Chester board notes historic moment First time two women have served on select board

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Chester Select board from left, Town Manager David Pisha, Arne Jonynas, Heather Chase, Leigh Dakin, Ben Whalen and Lee Gustafson. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

The reorganization meeting after each year’s select board election is seldom exciting unless you find the reappointment of the fence viewers and the weigher of coal to be riveting.

But Wednesday night’s edition of the Chester Select Board was the exception.

Shortly after the meeting began, board member Heather Chase gave the meeting a little history. Until this election, four women had served on the board with Chase being the fourth. With the election of Leigh Dakin to a one-year term on Tuesday, this is the first time two women have served at the same time.

“There’s never been two women serving simultaneously,” said Chase.  “That’s cool.” Chase also noted that that Dakin was not only the fifth woman to serve but also the first, having served nine years on the board in the past.

Legion to hold anniversary celebration

Jeff Holden telling the board about preparations for the Legion centenary

American Legion Post 67 member Jeff Holden told the board that while the organization intended to request permission for a parade from downtown to the Legion building on Rt. 103 south, but the State of Vermont would not give them a permit for it.

That being said, the post is continuing to plan for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion in 1919. Holden said these include fireworks on July 5 and a “field day” in the field across from the Heritage Deli. According to Holden, the organization “wants to be more family oriented because more young vets have families.” The celebration is still in the planning stage, but a bounce house, horse-pull and cookout are among the activities on the schedule.

Board chair Arne Jonynas thanked the Legion for “always doing great work for the town.”

Town Clerk training approved

Assistant Town Clerk Amie O”Brien explains the training she is hoping to take

Assistant Town Clerk Amie O’Brien told the board that she has secured a scholarship to cover most of the cost of the intensive training needed to become a “certified municipal clerk.” O’Brien says this is part of the preparation for the retirement of Town Clerk Deb Aldrich who she hopes to replace.

The course – which consists of three week-long sessions over three years – is offered by the New England Municipal Clerks Institute and Academy at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. The cost of attending is $925 per year and O’Brien said she has been assured that she will receive an $850 scholarship for each year.

O’Brien asked the board to commit to paying the $75 deposit plus up to $200 in travel and meal costs during the training. In addition, during the training the town will pay the O’Brien’s regular salary.

The board approved the training, signed a letter confirming that and thanked O’Brien for her work.

New antenna tower built, old one to be taken down

The two towers before the antennas were moved

The board discussed what was going on with the new radio transmission tower built by VELCO to replace the old one, which was maxed out by the number of antennas on it.

Pisha told the board that at this point US Cellular, ATT, Verizon, VELCO and the town’s equipment had been moved from the old tower. Pisha noted that Sprint had wanted to be on the tower and then backed out.

Jonynas asked Pisha to let VELCO know that the old tower can now be taken down.

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