Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bear Complaints Continue to Be High This Summer

Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Bear complaints continue to be high this summer. Here are a few tips for backyard composters to avoiding attracting bears:
-Most importantly, keep scent to a minimum by covering all food scraps or ‘green’ materials with carbon-rich ‘brown’ materials like dry leaves, straw, or ripped up paper. 
-Turn your compost often to aid decomposition.
-Use an enclosed bin lined with wire, or an open pile protected by electric fencing. Bait electric fencing with peanut butter or bacon grease to increase effectiveness.
-Avoid composting meat or bones.
-For backyard chicken owners, feed some of your food scraps to your chickens and compost the rest, and replace scraps for chickens daily.
-For smelly waste, consider trench composting by burying food scraps deeply in your garden.
-Or avoid the hassle and take your food scraps to a local drop off facility. Visit to find a composter near you!

Warm Water Can Be Lethal To Trout

Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Vermont Fish & Wildlife and the Vermont Council of Trout Unlimited are encouraging anglers to consider their impact on trout when fishing during the current hot, dry weather. 
Many Vermont trout streams and rivers are currently at or above stressful temperatures for trout and flows in most rivers are already dangerously low. 
“Trout prefer water temperatures in the upper-50’s to mid-60’s and become increasingly stressed when water temperatures climb above 70°F,” said Clark Amadon, Chair of the Vermont Council of Trout Unlimited. “The stress of being caught by an angler when water temperatures are this warm makes it much more likely that the trout will die after being released.” 
As a result, officials are recommending that anglers do not fish for trout during extended hot spells if they do not intend to harvest their catch for a healthy meal. Instead, consider targeting warmwater fish species such as bass, northern pike, bowfin, or panfish. Anglers who do practice catch-and-release fishing for trout or any other species should remember to take steps such as playing the fish quickly, keeping the fish in the water as much as possible, and releasing the fish without injury to improve the fish’s chances of survival.
Warm water temperatures also are a reminder about the importance of naturally vegetated shorelines. “Maintaining vegetation along streams and rivers is critical to provide shade that keeps water cool, even when air temperatures rise,” said Lee Simard, fisheries biologist with VTF&W. “Allowing trout to move to coldwater areas when the waters warm is also critical to maintain healthy and robust trout populations throughout Vermont. This is one reason we are constantly working to provide aquatic organism passage by removing dams and replacing impassable culverts.”

Picnic and Story Time (with Free Books) 7/25/2018

Ascutney Mountain Promise Community and the Mary Blood Library in Brownsville, VT have teamed up to bring you a Picnic in the Park and a CLiF Summer Readers Story Hour and free books for all children who attend!!
Wednesday, July 25th, 12:30- 2:30... FREE!! Open to all!!!

VT Homestead Tax Forms Delayed

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
White River Junction — A backlog within the Vermont Department of Taxes in processing key tax forms tied to the state’s income sensitivity program has led to thousands of Vermonters receiving property tax bills far higher than they expected to owe.
Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom sent municipal officials a note Tuesday acknowledging and apologizing for the delay in processing homestead declaration forms that are filed with state taxes, and said the department will complete the 14,000 as-yet-unprocessed forms by July 27.
“We did not want to leave even 1,000 unprocessed by July 1,” Samsom said in a phone interview on Tuesday, referencing the date at which some towns begin to send out property tax bills to their residents.
Homeowners who live in Vermont and have a household income of less than $147,500 can qualify for the income sensitivity program through the homestead declaration form. They then get a partial rebate on their education property taxes, with a maximum adjustment of $8,000, depending on income level.
Concerned taxpayers “should call us,” Samsom said. “If they call the town and the town says, ‘We didn’t receive anything,’ then they should call the state and find out, and say, ‘Hey, I filed.’ ”
He referred people to the department’s phone number, 802-828-2505.
John Sausville, 78, of White River Junction, said last week that he was dismayed to receive a tax bill from the town of Hartford that didn’t reflect his income sensitivity rebate.
“It’s for a thousand dollars more than I expected,” he said.
Sausville said that a phone call to the state seemed to have resolved the issue.
“In my case, it was a data entry error up in Montpelier,” said Sausville. “They claimed my income was over $400,000, when actually it’s a lot less than that. Now they’ve got the correct amounts in there, and I will get a corrected tax bill, supposedly, in three to 10 days.”
Others who were affected by the problem said they weren’t sure what to do. One Norwich resident, who asked not to be identified as income sensitive, said she had called the Department of Taxes but hung up after being on hold for 20 minutes.
A phone call to the department on Tuesday morning resulted in a wait time of 15 minutes.

Too Many Red Flags

Taxpayers seeking homestead exemptions or income sensitivity rebates to their tax bill are required to file applications with the state by mid-April; those that are “timely filed” ordinarily are processed before towns generate any tax bills.
But beginning last year, the Department of Taxes has relied on a new computer system to process the applications. As with the old system, the new software approves most applications automatically, and flags a minority of them for manual processing by a staff of about a dozen people, with outside support from other divisions.
The problem, Samsom said, is that the new, more sophisticated system is capable of flagging more scenarios for possible fraud or inaccuracy, and it sent 55,000 — more than 31 percent — of the 175,000 timely filed applications to human staffers this year, overwhelming the department’s resources.
About 41,000 of those had been processed by early this week, leaving the 14,000 yet to resolve.
Samsom said each staffer is given a chunk of applications to work through at a time, which they fix either by reconciling simple errors (such as transposed digits in property SPAN numbers), or by calling the taxpayer to gather new information.
Samsom said different applications were flagged for different reasons — in about half the cases, he said, it comes down to the applicant having made some sort of error, such as an incorrect SPAN number, or a missed data field. The other half, he said, prove to be processing errors.
Some of the applications are being approved in batches with the help of the IT department, by removing specific reasons for flagging that have not proven to be effective at identifying fraud.
For example, Samsom said, some forms were held up because they were missing their 1099 statements, which report various types of income, even though the amount paid matched to the relevant bank’s figures.
Holding such forms, he said, “is not appropriate,” he said. “We’re not seeing any value.”
Last year, there also were processing backlogs for income tax refunds, for similar reasons, which has been part of what Samsom called the “growing pains” of learning the new system.
Samsom said that next year the department will know how to properly calibrate the system to turn up as many substantive errors as possible, but also “don’t set the threshold so tight that you can’t get them through in time.”
While he agreed that the downside is unacceptable, he said there is an upside.
“We’ve saved the state millions of dollars in improper payments, because we’re able to find things that the older system could not find,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword.”

Headaches and Costs

Not all of the 14,000 affected Vermonters will experience a problem, Samsom said, because roughly three-quarters of the state’s municipalities don’t send out tax bills until a little later in the year, which means those towns will be working from updated lists.
But in towns that bill in July, including Hartford and Norwich, income-sensitive taxpayers are left hoping that the problem will be resolved before the day tax bills are due. If not, they either will have to pay the full amount due now and wait until their second installment to receive the credit (which typically is split between the two installments), or pay whatever interest payments and penalties are imposed by the municipalities.
The situation has created anxiety among affected taxpayers, and added headaches and expenses for town finance departments.
When asked to assess the impact in Norwich, Finance Director Roberta Robinson offered a terse “not good.”
Last year, she said, the state sent the town $1.25 million in tax rebate credits for 440 parcels. This year, she said, she’s gotten $815,000 for 330 parcels — and, since sending out tax bills on Friday, she’s received about 50 phone calls from worried taxpayers. The first installment in Norwich is due on Aug. 17.
“We are getting lots and lots and lots of calls,” she said. “I tried to put something on the listserv just to get people to stop calling us. We don’t have the information.”
Robinson said the staff will be hard pressed to clean up the mess, even after they receive the correct information.
“We’re going to have to send out how many revised tax bills showing the new amount due? Not only is it our time, it’s postage, it’s paper.”
Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar said some sort of delay happens at the state level every year, and that the town is used to updating its bills according to a scheduled series of data updates that run through September.
He said there’s no way for Hartford to modify its due date for the affected residents, because there’s no way to identify them.
“We don’t know who’s going to be eligible for the credit until the state determines that eligibility,” he said.
Galen Mudgett, a lister with the town of Sharon, said the town was at about 380 taxable homesteads, not much less than the 400-plus he would expect, based on last year’s numbers.
He said he knew of a handful of taxpayers who had filed their homestead applications in February or March, and who hadn’t yet gotten word from the state.
“Right now it doesn’t make it any harder for me to do my job,” Mudgett said, “but after the next month, it will make it a little bit difficult because once tax bills go out, we have to go through the process of sending bills and correcting bills.”
Gov. Phil Scott, “has been made aware of this situation and understands the frustration of those Vermonters who received incorrect bills,” spokeswoman Rebecca Kelley said in a statement responding to questions from the Valley News.
Kelley said the Department of Taxes is working with municipalities to mitigate the impact on Vermonters, and that Scott’s staff “will be working to identify improvements to prevent such delays next year, as we all understand we must do better to ensure we’re providing better service to Vermonters.”
Samsom offered a flat guarantee that things will be different in 2019.
“Next year, we will not be in this situation,” he said. “Period.”
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at or 603-727-3211.

Summer Concert Series 07/22/2018

Town of Weathersfield, Parks and Recreation - 
Summer Concert Series 
begins Sunday at Stoughton Pond, Perkinsville  
Weathersfield P&R kicks off the first of three FREE concerts held at Stoughton Pond Picnic Shelter on SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2018 from 4-6PM.
Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter Kevin Atkinson formerly of Strafford, Vermont will be joined by our Town Troubadour, Bill Brink, arranger of the concerts.
Kevin started at the Stone Soup Restaurant in Strafford, he has played throughout the US, and British Columbia as well as touring and performing across Europe for two years.  New Zealand has been his home for many years producing TV shows such as “That’s Country” and “White Fang.”  His mixture of songs are inspired by his world travels, the music is from the heart, for the heart, and to the heart.
Come and bring a picnic and chair or blanket, we are sure you will enjoy the relaxing concert. 
For further information contact:  (802) 674-5280 

Property Tax Installment Due August 8, 2018

The 1st quarter property tax installment is due
Wednesday, August 8th, 2018.

8th Annual Summer Evening with Friends and Neighbors 07/28/2018

The 8th Annual Summer Evening with Friends and Neighbors will feature a concert with popular vocalist Jenni Johnson and the Junketeers performing jazz, swing and blues (and a bit of Elvis). Weathersfield Center Meeting House on Weathersfield Center Road, Sat., July 28th at 6:00 PM. Appetizers, beverages, desserts and a silent auction. Sponsored by the Weathersfield Proctor Library. Suggested donation at the door – $15. Call 674-2863 or 674-5021.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Very Important Reminder to Spay/Neuter Your Pets

Lost My Way Animal Shelter is supporting Spaying and Neutering Pets.

A very important reminder to Spay and Neuter your pets! This month alone, our shelter has spayed/neutered 11 pups which is a lot for our small shelter! But it is so important and necessary! It is a frequent occurrence that animals in our care are not fixed. Spaying and Neutering not only assists in the reduction of unwanted pets, but there are many health reasons of why it is beneficial. An example is the new pup Roxie that we took in just this week. Without medical care, she surely would have crossed the rainbow bridge. A spay earlier in her life could have prevented her medical emergency. So please, spay and neuter your pets!

Weathersfield residents can receive up to $50 refund on the spaying/neutering of their dog or cat. Please stop by the Town Office to pick up a form.

Perkinsville Woman Killed in I-91 Crash

Weathersfield School lost a parent/friend/board member today. We are very sad and reaching out to one another for solace. We are opening the Weathersfield School from 9 to 11 am Friday morning to host a Gathering Place for students and parents, teachers, staff, neighbors, friends, relatives, and community members. Light refreshments will be served. Grief counseling will be made available. This gathering is open to the public.

JeanMarie Oakman, Principal, Weathersfield School

Perkinsville woman killed in I-91 crash

© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

APerkinsville woman was killed this morning when a truck traveling south on I-91 crossed the median and hit her car head-on.
Laura McNaughton, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash near Exit 9 in the town of Hartland, according to a Vermont State Police press release. The VSP said that around 7:30 a.m., Joshua Rondeau of Charlestown, N.H., lost control of his Chevy 1500 pickup truck and crossed the median. The truck hit McNaughton’s Toyota Matrix, which was traveling north.
McNaughton’s 8-year-old son was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Rondeau and two children riding in the truck, an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old, were also taken to DHMC with non-life threatening injuries.
I-91 northbound was closed at Exit 9 while crash investigators completed their on-scene investigation. It was reopened at approximately 1 p.m. The investigation into the cause of the crash continues.

One Killed in Head-On Crash After Truck Crosses I-91 Median in Hartland
Hartland — One person died this morning when a Charlestown man lost control of his southbound pickup truck on Interstate 91, crossing the median and striking a northbound vehicle head-on.
Joshua Rondeau, 37, and two juvenile passengers in his 2008 Chevy truck were transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, police said in a news release this afternoon.
The driver of the northbound 2007 Toyota Matrix suffered fatal injuries in the 7:30 a.m. crash near the Hartland exit. The driver’s identity hasn’t been released.
A juvenile passenger in the Matrix was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the release.
The Vermont State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is investigating. Among the questions yet to be answered is why Rondeau lost control of his vehicle, said Vermont State Police Lt. Roger Farmer.
Traffic was diverted to Route 5 at Exit 9, the Hartland exit, for several hours this morning. The roadway was reopened at about 1:10 p.m., police said.
In an email shortly after 8 a.m., police urged motorists to drive slowly because of weather-related hazards.
“Rainy conditions are causing water to pool on the roadways in many areas, leading to an increased risk of hydroplaning,” police said at 8:07 a.m. “The rain also reduces visibility. Troopers are responding to a number of incidents and crashes on the interstates and other roads, and in many cases the wet weather is a contributing cause.
“Motorists are reminded to slow down in adverse conditions, increase following distance between cars and have your lights on to improve visibility. … Please buckle up and drive safely.”

Five Alarm 5K Run/Walk

FREE Cold Climate Heat Pump Workshop

Cold Climate Heat Pump Workshop 
at the Weathersfield Town Library, Route 5 in Ascutney

SATURDAY, June 30, 2018 at 9am
See the newly-installed heat pumps in action at the library
FREE Heat Pump Workshop 
Cold climate heat pumps have rapidly emerged as a promising technology for Vermont. 
Come to this informal workshop to learn about heat pump options for both hot water and space heating 
to see if they make sense for your home.  
The workshop is FREE, bring along your questions, learn how heat pumps operate in summer and winter.  
Pick up a copy of the Weathersfield Energy Efficiency flyer compiled by the Energy Group 
with further tips on how to save money on energy and help the environment! 
For more information, contact:  802-674-5280

Calling all Photographers in the Weathersfield, VT area!

The Town of Weathersfield is working on creating a new town website and we need your help!  We are looking for photos of recreational activities and picturesque locations from around the town to feature on this new site.  If you would like an opportunity for your photos to be featured, please check that they meet the requirements below and submit them via email
 The requirements are as follows:  each photo must be taken within the Town of Weathersfield, be in high resolution, and a permission form must be filled out and turned into the Town Office.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Free Child Seat Safety Check on Father's Day at Exit Ate Restaurant

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WSESU Food Program Survey

We are looking for your opinion about our school food programs. The Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union school boards, including Windsor School, Albert Bridge School, Weathersfield School and Hartland Elementary School has formed a school food committee to gain greater understanding around the communities' opinions or values of our school food programs. Vital Communities' Upper Valley Farm to School Network is helping facilitate this discussion. Please help by answering the following eight questions to let us know what is important to you about school meals. Plus, one lucky winner will walk away with a $25 gift certificate to Mike's Store in Hartland. Thank you for your assistance completing this short survey by Friday June 22, 2018.

Solid Waste District Information

Composter Sale
The Southern Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste District, which includes Weathersfield, is selling “Soil Saver” backyard composters for $50 each. The 100% recycled plastic composter is 28”w x 28”d x 32”high and has a 10-year manufacturer’s guarantee. We also sell Sure-Close food scrap pails for $5 each. To order, call 674-9235 for an order form or download one from the District’s website, Orders are due by Friday, April 13 and may be picked up at the Weathersfield Transfer Station on or after Saturday, April 28. If you attend a backyard composting workshop, you can buy one at the workshop for $35.
Backyard Composting Workshops
The District is offering workshops again this year. If you attend one, you can purchase one composter at the greatly discounted price of $35 (additional composters are $50). The workshops will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the following Thursdays:
• Whiting Library in Chester – May 3
• First Congregational Church in Springfield – May 31
• Reading Town Hall – June 14
• Rockingham Free Public Library – June 21
The workshop presentation is about 45 minutes with time afterwards for questions. To sign up, call 674-9235 or email
Household Hazardous Waste Collections
The District will hold household hazardous waste collections on the following Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.:
May 12 Springfield Transfer Station
May 19 Weathersfield Transfer Station
September 8 Springfield Transfer Station
September 15 Goodyear Building in Windsor
Mary T. O’Brien
Recycling Coordinator
Southern Windsor/Windham Counties
Solid Waste Management District
Ascutney, Vermont
Test your recycling knowledge!

Newell Green Photo Exhibit and Sale / Proctor Library

Newell Green Photo Exhibit and Sale --- Exhibit and sale of black and white prints from original negatives (circa 1930s-1950s) by acclaimed local photographer Newell Green (1901-1993), Friday, June 22, 6-8 PM, Weathersfield Proctor Library, Route 5, Ascutney, VT. A percentage of the proceeds from all sales will be donated to the Library. Photos will remain on display for a short period of time following this evening event. Contact 802-674-5021.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Robin Elizabeth Merchant, 58

Robin Elizabeth (Acker) Merchant passed away peacefully surrounded by family at her sister’s home in East Durham, NY on May 25, 2018, at the age of 58. Robin was born on July 19, 1959, in Albany, NY to the late Leon E. Acker and Betty Ann Armstrong. She settled in Springfield, Vermont with her 3 children, where she eventually met and married the love of her life Donald R. Merchant. They were married on June 27, 1992 and made their home in Weathersfield, VT where she enjoyed her flowers and gardening, reading, listening to music, laughing and dancing, riding with Don on his motorcycle, and especially her grandchildren. 
Robin had been currently living close to family and friends in Springfield, VT with her little dog Lilly prior to her passing. She was a beloved mother, Nana, sister, aunt and loving friend to many. She loved staying in touch with all her friends and family and would light up a room with her joy, laughter and carefree spirit. She cared deeply and knew how to make each person feel valued and needed. She is remembered for many things, but two of her greatest gifts she gave the world were her ability to love and her faith in God.
She is lovingly remembered by her children, Jean M. Willard and her husband Steve of Springfield, VT, Steven M. Towsley and his wife Carolyn of Highgate, VT, and Roy M. Towsley, of Springfield, VT. She is also survived by 8 grandchildren who meant the world to her, brothers Michael Acker, Timothy Acker, and James Acker, her sisters Lynn Mauriello, and Laura Ferrara, their families and several nieces and nephews.
Robin was predeceased by her loving husband Don, her parents, and her brothers Eric Acker and Patrick Acker.
A celebration of Robin’s life will be held on Saturday, June 23rd, at 3 p.m., at Davis Memorial Chapel in Springfield, VT, followed by a short graveside ceremony at Oakland Cemetery in Springfield, VT where Robin and her beloved Don will rest together forever.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Fire Commission Agenda 4/9/2018

Fire Commission Agenda
Martin Memorial Hall
5259 Route 5
Ascutney, VT 05030
April 9th, 2018
7:00 P.M.
1. Call to Order
2. Reorganization
3. Review 2018 Local Emergency Operations Plan
4. Future Agenda Items
    a. Ordinance Review
        1. HazMat Fire Services Reimbursement
        2. HazMat Response
5. Adjourn

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Have you Joined Front Porch Forum?

The towns of Cavendish, Reading, Weathersfield, West Windsor, and Windsor have all joined. The mission of Front Porch Forum is to help neighbors connect and build community. It does that by hosting regional networks of online neighborhood forums. Common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Janice L Martin, 95

Janice Louise Martin, 95, of Springfield, passed away peacefully on the first day of spring, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at the Springfield Health and Rehabilitation Center in Springfield. 

Janice was born on Aug. 31, 1922, to Edward and Mamie Held in Milwaukee, Wis. She joined a brother Donald, four years her senior. She attended schools in Menomonee Falls, Wis., graduating high school in 1940. Janice attended Whitewater State Teachers College and Prospect Hall Business College and graduated with honors in 1941. 

Janice worked at A.O. Smith in Milwaukee as a secretary from 1942-1943. Between 1949 and 1955 she worked as a secretary and bookkeeper, making her home in Minnesota, California, and Illinois where she met her husband Roy Ertler. They were married in 1955. 

In 1968 the Ertler family moved to Hollywood, Fla. Janice was a homemaker, a mother to two daughters, and the bookkeeper for her husband’s business, Miami Typesetting Company. After Roy’s passing in 1976, Janice and family moved to Fort Lauderdale where she found employment as a secretary and bookkeeper for a mirror and glass company. 

In 1978 through a mutual friend, Janice met Donald Martin from Springfield and in 1979 they were married. They made their home in Charlestown, N.H. and Springfield, until 1984 when Don retired from Jones and Lamson. In retirement, they traveled extensively throughout the United States, then came back to Springfield. Don passed away in 1992. 

Janice enjoyed helping others through volunteer work with RSVP and Community Care Network. She loved life. Her warmth, smile, and sense of humor will always be remembered. 

In addition to her husbands, Janice was predeceased by her parents, brother, a daughter, a stepson and a niece. Survivors include her daughter, Lori Lull and husband, Robin of Weathersfield, Vt.; stepson, Chris Ertler and wife, Peggy of Wheat Ridge, Colo.; nephew, Robert Mels and wife Marianne of Bartlett, Ill.; and several grandchildren; great-grandchildren; great-nieces and great-nephews. 

The family would like to thank the staff at Springfield Health and Rehabilitation for their compassion and care of Janice. Donations in her memory may be made to the Springfield Humane Society, 401 Skitchewaug Trail, Springfield, VT 05156. 

There will be no calling hours. A graveside memorial service will be announced at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Davis Memorial Chapel, Springfield.