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“Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to their government’s public records. Government transparency is far too important to be revoked by government agencies when they feel inconvenienced.”

Secretary of State Jim Condos, A4

In the news

Montpelier Alive’s executive director details some of the exciting changes happening around the Capitol City, and introduces readers to the upcoming Moonlight Madness. A2

So much to talk about in Talk of the Town. A3


Local
Town celebrates nearly 100 years of combined service from three employees

BARRE TOWN — Local officials recognized three town employees for a combined 97 years of service.

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Select Board adopted a resolution thanking Town Clerk Donna Kelty, Assistant Town Clerk Alice Bartlett and Joyce Beaudin, administrative assistant to the town’s assessor’s office.

Kelty has been elected six times and has served in that role for 19 years. She served for 11 years as an assistant town clerk before that. Bartlett has served in her position for 30 years. Beaudin has also been at her job for 30 years, and she served as an assistant town clerk for seven years before that.

Board member Paul White read the resolution thanking the three for their hard work through the years, calling them “exemplary public servants with regard to integrity, conscientiousness, service orientation and compassion.” The resolution said the trio are valued colleagues because of their humanity and team orientation.

Also, the resolution noted Bartlett’s “pachydermal memory” which got a laugh from those at the meeting.

Only Kelty knew about the spirit of the resolution before the meeting so it was a bit of a surprise for the other two who thought they were there to recognize Kelty. After the resolution was read, the three were given a standing ovation.

Board Chairman Tom White said working anywhere for 30 years is amazing, “But being with a municipality where you’re working with your community and you’re giving back to the community, that’s another marker right there. It’s more than just a business,” Tom White said.

Beaudin said it didn’t seem like it had been 37 years. She said that’s likely because she’s enjoyed what she’s been doing.

“I like helping people, and where I am now is a good way to help people,” she said.

Bartlett said she loves the town and the people she works with and the residents who stop by.

“I think since we first started, Donna and I, they are just so much more receptive, and we all know their names, their first names. We know their dogs’ names and everything else. It’s been great. And like I’ve said, we aren’t done yet,” she said.

Kelty said it seemed like they started just yesterday. She emphasized how well those in the office work together as a team.

“I’ve never worked at a job, and I’ve had plenty, like this, where everybody depends one each other, and if one can’t figure it out you go to the other. They’re always there for support whether it’s for something we’re doing internally or something that we’re doing for John Q. Public. We do enjoy our residents, and I think they feel comfortable, including attorneys and title searchers and just taxpayers. And that’s part of the reason I think they come in is just for the camaraderie and they feel welcome. They know it’s their community, and we’re there to help them,” she said.

Assistant Town Manager Elaine Wang said she went to a workshop and town fair where there was a discussion about cooperation in the office. Wang said all these towns were talking about conflicts they were having between the town clerk’s office and the assessor’s office and she didn’t understand what they were talking about because it’s not like that at all in Barre Town.

Town Manager Carl Rogers agreed saying he’d hear about town managers having issues with the town clerk and that is not the case here. Rogers said they all work together to get things done.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com


Local
School bollards will be Barre granite

BARRE — School officials are hopeful they can replace bollards for a student walkway at Spaulding High School within a few weeks.

That will, hopefully, be the outcome of efforts to resolve an embarrassing chapter for the “Granite Capital of the World” concerning the use of granite from China for bollards along the walkway at the school.

At a meeting of the school district’s Facilities Committee on Wednesday, board members were told that the Barre Granite Association is expected to arrange for delivery of Barre Gray granite within a week to local granite sheds; within another week, the bollards will be cut and shaped.

The arrangement was assisted by Mark Gherardi, president of Buttura & Gherardi Granite Artisans, who is president of the Barre Granite Association as well, said John Pandolfo, superintendent of the Barre Unified Union School District.

He said he hoped the project would be completed “before the snow flies.”

“So that’s the plan, and we had a discussion about where (the bollards) will be installed, because there was some thought of moving them to a different location than (where) the previous ones were. But what we agreed on, for the time being, is we will install them right where the others were taken out,” he added.

Guliano Cecchinelli, chairman of the Facilities Committee, confirmed the details of the arrangement to replace the bollards with granite from Barre quarries.

“(The) granite block was ordered and is on its way to be cut, and once it’s cut, the individual pieces will be hand cut, and when those are ready, someone will set them,” Cecchinelli said.

Gherardi could not be reached for comment.

The conflict arose in September when funds from a $10,000 grant were used to purchase bollards that would double as planters and picnic tables outside the school’s cafeteria. The bollards were made of granite from China instead of Barre Gray granite.

The 12 bollards, costing $5,000, were supposed to create a safe walkway by splitting the exit from the school into a single travel lane and a student walkway.

When the origin of the granite bollards was made known, a decision was made to remove them, at a cost of $1,000, and replace them with Barre granite bollards.

But the timing of that decision created more problems, with school officials concerned about the safety of students who would not be separated from traffic. A temporary measure proposed using Jersey barriers to separate the walkway from the road until spring.

Another proposal to create a student walkway on the grassy knoll beside the road led to more concerns about the additional cost and maintenance of the path in winter.

Pandolfo said the committee had planned to revisit a traffic study several years ago and conduct a new traffic study to decide whether the school district wanted to continue with splitting the road into a walkway and single travel lane, or make it a two-way street or a two-lane exit from the school.

The school district is considering whether to build a separate walkway along the grassy edge of the road and still have bollards at the curb separating traffic from students.

“But for the time being, we opted not to do that, for a variety of reasons,” Pandolfo said.

stephen.mills @timesargus.com


jebcas / Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo  

Memorable Times

Barb Asen, right, Central Vermont Council on Aging’s family caregiver support director, enjoys a story from Wayne Hood, of Corinth, during the monthly Memorable Times Cafe at the Vermont History Center in Barre. The program, which offers engaging activities for people with memory loss and their care partners, celebrated their first anniversary this week.