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Posts from — April 2011

Traffic Suppression

Nice!

April 29, 2011   5 Comments

More to Come…

April 25, 2011   1 Comment

Jet Setter


tabi Bonney

April 21, 2011   Comments Off

Once in a Lifetime

The Talking Heads

April 20, 2011   Comments Off

Family Bible 860AD

Have you ever flipped through a book this old? My Dad hid this thing from Bolshevik invaders in 1925 by burying it under a large flat stone in a barn. It was passed down in his family for over 1100 years. This photo was taken at an undisclosed location in Armenia.

April 19, 2011   2 Comments

Bob Kiss to Complete Southern Connector

That’s an accomplishment.  It’s been in the works longer than I’ve been alive.  Press Release from the mayor’s office….

***** 

CITY TO FILE ACT 250 PERMIT APPLICATION FOR CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY TODAY

Burlington, VT – The City of Burlington announced that it will file its Act 250 permit application for the Champlain Parkway project today.  Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss will accompany Department of Public Works staff to the Act 250 Regional District Office, 111 West Street in Essex Junction, to file the application.  The application is expected to be filed at 2:30 pm.

The Champlain Parkway will construct and rehabilitate approximately 2.4 miles of roadway, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities commencing at the interchange of I-189 with US 7 in the City of South Burlington and extending westerly and northerly to the intersection of Pine Street with Main Street within the City of Burlington’s City Center District (CCD).  Between Home Avenue and Lakeside Avenue , new roadway will be constructed on already acquired right-of-way.  From Lakeside Avenue to Pine Street and terminating at Main Street the Parkway will use existing roadways, and construction will consist of rehabilitation and improvements to the existing streets. The roadway will consist of one lane in each direction with turn lanes and traffic signals at certain intersections. Pedestrian facilities include sidewalks, shared-use paths, cross-walks and actuated pedestrian phasing at signalized intersections. Bicycle facilities include the shared-use paths and on-road components. 

The Parkway was initially designed in the 1960s as the “Southern Connector” with the intent of re-routing truck traffic from neighborhoods in Burlington ’s South End going to the Pine Street corridor and points downtown.  It is one of the few remaining road projects in the country with a 95 percent federal funding share, with 3 percent and 2 percent provided respectively by the State of Vermont and Burlington .  The total estimated cost of the project is 20 million dollars.

The Champlain Parkway today continues to maintain the purpose of re-routing truck traffic from neighborhoods in the South End while also promoting improved traffic flow, enhanced pedestrian and bicycle amenities, stormwater mitigation, and economic development. The project runs through the heart of the City’s south end/Pine Street business corridor.

Leading up to today’s Act 250 application, the City completed the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project in the fall of 2009, the Federal Highway Administration issued a “Record of Decision” (ROD) for the project on January 14, 2010, and the City held a series of public informational meetings about the project in May and June of 2010.  The meetings focused on 4 areas: (1) environmental issues; (2) mobility issues; (3) neighborhood and community issues; and (4) economic development.

For more information about the project go to: http://www.champlainparkway.org/.

 

April 18, 2011   3 Comments

Leopold Stepping Down

I got an interesting press release from the mayor’s office today…
****
PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:Joe Reinert, Assistant to the Mayor

BURLINGTON CAO LEOPOLD TO LEAVE POSITION

Leopold to Serve Through the End of Current Fiscal Year

 Burlington, VTApril 14, 2011.  The City of Burlington announced today that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Jonathan Leopold will leave his position as of July 1, 2011.

“I have accepted Jonathan’s decision with regret,” said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss .  “I want to thank him for his hard work and personal commitment to the City throughout his career.  Among many other accomplishments, Jonathan’s management of the budget has resulted in 5 straight fiscal years of a level general services tax rate and an increase in the City’s undesignated reserve fund from $75,000 to over $5 million.  Jonathan has also built a strong management team in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office which will ensure a successful transition.”

In his letter to Mayor Kiss, Mr. Leopold states that “I have been committed to and worked for our community for nearly 30 years.  I have strived to do my best to serve and protect the City’s interests and am proud of the success of this administration to address the challenges the City faced in 2006.  We have rebuilt the City’s financial reserves, maintained a stable tax rate, improved the status of the retirement system, repaved City streets, strengthened Burlington ’s energy sufficiency and improved City services and programs.  I truly love Burlington and want to assure that it continues to prosper.”

In his letter, Mr. Leopold also cites issues related to Burlington Telecom. “Over the past several years, these successes have been overshadowed by the Burlington Telecom controversy….The City’s efforts to overcome the financial and legal problems have been daunting but worth the effort. I regret the difficulties the City has faced as a result of the BT controversy and I hope the City is able to resolve these issues. In hindsight, I believe that we could have made a more complete disclosure of the violation of Condition 60 when we first learned of it in November 2008.  This has resulted in an unfortunate division within the city. I believe it is time for Burlington to come together and move forward.”

Mr. Leopold expressed confidence in the strength of his management team in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. In the coming months he will work with the Mayor and Council to develop the City’s FY12 budget.

Leopold was appointed the City’s CAO by Mayor Kiss after the Mayor was first elected in March of 2006.  He previously served the City as Treasurer from 1981-1988 and was widely-lauded for his management of the City’s finances during that period.

 Mr. Leopold’s entire letter can be found here:  http://www.ci.burlington.vt.us/docs/4175.pdf.  Mayor Kiss received Mr. Leopold’s letter this morning.

April 14, 2011   3 Comments

Louisa Howard Chapel IV

Friends of Lakeview Cemetery and of  Louisa Howard Chapel are trying to raise $100,000 to fix up the fountains there, which are just like the one on the UVM green.

I will update this post later with more details…

(Later) Update:

I’ll just share with you the letter they sent me, which I am about to transcribe below the row of stars to follow.

*****

March 23, 2011

Dear Friend,

In 1867 the City of Burlington established Lakeview Cemetery, designed in the “Lawn-Park” style popular at that time.  Families could picnic and stroll through the winding paths with views of the lake as they remembered their loved ones.

Early in Lakeview’s history, the Howard family generously donated features to enhance the beauty of this cemetery.  Louisa Howard provided the funds for the building of the chapel near the entrance, and her brother, John Purple Howard, donated the Gothic entrance gates and three fountains.

Today, Burlington’s historic Lawn-Park cemetery retains its beauty as a resting place for citizens, many of whom were prominent in history.  A number of Civil War generals and soldiers are buried here, including famous leaders such as General Stannard, members of the African-American regiments, and 33 Medal of Honor recipients.  Warren Austin, U.S. Senator and first ambassador to the United Nations is buried near the lake.  Walking through the grounds, now shaded by trees well over 100 years old, you will find stones memorializing leaders of state and community, recognizable by the streets and schools named in their honor.

Over the years, the Chapel, Gazebo and Fountains have suffered the effects of age and weather.  In the 1990s the Friends of Lake View Cemetery was organized and immediately set to work to restore the Chapel.  Now beautifully rehabilitated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is being used for both memorial services and weddings.  The Friends’ next project was to restore the Gazebo.  This rustic shelter by the lake was rebuilt in its original style, and is now prepared to provide a place for rest and meditation for many more years.

The Friends now turn their attention to the restoration of the two fountains, which were originally designed in the same style as the fountain at the University of Vermont’s green (John Purple Howard was responsible for this fountain as well).  We look forward to honoring the Howard family once again by restoring their contributions to the beauty of Lake View Cemetery.  Will you join us?

We are hoping to raise $100,000 and would appreciate your tax-deductable gift.  Checks should be made payable to Lakeview Cemetery Fountain Project

Thank you!

The Friends of Lakeview Cemetery

*****

Interesting.  I went to the Warren Austin Model United Nations in high school and used to shop at Stannard’s market.

If you want to write a check payable to “Lakeview Cemetery Fountain Project”  the address to send it to is:

Friends of Lakeview Cemetery

455  North Avenue

Burlington, VT 05401

Related Posts  (displayed one at a time in reverse chronological order, starting with this one).

April 11, 2011   Comments Off

Really Long Handshake

In 1992, when I was 19 Bill Clinton came to Perkins Pier on the Burlington waterfront to make a campaign speech that attracted many thousands of people.  Afterward, he hung around shaking hands.  I felt lucky when I was able to share touching one of his hands with several others as he passed by reaching into the crowd.  He was there a long, long while after that seemingly determined to shake hands with everybody- so I figured what the heck- and went back to get a better handshake.  This time I reached my right hand up over several people’s heads toward him.  He reached his right hand up over several people’s heads toward mine and took hold of it firmly in one of these grips for probably five or six seconds. 

It felt like a really long time and I thought to myself “This guy is not letting go of my hand!”

April 9, 2011   2 Comments

New School Board Leadership

On Tuesday the Burlington School Board reconvened with five new members.  The first order of business was to elect a new Board Chair to replace Fred Lane who was defeated at the polls in March.  The Board’s most senior member Keith Pillsbury, who had never been chair before, was elected unanimously.  In my opinion he did a great job running the meeting and I’m very optimistic about his leadership going forward.  I was also very impressed with our five new members and look forward to working with them in the days ahead. 

Yesterday Chairman Pillsbury called me and asked if I’d be willing to serve as Chair of the School Board’s Policy and Advocacy Committee.  I have accepted his appointment and look  forward to the work ahead.   I hope to help move the school district toward simpler, more understandable (and possibly fewer) policies, and to focus our advocacy for the district in the most targeted and effective ways possible.

I don’t know yet who will be serving on the other committees, but I can say for sure  your new Burlington School Board holds a lot of promise.

April 7, 2011   3 Comments