Chester board OKs Red Nose Day; 3 sites to get radar signs

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

For the second year in a row, Chester resident Townsend Gilbert appeared before the Select Board wearing a large red clown nose. This time, the board knew what was coming – Red Nose Day – an international day for raising money for kids in need that was started in England by Comic Relief as an answer to famine in Ethiopia in 1985.

The last lap of Red Nose Day 2016. Chester Telegraph photo.

Last year, Gilbert and his wife Carol told the board that due to poverty or a dysfunctional family, many children have unmet needs. The couple asked permission to put on a walkathon around the Green aimed at meeting some of those needs. In its first year, Chester’s Red Nose Day raised $1,900. This year, according to Gilbert, the counterclockwise walk around the Green will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday May 25, and he’s aiming to raise more than $2,000 for Chester children.

Gilbert said that pledges for walkers can be made through the Chester Rotary and that funds raised would stay in the community and are typically disbursed through the elementary school and foster families. The board approved Gilbert’s request.

3 sites to get permanent radar signs

Police Chief Rick Cloud reports on the state of his department. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

Police Chief Rick Cloud told the board that  three flashing radar signs will be installed shortly. The solar powered signs will be mounted permanently on poles near the Stone Village Farmers Market on Route 103, Knockout Carpet on Main Street and the American Legion on Route 103 South.

The third sign is in a state right of way and police are waiting for a permit to complete that work. Cloud said that the old portable sign needs new batteries before it can be used in other spots.

Cloud said the police force was in better shape than it had been when it was down several officers. He noted that Andy Brothers had re-joined the department as a detective and Todd Mayer came to the department from the Bellows Falls Police. Long-time police secretary Denise Caron will be leaving the department in the next few weeks according to Cloud, and Julie Parsells who has been with the Windsor County Sheriff is now training to take Caron’s position.

Cloud also told the board that his dog Dutch has been certified for finding seven drugs and recently made his first arrest.

Gilbert asked Cloud if the department could bring back the “coffee with a cop” program where Chester police officers were available to talk with the public and answer questions about policing over coffee at the Country Girl Diner. Cloud said they were looking into that and thought they might add other venues.

Business – old and new

Town Manager David Pisha told the board that work on the water project is progressing, although crews hit ledge in working on the transmission line from the new tank to the main.

Yosemite Firehouse

Pisha also said there would be several presentations in upcoming meetings including one on the emergency services building  as well as one on the Brookside Cemetery expansion by Deb Daniels and one on solid waste by Tom Kennedy of the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission.

The Yosemite Firehouse may be wrapped up sooner than expected as the last person who was maintaining a claim on the building is willing to sign a quit claim deed, Pisha said. If that happens, he added, a notice to any heirs would run for 60 days. “And then it becomes the town’s,” said Pisha. “We should have an answer by summer.”

Board member Dan Cote asked if the budget process could begin earlier this year. “In the past it would be ‘here are the numbers’ and we would react to that,” said Cote. “We should decide what we want to accomplish and that should be driving the process instead of it being driven by requests in a short window at the end of the year.”

Board member Ben Whalen said that Conway, Mass. – the original owner of Chester’s American-LaFrance fire truck – is celebrating its 250 anniversary in June and asked if the truck could take part in its parade.  According to Whalen, the truck does not have its original motor and is not in running condition but it could be displayed on a flatbed truck.  A meeting is being set up with Frank Bidwell, Kelly Arrison, an expert in restoring classic vehicles, and Pisha to talk about restoration of the fire engine.

Board member Heather Chase asked that personnel policies, purchasing policies and a policy for the town receiving donations be addressed soon.

And finally, the board went into executive session to interview Greg Bobar and Phil Perlah for positions on the Planning Commission.

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About the Author: Shawn Cunningham has written a number of subjects -- from food and wine to film, history, politics, zoning and development -- for the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, Museum News, The Westsider, The Chelsea/Clinton News, Menckeniana, Films in Review and the East Village Eye.

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