Home Heard on the Street Heard on the Street, Apr. 3, 2024

Heard on the Street, Apr. 3, 2024

A 2021 Capital City Farmers Market at 133 State Street. Photo by John Lazenby.

Officer Hunter Lane Commended

Montpelier Police Department Sergeant Diane Mathews issued a commendation to Officer Hunter Lane regarding a suicide intervention on March 26. According to the commendation read at the March 27 City Council meeting, Lane was dispatched to a report of a suicidal male threatening to jump off the bridge near Capitol Grounds Café. He relieved bystanders trying to help and calmed the man. Then, although the person had a danger code for carrying bear spray, Lane de-escalated the situation and drove him to the hospital for mental health care. “I am proud to work alongside Hunter day to day,” Sgt. Mathews wrote.

Farmers Market to Return to State Street

The Capital City Farmers Market will return to 133 State Street in the parking lot beside the Tax Department building. Last summer it moved uphill to the Vermont College of Fine Arts campus following the July flood. According to John Snell, a market organizer, the market attracts more tourists on State Street. The vendor layout will be adjusted to accommodate flood remediation work at the building this summer. “We’ll be there!” Snell wrote.

Less than a Week to Total Eclipse

Montpelier is ready for the April 8 total eclipse. Speaking at a City Council meeting on March 27, ten days before the total eclipse expected to be visible in Montpelier, Carolyn Grodinsky, festival and events coordinator for Montpelier Alive, said local lodging is mostly full, and lots of events are planned. The Vermont Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired will have a device that converts light into sound at the Statehouse lawn during the event. Eclipse viewers may visit the Vermont College of Fine Arts campus or the Statehouse lawn. Both will have bathrooms and food trucks. Grodinsky said to expect attendance roughly the same as the Montpelier July 3 celebration that usually attracts around 20,000 people. However, “we have a 70% chance of crappy weather,” she noted. 

Fire Chief Gowans to Retire

Fire Chief Robert Gowans has provided formal notice of his retirement effective July 1. The city of Montpelier will begin the recruitment process with the goal of having the next chief identified before that time. Gowans took up the reins as chief in April 2011 after serving as deputy chief. He replaced Fire Chief Gesualdo Schneider. 

Post-Fire, rk Miles Uncertain About Future Plans

The future of building materials supplier rk Miles in Montpelier is “unclear,” according to rk Miles CEO Joe Miles. “We are still working with pricing and talking to our insurance company,” he told The Bridge. The lumberyard, which was flooded last summer, was the scene of a spectacular fire on Nov. 1, 2023 that burned down its sheds but left the store standing. Miles called the fire “gut-wrenching,” and said he was thankful no neighboring buildings caught fire. In addition to Montpelier, the company has seven locations in Vermont — including Barre, Stowe, and Waitsfield — and two in Massachusetts. Miles said the company has not yet been told what caused the fire by either its insurance company or the State Fire Marshal, but officials said earlier there was no evidence to indicate the origin was suspicious.