Tree limb damages cruiser, officer unhurt

March 24, 2021

By JOSIE GAWRYS

PITTSFORD — The Pittsford Select Board held its first meeting post-Town Meeting and reorganized the board for another year of municipal work.

Alicia Malay will be staying on as chair of the Pittsford Select Board following a unanimous vote at the March 3 meeting. David Mills was elected vice chair. Town Manager John Haverstock congratulated Selectmen Mills and Tom Hooker on being re-elected to their seats.  Linda Drummond was elected as recording clerk.

During the Town Manager’s Report, John Haverstock announced that a Pittsford Police Department pick-up truck cruiser was damaged during a recent windstorm when a fallen tree limb crushed the cab roof and windshield — with a town employee inside.

Pittsford Police Chief Joseph Warfle said that Officer Stephane Goulet was seated in the cruiser parked at the intersection of Fire Hill Road and Whipple Hollow Road on Omya truck detail the night of March 8 when part of a tree fell on the vehicle. Goulet was not injured, but he was startled. Haverstock said the cruiser was sent to the Stone Dodge dealership in Middlebury for repairs. The Brandon Police Department is loaning the department a cruiser until the Pittsford cruiser is repaired.

“Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt,” Haverstock said, “but Officer (Stephane) Goulet said he had his bell rung.”

Also at the March 3 meeting, Haverstock gave the board an authorization form allowing Haverstock to aid the Pittsford Village Farm with a grant application. The authorization was approved and the grant endorsement was signed by the select board members.  The Village Farm is applying for a Vermont Community Development grant to help pay for the renovation of the Village Farm farmhouse.

Deere Lane solar project developer Mike Norris of Norris Brothers Solar Development attended the March 3 meeting to talk about a proposed solar farm. There are currently 60 solar panels outside of the Deere Lane building, and the project would expand the count up to 180 panels. The board discussed concerns about visibility of the project, but board members who have driven by the property said it’s a non-issue.

“I’ve got to admit, I knew there were solar panels there, but I always thought they were behind the building,” Mills said. “I’ve never seen these solar panels.”

Mills motioned to supply a letter of support for the project as Norris requested, and it was passed 4-0.

At the March 17 select board meeting, Highway Foreman Chad Eugair spoke about repair plans for the Depot Hill Road covered bridge.

Eugair recently met with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to discuss the repairs to be made to the bridge. The current running boards along each side of the roadbed need to be replaced. This project will begin as soon as April 1 with a predicted completion prior to the Kendall Hill bridge repair project, set for May or June.

In other news:

The school budget passed 1,252 to 960 votes. All town budgets were passed with a roughly 3-2 margin.

Roughly $2.7 billion will come to Vermont in COVID-19 relief funds. The Fiscal office is still deciding how to allocate these funds to various towns and cities.

The Rutland Regional Planning Commission discussed interest in improving Internet speed for underserved communities due to more employees working remotely.

Casella’s Depot Hill pump project has been finished, but site restoration, mulching and seeding still need to take place when weather improves. The next select board meeting will be held on April 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: Josie Gawrys is an intern and journalism student at Castleton State University.