By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 2, 2018) The Berlin Mayor and Council last Monday discussed the following items during a public meeting at Town Hall:
The Berlin Police Department has continued its program of community outreach and activities.
Police participated in a recent trip to Jolly Roger that included more than 50 children from the Berlin Youth Club, SAGES and SABERS programs of Worcester Youth and Family.
Officers also assisted with Worcester Youth’s Bus Stop Snack Shack and are preparing to help with several back-to-school drives and with National Night Out on Aug. 7, according to Police Chief Arnold Downing.
Additionally, Downing said “Blessing Bags” to aid area homeless were given by Buckingham Presbyterian Church to Berlin Police, the county sheriff’s office and local shelters.
“We see folks that are in need on a daily basis and to … be able to do that and see somebody’s face, the guys are getting big hugs and people are being very appreciative,” Downing said.
Mayor Gee Williams said the outreach was evidence of “outstanding community policing.”
“That is one of the hallmarks that mark Berlin Police Department under your leadership,” Williams said. “I think it means a lot.”
Appointments and reappointments
The council unanimously approved the appointment of Preston Whaley to the board of supervisors of elections. One council member, Thom Gulyas, did not attend the meeting.
Also approved were the reappointments of Milt Warren to the ethics commission, Leslie Gebhart to the housing board of review, and Bruce Hyder and Mike Wiley to the parks commission.
Williams said he planned to make additional nominations during an August council meeting.
Bark for Life
The Town Council unanimously approved a special event request for the second annual Bark for Life event in Stephen Decatur Park.
Last year, Bark for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, was held in November. Organizer D.J. Thompson said he hoped the earlier date this year, Sept. 29, would help improve attendance and vendor turnout.
He said about 10 vendors attended a year ago and 25-plus had already inquired about contributing this year.
Thompson said the event was similar to Relay for Life, but rather than having people march against cancer, the event features “furry loved ones.”
Census data updated
Administrative Services Directors Mary Bohlen said she and Planning Director Dave Engelhart recently finished updating data on residential addresses for the Local Update of Census Addresses Operation.
“There were a number of things that we were able to clarify for ourselves as well as making changes, adjustments and additions to the census data,” Bohlen said. “For the first time, I think, we have a really good, comprehensive list of every residential address in town.”
Williams said that data should be useful for fire and EMS services.
“It will have many applications, not just for the census, but for election districts [and] all sorts of things,” Bohlen said.
Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said she would soon add a “Yappy Hour” to the town farmer’s market, catering toward an already large population of dog owners who visit the market on Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Artisans Way.
She said the market has been very successful since its launch about a month ago and that she’s overheard many positive conversations there.
“The overall reception of the farmer’s market is that the Town of Berlin cares about its residents,” Wells said. “[People] have thought it was remarkable and what an awesome town this was that actually cares and has its own farmer’s market.”
Human Resources Director Jeff Fleetwood said an unofficial town slogan was recently painted on the wall behind the council dais.
It reads, “19th century charm, 21st century living.”
“Forget the 20th century – it wasn’t too good to us,” Williams said with a laugh.
He said use of the motto began about a decade ago when “rethinking what kind of community we’re trying to be.”
Opened last month, the new Berlin library on Harrison Avenue will have an official opening and dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 2 p.m., Williams said.
“It’s impressive and … it just exceeds all expectations,” he said. “We’re very, very fortunate.”