News Briefs
July 7, 2016

News Briefs: Rutland Region

By Lani Duke

Rutland HS students to attend national music conference

RUTLAND CITY—Two Rutland High seniors won acceptance to the National Association for Music Education conference to be held in November in Grapevine, Texas. Violist Ryan French, 17, and violinist Nova Wang, 16, will spend three days in classes and rehearsals before participating in a gala performance at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel and Convention Center.

They qualified by sending in video auditions after being recognized as leaders in the Vermont All-State Orchestra, their school program roles, the Lakes Region Youth Orchestra, and outstanding chamber music and solo performances, Rutland High orchestra director Peter Miller said. Having two students from the same school and, even more so, an ensemble recognized this way is an unusual honor, Miller indicated.

Both young men have been part of the school district’s string program since they were in third grade. Wang was accepted in the All-National ensemble last year and also has a student seat on the Rutland City School Board.

Aldermen consider pension increase

RUTLAND CITY—The five-member Aldermen’s pension board subcommittee is recommending the entire Board adopt a resolution calling for the mayor to greatly increase Rutland City’s annual pension payment. City Attorney Charles Romeo will draft a resolution for the Board to consider when it meets July 18.

The resolution will target the city’s contribution at $1.35 million along with language calling for the City to revisit that figure every five years. The resolution stems from a People’s United Bank report predicting the plan will run out of money in 2031 if it continues its current contribution rate. In 2031, payout would reach $4 million, actuaries predicted.

Mayor Chris Louras, who will set the city budget, agrees that funding is inadequate. However, underfunding arises out of inadequate contributions from employees as well as the from the City, Louras has stated. He feels that the Board needs to not place the entire burden on taxpayers, but also accept contributions through union mechanisms.

New businesses open downtown

RUTLAND CITY—Stephen Willoughby has opened Kindred Spirit at 53 Merchants Row, downtown Rutland. It offers home furnishings and accessories from seven Vermont suppliers, with prices that fit a wide range of budgets.

Ivan Rochon bought the former Desjardins Rochon Jewelers at 7 Center Street and is transforming it into his own vision under the name of Diamonds and More.

Depot Cafe of Castleton opened a second outlet in the Asa Bloomer Building. It offers breakfast sandwiches, quiche, pastries, soups, sandwiches, salads, and desserts.

Summer public works projects proceed

Project construction has been slowing traffic on Business Route 4 from West Rutland to Rutland, as well as on U.S. 7 from Rutland to Wallingford. In East Wallingford itself, both Rt. 140 and 103 are construction zones.

In Clarendon, Alfrecha Road is closed for railroad surface repair. That work was initially scheduled to be completed by July 1. Walker Mountain Road is tentatively scheduled to close July 11 for about 28 days to repair Clarendon Town Bridge 11; traffic will detour along Rt. 133 to Teer Road.

Rutland City’s Public Works Department has paved Granger and the south end of Forest Street from Hickory. The city is also cleaning and repainting water storage tanks near the reservoir.

With the City’s acquiring Combination Pond and surrounding land as a gift, the Rutland Fire Department has been clearing out tree limbs and other debris using fire rescue equipment. Water is flowing through much more quickly, but no one is yet saying that that simple solution may help to alleviate water warming that led to Moon Brook being declared an impaired waterway.

New GE contract expected to bring jobs

RUTLAND TOWN—A $1 billion contract for GE Aviation will result in more jobs in Rutland. The design and development of a new U.S. Air Force fighter jet engine at other facilities must be completed before the Rutland facility will receive any production orders for the three-stream, adaptive cycle engine. Administered through the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, the contract’s timeline extends through 2021. The redesigned engine will have increased power and fuel efficiency, extending aircraft operating range more than 30 percent, increasing thrust more than 10 percent, and lowering fuel consumption by 25 percent.

Safety discussed in Clarendon

CLARENDON—The Clarendon Select Board is considering applying for a grant to decrease its law enforcement costs. The Board recently signed a contract with the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department for 20 hours of coverage per week. Clarendon’s official deputy is Jessica Ryan LeBlanc.

Richard Lee drew the Clarendon Select Board’s attention to unsafe conditions on Walker Mountain Road caused by speeding and road signage obscured by brush. Also, bicycle riders use Creek Road unsafely, a concern that provoked discussion on regulations that affect bicycle riders. The state transportation committee is considering increasing fines for bike riders who ride shoulder to shoulder or do not move out of the way for cars. Four cyclists died in Vermont last year, and 12 suffered incapacitating injuries. However, only one cyclist was killed in the nine years before that. More than 700 cyclists die in the U.S. each year.

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