First Complete Streets training held in Newport

The first of four statewide Complete Streets training workshops was held this past Wednesday at the Emory Hebard State Building in Newport.


Fifteen participants from a wide-variety of sectors and organizations learned about Vermont’s complete streets law and its effect on towns, seven steps to building complete streets, and resources and project examples to consult.

Following the training, attendee Jennifer Woolard a Public Health Specialist who works in the Newport office wrote in an email: “The training guided us through the steps that can be taken to incorporate complete streets into a variety of projects. By learning about complete streets and how to implement them in our city, we have the opportunity to create a safe and accessible transportation environment for everyone of all ages & abilities. The facilitators were thorough, engaging, and very energetic about this work and the work we have ahead of us.”

The morning training session was full of lively discussion and interaction among the class attendees who were able to bring experiences and perspectives from their backgrounds into the discussion. The principle underlying the Complete Streets concept is that state and town streets, roads and highways should safely accommodate all transportation user, regardless of age, ability, or what mode of transportation they prefer- walking, biking, driving or use of transit. The purpose of the Complete Streets Law is to ensure that the needs of all transportation system users are considered in all state and municipally managed transportation projects and project phases, including planning, development, construction, and maintenance, ex­cept in the case of projects or project components involving unpaved highways. The policy applies when new roads are being constructed, and when paved roads are being reconstructed, rehabilitated, or other­wise maintained.

Three additional sessions of this workshop will be held in the coming weeks: Jan. 29, in White River Junction, Feb. 5, in Burlington (waitlist), and Feb. 12, in Manchester. Registration is available online here.

-Erik Wells

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iPad loan program is underway


This month we have launched our new iPad Loan Program to provide Town Highway Departments with a chance to try out a tablet and its applications for public works. Our program has taken this approach to provide an opportunity for towns to work with a tablet and decide if purchasing one would be a worthwhile investment. Town of Groton Road Foreman Brent Smith became the first participant in this program this past week. I spent the afternoon with Brent demonstrating and discussing the potential uses of the iPad for his department. We went over using it for email, taking and sharing photos and videos, using applications to create reports both visually and with recorded voiceovers included, and accessing websites like e911 maps and VOBCIT.

If your Vermont town is interested in participating in the iPad loan program, please call (802-654-2652) or email me ( and we can discuss it. Our program asks that borrowers abide by our use policy, and receive training and set-up instruction for the iPad. Loan periods will last at least a week, and will vary depending on demand. This is a new program for us, and as it is getting established there will be additional details to work out along the way.

-Erik Wells

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Historic Buildings, New Accessibility Rules & Codes Training Day

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 
7:30 am – 3:00 pm 
Vermont Technical College – ‘Old Schoolhouse’
Randolph, VT

Some of the most common questions builders and designers have are about new accessibility requirements, modifying historic buildings, and in particular modifying historic buildings for greater accessibility. 
This seminar seeks to clarify Vermont’s building codes by bringing together three experts:  from ADA-New England, the preservation community, and the Division of Fire Safety.  Presentations and discussions will focus on case studies suggested by participants.
All participants in the workshop will receive complimentary membership in BSA-VT. 
This course earns 6 AIA-HSW CEUs.

Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be better able to:

  • understand and apply Vermont’s current Access Rules (based on the new version of ADA, 2010)
  • understand Vermont’s categories of new construction and renovation, including which codes apply
  • apply Chapter 43 of NFPA to existing and historic buildings
  • evaluate the balance between requirements for new and existing construction, as well as accessibility, with historic structures
  • discuss strategies for design/construction with building officials, owners, and other professionals.

Kathy Gips, Director of Training, New England ADA Center 
Judy Hayward, Executive Director, Historic Windsor and Preservation Education Institute 
Bob Patterson, Deputy Director, Vermont Dept. Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety


Please email your questions about specific code and construction circumstances for review during the session to:
 Sandra Vitzthum 


$60 per person includes the full day of training, continental breakfast, lunch.
To sign up, please visit
We have made arrangements to re-schedule the event to Jan 16 if necessary; the meeting will be held in Berlin VT if this happens. Final decision will be made by 8:30 am 1/14 and emailed to all participants.  You can also check our website for updates.
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BioFinder Trainings: Online biodiversity mapping FREE


Jan. 7 – Lyndon State College
6-8 p.m.
ASAC Building, room 206 (Academic and Student Activity Center)
College Road, Lyndon State College
RSVP here: BioFinder Training – Lyndon State College – Jan. 7

This training will show planners, developers, educators and scientists (citizen or pro) how to use BioFinder to map important habitats, species, ecosystems and natural communities. BioFinder was developed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to assist planners and developers with prioritizing, managing and working around lands of high ecological value. Conservation Biologist, Jens Hike, will be leading the training. More about BioFinder.

RSVP because computer stations are limited!

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Emerald Ash Borer Meeting

Emerald Ash Borer Meeting

Tuesday, January 7
7:00 p.m. 
Danville Town Hall, Route 2

The Danville Conservation Commission will be holding an informational meeting discussing the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle species originally discovered in Michigan. The Emerald Ash Borer has since spread quickly throughout the Northeast and has been found in all states surrounding Vermont, as well as in Canada. The beetle is devastating to Ash populations. To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer click here

This meeting is intended as a launching point into further discussions and planning in order to protect Vermont’s Ash trees from this invasive insect. The meeting is open to town planners, conservation groups and interested residents.

The speakers will be Jay Lackey, forest protection specialist, and Neil Monteith, a forester with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation.

Refreshments will be served. Please feel free to invite other interested residents and policy makers.  

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Caring for Storm Damaged Trees and Woodlots

Courtesy of The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation 

An ice storm can leave trees and woodlots  looking devastated. Major limbs may be broken or damaged. But what at first glance may look like mortal wounds are not necessarily fatal to a tree. The good news is trees are amazingly resilient, and many recover with proper care and time. To help trees recover after a storm, follow a few simple steps:

1. Take safety precautions. Look up and look down. Be on the alert!  Stay away from downed utility lines and dangerous hanging branches that look like they are ready to fall.

2. Assess the damages. Evaluate your trees carefully. Ask the following questions:

  •  Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous?
  • Are major limbs or the leader branch (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) still remaining?
  •  Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown still intact?
  •  Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure?

If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance for complete recovery.

3. Do not try to do it all yourself. 

Homeowners should never perform tree work from ladders or around power lines. Leave dangerous work like overhead pruning or removing trees to tree care professionals who are trained and equipped to do the job safely. If you are making pruning cuts, follow pruning guidelines by making clean cuts in the right places.

4. If your woodlot has damaged and downed trees, don’t panic!

You have time to carefully consider your options. If your woods are enrolled in Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program (Current Use) call your consulting forester or County Forester before any major tree removal to see if you need to amend your plan.

Learn more about trees, forests and storm recovery. Visit the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Storm Damage Center

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Secretary LaHood Visits Vermont

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Brattleboro Friday morning to celebrate the end of the Vermonter rail project.

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Trucks and Winter Equipment Workshop Underway

There’s a full house at Patriot Freightliner in Westminster today for our Trucks & Winter Equipment Class. The workshop features representatives from H.P Fairfield, Detroit, Cummins, Everest Equipment, Freightliner, Tenco, Western Star and Allison to address winter equipment. The four stations attendees will visit cover Bodies and Spreaders, Plows and Hydraulics, Transmissions and Cabs & Chassis.



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Welding Workshops Underway

Our fall week of welding workshops kicked off yesterday in front of a full-house at the Rockingham Highway Garage. VLR Director Dave Antone sent in this photo from the class. The class, taught by Tom Cook, covers welding techniques and best practices, and is broken down into a basic class one day and an advanced session the following day. Attending basic is the prerequisite to take part in the advanced session. Interested in taking a Vermont Local Roads workshops? Sign up on our website today.


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DOT Study Underway for Crash Prevention Using Wi-Fi Technology

Nearly 3,000 Vehicles Will Send Wi-Fi-like Signals that Warn of Safety Hazards, Could Help Reduce Crashes During Year-Long Research Project.

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