Home Heard on the Street HEARD ON THE STREET: 10.18.18



Local Favorite “Session Americana” to Play Opera House

Session Americana, a Boston-based band that blends vintage American roots music styles and was a fan favorite in the heyday of the legendary Langdon Street Café in Montpelier, is set to play at the Barre Opera House at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 27. Dan Casey, director of the Opera House, said the band’s agent contacted him about doing a show and “we were excited about the possibility.”

Montpelier attorney and author Bernie Lambek recalls that “Session Americana developed sort of a cult following when they played at Langdon Street on several occasions.  Audience members would yell out lines from songs at appropriate (or inappropriate) moments. They have great chemistry as they hover over a single microphone and take turns with lead vocals from song to song, enhanced by their harmonies.  The members of the band are superb instrumentalists and appear to be quirky characters.”

The band has written a song about one member’s experiences while visiting Montpelier, and earlier this year it issued a CD recorded live at a December 2017 concert at the Haybarn Theater in Plainfield. Casey said plenty of tickets, priced at $22, are still available for the concert.


Montpelier Downsizing Group to Meet October 27

The next meeting of the Montpelier Downsizing Group will be held from 10:30 am to noon on Saturday, October 27, in the Hayes Room of the Kellogg Hubbard Library. The event is free and open to the public.

The meeting will feature a series of speakers, all addressing various aspects of downsizing. Presenters will include Peter Conlon of Vermont Move Management, on downsizing and rightsizing your home in preparation to sell, age in place, or simply for more peace of mind; Cari Clement, with an update on Silver Maple, a planned pocket neighborhood; Jean Olson, on retrofitting her own residence to age in place; Diane Derby, sharing her story of buying and selling for a recent downsize; Larry and Barbara Floersch, discussing their experience of building a small, high-performance home in Berlin; and Phil Dodd, with updates on new projects planned in and around Montpelier.

The Downsizing Group has been meeting once or twice a year since December 2015 to explore possibilities for Montpelier-area residents who are looking to downsize or are considering co-housing and other options. To add your name to the group’s mailing list, send an email to: montpelierdownsizinggroup@gmail.com


New Tree Fund Established to Help With Ash Borer Problems

A new Montpelier Tree Fund has been created by the Montpelier Foundation to help with tree preservation and reforestation programs within the city. The matching fund received $1,000 in seed money from long-time Montpelier resident Jack Lindley.

The launching of the fund comes at a time when the emerald ash borer is threatening to kill all the ash trees in Montpelier, including the largest trees downtown, within the next 10 to 15 years.  John Snell, chair of the Montpelier Tree Board, said he was thrilled with the gift and the new fund, saying “It is clear we will need additional funds to deal with the emergency the emerald ash borer has imposed on Montpelier.”

The Tree Board plans to plant at least 100 trees in the city next spring. As part of the plan, the Tree Board needs to add a water system at its small nursery. It also wants to add at least 10 new tree wells in sidewalks downtown over the course of the next three years at a cost of approximately $30,000. “We receive about $2,000 per year from the city and will need increased funding to meet our current needs,” Snell said.

Donations to the Tree Fund, which may be tax deductible, can be made by check to the Montpelier Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 364, Montpelier, VT 05601.


City Saves $47,000 As Former Superintendent Ricca Lands Job in St. Johnsbury

Former Montpelier School Superintendent Dr. Brian Ricca, who left his position in Montpelier on June 30 after his contract was not renewed, has been hired as interim superintendent by the St. Johnsbury School District, according to a Sept. 12 report by  WCAX. He will work three days a week for 10 months for $60,000, the report said.

The Montpelier School Board had agreed to pay Ricca $93,000 plus benefits for nine months after he left his position, unless he found another job, a decision which prompted some questions from the public. According to Montpelier-Roxbury School Board Chair Jim Murphy, the fact that Ricca is now employed will save Montpelier-Roxbury about $47,000 in salary and benefits.


Winooski Decides Against Putting Non-Citizen Voting on Ballot

Earlier this fall, it appeared that Montpelier and Winooski would have charter changes on their November 6 ballots to give non-citizens who live in the city the right to vote in municipal elections. Against this expectation, the Winooski City Council voted, 3-2,  on September 17 not to put the issue on the ballot and to study the matter further, leaving Montpelier as the only municipality voting on the issue this year. In Montpelier, the proposed charter change was put on the ballot by petition.

An August 30 memo from Winooski’s attorney, Robert DiPalma, to Winooski City Manager Jessie Baker said that both the Vermont Constitution and state statutes have a citizenship requirement for voting. Therefore, although the issue is not settled, he predicted that the Vermont Supreme Court would “conclude that the citizenship requirement is applicable to local elections,” making any charter change to allow non-citizen voting “subject to challenge as a violation of the constitutional requirement.” 

Both the Winooski and Montpelier proposed charter changes would allow non-citizens to vote, but the wording in each is different. Winooski’’s proposal would have allowed “all residents” to vote in local elections.  Montpelier’s would allow voting by a “non-citizen who resides in the United States on a permanent or indefinite basis in compliance with federal immigration laws.” All charter changes must be approved by the legislature.