Weston mulls Rt. 100 scoping project Potential ash borer problem weighs heavily on board

Nicole Pfister of the Weston Planning Commission. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Nicole Pfister of the Planning Commission told the Weston Select Board at its Tuesday, Aug. 28 meeting that the state Agency of Transportation would assign an agency project manager and a supervisor to the Route 100 scoping project.

The project would provide the town with options for a walkway between Weston Playhouse’s New Walker Farm theater to the Inn at Weston.

The Windham Regional Commission would help with writing the request for proposal and act as a project manager. Board member Jim Linville agreed to be the municipal employee in responsible charge of the project.

Pfister said two more steps will have to take place before the project can begin. Those steps are expected to take three or four months.

Emerald ash borer with wings spread, from the Vermont Invasives website.

The Select Board voted to reschedule its Sept. 11 meeting to Sept. 12 so members could attend a public information session on the emerald ash borer beetle, which kills ash trees and now has been found in Vermont. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and UVM Extension will be holding the session in an attempt to slow the spread of the pest. It will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Vermont Veterans Home, 325 North St. in Bennington.

Raymond Mara, a licensed arborist, said education is the key to addressing the threat of the emerald ash borer in Weston, and Vermont can benefit from the experience of several states that have been dealing with the issue since 2002.

Two chemical treatments have been effective, he said. One goes into the soil every year, is less expensive and is the treatment Mara said he personally uses. The other chemical is injected beneath the bark of infected trees every two years. Mara said every tree within 15 miles must be treated or removed to contain the spread.

Arborist Raymond Mara talks about the problems with the emerald ash borer.

Linville said Irwin Kuperberg of the Londonderry Conservation Commission has counted about 70 ash trees per mile. Linville himself counted about 100 trees per mile on Old Country Road between Greendale Road and the Weston Priory. With 30 miles of road in town and about 100 ash trees per mile, Linville estimated Weston could have as many as 30,000 ash trees to be treated or removed.

Linville and board member Charles Goodwin agreed that the town would not pay to treat trees, but make available information to residents who choose to save particular trees.

Mara said another threat is that the emerald ash borer could be brought into town by people purchasing fire wood. Ash yellow disease is another problem cited by Mara.

The University of Wisconsin Extension Service says that ash yellows is a “chronic, systemic disease that affects ash trees of all ages,” with white ash being particularly susceptible. Symptom include stunted growth, including leaves that are “smaller, thinner and lighter green than usual.” Sometimes, the branches will grow in tufts. The service writes that “Eventually, branches in the crown will die and this die-back can continue until the entire crown is dead.”

Town oil purchase, mowing costs

The board voted to accept HB Energy Solutions pre-buy offer of oil at $2.649 per gallon. Treasurer Kim Seymour said the price last year was $1.849 per gallon. The board chose not to pay an extra $2,000 for “down side protection” where they would get a credit or rebate if the price dropped below $2.64 per gallon. Cota and Cota had offered 5,600 gallons at $2.69 per gallon. Weston purchases enough oil to also supply the Little School and the Wilder Library, which Seymour bills back.

  • With no discussion, the board approved the latest Local Emergency Management Plan.
  • Reading the minutes from the Aug. 14 meeting in which there was concern about dogs that had been licensed had not been renewed, Linville said that he heard that one dog that was unlicensed had died. Seymour said the other dog was elderly and not in great shape.
  • Looking the vendors pay list, Linville said the roadside mowing cost more this year than last, but that three wider passes were made. Seymour said this cost about $4,000 to $5,000 more than last year.
  • The board chose to let Seymour ask Fothergill Segale and Valley for a price to provide the town’s audit again this year. At the last meeting, Goodwin had promised a list of other CPAs who do town audits. Goodwin said though it is a good idea to change auditors now and then, but it will likely cost more.
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