News Briefs
July 1, 2015

News Briefs: Rutland Region

Bt Lani Duke

Paving project hits a roadblock

The Northwest neighborhood stormwater project construction has entered its final phase. Still to come is a bit of curbing and minor improvements on Crescent Street before a complete repaving. The city anticipates the project to be completed by the end of July.

However, one of the more irritating developments is that the road surface on Library Avenue, once repaved, may be too high to release storm water . . . Local apartment owner and developer Joe Giancola told the Aldermen at their June 15 meeting that the project should stop or the road be brought back to its original level. The project has lacked city oversight, Alderwoman Sharon Davis believes, saying she has received numerous complaints about the dust that the construction work throws into the air.

When the Public Works Committee met June 23, Giancola received an answer to his concerns. The Library Avenue pavement must remain elevated to allow room for the stormwater pipe carrying water to the river beneath it, and catchbasins in the city-owned right of way will divert water from running onto neighboring properties. Giancola said catchbasins are not a good solution; although he is not averse to filling in the low-lying areas of his own property, his neighbors do not have the resources that he does. Mark Youngstrom countered Giancola’s concern with the project’s own restrictions: funded by state dollars, it prohibits money being spent on improvements to private property.

School District building gets a facelift

The city school district office is also getting a makeover, both cosmetic and structural, encompassing work on chimney and brick, back staircase construction, and parking lot paving. Historical restoration grants are covering much of the $150,000 price tag. Work will continue into early autumn.

Dorr Drive detour continues

Expect to continue avoiding Dorr Drive north of the River Street bridge through the end of September 2015. To get to the College of St. Joseph and other sites west of the bridge, you will have to cross the river using Ripley Road Bridge. That rule applies to bicyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists.  Construction will take a break at the end of work on Thursday, July 2, and not resume until 6 a.m. Monday, July 6, for the 4th of July holiday.

Honoring Valentine

Michael Valentine provided years of leadership at Rutland’s Community access TV station PEG-TV. The non-profit honored Valentine at its June 24 annual meeting. During his tenure, the station grew from one channel to three, and built and fitted-out a state-of-the-art home in the Howe Center. Its main studio now bears his name, the Michael J. Valentine Studio.

City governance

Rutland City planned to issue its first taxi license last week, before licenses become mandatory in July. Part of the process includes a national background check; there are other health and safety regulations, too. Only Thrifty Cab has applied, although there are at least half a dozen other services competing in the area. Two other firms have partially filled out applications, noted City Clerk Henry Heck; he intends to encourage their completing the process after winding up the initial licensing procedure with Thrifty.  The city ordinance applies to all vehicles for hire that carry passengers, including limousines, that are not under contract with a hotel, hospital, or other facility to serve its guests or patients, or are acting like a bus, running on a fixed route. The ordinance says it is to apply to any such vehicle operating on city streets.

Conflict of interest: all in the family?

When James Miles received a promotion, albeit temporary, as acting fire chief, an apparent conflict of interest arose. His younger brother also works in the department, apparently in violation of the city’s ethics ordinance forbidding a department head to supervise, evaluate, and discipline the work of an immediate family member. However, the city attorney Charles Romeo believes the rule does not apply in this situation as long as there is a minimum of one more layer of supervision between a department head and his or her family member. Aldermen remain concerned and are collecting other municipalities’ ordinances on conflict of interest policies to see what language other communities use.

Congratulations….

to Dr. Cesar Magsino of Rutland Regional Medical Center’ diabetes and endocrinology center on receiving U.S. citizenship recently. After more than 20 years in this country, the Philippine native applied for citizenship in February, studied U.S. history and the Constitution, and received a perfect score on the citizenship test.

to College of St. Joseph’s associate professor of English and Arts and Sciences Division chair Dr. Jonas Prida, invited to speak at Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, Texas, earlier in June. Robert E. Howard was most widely known for his creation of the pulp fiction character, Conan the Barbarian. Prida had edited the anthology “Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian”; his specialty is modern fantasy and horror.

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