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Orwell talks traffic safety on 22A

ORWELL — Since this year’s town meeting in Orwell, the selectboard and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) have worked to address traffic safety issues at the intersection of Route 22A and Route 73 in the center of town.
The ongoing issue got a new spark on Town Meeting Day with a lengthy discussion of traffic safety issues at the intersection of the two state roads.
Afterward, in a letter dated March 19, Gerry Audet and Theodore Michel summed up their frustration with the state’s inaction on improving a dangerous intersection, and with the trouble the town has had trying to change local traffic patterns.
“All too frequently our fire and rescue departments are called to respond to multiple vehicle collisions. (The intersection) continues to be a ticking time bomb for this community.”
Selectboard chair Roland Simmons submitted the letter to Norman Blanchard, regional manager at VTrans. On March 30, the selectboard met with Blanchard and other VTrans representatives to discuss possible alterations.
Simmons summed up the selectboard’s requests in a letter following that meeting, including a 40 mile-per-hour speed limit as Route 22A travels through town, a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit in the immediate area of the Routes 73/22A intersection, and parking restrictions that would allow for fewer sight obstructions at the intersection.
Simmons stressed that the changes would improve law enforcement and traffic safety in the Orwell area.
Blanchard, in a reply dated April 4, reported that his staff was working on a survey of the area before installing a painted island between the Orwell Gas N Go and Route 22A. Blanchard said with the addition of flexible yellow traffic posts, this would prevent cars from parking in areas that would obstruct the road.
The Orwell selectboard also:
•  On March 26, heard recognition for Lisa Thal, retiring librarian from the Orwell Free Library. The library board reported that it had appointed Martha Hill to the interim librarian post while it searches for a candidate for the position.
•  On May 14, thanked Green Up Day volunteers for the work they did cleaning up the town, and thanked Hawk’s Kitchen for the donation of food for the occasion.
•  On May 14, authorized the creation of a checking account to receive donations for the town’s 250th anniversary celebration, slated for August. The selectboard also accepted an invitation to participate in the town’s Memorial Day Parade.
•  On May 14, heard a report from Simmons and selectboard member Mark Young on a financial accountability and fraud policy program that the state is running. The pilot program will work with municipalities to set up procedures for fraud prevention and accountability. Orwell and Bristol are both part of the pilot program.
•  On May 14, heard that the Orwell Free Library had hired Kate Oechler as the new librarian.
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The following real estate transfers have been recorded in Orwell in the past few months:
•  Dec. 2, 2011: Gloria Kehoe to Jennifer Bruyneel and Timothy Morse, 10 acres and a mobile home at 17 Horton Road, $50,000.
•  Dec. 20, 2011: Carolyn Hutton to Mark and Susan Young, 10.13 acres on Pearl Road, $45,200.
•  Jan. 31, 2012: Helmer Properties Trust to Edward and Paula Barnes, 0.07 acres and farm buildings on Route 73 East, $5,000.
•  Feb. 03: Leon Jackson to Thomas McLaughlin, 2 acres and a mobile home at 735 Route 73, $10,000.
•  Feb. 15: Christina and Daryl Gebo to Tamara Stone, 1 acre and a house at 3 Old Stage Road, $120,000.
•  Feb. 23: John Whalen to Todd Huntley, 19.7 acres and a house at 148 Needham Hill Road, $188,500.
•  April 19: Scott and Cathy Anderson to Suzanne and James LaFlam, 47.4 acres and a seasonal dwelling on Old Sawmill Road, $170,000. 

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