Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Riptonites, meet the new superintendent for coffee

Ripton residents can meet the new ACSU superintendent for coffee on January 15th, from 8-9 am at the Chipman Inn.  Peter Burrows will be happy to talk with us.

PS: happy new year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ripton man found dead

A Ripton man missing since last month was found dead.  James P. Daignault was discovered on Steam Mill Road.

Vermont State Police were called to the intersection of Route 125 and Steam Mill Road, near the Bread Loaf campus, at 9:20 p.m. Monday night to a report of a vehicle that had gone over an embankment and into the river there. They found the body of James P. Daignault there with his totaled 2001 Plymouth Neon.
Our sympathies go out to his family.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrating the school going solar

Today we celebrated a major community achievement: the Ripton school going solar!

At noon principal Harrington welcomed the community.  Parents, school board members, workers, teachers, and all sorts of interested people listened as Tracey explained the course of the project.

The schoolchildren made signs explaining the achievement, like this one:

As we discussed the project, the school roof gleamed overhead with its new solar arrays, bright even under a cloudy sky:

One of the designers showed us how electricity and information combined in a series of panels:

Then the leading team assembled, including designers, builders, the school district's financial wizard, and those who dreamed up the project:
You can spot a thin red ribbon behind that group.  The latter then cut the former:
While we celebrated the solar systems busily generated power, as they have since November 8th.

In fact, you can check how much power the school's solar roof generates by clicking this link.  The results will look something like this:

This blog offers congratulations to the town, and many thanks to everyone who made this green initiative possible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rikert is open

The Rikert Nordic Center is now open.
Mike Hussey is excited that his resort is one of the first to open its doors for the season. "In the past it's been mid-December, through usually the end of March. This year we started about a month early, thanks to the snow-making," Hussey said.
"Rikert is a great place, and I'm glad they have snow this early because it's really nice to be able to ski before Thanksgiving which is kind of unusual," Sophia Hodges from Cornwall said.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A blast from the past

Here's a story about old Ripton, concerning a spectacular crime at the General Store way back in 1910: "The Morning Henry Day Fought Back."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Sunday service and HOPE

This Sunday - tomorrow! - there's going to be a special Thanksgiving service at the Ripton community church, starting at 4 pm.
Please bring food donations for HOPE.
(thanks to Charles Billings)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ripton School solar celebration

The Ripton Elementary School's solar conversion is nearly done. Join us as we commemorate its completion!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A successful Ripton Ridge Run

This year's Ripton Ridge Run went off brilliantly.  We enjoyed great weather and no serious injuries. 235 runners participated, according to the Addison Independent.

I took some photos from the corner of North Branch and the Lincoln Road:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seminar on our river

Flood mitigation experts Mike Kline and Amy Sheldon will hold a seminar in Middlebury on September 5.  They will discuss "strategies for avoiding post-flood impacts through river corridor and flood plain protection. "

The event is free, and will take place at the Vermont Folklife Center.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Movie this Sunday

An in-town movie screening this Sunday :
Come see Green Fire at 7:00 PM at Ripton Community Church on Sunday, September 1st. 
It will be the first screening of this Emmy winning film in our area. It is the first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land. 
Bill McKibben will introduce the film and take questions afterwards.
(info, language, and image from Charles Billings)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

An upcoming event at the Ripton church

An upcoming talk at the Ripton church:

The Culture of Poverty
in our Neighborhood & its Impact on Education
a talk by Pat Mattison
Sunday, August 18th
4:00 PM @ Ripton Community Church
About this talk: At 4 PM on Sunday, August 18th at Ripton Community Church Pat Mattison will explore poverty among our neighbors. Four out of five Americans will experience economic insecurity during their lives. Poverty is of­ten associated with those small sad children in faraway countries, but poverty also exist right here in beautiful rural Ver­mont. While poverty statistics for Vermont are slightly better than those reported for the United States, more than 11% of our Vermont neighbors live in poverty and more than 13% of our children are living in economically insecure house­holds. What about education? By the time a child starts school they are exposed to 5 million words and know 13,000 words, and by high school that number grows to 60,000 to 100,000 words. This is true of children coming from mid­dle and upper income households, but not of children growing up in poverty. So what does this mean, what can we do? What is generational poverty, situational poverty, or rural poverty? Here is the opportunity to start to build an un­derstanding of poverty and begin discussions about our responsibilities related to poverty and our neighbors. A first step is to know about the problem, become educated about the issues, and take responsible steps to address the injustice.
About Pat Mattison: Pat Mattison has lived in Addison most of her life with her husband, Keith, and their children and grandchildren. Having attended Vermont colleges and university, she has her masters of edu­cation in Special Education and is working on another masters in literacy. Pat is a learning specialist work­ing in the middle school at Mt Abraham Union High School where she co-teaches English and teaches math and literacy to struggling students, in addition to supporting families through the struggles of raising teenagers.
Sponsored by Friends of The Ripton Community Church

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fun at the Ripton Fire Department open house

This past Saturday saw the annual Ripton Fire Department open house.  All of Ripton was invited to visit.

Town volunteers displayed their rigs and station for all to admire.
Kids tried their hands at firefighting with delight:
And we were all well fed by the chief and his crew.
All in all a fun Saturday.  Many thanks to the Ripton volunteers!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ripton Post Office to close - or become something new

Once again our town's postal services face closing.

In this blog post I'll share the best information available as of this morning, July 23rd.  I welcome comments and corrections, as always, and will also follow up with new posts as events unfold.

The Ripton post office is to be closed by August 18th, as its current contractor is leaving.  As of that date "there will not be" a post office in Ripton. (Technically, it's not a post office, but a "contract postal unit".)

When the United States Postal Service (USPS) learned of Lisa's impending exit, they reviewed options for next steps.  These included:

  1. Maintaining the "contract postal unit" as is, by soliciting contract offers;
  2. Setting up a Village Post Office (VPO).  These are popping up all over the nation, with 322 at last count.
  3. Ending service in Ripton.

They deemed option 1 to be unsustainable, due to falling revenue for postal services.  #2 looked best, and the USPS is currently in talks with some (unspecified) Ripton residents to set that up.  A VPO would be similar, except that it would not provide retail services, such as selling stamps and supplies.  How a VPO handles packages is yet to be determined.

If a Village Post Office doesn't appear, we Riptonites will have to shift mail services down the mountain to East Middlebury's branch.

What do you think?

I base these notes on the following sources:

  • A notice from the East Middlebury Postmaster, Carol Bogen, dated only "July 2013".  It appeared posted to the Ripton General Store's bulletin board, and also as a letter delivered to my PO Box.
  • Phone conversation with Carol Bogen this morning.
  • " " " Tom Rizzo, also this morning.  Mr. Rizzo works in corporate communications for the USPS.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Brainstorming the future of our town cemeteries

Coming up next week:

The Future of Our Ripton Cemeteries
7pm on Thursday, July 18, 2013
Meeting at the Community House

"It is time for us to take a look at our cemeteries and determine how we would like them to be maintained, expanded, and documented consistently. The current funding model is not sustainable and requires immediate
attention. We really need a variety of perspectives. All Ripton residents are welcome.

Please join a brainstorming exercise to determine next steps and how you would like to be involved. The goals of this first meeting are to determine action items, a timetable, and a meeting schedule. Perry Hanson will lead and moderate the conversation."

(text received in email)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rains becoming dangerous in Vermont

This summer has been unusually rainy, which has been annoying.  But now the rains might become dangerous to people and to roads.

Governor Shumlin warns us to watch for flooding.
“The ground is so saturated after days and days of rain that any precipitation can cause serious flooding at this point...
Vermonters need to use common sense in avoiding high water areas, keeping an eye out for flooding, watching the level of Lake Champlain, which is approaching flood stage, and notifying local emergency officials if they spot problems."
Road crews are working on some of the same roads Irene hit.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Birds of Ripton this Sunday

Local ornithologist Warren King returns to the Ripton Community Church to share his knowledge of birds:
Warren King will present "Birds of Ripton - Part II" on Sunday, June 9th at 4:00 pm at Ripton Community Church. He will use PowerPoint slides to illustrate more than 60 bird species that make Ripton's forest their home. The presentation will be a virtual tour of Ripton's roads and trails, following the same route used for the annual birdathon walks.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An evening with celebrated horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi

From the Friends of Ripton Community Church, who:
 invite you to attend a session with NPR’s renowned horticulturalist, Charlie Nardozzi at 7 PM, Thursday, May 16th at Ripton Community Church. This is a great opportunity to gain some knowledge about your vegetables and flowers, and to ask questions of the expert. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

One thing to be careful of on Green-Up Day

Here's a warning about helping with Green-Up Day.  Be on the lookout for 2-liter bottles which may have been used to make mthamphetamines.

From email:
If you come across discarded bottles that contain a substance that does not look like the one that comes in that bottle, especially anything that looks like wet wallpaper paste, leave them alone. Due to the possibility of explosion, do not open it, kick it, or pick it up. Call the State Police (388-4919) or your local police agency and let them investigate.

(thanks to Warren and Barry King)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The risk of fires

We're enjoying spring sun... too much sun, it turns out.  Ripton hasn't received enough rain of late, meaning there's increased risk of fire.  So take care!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some burning scheduled for Ripton forests

The Forest Service is planning on doing some controlled burning this year in Ripton's parts of their National Forests.
Forest Service spokesman Ethan Ready said the burns happen almost annually and are part of the National Forests management plan.  
“We talk about how sportsmen and birdwatchers and other people want to see various species thriving in Vermont,” he said. “This is a way to make sure, in certain areas, there’s forage for game species.”
The fires reduce heavy accumulations of brush, clearing the way for new and more diverse growth. Ready said the burns benefit game species large and small, from bear and moose to woodcock, grouse and wild turkey.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our school district gets a new superintendent

The Addison County Supervisory Union (ACSU), to which Ripton belongs, just obtained a new superintendent.

Peter L. Burrows is from Oregon, and will join ACSU this summer.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The 2013 town meeting, live blogged

Live-blogging the town meeting, as long as my battery holds out.

We began with an informational meeting about the proposal school roof project.  A school board representative and two contractors answered questions from the community.

At 7:30 the town meeting proper began.  We thanked Joyce Dicianna for her fine facilitation services, then considered major spending articles. General spending, then emergency services funding, passed
after discussion.  We thanked Ronnie Wimmet and Erik Ericsen for their services to the community concerning road repair and emergency services, respectively.  We also passed a tax collection article.

We then transitioned to discuss a nonbinding measure against a tar sands pipeline, planned to cross northeastern Vermont.  One proponent outlined its possible environmental dangers.  Another advocate for the measure reported that most state government officials would look
favorably upon this measure.  Discussion followed, touching on technical details of the pipeline, actions by other towns, and fuel labeling.  We then passed the measure without dissent.

The next measure before the community concerned changing our budgeting calendar, asking us to shift to a fiscal year.  Sayler Hoyler, proponent, took a break from taking minutes to explain the measure.  One benefit of the calendar shift would be easing the town office workflow for winter budgeting, while avoiding the current practice of having two months without a budget.  Another advantage would be setting several enforceable tax payment due dates.  Moreover, the town
can hold onto education taxes a little longer, winning some extra interest income.  The select board spoke against the fiscal calendar, arguing that it would make budgeting more difficult.  General
discussion followed.  We adopted the article with significant dissent. State representative Willem Jewett gave his constituents' report, starting by describing how challenging the federal sequester is for
Vermont's budget ("it blew a $15 million hole in it").  Said constituents expressed their thoughts about prescription drugs, education policy, and the budget.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Town meeting ahead

The Addison Indy gives an overview of what's before us for next week's town meeting.

School-related decisions will dominate Ripton’s town meeting agenda this year.
Those decisions will include votes on two proposed 20-year bond issues — one to finance a new roof for the local elementary school, and the other to fund a series of solar panels that would be placed on the new structure.


The Ripton selectboard is proposing a 2013 highway budget of  $294,679, down from the $353,350 approved last year. The decrease is associated with some extraordinary road repair costs that occurred last year as a result of Tropical Storm Irene and a May 29 storm.

The proposed general fund budget comes in at $266,637, down from the $270,711 OK’d last year.

Other articles on the Ripton town meeting warning seek:
•  $35,200 to help pay for Ripton fire and rescue services.
•  A combined total of $15,880 for various Addison County nonprofits that provide services to Addison County residents.
•  Support for a petitioned, advisory item opposing the transport of tar sands oil through Vermont.

There will be no contested local elections in Ripton this year. Incumbent Selectman Richard Collitt is unopposed for a three-year term.

Meanwhile, incumbent Ripton Elementary School board members Willem Jewett and Michael Hussey are not running for re-election. Resident Perry Hanson will run for a two-year term on the school board but the second vacancy will have to be filled through a write-in campaign or by appointment.

The annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ripton Community House. Australian ballot voting will take place the next day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Ripton town office.

Click that link for more details.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ripton school dual roof proposal

At the upcoming town meet Ripton gets to vote on two linked proposals for the town's school.  Specifically, there is a combined Ripton Elementary School improvement strategy before us.

  1. To replace the school's current roof with a standing seam one.
  2. To mount a solar photovoltaic system on that new roof
How will we pay for this?  A combination of sources, including some funds from the town's Capital Reserve Fund, borrowing on the market, and a payment from the state's Renewable Energy

Why now?  The school roof is old and leaky.

More questions?  Contact a school board member.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Seeing January out weirdly

The last two days of January saw strange, "April-like" weather up here.  Temps rose way above freezing, melting snow and ice.
Then plummeted again down to the teens.
Or, as a Facebook cartoon explains,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thaw ahead

Hold on to your fresh snow, Ripton friends and neighbors, because it looks like a thaw might be heading our way.
At this point, it looks like it will play out as follows: After Sunday’s light snow and a cold Monday, temperatures will rise into the 30s Tuesday and low 40s Wednesday before easing back into the 30s Thursday.

But that Wednesday warm interval would just be the opening salvo. At this point, it looks as if temperatures could get well into the 40s or even near 50 toward the end of the week or the weekend.
Wunderground sees temps rising to the 30s later this week.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ripton chills out

Ripton and the rest of Vermont rung in the new year with some cold weather. Temps dropped below 0 F overnight.