Saved by defibrillator, Charbonneau gives back to Hinesburg community

Photo by Aaron Kimball
From the left, Connor Contois, Lucas Charbonneau, Rowen Charbonneau, Colton Charbonneau, Katie Charbonneau present an external automatic defibrillator to Town Administrator Renae Marshall to be kept at the Hinesburg Town Hall.

Staff Writer

Things got really scary for the Charbonneau family last Halloween.

Katie Charbonneau, the daughter of Hinesburg Fire Chief Al Barber and wife of Captain Lucas Charbonneau, went into cardiac arrest in her sleep around 4 a.m. Her husband woke up to find her not breathing and started giving her CPR.

Her “amazing Hinesburg 19” is how she referred to the crew of firefighters that showed up to give her aid. In the process of saving Katie Charbonneau’s life, they gave her 40 minutes of CPR and eight shocks with an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

“Only 6 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest survive,” she said. “The first line of care is obviously CPR, and then an AED. Without those two things, there’s much less chance of survival.”

Based on her experience, Charbonneau decided to do something to give back to her community. She and her family were at the selectboard meeting Wednesday night to present an AED for the town hall. She said when they left, they were heading to present one to the library.

“I never really thought about where our AEDs were, because I have the comfort of knowing that they’re on all the firetrucks and the police cruisers,” she told the board. “You don’t think about ‘what if.’ If it happened while somebody was here in the meeting, you’d have to wait for somebody to get here with it. I got to thinking.”

“Thank you so much,” said selectboard chair Phil Pouech, “and Lucas, good job.”

Charbonneau noted that other towns have AEDs placed in various locations, but that Hinesburg has hardly any AEDs around the town.

“A lot of them are on the fire trucks or at the schools,” she said.

She thought it was extra important to have an AED at the town hall, not only because of all the people who are in and out of the building, but also because of all the sports that go on behind it.

Since Halloween, the fire department has taught over 130 people to do CPR. At Katie’s CPR Day and other certification classes, people have been donating money to buy AEDs, each of which costs $900.

The selectboard also voted to form a committee to explore options for ambulance service for Hinesburg to replace Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue, which has been providing ambulance service to the town for 50 years but announced several months ago that it is going to stop.

Traffic concerns about Route 116

A group of people attended the selectboard meeting to discuss their petition requesting a traffic study on how to increase safety on Route 116 south of the village in the vicinity of Buck Hill Road.

An earlier discussion with the state resulted in having the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit extended south from the village, but farther south, the 40 and 50-mph speed limit zones were not expanded, town administrator Renae Marshall said.

John Ferrara of Buck Hill Road was in an accident on May 22. He said that there have been many incidents where people have avoided accidents when they slowed down to make a turn and a car behind passed the cars that were stopping. On the day of the accident, however, Ferrara said he didn’t notice the vehicle passing the cars that had stopped as he turned.

“The police report estimated my speed at 8 miles-per-hour and the driver at 110,” he said.

The car that was passing and speeding flipped and ended up on the other side of the road.

Ferrara noted that it was the same area where 17-year-old driver Joseph Marshall hit bicyclist Richard Tom in 2015 and both were killed.

Selectboard chair Phil Pouech said that, per the town’s request, the state did lower the speed limit in that area.

“Now, we’ve got a couple more accidents,” he said. “Maybe we can push it even more.”

He said that the town of Hinesburg could take over that section of Route 116 from the state, and that it’s not uncommon for towns to do that.

“That would give us many more options,” he said.

However, Pouech pointed out that if the traffic light at CVU Road and Route 116 needed replacing, the expense would be borne by the town, roughly $100,000, he said.

Resident Johanna White asked about installing blinking speed signs that indicate how fast motorists are going. She and Pouech both agreed that these signs helped them slow down.

It might be difficult and take a long time to get the state to put up those signs, Pouech said.

“I’ll say it: As far as the state’s concerned, they’re just concerned about how fast they can get people from one end to the other,” he said. “As far as the village goes, that’s not at the top of their list.”

Town Forest logging report

Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester, gave an update on logging in the Town Forest. The many forest walks he’s held and the Town Forest history night at the Town Hall were well attended.

He said that he was excited to show how properly managed logging can make the forest healthier, while benefiting the local economy by employing loggers and truckers from the area and having the harvested wood processed nearby.

“If done well, logging can be just a really important part of how we manage our forests and part of our working landscape,” Tapper said. “The process of extracting these particular resources has a really bad rap, I think, for how it’s done in other parts of the world and how it’s been done in the past.”

He said he likes shedding light on how they are doing it correctly. In spite of adverse weather conditions for some of the walks, more than 188 people have attended a walk or an event in the past year.

The selectboard reviewed the status of the well that is part of its agreement with BlackRock Construction. One of the next major steps in the development of the well is drawdown testing to make sure that it is not drawing water from other wells nearby.

Hinesburg utilities director Erik Bailey said that this testing has been held up by the wet conditions.

“At this point in time we’re just praying for sunshine because the field is just too wet for us to get out there with the equipment at this point,” he said. “As soon as it’s dry enough that we don’t lose the generator in the mud again, we’ll get it rolling.”

In his review of the water and wastewater budget, Bailey said there have been increased costs but because of strong use of the system, they can cover that “expansion of the budget” without increasing rates from fiscal year 2019 for 2020.

Making employee evaluations count

In a review of the budget and discussion of staff pay increases for fiscal year 2020, Marshall said that the selectboard approved a 3 percent pay raise for all of the staff.

She said the board might want to use the employee performance evaluations to determine each employee’s raise.

“We’re obviously not set up for that for this year,” Marshall said, “but it’s something to bring up and consider.”

This does bring more pressure to the performance evaluations, she said, but it also brings more purpose to the evaluations.

The selectboard set its meeting schedule for the summer, which is tricky with so many members involved with seasonal activities and vacations. The next meeting was changed from Wednesday, June 19, to Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m.

For the rest of the summer, the meeting schedule will be July 11 (not July 3 because of the July 4 holiday), July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Sept. 4 and Sept. 18. The meetings will start at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted, said Marshall.

The selectboard said they would like to have a ceremony involving the community and school children for the swearing in of new Hinesburg Police Chief Anthony Cambridge. They asked Marshall to explore the idea of having it on July 4.

Marshall also reported that a resident had requested to put up a sign warning about horse and buggy that is being ridden on Silver Creek Road. Although the resident is offering to pay for the sign, selectboard members discussed whether the town would assume liability if an accident happened with the buggy on this section of road. It was ntoed that vehicles often speed and there is a narrow shoulder. The board worried that putting up the sign might encourage people to ride a horse and buggy in the area.

Marshall said that the state is no longer putting up “children at play” signs because of the fear that people interpret that as an indication it’s a safe area for children to play.

Selectboard member Aaron Kimball said since the residents are already riding a horse and buggy in the area, they could put up the sign with the hope that it will get vehicles to slow down.

“If it works, heck, we’ll put one at each entrance to the village and we’ll get that problem solved, too,” Kimball said.


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