If you are one who might skip over the Staff Meeting Minutes because they are long, I’d like to encourage you to settle in and take the time to read. They are very informative and helpful to an understanding of what these departments and their wonderful workers actually do for us. What else to do on a cold winter night? – Lil
Oh! I forgot! Be sure the turkey is defrosting and the pies are cooling!
Selectboard Present:Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Cheryl Mayberry
Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Justine Fafara (Library Director); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Director; Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Exec. Director)
Excused:Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Police Chief Michael Paquette;
CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Dalessio called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall and welcomed everyone. He advised this meeting is being recorded.
Recycling Center: Mr. Ben Hoy distributed copies of drawings for the new proposed Reuse Center. They are proposing to build the new Reuse Center to the right of the entrance where the garage door is. Mr. Bill Hatt advised it will cost about $50,000 to put the new addition on that side. There would be complications with the existing angled roof. If it was built away from the building, it would be cheaper to build a four–sided building on a slab. A separate building would be about $30,000. There are. options. Mr. Dalessio said they could build far enough away so there could be a breezeway between this building and the Recycling Center. Mr. Rau noted they might have to move it about ten feet away from the other building to get the snow off. Mr. Hoy advised the old salt shed came down during the strong wind storm. Therefore, he would like a shed to put salt in. For now he was going to put it in the extra trailer they have so the salt would be under cover but available to the public. The Selectboard agreed that having a new salt shed is a good idea. They recently received 150 gallons of waste oil from Green Mountain Railroad that will help keep them warm this winter. They are receiving a little more revenue from LenTex for the long paper cords. Markets are going down.
Mr. Hoy submitted and discussed the following written report dated November 21, 2019:
Mr. Dalessio reported the Boy Scouts collected over 1,400 items of food and well over $1,000 during their food drive. The Recycling Center was a great place to do this. It was a team effort and went well.
Highway Department: Mr. Michael Rau advised they have been getting ready for winter and making sure everything is ready to go. There have been no major problems. The catch basins were cleaned-out in the Villages. Mr. Rau had ordered 1,000 pounds of salt.
Mr. Rau submitted a written report for the period of October 17, 2019 to November 20, 2019:
Mr. Dalessio had talked with Mr. Rau about tree removal including trees in the North Walpole Village Park. Mr. Rau will follow-up with Rice Tree Service and try to get a date for removal. The trees near the front of the Library are on the list. Mr. Dalessio would like Rice Tree Service to evaluate the trees by the Town Hall and take appropriate action. Mr. Rau stated if there was an emergency Rice Tree Service would be right here as they were at the Recycling Center when the tree came down on the Reuse Center.
Library: Mrs. Fafara submitted the following report dated November 20, 2019:
Things are good but very busy. The new ILL system is going well. They had some hiccups, as to be expected with a brand new software program, but it’s working well and it’s taking much less staff time.
They started showing movies after school on Thursdays in October and it was very well received. They will pick it up again in January in the new Hubbard Community Room.
They are already brainstorming some new programs to host once they have the new community room. They have a new book discussion group and some craft programs lined up right now. She had a few requests to bring the cookbook group back. They will try to do that again in January.
They already received a handful of requests from outside groups to use the Hubbard Community Room in 2020. The Library Trustees made it a priority to edit and approve our meeting room policy to better reflect the new space and its functions. The next step is to find a scheduling program; it could be something free like google calendar or we may look into real software that the public could submit requests through. It would also give them better options for registering for events. The Fire Code is for 70 people; they are going to use a limit of 60 people.
She attended the New England Library Association Conference and there were some great sessions. The best session was on the 2020 census which will be all online with paper options mailed out as a last resort. Libraries will need to be a place with internet access and assistance for people who do not have the necessary computer skills. The Census starts in March 2020.
She created a staff schedule and a volunteer schedule for the move back to the library. For the next three weeks they will be closed to the public. Next week (Thanksgiving) they will be packing upstairs. They will be utilizing volunteers on Monday, December 2nd at 9am to help with the physical move back to the space. Then they will be utilizing volunteers to help them unpack and clean all the materials that have been stored in the library during construction. This part has actually started this week; a little earlier than originally planned, but is going well. They had a great group of 12 volunteers in Monday morning and they have two more groups of volunteers for Thursday and Friday.
The Library’s soft opening will be December 16th. The grand opening celebration is scheduled for Saturday, January 4th from 11am-2pm. All are welcome to come get a tour of the new space and enjoy some cake and warm beverages.
Mr. Dalessio asked about the Ken Burns display. Mrs. Fafara replied it has not yet been finished. They expect it the second week in December. They are allowing people to reserve the meeting room after hours until 9:00pm. A staff person will have to be in the building. Some book clubs meet until 9:00pm.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Helen Dalbeck submitted two written reports for the periods of 9/19-10/24/19 and from 10/25-11/21/19.
9/18-10/24/2019 Report: School Programs: Pre-K – 4th Grade focus on harvest and school gardens: 5th – Insects and Fall Migration; 6th grade Botany and Trees. The WES gardens have grown and harvested 1600 lbs of produce that went straight into the kitchens and on to the lunch menu that feeds our Walpole students. The High Tunnel is now growing spinach, lettuce and radishes for the winter.
Public Events and Outreach: Museum Day, Walpole Community Garden Potluck (9/21); tent and table at the Chickens on the Loose Event with hoola hooping, friend making and a crafty craft, insert antennae for the kids, (really for everyone). (10/12).
Looking Forward: StoryWalk with the Library on the Common -11/8; Village along the Connecticut River (Family Program) 11/9 and the Walpole Community Garden Clean-up 11/9, both at the Hooper Institute.
Save the Date: Wreathmaking at the Hooper Institute, 12/6 and 12/7; details to follow. All materials will be supplied.
10/25-11/21/2019 Report: School Programs: Becky and she have been hopping as Hooper educators. The 4th grades have been travelling to local farms. All others have been harvesting, cider making, planting seeds in the High Tunnel and cleaning/clearing the raised beds, prepping for winter. The 5thand 6th graders have given migratory bird reports and tree reports respectively and the students have honed their field identification skills. Soil studies have begun in 5th grade, composting and putting the gardens to bed plus the new “Village along the Connecticut River” Native American program for 6thgrade.
Public Programs/Community Outreach: They had a StoryWalk with the library on 11/8. The new “Village along the Connecticut River” was presented at the Hooper Institute (HI) 11/9, and the Walpole Community Garden cleanup followed. She lunched with the Walpole Seniors 11/18 and shared stories, artifacts, and updates with all. They will have a table with crafts at the Farmers Market in Walpole on Nov. 23, meeting the people and spreading the good word with a special focus on the school gardens. The plan is to close the Hooper Institute building for the winter on 12/20/2019.
Their proposed 2020 schedule includes a Walpole Village tree tour in January with Distant Hill, a live owl program in April plus we are adding large festivals spring and fall, skill based programs sprinkled throughout and Earth Week during April vacation. She will use the Walpolean to post events. Mrs. Fafara will post news items on their Library web page. Mr. Dalessio would like postings to go on the Drewsville Store bulletin board. Mr. Hoy welcomes postings at the Recycling Center.
Ms. Dalbeck reported that the Hooper Institute committee is now the Hooper Institute Board. They have welcomed new officers and two new members to the board. Friends of Hooper Institute is a fundraising arm of the Hooper Institute. They are signing up new members and will continue to invite all to join the Friends of Hooper Institute. “You’ve got to have friends”!
Walpole Recreation Department: Mr. Cassarino has submitted the Walpole Recreation notes dated November 21, 2019, and review them as follows:
3rd/4th grade and 5th/6th grade;
Pre-K to K has 19 participants;
1st to 2nd grade has 34 participants; their numbers are growing.
Their programs did not have enough participants to have a team, so they welcomed them to play with us to give the kids an opportunity to play.
Matt Beam Plumbing
Mike Beam Landscaping
State Farm – Craig Vickers
Tim Latham Electric
Trying to think of spots where they could do it during the winter where it would not be cold or icy to participate. Mrs. Pschirrer said many would like to have a bocce ball court.
Daddy & Me Dance:
February 8, 2020.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Sarah Downing reviewed her submitted written report dated November 20, 2019.
Water and Sewer:
Town Hall Facilities:
Town Clerk / Tax Collector’s Office: Mrs. Sandra Smith was unable to attend but provided the following report dated November 21, 2019.
Tax bills were mailed today! Due date is December 23rd. Merry Christmas!
They received the signed Warrant Wednesday morning November20th.
She called Ray Boas and asked him to put a reminder in the Clarion and to put “Early Payments would be appreciated” and the due date. This does help. She also printed it on her tax bills.
People have been calling all month, thinking the tax bills were lost in the mail.
She started printing the bills Wednesday morning, then had her daughter, Terry Jo come in and help stuff and seal the envelopes. Meghan did the “window”, helped stuff the bills then she left at 2 P.M. for a doctor’s appointment.
Terry Jo and she ran out of envelopes and she called Craftsmen Press and they printed a box of their tax bill envelopes with their permit number. She drove over today, picked them up—came back and stuffed the remaining bills.
Then she could not locate their postal bulk mailing form. Spent time on the Internet, could not locate the form. Called the Walpole Post Office, they tried and could not locate the form! They said if she could find the form and get the bills to them before 3 P.M. she could mail them today. Finally located her file folder it had slipped behind another folder. The post office was happy as she made them a couple of copies for their file. She mailed the bills just before 3 P.M. The Walpole Post Office is great to deal with. Very friendly and helpful.
She is exhausted – so going home to crash.
2020 Budget: Mr. Dalessio announced that the Selectboard will have their 2020 Budget Department reviews on December 6th. Warrant Articles should have written quotes. If department managers feel strongly about increasing a line item previously handed-in, this is when it should be brought up for discussion.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Dalessio wished everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. He adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:56 PM.