Sunday, November 09, 2014


News to Know October 22, 2014

BERLIN NEWS TO KNOW October 22, 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:

Have you been wondering what's in the new tanks down on Route 12?   Question asked and answered in Front Porch Forum - see below.

Below you will find information about a food drive for the Montpelier Food Pantry.  Did you know the Montpelier Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels are known as "Just Basics"?  Please note the Montpelier Food Pantry welcomes Berlin families who need assistance.  They are able to document that at least 15 Berlin households participate on a regular basis , which averages 45 people per month make use of it.  That's about 875 meals per month.  There are likely more Berlin residents, however, since some use a Montpelier mailing address it's hard to track them.

Below you will find:
Hope to see a strong turnout for the meeting Thursday evening October 23rd 7pm at the Berlin Town Office regarding funding from Berlin taxpayers for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Whatever your thoughts are on the topic, please come join in and find out more about their services and why they're asking for this funding. Your participation would be greatly appreciated!!
Thinking about a birthday or holiday gift? This is an awesome list of Non-Toy Gifts .. which might make you think kids but it includes items adults would like also.
Have you purchased a copy of "from Barre-Montpelier to E.F. Knapp The Story of a Small Airport in Berlin, Vermont" by Richard W. Turner? Lots of interesting information and photographs. Stop by the Town Clerk's office to purchase a copy for $19.95. If the Town Clerk hours don't work in your schedule (M-Th 8:30-3:30) let me know and I can meet you at another time. Cash or a check only (check made out to "Berlin Historical Society").   All the profit from the sales go to the Berlin Historical Society.
  "Established in 1929 as the Barre-Montpelier Airport, it was taken over by the State of Vermont in 1968 and renamed The Edward F. Knapp State Airport after the retiring Commissioner of Aeronautics.  The book chronicles how and why the airport was created, the many improvements that have been made to the field over the years, the airlines that have flown in and out, air shows, plane crashes, people that have been connected with the airport and many other interesting stories."
Another book available is "A Place to Pass Through: Berlin, Vermont 1820-1991"  This book edited by Paul Gillies was published in 1991 for the Town's Bi-Centennial Celebration.  What a wealth of information and photos also.  The cost is $25.  This book is also available at the Town Clerk's office.
Interested in local history or perhaps your family has a place in our local history?  If you'd like to do some research, peruse various topics of interest, look at old photographs, or take a look at the scrap books of newspaper clippings - contact Corinne Stridsberg to set up a mutually convenient time (day / evening / weekend) this fall or winter to spend some time in the Historical Society. 
Have you found the new local gift shop that opened at the Berlin Mall this month? Just to the left of where JoAnn Fabrics was. Stop in and say "Hi" to owners Doug & Julie Fields of Northfield and pick up your "launch chip". This poker chip key chain can be used for special promotions. Soon they'll have a facebook page. Regular hours are Monday - Saturday 10am - 9pm and Sunday 11am - 5pm. Note that on Thanksgiving night Thursday, 11/27 they will open at midnight along with several other stores at the mall.
Did you know that on Town Meeting Day 2014 one of the new school board members won their seat by ONE vote?!
The last day to register to be able to vote on Tuesday, November 4th, is on Wednesday, October 29th by
5pm. The Town Clerk will stay open until 5pm the 29th specifically to be able to sign up any last minute folks. 
On November 4th polls will be open from
8am - 7pm at the Town Office.
If you are a registered voter and would like an absentee ballot either stop by or contact the Town Clerk's office. Regular hours are Monday - Thursday
8:30am - 3:30pm. Requests can be taken by phone (229-9298), email (, or by mail and we'll get them right out to you. Absentee ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by the close of polls on Nov. 4th to be counted.
Community support for Just Basics Inc.’s Montpelier Food Pantry continues to grow in the wake of Shaw’s corporate decision to remove customer donation boxes. Bear Pond Books and the Vermont Tax Department collected 622 and 1,500 pounds, respectively. The Vermont attorney general’s office is on the fast track to outdo the Tax Department. Hunger Mountain Coop also sponsored a daylong food drive Wednesday, where every customer’s donated item was matched by the co-op. 
On Nov. 1, Shaw’s in Berlin will hold an in-store food drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Please support these local businesses and in turn support the Montpelier Food Pantry.
Theresa Murray-Clasen
Pub. 10/18/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Several newly opened bids for construction of a municipal water system appear to be in the range town officials were hoping for, and the Select Board could be in a position to award a contract Monday night.
   Town Administrator Dana Hadley said that Mark Youngstrom of Otter Creek Engineering is reviewing the seven bids the town received by Wednesday’s deadline and might be ready to make a recommendation to the board at its Monday meeting.
   “That’s kind of what I’m expecting, I just haven’t heard from (Youngstrom) yet,” Hadley said Friday.
   Munson Earth Moving Corp. of
South Burlington is the apparent low bidder for the project, which calls for the construction of a 400,000-gallon water storage tank and a pumping station near three town-owned wells on Scott Hill Road, as well as the installation of roughly 5 miles of water distribution line in the Berlin Four Corners area. 
   Though it wasn’t part of the base bid, the project also contemplates tying into the spring-fed system operated by the Berlin Water Co. That work was bid as an alternate to the project.
   Munson Earth Moving’s bid was just under $4.12 million for the bulk of the work and $150,860 to make the connection to the Berlin Water Co. system that the town hopes to acquire. Munson’s combined bid for both phases of the project was less than the base bids submitted by all but one of the other contractors.
   Dale Percy Inc. of Stowe submitted a base bid of just over $4.21 million but offered to make the connection to the Berlin Water Co. for $78,640. Percy’s combined bid of $4.29 million was within $21,000 of the price quoted by Munson.
   Both bids, and perhaps as many as three others, appear to be comfortably in the range town officials were hoping for, though Select Board Chairman Ture Nelson said the test will be whether Youngstrom concludes the town can build a system that produces water at the promised annual rate of between $500 and $600 for an equalized residential unit.
   “It sounds like we’re in the ballpark,” Nelson said, deferring additional comment until the board had an opportunity to consult Youngstrom on Monday night.
   The board obtained voter approval to spend up to $5.5 million on the new municipal water system and has locked up favorable federal financing that will cover more than $400,000 in costs — from property acquisition to engineering — that have already been incurred, as well as construction. 
   The board has pledged that the cost of covering the debt service will fall on water customers, not town taxpayers. The goal is to deliver potable water at an affordable rate to an area that is primed for development but saddled with water quality issues that have plagued many private wells.
   The service area includes 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.
   Even if the board awards a construction contract Monday night, the bulk of the work on the system is expected to be completed next summer.
   Two of the seven bids were well in excess of $5 million, and two others were pushing $4.6 million and $4.7 million.
Pub 10/22/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   BERLIN — Plans to develop a formal access area for people to get out onto Berlin Pond took another step forward this week when the Select Board voted to sign an agreement that the state Department of Fish & Wildlife first floated more than a year ago.
   The 4-1 decision to sign what was described Monday night as “a written handshake” capped a discussion that saw some question whether it was prudent to execute the agreement without additional information.
   The goal of the agreement is to develop a public fishing access area on a yet-to-be-defined parcel the town believes it owns on the north end of the pond, which serves as
Montpelier’s public drinking water supply.
   Though Jeremy Hansen cast the lone vote against signing the agreement, a majority of the board concluded that — at a minimum — the town should take steps to clarify its property interests with respect to the pond. That, they said, means commissioning a survey, and they agreed the town should take the department up on its offer to share that expense.
   Among other things, the agreement indicates the department is prepared to pay up to $5,000 for the cost of any survey work needed to determine whether it is feasible to develop an access area on the north end of the pond for kayaks and canoes.
   “The first step is to determine ownership,” Chairman Ture Nelson said.
   However, some residents argued the document they were being asked to approve went well beyond that.
   “You’ve agreed with the state that you’re going to move ahead with the access (area) before you even know if you own the land,” one resident complained, describing the proposed agreement as premature.
   Another resident, Cathy Hartshorn, called it “backwards.”
   According to Hartshorn, the town doesn’t know whether
Montpelier is willing to share in the cost of the survey and hasn’t discussed the terms of a future lease with the state that is referenced in the agreement. Those details, she said, should be nailed down in advance so it is clear to the town how the proposed access area would be managed by the state.
   Hartshorn and others were told they were overcomplicating the intent of the agreement, which was crafted to create a comfort level between the department and the town as they jointly pursue the access area.
   Mike Wichrowski, who works for the Department of Fish & Wildlife, said his employer stands ready to design, permit, develop and manage a modest access area at its sole expense if the survey confirms the town owns the land in question. Those commitments are reflected in the agreement.
   However, Wichrowski said the state isn’t interested in wasting money and wants to know town officials actually plan to pursue the creation of a state-run access area if the survey shows it owns suitable land. The agreement, which Wichrowski described as a written handshake, suggests that is the case and includes a provision that would require the town to reimburse the state for its investment in developing the access area unless the project is derailed by “circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the town.”
   According to Nelson, a legislative change would qualify, but a change of heart would not.
   “If the (Select) Board decides not to go forward, we would be on the hook for any of those (development) costs,” Nelson said.
   The agreement caps the town’s exposure at $20,000 — a figure that would include money the state has agreed to provide for the survey — if the town elects to unilaterally pull a project that Nelson said wouldn’t require much development.
   “It’s a couple of parking spots and a path to the water,” he said.
   According to Wichrowski, Nelson’s description probably wasn’t far from the truth. He said the access area would likely involve some off-road parking — possibly on mowed grass — and could be as simple as tipping existing granite blocks located along the shore- line to create a way for people to step out into the water and launch their canoes and kayaks.
   Since the Vermont Supreme Court struck down long-standing recreational restrictions on the use of Berlin Pond more than two years ago, the favored access has been on the opposite end of the pond near a culvert on
Mirror Lake Road. Town officials view that access as less than optimal and started exploring alternatives in the wake of a townwide vote that overwhelmingly supported that idea in 2012.
   The agreement the board approved Monday night was proposed in response to that effort but shelved earlier this year while the state Department of Environmental Conservation evaluated two petitions for renewed restrictions on use of the pond. One would have restored historic prohibitions on boating, fishing and swimming; the other called for more modest restrictions, including a ban on gas-powered augers and internal combustion engines.
   The state agreed to
Montpelier’s request for a ban on gas-powered augers but rejected a citizens group’s call for sweeping restrictions that would have made the pond off limits.
   Nate Smead, an outspoken proponent of recreational use that he considers safe and reasonable, said it was time for the board to act.
   “At some point we just need to move forward,” he said, noting those who oppose recreational use weren’t going to go away.
   Select Board member Pete Kelley agreed.
   “If we don’t take this step we’re going to sit in this limbo here forever,” he said. 
   On a night when the board agreed to pursue a plan to create an access on
Montpelier’s public drinking water supply, board members conditionally accepted the low bid for construction of the town’s own municipal water system.
   Pending review and approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency, the board accepted the bid submitted by Munson Earth-Moving of Williston. The company’s two-part bid totaled just under $4.3 million — including nearly $4.12 million for the bulk of the work and $150,260 for connecting to the Berlin Water Co. The town’s plans to acquire the spring-fed system are being held up by its inability to obtain a required easement from Berlin Health and
Rehabilitation Center, according to Town Administrator Dana Hadley.
   The board agreed to accept the bid based on the glowing recommendation provided by Mark Youngstrom of Otter Creek Engineering.
   According to Hadley, Youngstrom, who has served as the consulting engineer on the
Berlin project, has worked with Munson Earth-Moving in the past — including on a very similar project in Bradford.
   In other business Monday, the board agreed to pay $10,219 for an extended warranty for the new truck it recently agreed to purchase from
Clark’s Truck Center in Jericho. After a brief executive session, the board also voted to accept the resignation of Richard Freeman from the road crew and to post the position.
Pub. 10/19/14 Times Argus
   MONTPELIER — Health care, economic development and the duties of the office are issues of importance for the two men vying for the second-highest post in the state.
   Two-term incumbent Republican Phil Scott and Progressive challenger Dean Corren will face off in the Nov. 4 election for the job of lieutenant governor. 
   In the profiles below — in alphabetical order as they will appear on the ballot — each man lays out his vision for Vermont.
Dean Corren
   For the 59-year-old former member of the Vermont House, health care is the paramount issue for the state.
   “This is the number one economic sustainability issue in
Vermont,” said Corren, who is a strong supporter of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s initiative to move to a single-payer health care system.
   Corren noted studies showing a move to single-payer would result in a savings in health costs of $500 million, compared with what Vermonters pay in health care premiums.
   “Spending $2 billion in taxes is better than spending $2.5 billion on something, just we don’t call it a tax,” said Corren, adding that his support for single payer runs contrary to the position held by his competitor.
   “I think we should have a lieutenant governor that is working for the economic reform we need instead of just dragging his feet,” Corren said.
   Noting the Vermont Constitution details the minimum duties for lieutenant governor but does not place any maximum, Corren argued that the state could use a more high-profile lieutenant governor who took a greater role in promoting job growth and economic development.
   “In this office, we have untapped potential. I think if you do a good job, they (Vermonters) wouldn’t want to go back.”
   Corren has a prior history in
Vermont politics; from 1992 until 2000, he represented Burlington in the House, a post he left to go to work for then-Rep. Bernard Sanders. He currently works for a hydroelectric company that uses technology he patented in the ’80s.
   On the issue of skyrocketing property taxes, Corren said he would support a system in which property owners pay based upon their income, shifting a greater tax burden to the wealthy. He said he differed from Shumlin by supporting raising income tax as a revenue source.
   “For me, everything should be on the table, both on the spending side and on the revenue side,” Corren said.
   For more information, visit
Phil Scott
   The 56-year-old former state senator from
Berlin looks at the economic issues facing the state as the result of an unwillingness to address spending. 
   Take K-12 education, which is driving dramatic increases in property taxes through the state’s education-funding formula.
   “They (Vermonters) want the formula changed. They think that’s the answer,” Scott said of the recent groundswell of support to revisit Act 60 and Act 68. “But regardless of the funding method, we need to address spending or we’ll be facing the same issues down the road.”
   From Scott’s perspective, he is in the minority, and if the state can’t cut costs, it had better increase revenue through economic growth.
   “I don’t think there is a will to cut, so we have to grow our economy,” Scott said “We have to provide a business climate that is conducive to growth.”
   On health care, Scott has described himself as a skeptic, both of Vermont Health Connect — which has cost $109 million as of Aug. 31 for a system that isn’t working — and Shumlin’s yet-to-be-unveiled single-payer system.
   “Most Vermonters don’t have a clue what single payer is, but they know the current system doesn’t work,” Scott said. “For employers, the burden isn’t choosing a health care plan, but paying for it.”
   Scott said
Vermont has a “demographics issue” — young adults graduate from high school and leave the state, not to return, while few young families are moving in. He proposed exempting this population from income taxes as a way to attract and retain them.
   “It’s a natural impulse to get out and see the world, but then there are the realities of jobs and how much they pay and how much houses cost,” Scott said of the exodus of young adults. “Those are the people that pay taxes, that pay the bills.”
   For more information, visit
Pub. 10/22/14 Times Argus by David Delcore
   MONTPELIER — There is a race to serve as assistant judge in Washington County this year, and for the first time in a long time Barney Bloom won’t be part of it.
   Elected to three consecutive four-year terms as one of the county’s two “side judges,” Bloom resigned over the summer and will be replaced by voters on Nov. 4.
   Deputy Sheriffs Otto Kinzel and Tony Lolli have joined Assistant Judge Miriam “Muffie” Conlon in a three-way countywide race that will produce just two winners.
   The elected position of assistant judge is unique to
Vermont. Each of the state’s 14 counties has two, and they sit alongside law judges in family and superior courts and serve in a fact-finding capacity. They also have an administrative function and are responsible for overseeing both county budgets and buildings.
Miriam Conlon
   Conlon has run the race before, only the last time she was the challenger, and her opponents were both incumbents. She managed to get the better of the one not named Bloom.
   In 2010 Conlon ousted Michael Zimmerman in what turned into a close-fought race for second place with Bloom easily pacing the field.
   Four years later, Conlon, 80, of
Montpelier, is hoping her on-the-job experience will earn her a second term.
   One of two Democrats in the running, Conlon began working with the court system in 2000 as a guardian ad litem, appointed by the court to protect the rights of children in family court and to provide a voice for children in proceedings. She served in that capacity for nine years and described it as a natural segue to her initial run for assistant judge.
   “Given this experience, and because I am the only incumbent in the race, I’d like to continue my position as assistant judge in
Washington County,” Conlon said.
   Before retiring in 2000, Conlon was a professor at
Vermont Technical College for 17 years and worked as a special educator in several Washington County school districts.
   Conlon served as a Peace Corps volunteer in
Hungary from 1992-94, before returning to Vermont, where she settled with her late husband, Tom Conlon, in 1963. 
   Since retiring, Conlon has devoted much of her time volunteering as a guardian ad litem, as well as serving on the boards of the
Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Central Vermont Community Land Trust, HomeShare Vermont and the Design Review Board in Montpelier.
Otto Kinzel
   Kinzel would like to add assistant judge to an already diverse resume that ranges from bank executive and small business owner to select board member and deputy sheriff.
   Kinzel, 69, of
Montpelier, is the only Republican in the running for Washington County’s two assistant judge positions, and he said he believes he has the interest and the skill set required to do what would be his newest job.
   “I think I can bring a lot to the table,” said Kinzel, a former
Berlin resident who is a past member and chairman of the Select Board there.
   Kinzel is a deputy sheriff in
Washington County and said he has spent enough time in family court to get a sense of one of the key roles of an assistant judge.
   “I think I have a good understanding of the system and how it works,” he said.
   Kinzel, who moved to
Vermont in 1990, owned and operated the First in Fitness facilities in Berlin and Montpelier for 15 years and broke into law enforcement as a member of the Berlin Police Department in 2004. He has worked as a deputy sheriff for eight years.
   Before moving to
Vermont, Kinzel served as chief executive officer of a community bank in Delaware that had 700 members and 20 branches.
   Kinzel said his banking background, coupled with his experience as a business owner and his service on the Select Board, equipped him for the budget-building and administrative role of an assistant judge.
   “I’m very familiar with finances, and I believe I can bring a layperson’s common-sense perspective to many of the issues that come before a judge,” he said.

Kinzel has served on the boards of the
United Way and Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, and has been a member of the Montpelier Parking Commission.
Tony Lolli
   Lolli, 67, of Cabot, has worked as a deputy sheriff in Caledonia and Washington counties for the past decade, and, like Kinzel, has spent a fair amount of time in family court.
   “I’ve had a chance to see the assistant judges in action,” said Lolli, who believes he is up to the job and intrigued by the opportunity.
   “It is one of the few opportunities that a layperson has to participate in the legal system,” he said.
   A freelance writer who has written books and writes a column about fly fishing, Lolli, a Democrat, has a doctorate in educational psychology and worked for more than 20 years as a college administrator.
   According to Lolli, who worked at
Cornell University, the University of Rochester and several other institutions, his duties included serving as the hearing officer in cases involving student discipline, a fact-finding role that he believes would make for an easy transition to assistant judge.
   “I know something about the notion of due process and fairness and listening to people,” he said. 
   Lolli said his duties as a college administrator included budget and project development and that he is up to the challenge of creating and managing the county budget.
   “I think I can bring a fresh perspective in terms of carrying out the abilities of the office,” he said.
   A veteran of the Vietnam War, Lolli served in the U.S. Air Force from 1967-71.
On Friday October 24, our very own Disney Cabaret will come to U-32 High School.
Please join us for an evening of song and good things to eat and drink as the U-32 Theater students perform the songs of Disney and other music close to your heart. There will be a special preview with face-painting, games and singing for those 8 years old and under from
6:30 to 7:00 pm, with the regular show starting at 7:15 pm.
Come dressed as your favorite Disney character!
Make sure to bring your voice for the sing-a-long!
Our concession will include homemade chocolate delights and other treats from our Theater Family.
The U-32 Theater students are heading to
Scotland next summer to perform at the Fringe Festival. The Disney Cabaret and concession are free and open to the public. Any donations will be gratefully received and will go towards our upcoming trip!

FREE COMIC DAY Halloween Fest on Friday, October 23rd all day
Halloween Family Dance 6:30pm - 8pm
Know some teenagers who like ghost stories? Friday, October 24th at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, join Vermont ghost expert Joe Citro for some terrifying tales. Hayes Room at 6:30pm.
Halloween Fest at the Waterbury Factory Store with free tours, come in costume and receive 20% off gift store purchases.  Free fun includes donuts-on-a-string, pumpkin bowling, and spooky photo op
10/26 - BERLIN MALL Malloween Sunday, Oct. 26th 2-4pm  Trick-or-treat at the mall stores and Frank-FM and Froggy-FM will be there.
Halloween Party for the pets - bring your pets trick-or-treating at One Stop from 12noon - 3pm Sunday October 26th, pet costume judging at 2pm
3-5pm on Sunday, October 26th is a non-scary fun Halloween Party for young children.  Young and old invited to dress up and if you can, bring a healthy snack.  At Thatcher Brook Primary School 47 Stowe Street.
21st Annual Family Halloween at Billings Farm & Museum, Sunday, October 26, 10am - 5pm Children in costume admitted free when accompanied by an adult (adults pay regular admission fee) 
10/30 Montpelier High School sponsored by Montpelier Rec Dept.
From 5pm - 6:30pm the MHS Cafeteria is the place to be with family fun - toss games and refreshments for everyone.  6pm - 6:30 Marko Magic Show
Montpelier - Trick-or-Treating at downtown merchants 4pm - 6pm.
Barre - Trick-or-Treating at downtown merchants 4pm - 6pm
Halloween Sleepover Saturday, Nov 1st 7pm until Sunday, Nov 2nd 8am $40 first child, $20 sibling.  Gymnastics, games, open gym.

Below are some recent posts .... 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:


Cleaning Jobs Wanted - FPF #458 10/17/14

Nicole Daniels Crossing Manor Dr 
Posted to: Berlin
Do you have a business that you could use a good cleaning every other week or once a month? I can get this done for you nights/weekends, references available upon request. Prefer in Montpelier/Barre/Berlin area. Contact me for questions or to discuss your needs.

What's in the Tanks? FPF #453 10/13/14

Peg E. Monley Lovers Lane 
Posted to: Berlin
Hey there neighbors,
My curiosity was piqued when a small foundation went in near the Riverton Fire Station. (Where the old rusted train car used to be) We played the game of "guess what's going there" at our dinner table for weeks. My favorite guess was a very small railway museum. :) When the ugly tanks went in, I was very disappointed. Thanks for painting them who ever you are. And thanks for making a spill-catching foundation.
But my questions are... Who owns those tanks? What's in them? What are they for? 
Anyone know?
peg e.

What's in the Tanks - FPF #454 10/14/14

Robert Wernecke • Chair, Development Review Board, Berlin 
Posted to: Berlin
Heating Oil. White heating Inc. applied for a permit to construct a truck terminal for home heating oil. The project consists of a 10,000 and 20,000 gallon tanks in a confinement area to contain spills. See the minutes of May 6 and June 3 on the Berlin web site for details.

Irish Hill Raw Honey for Sale - FPF #452 10/11/14

Beth Daut • Crosstown Rd 
Posted to: Berlin
Our bees have produced a bumper crop of honey. Collected by Dave and Beth Daut and ready for you to enjoy. 
Call 223-3675 for information

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