that the project had hopelessly stalled.
   Select Board members know that’s not the case, but even they openly wondered this week how to honestly answer questions like the one Zoning Administrator Tom Badowski confronted during Tuesday night’s hearing, involving plans to construct a huge new convenience store on Paine Turnpike North.
   When, Badowski was asked, did the town expect the proposed water system to be online?
   Though Badowski didn’t completely answer the question, he talked about a phased approach to construction that could have “portions of the project” complete by August 2015, including the area where the convenience store has been proposed.
   Badowski again made reference to a phased approach when asked about the status of the project at Wednesday night’s Select Board meeting. He said it is possible that work on a 400,000-gallon water storage tank planned on
Scott Hill Road, where the town owns three wells, could start this year while the balance of construction — most notably the distribution system — would be pushed into next year.
   According to Badowski, phasing construction could yield better pricing for the town due to the expense of winter construction.
   “Something’s going to happen this year,” he told the board. “If nothing else we’re going to get bids on the street.”
   That will likely happen before the end of the month.
   Badowski said Thursday he expected to have final bid documents in hand by today. He also said he’s waiting on a state wetlands permit and that only one necessary easement — with
Central Vermont Medical Center — still needs to be finalized.
   The town doesn’t have an easement with Berlin Health and
Rehabilitation Center, which it would need in order to connect with the privately owned Berlin Water Co. system that it has an option to buy. However, Badowski said that wouldn’t prevent the town from putting the project out to bid in the next couple of weeks.
   According to Badowski, the bidding process will be an important test of the assumptions the town’s engineer has made with regard to construction costs. The system is to serve all or parts of Scott Hill, Airport, Fisher, Granger and Crosstown roads, as well as Industrial Lane and Paine Turnpike and eventually the Barre-Montpelier Road service area of the Berlin Water Co.
   Once bids are in hand, Badowski predicted, town officials will be in a position to make an informed decision on how to proceed with respect to phasing construction.
   “I wouldn’t want to speculate on what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it at this point,” he said, acknowledging that those who own property within the proposed water system’s service area are eager for construction to begin.
   At Tuesday night’s hearing, Badowski asked developer Wayne Lamberton whether he would agree to a permit condition that required the proposed convenience store to hook on to the municipal water system.
   “That was our intention,” Lamberton replied. “But at the time, the town was going to put the (water) project out to bid two months ago.”
   david.delcore @timesargus.com
Pub. 9/4/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Unless the state Agency of Transportation decides to comment in the next few days, the town’s Development Review Board won’t be taking any more testimony involving a local developer’s plans to construct a greatly expanded convenience store and gas station, complete with a state-sanctioned welcome center, on Paine Turnpike North.
   This week the board held its second hearing on a controversial project that members were told had been tweaked in response to concerns neighbors raised during the first hearing last month. The board had hoped to receive comments from the Transportation Agency on traffic aspects based, in part, on the project’s proximity to the intersection with Route 62. But members were told the agency hadn’t yet responded to repeated requests by representatives for the applicant, Maplewood Limited.
   Eager to get the agency’s take on a project that is expected to lead to a 53 percent spike in “peak hour” traffic on Paine Turnpike North, board members agreed to give the state until Sept. 10 to weigh in before they begin their deliberations.
   Chairman Bob Wernecke said he would prefer to have the state’s input before discussing the local permit but acknowledged the agency will be required to participate in hearings the District 5 Environmental Commission will hold as part of the state’s permit process.
   This month’s hearing was held in a bigger room than last month’s and attracted a comparable crowd. This one included at least one convert, several skeptics, and a number of neighbors who oppose plans to construct a 9,000-square-foot convenience store on the fringe of their residential district. The site currently holds a smaller convenience store and gas station and is part of the campus that includes the Comfort Inn.
   Hoping to address neighbors’ concerns, Maplewood Limited’s engineer, John Grenier, told the board several modifications had been made to the initial site plan.
   According to Grenier, the number of fueling stations had been reduced and consolidated; designated parking for up to five tractor-trailer trucks had been eliminated; a pedestrian lane along Paine Turnpike North had been incorporated; and a 6-foot earthen berm that would be topped by a wooden fence was being proposed.
   The latter adjustment is designed to create both a visual and acoustic buffer between the project and neighbors who live on Crosstown, Shed and Bosworth roads. The top of the proposed fence would be roughly 10 feet above the elevation of the planned 58-space parking lot — high enough, board members were told, to block the headlights of tractor-trailer trucks and, when coupled with plantings, to obscure the view of the convenience store from neighboring properties.
Crosstown Road resident Geoffrey Farrell wasn’t convinced.
   “If you want to make that (fence) 30 feet high I certainly wouldn’t complain,” he said during the hearing.
   Though she doesn’t live nearby, resident Becky Goddard said she was pleased to see plans for a pedestrian path along Paine Turnpike North, although she would prefer a more formal sidewalk. Still, she said, that and other suggested changes had altered her opinion.
   “At first I was really opposed to this project but … it seems you guys are good people and trying to do a good thing for the community.”
   Goddard’s husband, Jonathan, wasn’t quite there yet. Though he acknowledged proposed revisions to the site plan were largely positive, he remained concerned about a projected 53 percent increase in peak hour traffic.
   “The site plan looks great, I think the design is good, but, boy, adding 53 percent more traffic on that road the way it is now, without widening it or (making) significant improvements, … it’s going to be a nightmare,” he said.
   According to Grenier, peak hour traffic would go from 120 to 180 cars, 14 to 36 medium-sized trucks and three to seven tractor-trailer trucks. He said the average daily projection would go from 1,320 to 2,068 cars, 154 to 296 medium-sized trucks and 33 to 77 tractor-trailer trucks.
   Those numbers were troubling to
Ridge View Drive resident Pat Barbieri, who said it is already difficult to pull out of the Shaw’s supermarket plaza directly across the road from the proposed new convenience store and feared it will only get harder when the storefront formerly occupied by Staples is filled.
   “You’re going to be dead and gone by the time you can pull out of that Shaw’s parking lot and turn left,” Barbieri said.
   The developers own property near the Shaw’s entrance and indicated they were prepared to cut back some trees and make other adjustments to improve sight distance so traffic could flow smoothly out of the Shaw’s plaza.
   The board did wrap up testimony on various aspects of the project, including a modification designed to relieve neighbors’ concerns over what many have taken to calling a truck stop.
   The revised plan that Grenier outlined eliminates five parking spaces for tractor-trailer trucks and consolidates and reduces the number of diesel fueling stations from six to four.
   “Before it looked like a parking lot for trucks. We’re trying to avoid that feel,” Grenier said, suggesting the new design would send a subtle message to truck drivers: “Thanks for coming to get your gas, have some food, and move on.”
   Board member Harvey Golubock said he was puzzled by the change, noting that the revised proposal took away designated places for trucks to park while creating informal places for them to park along the proposed berm.
   That was a concern for some residents, who said they were worried about everything from noise generated by idling trucks to fumes from their exhaust.
   The plan, according to Grenier, will be to post and enforce a three-hour parking limit.
   “This is not a park-and-ride,” he said.
   While the board agreed to wait a few more days for comments from the Transportation Agency, members declined Zoning Administrator Tom Badowski’s request they give the Select Board an opportunity to clarify its potential interest in changing the site plan.
   Town officials have expressed at least passing interest in constructing a road that would allow some — and perhaps all — town vehicles to quickly get to Paine Turnpike North by crossing Maplewood Limited’s property. The municipal office building, which houses the Police Department, abuts the
Maplewood property, as does its public works garage.
   Representatives of Maplewood Limited have said they are willing to accommodate the town but haven’t received a specific proposal and left the connector road off the plans.
   Wernecke said that if the town is truly interested in pursuing that possibility, it should contact the developers, come up with a plan, and apply for an amendment to the site plan if a permit is ultimately granted.
   @Tagline:david.delcore @timesargus.com
A Step Above for Dancers, welcomes Berlin families to their Open House and Registration on Tuesday, 9/9/14, 6:00-7:30 pm & Wednesday, 9/10/14, 6:00-7:30 pm.  Stop in to see us and sign up for your favorite dance classes! We're looking forward to seeing all our returning dancers and meeting some new ones too!
We are located on the first floor of The Gray Building, on
Main St. in Northfield, VT  www.astepabovefordancers.com
In Montpelier the Contemporary Dance and Fitness studio is located upstairs at 18 Langdon Street.    See their website for details: www.cdandfs.com, including a registration form: www.cdandfs.com/assets/Autumn_2014_sm.pdf
Join the celebration Wednesday, September 17th 4:30pm - 6:30pm Main Gallery, Vermont College of Fine Arts - There will be a cash bar, light refreshments and live music by Sarah Blair and Colin McCaffrey.
The operating period for Waterbury Center State Park has been extended this year to Sept. 21st (located on Route 100 Waterbury Center open daily 10am - sunset) Vermont State Parks officials have announced. “Waterbury Center State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Vermont,” said parks Regional Manager Susan Bulmer. “The park is a popular destination for local visitors, and also draws visitors from across the state and region.” The park is on Waterbury Reservoir and offers panoramic mountain views, fishing and boating opportunities, picnicking and swimming. “The local community has had a long-standing interest in keeping the park open past the traditional closing period,” said Bulmer. Park officials will evaluate park attendance and revenue to determine the feasibility of extending the park’s season in future years. http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/waterbury.htm
The U.S. Forest Service says four campgrounds in the Green Mountain National Forest are going to stay open through Columbus Day. Until recently the campgrounds have closed on Labor Day.
But now the HAPGOOD POND (
Manchester area), CHITTENDEN BROOK (Chittenden), MOOSALAMOO (Brandon), and SILVER LAKE (Middlebury area) campgrounds will remain open through Oct. 14.
The Forest Service says the extended openings are a way to provide the public with more opportunity to camp during the fall foliage season. The forest is made up of more than 400,000 acres of land.


Have you heard Josh Shipp speak?  He has a facebook page you'll find a lot on Youtube.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASDCAzC5EMw&feature=youtu.be




Below is a recent post .... there have been many more about a variety of topics, looking for services, garage sales, meeting announcements, events, etc.  Membership is free - to join go to: http://frontporchforum.com



Public Broadcasting's Family Days

Family Fun... Thought some of you parents or grandparents might be interested in Public Broadcasting's Family Days. They are free for any donor of $72 or more and all their kids, adult kids and grandkids. We went to their Smuggler's Notch Resort family day this past Saturday and everyone had a great time from age 2 to 70. The weather threatened but never rained and there were no crowds. There were waterslides, swimming pools, a splash park, an indoor fun activity center for all ages (check it out online), and an indoor country fair. On Sept. 20 there is free admission to the Montshire Museum in Norwich and this past June PBS hosted a day at the Granby zoo and a Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game.
It's a great way to support PBS and plan some inexpensive family time.http://www.vpt.org/family

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