The Middletown Springs Old Cemetery Task Force

Unofficial Meeting Minutes: December 11, 2017

 

The Meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Chair John Arsenault at the town office

 

Attending: Committee Members: John Arsenault, Nora Rubinstein

No public present

 

No additions to the agenda were proposed. Agenda approved.

Minutes of meeting Nov. 15, 2017 approved with no revisions

 

Discussion included the following:

 

Outstanding Tasks:

·       John met with Darryl Calkins and they walked to the cemetery where Calkins used ground penetrating radar equipment to scan the flat area below the pine tree where there have been no markers evident.  Calkins has a proposal in process for further work to assess other areas of the cemetery, but he agreed to scan this area free of charge. He found one area where there appeared to be a single grave about 5 feet long. There is a head stone nearby and we discussed the possibility that it may have marked that grave at one time and have been moved subsequently. John marked that site with a temporary marker. Additional research is needed, but there appeared to be no other graves in this area of the cemetery

 

·       Discussion of the draft of the task force report identified several changes which Nora will make before the final version is shared with John and David for dissemination to the Selectboard.

 

·       John moved to accept the report with these changes. Nora seconded. The motion carried with no further discussion.

 

The next meeting will be held with the Selectboard in the town office at 7 p.m. on December 14. 2017.

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted:

Nora J. Rubinstein, Secretary

 

 

 

The Middletown Springs Old Cemetery Task Force

Unofficial Meeting Minutes: November 15, 2017

 

The Meeting was called to order at 5:10 p.m. by Chair John Arsenault at the town office

 

Attending: Committee Members: John Arsenault, David Wright, Nora Rubinstein

No public present

 

No additions to the agenda were proposed. Agenda approved.

Minutes of meeting Oct. 18, 2017 approved with no revisions

 

Discussion included the following:

 

Supplies:

John has ordered and received supplies from Bonstone for cemetery stone care including:

·         Two gallons of D2  stone cleaner.

·         1 bucket of lime-based cement to be used to attach stones to their bases. 2 quarts of epoxy for repairing broken stones.

John will submit an invoice to the Selectboard @  $169.03 for all materials

 

Pine Tree:

Re. questions raised by the Selectboard for clarification of estimates submitted:

·         Limbwalkers: no response as of now

·         Jeffrey Spear has said that there would be no reduction in price if the town crew were to remove the chips, but the travel needed to the site might make  additional time necessary to complete the work and this would have to be billed and scheduled in addition to the existing quote.

 

Gardner Monument:

·         Hicks Monuments has not returned John's call and it appears that they do not do this kind of work; they would have to get a crane into the cemetery which may not be possible through the existing cemetery gate.

·         Gawet Monuments will send someone to assess the situation and will call Nora with their evaluation

 

Location of Unmarked graves with trenching :

Nora spoke with Tom Jamison of Hartgen Associates re. the possible need for trenching to locate unmarked graves should we need to bring in a crane to remove the pine tree, and in other areas. He would need a clear idea of how much of the area would need to be assessed. He has also asked for two samples about 8 inches deep to determine the nature of underlying soils as the grave shafts would likely be determined by a darker layer of soil.  He billed Danby's Otis cemetery committee $1500 for three trenches (approximately 20, 15, and 10 feet), and another $1500 for the report. Danby provided 6 volunteers and Hartgen provided 2 archeologists on that project and he assumes that our project would be done in a similar way. However concerns that the cemetery may be on the National Register may require that we speak with Jess Robinson, state archeologist before moving ahead with any test digs.  Nora will place a call to follow up on Kelly's conversation with him and to ask whether he may have GPR tools that can be used instead of disturbing needed areas of soil.

 

Task force Report:

Nora is working on the draft report for the Selectboard and will share it with the task force for editing in the next week.

 

The next task force meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 at the town office.

Meeting adjourned at 5:42 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted:

Nora J. Rubinstein, Secretary

 

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The Middletown Springs Old Cemetery Task Force

Unofficial Meeting Minutes: October 18, 2017

 

The Meeting was called to order at 5:02 p.m. by Chair John Arsenault at the town office

 

Attending:

Committee Members: John Arsenault, David Wright, Nora Rubinstein

No public present

 

No additions to the agenda were proposed.

Minutes of meeting Sept. 26, 2017: David moved to approve with spelling correction; Nora seconded; unanimously approved as amended.

 

Discussion included the following:

 

Identification and Mapping of Cemetery Status Quo:

·        In re. David’s notebook from a 1974 study of the cemetery, John will scan it as a jpg. David suggested calling on Emmett Francois as a resource expert if needed.

·        The Task Force and the Select Board are scheduled to meet with Tom Giffin of the Vermont Old Cemeteries Association at the cemetery on Oct. 22, 2017 at noon to participate in a demo of the work needed to restore and conserve the stones. John and David have flagged stones that could be used for this demo.

·        John and David reviewed the progress of the stone that had been treated by Michael Fannin. They felt it could be treated again, and that the task force should ask the selectboard to buy 1 or 2 gallons of the treatment product for use on other stones. John will follow up and request funding for this product and for epoxy for repairing broken stones.

·        Nora will follow-up with GMC faculty member John Van Hoesen  regarding the potential for using GIS mapping in spring with GMC students

·        Kelly has talked with the state archeologist and will update the group at the next meeting

 Gardner Monument

·        Nora followed up with Tony Genier and Chris Smid re professionals who might be able to provide help with straightening and stabilizing the Gardner monument. Tony suggests we talk with Ashley Waite; John says Bill Reed has already done so but that they did not have the expertise to work on this project

·        John reports that Terry Redfield has said the Fire Company does not want their pneumatic pads used for this project

·        John suggested that we contact Hicks monuments in Granville to see if they would be willing to assess the monument and give us an estimate.

·        Kelly was going to check on Peter Welch of Brattleboro recommended by Daryl Calkins and she will report back

·        Nora reports that Mike Fannin has been unable to locate the monument people he has worked with in Barre in the past.

 

Status of the Pine Tree:

·        Kelly has talked with the City of Rutland arborist who is willing to be a resource, and she will update the group at the next meeting

·        John will call Limbwalkers and Jeffrey Spear to get clarification on their estimates to prune the pine tree in the cemetery including their plans to chip the debris and their plans to protect the stones in close proximity to the tree. David has asked whether we can use plywood and hay bales to protect the stones rather than removing them, especially as plans for a winter pruning will make removing the stones quite difficult. The Selectboard has asked for 1) a clarification on their scope of service and 2) a meeting with Road Foreman Bill Reed to determine what the town equipment and personnel can do to assist with this work. The next meeting with Selectboard is scheduled for Oct.26, 2017

 

Phase 1 report to Selectboard:

·        Nora has agreed to review the existing minutes to begin the drafting of a Phase 1 report to be delivered to the Selectboard.

·        Such a report will address issues that include (but are not limited to)

o   Recommendations on pruning and budgeting for eventual removal of the large pine tree as priority 1

o   Recommendations on care and stabilization of the Gardner monument as priority 2

o   Restoration and conservation of existing stones

o   GIS mapping and documentation of existing stones

o   Identification of unmarked graves

o   Education program and oral history documentation of those in the cemetery

o   Discussion of the future plans for the Stiles cemetery

o   Discussion and recommendations of allocation of funds for old cemetery work and the need for a Cemetery Commission. The task force discussed whether such a Commission should be elected or appointed, and the implications for budgetary expenditures. The minutes from the 1902 Town Meeting read as follows: “That the old cemetery be placed permanently in charge of the Cemetery Commissioners and to be entirely under their care from now on, and that they be authorized to remove the stone walls on the north and east sides and plant a suitable cedar hedge in place of the walls, the expense to be taken out of the moneys now in the cemetery account.”

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:03 p.m.

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