News Briefs
September 8, 2015

News Briefs: Rutland Region

Rutland City

New bank branch opens

The Bank of Bennington recently opened a commercial loan production office at 110 Merchants Row, staffed primarily by Tim Collins, regional vice president and senior commercial lender. It joins branches in Arlington, Bennington, and Manchester. The 45-year-old bank has $400 million in assets, with aims to expand its Rutland branch into a full-service office, hopefully within a year.

Helping others

Rutland City firefighter Brent Garrow is in need of a kidney transplant by October as a result of IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease). He needs a donor with O-negative blood. To see whether you are a potential donor, call the University of Vermont transplant team at (877) 467-5102.

Art and beauty to commemorate Ferro

Tara Goreau is fitting together a 26-foot-wide mural honoring the life and potential of 17-year-old Carly Ferro, who was killed by a drugged driver as she left work at the Discount Foods and Liquidation Center, 88 Cleveland Ave. Painted on a fabric known as pellon, the mural is being mounted with glue. Ferro’s death was widely mourned and lit a torch that illumined the need for improvement in the northwest neighborhood.

Ouch

The eyes of the country are on Rutland again, and not favorably. Just when we seem to be getting a handle on drugs and crime, a former Rutland police officer, Andrew Todd, who is African-American, filed a civil complaint against the city, with the intent, he says, of showing the world the effect of racist policing and how it can damage a department. Todd cited routine racial slurs, racial profiling of citizens, and grossly unprofessional conduct, much of which has been confirmed by witnesses including police department dispatchers. Todd resigned to join the Vermont State Police but he continued to complain, and the city asked internal affairs investigator Thomas Tremblay to look into the department. His investigation into the two men’s behavior resulted in a report that eventually led to Post’s resignation and Johnson’s retirement in 2012. The report had turned up more and more misdeeds.

The city, however, kept the report secret. Tremblay, a retired Burlington police chief and former state public safety commissioner, said the issue places the city at significant risk of liability. Although the offenses had been apparent to many, lower-ranking personnel had been afraid to speak up.

The issue is being given the label of institutional racism, embedded in the culture regardless of the individuals who are involved.

Water woes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several Vermont state agencies discussed Act 64, Vermont’s new Clean Water Act and its ramifications at a public meeting August 27 in Rutland. The over-all goal is to reduce phosphorus entering the lake by 34 percent to meet a predetermined Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Stephen Perkins, EPA project manager in charge of the Lake Champlain TMDL, laid out the EPA’s goals to reduce pollutants from wastewater treatment facilities, developed land, agricultural production area, forests, streams, and agriculture. All 12 “segments” of the lake that have been studied contain levels of phosphorus above the allowed level. The most extreme source has been determined to be in the agricultural sector, particular in the south end of the lake and in Missisquoi Bay, requiring an 80 percent reduction. Doing so will be costly. Everyone’s pocketbooks will contribute to the effort “one way or another,” Perkins asserted, although speakers admitted the final price tag is unknown at this time. Public comments will continue to be accepted through Sept. 15.

Rutland Town

Improving infrastructure

Rutland Town and West Rutland have agreed on and signed an intermunicipal agreement designed to foster economic development on the Route 4 business corridor. But one Rutland Town selectman, Don Chioffi, has concerns over potential rate changes. The agreement language allows West Rutland to charge customers in Rutland Town using its own billing policy and procedure, without stipulating that rates along the corridor be equal in both communities. A verbal promise to keep the two the same is not binding enough, Chioffi says. Regardless of Chioffi’s concern, the towns anticipate going ahead with contracts for the work.

Voters OK Rutland Town improvement, selectboard member

Rutland Town voters have approved both a new highway garage and a trash compactor. Josselyn Brothers Construction will build the 5,700-square-foot highway garage in Northwood Park. Voter approval toted up at 316 to 106 for $700,000 to cover site preparation, construction, and pavement, using a portion of a recently discovered $3 million surplus.

This brings a tremendous improvement to working conditions for the town’s highway department, adding the luxuries of both indoor plumbing and heating onsite. Alternative energy provides the radiant floor heating, and the boiler system is capable of using waste oil products.

Casella Waste Management is to remove and replace the current 20-year-old trash compactor, for a price of $19,350. The third-generator compactor is a digital model that is said to “maximize garbage collection” and save taxpayer dollars. Voter approval weighed in at 359 to 63.

Voters also approved Josh Terenzini as selectman for the three-year seat vacated by Paul Clifford, 361 to 16, on August 25. The term expires March 2018.

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