At its Tuesday, March 8, meeting the Warren Select Board took no action on its mask mandate, allowing it to lapse on March 10. “I think it’s time to rip the Band-Aid off,” said board member Andy Cunningham. The Legislature allowed towns to decide whether to impose and extend mask mandates until April 30. Fayston already rescinded its mask mandate and Waitsfield will take up the issue next week. Individual businesses can choose whether to require masks.
The select board elected new officers. After 12 years as chair, Andy Cunningham stepped down to vice chair. Luke Youmell was elected to board chair.
During public comment, Warren resident Lexi Leacock implored the board to consider another solar array or potentially adding panels to the solar array at Brooks Field. She also urged the town to do a weatherization and energy usage analysis of town buildings prior to updating the HVAC systems, which the select board is considering using ARPA funds to do. Leacock said there may be a possibility of using a rural energy grant for this work, and that she would look further into that possibility.
Once again, the issue of Michele Bennett’s dogs came before the select board. She has two dogs, neither of which are registered with the town, according to town administrator Cindi Jones. The dogs have repeatedly escaped from Bennett’s property and have been found on nearby properties and in the road. Bennet and a neighbor previously came before the board when the neighbor alleged that one of Bennet’s dogs had attacked his dog. The select board sent a letter to Bennett warning her that action would be taken if the dogs were found off her property again. The dogs continue to be sighted off her property. The board decided to fine Bennet in the amount of $250 and issue a warning that, if the dogs are seen out of her control off her property again, they will be impounded. Bennett was not present at the March 8 meeting.
Fire chief Jeff Campbell presented the Warren Volunteer Fire Department’s quarterly report. While the department received 86 calls in 2021, it has already received 47 calls in the first three months of 2022. “We’ve been busy,” he said. Calls range from propane issues to downed power lines. Campbell said the hours logged by the department are up 41% from the first quarter of 2021. He cited more people in the town being part of the cause of increased demand.
Campbell said the department is working on a Knox box program recommending businesses, condo associations and other public spaces get a Knox box, which is a secure emergency access device that would prevent the fire department from having to damage property in order to access the building. The department is also planning a 75th anniversary celebration later this year and will be accepting a donation for the celebration from Lawson’s Finest Liquids on Thursday.