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Heard on the Street, 1.20.21

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Changes Afoot at the Golf Course

The Elks club is giving up its lease on Montpelier’s only golf course and will be vacating the building there as well, according to the owner of the property, Steve Ribolini. However, the nine-hole golf course will continue to operate next summer as the Capital City Country Club. Ribolini’s brother Lynn — who had helped manage the Montpelier Elks Country Club — is listed as the manager of the new club on the state business registration for Capital City Country Club, LLC, which was filed January 5.

According to a recent Facebook post by the new club, it has ordered 14 new golf carts as well as new large mowing equipment. Membership applications will reportedly be available soon. Nationally, golfing participation had been declining in recent years, but it jumped last summer during the pandemic.

Sergeant Pearson Awarded Team Two Mental Health Services Award

Sgt. Jeff Pearson has won the Frank Silfies Award. The award recognizes a first responder who exemplifies collaborative work in responding to mental health crises: creative collaboration that affects a peaceful, safe, and effective outcome. Sgt. Pearson was nominated for two cases: one involving a traffic stop during which the operator was in a mental health crisis, and the other regarding a domestic incident with a threatening male subject who refused to be arrested. 

Zoning Permits May Need to Be Extended

In response to some questions presented to city councilors, the Planning and Community Development department wants to remind everyone how to renew permits for projects that may have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoning permits are valid for two years and are allowed to receive a single 12-month extension. The permit holder has to request the extension, in writing (email preferred), before the original expiration date. There is no fee for the extension, and requests should be made to Audra Brown (abrown@montpelier-vt.org) or Meredith Crandall (mcrandall@montpelier-vt.org). Building permits are valid for a year and can be renewed multiple times. If they are renewed before expiration, there is no fee. If renewed after expiration, there is a $10 fee. If you have a building permit for which you need an extension, contact Chris Lumbra (clumbra@montpelier-vt.org ). As always, if you have any questions about projects you are working on or considering, please reach out to the permitting staff cited above and they can guide you through the process. 

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Alternate Side Parking 

Getting the Message Out! Public Works has been posting messages on social media and on its web page informing residents of key changes, and directing readers to go to the city website to look up specifics for where they typically park, whether that be during the daytime, evenings, or both. Please feel free to email any questions or comments to Jasmine Benson (jbenson@montpelier vt.org).  

Vermont Rail Systems Work to Resume This Spring

Montpelier City officials report that work on the last segment of the new rail line that parallels the Siboinebi (pronounced see-bo-WEE-neh-bee) Recreation Path will not resume until Spring. The Vermont Rail Systems project will provide a “run around” for freight trains to avoid two aging bridges on the original route.

Police Department Lobby Currently Locked

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Police Department’s front lobby is currently locked. We ask that anyone needing police assistance to please contact MPD by telephone at 802-223-3445. If you come in person to the Police Department, please press the button on the front intercom and a dispatcher will speak directly to you. If you need an officer, an officer will come to the front of the Police Department to assist you. 

Social Worker Available to Residents  

The Montpelier Police Department, the Barre City Police Department, and Washington County Mental Health have partnered in providing an onsite social worker to help residents in crisis or needing an extra hand during the pandemic. Susan Lemere has been a friendly and effective presence in town for the last several months, but the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed outreach efforts. If you would like to speak to Susan Lemere, please contact her through email at susan.lemere@wcmhs.org or contact the MPD and we can assist with connecting you to Susan. 

Community Justice Center Seeking Volunteers

The Montpelier Community Justice Center, despite seeing fewer referrals for cases resolved in the courts, is receiving a steady flow of pre-charge referrals for a Restorative Justice Panel process from the Montpelier, Northfield, and Berlin police departments. Additionally, the organization is receiving a consistent level of referrals for its Circles of Support and Accountability and transitional housing programs, through which they assist people who are returning to the community. The Conflict Assistance Program has helped residents settle neighbor disputes throughout this time, restoring relationships and creating more peaceful neighborhoods. 

The program has 60-plus volunteers who, in FY 2020, conducted nearly 2000 hours of service in the implementation programs and while serving on the community advisory  board. Anyone interested in learning more  about volunteer opportunities can contact Carol Plante, director, at 802-522-5566.