News Briefs
July 28, 2016

News Briefs: Rutland Region

By Lani Duke

Road work: be patient and courteous

Traffic is running slowly along some of the local roadways as construction crews take advantage of summer weather. The Business Route 4 corridor project has been slowing traffic. Route 4 East is receiving a new drainage culvert and storm drain plus repair to the retaining wall adjacent to the Norman Rockwell Museum on U.S. Route 4 east of the city center.

Construction slows traffic on U.S. 7 both north and south of Wallingford as resurfacing continues, and on Route 140 in Wallingford and 103 in Clarendon.

Ripley Road remains closed as its bridge is being rebuilt. VTrans says crews are continuing to work on both River Street and Dorr Drive off and on during the next several weeks, often restricting traffic to alternating one-way movement. The temporary traffic signal in front of the College of St. Joseph at the Ripley Road Bridge will continue to function until the project is nearly complete. The new Dorr Drive section has a layer of coarse gravel and officials advise extreme caution for motorcyclists and bicyclists, especially.

Road crews were expected to place concrete for Bridge 11 on Walker Mountain Road in Clarendon early in the week of July 25. The work is on schedule, with paving slated for early August. The road is closed to bicyclists and pedestrians as well, with all to follow the detour signage onto Weaver Hill and Teer roads.

“Addiction Recovery” dropped

RUTLAND CITY—The West Ridge Center for Addiction Recovery, in Building 10 of the Howe Center, 1 Scale Ave., is simplifying its name to the West Ridge Center. Dr. Jeff McKee, vice president of community and behavioral health services at Rutland Regional Medical Center, announced the change as part of a “natural step” to potentially adding in other services outside those specifically connected to addiction treatment.

Since its November 2013 opening, the West Ridge Center has been providing a number of services to individuals with opioid addictions, including medication assisted treatment, counseling, health screening, and other support services. Since inception, West Ridge has served more than 1,000 clients and has 400 in active treatment.

RRMC is following a trend in health care that no longer considers mental health and substance abuse as a “separate treatment modality that needs to exist out on its own,” McKee said. Changing the name removes a stigma that might be attached to people who obtain services at a health care facility with “addiction treatment” in its name.

People seeking addiction treatment often have neglected their own health. Nearly two-thirds have hepatitis, often untreated; a relative few are HIV positive but did not know it.

“Theftie” app nabs cellphone thief

RUTLAND CITY—Sabrina J. Kingsbury, age 34, told Rutland Criminal Court on July 18 that taking a cell phone lying on a shelf a month before was not theft. She said the cell phone was lying on a shelf and she took it, had it reactivated and put her own SIM card inside.

The phone belonged to Kati A. McPhee, 32, who was placing labels on shelves in aisle 6 of Tops Friendly Market, 12 N. Main St. McPhee said she had set her Samsung Galaxy down about 10:50 p.m. as she stepped away briefly. On her return, she found the phone, valued at $570, missing.

Thanks to modern technology, McPhee found out that Kingsbury had picked up the phone. An app called “theftie” installed in the phone triggered it to take a picture of whoever tried to use it two or three times but failed to use the correct passcode. The image was emailed to McPhee, who recognized Kingsbury after having attended a program with her. Kingsbury pled innocent to a misdemeanor charge of petty larceny and concealing stolen property. She will appear in Rutland criminal court Aug. 22.

RUN’s contract not renewed

RUTLAND CITY—The state of Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) recently notified Rutland City that it plans to terminate its contracts with Rutland United Neighborhoods (RUN), an organization that has been aiding prison convicts as they re-enter their community. The DOC notified Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras, but apparently no such notification had come to Joseph Gallagher, RUN’s new interim executive director, who came into his current position following the departure of previous interim director Shawn McMore. Gallagher was in office only about a week at the time Louras announced the decision to the City’s Board of Aldermen.

Gallagher commented that he knows there are problems that must be solved. There are “staffing problems” and unpaid bills, he noted but declined to explain. Previously treasurer and a member of RUN’s board of directors, Gallagher said he had intended to stay in position a “fairly brief” time, stepping in to make sure some bills were paid.

The entire board, other than two members, is also fairly new, Gallagher noted. McMore moved from office manager up to interim director after long-term director Lynne Walsh took a temporary leave of absence to deal with a family illness.

The contract with DOC had been for $125,000 per year, adjusted to a six-month term for $62,500 because December was to be time for a reorganization. Services expected to be in that plan include both re-entry and restorative justices programs plus Circles of Support and Accountability, a program to reintegrate sex offenders into the community.

Until he receives official notification, Gallagher intends to lead RUN in administering its previously contracted programs. The organization formed in response to the murders of Terry King, Deborah Fell, and Charles Conway in 2000, with the intent of fighting crime and drug abuse.

Initially, RUN’s intent was to create a feeling of neighborhood identity and familiar police presence. Specific officers and a sergeant interacted with each neighborhood, encouraged to develop a sense of what was”not normal” for their assigned sector. The DOC became involved years later.

ATV extended access requested

WEST RUTLAND—West Rutland’s Select Board listened to a request made by Jim Philbert on July 11, asking that the West Rutland ATV club be allowed to ride in the downtown district. The group rides in Ira’s and West Rutland’s town forests, as well as on Ira roads and Clark Hill; it also rides on a class 3 road in Pawlet. The ATVers want to expand their trails. Currently they have no link from Ira to Pawlet. Both Route 133 and Route 4 present some difficulties. Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette will look into what jurisdiction the town has and what is for the state to decide.

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