Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Into the storm's second week

As we head into the storm and its aftermath's second week, there has been a great deal of progress on repairing and restoring power.

As of this writing one household remains out in Ripton.  Nearby, two households are offline in Middlebury (two more than yesterday), while twenty are still out in Lincoln.  Across the state 351 homes are in the dark, with about half of them in Underhill.

Repairs are just about complete, according to Vermont Mountain Power.

Repair costs look to be very large.  It cost the Vermont Transportation Agency about $2 million to clear roads over the past week, according to the Burlington Free Press.  The VTA also notes that
after the storms began Tuesday, crews plowed or treated roads for more than 120 hours continuously, covering 185,000 lane miles. Agency crews used 12,600 tons of salt and 230,000 gallons of brine.
Total cost might exceed that of Tropical Storm Irene, and even 1998's massive ice storm.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Riptonites in the Rutland Herald

The Rutland Herald profiles several Riptonites and their storm experiences.
The Middlebury and Ripton areas, Poultney and Royalton were the towns hit hardest by the storm, which doesn’t necessarily mean that those towns experienced the most snowfall. It’s measured by how many individual breaks and damage are done to the lines.

One week after the storm

It's one week after the storm.  How do things stand?

According to the latest GMP data, two households remain without power in Ripton.  GMP's media director commented on Twitter that "[R]ipton was one of the hardest hit areas".

Green Mountain Power crews are still out there, working hard.

Two vehicles on Pearl Lee Road.

Elsewhere, 43 are out of power in neighboring Lincoln (and with 12 separate problems, the highest number of problems in the state).  Down the mountain, Middlebury seems to be fine.1046 homes across Vermont are still out:

This blogger's power came back on Sunday afternoon... only to blow out Sunday evening, frying many appliances.  GMP got us back online around midnight.

How are you doing, friends and neighbors?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day six of the storm

We're coming up on one week after the storm, and while there's been some progress, power outages remain.  Green Mountain Power tree and line crews continue to work.

25 Ripton households remain without power, as are 41 in Lincoln.  I can't find any outages in Middlebury.  Across the state of Vermont, 1240 homes are still in the dark:

This has been quite a storm.
Best wishes to everyone still offline.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day five of the storm and aftermath: progress yet continued outages

Today is the fifth day of this storm and its bitter aftermath.  Many Riptonites are still without power, and trees continue to fall onto power lines.

As of this writing, 171 Ripton households are still out of power.  Nine Middlebury households and a whopping 317 Linconites are also offline, according to the Green Mountain Power outage site.

The Ripton Fire Department is opening up as a shelter this afternoon, starting at 3 pm.
Please come if you're cold, need a shower, or just want the company of other Riptonites.

Elsewhere in Vermont, thousands are still in the dark.  6,385 homes are out of power across the state:

Green Mountain Power crews are still at work.  Governor Shumlin toured several hard-hit towns by helicopter.

As always, stay safe and warm, friends and neighbors.  Come visit the Fire Department shelter this afternoon and evening.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Day four of the storm: some progress, continued woe

Today is the fourth day of this season's first major storm.  There are signs of progress, but also problems persisting.

Tree branches and entire trees sag under the weight of ice and snow.  Sometimes they fall, toppling lines, or leaning heavily on the cables.  For example, here's a tree down on a line a few yards from the Lucky 7 spring:

Here's what it looks like from underneath:
Do not do this.

Sometimes it takes several days for these trees and tree limbs to fall.  Green Mountain Power crews seem to be revisiting the same areas, as new problems hit ones previously repaired.

As of this writing, 8 separate problems currently knock 293 Riptonites offline.  Nearby, 20 problems keep 84 Middlebury homes in the dark, while 46 problems block 233 Lincoln households from the electrical grid and 9 incidents do the same for 159 in Leicester.

Elsewhere, more than 10,000 Vermont customers remain without power, as of this writing.
Green Mountain Power now says damage is comparable to what we endured during Tropical Storm Irene.  And things could take through Sunday night to resolve.

Please take care, friends and neighbors.  Stay warm and safe.

On a personal note, I'll update this blog as I can, until the crisis is over.  There's neither electricity nor phone at my house, so I've been writing these posts from whichever town I can get to.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The storm enters day 3; many without power

We've been clobbered, friends.  Ripton entered the third day of this storm, with power remaining out for some of us still after two days of snow, sleet, and ice.  Twenty Ripton households are offline, caused by five separate outages, as of this writing, according to Green Mountain Power.  211 homes are out in Lincoln, which is the source of some Ripton electricity.  Down the hill, 695 Middlebury houses are off.

For those who do have power, they might be offline, as Fairpoint suffered its own outage today.

Meanwhile, Green Mountain Power teams have been on the job continuously, but fresh outages keep occurring.  That's because of overloaded trees, bent down by ice and snow, breaking a day or two after the initial onslaught.

Much of the state is suffering, with 22,746 homes still without power:

Estimates of how many Vermonter households were knocked out range from 50,000 to 70,000.

Here's an astonishing fact, pointing to just how severe this storm has been and remains:
“We do prepare for the worst, and then we found out we needed to get even more crews. We have more crews operating in the state of Vermont in this event than we did during Hurricane Irene,” [Mary Powell, the president and CEO of Green Mountain Power] said. (emphases added)
Stay safe and warm, friends and neighbors.  Watch out for downed power lines.  Drive carefully.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tonight's storm is doing its stuff

The snow is coming down tonight, along with sleet. The storm seems to be taking down power all over the state:

So stay warm and safe, friends and neighbors!

Monday, December 1, 2014

9-11 went down on Friday, but is back up now

Vermont's 9-11 emergency phone service went offline this past Friday afternoon and evening.
During the 5.75 hour partial outage, 45 people attempted calls to 911, according to data from FairPoint.
...It is not clear whether any individuals in emergencies were affected by the blocked calls.
What happened?  According to FairPoint,
"this outage was caused by a rare occurrence of the winter storm and a hardware failure, which impacted callers in the State of Vermont unable to place calls, including calls to 911. "
They fixed it quickly:
"Temporary re-routes were made [Friday] night, allowing for interim service; followed by permanent re-routes allowing for full restoration last night. The network in Vermont is working well now and has been since last night as of 8:45 PM.”
What do you do when 911 doesn't work?

(photo by Derek Kaczmarczyk)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Reichert Bible Talk this Sunday

This year's Rabbi Reichert talk is coming up on Sunday!
The following is from the press release:
Rev. Dr. Susan McGarry to give annual Rabbi Reichert Talk 

The Reverend Susan McGarry will deliver the annual Rabbi Victor E. Reichert Bible Talk at the Ripton Community Church at 4 pm on Sunday, October 26.  For the past two years Reverend McGarry has served as the rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Middlebury and has a PhD in Ancient and Biblical Studies from the University of Michigan.  In keeping with the Rabbi’s tradition, Reverend McGarry has entitled her presentation “A Talk About the First Mass Market Text in the Bible,” challenging her listeners to discern what “text” that might actually be.
 “We will be examining divine revelations and their progress toward useful community literature.  ‘What was said, when was it said, and how it was recorded,’ are all-important questions for Bible study.  When and how the biblical material becomes useful to the community will be the subject of this talk as well as the more speculative question, ‘why.’”
 The annual Reichert Bible Talk is a tradition that reaches back to the years just after World War Two, when poet Robert Frost invited Rabbi Reichert to visit him at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference in Ripton. Frost had met Reichert while giving a reading in Cincinnati, where Reichert was rabbi of the Rockdale Temple, the oldest synagogue west of the Alleghenies, from 1924 to 1964. Their friendship deepened, and Rabbi Reichert and his wife Louise eventually bought an old one-room schoolhouse near Bread Loaf as a summer cottage.  For many summers, the Reicherts attended the nearby Ripton Methodist Church, and Rabbi Reichert would give a talk in the late summer on one of the books of the Jewish Bible, of those scriptures common to Jews and Christians. The “Bible Talk” became an annual event, and the Ripton congregation named Reichert the church’s “Rabbi in Residence.” Since Rabbi Reichert’s passing in 1990 at the age of ninety-three, Havurah—The Jewish Community of Addison County, and the United Methodist Church of Middlebury, East Middlebury and Ripton have collaborated to sustain this ecumenical tradition, co-sponsoring the Bible Talk every year. 
The Ripton Community Church is located on Route 125 in the village center.  Call Norm Tjossem at 802-388-0338 for further information. 
(thanks to Norman Tjossem)  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fairpoint workers on strike

Unionized Fairpoint workers went on strike today, protesting the company's stance towards health care policies.

Fairpoint says to expect no interruption in service.

At least one picket line is in Vermont.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A community first aid class coming up

Saturday after next is a valuable class, led by a community first responder:

Saturday October 25
9AM – 4 PM
First Aid, CPR and AED Class
Ripton Community Church 
Friends of The Ripton Church are sponsoring a First Aid, CPR and AED class that is certified by the American Heart Association. This class covers general first aid issues, medical emergencies, injury and Environment emergencies.
The class will be taught by Ed Sullivan, Ripton EMT.
$5.00 for the class. Donations to the continued restoration of the building would be appreciated.
To reserve your place please call 388 1062.
(thanks to Norm Tjossem)

Monday, October 6, 2014

An alternative Nobel is sent to Ripton

Ripton resident Bill McKibben took home a Right Livelihood Award, often called an "alternative Nobel Prize".
Over the last ten years he initiated and built the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. With the organisation 350.org at its core, this movement has spread awareness and mobilised political support for urgent action to mitigate the climate crisis that is already unfolding.
Congratulations to our friend and neighbor!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ripton Ridge Run ahead

The Ripton Ridge Run is happening next Sunday!

On October 12, starting at 12:30, the Ripton Elementary School will see runners, walkers, and friends assemble. There will be a 10.4K run, 5K run and 5K fun walk.  Check-in starts at 11 am.

Registration: pre-registration discount and on-line registration end Monday, Oct. 6th.  On the 12th, race day, registration starts at 11 a.m. Fees include lunch, long-sleeved t-shirt, awards and raffle.

The Run is still looking for volunteers to help that day or ahead of time.

See the Run's website for more information, http://www.riptonridgerun.org, or call the elementary school at (802) 388-2208.

(thanks to Barry King)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday night presentation on preserving the Old Center Turnpike

This Monday evening will be a presentation on Old Center Turnpike Preservation.

Paul S. Gillies and Kevin Russell will be the presenters.

LandWorks supported the mapping which Gillies and Russell will describe.  Also involved are the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, the Town of Ripton, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration,

The event begins at 7:30pm, and will take place at the Ripton Community House.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Friday night concern at the community church

The Ripton Community Church will host a concert this Friday night.
From the press release:
Singer songwriter Aaron Flynn will be giving an intimate solo performance on Friday, September 19, at the Ripton Community Church, Route 125, Ripton, Vermont.

Aaron writes, engineers, and records most of the material he will be performing.  Elements of Folk, Indie Rock, and Classic Country combine with powerful poetic lyrics and finger picking guitar to showcase this eclectic performer.

He has released an impressive body of original work, all the while touring at such hallowed venues as Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Great American Music Hall, and House of Blues.  Aaron has worked with the likes of The Samples, Gov't Mule, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Joe Bonamassa, Tragically Hip, and Don McLean, to name a few. www.aaronflynn.com

Tickets for the exclusive performance can be purchased by calling 388-1062 or at the door.   Tickets are $10 and refreshments will be provided at no cost.   Doors open at 7:30 pm and the show will begin at 8:00, lasting until about 10:00.  The Church is located on Route 125 in the village center.

(thanks to Roger Barkin)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Warning: fake Green Mountain Power phone call is a scam

Scammers pretending to represent Green Mountain Power have been calling Vermont residents.
Below is the news release, thanks to Sally Hoyler:

News Release
Contact: Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power, (802) 655-8418
For immediate release:  September 10, 2014

GMP alerts customers to phone scam

Colchester, VT...  Green Mountain Power reported today that several of its customers have received phone calls from persons claiming to be associated with Green Mountain Power threatening immediate disconnection of service and it urged customers to be very cautious.

“Green Mountain Power follows a very clear process when working with customers regarding paying past due bills,” said Dorothy Schnure, GMP spokesperson. “We work closely with customers to help them find ways to pay their bills. Calls demanding immediate payment and threatening disconnection are clearly a phone scam.”

Scams have been reported from residential and commercial customers. The caller claims to be representing Green Mountain Power or Green Mountain Power Credit Department and threatens immediate disconnection of service if the customer does not pay their past due account balance by releasing credit card information to the caller or paying their bill by means of a money card, most often a Green Dot MoneyPak Card, or other alternate payment mechanism.

Customers should not provide any caller with personal information, including account and credit card numbers. If a call is questionable, they should report to the police and the Vermont Attorney General’s office the incident and any information such as the phone number called from in order to track the caller.

“We’ve heard about this and similar scams from utilities across the country and it seems to be increasing. We urge our customers not to give their information to anyone who claims to be Green Mountain Power and threatens immediate disconnection. If they have a question to be resolved, they can initiate a call to us to ensure their information remains safe,” said Schnure.

Green Mountain Power customer service teams are available at 1-800-835-4672 and anyone with questions regarding billing and account status should give GMP a call.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Celebrating the Wilderness Act in Ripton

On September 28th a celebration will mark the 50th anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act of 1964.

The family friendly fall celebration will be held on Sunday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Middlebury College’s Breadloaf Campus, which is on Vermont Route 125 in Ripton, Vermont. This free event is part of a national celebration of the Wilderness Act and honors Vermont’s tradition of conservation and partnerships.
Event activities include:
Live bluegrass music by Bob Amos and Catamount Crossing
Food and drink concessions
Conservation and environmental exhibits
A special recognition ceremony 
Guided nature hikes and tours for adults and children

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DVD and video sale in Middlebury

Remember the Waterfront Video Store in Middlebury?  It closed in 2013, but most of its collection is now for sale.

All DVDs and VHS tapes are $5 apiece.

The sale runs Thursday (today)  and Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., then next week at the same times, on September 4, 5 and 6. It can be found on the second floor of the John V. Craven Community Services building at 282 Boardman Street.

More background on the collection and sale can be found in this Seven Days article.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Storytelling workshop in September

Interested in stories and storytelling?  Next month Ilsley library will host a storytelling workshop.
Full disclosure: your humble blogger is one of the organizers.

From the press release:
Ilsley Public Library and STORYMATTERS, a community storytelling group, today announced a free, interactive workshop to be held Sept. 13, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 12:15 PM in the Community Meeting Room of the Ilsley Public Library.  This workshop is aimed at both those interested in storytelling and those interested in positive social change in our community.  The half-day session will include showing a mix of video clips filmed by and about members of our community, discussing how stories work within a community, and brainstorming projects of story-gathering and sharing, all with the goal of promoting positive change within Middlebury and Addison County.  This workshop is free and open to the public, but may prove of special interest to staff and volunteers of area non-profits. 
On the workshop presenter:
This workshop will be facilitated by Alisa Del Tufo, storyteller, oral historian and founder of the Threshold Collaborative. The Threshold Collaborative uses stories to illuminate and share the  experience, insight, knowledge and hopes of people striving for justice  and peace. This work creates opportunities for people to participate in community focused, relationship rich, creative initiatives that transform the ways we think of each other and ways we envision change. For more information about the Threshold Collaborative, visit: www.thresholdcollaborative.org.

Contact information:
For more information, please contact: Len Rowell of STORYMATTERS at lar17g@comcast.net or Kurt Broderson of Ilsley/MCTV: kurt@middleburycommunitytv.org. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Middlebury College agreement signed

The town of Ripton and Middlebury College signed off on a new agreement in lieu of taxes.
the institution will make annual cash payments to the community and deliver free ski lessons to local school children in recognition of its non-taxable property.
More details:
After months of what both parties described as amicable talks, the town and college finalized a new agreement — covering the tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2024 — that calls for:
•An annual payment of $157,000 that will be “adjusted each year by taking the previous year’s payment and multiplying it by the municipal tax rate for the then-current year, divided by the municipal tax rate of the immediately prior year — except in the case of a town-wide reappraisal, in which case the payment will be adjusted by the percentage change in the municipal taxes to be collected,” according to the specific language of the agreement.
The payment will be due at the same time the college pays its regular property tax bill.
Since Ripton is now transitioning its budget cycle from a calendar year to a fiscal year, the first annual payment under the new pact will cover an 18-month period (Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015) that will reflect one and a half (1.5) times the $157,000 payment, for a total of $235,500.
•The college to continue providing free ski lessons at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl and Rikert Nordic Center to students enrolled at Ripton Elementary School.
•The college to work with Ripton to mitigate the impacts of any future development projects.
The agreement will not apply to any property or structures the college might acquire during the 10-year period. At the same time, the $157,000 base payment to Ripton will not be affected in the event the college sells or leases any of its property during the 10-year period.
Either party has the ability to terminate the agreement under certain defined circumstances — such as if there are changes in state/federal laws affecting the taxability of nonprofits.
Congratulations to the Ripton selectboard!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Theatrical performance coming up at the Ripton Community Church


August 4, 2014

For Immediate Release:

Coming up in two weeks at our community church:

Mark Twain’s “Diaries of Adam and Eve” will be performed by Diana Bigelow and Jim Stapleton at the Ripton Community Church on Sunday, August 17, at 7:30 pm.
Bigelow and Stapleton are well known in the Bristol-Middlebury area and have performed at the Town Hall Theater.  The forty-five minute performance will be from Diana Bigelow’s own adaptation of Twain’s famous piece.   
Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.  Donations to the restoration and preservation of the Ripton Community Church will be appreciated.  The church is located on route 125 in the village center.   Call 388-1062 for further information.
Norm Tjossem
On behalf of Friends of Ripton Community Church

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sand Hill bridge construction is done

The Sand Hill bridge reconstruction project is complete, says WCAX.

Wednesday night community members celebrated the completed project. 
"It's just great when a community works so well together and collaborates with the state. I feel so pleased with the project when it's done that they come out in a rainstorm. It's key to our economic growth," said Sue Minter, VTrans Deputy Secretary. 
"We've been here for about 10 years now and ever since then we've always heard discussions about the new bridge and now it's finally come to fruition, and we're really excited about it," said Elias Erwin, East Middlebury resident. 
The bridge had been closed for 45 days. It's one of six bridges VTrans will renovate in Rochester and Middlebury.d

Friday, July 18, 2014

“Writing Jesus” presentation at the Ripton Community Church

The last Sunday of this month will see a fine presentation at our town's church:

 Renowned Vermont professor and author, Jay Parini, will share his journey of researching and writing a biography of Jesus of Nazareth in a talk entitled “Writing Jesus” at the Ripton Community Church on Sunday, July 27, at 7:00 p.m. 
Copies of his book will be available for sale and signing.  There is no charge for his presentation, but contributions will be welcome to support the restoration and preservation of the historic Ripton Community Church.   
Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College, and has enjoyed a distinguished career inspiring his students and writers everywhere. 
Contact Norm Tjossem (802 388-0338) for more information.

(thanks to Norman Tjossem)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sand Hill Bridge completion ceremony coming up

VTrans is hosting a ceremony in honor of the new Sand Hill bridge:

Please Join Us As We Celebrate

The Completion of the Sand Hill Bridge

Wednesday, July 23rd, 6:30 PM

Ceremonies at the Bridge on Rt. 125
East Middlebury

Reception following at the Waybury Inn

The invitation also includes this nice photo:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Updates on road construction

Here's the latest from VTrans:

North Branch Road
  • Traffic on North Branch Road will remain open for one lane of traffic for the duration of the project. Unlimited access will be provided to Emergency Services as needed.
Middlebury River
  • Please be advised that VTrans is warning all recreational users of the Middlebury River to avoid the immediate vicinity of the bridge until further notice.

Monday (6/30): Site clean-up will continue for the week.
Thursday (7/3): All construction activity will stop at noon for the Fourth of July holiday.
(thanks to Sally Hoyler!)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This week in Sand Hill Bridge work

Here's the latest on the Sand Hill bridge construction, from VTrans email:

Middlebury VT 125 Bridge 13The new bridge is now open to traffic while work crews complete the remaining construction work.
Route 125Project related truck activity will be moderate during day time hours.
North Branch RoadTraffic on North Branch Road will remain open for one lane of traffic for the duration of the project. Unlimited access will be provided to Emergency Services as needed.
Middlebury RiverPlease be advised that VTrans is warning all recreational users of the Middlebury River to avoid the immediate vicinity of the bridge until further notice.Schedule:Friday (6/20): Form sidewalks at the bridge.
Monday (6/23): Sidewalks will be poured. Site clean-up will begin, including transport of equipment off site.

(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ripton Town Wide Lawn Sale coming up in July

We're holding a big community sale next month. Here's the story:

Annual Ripton Town Wide Lawn Sale
Saturday July 5, 2014
7am - noon
Sponsored by Friends of the Ripton Community Church
Ripton residents can participate in 3 ways
1.  Have a table at town center located between the community house and the church
2.  Sell from your home and be included on a sellers map
3.  Drop off items for donation to a community table 
We will create all advertising,  flyer distribution,  and sellers maps in exchange for a $5 donation to the continued restoration of the church building.
Please give a call by June 15 to reserve your spot.  
Contact:  Patty Gray  382 8755
Lisa Knickerbocker  388 1062
 email:   ripton.community.church@gmail.com

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The next few days of Sand Hill bridge construction

Here's what's coming up with the Sand Hill bridge work:
Schedule: Thursday (6/5): The last of the precast architectural panels will be placed. Friday (6/6): The remaining earthwork will be completed.Monday (6/9): Guardrails will be installed throughout the project. Tuesday (6/10): Sidewalks will be formed. Thursday (6/12):  Concrete sidewalks will be poured.

(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shopping in the Middlebury area

A survey of how people shop in Middlebury revealed many perspectives and habits.  Topics include online shopping, the importance of local shopping, reactions to potential big-box stores, development outside of Middlebury town, and more.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Sand Hill bridge is open for business

Good news for Ripton, Salisbury, Middlebury, and the area: the Sand Hill bridge is open!

The work crew finished around the last day of May.

Here's a quick shot as we drove downhill and over the new bridge for the first time:
Yes, the new bridge is wider than the old.  And very, very smooth to drive upon.

Work remains to be done, mostly on the sides.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ripton versus climate change

The National Climate Assessment has appeared, and it has challenging news for Ripton.  Climate change is going to hit us hard, and is already hitting us.

According to the Addison Independent's summary, climate change impacts appear in a variety of ways:
The Northeast will be plagued by heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise. 
The changing climate will greatly affect the maple syrup, timber and seafood industries. 
States with aging infrastructures, like Vermont, will be further damaged by more frequent and more damaging floods 
Boreal forests will recede to higher elevations
Those of us who remember tropical storm Irene will find special meaning in this extra point:

The report also noted that states with populations centered along rivers and in flood plains are particularly vulnerable to increased precipitation.
“In mountainous regions, including much of West Virginia and large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, more intense precipitation events will mean greater flood risk, particularly in valleys, where people, infrastructure, and agriculture tend to be concentrated,” the report states. 

Ripton's own Bill McKibben appears in the article.
“It was one more rock on the pile; there has been a steady stream of giant reports dating back to 1995 and all have said about the same thing,” McKibben said. “This one just adds that climate change is no longer a future threat — since we haven’t done anything about it, it’s now a very real part of our life.”

Paving under way

The Sand Hill bridge and its approaches have been paved.
Sand Hill bridge, paved

Note the solid concrete railings on either side.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bridge paving

Construction crews are paving the new Sand Hill bridge this morning.
That seems to be a repaving, since one worker told me they paved yesterday as well.

No photos this time, as a swarm of trucks completely blocked my way in.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Health screen at a June recycling event

Here's a useful service next month:
The Open Door Clinic of Middlebury will be holding a free health screening event on Saturday, 21 June 2014 from 9 to noon at the town shed in conjunction with the regular recycling drop-off.
(thanks to Warren and Barry King)

More work on the bridge

More images from the Sand Hill project.  These were taken on May 16th.

First, filling in the lower ramp:

Note the elevation from the road just in front of the camera up to the bridge itself.  And compare with this image from a few days before.

Second, here comes a giant slab of concrete.  It was destined to be part of that ramp now being filled in.

The next week in bridge reconstruction

Here's the latest on the Sand Hill bridge:
Route 125
Project related truck activity will be heavy during day time hours, and limited during the night.

North Branch Road
Traffic on North Branch Road will remain open for one lane of traffic for the duration of the project. Unlimited access will be provided to Emergency Services as needed.
Middlebury River
Please be advised that VTrans is warning all recreational users of the Middlebury River to avoid the immediate vicinity of the bridge until further notice.

Friday (5/23):  Fine grading and paving operations on RT 125 and North Branch Road.  Expect minor delays.
Saturday (5/24) – Monday (5/26): There will be limited work activity on the bridge during the holiday weekend. Truck traffic will cease. Concrete sidewalks will be curing during this time.
Tuesday (5/27): The work platform under the bridge will be removed.
Thursday (5/29):  Decorative precast panels will be placed. 
 (thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The past week at Sand Hill

The bridge continues to grow before our eyes.  Over the past week we've seen the bridge connected to the road.

For instance, approaching Sand Hill from East Middlebury, we saw the road gently rise to the bridge's new elevation:
Click to enlarge.

The ramp needed to be built up gradually, and graded:

Seen from just up North Branch, the bridge now looks flat along the top:

What have you observed during the past week of bridge construction?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bird walk this Saturday

Celebrate spring and birds in town this Saturday:
Join us on a
At the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail
Saturday May 24th  7:30 – 9:30 AM
weather permitting* 
Sponsored by the Ripton Conservation Commission
Meet us at the parking area. Wear comfortable shoes and bring binoculars if you have them. We’ll walk the trail and identify the species we find there.
Beginner to expert, everyone is welcome! 
*Call Warren and Barry King at 388-4082
or Rebecca Purdum at 388-9791

(thanks to Warren and Barry King)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The next few days of bridge work

Here's what's going on with the Sand Hill bridge construction work:
Thursday (5/15): Backfilling will continue on both sides of the bridge. There will be heavy truck traffic in and out of the project at this time. Backfilling will continue through the end of next week.
Friday (5/16): Precast approach slabs will be placed.
Monday (5/19): Slope stabilization, riprap placement, and seeding and mulching will begin and continue all week. The shaping of the road will also begin.
Tuesday (5/20): The sidewalk will be poured.
Wednesday (5/21): Mobilization of paving operations. 
More pictures coming.

(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Over in Lincoln, the gap is open

The Lincoln Gap Road just opened for springtime.
According to a post on FrontPorchForum,
The Lincoln Gap Road is now officially re-opened for the (non-winter) season. The road crew plans to take down the "road closed" signs in the next day or two, but those of you chomping at the bits to use this route, may now do so. Keep in mind that this higher elevation travel route can be subject to extreme weather conditions, so use caution when traveling on this road. The steep inclines can get slippery with early morning frost or heavy rainfall. Also please be aware of hikers, bikers, and dogs on the narrow roadway, especially near the top.
(thanks to Sally Ober, Lincoln Town Clerk)

Working on Sand Hill

Here's a glimpse of several construction workers atop the Sand Hill bridge work:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The next week of bridge construction

The latest on bridge construction, from VTrans:
Monday (5/12): The sidewalk will be poured and the staging platform will be removed from under the arch.
Wednesday (5/14):  Precast approach slabs will be placed.
Thursday (5/15): A membrane will be applied to the bridge deck.
Seen today, building up the lower road:

And the endcap of the bridge:

Click on the images to get larger versions.

(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

REAPing this Saturday

Please help us cut and store wood this Saturday morning.  The REAP initiative is hosting a May Bee on Saturday, May 10th, from 9 to noon at the town shed.

Residents can arrive when they can and leave when they need to. We'll be following up on the work done on 12 January in remarkably clement weather in an otherwise challenging winter. We hope to cut all the wood remaining at the town shed, split it, and truck it to the REAP woodshed for storage until needed by Ripton residents.

(thanks to Warren King for the information and photo)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sand Hill bridge, May 5

Every day the bridge progresses.
Here's the view from the northwest, up from 125 and the Waybury Inn:
Note the surface is now in place, spanning the central arch and both end pieces.

Here's from the other side of the bridge, shot from a few feet short of North Branch:

Speaking of endpieces, here's the view from one, looking straight along the bridge:

I suppose one of the next steps involves filling in the gap between that concrete surface and the road.

What fast work!  Keep going and good luck, team.

As before, click on any of these images to get bigger versions.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The bridge takes shape

Here's what the new Sand Hill bridge looked like on May 2nd. For the first time you can see the arch over the river:

You can also see how the end pieces are coming along:

Click on any of these photos for bigger versions.

Sand Hill bridge construction, April 30th

Here's where things stood with the Sand Hill bridge reconstruction on April 30th.
Looking from the side, you can see the two end pieces in place, and work being done in between:

Here's what one of the end pieces looks like from the road:

Click on any of these photos for bigger versions.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The next week of Sand Hill bridge work

Here's what's ahead for the bridge construction, according to VTrans:
Friday (5/2) – Saturday (5/3): NEXT beams will be set in place and grouted. Expect minor delays while beams are being brought on to the site.   
Monday (5/5) – Friday (5/9): Backfilling of the bridge will begin and continue for the week. Truck activity will be constant during this time period. Bridge deck and rail will be set in place as well. 
(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Working on the new bridge

Here's what we saw at the bridge construction yesterday afternoon.  We were standing on route 125 just short of North Branch Road:

Close up on the work crew low down, just above the river:
Route 124 continues uphill above that yellow tractor.

The construction crew used an enormous crane to haul concrete and other materials:
Click on each image to get a bigger one.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Demolishing the Sand Hill bridge

Here's a video of how construction teams demolished the Sand Hill bridge:
(thanks to Dick Collitt!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's next with the Sand Hill bridge

What's ahead in the bridge construction project?
From VTrans:

ScheduleFriday (4/25): Precast concrete footings will be set into place.
Saturday (4/26) & Sunday (4/27):  Concrete preparation and pouring the sub footing for the precast concrete arch.
Monday (4/28) & Tuesday (4/29):  The precast breast walls and wing walls for the bridge will be set into place.
Thursday (5/1) & Friday (5/2): The precast arch panels will be mobilized to  the site and set into place. Immediately following the installation of the arch panels, the structural steel beams set into place.
Saturday (5/3) & Sunday (5/4):  Concrete NEXT beams will arrive on site and set into place.
(thanks to Sally Hoyler)

Monday, April 21, 2014

The bridge is now closed to traffic

Route 125 is now closed above the Sand Hill bridge:

The Upper Plains Road detour is directly to the left of this photo.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sand Hill closure starts today

Work on the Sand Hill bridge started today, so make sure you know your detours and plan for extra travel time.

Here's what the preparations looked like, starting with the view from downhill:
Machines stand ready to dig and haul:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Detours for Sand Hill bridge closing

How can we get to and from our Ripton if that crucial bridge is out?

Here's the detour recommended by VTrans:

Perhaps you'd like to try a shorter route, along the two Plains roads:
I picked those two establishments for ease of making the map.

Drive safely, and let us know how it goes!