Lowell church gets a new steeple

Lowell Church Steeple 3

Omer Roberge (left) and stepson Brian Dodds top the new steeple of the Lowell Congregational Church with a new stainless steel cross on Saturday. Over 140 hours of work went into welding the cross, which was created by students at the North Country Union High School Career Center. Photos by Micaela Bedell

by Micaela Bedell

LOWELL — A new steeple was installed on Lowell’s 72-year-old Congregational Church building this past Saturday.

Open the doors of Lowell Congregational and you’ll find a large, diverse family, said member Becky Erdman at Saturday’s steeple raising.  But the congregation wasn’t always so big, and a new steeple wouldn’t have been possible without material donations and volunteer work from an influx of new members.

“It’s literally standing room.  We have to put chairs in the aisles,” said Mrs. Erdman of the 30- to 80-member increase in membership.

Verniece St. Onge, the longest participating member of the congregation at over 50 years, attributed the increase in membership to “young blood.”

“We’ve got a young family here with a new pastor,” she said.  “And a choir, which we haven’t had in years.  We’re just booming.  We’re full of life again.”

Mrs. St. Onge and others attribute recent membership increases to Pastor David Dizazzo.

“When this pastor took over full time there was just — I don’t know.  People were affected,” said new member Don Nolti.  “He’s a great Bible-believing, Bible-preaching pastor, which is what attracted me.”

The Lowell Congregational Church acquired a new steeple Saturday.  The process took more than four hours, and over 20 congregation members gathered to watch.

The Lowell Congregational Church acquired a new steeple Saturday. The process took more than four hours, and over 20 congregation members gathered to watch.

Lowell Church Steeple 5

A new steeple tops the Lowell Congregational Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Dizazzo, who gave his first sermon in the church on January 1, 2012, calls it more of a “right place at the right time” situation.  As he watched the beginning of the installation process, he mused on the symbolism of raising a cross higher onto the church.

“It’s very symbolic to us because, as a church, the goal is to lift Jesus higher,” he said.  “As we lift him up in our own lives, on top of the church is also this stainless steel cross.”

After a new church steeple was installed on Saturday, Lowell Congregational Church Pastor David Dizazzo embraces member Omer Roberge (left) in celebration.  Former Pastor John Genco’s wife, Ruth Genco, admires the steeple, and other members of the congregation clap for Mr. Roberge.

After a new church steeple was installed on Saturday, Lowell Congregational Church Pastor David Dizazzo embraces member Omer Roberge (left) in celebration. Former Pastor John Genco’s wife, Ruth Genco, admires the steeple, and other members of the congregation clap for Mr. Roberge.

Mrs. Erdman agreed that the cross is symbolic, but took it further.

“It’s a very modern cross going onto a very conservative church building,” she said.  “And [the combination] is going to work.  Because that’s exactly what’s going on inside.”

It took more than four hours to put up the new steeple Saturday morning.  It was done by congregation member Omer Roberge and his stepson Brian Dodds.  Over 140 hours went into welding the cross that topped the steeple, a product of North Country Union High School’s Career Center.  Instructor Roger Wells led seniors Ben Duranleau and Calvin Peacock and junior Paige Gagnon on the project.

Mr. Dodds constructed the base for the steeple, and roof brackets were donated by Guay General Repair and Steel in Newport Center.   Desrochers Crane Service in Derby also donated some time and equipment.

As the 170-year-old bell of Lowell Congregational rings to announce the new addition there are smiles all around.  The church has never had a steeple, but as eight-year-old Caleb Dizazzo put it, “This church was made for a steeple.”

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Tractor-trailer with turbine tips over

A state trooper measures the length of the path the upended trailer’s wheels made in the roadside grass. Photos by Chris Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle July 25, 2012

by Chris Braithwaite

The bottom section of a massive wind turbine bound for Green Mountain Power’s Lowell Mountain project tipped over Thursday, July 19, when it encountered a paving crew on Interstate 91.

The interstate was closed to southbound traffic for about three hours Friday morning while a crane retrieved the long white tube from the ditch and put it on a truck.  The load made it to the job site on Route 100 south of Lowell Village just before noon on Friday, according to Phil Brooks, chief deputy of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

The highly specialized tractor-trailer, owned by Lone Star Transportation, was in the passing lane, just north of the Orleans exit, when a left rear tire left the pavement and hit soft ground.  Tire marks in the roadside grass indicate that what followed must have been an agonizingly slow catastrophe.  The marks moved ever further from the pavement, ever lower down a gentle slope for 500 feet until they came to the trailer, its rear wheels overturned in the ditch.  The tractor remained upright.

Speed was not a factor, State Trooper Rajesh Hailey said in his press release, and the driver, Jimmy Maddox of Gainesville, Texas, was not hurt.

Deputy Brooks said a crane was immediately dispatched from Desrochers Crane Service in Derby.  It was unable to lift the tower section, but did assist a larger crane that arrived early Friday from Massachusetts, Mr. Brooks said.  The interstate was closed at about 8 a.m. to allow space for the big crane to set up.  Once that was done, Mr. Brooks said, it took only half an hour to recover the tower section.  The highway was reopened at about 11 a.m.

A section of a wind turbine destined for Lowell Mountain rests in the ditch beside Interstate 91, just north of the Orleans exit.

Under the terms of its permit and state law governing overweight loads, Mr. Brooks said, Green Mountain Power’s contractor can use the highways from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.  However, loads must lay over in a “safe haven” between 7 and 8 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and 4 to 5 p.m., Mr. Brooks said.  Thursday’s load had just pulled out of the Coventry rest area when the accident occurred a few miles south, at 5:16 p.m.

Opponents of Green Mountain Power’s project, who held up a truck for about two hours on July 16, may continue to try and block the loads.  The Mountain Occupiers, a group that has spearheaded several acts of civil disobedience in opposition to the project, scheduled a “civil disobedience training” in Craftsbury on Tuesday evening, July 24.

In an e-mail announcing the training, the group said:  “As our powerful actions blocking the turbine trucks in Lowell showed, our cause can draw crowds, media, support, and even negotiate with the law.  We don’t have to be bystanders to the destruction of our state.  The time for action is now!”

Two protesters were arrested on July 24 after they stepped in front of a truck just before it turned into the Lowell site.  They were cited for disorderly conduct, but released from custody after negotiations with police in which protesters agreed to clear the highway.

contact Chris Braithwaite at chris@bartonchronicle.com

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