Saturday November 24, 2012

News bits from around Windham County and neighboring New Hampshire:

Athens

-- The Community Christian Church Choir is scheduled to perform "A Christmas Cantata" at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23.

Brattleboro

The Selectboard has begun its budget discussions for the 2014 fiscal year and Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray says it is going to be as tight as ever to hammer out a financial plan without asking too much more from Brattleboro property owners. The projected 10 cent tax rate increase for the approved police-fire renovations will not affect the board's work in developing a responsible capital plan, DeGray says, though the board will work extra hard to keep spending down next year.

Brookline

On Nov. 7, The Selectboard approved the revised Town Plan. A public hearing to discuss adopting the plan has been scheduled for Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Town Office Selectboard Meeting Room.

-- A decision on whether the town should take over Merrill Drive, which is a private road at this time, has been put on hold due to budgetary concerns. According to Selectboard meeting minutes, a decision could be made in December or January while the board is formulating the town's budget for the next fiscal year.

Chesterfield, N.H.

Tim Ruehr, business administrator for towns, presented the Chesterfield School General Fund Financial Report at the Chesterfield School Board meeting on Wednesday, Nov.


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14.

The net available, according to unofficial minutes, is $89,533.

Dover

Larry Feldstein has been elected Town Moderator for 2013 and Sarah Daniels has resigned as a member of the Dover Development Review Board. She has been appointed as a new police officer.

-- Private road names approved by the Selectboard are as follows: Riverview Drive, located off Tannery Road, Hermitage Road, located off Handle Road, Carriage House Drive, located off Hermitage Road, Freestyle Circle, located off North Branch Road in the Trailsedge on Mount Snow Development, and Slalom Lane, located off North Branch Road in the Trailsedge on Mount Snow Development.

Dummerston

Officials are continuing to work on a study of the town's ancient roads in order to meet an upcoming state deadline.

Selectboard member Bill Holiday said he is hoping that the town's ancient roads committee will wrap up its work by early spring. Towns must formally map all Class 4 roads and legal trails before July 1, 2015, or those public rights of way will revert to adjoining landowners.

Holiday said the committee is considering two important questions -- what to do with ancient trails and whether to recommend that all Class 4 roads be reclassified as trails.

Grafton

-- The Friends of Grafton's Heritage is planning a public informational meeting at the Grafton Congregational Church and Chapel on Monday, Nov. 26.

The group is opposed to the development of a testing towers and wind turbines in Grafton. Liisa Kissel, who leads the opposition, said she plans to have pizza and other refreshments available.

Guilford

Two members of the town's 250th Anniversary Planning Committee have been recognized by the Vermont League of Local Historical Societies and Museums.

Addie Minott and Don McLean accepted the league's Excellence in Educational Outreach award Nov. 2 at a meeting in Woodstock. An awards committee called Guilford's efforts in 2011 the "gold standard" for anniversary celebrations and noted a resulting DVD.

Events throughout the year included an original play, concerts, dances, a gala weekend with a parade and fireworks, history walks, an art exhibit, races, community meals, holiday celebrations, movie nights and other gatherings.

Halifax

Deer Park Road Bridge is currently under construction. Workers have poured the abutment on the Green River Road side. According to the contract, work must be done by the end of August 2013.

-- Selectboard members discussed the limited damage done by Hurricane Sandy. Some people were out of power for 48 hours which caused some concern. The storm inspired them to want to improve communications and preparedness. The Co-EMDs are going to work on coordinating a practice drill. 

Hinsdale, N.H.

At a meeting on Monday, the Board of Selectmen talked with department heads about the budget for FY2013-14. Frank Podlenski of the Highway Department, Water Superintendent Dennis Nadeau and Rob Johnson of the Hinsdale Sewer Treatment Plant were present.

Selectman said the board also heard from the Hinsdale Parks and Recreation Department as well as executive, financial and planning, which aren't official departments.

-- The Hinsdale Public Library has new hours: noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday; and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Jamaica

GPT Maintenance brought in all the paperwork on Nov. 19 and signed contract for Route 8 construction. Work will most likely begin Monday.

Londonderry

Town voters approved changing the fiscal year from calendar basis (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) to one starting on July 1 and ending June 30. The change was done to come in line with the school's fiscal year.

-- The original narrow-plank wooden floors of the town hall, formerly Central School, were refinished by Rusty and Ben Priggen of Powerglide Floor Sanding.

Selectboard meeting minutes are now online at the town's website at londonderry.org.

Marlboro

After three years the town is moving ahead with its plan to improve Adams Brook Road. The complicated project included a land swap, a Hazard Mitigation Grant from FEMA, and improvements to the grade and road. The old road was steep and dangerous and the new road is safer. The town built a new portion of the road on private land and in return will swap the old roadbed for the new roadbed. The old roadbed will become private and the town will no longer own it.

-- Marlboro Historical Society 2013 Calendars are now on sale and are available at the Hogback Mountain Gift Shop and at Vermont Artisans in Brattleboro, or by mail. The 2013 calendars show some startling contrasts between the Flood of 1938 and recent Tropical Storm Irene damages, and an assortment of photographs depicting various time periods in Marlboro's history, past and present. The calendar is created by photographer and local historian Forrest Holzapfel. Contact him at 802-258-2568 or forrest810@gmail.com.

Newfane

The Selectboard has formally voted to move forward with replacing Lynch Bridge, which was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

Some officials had considered buying the sole property served by the bridge and then, rather than replacing the span, using FEMA money allocated for that project for other town improvements.

But voters at a special town meeting rejected the property purchase. A week later, the Selectboard voted to pursue reconstruction of the bridge under a "design-build" scenario that would allow one contractor to handle both design and construction of a new Lynch Bridge.

Putney

The town's water system may provide a windfall, or flow-fall, if you will, for Putney. A 3,000 gallon storage tank was given to the town after a business owner had it removed once the water system was hooked up to his building. After sitting at the town garage someone made an offer and the Selectboard approved the sale which could give the town an unexpected $1,500-$1,800 if the deal goes through. The town is waiting to hear back from the interested party.

Rockingham

-- The Selectboard decided to take no action regarding a soon-to-be vacancy in the Lister's Office.

One of the three listers, David Gould, announced that he will be retiring, effective Saturday, Dec. 1. Lister Camilla Roberts said the Selectboard has the authority to appoint a replacement lister until the end of the election year but chose not to at its meeting on Tuesday.

Roberts said this means town residents will have two lister positions to vote for during 2013's Town Meeting Day -- one to fulfill the vacancy and one regular three-year position.

Roberts and Paul Noble are Rockingham's remaining listers. She said listers put values on properties for the Grand List.

Stratton

A decrepit building at a former camp is in need of razing but during the process to authorize its demolition, the Selectboard learned the town's zoning ordinance did not dictate the correct procedure for doing so. The board made a decision to tear down the 15-by-20 foot shack earlier this year but discovered they needed the approval of the town's health officer first, according to state regulations. In addition to restarting the process to raze the building, the board is also rewriting its zoning ordinance.

-- The Selectboard has tentatively agreed to accept $38,000 from Stratton Corporation for its portion of the bill to repair about one-quarter mile of the Stratton Mountain Access Road near the TreeTop development.

Townshend

A ribbon-cutting is planned for 10 a.m. Dec. 14 for the newly renovated Messenger Valley Pharmacy on Grafton Road.

The pharmacy, which is owned by Grace Cottage Hospital and fills more than 5,000 prescriptions monthly, is undergoing an expansion to allow for enhanced and new services. The project included demolition of a deteriorated barn at the site.

The pharmacy now is operating from the new addition at the rear of the property while renovations continue at the front, said Andrea Seaton, Grace Cottage vice president of planning and development.

The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting, and refreshments will be available afterward at the hospital's community wellness center. Mountain Access Road near the TreeTop development.

Vernon

The Selectboard has appointed several members to the town's newly revived Farmland Protection Committee.

Jeff and Ellen Hardy and Armand Baldwin will serve on the committee with Art Miller, who attended a recent Selectboard meeting to discuss the group's plans.

-- Also, the board appointed Deborah Berryere to serve on the town library's board of trustees for a term ending in 2014.

Walpole, N.H.

Chris Lane Enterprises has been chosen to take down the white pine on the north side of the village cemetery. According to the town's website, his quote came in at $1,800 and the work is slated to be done this fall. The work of trimming the tree overhanging the tombs has been completed along with the removal of underbrush in that area at a cost of $525 paid to Chris Lane Enterprises.

The cemetery budget for the 2013-2014 year has been presented to the Selectboard. The contract with Jim and Bev Corey for the maintenance of the cemetery grounds, which they will present directly to the Selectboard, is pending.

There was an oak limb down in the village cemetery which broke off a major portion of a monument (one side of the horizontal piece of the cross -- a piece approximately 18 feet, 24 inches in length).

This will be added to the cemetery committee's list of repairs. Additional monies were added to the 2013 budget to address the number of stones still needing repair.

Wardsboro

If all goes as planned, the Friends of Wardsboro Library will be moving the library's adult and young adult collection into the Red Barn this coming summer.

The barn, which is attached to the library, an old farmhouse at 170 Main Street, has been undergoing renovations for several years. Most recently, foam insulation was sprayed in and then covered with sheetrock, and a new floor was installed, courtesy of Wadsworth Company and Vermont Barns of Bondville.

The next big challenge for the Friends is to install a heating system, said Linda Gifkins, co-chairwoman, and finish up the electrical work for the overhead lighting.

The library is owned by the Friends and rented to the trustees for $1 a year. The Friends hold several fundraisers every year to pay for the library's operation and maintenance.

Fundraisers include a plant sale on Memorial Day, the Red Barn Affair or a house and garden tour, and, of course, the Gilfeather Turnip Festival.

For more information or to make a donation, visit friendsofwarsborolibrary.org.

Westminster

-- The Selectboard has provided a warning for public hearings regarding the adoption of three private roads.

The public hearing about Camp Road and Camp Road Extension on Tuesday, Dec. 11, while the one concerning James Road is set for Tuesday, Dec. 18. Town Manager Matt Daskal said each hearing will consist of two parts -- the one being at the specific site and the back at town hall once the Selectboard moves the hearing there.

-- The town hall will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday. But trash collection will take place as scheduled on Friday.

Westmoreland, N.H.

-- The town plans to hold its ninth annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.

According to town hall, there will be caroling and hand chimes.

The tree is located on the town common, which is across the street from the town hall.

Whitingham

Corse Excavating, LLC won the sand bid, approved by the Selectboard, for the 2012-2013 season.

-- Construction on Whitingham Middle School is slated to begin April 13, 2013. It is expected to take about 15 months to complete. The school will function as a middle school and high school for both Wilmington and Whitingham students.

Wilmington

Town Garage construction has been completed and it is in use now.

-- The Selectboard has elected John Gannon as a treasurer for the Budget Committee for the Wilmington Fund and Keith Herbert as a member of the 2012 Beautification Committee.