Around the region: Leicester prepares to fete 250th; Orwell eyes roadwork

LEICESTER — October 2011 will mark the 250th anniversary of Leicester’s town charter. The selectboard and the Leicester Historical Society are each planning ways to observe the occasion.
Last September, a member of the Brandon Police Department contacted the Leicester selectboard concerning a letter that had appeared in the Brandon Reporter suggesting that the Brandon police were patrolling Leicester. The officer made it clear that Brandon police do not patrol Leicester unless asked by another authority, or if they are investigating a case.
At the Leicester selectboard’s Sept. 7 meeting, some town residents attended to make comments on sheriff’s department patrols. The commenters claimed that rather than patrolling, cars were sitting in selected areas of the road waiting to pull drivers  over, especially when people were coming home from work and on voting day.
At the Oct. 4 selectboard meeting, representatives from the Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake Association said they were applying for an $11,350 grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. According to the association’s fall 2010 newsletter, the funding would allow it to expand its current milfoil education programs at lake access points to four days per week during the summer season.
On Oct. 18, upon a request by Mark Stacey of the Addison County Sheriff’s Department, the selectboard discussed its patrol agreement, deciding that the 16 hours of patrols that it receives each week are adequate.
At the same meeting, zoning administrator Kate Briggs reported that the town listers are short-staffed and are hoping that new appointees to the position can be trained more fully.
And in preparation for Town Meeting Day in March, selectmen said they would meet every Monday in January 2011 to prepare the budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Leicester in the past several months:
•Apr. 22: Robert Ihinger to Michael Loven, 3.7 acres on Shackett Road, $15,000.
•June 2: Francisco Valkenburg to Sue Taylor, 0.1 acres and seasonal dwelling at 101 Sandy Point Lane, $315,000.
•June 4: Cersosimo Industries Inc. to Dorothy and William Ringley, 10 acres on Fern Lake Road, $47,500.
•Aug. 4: Wendy Commiskey Yendell to Viola Liskenin, 1.7 acres and house at 1113 Lake Dunmore Road, $105,000.
•Sept. 8: Estate of Walter Richard Cady to Stephen Zahn, 2.2 acres and house at 1114 Lake Dunmore Road, $12,000.
•Sept. 23: Robert and Zillah Lee Albern to John Swain and Linda Sommers, 5.4 acres and seasonal dwelling at 29 Hollow Tree Lane, $350,000.
•Oct. 12: David Kritz and Randi Schweriner to Joseph and Rosemary Wrona, 0.85 acres and house on North Point Road, $142,000.
•Oct. 29: Margaret Eriksson to Jeffrey Brown and Kate Hays, 0.27 acres and house at 368 Indian Trail for $440,000.
•Dec. 1: Paul Kelly Jr. and Michael Hollenbach to Brebeuf Co. LLC, 1.2 acres on Lake Dunmore and Mud Pond, $67,000.
Orwell selectmen eye roadwork
ORWELL — Ever since a mudslide along the shore on Mount Independence Road in the spring of 2009, the road has been temporarily routed through a part of Orwell resident Maglorie Audet’s property.
Since then, the Orwell selectboard has been discussing solutions for the displaced road. At a meeting in the fall, selectboard chair Roland Simmons said they have sought the advice of Vermont Local Roads, the Vermont Department of Transportation and soil geologists.
At a September selectboard meeting, Stephen Jerome of Vermont Local Roads advised that the temporary road should stay in place, as the soil has proven to be unstable in the past. After speaking with experts, the board was weighing three options, which included reinforcing the shoreline in the area of the slide, studying and testing the area — which could cost more than $30,000 — or laying a new road away from the slide site.
At the next meeting, on Sept. 27, Sheri Young, a soil scientist, reported that a level of clay under the road would continue to shift.
Simmons said last week that the board is hoping to come to a conclusion on what needs to be done in the coming months, and that a corresponding budget item may show up in the town’s proposed 2011-2012 municipal spending plan.
Also at the Sept. 27 meeting, Simmons reported that the town had saved money on a Route 73 paving project for which they had been allotted more than $89,000 by the state. The board applied to the state for permission to use the remaining $4,000 toward the Mount Independence Road paving project.
In October, the selectboard voted to lease the old town garage to Dennis Weyer for $225 per month.
On Nov. 8, the selectboard appointed Wayne Weseman to the position of assistant zoning administrator. Then, in December, the board also asked that he take the position of auditor for the town, which he accepted.
On Dec. 27, selectmen discussed the snowstorm over the holiday weekend, which had kept town road crews very busy.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Orwell in the past several months:
• May 20: Allen and Cathy Alger to Brian and Brooke Holzhammer, 2.5 acres and house at 22 Young Road, $110,000.
•July 29: Bertrand and Veronica Hamilton to Richard and Deanna Weyhreter, 0.8 acres and seasonal home at 91 Sunrise Lake Road, $175,000.
• Aug. 20: Hayley Dubois to Peter and Dorothy Pierce, 11 acres and mobile home at 145 Needham Hill Road, $113,000.
• July 15: Ronald and Jane Vincent to Walter Phelps, 2.07 acres at 54 Murray Road, $5,000.
•Nov. 1: Audrey, Darby, Merritt and Melissa Penney and Darcea Litt to Theresa and Jeremiah Nolan, 0.38 acres and seasonal home at 355 Singing Cedars Road, $90,000.
•Nov. 2: Kenneth Cadow to Walter Phelps, 30 acres off Murray Road, $50,000.
•Nov. 9: Carolyn Hutton to Russell and Meggan Young, 12.35 acres on Royce Hill Road, $35,000.
•Nov. 19: David Wallace and Nancy Kline to Richard and Lois Sadler: 0.25 acres and house at 62 Lakeview Road, $325,000.
Whiting fixes the roof of its library
WHITING — The Whiting town library building has a new roof as of early this winter.
Throughout September, the selectboard reviewed bids for the roof project — which included new roofing for the building’s cupola as well.
In October, the town accepted a bid by Mark Simonds of Triple K Construction, whose offer of $8,600 for the project came in at the lowest of the three bids. The new roof was finished in mid-November.
But the selectboard also noted the hope of moving the historic town building south to join the Town Hall and the town office building, since the building currently has no parking. And in a letter to the selectboard prior to its Sept. 27 meeting, town librarian Tammy Wilbur noted that the leaking roof was one problem, but that the foundation was also deteriorating gradually and some of the walls were cracking.
At the same meeting, the town agreed to pay for excavation and sand for a proposed dry hydrant at the intersection of West Road and North Vail Road. Whiting Fire Chief Mike Wilbur said a $2,500 grant would cover the construction of the hydrant, but not excavation.
In October, the Cornwall Historical Society removed the painted curtain from the Whiting Town Hall in order to restore it.
At a series of meetings throughout the fall, second constable Jonathan Heppell reported on a number of town residents who had failed to register their dogs with the town. Over the following months, he reported that some of them had come to the town office to complete the registration process.
In early November, zoning administrator Fred Chadwick resigned due to ill health. The town hired Ed Hanson, who is the zoning administrator for Sudbury, on a temporary basis. According to town clerk Grace Simonds, the town is still looking for someone to more permanently fill the position.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Whiting in the past several months:
•April 15: Richard Iffland to Paul Quesnel, 63 acres on North Main Street, $82,000.
•June 11: Clifford Ryea, Sandra and Richard Felion to Calvin and Margene Loven, 1.2 acres and mobile home at 297 Leicester-Whiting Road for $10,000.
•Oct. 13: Robert Svendsen to Eric Traudt, 4.72 acres on North Street, $56,000.
Goshen builds town sand shed
GOSHEN — Last August the Goshen selectboard accepted a bid of $16,000 to build a new town salt shed.
Last Town Meeting Day, voters had approved an allocation of $15,000 for the shed in the current year’s budget, and the town received additional money from the state for the project.
Also at the Aug. 23 meeting, the selectboard discussed the volunteer fire department starting up in Goshen. The board’s worry was that the startup department would endanger the town’s relationship with the Brandon Fire Department, which contracts with Goshen to respond to fires there. Members of the board agreed to sent a letter to the Brandon department affirming that the town has no affiliation with the department, and that the agreement with Brandon will continue.
In November, following the election of a new town treasurer earlier in the year, the selectboard received preliminary results of its routine financial audit. At the Nov. 8 meeting, the selectboard discussed developing a business structure that would allow for the depreciation in value of the town’s possessions over time, allowing for a more accurate property audit.
At the same meeting, the town discussed the possibility of buying a new town truck to be used for garbage, recycling and other general purposes.
At the Dec. 6 meeting, the selectboard appointed Lori Lovell to the auditor position.
Meanwhile, the planning commission was discussing the rewriting of the town plan and bylaws. Commission Chair Chad Chamberlain said the current town plan was approved in May of 2007, and it will expire in 2012. The commission is rewriting the language in the plan to bring it up to new standards.
“We don’t want to change it a great deal, but there are new things required in the plan that weren’t required previously,” said Chamberlain.
The following real estate sale was recorded in Goshen in the past several months:
•Aug. 13: First Brandon Bank to Bernard and Sherry Humiston, 0.39 acres on Hayes Road, $3,500.

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