By Lani Duke
Smoking ban coming to apartment buildings?
The Charter & Ordinance Committee has been considering a smoking ban at multi-family housing. A tenant had complained that it is of little use to ban smoking in multi-family units when there is no requirement that smokers light up some distance from the property or in specific areas that minimize or eliminate their smoke entering nearby units through open windows. The committee has been communicating with the Vermont Rental Property Owners Association as well as contemplating new ordinance stipulations.
Discussing the costs and benefits of sidewalks, bike lanes
The Public Works Committee recently voted to have the Department of Public Works draft a formal guidance plan for compliance with Vermont’s Complete Streets legislation, effective in 2011. The law requires municipalities consider bike and pedestrian improvements in road project planning; if the municipality decides not to include walkers’ and bikers’ needs in project development, it must be prepared to document its decisions.
The RRPC had recently written to Public Works commissioner Jeff Wennberg complaining that Dorr Drive was in violation of the law because, as planned, it serves only vehicular traffic. Dorr Drive, which connects to the Rutland Creek Path and is considered a bike route, yet has insufficient width for safe bicycling/walking. Widening shoulders on either side while reducing traffic lanes to 10 feet has been suggested as a compromise, but adding a three-foot bike lane would up the project cost by $153,000, according to Rutland Region Planning Commission’s Susan Schreibman.
Mayor Chris Louras told RRPC and assembled participants that Rutland taxpayers’ pocketbooks have to be figured into road construction—that total cost must always be considered regardless of how desirable additional improvements might be. He encouraged cycling advocates to advocate for widening the road surface.
New West Rutland principal welcomed
Sarah Merrill has been chosen to take over leadership of the West Rutland School. Merrill has a strong Vermont background as a native Vermonter, with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Castleton State College, and teaching and administration experience in Manchester and Dorset. West Rutland has a student population of about 340.
Rip Jackson moves to Boston
Special thanks to Rip Jackson for 15 years of drawing stunning performances from local talent. As difficult as it is to think of holiday concerts in Rutland without also thinking of Rip Jackson, his contribution to the community’s cultural life is drawing to a close at the end of summer. The Grace Congregational minister of music is moving to the Boston area to become director of music in the First Parish Church of Lexington, Mass.
to Green Mountain Power crews for restoring order in about two hours after two Green Mountain Power circuits went down in downtown Rutland and the west side on May 26, darkening stoplights, leaving elevators stuck with passengers inside, and stranding 3,500 customers without power.
to Rutland Town fire and highway departments and Vermont state police on their success in freeing seven ducklings trapped after falling through a grate into a Home Depot storm drain on May 20.
to local bowler Dayle Burditt, recently inducted into the Vermont State Bowling Hall of Fame for her superior performance in more than 30 years of bowling.
to the Dismas House fundraising team that pulled together the 25th annual Father Jack Hickey Memorial Dinner & Auction held at the Holiday Inn in early May. The event raised 93 percent of the $88,000 goal, with an event that attracted more than 300 attendees.