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Concord Current Issues
Concord has largely become a bedroom community. Many residents work in St. Johnsbury at Fairbanks Scales or in nearby Gilman at the Centennial Paper Mill. There are seasonal camps on Shadow Lake and Miles Pond, which bring business in during the summer.
The wood industry has a great impact on the Town. Lumber pays the bills and puts the children through college. Almost forty per cent of Concord's woods are clear-cut. Given this, So it is understandable that Concord residents were angry at the Vermont Legislature and the Governor for passing a new law during the 1996-97 session that requires a landowner who intends to heavily cut forty acres or more to file a notification with the state. A forester must visit the site before permission is granted. Many residents have posted their land to protest the new law. The posting of land will have an adverse effect on hunters, hikers and snowmobilers. The first permit in the state granted under the new law was to Larry Brown, who applied to log 158 acres he has owned for nine years in Concord.
The Simpson Paper Company intends to sell the Centennial Mill in Gilman. The Gilman plant employs 200 workers, many from Concord. The mill makes specialty paper for blueprints and checks. The owners plan to operate the plant as usual and said they expect the company will be of interest to a buyer because it is an exceptionally well run facility with a solid reputation. The decision was announced to the employees 7/17/97.
A settlement was reached in July 1997 between three members of the Concord School Board and the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association. Another civil suit is still pending. The lawsuits concerned the taping of telephone conversations between members of the School Board. During a grievance in 1995, the union lawyer offered to back up the claim of the teachers by producing a tape. The lawyer was unaware that the use of such a tape is illegal.
In September 1997, a deal was signed among Vermont, New Hampshire, New England Power and a dozen other non-government groups. The Power Company, in exchange for a forty-year federal operating license, will:
- Grant the two states recreational and conservation rights to its 11,000 acres of river and lakeshore lands.
- Pay as much as $16.5 million over fifteen years into conservation and tax relief funds.
- Modify the operation of the McIndoe Falls, Comerford and Moore Dams by limiting the amount of fluctuation in the reservoirs.
- Give the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the property along Sumner Falls in Hartland, Vermont and Plainfield, New Hampshire. Bob Durocher, owner of Nick's Citgo and convenience market in Concord is pleased with the deal. "I sell quite a few fishing licenses for people who fish on the reservoirs created by the New England Power Dams," Durocher said. "We have been having such a problem with people posting their lands off-limits because of the clearcutting bill that any land that can be protected and kept open for public use is good."
A cross was burned on the lawn of an African-American man in Concord, Vermont on October 4, 1997. The cross burning made residents uneasy. "Vermont is changing. I would never have thought we had gang members either, but you never know," said Tye Rowe, a cook at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Concord. The Town was also the scene of an unsolved cross burning in 1982; the family targeted in that case still lives in Concord. "There are a lot of bad feelings right through town," said Henry Descoteaux, who cited disputes over schools, logging, taxes and the cross burning as reasons.
Last modified September 12 2013 12:38 PM