Local & Regional Briefs for Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Lyme Post Office Reopens 
After Rodent Problems

Lyme — The post office in downtown Lyme that closed more than a month ago because of a rodent issue has since reopened, U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Maureen Marion said on Tuesday.

While closed, the postal service had an outside contractor perform pest remediation to the space. The post office also was deodorized, she said.

“We would not have gone back into the facility if the situation wasn’t abated to our requirements,” Marion said. “I think people will be very impressed with the condition of the facility.”

The Lyme post office, located at 5 Main St., closed in mid-July because of a “rat” problem, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Steve Doherty said last month.

Postal service staff who worked in the office reported that “visual evidence of rodent activity” was found, such as “chewings and droppings, along with odors,” Marion said on Tuesday.

While the post office was closed, workers painted the walls and buffed the floors.

“We do apologize if there was any inconvenience to our customers during this period, but we trust Lyme residents will appreciate the restoration of full service from the Lyme post office once again,” Marion said.

Norwich to Consider Body Cameras 
For Police

Norwich — The Selectboard tonight is scheduled to discuss whether to equip the town’s police officers with body cameras, a move spurred by a state highway safety grant.

The police department wishes to buy three chest-mounted cameras, which could provide accountability for officers and a more accurate record of their interactions with the public, according to a memo from Town Manager Neil Fulton.

The cameras would cost a total of $3,635.

Concerns over the new equipment, Fulton’s memo said, may include privacy issues, police videos’ status as public records and complications involving Vermont’s audio recording laws.

Officers would use the body cameras in conjunction with audio microphones and dashboard cameras that they now carry in their marked vehicles.

Tonight’s Selectboard agenda lists the matter as a discussion item, but not an action item.

Judge Sides With Vermont Town 
In Hydro Station Dispute

Bellows Falls, Vt. — A judge has ruled in favor of a Vermont town in a dispute with energy giant TransCanada over the tax assessment of a hydroelectric station.

The Rutland Herald reports a Superior Court judge set the value of the Bellow Falls hydro station in Rockingham at $108.5 million.

TransCanada Hydro Northeast thought it was worth about 40 percent less.

The station is viewed as one of the most efficient and productive on the Connecticut River. Officials say it brings in $11 million to $13 million annually.

The issue at stake was millions of dollars in annual taxes. TransCanada pays municipal taxes to the village of Bellows Falls and the town of Rockingham, Vt.

Rockingham officials estimated that if they lost the case they’d owe the company $3.6 million for three years of overpaid taxes.

— Staff and wire reports

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