Friday, July 17, 2009

Cavendish Update 7/17/09 SB Mtg/Events/Water

This issue of the Cavendish Update is made possible by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA), a non-profit membership organization that is dedicated to the conservation of land and natural resources and to the preservation of historic sites within the context of sustainable economic growth. FMI: PO Box 605, Cavendish VT 05142 or 802-226-7736

The 7/17/09 Cavendish Update Contains
1. Select Board Meeting
2. Sustainable Cavendish: Energy Assessor Training
3. Sustainable Cavendish: Understanding the Power You Use
4. Army Worm Alert
5. Closed N.H. paper sees the possibility of new ownership
6. Upcoming Events

1. Select Board Meeting July 13, 2009
The following items were among those discussed by the Select Board at their July meeting:

Proctor Cemetery: Prior to the meeting, the Select Board conducted a site visit of the Proctor Cemetery to assess both access and the condition of the Cemetery. Following the site visit, the Select Board noted that recent work had been done to make the cemetery accessible. The issues raised included:
• The path needs to be accessible from April 1 – November 1. Dwayne Warren, whose property abuts the path to the cemetery, said that he posts his private number on the sign, so that if someone is having a problem accessing the path, they can call him.
• Need to settle on the right of way and put it on the town’s tax map.

Selectmen Ed Garrow and Rich Svec, town manager, will work with Warren to come to an agreement. The condition of the grave markers was also raised.

Helipad: In the fall of 2008, the SB voted 3 to 2 against a helipad being built on the property of Cavendish property owner David Coutu The SB made their decision based on a report from the Planning Commission, as well as a public hearing. The town’s approval was being sought as part of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s approval process.

With a number of residents in attendance, Mark Hall, the attorney for David Coutu, said the SB’s position was blocking his client’s ability to obtain a permit to establish a helipad. It was his belief that the SB was not in a position to make such a decision as there is no zoning in Cavendish, the Planning Commission had no power and the “Town Plan” was not legally relevant to this situation. April Hensel, representing both the Planning Commission, and at times, her position as Act 250 Coordinator, explained that based on her conversations with the attorney for the VT Agency of Transportation, the SB does have the right and the responsibility to make such decisions, regardless of zoning. Further, the SB can seek advice and counsel as needed and that the Planning Commission is well aware of their advisory role.

Among the issues Hensil raised about the project was Cavendish’s lack of infrastructure, as fire and rescue is all volunteer and there is no paid police force. She compared this to Hartness Airport in Springfield, where helipads and hangers are readily available and there is an appropriate infrastructure to handle emergencies if they arise. .

This was not a public hearing, even though various members of the audience expressed their viewpoints. Some residents, and the realtor for Coutu, spoke in favor of the helipad. While the Proctorsville Fire Department indicated that it would be helpful to have access to a helipad for rescue, the main area of concern came down to the landowner’s rights to do with their property as they choose.

Both SB members and a number of people in attendance were concerned about precedent. “If you say yes, what kid of floodgates are you opening.” If Cavendish, a community noted for its landscapes, quiet and rural way of life, were to become a town where there are a number of private helipads, it will change the nature of the town. It was noted that there is already another landowner who is landing a helicopter on to his property without a helipad.

The issue was also raised about the legislative process. Why should three peoples vote make such a decision? It was suggested that it be put out to town vote.

Attorney Hall was adamant that his client was prepared to fight this in court, thereby potentially costing the town quite a bit of money. Three of the SB members explained why they voted no, indicating both the “Town Plan” and precedent.

The Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) stated that they supported both the Planning Commission report and the SB’s original vote.

The SB voted to consult with their attorney on this matter.

Chubb Hill: A new route is being planned for the intersection of Chubb Hill and Route 131. The current access point is “blind.” The new route will be through Donnie Davis’s pasture area. The state has already conducted a site visit and an application will need to be filed by the town. Svec and the Davis will work on this in the coming weeks.

Water: While 99% of the Cavendish Municipal water filtration project is finished, the manganese (Mn) level has yet to fall to acceptable levels. The reduction was projected to take 7-8 weeks. To date there has been a 35% reduction down to 1.4 to 1.6 mg/L. This is still well above the FDA standard of 0.05mg/L. The Health Advisory issued by the Vermont Department of Health remains in effect until levels are brought down to standard. The Health Advisory issued October 2006 states the following: “The Cavendish Public Water System has concentrations of manganese which exceed the Environmental Protection Agency and Vermont Department of Health lifetime Health Advisories of 0.3 mg/L. In 2005 and 2006, the levels of manganese in the Cavendish system were 2.5 mg/L and 2.1 mg/L, respectively.

Manganese is an essential element. However, most of the manganese needed on a daily basis comes from the food we eat. Long-term consumption of high concentrations of manganese in drinking water may cause adverse neurological health effects. Children and people with liver disease are more susceptible to the health effects of manganese. If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.”

Svec stated that the Mn levels have plateaued but this is to be expected. In the next four weeks there should be a significant decline in Mn. The iron levels have reduced to less than 1mg/L and have contributed significantly to water quality appearance.

There is significant air in the line. This results in milky water, which will clarify after sitting. Additional air has been needed to grow the media used for the filtration process. This will not be needed once the filtration system is in full production.

The major flushing has been postponed in order to make sure the system is working well. The aggressive flush will result in ugly looking water so a notice will be sent prior to the flushing.

2. Sustainable Cavendish: Energy Assessor Training
The White House Council of Economic Advisors has recently released “Jobs of the Future,” a look at the labor market through 2016. Clean energy will be among the biggest drivers of job creation, while many traditional manufacturing will continue to shrink.

To assist area residents, particularly those already in the building trades, who are interested in starting on a career path in the “green” industry, Sustainable Cavendish, a program of Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) will be sponsoring a two day training for energy assessors. Planned for August, if you are interested in participating in the training, please contact Karen Wilson at or 802- 226-7494. Some funding is available for this training.

3. Sustainable Cavendish: Understanding the Power You Use
One of the best ways to conserve energy, and reduce your utility bill, is by understanding how you are using energy. The following resources can help you understand your energy consumption.

• Cost calculator

• How to Read Your Meter

• Energy Savings Tips

• Glossary of Terms

How to Read your electric bill

4. Army Worm Alert
An armyworm outbreak has been reported in the Rutland area. The armyworm was most likely blown north by the series of storms over the last month. Check corn and grass fields for armyworms. When full grown, the caterpillars can be almost 1.5 inches long. The caterpillars are usually greenish or brownish, but can be almost black. The sides and back of the caterpillar have light colored stripes running along the body. The caterpillars normally feed at night and much damage can occur before they mature. The preferred foods are grasses including corn, grains, and timothy. They feed on other plants if grasses aren’t available. Cornfields that are minimum or no-tilled into grass sod or fields infested with grass weeds are most susceptible. For more information on scouting and control options please contact Dr. Heather Darby at the University of Vermont Extension at (802) 524-6501.

5. Closed N.H. paper sees the possibility of new ownership
Rutland Herald July 17, 2009 By Susan Smallheer
The former general manager of Eagle Publications said Thursday that there was a possibility the Eagle-Times of Claremont, N.H., might reopen under new ownership.

Randy Yanick of Springfield, who lost his job last Thursday along with about 100 employees of the daily newspaper and its three other weekly publications, said he had been told by the owner of the bankrupt media company that there was interest in the newspaper group.

Yanick said Harvey Hill of Charlestown, the owner of Eagle Publications, had been told there was interest in the newspaper, but Yanick said Hill was under court restrictions from talking about the inquiries or interest. "It's up in the air whether Eagle Publications would be purchased," said Yanick. "I do know there are some people who are looking at buying the company," he said, adding that the source of his information was Hill.

Hill filed for bankruptcy last Friday, saying that his family had been covering the paper's financial losses for a while and couldn't continue. He estimated his family's contribution as "into the seven figures." Hill didn't respond to an e-mail inquiry. He closed the 175-year-old newspaper last Thursday, along with his weekly publications The Connecticut Valley Spectator of Lebanon, and The Message for the Week of Chester, as well as The Weekly Flea of Claremont, N.H., a classified advertising paper.

According to documents on file in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the newspaper group has somewhere between 200 to 999 creditors, and owes between $1 million and $10 million to its credits and has assets in the same vague financial category. Eagle Publications filed for bankruptcy last Friday in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H., and filed a Chapter 7 petition, which usually means liquidation, as opposed to reorganization. The list of creditors, which stretches over 25 pages, includes dozens of names and local businesses, including dozens of employees, and Hill himself.

Yanick, who had been general manager for Eagle Publications since 2001, said the closing of the papers was a shock and surprise to him last Thursday as well. Yanick said he was already working with a working "core group of managers" who hope to start a weekly newspaper in Claremont. Getting the financing, he said, will be the key. "It's something we'd all like to chase," he said, while saying that restoring a daily newspaper to Claremont would probably be impossible. "It's a tough market," he said, and much smaller than nearby cities such as Rutland and Lebanon, N.H., home to the Rutland Herald and Valley News, respectively.

Robert F. Smith of Westminster, the co-editor of The Message, a free weekly newspaper, said he was also working with people who were interested in starting a replacement publication similar to The Message and he was keeping in close contact with his eight fellow employees. "A lot of people have been in touch with me. Definitely, some people with a serious background are interested in continuing a publication like The Message," he said. "It never had hard news, it ran tons of features," he said. The group is looking at "starting from scratch," he said, rather than buying The Message out of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, a Virginia woman, who is a native of Claremont, and worked at the Eagle while she was a high school student, has launched a community news Web site,, and said Thursday that the Web site was welcoming community news, press releases and information.

Nancy Brown of Fredericksburg, Va., who runs several Web sites including, said she got the site up on Wednesday with several news stories, press releases from Claremont police and four obituaries. "We started this on Sunday," Brown said, noting she had more than a dozen years running successful Web sites. But Brown said the success of the new Web site would depend on local businesses and people supporting it. If there are no advertisements, it won't succeed, she said. Brown said she hoped to hire one of the former Eagle reporters and several advertising reps. She said she already had more than 90 friends on her Facebook page.

Smith, who worked at The Message for seven years editing, writing, laying out the paper and taking the publication's signature photographs, said losing his job was a shock. While he and others received their last paycheck this week, there are still questions about the employees' access to their 401k accounts, a view echoed by Yanick.

And employees, such as traveling ad salespeople, haven't been paid their expenses, Smith said. "I signed up for unemployment," Smith said. "And we'll see what happens."

6. Upcoming Events
July 20 (Monday): Water Board Meeting, 5 pm Town Office
July 21 (Tuesday): Tie dye day at the Cavendish Library, from 9-6. Bring one item to tie dye.
July 22 (Wednesday): Chris Kleeman in concert, 6:30 pm at the Proctorsville Green. This is a free concert.
July 23 (Thursday): Take a prize day for kids checking books out of the Cavendish Library 9-6:30
July 28 (Thursday): Take a prize day for kids checking books out of the Cavendish Library 9-6:30
July 29 (Wednesday): Yankee Chank Cajun Band, featuring Cavendish fiddler Bob Naess, 6:30 pm at the Proctorsville Green

No comments: