Monday, February 29, 2016

Report on Advisory Council Meeting on Public Safety

I WISH YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE A Personal Take on the First Meeting of the Advisory Council Updating the Town Plan on Public Safety The Advisory Council (Peter Berger, Linda Blodgett, and Peter Veysey; absent Don Eatmon) met on Monday February 22 at 6 pm in the Town Office. Ed Bove, Executive Director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC), chaired the meeting. Nicole Griffin sat at the table as the recorder. (LPCTV was not present, apparently having been advised by a town official not to come. If this is true, it would appear to violate the provisions of the Open Meeting Law.) In the audience were: the chair and one member of the Select Board; the chair and one member (also a member of the Fire Department) of the Planning Commission; the town’s representatives to the regional Planning and Transportation commissions; members of the Mount Holly Fire Department, led by Chief Keith Hawkins; members of the Mount Holly Rescue Squad, led by Chief, Karen Veysey; the town constable Paul Faenza; the newly appointed coordinator of Emergency Management, Jason Griffin; and about ten additional members of the public. After limited introductions, and no reference to minutes from the previous meeting, a set of 15 questions prepared by the Advisory Council and Ed Bove was handed out (see attached). This was the first time that the public and the town’s Public Safety services had seen the questions. (The questions were basically the agenda for the meeting, and as such, should have been posted as required by the Open Meeting Law.) About half-way into the meeting, both Fire and Rescue expressed some frustration that their responses would have been more complete had they had time before the meeting to review the questions and also to obtain input for all their members. They were invited to send more information to Ed Bove; but they were not invited to a future public meeting when they would be better prepared. Generally, in answer to the questions, the safety officials believed that their buildings and equipment were sufficient for the job. Some private drives and roads are impassable or dangerous, but property owners and agents are aware of the problem. The increase in drug use in town and the danger presented to emergency workers were noted. No significant changes in town population or buildings are anticipated and Bill McGrath, chair of the Mount Holly Planning Commission and former director of Rutland Economic Development Corporation, stated that Mount Holly was particularly unsuited for any industrial development - or any operation with more than 10 employees - due to Mount Holly’s limited septic capacity and insufficient water supply. I wish that all town residents and property owners could have the chance to hear and see our Fire and Rescue volunteers describe their work: the 350 to 400 hours spent in basic training; the loss of work time to respond to calls; the lack of employer understanding; the increasing work load as it becomes harder and harder to attract volunteers; the burnout rate, and the depressing prospects for the services they have put their hearts into. I was moved by their devotion to serve the citizens of our town. Despite their dedication and expertise, it became clear that Fire and Rescue have no way to describe how well they reach their goal of excellent services. “We do the best with what we have”. There is no data showing that the department or squad are providing – or need to provide - services at a rate equal to or better than others serving similar communities. Therefore the Town, which has ultimate responsibility for public safety, has no performance measures to inform taxpayers of the quality of the services they are paying for. (Mount Holly is not alone: the Town of Hartford has described its process of correcting this problem: In 2009 the National Fire Protection Association published Fire (and Rescue) Service Measures My response to this first meeting to upgrade the Town Plan is that there was good conversation back and forth between the Advisory Council and public. However, I thought that expecting informed discussion from the public safety officials and the public based on questions distributed at the beginning of the meeting was unlikely, and I supposed that the deficit was probably the result of insufficient time to prepare for the meeting. I suppose that insufficient preparation time must also be the reason for RRPC’s lack of reference to the bedrock of planning: goals, performance standards, and measurements. Indeed, I feel a general sense of rushing may be compromising this important planning work. The Town Plan is not due until 2018. The newly appointed Advisory Council has no town planning experience and needs time to understand the planning process, to review past plans, ordinances, state intent and statutes, and the roles of various town officials. The Town has not been explicit in defining problems it wants addressed. Subjects as complex as the status and governance of education and the needs of at least 12 community organizations are each given only one hour to be discussed in detail by the representative agencies and the public. RRPC has assumed the job of compiling new information related to the subject areas under discussion: updating maps, reviewing new State and Federal laws and programs, and finding examples from other towns’ plans that could provide examples for the Advisory Council. This must be challenging for Mr. Bove to do when he directs a large organization responsible for the 7 towns of Rutland County.

Annette Lynch

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mount Holly Town Library

The Mount Holly Town Library
        Vote YES On Article 7
       Enjoy This Video Produced by
     Aiyana Fortin and Bailey Matteson
        Black River High School Juniors


Monday, February 22, 2016

Protect the View from Star Lake and Belmont Road

Protect the View from Star Lake and Belmont Road
Jason Day of Star Wind Turbines in East Dorset, VT has applied to the Public Service Board to put three commercial wind turbines along the ridge of Hedgehog Hill, easily visible from Belmont Rd., Star Lake, and from the dozens of homes across Star Lake. 
In his application he states, “The area where the turb'ines are located would not be considered any more scenic or natural than all of Vermont.”  Really?  This is the opinion of an out-of-town, for-profit business.  It differs widely from what Mount Holly residents have expressed in public meetings and in the Town Plan!

Jason Day’s application also states that his wind towers’ “visual impact would not be more adverse than a telephone pole…” ignoring the fact that telephone poles aren’t usually 103 feet tall with blades 72 feet long for a total height of 139 feet!
Jason Day has also ignored the town’s express desire for a 2 year moratorium on such projects.

Here’s a link to a copy of the Application.  Note that it contains numerous technical and procedural errors that will be contested.  Also, the four visual impact photos/drawings were not verified using a balloon demonstration, so their accuracy is unknown.
If you wish to object to a commercial wind farm being sited within the middle of a Mt. Holly residential area, please contact:
Carol Ballou (259-2333 or, or
Ron Unterman (259-2491 or
for more information.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Toddler and Pre-School Story Time

Weekly Toddler and Pre-School Story Time
Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am
Each week features a theme, music, and a craft

Read With Oreo
Thursday March 17, 2016
School age students are invited to come to the library and read a story with Oreo the Reading Dog.

Welcome Spring PJ Story Time
Monday March 21, 2016
Let’s spend the evening welcoming the arrival of Spring with a special night of stories and fun.  Milk and cookies will follow.

Books and Cooks
Grades 2 & Up Limit 6
Thursday March 24, 2016
Dyed Easter Eggs
Let’s try out a few different methods for dying eggs and see which one works the best!

First Ever Fletcher Memorial Library
Peeps Diorama Contest
Do you love those ooey gooey brightly colored marshmallow holiday treats known as Peeps? Do you think you could make a diorama depicting your favorite book using only Peeps as characters? If so, you must enter our first ever Peeps Diorama Contest! Prizes will be awarded in 3 categories:
*Up to grade 5
* Grades 6-12
*Family- two or more members of any age
Full directions and entry forms can be picked up at the library beginning March 1st.
Drop off Dates- March 8th-April 1st
Judging by Public Voting- April 4th-8th
Winners will be announced on Friday April 8th.

Crafty Tuesdays
Grades K-6
1st- Rainbow Paperweights- Let’s make some colorful paperweights using tissue paper, magazine pictures and glue.
8th-March Madness-Mini Basketball Hoops- March is college basketball month, and in celebration we will make mini sized hoops perfect for a game of one on one with a friend.
15th-St. Patrick Day Leaping Leprechaun- This week we’ll be making our own movable leprechaun just in time for the holiday!
22nd- Hatching Chicks- Easter is less than a week away so join us as we make some adorable hatching chicks.
29th- Spring Lambs- March 20th signals the first day of Spring and with the arrival of the new season comes many baby farm animals, including lambs. Crafters will use materials such as cotton balls, clothes pins and paper cups to make some adorable spring babies.

Family Movie Night
Monday March 28, 2015
Blue Sky Studios ©“Peanuts” (G)
Refreshments will be served.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Police: Drunk driver crashed into Mount Holly home

Vermont State Police in Rutland responded to a crash Wednesday night where a pickup truck drove through the living room of a Mount Holly home.
Homeowner Andy Haskell was sitting in the next room over when he says he heard the vehicle coming from down the road. Police say Garrett Lever, 32, of Rutland Town, was driving under the influence when he swerved out of the lane of traffic and into Haskell's yard.
Haskell says the intersection where his house sits in Mount Holly is incredibly dangerous and prone to crashes when people aren't obeying speed limits.
"Something major finally happened, luckily nobody got killed, because the speed the guy was traveling, somebody, if they were in that room, would've been killed," said Haskell.
The driver reportedly attempted to back the vehicle out of the house to drive away, and two passengers in the truck fled the scene. Haskell plans to give the police items of evidence he has found since the crash in his yard, including beer bottles and a cash withdrawal receipt.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Ladies of Mount Holly

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to View Five Planets Aligning in a Celestial Spectacle

Joseph McDonald

1:09 PM (5 hours ago)

How to View Five Planets Aligning in a Celestial Spectacle

All five planets will arrange on an arc across the sky. Mercury will appear the closest to the horizon, followed by Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. The stars Antares and Spica will make cameos as well, twinkling between Saturn and Mars, and Mars and Jupiter, respectively. Credit Sky & Telescope

Five planets paraded across the dawn sky early Wednesday in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month.
Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It is the first time in more than a decade that the fab five are simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.
Admission to the daily show is free, though stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere should plan to get up about 45 minutes before sunrise to catch it. City dwellers can stay in their neighborhoods to watch, as long as they point their attention to the east, according to Mr. Kendall.


From: Annette Lynch 

The Mount Holly Select Board and Planning Commission have set in motion a new and potentially exciting way to redraft the Town Plan – before its 2018 due date.
First, the Town contracted with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) to bring its expertise to a series of Community Meetings;
Second, the Mount Holly Planning Commission (MHPC) will not be active in the Community Meetings, but will retain its responsibility to decide the contents of the final Town Plan;
Third, the MHPC has established a new entity or subcommittee – the Advisory Planning Council - that will link the RRPC and the MHPC, by attending all Community Meetings and reporting back to the MHPC.
At a Public Hearing tomorrow, Monday February 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the Mount Holly Town Office, the “working parameters” of this new arrangement will be discussed. Citizen participation in this discussion can ensure that the new arrangement will provide for full citizen involvement.

Annette Lynch