Derry board chair condemns graffiti; town moves forward on fiber optic

By Bruce Frauman
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In response to the discovery of anti-Black Lives Matter graffiti painted on Route 100 in South Londonderry and in Jamaica, Londonderry Select Board chair George Mora on Monday, July 6, said “racist intimidation has no place in Londonderry” or elsewhere in the United States.

The graffiti incident, says Town Clerk Kelly Pajala, shows that Londonderry is not an island.

The lack of a vote taken on a resolution supporting racial justice that was brought up at the last meeting was not meant to condone such action, Mora said. That resolution, which has been adopted by other towns, including Weston, asked Londonderry to join “cities and towns across the state to condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd . . . and strive for peace, healing and justice for all.”   At the time, Mora said she felt that voting on it would politicize the Select Board and that the board should not speak for the whole town. Instead, the board decided without a vote to put the resolution up for a vote at Town Meeting in March 2021.

On Monday night, Mora said that everyone should speak out against racism “as strongly as possible and as often as we can.” The other board members agreed with this sentiment.

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala, who is also a state representative, said the graffiti incident shows that Londonderry is not an island. She praised VTrans’ quick action to remove the graffiti.

Derry joins communications district to provide fiber optic service

Ellen Seidsman has been appointed to represent the town on the communications district board.

After a substantial presentation and questions from resident Ellen Seidsman, the board voted to join the Deerfield Valley Communications Union District and appointed Seidsman as the town’s representative. The goal is to provide fiber optic service to those in southern Vermont that lack even cable service. The communications district now includes 14 towns.

District board vice chair Steven John said the business plan, not yet approved by the Windham Regional Commission, is expected to start small and extend fiber optic service using a revenue bond.  John also said the Federal Communications Commission Rural Opportunity Fund will host a “reverse auction” with some big players such as Elon Musk’s Starlink and area utilities in an effort to extend the service.

Finally, John said the communications district may partner with Vermont Electric Power Co. — VELCO — to manage the flow of power as fiber optic cable is installed from south of Londonderry to solar fields in the north part of town for communication with the solar array.  The district may be able to install its own fiber optic cable to go to hubs, which can then be extended to residences.

Trash changes; food distribution; fire ordinance

Board member Tom Cavanagh, who is also the liaison with the Transfer Station, said a ban on food scraps from going into solid waste disposal went into effect July 1. He said barrels are at the transfer station for all food scraps, but a permit is needed, which are available at the Town Office.

The Select Board meeting was held via Zoom.

Without a vote, the board agreed to post a sign at the head of the West River Trail with information about the town’s dog ordinance that will include contact information for the town’s animal control officer, Pat Salo.

Emergency Management Director Kevin Beattie said food distribution is scheduled in Londonderry for July 22. Priority will be given to those who pre-register by clicking here. Scroll down to the date and look for the green “Sign Up” prompt.

The town’s trash burning ordinance — which bans the practice of burning trash — was approved by the Board. Mora said consideration of enforcement will wait for another meeting, especially since the ordinance will not go into effect for 60 days.

The town is looking for someone to take over the duties of the Town Health officer, currently held by Mora, who said she came into the post by default and has seen a significant need for the service. She said this is a “big, onerous job” making it almost impossible to find a volunteer for it. Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said he has a list of all the health officers in the state, and Mora and Prouty plan to reach out to area towns to see if a paid or volunteer officer could be shared.

The Conservation Commission will have to submit a detailed invoice for a dinner that the CC hosted for a speaker. Mora said the Select Board policy is that the cost of the speaker’s dinner can be reimbursed, but not that of CC members. The board voted in agreement.

Pajala said that absentee ballots are now available for the Aug. 11 primary election. Residents can contact the clerk’s office for more information.

O’Keefe said a second sampling of PFAS levels at the former septage treatment fields north of the transfer station still show elevated levels, but the water supply for Riverside condominiums show no contamination.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: FeaturedLatest NewsLondonderry

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Bob Wells says:

    Getting fiber optic coverage into southern Vermont (and actually, all of Vermont) is absolutely critical for the state to attract economic activity/growth. Without it, few individuals and firms would ever consider locating here. More than that, the benefits of excellent Internet connections for all would benefit everyone — kids in our schools, residents who would like to stream movies, etc. It’s way beyond time when all of us should work together to make fiber optic cabling a broad reality in Vermont.