by Mickey Smith
As part of investigation into the purported theft of a digital camera, Morristown Police executed a search of the home of Izaak Draper, 42, of Elmore. As a result of the search, Draper was charged with possession of stolen property and felony possession of marijuana.
Morristown Senior Patrolman Jason Luneau applied for the search warrant based on information he had received in the case of a stolen camera last month. He said they began to execute the search warrant on Tuesday morning, July 10, and discovered what they believed to be marijuana during the course of the search. Based on that discovery, they applied for and received a second search warrant which allowed them to keep searching for drugs. Sr. Patrolman Luneau said they found about one and a quarter pounds of marijuana at the Beach Road residence, $19,260 cash, along with the digital camera.
guns seized during a search of Izaak Draper’s house in Elmore. Police
allege the guns were loaded and were found along with marijuana. - Smith photo
Editor’s Note: These weapons were possessed legally.
Luneau said they also found firearms, which were seized along with the money and marijuana, and what he described as evidence of marijuana distribution. Fourteen firearms were found in the house, ranging in caliber. Morristown Police allege they were all loaded with high capacity magazines but none had rounds in the chamber. One handgun, which was also loaded, was found in a closet. Most were described by the MPD as military style. Police seized the guns because they allege they were found in a gun cabinet with the marijuana. The guns were estimated to be at least $12,000 in value by a local firearms dealer.
Luneau said the investigation is continuing and more arrests could be made in the future. Draper was cited to appear in Lamoille Superior Court – Criminal Division on Wednesday, August 20.
Gizelle Guyette, newly hired Morristown Centennial Librarian
Gizelle Guyette, current young adult librarian at the Burnham Library in Milton, has been hired by Morristown Centennial Trustees from a field of more than 20 applicants, to fill the head position at Morristown’s library from which Mary West is retiring.
To get the important stuff out of the way, Gizelle is a born and bred Vermonter who has lived all over the state, including Burlington and Middlebury. She graduated from Middlebury College with a humanities degree, worked in schools for a decade and eventually kind of fell into her career in libraries.
She explained that one night she found her school librarian needed help shelving books, from that found there was a need to fill the slot of an assistant librarian – and she was off!
“I always had a great deal of respect for libraries,” noted Gizelle. She helped as an assistant for nine years and loved the literary lifestyle. She began to talk with folks in the library business – “I forged connections,” she said. “Librarians are the great levelers,” she explained. As she worked as a bookmobile librarian for six years, she said it was clear that a librarian’s object “…is to get you whatever it is you’re searching for.”
Ms. Guyette is single and now lives in her family home, that was her grandmother’s in Milton. The former church is a big job, she tells the interviewer. She adds she will be looking for a home in the Morrisville area. “ I’m an intrepid Vermonter… [but] commuting will be a challenge… so I’m looking,” she said. She is a Vermont state certified librarian.
Gizelle thought it is only respectful to first learn the culture of the place. “I need to familiarize myself with the collection and the community.”
“This is a library steeped in traditions,” she felt. She honestly has no agenda in mind for immediate changes. “My opinion may not be correct,” she admitted and said she needed to talk with the current staff. “Libraries are living organisms that adapt to continual metamorphosis,” she said earnestly, people will tell her what will work and what is needed in Morrisville. “The community drives what it should be,” she felt. “If I came with an agenda that would be a great disservice,” she ended.
As far as the need for fundraising, if needed in the future, she says she is up to it. She said she will do whatever is necessary to make the library sustainable for the long term.
Gizelle described herself as “a bit nerdy and an amateur writer” but this interviewer would describe her as friendly, conscientious, a bit serious, and willing to listen.
"It is my first time being director, I appreciate the Board of Trustees’ and Mary’s support,” said Gizelle with fervor. “I’m very grateful to be here.”
Oh! Gizelle had one piece of advice for us all – “Don’t just Google it” she emphasized, ask your librarian if you want to find the real answer!
by Andrew Martin
Score one for the residents of Elmore and Morristown! On Wednesday, July 9, Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Secretary Brian Searles announced that he had ordered that rumble stripes NOT be installed on a 2.9-mile section of Route 12 that is currently being rebuilt as part of a larger project on the road.
The news comes as part of a larger announcement made by the Secretary explaining that he has ordered his agency to conduct a thorough review of the policy calling for the deployment of rumble stripes on all Vermont state highways. Residents and officials in Morristown and Elmore have been expressing concern over the proposed stripes since it was announced that they would be installed on stretches of the rebuilt Route 12 between the two towns.
“Rumble stripes are on the short list of proven safety measures according to the Federal Highway Administration, and we want to be deploying them wherever they make sense in Vermont,” stated Secretary Searles in a press release on the announcement.
“I’m ordering this policy review to ensure that we are only adding rumble stripes to those projects where the data supports it, there aren’t unnecessary noise impacts on neighbors and we are satisfied that an appropriate public involvement process has occurred,” he concluded.
Nearly 100 miles of rumble stripes have already been installed on a number of other state highways, and more are scheduled to be put in place in the future. According to VTrans,
data shows that there is a drastic reduction in crash rates in areas where the stripes are present. However, many questions have recently arisen regarding when and where the stripes should be applied and how involved the local community should be in the decision to install them. More stripes are planned to be installed on other state highways later this year, so VTrans officials expect the review to occur quickly.
Other than the order by the Secretary to take rumbles stripes off the table on Route 12, no other planned installations are being put on hold. Moving forward VTrans plans to work more closely with regional planning commissions and other local partners in order to better determine where and when rumble stripes should be installed on state highways.
Residents of Morristown and Elmore have been expressing concerns over potential quality of life issues caused by the stripes, including the noise cars make when traveling over them, since the state announced that the safety features would be installed. Along with a general public outcry against the installation, residents also expressed their concerns at a meeting held in Morristown on Monday, June 23. While several VTrans officials were present at that meeting, those individuals made it clear at that time that the decision to install the stripes was final.
However, locals continued to voice their concerns while also contacting their local elected officials.
“People were very organized contacting their representatives and the agency with their concerns,” explained Lamoille County Senator Rich Westman.
Their continued efforts led to a second meeting that took place on Wednesday, July 9, at 9 a.m. at the Morristown Town Offices. At that meeting Secretary Searles met with a number of local officials, including Morristown Town Administrator Dan Lindley, Morristown Selectboard Chair Bob Beeman, Elmore Selectboard Chair Bob Burley, Morristown Representative and Speaker of the House Shap Smith, Senator Westman, and Lamoille County Planning Commission Executive Director Bonnie Waninger.
According to Senator Westman, agency officials at the June 23 meeting seemed to be having a hard time validating the need for the stripes on Route 12, which sees very few severe accidents. The fact that nearly all local residents and boards seemed opposed to the installation of the stripes also played a major role in the decision by Westman and Smith to support their voters on the issue.
“Shap and I wanted to represent the people in our area, so we informed the agency that they hadn’t made a good enough case for the installation of the stripes,” Senator Westman explained, adding that the VTrans should not be looking to install the stripes without at least some support from the community.
Westman further added that he felt that the continued opposition by the community and local town officials in Elmore and Morristown, along with he and Speaker Smith weighing in helped to sway VTrans and played a role in the decision by Secretary Searles to call for a halt of the installation of the stripes on Route 12 as well as the reconsideration of the rumble stripes policy on a statewide level.
by Mickey Smith
Recently several Morristown community members living along Route 100 south and reaching up into Morristown Corners expressed concerns regarding blasting going on at the Manosh Gravel Pit at the end of Stickell Road.
Gary Nolan, of the HA Manosh Corporation, said the blasting was necessitated because of the volume of material needed for both the bypass and airport projects. In order to open up new material, they hired a company to conduct some blasting in accordance to rules put in place by the federal Mine Safety and Health Association.
Nolan said the blasting will most likely continue until the end of July. He said one blast, typically near the end of the week, will happen for two or three more weeks. He noted, each time they conduct a blast they set up two or three seismographs to monitor the effects. During an interview conducted last week, he said they have heard from one neighbor who had concerns about the vibrations; he said they offered to set up a monitor at that residence to check on the vibrations.
Nolan said anyone with questions or concerns can call him at the HA Manosh Corp., 888-5722.
by Andrew Martin
This summer of road construction is continuing in Lamoille County. A number of projects in Elmore, Morristown, and Hyde Park are in full swing and moving along quickly as July passes. The projects, which are located on Routes 12, 15, and 100, all are on, or ahead of schedule.
Work to reclaim and rebuild Route 12 in Elmore and Morristown is moving along on time. The project, which starts near the Micklin Farm Road in Elmore and runs for 6.6 miles to Demars Road in Morristown, is expected to be completed by October of this year. According to VTrans Resident Engineer Jeff Cota, work along Route 12 currently consists of the grading and reshaping of the roadbed. This work aims at also raising the roadbed to the proper elevation.
“Over the years a road can get out of shape slightly,” Cota explained, “We are adding gravel and reshaping it in order to get it where it needs to be for paving.”
Along with this work what is known as cement reclaiming will also be starting this week. This work will consist of the rototilling of dry cement dust into the loose gravel already in place along the roadbed. Workers will then roll the mix of the road to create a packed gravel surface. Cota expects the cement reclaiming work to take between a week and 10 days.
Once the cement reclaiming work is complete, the next step in the Route 12 project will be to lay down a four-inch base of cold mix pavement along the roadway. That work is scheduled to begin in late July. According to Cota the project is still on schedule for an October completion date. Throughout the course of the upcoming work and until the completion of the project motorists should expect delays when traveling through the work zone.
“There will be a continued delay for motorists, but when it’s all done they will have a very nice road,” Cota added.
Work to build the Route 100 alternate truck route in Morristown is also moving along on schedule. According to Resident Engineer Chris Jolly, a major amount of paving for the project took place last week. The paving contractor, Pike Industries, was on site for three days last week laying a base course of pavement along the portion of Route 15 that had been realigned as well as on the new roundabout that will sit where the bypass meets Route 15. Pike also spent time paving a portion of the actual bypass on the other side of the project near the Bishop John A. Marshall School. The paving of the new footprint for Route 100 approaching the alternate truck route also occurred during the same time.
“Up until that point, the main way motorists took through the area was where the old Route 100 roadbed ran,” Jolly explained, “Now the road corridor follows the new route of the roadbed.”
According to Jolly, workers from Pike will be back in the second half of July to continue paving throughout the project. He also added that the paving of the sections of Routes 100 and 15 that motorists are currently using should mean that traffic sees a decrease in delays over the coming weeks.
Other work that is going on across the bypass project area includes laying the last sections of gravel along the route. According to Jolly the majority of that work to the roadbed is done, but roughly 15 percent of the necessary gravel still needs to be put in for the road to be ready for paving.
“The footprint of the new road corridor is completely done though,” Jolly declared.
Work to build the actual roundabout and install the curbing for it began late last week as well. Other work that is ongoing, or planned in the near future, includes a great deal of landscaping, ditching, and the building of a stormwater pond. The installation of lighting, curbs, and sidewalks will also be taking place. Much of this work will be done by subcontractors like Pike Industries who are being brought in for these specific tasks over the next six to eight weeks.
Jolly believes that as long as no major delays or emergencies occur the project will be complete by the October deadline.
“We are still on schedule, and although we have a lot of work left to do before early October, as long as the weather cooperates, we will stay on schedule,” Jolly explained.
The project to build a bridge across Centerville Brook on Route 15 in Hyde Park is actually so far ahead of schedule that a break in construction has become necessary. According to St. Onge’s Carl Gleason, work to build the temporary bridge and remove the old 20-foot box culvert at the site earlier this spring and summer went extremely well. Workers were able to complete that work much faster than expected and quickly moved on to begin building the abutments for the new bridge. However, the project is so far ahead of schedule that not all the necessary products and equipment are yet available. After beginning work to one of the abutments, workers ran out of rebar, and work at the site is now on hold as St. Onge waits for more to be delivered. Gleason explained that he expects more rebar to arrive and work to begin again sometime in the next few weeks.
“We can’t continue until then,” he explained.
The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department has arrested Andrew Davis, 18, and Stacey Davis, 40, from Georgia, VT. Andrew Davis was arrested for Burglary, Possession of Stolen Property and a Violation of Conditions Offense. Stacey Davis was arrested for possession of Stolen Property and Accessory after the fact.
The Sheriff’s Department was conducting an investigation involving a burglary that occurred at the Town of Johnson Skate Park on June 17, 2014. The investigation led them to Andrew Davis. Stolen property was recovered after it had been discarded by Davis alongside the roadway in the Town of Fairfield.
Davis is also being investigated for his involvement in an additional burglary at a storage facility in Johnson and the Sheriff’s Department expects to make additional arrests in this investigation. Andrew Davis is scheduled to appear July 30 at the Lamoille Superior Court and Stacey Davis on August 6.
The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the public for their continued assistance in this investigation and ask that anyone having any information call the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department at 802-888-3502.
by Andrew Martin
MORRISTOWN – Two new programs
aiming to help Vermonters be more efficient were announced by Vermont
Governor Peter Shumlin at a press conference on Wednesday, July 2. The
event was held at the Bourne’s Energy Biodiesel Blending Facility on
Route 100 beginning at 1:30 p.m. Along with Governor Shumlin, a number
of other individuals, including Morristown Representative and Speaker of
the House Shap Smith, spoke at the event.
The first program announced by Shumlin is part of the Clean and
Green Oilheat Initiative. The initiative was created as part of the 2011
Vermont Energy Act and states that as of July 1, 2014 the sulfur
content in fuel oil must be lowered to 500 parts per million. The law
also requires that the sulfur content of fuel oil be continuously
reduced until it reaches 15 parts per million by 2018. Other states in
the Northeast are currently in various stages of implementing similar
laws. Massachusetts and New Jersey also had July 1 deadlines to lower
the sulfur content of fuel oil.
Bourne at a press conference held at the Bourne’s Biodiesel Blending
Facility on Route 100 in Morrisville on Wednesday, July 2. Officials
announced the launch of two new energy initiatives. Seen here are
Governor Peter Shumlin (far left) and Matt Cota, executive director, Vt.
Fuel Dealers Association (far right). - Martin photo
“Today we can mark progress on
cleaner air as a result of new low sulfur fuel oil standards that took
effect July 1…” Governor Shumlin stated in a press release.
“This fuel not only burns more efficiently, but also creates less
scale and soot, leading to longer heating equipment life, as well as
reducing harmful air pollutants,” Vermont Natural Resources Secretary
Deb Markowitz stated.
"Since more than half of all Vermont homeowners currently choose
oil heat, the low sulfur fuel mandate now in effect will greatly lower
emissions and improve air quality,” added Matt Cota, the executive
director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association (VFDA), “It will also
maximize efficiency and reduce service calls on existing systems.”
Cota also added that the new fuel oil will allow Vermonters the
opportunity to install high efficiency oil heat units that require the
low sulfur fuel.
There are a number of benefits that can result from reducing the
sulfur content of fuel oil. Over the course of a winter the sulfur in
fuel oil can build up on equipment in heating systems. The buildup of
sulfur on systems is one reason that fuel oil companies encourage
homeowners to have their heating systems cleaned yearly, but the
reduction of sulfur in fuel oil means that those cleanings will no
longer be necessary. The de-sulfurized fuel oil also burns much more
efficiently, helping to negate the slight increase in costs that result
from the process of removing the sulfur. According to Matt Cota, once
additional states begin implementing standards like the one in Vermont
the cost differential between de-sulfurized fuel oil and regular fuel
oil will disappear.
The second program that Shumlin announced at the July 2 press
conference was the new Thermal Energy Finance Pilot Program, which is
being run through the Department of Public Service in partnership with
the Clean Energy Development Fund and VLITE. The program aims to help
Vermonters improve the efficiency of their homes by providing attractive
energy financing for residential customers of Efficiency Excellence
Network fuel dealers. Possible improvements that homeowners could
complete on their houses include installing better insulation, upgrading
to more efficient boilers and furnaces, and even possibly installing
cold-climate heat pumps or similar technologies.
“This is one of several initiatives the Governor has announced this
summer to leverage private/public partnerships that help us advance our
energy goals,” stated Public Service Department Commissioner Chris
Recchia, “In this instance, we are leveraging private institutions and
dollars to help Vermonters do cost-effective heating and cooling
Two financial institutions, the Vermont State Employees Credit
Union and Opportunities Credit Union, will be providing the financing
for customers. In total approximately $7,000,000 in energy loans is
expected to be provided to Vermonters as part of the program.
Along with the announcement of both programs by Governor Shumlin, a
number of other individuals also spoke at the press conference. Along
with Speaker Smith and Matt Cota of the VFDA, Darren Springer, the
deputy commissioner for the Public Service Department, also spoke. Peter
Bourne of Bourne’s Energy, which is one of the fuel dealers partaking
in both programs, also gave a short address. Several other individuals
representing different organizations partaking in both programs also
gave short speeches and answered questions at the end of the conference.
This Week's Photos
Enchanted creatures sprung from the
Enchanted Woods Wellness Center and Lamoille Valley Dance Academy.
Alexis George-Owen and many of her students were all smiles at
Morristown’s Fourth of July Parade. See more photos from Morristown and
Cambridge’s parades inside. - Decker photo
Richard and Donna Merriam, of Morrisville, (at left) were among the
visitors checking out the new Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in
Berlin. The 25 bed facility replaces the closed Waterbury State
Hospital. It will also replace the psychiatric care center temporarily
housed at the Lamoille County Mental Health building on Harrel St. in
Morrisville. - Smith photo
by Andrew Martin
Efforts to revitalize the Cambridge area took another step forward on Monday, June 23, when the Cambridge Selectboard created the Economic Development Advisory Committee. After creating the committee the selectboard appointed a total of 10 members to it.
The goals of the committee will be to help promote economic growth and development by identifying different economic barriers and opportunities in the Cambridge area. The committee, which will report to the selectboard, will eventually create a prioritized list of actions municipal officials can take to help accomplish these goals. Other work that the group could focus on includes evaluating the industrial park in Cambridge and how to better fill and expand it as well as researching how to better utilize available grant funding for different projects.
“We basically want them to look at anything and everything that has to do with economic development” Selectboard Chair Larry Wyckoff explained, “What we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and what else we can do.”
According to Wyckoff, the 10 members of the committee were chosen due to their expertise in a number of different facets of the local economy, including agriculture, tourism, retail, manufacturing, finance and development, and publications. The members of the committee are Bruce Macmillan, Ann Marie Gillian, Ron Elliot, Jeff Coslett, Tom Wyckoff, April Truck, Laurie Cartwright, Adam Howard, and Jessica Wolf. A representative from Smuggler’s Notch will be the 10th individual on the committee. Along with reporting to the town, the committee will also be working with other outside agencies, such as the Lamoille Regional Chamber of Commerce and other local municipal officials who are knowledgeable in certain areas like grant writing.
Wyckoff also explained that the board chose to create the committee now, before Cambridge’s Community Visit takes place, in order to give the committee a head start on any potential projects.
“We want them to feed off the ideas generated by the Community Visit program,” Wyckoff stated, “We gain six months of time by having them start their process now, instead of when the visit is over in December.”
Wyckoff said the new committee will meet with the Cambridge Selectboard at the board’s July 15 meeting. He assumes the group will then begin their own meetings in early August. The current plan is for the committee to report back to the board with a prioritized list of actions to take sometime in October.
“It’s going to be an exciting year,” Wyckoff stated with regards to the work of the committee as well as to all the other revitalization efforts currently underway in Cambridge.
by Mickey Smith
Based on information released by the US Department of Agriculture, Vermont is still the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, by a wide margin.
Ten states are listed as producing maple syrup, including, along with Vermont: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Vermont's 1,320,000 gallons makes up 42% of the total amount produced in the states. Maine and NY are the next two highest producers with 17% each of the total crop.
Vermont also had the highest yield per tap in 2014 at 0.309 gallons produced per tap, the only state to top the three-tenths mark.
Average prices for the 2014 season were not yet available, but in 2013 Vermont's average price of $33.40 per gallon was the second lowest in the country. Maine has the lowest at $32 and Connecticut the highest at $71.
According to the report, bulk sales help lower Vermont's average price and the bumper crop in 2013 led to a $2.10 reduction in price from the year before.
by Andrew Martin
High speed wireless internet is now available to many who were formerly without it. On Tuesday, July 1, VTel Wireless hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony in Hardwick celebrating the launch of the company’s new high-speed 4G wireless broadband to 24 unserved and underserved rural communities in Vermont. As a result of the launch more than 20,000 homes and businesses will now have access to broadband signal. The ribbon cutting ceremony, which was held on Granite Street, was part of a larger event that ran from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A large crowd turned out for the event, which featured remarks from Governor Peter Shumlin, Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressmen Peter Welch, and a representative of Senator Bernie Sanders. Hardwick, Walden, and Woodbury are three of the towns where residents now have access to the new broadband.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Atkins Field in Hardwick on Tuesday, July 1, beginning at 12 p.m. to celebrate the four-hour launch of new 4G high-speed wireless broadband service by VTel Wireless. The large crowd also saw demonstrations of what the new broadband allows customers. Seen above are VTel Vice President Diane Guité, U.S. Representative Peter Welch, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and Governor Peter Shumlin as they celebrate after the ribbon was cut. - Martin photo
"Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, Congressman Welch, and Governor Shumlin have all become important national leaders advocating for rural broadband, and I'm pleased we at VTel are able to do our small part to help," said VTel President Michel Guité in a press release, "We are so pleased to be a part of Rural Utilities Service's and NTIA's shared vision for bringing broadband to all of rural America."
The project to make the wireless broadband available in the underserved towns was made possible due in part to the award of roughly $92 million that VTel received in 2010 via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was administered by the Rural Utilities Service and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The funds received by VTel were meant to build fiber networks to 16,000 homes and businesses in the company’s actual service footprint in southern Vermont while also providing wireless broadband to parts of rural Vermont.
"We are tremendously excited by the prospect of integrating GigE fiber technology pioneered by Google, and 100 Meg wireless technology pioneered by Sprint, to serve rural Vermont homes," said Justin Robinson, chief technology officer for VTel.
As part of the launch of the wireless broadband, VTel has been developing a technology-sharing relationship with the companies Sprint and Ericsson. One result of that partnership is that VTel can offer Vermonters wireless broadband speeds of over 100 megabits per second.
"To the best of our knowledge, Hardwick will be the first rural community in North America to see these speeds," said Diane Guité, vice president of VTel, "We're so pleased that Sprint has agreed to share this important technology with us."
The launching of the 100 percent 4G/LTE network also makes VTel Wireless the first carrier in America with such a network. As part of their partnership with Ericsson, the company is hoping to make its high-speed wireless internet available to 97% of Vermont households by the end of 2015. According to Diane Guité, VTel is focusing especially on bringing wireless broadband to rural communities. While finding proper sites for towers in Lamoille County and then getting them permitted has proved difficult for VTel, the company expects to be able to provide its broadband to most of the county by June of 2015.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the launch began at 1:30 p.m. and Michel and Diane Guité opened with a welcome to all in attendance and a brief overview of the project. Rural Utility Services Assistant Administrator Keith Adams then spoke briefly before Senator Patrick Leahy began. Leahy explained that bringing broadband to rural Vermont is as important today as rural electrification was during the first half of the 1900s.
David Weinstein, a representative from the office of Senator Bernie Sanders, spoke next before Representative Peter Welch stepped forward. In his remarks Welch called Hardwick the new high speed internet capital of the world and stressed that the availability of broadband is critical to creating a level playing field for businesses staying in or coming to Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin made the final remarks of the ceremony, thanking VTel as well as the Congressional delegation before also stressing the importance of internet access as part of the efforts to create jobs in Vermont. The official ribbon cutting took place following all of the remarks.
Along with the ribbon cutting the four-hour event on July 1 also featured a number of demonstrations showing the speed of the new broadband and what applications it can be used for. The demonstrations and ribbon cutting also marked the official launch of Vtel’s GigE Acitive Fiber service to a total of 14 towns and village in southern Vermont.