Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whitesville Bridge Dedication 7/24/14

Mark Huntley and Rich Svec
With a background of Harley motorcycles, Rich Svec, Cavendish town manager, spoke about the reason for the Route 131 bridge (Whitesville bridge) dedication.

Tropical storm Irene inflicted significant damage to Vermont, particularly to Cavendish, which not only destroyed the town's infrastructure, but damaged nearly all of the roads and bridges.  The much photographed chasm that formed on Route 131 required extensive manpower to repair. The VT National Guard, as well as Guard from other states, worked from sun up to sun down for two months to reopen the road. With its completion, a reopening ceremony was planned but was cancelled when one of the town's local youth, Spencer Huntley, was killed in a car accident.

The dedication of the Whitesville Bridge serves several purposes. It not only marks another milestone in the town's recovery from Irene, but it provided an opportunity to thank the many who have helped over the last three years to restore the town. Svec not only expressed his appreciation to VTrans, but also to Cold River LLC who was responsible for completing the project a week ahead of the projected completion date.

Two representatives from VTRans, Christine Higgins and Tammy Ellis, were on hand and described  the terrible condition of the bridge after Irene. They also thanked the people of Cavendish for allowing the closing, which not only allowed the project to be fast tracked and completed in less than 30 days, but also helped to save money, which could be used for other towns.

State Representative Mark Huntley, and father of Spencer, also spoke thanking the people of Cavendish for their patience and his appreciation to all the workers who helped to restore the town after Irene.

Sgt. Shawn Stocker
On behalf of the town, Svec said that he dedicated the bridge to the Guardsmen, both from Vermont and other states and in memory of Sgt. Shawn Stocker, Air National Guard, who died while in service in Cavendish.

Holding the ends of the ribbon being cut were Marji Graff of the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce and the bridge project foreman from Cold River LLC.

While seldom talked about, this is a good time to note and thank Rich Svec and the various town staff for their countless hours working with FEMA, doing road repair etc. After the 1973 flood, the town had to float a 30 year bond to help with recovery. The damage from the 2011 flood was considerably more-estimates are over $4 million. Thanks to Svec and his team, who were willing to spend countless hours on paperwork, a majority of the repairs were paid for by FEMA and the State. While Cavendish had to borrow money, it has been repaid and we have no debt. With only a few projects remaining, it is anticipated these will be completed by Sept. 2015 when FEMA funding ends.
Rich Svec cutting the ribbon.

With the cutting of the ribbon, Svec turned to the Harley riders behind him and said, "start your engines," thus welcoming the HOG (Harley Owners Group) to the Okemo Valley and the start of their three day rally, which is based at Jackson Gore in Ludlow.

It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend, and great riding weather for the HOGs. Please be mindful of them and "share the road."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ribbon Cutting for Whitesville Bridge 7/24/14

There will be a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony  Thursday, July 24 at the Whitesville Bridge on Rt. 131 at 9 am. Cavendish is dedicating the reopening of the Bridge, which was damaged during Irene, to the Vermont National Guard and in memory of Sgt. Shawn Stocker, of the Air National Guard, who died while on duty during recovery efforts following Irene. The public is invited to attend the opening.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sensible Shoes Concert Rescheduled

Due to hazardous weather, the Sensible Shoes concert, scheduled for July 23 on the Proctorsville Green, has  been cancelled. The band will play the last concert of the season on Wed., Aug. 20th.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cavendish Update 7/18/14 New from CC/News/Events

New from Cavendish Connects.
• Instagram
• Pinterest: A number of new boards have been added to the Pinterest site. If you are not familiar with Pinterest, the best way to describe it is bookmarks with pictures. There are separate boards that you can follow including: Business Directory, Life in Cavendish, What to Do; Activities for kids; Schools; Community Organizations; Summer Concert Series; Events; Things to do nearby; Places to Stay; Historical Cavendish; Researching your Cavendish Family; Food & Drink; Energy and Conservation and the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library.

If your organization is interested in having a board on the Connects site, please e-mail We’ll be happy to show you how to set up a board and “pin.”

The Connects website is almost ready for prime time and our goal is to be live by August 1. Please support Cavendish Connects (item 6 below) so we can continue to provide the informational services you count on.

 Information can also be posted on the Cavendish VT Facebook Page.

The 7/18/14 Cavendish Update Contains:
1. Select Board Meeting 7/14/14
2. Cavendish Related News
3. Town Wide Tag Sale One Week A Way
4. Chris Kleeman Plays July 30th Proctorsville Concert
5. Events
6. Support for Cavendish Connects

Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by LPC-TV and are available at their website and on Comcast Television. 

A. Cavendish Gulf Road Stabilization Project: At the March 10th and May 12th SB meetings, there was considerable discussion with VTrans, Cavendish Planning Commission and VHB Engineering regarding a retaining wall that needs to be stabilized on the Cavendish Gulf Road near the overpass.  This land is owned by the state, which leases it to Green Mountain Railroad. The current stonewall, which is about 150 years old, is slated to be replaced by a concrete one, made up of blocks measuring 3x3x6. At the May meeting, the Planning Commission stated that this proposal does not fit with the historic nature and aesthetics of the town. SB members discussed similar concerns as raised and agreed to forward the Planning Commission’s letter to VTrans.

Representatives from VTrans attended Monday night’s meeting to discuss the SB’s concerns. VTrans was very clear there were no state funds for this project and it was being paid for by FEMA. If the project is altered in anyway, it would go back to square one. At this juncture, it is not possible to restart the project and meet the FEMA time frame for completion of repairs resulting from Irene.

The town has the option of refusing the project. However, if an accident would occur, the town would be liable. It’s not clear if tinting the concrete to be more in keeping with the original structure would be considered a significant project alteration. The VTrans representative agreed to check this out and report back to Rich Svec, town manager.

B. Solar Power: At the July 7 SB meeting, the Energy Committee introduced the idea that there could be significant cost savings, as well as actual income, if the town developed its own solar system. The Committee started exploring this option when the preliminary contract with Soveren Solar,  the vendor selected in the fall to provide the town with a solar array, did not worked out. This week, various members of the Energy Committee addressed aspects of the project, which would include a 150 kW solar photovoltaic system, located south of the waste water treatment plant. The system would be net metered with Green Mountain Power (GMP) and would start saving the town money in its first year. The SB voted, 4 to 1, to move forward with the project, which requires a bond vote in order for the town to secure the $450,000 needed for the project.  A bond vote has been scheduled for Aug. 26, the date of the Vermont primary.  A detailed report on this project is available at the Cavendish VT blog.

C. Bridge Projects
• Whitesville Bridge: The bridge is now open, considerably ahead of the July 25 anticipated opening date. An on-line video shows the sliding of the bridge into place.   

• Davis Road: Plans continue to replace the bridge this construction season.

D. 601 Main Street: The day after the voters agreed to the purchase of 601 Main Street, the vacant lot adjacent to the school in Proctorsville, a town resident came in and wrote a check for the amount of the purchase price, thereby eliminating it from becoming a tax issue. The town was to take ownership of the property on Tuesday, July 15. 

E. Water Conservation Notice Still in Effect: While some minor problems have been found and dealt with, there is still an unknown exceptionally high demand for municipal water. This is still under investigation. The second well has been turned on. Until the problem is solved, those on Cavendish municipal water are asked to continue to conserve water.

F. Other Town Projects
• The town received a $4,000 Vermont Better Back Roads grant award for a culvert inventory.

• Youth Services Crew is now in town doing various jobs including cleaning up the property at 601 Main Street. They will be here for two weeks.

• The town was awarded a specialized energy grant, $8,900, to assist with assessing energy efficiency of the town’s waste water system. This begins on Friday, July 18.

• Drainage Project: There is money available to deal with the driveway drainage issue for the Town Office.

• Rec Department: Two qualified candidates applied for the job as rec director, one of which has since withdrawn their application.


Cavendish Alert! On Tuesday, July 14 a resident of Atkinson Rd reported the following, Please be aware my daughter was riding our four wheeler behind our house and saw [a male] run from our pond to our garage wearing a red shirt. We live on Atkinson road and he was on our property.” Note that several weeks ago there was a report of a suspicious car on Atkinson Rd. If you see anything unusual, please report it to the Vermont State Police 802-875-2112.

Proctorsville Post Office Reduction in Hours: As part of the US Postal Service’s downsizing, Vermont has at least 145 post offices that will be closed or have their hours reduced. Cavendish village post office has been operating for over a year with reduced hours. In October, Proctorsville post office will be reduced from 8 to 6 hours.

New Local Websites: There are now new URLs for the following:

Exiled but not Silenced: Shedding light on Solzhenitsyn’s Time in America: The anti Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent almost 18 of his 20 years  exiled in Cavendish. The Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute has launched an initiative to translate work from this time period into English for the first time – a project that will challenge popular misconceptions about the writer’s output during this time. The majority of what Solzhenitsyn wrote in the U.S has not yet been published in English, including his account of his time in America, “The Little Grain Managed to Land Between Two Millstones.” Russia Beyond the Headlines 

North Springfield Considering Solar Over Biomass: Winstanley Enterprises announced Wednesday that it was seeking state approval to build five, 500-kilowatt solar arrays in the North Springfield Industrial Park. 
Some of the land that will be used was earlier proposed to be the site of the ill-fated North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project, which was rejected by state regulators earlier this year. Rutland Herald 

VT Debuts Web-Based Recycling Map: The state of Vermont has released its Web-based recycling map that connects residents, businesses, and institutions with collection services and food rescue agencies, haulers and composters with food scraps. 
As we get closer to the date, there are more people signing up for space and a number of vendors have provided information about what they have for sale. The Cavendish Library will be doing a book and movie sale as well. Be sure to check out the Tag Sale web page for updated information. This page will be continually updated until about 7 am July 26 (Saturday).  If you want space on the Cavendish or Museum Green, or want your location included on the map, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807. If you can provide information about items you’ll have for sale this will help boost visitors to your booth. This year’s sale corresponds to the HOG (Harley Owners Group) in Ludlow, so fly your Harley colors if you have them.

The free Proctorsville Green concert series continues and on Wednesday, July 30th at 6:00 p.m., Tim
Calabrese of the Good Earth Landscape Co. and Liz Calabrese of Calabrese Architects are sponsoring Vermont based master blues singer and legendary song stylist, Chris Kleeman. A performer of great energy and focus, Kleeman provides a unique opportunity to see and hear the real thing; an artist of high energy and gritty musical performance, who's been matched up to perform in shows with musicians such as B.B. King, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, George Thorogood, Johnny Winter, Leon Redbone, ... the list goes on and on.  Chris is well known for his sparkling interpretive skills, bringing songs from across a broad spectrum to spice up an already simmering, soulful pot of music. Concerts are free and open to the public and are made possible by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA). FMI: 226-7736 or Vermont Summer Concert Series.

The following Cavendish related events are taking place in the coming week:

JULY 18 (FRIDAY: Ludlow Farmer’s Market featuring a number of Cavendish vendors, 4-7 pm on the front lawn of Okemo Mountain School, 53 Main Street in Ludlow. 

JULY 20 (SUNDAY): The Cavendish Historical Society Museum is open from 2-4 pm.  

JULY 21 (MONDAY): Yoga with Lydia Ouvaroff: 5 pm at Gethsemane Episcopal Parish Hall off Depot Street in Proctorsville. Cost is a donation. FMI: 802-299-9515 (cell) or 228-3261.

JULY 22  (TUESDAY): Bone Builders Bone Builders meeting at the Cavendish Baptist Church each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 11:30 am.  Weighs are used to help build muscle and stave off osteoporosis for both men and women. Exercises also focus on balance.  Call Charlotte Snyder at 226-7343 or Dot Ramsdell at 226-7870 or RSVP office at 885-2083.  RSVP is the sponsor of this activity.

JULY 23 (WEDNESDAY): Proctorsville Concert, Sensible Shoes 6 pm, sponsored by Golden Stage Inn and Old Cavendish Products. FMI: Robin at 226-7736 or Vermont Summer Concert Series 

JULY 24 (THURSDAY): Bone Builders Bone Builders meeting at the Cavendish Baptist Church each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 11:30 am.  Weighs are used to help build muscle and stave off osteoporosis for both men and women. Exercises also focus on balance.  Call Charlotte Snyder at 226-7343 or Dot Ramsdell at 226-7870 or RSVP office at 885-2083.  RSVP is the sponsor of this activity.
• Annual Tie Dye Day at the Cavendish Library: Brig a T-shirt, pillowcase or even socks and make them bright and beautiful.

JULY 25 (FRIDAY): LudlowFarmer’s Market featuring a number of Cavendish vendors, 4-7 pm on the front lawn of Okemo Mountain School, 53 Main Street in Ludlow. 

To learn more about upcoming events in Cavendish and surrounding towns go to:
• Events listed by month 
• Events listed by day

Please complete the form below and send a check, payable to Cavendish Connects and mail to Margo Caulfield, PO Box 3, Cavendish, VT 05142.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Proposed Cavendish Solar Power Project 7/14/14

At the July 7, 2014 Cavendish Select Board (SB) meeting, the Cavendish Energy Committee introduced the idea that there could be significant cost savings, as well as actual income, if the town developed its own solar system. The Committee started exploring this option when the preliminary contract with Soveren Solar,  the vendor selected in the fall to provide the town with a solar array, did not work out.

On Monday, July 14, members of the Energy Committee addressed aspects of the project at the monthly SB meeting. The proposed project would include a 150 kW solar photovoltaic system located south of the waste water treatment plant. The system would be net metered with Green Mountain Power (GMP).

1. Cash Flow
- In 2013, the cost of electricity from GMP for town services (Water & Sewer Departments, Transfer Station and Town Office) was $43,826.00.

- Floating a bond for $450,000, which would cover the cost of materials, installation, fencing etc., would require a yearly bond payment of $31,040 over 20 years. This is the one figure that remains constant in this project. Other yearly costs would include: State tax of $636 and Insurance & Maintenance (Year 1 would be $1,000 and would rise to $1,639 by Year 21). There is a 25-year warranty for the solar panels and a 10-year warranty for the inverters. A savings plan to help pay for replacements is included in the proposal.

- The utility bill savings in year one would be $35,859. Without accounting for inflation, by year 21 the savings would be $30,847. If a rate of  3.5% inflation were factored in to utility costs, considerably more would be accrued in savings so that by year 21, savings would be estimated to be $73,525.

- Since Cavendish already has the Certificate for Public Good, GMP would be required to pay the town .06¢ Solar Incentive for the next 10 years. This would begin when the system is installed. First year payment received would be $11,174.

- The combination of savings (utility bill savings + GMP Solar Incentive) minus costs (State tax, insurance & maintenance + bond payment) by the end of Year 1 would save the town $14,357. If annual inflation utility costs are factored in, by Year 21, the savings would increase to $71,250. If inflation is not a factor, the savings by Year 21, when the bond debt is paid off,  would be $28,572.

2. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC): Because the town would own the system, there would be an opportunity to sell Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) into the open market. These are credits that exist as the solar array produces power. Several states have created markets for these credits that Cavendish can sell into and realize cash in our pocket. 

Dan Sullivan, of the Energy Committee, spoke to the person who helps Black River Produce, which has several different solar arrays,  with the “sale” of their SREC. Sullivan reported that a 150 K system would produce 150 credits, which sell anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the market. On average though, it is more like $60-$75 per credit. Using a more conservative estimate of around $9,000 per year for years 1-5, and slightly less for years 6 through 10, the SREC credit income would be set aside to help with the cost of Inverter Replacement. Basically, this approach would enable the town to maintain the system at no additional costs.

View from Route 131
Southern Exposure
3. Visual Impact: Located south of the waste water treatment plant, the array would not be visible from the highway and would barely be seen when driving up to the transfer station. The proposed area appears in photographs 1-3. 
View of Solar Site
 4. Concerns: Areas of concern raised by members of the audience, as well as by SB members,  included the following:
- What about snowstorms? Because the array is on a hillside, the snow will slide off. In the event of a very heavy snow with build up, the snow will be gone in less than 24 hours. Black River Produce reports that this has not been an issue for their hill mounted panels.

- Costs for cleaning: Issues of soot and smog that exist in other parts of the country are not a problem for our area. The care consists of cleaning the panels with soap and water twice a year, which was viewed as low maintenance by the town manager.

- Maintenance costs and responsibility: There was a concern that maintenance costs could be considerably higher than projected and a recommendation was made that one person in the town’s employee to be responsible for making sure the equipment is functioning properly. The Town manager indicated that there will be a computer program to help with this function. 

- Theft: Panel tracking, alarms and advanced, high technology security locks are now available at lower cost. Because of the replacement cost, insurance companies generally require certain security measures before issuing a policy.

- Are the numbers realistic? There are a number of variables that could impact the cost of the project, such as, reduction or elimination of incentives as solar becomes cheaper and used more frequently; higher maintenance cost etc. A request was made to provide more financial scenarios addressing other possible variables.

- Are there other Vermont towns doing this? Warren, VT has already voted in bond approval. 

- Could changes in town leadership impact the longevity of the project? Town manager Rich Svec and several SB members did not see this as an issue because if the system is working well, there is little reason to change course.

5.  Impact: Beyond the financial benefits, one expert in solar technology has estimated that Cavendish can reduce its carbon footprint by 3,818 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to planting 88,959 trees, reduce driving by 7,636,000 miles or eliminating 389,436 gallons of gasoline.

6. Next Steps: The board voted 4 to 1 to move forward with the solar bond initiative. Wendy Regier voted against the proposal. While a supporter of solar, she is concerned that more work needs to be done and that the proposed time schedule is too short a time frame.

The voters, by Australian ballot, will need to approve the floating of a bond. Since there will be a primary election on August 26, it would make sense to include the bond vote at this time.

There will be a special town meeting for discussion and education purposes only. In addition, information will be posted to the town website.