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Updates & Photos: Town Meeting Day 2019

It's Town Meeting Day 2019, and VPR is keeping an eye on what's going on around Vermont today. Bookmark this page and stick with us as we bring you updates from around the state. 

Want more? Follow us on Twitter: @vprnet. We'll also have a few extra newscasts on the air this evening, plus a look at town and school budget results online.

Find VPR's Town Meeting Day coverage here.

Got an update or result from your community to share with us? Send an email.

A thin grey line.

10:21 p.m. — Many hours ago, further down this blog, we mentioned that a few different towns were holding votes related to single-use plastic bag bans today. And this Town Meeting Day, voters in the three different communities supported their respective measures (h/t Manchester Journal):

And with that update, it's late so I think we're going to shut this down for the time being. I removed "Live" from the headline, so you know it's official.

But this certainly isn't the very end of our Town Meeting Day coverage. Tune into Morning Edition for more updates tomorrow, andour town/school budgets post continues to be a work in progress. Expect more updates to come there Wednesday as we catch up on more results. Thanks for following along. — MM

9:24 p.m. — Howard Weiss-Tisman recently spoke with 17-year-old Rio Daims, who had been working to get a youth vote measure on the ballot in Brattleboro. This Town Meeting Day, an item that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections was indeed on the ballot in Brattleboro, and per the town website posted unofficial election results (h/t NBC5's Brian Colleran), the article passed.

9:04 p.m. — VPR's John Dillon had written earlier this weekabout a proposed charter change in Montpelier to be able to set energy efficiency standards, and VTDigger reports that the measure did pass in the capital city — however not by much.

And switching to school news, NBC5's Brian Colleran reports that Cabot voted against closing its high school.

However still waiting on the outcome of the nonbinding resolution vote in Cabot regarding being a "Pollinator Friendly Community," which Amy Kolb Noyes previewed. We hope to update you soon! [Update Wednesday 12:45 p.m. It passed.]

8:27 p.m. — OK, now we have the Morristown name news... and it was a close one,as Amy Kolb Noyes reports. Voters have passed the nonbinding resoluation to change the name of Morristown by just a 30-vote margin.

8:09 p.m. — The Rutland Herald is reporting that Mayor David Allaire has won re-election.  Allaire was elected mayor of Rutland in 2017, when he unseated then-Mayor Christopher Louras.

7:58 p.m. — We have an update from Morristown. No word yet on the name change, but there is a new town moderator whose name is likely familiar statewide: former Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith.

7:36 p.m. — Some news from Vermont's largest city, as Burlington Free Press reporter Jess Aloe reports that Jane Knodell has lost re-election to Progressive candidate Perri Freeman.

In VPR's conversation with Seven Days reporter Katie Jickling before Town Meeting Day, Jickling explained how Knodell did not get the Progressive endorsement and had decided to run as an independent in this race.

Two people at a table with a bunch of ballots on it, counting them.
Credit Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR
Election officials in Elmore tally results for a vote over a new fire truck.

7:27 p.m. — Elmore is getting a new fire truck. VPR's Amy Kolb Noyes reports that Elmore voters approved purchasing a new fire engine by a vote of 113 to 73. For more on the debate leading up to this vote,check out Amy's story here.

7:20 p.m. — A few updates coming in from Winooski (h/t Seven Days' Andrea Suozzo on Twitter), but unofficial results show Kristine Lott has been elected the new mayor and that the proposed parking garage received voter approval. 

7:02 p.m. — OK, we've made it past 7 p.m. That's when polls in Vermont close, and we're waiting for some more results to come on in. Stick with us here online, plus tune in for a few extra newscasts toward the top of the hours this evening on the air.

A cake with white frosting that has Thanks for Voting written on it. A few pieces have already been removed.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
VPR File
A cake in Mendon sends "Thanks for Voting" wishes. It's after 7 p.m. in Vermont which means polls are closed.

6:00 p.m. — One hour until polls close in Vermont!

5:26 p.m. — We're seeing updates about town and school budgets passing trickling in, so wanted to mention that our 2019 town and school budgets results post is up and running. The (searchable) table is a bit sparse at the moment but, especially once polls close, we're planning more updates for tonight.

Read the instructions before the table for a little more insight as to how the table documents school budget results in particular. And as always, if you can point us toward any results for your community, that's awesome. (Much thanks in advance!)

A view of the crowd looking toward the front of the room at the Chittenden town meeting.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Chittenden is one of the Vermont towns asking voters to consider a climate change referendum this Town Meeting Day. VPR's Nina Keck reports that it stirred up some debate at Monday night's informational meeting.

4:52 p.m. — As VPR's Nina Keck reports, there are a number of towns in Vermont asking voters to consider a climate change referendum this Town Meeting Day, including Chittenden, Shrewsbury, Middlesex and Castleton. It's part of an effort organized by 350Vermont, which saw resolutions passed in more than 30 communities last year.

4:13 p.m. — Been seeing Burlington-themed "I Voted" stickers on social media, including in a tweet from VPR's Jonathan Butler. Are there other communities in Vermont sporting custom "I Voted" stickers? If so, let us know! (Also, remember Norwich's apparent "I Voted" sticker shortage back during the November election?)

3:19 p.m. — As  you may have observed, we've hit a bit of a lull here in the blog updates — though certainly expect things to pick back up, especially once polls close. Now though seems like a good time to mention that today's Vermont Edition broadcast, which looked at access to voting in the area, has now been posted online if you're looking to catch up on it. It will also be rebroadcast tonight at 7 p.m.

2:28 p.m. — Fence viewers are no longer going to be appointed in Fayston, as noted by The Valley Reporter, following a vote today that gets rid of the position in the town:

If you're generally curious about the responsibilities of fence viewers, there's a chapter in Vermont statute that goes into more detail about the position.

1:30 p.m. — We have five-and-half-hours to go until polls close in Vermont this Town Meeting Day (polls close at 7 p.m.). 

As a midday treat here's a piece of dessert to gaze upon, as photographed by VPR reporter Nina Keck in Mendon:

A slice of yellow cake with red icing on a paper plate with a plastic fork next to it.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
A slice of cake in Mendon on Town Meeting Day.

12:48 p.m. — Yes, it's still Town Meeting Day 2019 but Jessamyn West tweeted an update about how the schedule is changing for Randolph's town meeting in 2020:

Curious to hear from other Vermonters: Is this something that your town does already (or is looking to do)?

12:20 p.m. — In Burlington, Liam Elder-Connors came across Miles Raport who was wearing a "Ban The Bag" sign to show support for an advisory item on the Burlington ballot that calls for a ban on single-use plastic bags.

A man wears a sign that says Ban The Bag made out of plastic bags.
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
Miles Raport stands outside the Ward 6 polling place in Burlington, wearing a "Ban The Bag" sign. (Correction 2:10 p.m. - A previous version of this caption said Raport was at Ward 3).

Burlington isn't the only town that is asking about single-use plastic bags this Town Meeting Day — as VPR's John Dillon noted in his reporting late last month, the towns of Manchester and Middlebury are also holding votes.

11:53 a.m. — VPR's Howard Weiss-Tisman is in Jamaica on this Town Meeting Day morning. He reported that Jamaica residents voted 57-29 in support of doing more exploratory work on building a municipal water system for the small Windham County town.

And if you missed it, last month Howard was in Jamaica and wrote about the effect of an Act 46 merger on the elementary school there:

People gather at Jamaica town meeting before a stage, waiting to vote by paper ballot.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
Jamaica residents line up Tuesday to vote by paper ballot on water project.

11:13 a.m. — VPR reporter Liam Elder-Connors came across Burlington City Council candidates Franklin Paulino and Kienan Christianson out in Burlington on Town Meeting Day. While they are running against each other for the same seat, they posed together for a photo:

Burlington City Council candidates Franklin Paulino, left, and Kienan Christianson hold signs with their names and City Council Wards 4 and 7 text.
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
Burlington City Council candidates Franklin Paulino, left, and Kienan Christianson, hold up their respective signs on Town Meeting Day.

Want to know more about what's on the Burlington ballot this Town Meeting Day? We talked to Seven Days reporter Katie Jickling for a look at the city's ballot items.

And this feels like a good time to remind you that there's bunch of local media outlets following results today. We'll try to highlight some of our fellow VT media here in the blog, but also check out the #TMDVT hashtag on Twitter to see who's posting there!

10:51 a.m. — School meetings are taking place this Town Meeting Day, and VPR's John Dillon has been to a couple this morning. Earlier he was in Calais, before heading to East Montpelier — both are within the Washington Central Supervisory Union. The forced merger involving these districts to create a new unified district is complicated by the debt of East Montpelier, which under the merger would be shared by other towns.

And in case you missed it: In a ruling yesterday, a Franklin County judge denied a request from a group of school districts for a temporary injunction to stop mergers required under Act 46.

People sit at a table with an East Montpelier budget presentation on a screen behind them.
Credit John Dillon / VPR
A scene from Tuesday morning's East Montpelier school meeting.

    10:21 a.m. — In Wolcott, there was a contested race for town clerk: Assistant Town Clerk Belinda Clegg, who has served for 29 years as assistant to Town Clerk Linda Martin, was running against her boss in this election.

    The outcome of that race was decided Tuesday morning. As Amy Kolb Noyes reports, Martin retained her role as town clerk by a vote of 81-42.

    9:53 a.m. — Earlier today you may have heard Amy Kolb Noyes' story on Morning Edition, in which she discussed the debate in Elmore over the purchase of a new fire truck. Voters there have until the polls close tonight to weigh in on the ballot item.

    And in Shelburne, as VPR's Sarah Ashworth explains, members of the Shelburne Fire and Rescue departments were pushing for passage of Article 8. That would have the town enter a purchase agreement for land to build a new combined fire and rescue station on a site with Healthy Living Market & Cafe.

    Members of the fire department outside Shelburne Town Hall with a sign that says Help Support Shelburne Fire and Shelburne Rescue Vote Yes On Article 8
    Credit Sarah Ashworth / VPR
    Members of the fire department gather outside Shelburne Town Hall on Town Meeting Day to advocate for passage of Article 8.

    9:19 a.m. — Switched the headline from "Live Photos & Updates..." to "Live Updates & Photos" since... that just makes more sense. In related news, I've had my coffee now. -MM

    9:13 a.m. — We've mentioned that you can follow VPR on Twitter, but you can also follow our individual reporters for their updates (we will though try to retweet those on our main account, too). Here's a quick sampling of updates from our VPR colleagues so far today...

    John Dillon was in attendance at this morning's Calais school meeting:

    Meanwhile Amy Kolb Noyes stopped by Wolcott where it turns out there is a special crossword puzzle available. Perhaps this will catch on statewide for TMD20?!

    And Liam Elder-Connors snapped this picture of Winooski candidates. If you missed it, he wrote last week about how Winooski voters are also weighing in on a new parking garage:

    7:48 a.m. — Good morning, people of Vermont! Welcome to Town Meeting Day 2019! As noted, this is our live blog. It will probably be busier once polls close (which is at 7 p.m.) and results are coming in, but throughout the day we'll also try to include some updates and scenes from around the state here.

    It's a busy day, so thanks for coming along for the ride. And in case you missed it, check out our Town Meeting Day preview post which will give you a sense of some issues we're keeping an eye on today. — Meg Malone

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