Lamoille in the News
by Andrew Martin
More information is now available concerning possible improvements in North Hyde Park. An October 15 meeting is the first step in the planning process for any future work, and public input is critical. Among the potential issues and improvements that will be discussed and prioritized will be sidewalks, streetscape improvements, and stormwater runoff issues. The meeting wlill be held at the North Hyde Park/Eden Fire Station beginning at 7 p.m.
One of the conceptual ideas that could be implemented in North Hyde Park near the intersection of Ferry Street and Route 100 can be seen above. An informational and community input meeting will be held regarding what changes could be made to the area on Thursday, October 15 at the North Hyde Park/Ede Fire Department beginning at 7 p.m. - Photo Courtesy of the Town of Hyde Park
Hyde Park Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski said flyers are being mailed to all residents of North Hyde Park inviting them to attend the meeting, which is open to the public. As a result of the scoping study completed in North Hyde Park a preliminary set of plans for a number of improvements along Route 100 and Ferry Street have been completed and will be presented. Community input and ideas for other improvements will also be taken by the consultant team in charge of the study.
For more information regarding the informational meeting on October 15 contact Hyde Park Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski at PO Box 98, Hyde Park, VT 05655, at 1-802-888-2300 ext 2, or at email@example.com.
by Andrew Martin
Possible changes to a number of town roads in Hyde Park could soon be implemented. The Hyde Park Road Committee has officially completed its work and submitted a final report on September 10 at the Hyde Park Selectboard meeting. After receiving the report from committee chair Jim Heath the Selectboard took no action on September 10 and is planning to review the report thoroughly before approving any of the recommendations over a period of time. If approved the recommendations of the committee could alter how some roads are maintained in Hyde Park or who is responsible for maintaining them.
“I expect the report will be a regular monthly agenda item as they work through the recommendations,” Hyde Park Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski stated regarding when the report will again be discussed and possible actions taken.
The Hyde Park Road Committee was formed in the spring of 2014 to aid the Selectboard in addressing several concerns with town roads and how best to move forward with those issues. Included in the work assigned to the committee was the gathering of information on a number of town roads and overriding concerns for all roads and then making recommendations on those roads to the board.
“The specific recommendations involve 33 roads with various recommendations,” Rodjenski explained, “The recommendations included everything from do nothing, to upgrade for winter plowing and reclassifying to trail status.”
“Some recommendations would result in historically plowed roads, many short roads with a few homes, becoming privately maintained roads,” Rodjenski added, “The recommendations were based on a road-by-road review, legal constraints for public highways, general public benefit and good standard and identifying costs for road maintenance.”
According to Rodjenski the board has already decided to continue plowing and maintaining all roads for this coming winter as was done last year.
“The report recommends changes to current maintenance practices, but changes, if any, will not occur until the winter of 2016-2017,” Rodjenski explained.
At their next scheduled meeting on October 8 Rodjenski expects the board to discuss the proposed clarification of town road standards the committee has recommended.
“They also offered to meet with the landowners along Diggins Road, a Class 4 road, to discuss upgrading their road for year-round maintenance to Class 3 status…” he added. However, some of the residents of the road have yet to respond and no official meeting with the residents of Diggins Road has been formally scheduled at this time. In order to accept a new road or reclassify a town road a selectboard is required to provide public notice to those using or benefiting from the road, hold a site visit, and allow any interested parties to speak before reclassifying or accepting the road.
The 33 total roads that the committee studied and made recommendations on were grouped into three groups; Private Roads where maintenance can either be discontinued or the road accepted as public, Class 3 Roads where no change is made, and Class 3 and 4 Roads where reclassification, discontinuance, or upgrade work should occur.
The town roads that the committee made some kind of recommendation on, whether that be reclassification or some other change, are: Crabapple Lane, Hemingway Drive, Mason Road, Sylvan Drive, Puckerbrush East Road (paved and unpaved sections listed separately), Plantation Road, Depot Street Extension, Diggins Road, Langdell Road Loop, Bourdeau Road, East Johnson Road and Maple Run, Leriche Road, Green River Dam Road, Tingle Road, Richardson Road, Godin Road, Frost Road, Gowen Road, Sloboda Road, Parot Road, Power Plant Road, Benson Road, Morey Road, Hillside Ave, Orchard Terrace, Marcoux Road, VFW Drive, Jane Anne Road, Powers Road, Fitch Hill Road, Munson Road, Old Farm Road, and an unnamed Class 4 road.
The complete final report of the Hyde Park Road Committee, including each of the roads where changes could be implemented, is posted at www.hydeparkvt.com under the HIGHWAY tab. It is also available at the Hyde Park Town Clerk’s Office or by calling Rod Rodjenski at 1-802-888-2300 ext 2.
“Interested residents should read the Committee’s report and the Selectboard minutes of 09-10-2015 and then contact myself or Selectboard members if they have any additional questions,” Rodjenski stated, also adding that he is creating an email list that will include anyone who is interested in receiving notice of meetings where the board will discuss the report and recommendations. Anyone interested in being added to the list can contact Rodjenski at the above number and email address.
by Andrew Martin
A resurfacing project along Route 100 in Eden and Hyde Park that had been expected to occur in the future actually took place this year after unexpected state funding was made available. Preservation work and shimming that had originally been planned for sections of Route 100 was removed in the final round of budget cuts earlier in 2015 and the work was thought to be on hold for the year. However, that changed when a different funding source became available and the end result was a total of nine miles of the road being resurfaced.
“VT 100 in Eden was resurfaced due to State funds that became available,” VTrans’ Technical Service Pavement Manager Ted Domey explained, “… the Agency decided to use those funds within the District Leveling Program.”
“VT 100 in Eden was chosen based on Agency data that assessed the road condition and the project was on the current District Leveling Program list if funds became available,” he continued.
Domey further explained that the normal paving budget for VTrans deals with both State and Federal dollars while the District Leveling Program (DLP) that funded the work in Eden and Hyde Park is comprised of State funds only. The funds become available when they are freed up from other projects or if revenues exceed expectations. Projects for the DLP are chosen each spring, but funding for those projects are uncertain at the time of the choosing and potentially only becomes available later in the year. Harsh winter thaws and freezes also tend to elevate some projects over others on the list.
“The Agency is aware of the current condition of VT 100 in surrounding areas and will take that into consideration when selecting projects for future leveling projects,” Domey stated.
In total 7.7 miles of Route 100 in Eden and 1.3 miles in Hyde Park were resurfaced. The work in Eden, which was completed between August 13 and September 3, consisted of an inch and a half of pavement being laid down atop the existing roadway. The new surface is expected to hold its shape for between three and six years.
“…it will depend on the number of freeze-thaw cycles the pavement sees over the winters,” Domey added regarding just how long the new surface could last. The section of Route 100 in Hyde Park that received attention was more of a shim coat and was only an inch thick, meaning that it should last between two and four years. A shim coat had been what was originally planned for Route 100 in Eden under the original project that was cut earlier this year. In total VTrans spent $880,000 on the resurfacing work in both towns.
According to Domey no other work is planned for Route 100 for the rest of 2015 and nothing is planned in the near future. No other District Leveling Program projects were conducted in Lamoille County this year.
by Kayla Friedrich
Over the last 17 months, Hyde Park Electric Department (HPE) and Stowe Electric Department (SED) have been working simultaneously to develop solar projects that will help them meet some of the requirements under the new Vermont Renewable Portfolio Standard.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority recently reserved $3.5 million in Clean Energy Renewable Bonds (CREBs) for the Hyde Park Solar Waterhouse Project, named after 35-year linesman Don Waterhouse. Voters approved the application for the zero-interest CREBs by a four to one margin earlier this spring, and municipal and town officials will now go about completing the process essential to securing the $3.5 million in zero-interest bonds that have been set aside for the project.
On Monday, September 28, the Village of Hyde Park held an informational meeting to update the public on their progress with the project. Only two residents turned out for the meeting, but Hyde Park Village General Manager Carol Robertson said they had a good discussion without any contention.
“There were two ladies there,” said Robertson. “One was Barb Potter who lives in the village, and the other one was Judy Womack whose home overlooks a part of this project. I had already met with [Judy] and her neighbors about the project, and she came with a lot of questions that she had after that. It was a great meeting.”
Womack’s main concern, according to Robertson, was that she would be able to see the solar field from her third story windows. Robertson says the village talked to a landscape architect, and they decided that to solve that issue by planting tall, fast-growing Junipers to block the view. From the lay of the land, there are very few people who can see it, but Womack can.
A 7-foot agricultural fence, not a chain-link fence, will surround the solar field and it will be very quiet, said Robertson. It will be a pad-mount transformer. The panels are fixed, do not move, and don’t make any sound at all. Each one will have an underground connection that will feed back to the transformer.
So far, Encore Redevelopment, a Burlington company led by environmental engineer Chad Farrell, has done the preliminary designs and site selections for both Stowe and Hyde Park.
Continuation of the process will consist of obtaining permits, a certificate of public good and public service board (PSB) approval. Following the PSB order, the village of Hyde Park will hold a required public meeting, around November or December. Then in December or January, they’ll hold a special meeting and Australian ballot for the appropriate approvals. The hard deadline to secure the CREBs funding is February 2, and the village is hoping to begin work on the project n May 2016, providing they receive the funding. Their hope is to start producing power by that summer.
After the field begins producing power, the village can start selling renewable credits to other municipalities within the state.
“Our field is going to be cash positive from the day we turn the key,” said Robertson. “We will own it with nice stable power.”
The Waterhouse Project is tentatively going to be built at 1124 Silver Ridge Road in Hyde Park, a lot owned by Raymond and Carolyn Chauvin, located just behind the House of Troy. The Village of Hyde Park has a lease option on that site on behalf of Hyde Park Electric. It will be a 25-year renewable lease that will go on for as long as both parties are willing.
“This is just the start,” said Robertson. “As Barb Potter said in the meeting, she said ‘Carol, this means that this is ours.’ So, by building this, we are keeping all of our economics here. This landowner threw his land in the ring in the last month or so of the process. I think it’s the right size, and the nice sweet spot for us.”
Hyde Park is already working with Energy New England to get its name in the hat for people who would like to come in and pay to use this power once it’s produced. Robertson believes Hyde Park can make everything local, and attract people in the future to invest some money and see how it’s done.
By working with Stowe in each establishing a one-megawatt site, both towns can take advantage of discounts and save money.
We named this the Waterhouse project, because this is only the beginning,” said Robertson. “Future projects may not be solar, it may just be energy storage from this. It could be anything, or it could be another solar project. We have looked at geothermal, and that’s a possibility. There are things out there that haven’t even been thought of that are possibilities, but the first rule is you have to generate cash from the first day.”
News & Citizen owner Bradley A. Limoge decided to retire from the company his family has run for three generations.
He sold the weekly News & Citizen and the Transcript, also a weekly publication, to the Stowe Reporter. The Stowe paper is not buying Limoge’s commercial printing business or his building at 417 Brooklyn St., although the newspaper staff will continue to work out of that building for the time being.
Expanding into Morristown is a natural move for the Stowe Reporter, said publisher Greg Popa. The newspaper company already has many advertisers and readers in Morristown and other Lamoille County communities that are within the News & Citizen’s coverage area.
And, Popa said, it’s important to continue the tradition of local news coverage provided by the weekly News & Citizen.
No immediate changes are planned in the News & Citizen or the Transcript, Popa said, and all 10 newspaper employees have been offered jobs.
“Our first job is to get acquainted with the staff members and get the feel of the organization,” Popa said. “Brad has built a strong organization in Morristown, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to build on what he and his family have developed.”
In the long run, Popa said, features of the Stowe Reporter will be introduced into the Morristown-based newspapers, such as topnotch photojournalism, strong business coverage and a robust presence on websites and in social media.
Popa will be publisher of all newspapers owned by the company — the News & Citizen, the Transcript, the Stowe Reporter and the Waterbury Record. Tom Kearney will be executive editor of the newspapers, working with their news staffs to deliver first-rate coverage to their readers.
by Andrew Martin
A final decision on whether or not the Elmore-Morristown Unified Union (EMUU) school district will be formed is quickly approaching. On Tuesday, November 3 voters in Elmore and Morristown will be turning out to vote yes or no on the question of if their two separate school districts should merge into one larger entity. At the same time voters will also be voting for the directors of the new school board that would govern the EMUU should the voters agree to create a new district.
“It’s really important for the community to know that regardless of how you vote on November 3 you should also be voting for the board of the potential merger at the same time,” Lamoille South Supervisory Union Superintendent Tracy Wrend explained, “State law requires that the new board be elected at the same time that the actual merger vote occurs.”
“If the merger is approved then the new board will be who is representing the two communities, and people should have a say in that,” Wrend continued.
The board that would govern the EMUU will be a seven-member entity composed of two representatives from Elmore, two from Morristown, and three at large seats. Petitions for all seven seats are now available at the Elmore and Morristown Town Clerk’s Offices as well as at the Lamoille South Supervisory Union offices.
Individuals interested in running for one of the seats must acquire the signatures of at least 60 registered voters from either town, regardless of what seat they are running for. This means that voters from Elmore can sign the petition of a Morristown resident running for a Morristown seat and vice versa.
Completed petitions with the necessary 60 signatures can be submitted to the Morristown or Elmore Town Clerk’s Offices, regardless of what town a candidate is from, and the petitions are due no later than October 2.
The seven individuals who are elected to govern the EMUU if it is approved by voters and created will serve in those positions until Town Meeting Day of 2017, when two of the seats will be open. According to Wrend an at-large seat and a Morristown seat will be open in 2017 while an Elmore seat and a second at-large seat will be open in 2018. Town Meeting day in 2019 will see a total of three seats open for reelection; a Morristown seat, Elmore seat, and an at-large seat.
“That type of transition is structured to provide continuity of the board leadership in the initial years of the possible merger,” Wrend added.
If the EMUU is created the newly elected board members will begin meeting and working soon after in late November or early December. Their work will continue through the winter and spring until the EMUU officially takes effect and the two school districts merge on July 1 of 2016.
“They will have a lot of work to do before July 1,” Wrend explained.
According to Wrend seven of the current eight board members who govern the separate Elmore and Morristown school districts have taken petitions to run for the new EMUU board. If those individuals are elected to the new board they will serve on both entities until the merger takes effect. The Morristown Town Clerk’s Office had not given any additional blank petitions out as of Friday, September 25. The Elmore Town Clerk was unavailable at press time.
by Andrew Martin
Summer maintenance and a number of major projects are winding down in Hyde Park after a busy construction season. A number of town roads were resurfaced and other large projects completed in 2015, thanks in part to several different grants the town received from the state of Vermont. A number of scoping studies are also set to be completed in the near future that could change Hyde Park’s infrastructure in the future.
A total of 3.4 miles were repaved in Hyde Park this year by workers from Pike Industries, including .9 miles being paved on Trombley Hill Road north from the intersection with Leriche Road, .5 miles being resurfaced on Centerville Road north of the intersection of Noyes Farm Road, and two miles of the North Hyde Park Road being repaved south of the intersection with Thompson Hill Road. Pike Industries finished the last of the work in early September.
According to Hyde Park Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski a final total of $370,000 was spent on paving in Hyde Park this year, which translates to roughly $110,000 per mile. $195,000 of that total came from budgeted town paving funds while the town also received a $175,000 Class 2 Paving Grant from the state to cover the majority of the North Hyde Park Road paving.
Along with the repaving that occurred in Hyde Park this year a new dry hydrant was also installed on Davis Hill Farm Road for a cost of approximately $4,000, 75 percent of which was covered by a grant from the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts. No other main projects have been completed to this point, and the town highway crew will be working on brush clearing and cleaning drainage ditches as part of their winter preparation moving forward.
Along with the projects that have actually been completed in Hyde Park this year several other potential projects are reaching the final stages of study. One such project is the North Hyde Park Stormwater & Streetscape Scoping Study, which is being completed by Dubois & King, Inc. The scoping study, which has been budgeted at $31,250, seeks to evaluate truck traffic, sidewalks, street lighting, bicycle routes, stormwater improvements, and general safety long Route 100 and Ferry Street. A public meeting presenting the preliminary findings of the study is scheduled to take place on October 15 at 7 p.m. at the North Hyde Park/Eden Fire Station in North Hyde Park. The 50 percent match required by the town is being paid for via funding from the town’s sidewalk reserve fund.
A second grant will be funding 90 percent of the costs associated with the Hyde Park Connectivity Study, which is being completed by the Defresne Group. The study will cost roughly $35,000 to complete, and the consultant will be presenting the findings of the study at the November 12 meeting of the Hyde Park Selectboard meeting. Among the issues being examined in the study are the existing conditions and possible alternatives to create a bicycle and pedestrian connection from the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the campus of Lamoille Union. Such a study and possible connecting route requires a review of methods available to provide safe pedestrian crossings of Route 15.
Both of these scoping reports will be completely finished by December following the scheduled presentations and meetings. The Hyde Park community will then decide what alternatives to pursue for each possible project. Rodjenski emphasized that a course of ‘no action’ is always an option for either project.
One final grant that will be utilized in Hyde Park this year will be a $400 grant from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry Community Grant Program that will be used to fund a town-wide mailing of an informational flyer to all Hyde Park residents concerning the invasive species the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The Hyde Park Selectboard is reviewing a related potential EAB Preparedness Plan written by the Town Tree Ward, Jared Nunery. The possible plan includes a recommendation for public outreach on the EAB as well as a tree ordinance that would better manage roadside trees and trees located in public spaces.
“There is no timetable set to adopt the draft EAB Plan or to ask the Selectboard to consider adoption of a tree ordinance,” Rodjenski explained. He added that the Town Tree Warden will be working with the Hyde Park Village Improvement Association regarding possible steps to take in the village to help discourage EABs. The association has a long history of inventorying, managing, and planting trees in Hyde Park Village.
More information regarding recent work concerning the EAB can be found at www.hydeparkvt.com under the Highway tab or by calling Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski at 888-2300 ext 2.
by Andrew Martin
A single-car accident in Morrisville that occurred on Tuesday, September 22 has led to one individual being investigated for a possible DUI. The accident occurred at approximately 9:20 p.m. when 28-year old Schuyler Provetto of Richmond, an off-duty police officer with the Williston Police Department, rolled his 2008 Chevrolet Colorado truck near the intersection of Route 100 and Joe’s Pond Road, striking a telephone pole.
Officers from the Morristown Police Department were dispatched to the scene of the crash soon after it occurred. They found that Provetto had sustained minor injuries in the crash.
Provetto was transported to Copley Hospital for treatment and was processed for DUI. Any criminal charges are pending the results of blood tests which the Morristown Police Department expects to receive back within two to four weeks of submission. Media sources are reporting that Provetto was placed on paid administrative leave from the Williston Police Department around mid-day on Wednesday, September 23 and will remain on leave pending an internal investigation.
According to a press release issued by the Morristown Police Department late Tuesday night the cause of the crash was still under investigation but alcohol and speed were believed to be contributing factors.
The utility pole struck by Provetto’s vehicle also sustained damage, and Route 100 was closed for several hours while the pole was replaced. According to Morrisville Water & Light General Manager Craig Myotte no active customers of his utility lost power due to the crash and subsequent pole replacement.
“We responded to a call to be on scene while the vehicle was removed,” Myotte explained. The one MW&L customer served by the pole that was struck and replaced is a business that was not operational at the time of the accident.
by Kayla Friedrich
Vermont Business Magazine recognized the achievements of the five fastest growing businesses in five categories over the last five years in Vermont with its annual 5x5x5 Growth Awards. Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. (MSI) in Morrisville is one of the 2015 winners in the manufacturing category for achieving 125 percent sales growth over the last five years. MSI owner, Garret Hirchak, received the award during a ceremony September 15 at the Hilton in Burlington.
For 20 years, MSI has grown from a specialized market manufacturing business into a multifaceted company with 250,000 square feet of commercial building space and 180 employees. Hirchak and his wife, Beth Salvas, have stood at the helm as revenues have steadily increased over the years.
Back in 1996 Hirchak was working for Concept 2, and the rapidly growing company needed to outsource some of its assembly work, but didn’t have a local manufacturer for the job. So, Hirchak established MSI to fill the void. Concept 2 became his first customer, and began Hirchak’s long run of contracting assembly services to companies that lack the space, equipment or employees for the task. As time went on, MSI expanded its business model.
Today, MSI serves a broad variety of local, regional and international companies through its three primary businesses: contract manufacturing, logistics and commercial real estate. Its investment in lean manufacturing processes, data-driven results and robust employee training and retention programs helps to ensure that the company consistently delivers value and quality to its clients, a fact that has resulted in consistent annual sales growth.
MSI’s recent ISO 9001 quality certification will help serve as a catalyst as the company expands into new industries and growth markets.
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