What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 1 day ago
More in News
Voters OK ordinance, reject contribution
WOODSTOCK — Woodstock voters on Monday said “no” to giving $1,596 to support what resident Arla Patch called an effort to change attitudes about Native Americans through the annual Mollyockett Days event in Bethel.
They also turned down a fireworks ordinance amendment, but approved property maintenance ordinance amendments and barely approved a new wind ordinance.
The Mollyockett funds were requested by the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the 55-year-old celebration. Patch, who has been active in other work to raise awareness of Native American issues, presented the proposal to town meeting voters.
She said BACC is changing the event to make it more respectful, and also wants to draw in the larger region where the Native American Mollyockett lived in the 1800s.
“We are not going to have a parade with a girl who’s dressed up pretending she’s an Indian, with a costume and waving to everybody,” said Patch.
Plans call for more involvement by native peoples and their art, music and other culture, in order to make them more visible and a part of the larger community.
But that plan is more expensive, Patch said, and support is being sought from Bethel and other area towns in the form of $1.25 per person per town, collected through taxes.
Newry approved funds at its town meeting earlier this month.
Woodstock Selectman Steve Bies offered an amendment that would have reduced his town’s contribution to $596. He said the event takes place in Bethel, and the proportion donated by other towns should be less.
As the discussion began, resident Mike Nadeau offered to donate the entire amount personally. “I think it’s a good cause,” he said to applause.
Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the BACC, thanked Nadeau. But the request to the towns is also symbolic, she said.
“It’s a symbolic shift that people recognize that the people are the ones who benefit from Mollyockett Days. It’s not a business event, it’s never been a business event. It’s been a homecoming.”
Nadeau said he would still contribute to make up the difference between any amount the town voted and the requested figure.
But many residents were skeptical of making any contribution, including Cathy Morgan.
“I think that with the way the economy is, we have many town members who are out of work, they’re struggling to eat. I’d rather see $1,500 go to our General Assistance fund,” she said.
Others said they didn’t think tax money should go to an effort they said has a political connotation.
The amendment was defeated, however, and voters went on to defeat the main motion for the full amount.
Also turned down, was an amendment to the fireworks ordinance. It called for restricting fireworks use to only a handful of days each year. But Fire Chief Geff Inman argued against it. “I think it’s a waste of time and energy,” he said. “There’s no penalty to go with it and no enforcement.”
It was overwhelmingly defeated.
Voters were more receptive to changes to the property maintenance ordinance that give Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman a more solid base for her enforcement work.
Some residents worried it might impinge on their property rights.
Corey-Whitman said she typically does not actively seek out violators. She said most enforcement happens as a result of complaints.
The amendments were approved.
The proposed new commercial wind ordinance prompted nearly an hour of discussion.
Some neighbors of the new Spruce Mountain Wind project have complained about noise, and supporters of the ordinance said it would prevent problems in the future.
The ordinance imposes minimum sound decibel requirements stricter than state law, as well as a one-mile setback from property boundaries.
Selectmen supported it, citing a need to protect the “health and safety” of all residents. Selectman Rick Young said, “It gives us a baseline” from which to work, and possibly make changes in the future.
The ordinance was narrowly approved, 48-44, in a secret ballot.
Voters went on to approve the remaining money articles, with one change. They amended the Capital Reserve Account down by $5,000 to raise only $15,000 toward improvements at the Lake Christopher dam. The town already has money set aside and will have enough without the full $20,000 originally proposed, selectmen said.
The estimated amount to be raised from taxes (including an estimate for the school share) is $2,130,397, Town Manager Vern Maxfield said later. The projected mil rate is 11.72, up from 11.45.
In town elections, all incumbents were returned to office unopposed. The three-hour meeting was moderated by Steve Wight.