Lamoille in the News
by Andrew Martin
The towns of Cambridge and Morristown will each be hosting day-long Fourth of July celebrations on Saturday, July 4
The Fourth of July events will kick off in Cambridge with a parade that begins at 10 a.m. at the G.W. Tatro parking lot. The parade will head south up Main Street in Jeffersonville, turn onto Depot Street, then Maple Street, then Church Street before turning north back up Main Street and then finishing down School Street to the parking lot of Cambridge Elementary School. The theme of the parade this year is “Heroes”.
Along with the parade the Smugglers’ Notch Area Chamber of Commerce has also announced that fair festivities will be taking place at Cambridge Elementary School following the parade. Among the activities at the fair will be games, crafts, and food available until 2 p.m. The award ceremony for the parade will take place at 11 a.m. Live music performed by Woedoggies will also begin at 11 a.m., and the frog jumping competition will kick off at 1 p.m.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort will also be hosting a variety of events later in the day. An old-fashioned firemen’s BBQ will begin at 5 p.m. and a variety of music will be performed on the Village Green from 6-8 p.m. At 8 p.m. the 40th Army Band will perform a number of patriotic and classic tunes, and at dusk the fireworks will commence.
The parade in Morrisville, which has the theme of “All American Holiday” this year, will commence at 11 a.m. at the corner of Harrel Street and Munson Avenue. The parade will then proceed down Harrel Street to Brooklyn Street, then onto Bridge Street before turning up Portland Street and then taking a left onto Main Street and proceeding up Copley Avenue to Peoples Academy. The judging for the parade will take place at the corner of Congress Street and Main Street.
The Morrisville VFW chicken BBQ will also begin at 11 a.m., and the First Congregational Church will be hosting live music while also offering hot dogs, strawberry shortcakes and drinks starting at the same time. The Morristown Centennial Library will be hosting its annual book sale beginning at 11 a.m. as well, the Morrisville Fire Department will be offering burgers, hot dogs, and drinks, and Pizza on Main will be offering slices on Main Street.
The Morrisville 700 Downhill Derby will take place starting at 1 p.m. on Copley Ave, and at 2 p.m. the Morrisville Rotary Duck Race will take place at the corner of Copley Avenue and Park Street. At 5 p.m. the Morrisville Fire Department will take on Morristown EMS in their annual wiffleball game on the PA athletic fields. At the same time Ballet Wolcott will be performing on the main stage at PA, and at 6 p.m. the Collin Craig Continuum will be taking place at the same locale. Food and drinks will be available all day at PA and the fireworks will commence at dusk.
by Andrew Martin
Former Lamoille student and Cambridge resident Kolby Hanley is continuing his archery career as he prepares for college and the next step in his life. Fresh off a winter of competition in France and around the United States, Hanley will be participating in a number of upcoming compound archery competitions as he seeks to qualify for the Junior USA Team.
Hanley has already participated in several qualifiers as he seeks to become a member of the age 18-22 junior team for the United States. He traveled to Florida to participate in a qualifying event over his high school spring break where he placed sixth, and he had previously finished fourth at a similar indoors event held in Boston earlier this year. There are a total of four more qualifiers that will be held across the country in the coming months to determine the members of the age 18-22 Junior National Team, and Kolby plans on competing in at least two of them. He left for the first of those final two events on June 17 when he flew out to San Diego. The second of the final two qualifiers he plans to attend will take place in Alabama during the Fourth of July weekend.
Hanley explained that anyone trying to qualify for the junior national team must compete in at least three of the qualifying events. He currently stands in fourth place in the nation after the qualifiers he has already participated in. The top five archers in the country make the Junior National Team. Along with the honor of being named to the team, each year the members take a trip to another country to compete while also receiving a number of sponsorships through USA Archery.
Working to qualify for the Junior National Team is nothing new to Hanley. For the last two years he has been the number one qualifier for the team in the Under 18 age group. Along with his efforts to qualify for the team, Hanley has enjoyed quite a bit of success over the course of his career as he has competed in International Field Archery Association events and other national and international competitions. He has won the National Indoor Championship in the past and competed in the world indoor championships held in Nime, France in February of this year. At that event Kolby qualified second for all competitors under the age of 22 in the world –before finishing fourth at the end of the event.
In order to improve his skills when he is not competing across the country Kolby will be spending the summer in Georgia training at the Archery Learning Center near Atlanta. He will be living with one of the coaches at the center and will be practicing his archery every day, participating in a weight training program, learning more about archery tuning, and offering private lessons to younger students learning the sport.
Once the summer is over, Hanley will be returning home and attending the University of Vermont, where he will be pursuing a degree in the chemical and mathematical science department in order to potentially become a material scientist one day. Kolby explained that he will be living at home in Cambridge and driving to classes, which will allow him to continue much of his normal training and shooting routine that he has developed over the years.
Kolby will also be continuing to participate independently in national and international competitions while in college.
“I will be competing through my college career, but not for my college,” he explained. He added that ideally he would like to transfer to Georgia Tech sometime in the near future to continue training at the Archery Learning Center while continuing his education at that school. In his more immediate future Hanley plans to compete in an indoor tournament held at Michigan State in December as he also tries to make the USA Youth Indoor Team. If he does so, he would travel back to France to compete again.
Wherever he goes as his archery career progresses Kolby would like to thank one business in particular for all it has done for him.
“I want to give a big thank you to Pelkey’s Archery in St. Albans, which is where I train, tune my equipment, and work when I’m home here in Vermont,” Hanley stated.
Based on median age data, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported Lamoille County was the second youngest in a list of the counties in Vermont that had the oldest and youngest populations.
The youngest counties — that is, those with the lowest median age — were Chittenden at 36.3 years of age, Lamoille at 40.5 and Franklin at 40.6.
The counties in Vermont with the highest median age on July 1, 2014, were Essex at 50.1, Grand Isle at 47.5 and Windsor at 47.2. This means that half the population was older than this age and half younger.
The U.S. median age ticked up from 37.6 on July 1, 2013, to 37.7 on July 1, 2014.
These estimates examine population changes among groups by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin nationally, as well as in all states and counties, between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2014.
After 17 years at the helm, and nearly that long as a reporter, J.B. McKinley retired as editor of the News & Citizen on Wednesday, June 24.
Retiring editor J.B. McKinley receives a GPS system he can understand from newly appointed editor Mickey Smith during a retirement party for the veteran staff member. - Decker photo
McKinley began a 40-year career in journalism at the now defunct Lamoille County Weekly. His retirement comes less than a month after the death of the owner of the Lamoille County Weekly, Duncan Stephens.
After the Weekly closed, McKinley joined the staff of the News & Citizen, serving as a writer until 1998 when he took over as editor. He took a brief hiatus in the early 90s to run a movie theatre in Waitsfield, along with operating Morrisville’s Bijou Theatre, which he owned at the time.
In 1994, McKinley finished third in the Vermont Press Association awards for sports writing and in 2006 he again finished third for his editorials.
Longtime News & Citizen writer Mickey Smith was selected to replace McKinley as editor. Smith, who began his career at the News & Citizen in 1990, received much of his training under then senior staff writer McKinley and eventual editor McKinley as well.
Smith said he knows he has big shoes to fill in replacing such an area icon, but he looks forward to the challenges of guiding the paper through the uncharted waters of the digital age.
“We’re going to need to make some changes, but it will be a gradual process. The one thing that will definitely remain the same is when somebody picks up the News & Citizen, they are sure to find out what is happening in Lamoille County,” Smith stated.
by Andrew Martin
Work to complete the new bridge over Smith Brook in Johnson is progressing quickly as the first official day of summer has come and gone. Workers from St. Onge are moving ahead with the various steps needed to finish the new permanent bridge while traffic continues to utilize the nearby temporary bridge. The Vermont Agency of Transportation is also in the early stages of planning other bridge work in Johnson on Route 100C
According to St. Onge’s Carl Gleason, the abutments for the new bridge were completed several weeks ago and the new pre-cast beams for the structure were set in place just over a week ago. The deck of the new bridge was scheduled to be poured on Monday, June 22.
“After the new deck is poured the rest of the work should go fairly quickly,” Gleason explained, adding that once poured the new deck must sit for 10 days. During the intervening time, work to construct the new guardrails will take place, as will some minor repair work made necessary after washouts caused by heavy rainfall. During that period, approach work on both sides of the bridge will also be accomplished in preparation for paving. The paving of the approaches and the bridge itself will occur when this other work is done. Gleason expects the paving to begin sometime in the next three weeks.
Once the paving of the new bridge and its approaches is finished, traffic will be switched over to the new permanent bridge. Work will then shift to the removal of the temporary bridge, which Gleason expects to occur sometime within a few weeks of the opening of the new bridge. Once the temporary bridge has been removed, workers from St. Onge will be restoring much of the surrounding area back to the way it was before construction began last year.
“People should be seeing some real changes at the site over the next six weeks,” Gleason stated. Gleason expects no major delays in traffic to occur during that six week period moving forward. He added that while one or two phases of work may be slightly behind or on schedule overall, though the project in its entirety is slightly ahead of schedule. The entire project is expected to be completed by this fall.
While the work to the bridge over Smith Brook is quickly winding down, officials at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) are just gearing up for another potential project in Johnson on Route 100C. The goal of the project is to replace the two bridges that span the right and left sections of the Gihon River in East Johnson.
According to a fact sheet provided by VTrans’ Wendy Pelletier, “The Johnson VT 100c Bridges 1 and 2 project will replace the existing superstructures (deck and beams)…with wider superstructures providing improved hydraulic clearance…” The sheet goes on to outline the many issues with the two bridges, including the fact that they are both too narrow, offer poor stopping sight distance, and have limited hydraulic and structural capacity.
The two bridges over the Gihon, which are 38 feet and 54 feet respectively, are concrete T-beam bridges that were constructed in 1929 and 1928. The deck and beams of both bridges are in poor condition and the bridges are each only just over 21 feet wide. The new structures being considered by VTrans would be 28 feet wide and have three foot shoulders.
After a study by VTrans in the fall of 2013 it was decided that the best way to remedy the issues with the two bridges would be to replace the deck and beams of both using an Accelerated Bridge Construction method that would completely close down 100C in that area for a short period. Some possible work to rehabilitate the bridge seats and abutments would also likely take place, as will the installation of a retaining wall at the corner of one of the bridges. Other alternative solutions for the two bridges considered by the state but not chosen included doing nothing to the bridges, patching, and full bridge replacement.
The Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method was used in Stowe this spring on Route 108 to fast track much of the necessary work on that new bridge. The ABC method of work being considered for the Johnson site will allow for a similarly faster construction time. Current plans would call for a four to five week period where 100C would be completely closed in the vicinity of the two bridges. Temporary lane closures would also occur at various times leading up to and following the full road closure period. While 100C in the area of the bridges was closed completely traffic would be detoured to Route 15 and Route 100.
According to Pelletier, the project for the two bridges is currently in the preliminary design phase. The state is hoping to begin the permitting process for the project this fall and have a final design before the year is out. The job would likely be put out to bid in late 2016 following the Right-of-Way process with the goal of beginning construction in 2017.
As part of the early work on this project VTrans and the Town of Johnson will be co-hosting a public information meeting on Monday, July 20, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Johnson Town Offices. The goal of the meeting will be to provide locals with an overview of the project and to possibly receive feedback from town officials, local residents and businesses, and emergency services. Several polling questions could be directed at the audience at the meeting, and both VTrans and town officials will be present to answer questions.
“We really want to answer people’s questions and to reassure the public by explaining just what we are planning to do,” Pelletier explained, “We don’t want to and are not planning to shut down the road during any critical periods during the summer.”
by Mickey Smith
Starting July 1 recyclables are officially banned from landfills in Vermont and haulers must offer residential (curbside) recycling in some form at no additional cost.
Susan Alexander, district manager for the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District (LRWSMD), said the 30 percent of the population who are already recycling won't see much of a change with the new laws and will be able to continue doing things how they have.
She said the biggest change will come for trash haulers who do not already offer recycling to their customers. They will have to come up with a plan to collect recyclable materials. She said some might switch to the trucks that offer a second bay to keep recycling separate, but they could simply go to an every other week service and pickup trash one week and recycling the next.
Alexander said this should help alleviate something that has become a bit of an unintended consequence of the new rules. Last year, haulers and transfer stations that accepted recycling were told they could not charge an additional fee for recycling. Because haulers were given an additional year to be required to accept recycling, some customers would have their trash picked up by their hauler and then take their recycling to a transfer station that had to accept it for free and absorb the cost.
Also new this year, transfer stations/drop off facilities need to start taking organic leaf and yard debris. Beginning next year, those materials are banned from landfills as well. Haulers will have to pick up those materials starting next year as well. Alexander said they were still unsure how that would affect trash pick up schedules.
Food scraps will be the next large volume of material banned from landfills, but those regulations are being phased in over the next five years. July of 2020 is when food scraps will be banned from landfills. Alexander said transfer stations and drop off sites have two years before they must accept food scraps and in the meantime LRSWMD is going to be studying how to best offer this service and what to do with the scraps when they begin accepting them.
She said the two most common ways to dispose of food scraps is either through composting or feeding them to chickens. Each methods has is own requirements about what is allowed. She said beginning later this summer the district wants to start looking at its options. Ideally, she said, a composting facility could utilize both the food scraps and organic yard debris, but questioned the location of such a facility. Currently, LRSWMD is looking for a new site for a facility in Morristown. Depending on space availability and location, they could create a multi-purpose facility that serves as the hub for the county's transfer stations.
Alexander said it makes sense to have the hub of their facilities in Morristown, but finding a suitable site will determine how big of a hub it can be.
A Cambridge resident was involved in a single-vehicle crash that occurred on Wednesday, June 17, on Route 15 in Cambridge. The accident occurred at approximately 8:07 p.m. when 72-year old Dennis Shanley, of Jeffersonville, struck a telephone pole while driving his truck on Route 15 near the intersection with Sunny Acres Road.
Arriving at the scene, troopers were informed by Shanley, who was alone in the vehicle, that he had struck the telephone pole after being forced off the road by another vehicle. Shanley was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident and was uninjured. His Chevrolet truck received damage to its front end.
During their investigation troopers found that Shanley was under the influence of intoxicants. When Shanley provided a preliminary breath sample it registered at .182 percent, more than twice the legal limit. Shanley was then taken into custody for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence and transported to the Morrisville Outpost of the Vermont State Police for processing, where he again provided a breath sample before his release.
Shanley was cited and is scheduled to appear in Lamoille Superior Court – Criminal Division on Wednesday, July 8.
Healthy Lamoille Valley is excited to announce that the Brewster River Mountain Bike Club (BRMBC) has completed construction on a new beginner level mountain bike trail at The Midlands in Cambridge! The new family-friendly, 1.25 mile loop is now rideable and available to be used by the public. Trailhead access is located at Clif Reynolds Road near the intersection with Edwards Road. The trail is located on a portion of the Brewster Upland Conservation Trust, called the “Midlands Zone” due to its proximity midway between the Village of Jeffersonville and the Village of Smugglers’ Notch Resort. It is envisioned that additional trail development in this area could eventually link these two destinations.
The Brewster River Mountain Bike Club (BRMBC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in the Cambridge/Jeffersonville area and is an independent affiliate chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA). The primary purpose of the club is to ensure the sustainable future of mountain biking in Underhill, Cambridge and neighboring VT towns to create and maintain non-motorized/multi-use trails, promote responsible riding, conservation, youth participation and respect for the outdoors. Partners of the BRMBC include the Vermont Land Trust, Beckner Bryan and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association.
Brewster River Mountain Bike Club has completed a mile and a quarter family-friendly bicycle trail in Cambridge.
The new trail development at the Midlands was among four community projects in Lamoille Valley that was awarded funding through Healthy Lamoille Valley’s mini-grant program this year. The mini-grant program supports healthy community design projects that make it easier for people to live healthy active lives. Creating and enhancing access to recreational opportunities is one of the guiding principles of Healthy Community Design and is based on research that shows that building this infrastructure into our communities has tremendous health, economic and environmental benefits. To learn more about Healthy Community Design visit our website: www.healthylamoillevalley.org/healthy-communities/fenton/.
Thank you to the Brewster River Mountain Bike Club and partners for your efforts and for helping to make Lamoille Valley a healthier place to live! For more information on the BRMBC please visit their website www.brmbc.org.
by Andrew Martin
Work to bring a community center to Cambridge at the site of the former Windridge Tennis Camp is moving along quickly. The project has received nearly all the necessary permits and construction work to the buildings on the 7.4 acre lot, located at 50 Old Main Street in Jeffersonville, will likely begin later this summer.
The former tennis camp is now owned by Sisyphus LLC, which was created in January of 2014 by Russ Weiss and John Dunn with the purpose of acquiring the lot for a community center. The LLC is working with Cambridge 360 to create the community center on the parcel, which was formerly owned by the Bryan family.
According to John Dunn, the project should have its final Act 250 permit amendment sometime around the end of June. The approval of that final permit will allow for construction efforts on the grounds and various buildings at the lot to begin. Those buildings include the roughly 13,000 square foot field house, a dormitory building, and several smaller structures. Phase one will include work to build a new driveway and parking lot for the parcel as well as work to hook the lot onto village sewer.
“Several different individuals have offered to help with the construction work,” Dunn explained, “We are getting geared up and ready to go.”
Renovations and construction will also soon be taking place to the field house building. Work to that building will include replacing the furnace, water heater, and HVAC system. The building will also be brought up to code, and the bathrooms will be upgraded and restored.
“We have the funds and labor to do that work,” Dunn continued, “We are getting a lot of in-kind labor donations to help with the code upgrades.”
“We have a lot of services that will be provided by local contractors as in-kind donations,” Cambridge 360’s Phil Rodgers stated.
The project has also received a boost in the form of a $12,500 recreation facility grant from the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services that will be used to help fund the installation of the multi-sport flooring inside the field house. The grant calls for a 50-50 match, and along with applying for grants for the project, Cambridge 360 will be providing the match for that recreation facility grant.
“Cambridge 360 was founded for this purpose many years ago,” explained Phil Rodgers, “We are the financial kitty to help get things off the ground.”
According to Dunn a total of $25,000 could cover roughly half of the cost to install the new flooring in the field house. The final cost of that work is estimated at between $40,000 and $50,000. The involved parties are also waiting to hear back on an USDA Rural Business Development Grant that would cover much of the rest of the expenses associated with completing the necessary work to the field house.
“If we get that we should be able to finish off the work needed to get that building done,” Dunn explained.
“We are continuing to explore other grants,” Rodgers added.
Once work to the field house is completed the plan is to use it for indoor sports including tennis, soccer, lacrosse, fitness classes, and other activities. The 2,000 square foot annex of that building will also be used as a fitness center and café if all goes according to plan. Work to create flood channels around the field house will also likely take place, and the interior, exterior, and roof of the building need repainting. According to Dunn, the parties involved believe they have the funding and manpower to get the field house and fitness center up and running by this coming winter.
“Hopefully we are able to open this winter,” Phil Rodgers added.
Along with grant funding, a series of fundraising campaigns have taken place in Cambridge to help pay for the center. Thus far roughly $22,000 in community donations has been received for the project. A non-profit Cambridge 360 is also able to provide tax credits to local businesses and individuals who donate to the project, and the money made at the Cambridge 360 store goes towards funding the project. According to Dunn a Buy-A-Brick campaign has also been started that will allow individuals to purchase an engraved brick for $200 that will be placed in a wall inside the new center.
Other work will soon be taking place that will include restoration work to the two small cabins and gazebo on the lot. One cabin will likely be used as a concession stand and to store equipment while the other will probably be used as an information and registration stand. Volunteer work parties take place every Saturday morning as well from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with volunteers working on various outside projects on the site including mowing, trimming, and planting.
While all of this work is planned for the coming months, renovations to the 5,000 square foot dormitory building on the parcel will likely have to wait.
“We are continuing to talk to various groups on what the dorm building could be used for,” Dunn explained, “The plan is to eventually convert it to an arts and education classroom building or perhaps offices.”
“We are focusing on the field house right now… we don’t have enough funding to complete the total makeover the dorm building needs at this point,” Dunn continued, “We want to get the field house and fitness center going first and then sometime in the next couple years we will focus on the dorm building.”
Anyone who wishes to learn more about the project to create a community center in Cambridge can do so by visiting the project’s website at cambridgevtcommunitycenter.com.
“We would love to see as many people as possible come out and continue to get involved,” Rodgers stated. Information on the project will also be available at a booth during Cambridge’s Fourth of July celebration, and tours of the campus will be taking place at that time as well. Current plans also call for the annual Cambridge Music Festival to be held on the grounds of the center.
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