by Kieron Kramer
Due to space considerations the remainder of last week’s report on the Berlin Town Board meeting is continued this week.
The Berlin Town Board meeting on Thursday, November 14, began with a presentation by two young ladies from the Berlin Central School District, Julianna D’Alessio and Drew Kells, who are members of the Berlin Youth2Youth organization, the youth center of TRACs (Together Reducing Alcohol & Drugs in our CommunitieS). Kells and D’Alessio presented a persuasive argument for why it is time for Berlin Youth2Youth to be joined by teens, and sponsors, from the New Lebanon community. [private]They want the communities to share in activities and fundraising. There is $2.5 million in grants possible for the two communities, the girls said, and joining the two communities “would benefit all.” Some teens from the New Lebanon School District already participate in Berlin Youth2Youth activities. BCS youths play baseball at Shatford Park in New Lebanon and youths from both communities play on Taconic Valley Soccer Club teams. Youths from both school districts attend dances together and friendships have already been formed, the girls said.
According to the girls, and Biffy Cahill, the Youth2Youth Adult Facilitator, in 2009 the Berlin School District had the highest incidence of drug and alcohol use by teens in Rensselaer County. This was accompanied by low graduation rates and less involvement in extracurricular activities, they said. Cahill added, “TRACs began in 2009 and by 2012 a survey showed that we became the second to lowest in drug and alcohol use in Rensselaer County.” “New Lebanon is now facing similar issues to what BCS faced four years ago,” the girls said.
At its May meeting the Town Board had voted to sponsor a local youth to the Youth2Youth Eastern States Conference in July at a cost of $425 with the money coming out of the Youth Commission budget. Berlin Youth Director Tammy Osterhout made the request and said that only one Berlin youth submitted a letter requesting sponsorship. Board Members Richard deLeon and Tara Cinney both thought it would be nice if the young person would come to a Board meeting to report on the experience and what she learned at the summit. Nine teens from the area Youth2Youth group attended the Eastern States Conference. Two made the presentation at the November 14 meeting. D’Alessio thanked the Berlin Youth Commission for sponsoring her.
Youth2Youth is a drug and alcohol free organization, formed in 2005, that promotes fun and healthy choices to teens all over the world and sponsors a four day conference held at the University of Rhode Island where these teens can get together with other people from all over the country who have also sworn to live the Youth2Youth lifestyle. D’Alessio and Kells showed computer projections of the activities at the conference. There were speeches every day and “an amazing atmosphere,” the girls said. The attendees were broken up into groups at the conference, and “the grouping makes you meet new people,” they said. D’Alessio said, “We did workshops to find fun ways of being drug free, and we shared teen insights.” It makes you grow as a person,” D’Alessio added.
Town Hall Offered
At the end of this presentation, Berlin Town Supervisor Rob Jaeger said the Town will take a part of the municipal complex in Cherry Plain and make a youth room with equipment from the Watipi Building [where the Berlin Youth activities took place]. The space could be used by Youth2Youth and TRACs; the location would make it easier to host New Lebanon youth, he said. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Youth2Youth and TRACs sponsorships and meeting dates and times.
The Board voted unanimously to move the Town’s municipal bank accounts to Key Bank in Hoosick Falls starting December 1. “We don’t want to be going over the mountain to do our banking [at the nearest Bank of America branch],” Jaeger said. A new account at Key Bank will start then, and the current Bank of America account will be drawn down by January 1. Jaeger said that in January there will be only one account for all the Town’s funds; it will be at Key Bank, and there will be no charges.
Water District #1 is closed for the season. Water District #2 Supervisor Jim Winn reported on a mystery on South Main Street. A house there has water in the basement which is not showing up anywhere else, he said. He said he would investigate. Jaeger asked Winn if the water had been turned off at the Watipi Building, which will be closed and left unheated for the winter. Winn replied, “Not yet.”
As Highway Superintendent, Winn said sarcastically, “Just can’t wait.” He meant for winter. The Department has been getting its equipment ready for winter use.
Dog Control Officer Doug Goodermote reported that the rabies clinic on October 17 was a success. One hundred animals were treated, he said. He also reported that there “is a dog trespassing problem on Adams Road in the south end.” “I think it will be ongoing,” he added.
J. Nicholas Adams, Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), reported that the ZBA’s only activity is moving forward with the Vincent gravel mine on Plank Road. Planning Board Chair Pam Gerstel said that she wanted members of her Board to attend a free clinic at Hudson Valley Community College on the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process and regulations. “We know little about SEQR,” she said.
Youth Director Tammy Osterhout reported that “the kids had a ball” at the Halloween party, particularly with the piñata. She thanked Kathy Jaeger, Sharon Clapp and Courtney Keller for judging the costumes.
Regarding the Disaster Plan, Ivan Wager said that he had shown Jaeger and Joe Rechen the base station in his vehicle and that he wants to show it to the whole Board. He said that he wants to “add a couple of things” to Berlin’s Disaster Plan. He commented on the evacuation drill at the Middle School/High School the day after this meeting and hoped that it would be successful. He wondered if a command post could be set up at the Town Hall in case there is an emergency at the school, which is just down Route 22.
Regarding the Transfer Station, Wager said that “everything is running well.” The attendants have been winterizing the equipment there. Wager said that there is a new tire vendor and this will result in lower prices for dropping off tires that are still mounted on rims. They will cost one ticket instead of two. Wager said that the tire vendor had taken 500 tires away the week of the meeting and will be back for more.
The bills were voted to be paid as read by Town Clerk Anne Maxon. Jaeger asked where was the bill to reimburse him for the copy of the anti-virus program, McAfee, that he bought on his own credit card for the Supervisor’s computer. It cost about $75, Jaeger said. “If you could find it, I’d like it,” he said. Maxon said, “I know just where it is.”
Code Enforcement Officer Allan Yerton went to a three day conference on building code issues and, as usual, had some unsettling things to report. There was no discussion on outside furnaces, last month’s topic. But, he said, if the Town demolishes an old building with asphalt shingles or tiles, built before the 1980s, these materials must be tested for asbestos before being taken down. This does not apply to buildings that are razed in emergency situations. Board Member Tara Cinney said, “This will be expensive.” Normally, the cost of demolishing a building by the Town, which happens very rarely, is passed along to the property owner through the County. Yerton also announced that people should be aware that many new brass water fittings produced in China contain lead. Brass water fittings, and other brass items produced in China, will need a certificate in 2014 and 2015 indicating that the fittings are lead free before they can be installed.[/private]