HEARD ON THE STREET: 1.19.17

500 Kilowatt Solar Array Goes Online

MONTPELIER — The City of Montpelier is now getting the majority of its electricity from renewable energy sources with the completion of a 500 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array located on an old gravel pit behind Log Road.

Electricity produced by the solar panels will be credited to a variety of municipal buildings within the city, including the water resource recovery facility, City Hall, the fire station and police station. The power purchase agreement allows the City to invest in renewable energy with no upfront cost, and savings seen on its electrical bill from day one. In addition the City will have the opportunity to purchase the project in the future at a fair market rate. In combination with a second 500 kilowatt array completed in 2016 located in Sharon, the City and school district expect to save $40,000 to $50,000 a year for the first 10 years of the contract.

Part of a multi-year effort to increase energy efficiency and reduce the use of fossil fuels, the solar array will help achieve a 2030 goal to become the first Net Zero state capital in the United States.

 

Westview Meadows Receives Perfect Score

MONTPELIER — A local residential care facility has passed muster as far as government regulators are concerned. On Dec. 28, 2016 the Vermont Agency of Human Services, Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living made an unannounced visit to Westview Meadows. The facility was found to be in compliance with the regulatory requirements for independent and residential care facilities. Surveyors do this as part of their relicensing process to ensure it remains in compliance with current regulatory requirements while ensuring the welfare and rights of residents are protected and to ensure that residents receive quality care. The last time it was visited, on Jan. 7, 2015, Westview Meadows was also found in substantial compliance.

“This achievement could not be possible without the leadership and staff who work hard on a day-to-day basis providing a wonderful environment for retired individuals,” said Executive Director Dawn Provost. “It takes the commitment of everyone at the facility to obtain this highest rating. We are proud of this achievement and will continue to strive to be a wonderful place for residents to call home.”

 

Montpelier-Roxbury School Merger Group Turns Down Northfield

ROXBURY — At a Jan. 16 meeting in Roxbury, the Montpelier-Roxbury school merger study committee rejected a request by Northfield to become an informal participant in the Montpelier-Roxbury study committee, according to information from Montpelier Superintendent Brian Ricca. The committee reportedly voted 9-0-2 against the Northfield request.

A separate committee looking at a merger of the Northfield and Williamstown school districts is planning to put that possible merger before voters in both of those towns this spring.

Meanwhile, a merger committee examining the possibility of having one school board instead of the multiple school boards that exist now in the U-32 towns (Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex and Worcester) or making other changes, has hired professional mediators to see if it can get discussions back on track. The committee last met in October, when Berlin representatives expressed opposition to a full merger.

And on Jan. 31, Barre Town will hold a revote on a proposal to merge its school district with the Barre school system. In an earlier vote, Barre approved the merger, but Barre Town voters rejected the idea.

All of the merger talk is the result of Act 46, a state law designed to encourage, and eventually force, smaller school districts to merge.

 

Police Deal With Ice, Snow, Assault, Open Carry and Public Urination

MONTPELIER — Montpelier’s finest had their hands full in recent days. The calls from citizens were many and varied. The department posts most activity on their website and below is a small sampling. Because of winter storms, many weather-related incidents occurred, for example the winter parking ban was in effect so its rules had to be enforced — cars were towed. Also, the Department of Public Works had to deal with ice on Hill Street and somebody complained of people ice skating on the North Branch River on Jan. 15. Also, on Jan. 11, a motorist got stuck on a snowbank on College Street and a garbage truck got stuck on the ice on Monsignor Crosby Ave. There was also a water leak on Liberty Street and Heaton Street.

There were reports of one dog attacking another dog on the bike path near Green Mountain Drive and another loose dog running amuck near the elementary school.

Several reports of suspicious persons were made, including one acting strangely at a River Street business, which made employees nervous. In addition, someone near TD Bank complained of a male urinating off the bridge and into the river on School Street in front of a female. Police were unable to locate the culprit.

Police also responded to reports of vandalism on Crescent Lane, larceny from a dorm room at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a hit and run crash on State Street, a vehicle that struck a deer on Berlin Street and a person was trying to stop cars at Interstate 89 Exit 8 on-ramps.

Several stops were made for parking on the sidewalk and for people driving without headlights.

An officer also assisted a female to walk home on Berlin Street due to the icy sidewalk.

In addition, there was a report of kids causing disruption in City Center on Main Street.

And somebody called in a complaint of a person carrying a  holstered pistol openly on his or her belt. The responding officer discussed applicable laws with complainant. No police action required. “Open carry is constitutionally protected and law enforcement is aware of its legality,” according to opencarry.org.

Police also dealt with some cases of driving under the influence, sexual assault and domestic violence. In one case, Montpelier police were assisting the the Northfield Police Department with an armed robbery. During response, Montpelier and Berlin Police were diverted to investigate a welfare check stemming from a domestic violence incident. Investigation into that incident yielded the arrest of the offender by Northfield Police, who later responded to take over the investigation.

Total Incidents 179 from Jan. 9 through Jan. 17.

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