DEREK CARSON, Staff Writer
SHAFTSBURY -- The Shaftsbury Select Board has re-appointed tree warden Jim White for another one-year term.
White is a former Bennington County forester, and started as tree warden in Shaftsbury in 2009. He immediately began an inventory of hazardous trees on the town roads, riding along with members of the road crew. Currently, White is closely monitoring three different species of invasive insects, including the emerald ash borer and the Asian long-horned beetle.
The emerald ash borer is an exotic beetle that was first found in southeastern Michigan in 2002, according to emeraldashborer.info, a website dedicated to disseminating information on the insect. Since then it has spread to every New England state except for Vermont and Maine, though White cautioned that it has been seen not far over the border from Bennington in New York. The ash borer, which probably arrived in the United States in solid wood packing material that originated in its native Asia, has killed tens of millions of ash trees.
The Asian long-horned beetle has been found in both New York and Massachusetts. First discovered in Brooklyn in 1996, the beetle causes about $3.5 billion in damages in the United States annually. It burrows into many common trees including maple, willow, and elm trees. White mentioned visiting Worcester, Mass., which in 2008 had to destroy 28,000 trees because of an infestation. It is estimated that since that time, in Worcester County alone, 19,000 more trees have been infected, despite a strict quarantine. "Down there, as soon as you see one in a tree, that tree’s gone," said White.
Selectman Mitch Race made the motion to re-appoint White, and the board voted in favor 5-0.
On Monday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m., the board will meet with candidates for open seats on the Planning Commission and Developmental Review Board. There is one open position on each board, as well as an alternate position on the DRB. Planning Commission Chairman Chris Williams has re-applied for his seat on that board, and DRB alternate Michael Biddy has applied for the DRB seat vacated by Race, who was appointed to the Select Board last spring. Jay Palmer has re-applied for his spot as a DRB alternate. Those are the only three candidates who applied for the seats.
The board also announced that the Town Report is complete and will be mailed out to residents later this week. Additionally, absentee ballots for the March 4 election are available at the town hall. Highlighting several ballot articles in Shaftsbury are the two Select Board seats that are up for grabs after Chairwoman Karen Mellinger and Vice Chairman Carl Korman announced that they would not be running. Jared Della Rocca and Art Whitman, owner of Whitman’s Feed Store in North Bennington, will be running for Mellinger’s two-year seat, while Tony Krulikowski will be running unopposed for Korman’s three-year seat.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB