Home Commentary Heard on the Street, Sept. 6, 2023

Heard on the Street, Sept. 6, 2023

Blue sign with white letters that say
Montpelier's City Council approved a $2 million bond proposal to purchase the 138-acre Elks Club property. The bond is up for vote at Town Meeting. Photo by Cassandra Hemenway

Tentative Deal Reached to Use Elks Club as Shelter

The city of Montpelier has reached a tentative agreement with the Barre-based Good Samaritan Haven to provide winter shelter (and perhaps longer) at the former Elks building. Along those lines, there will be 15 to 20 beds available starting in November, according to the Sept. 1 city manager’s report. Finalizing this plan is subject to state approval and Good Samaritan Haven getting all the necessary permits.

Plainfield Selectman Resigns

Bram Towbin announced on social media he is stepping down from his posts as selectboard member, road commissioner, and member of the hazard mitigation committee. “I am stepping down from all my positions in town government.” Towbin cited several reasons for this, from the town needing an external audit, to what he alleged as “mismanagement.” He further said on a Facebook post he believes there needs to be major reforms in town government, particularly in the Town Clerk/Treasurer position, which he said should not be elected by the people. Robin Miller was recently elected to replace longtime Plainfield Town Clerk Linda Wells, who retired after 27 years. Miller was appointed by the selectboard to fill in for Wells at the end of 2022 and was elected by voters at town meeting in April 2023, getting 214 of 242 votes.

Montpelier Police Warn of Uptick in Car Burglaries

The Montpelier Police Department recently warned of an increase in car burglaries on its Facebook page. In order to slow down such activity, the department issued tips from what they called the “9 p.m. routine,” which calls on residents to secure their vehicles at 9 p.m. each night. This involves locking cars, homes, garages, windows, and gates; activating security alarms; and removing valuables from outdoor furniture and cars (including keys). The things most often reported stolen from cars are key fobs, spare keys, money, wallets, firearms, laptops, and tools. Community members who see a crime in progress should call 802-223-3445 or dial (or text) 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Berlin Updates Water System Ordinance

The Berlin Selectboard recently approved changes to the town’s Water System Ordinance and Construction Standards. A revised section is aimed at mitigating “unwanted effects of potentially destructive fires,” according to information on the town’s website, berlinvt.gov. The revised section states that all new houses and commercial, industrial, or other buildings used for human occupancy or human activities near any street, alley, or right of way served by the public water system are required, at the owner’s expense, to install sufficient water facilities to connect directly with the public water system, provided that the public water system is within 200 feet of the buildings. Likewise, all commercial and industrial buildings and structures must obtain their own fire protection capacity with the town’s public water system if the public water system is at least 1,000 feet from the structure.

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Writer, photographer and editor with The Bridge on and off since 2014. Managing editor of The Bridge from 2014 to 2017. Writer and editor for the Caledonian Record. Correspondent and contributing writer for The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, Burlington Free Press, Green Mountain Trading Post, North Star Monthly, Science Magazine, Country Woman, Vermont Magazine, The Northland Journal, and other publications. English teacher and Interventionist in the Montpelier Roxbury School district. Born in Montpelier.