The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Rutland Region

Of the 10 state controlled airports in Vermont, the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in North Clarendon is the fastest growing and the second busiest. It has recently acquired airfield lighting and instrument guided landing system, making landing and takeoff times more reliable, and allowing the number of flights in and out to increase.

The state recently paid more than $15 million for safety upgrades and other projects. If the airport can grow beyond its 8,000 to 8,500 embarkations a year to 10,000 a year, it would qualify for a major increase in its federal funding, from its current $210,000 to $1 million annually. RSVRA may reach that level by the end of the year, according to projections from the state Agency of Transportation. Along with that growth, the airport will see $12.7 million in runway safety improvements during the next two years, bringing it into compliance with a Federal Aviation Administration mandate. On the project list is a redesign and relocation for the terminal used by Cape Air commuter flights and chartered flights. Also, plans are underway to install a 48-kilowatt solar array, a project intended to chop some 80 percent off the airport's $24,000 electric bill.

With all this growth, the airport is also in the market for a new manager. After a successful three-and-a-half years, manager Dave Carman abruptly resigned. Once chosen, the new manager will be responsible for not only overseeing the improvements but also cutting costs, increasing fuel sales, signing new leases, expanding the aircraft maintenance facility as he brings revenue and expenses.

The Giancola Family of Companies recently offered to buy the Dana Building, 41 E. Center St., for $50,000. The two-story, 27,000-square-foot building had been a neighborhood school, then home to the Rutland County Head Start program and the city Recreation and Parks Department. Fire-code violations forced closing the 1927 structure.

The school district had put the building on the market for $290,000 in June, but Giancola's is the first and only offer for the former school and its 1.79-acre lot. The city assessed the lot alone at $84,900, and the entire property at $257,400. The school district considered demolishing the structure to sell the lot alone, but balked at paying $250,000 for demolition in order to sell the lot alone for a lot that would yield only $85,000 to $100,000.

The Giancola company intends to put offices and apartments in the building while retaining its historic character, a specialty for the company that owns the Howe Center and the Himolene complex.
There may be tension between the city and the school district over which entity will receive any moneys from the sale of the old school, though. The city believes all school buildings are the property of the city with the capacity to use sale moneys for capital improvements. The school board also wants the funds for capital improvements - but for educational facilities. The public may chime in on the proposed sale at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, in the Longfellow Administration Building, 6 Church St.

Rutland Fire Chief Robert Schlachter is off duty for some two months after a mild heart attack. Deputy Bradley LaFaso is acting chief while Schlachter is out.

The Vermont Farmers Food Center has been talking to the city about formalizing a pathway that connects Baxter and West streets. Known locally as Burns Alley, the walkway may become a vigorously used access between the Northwest neighborhood and Rutland's downtown.

The folks at the Food Center have already begun opening up the passage, finding glass, needles, plants gone wild, and even a tent in the overgrown strip. Food Center leader Greg Cox says that he has applied for formal permission from right-of-way owner Vermont Railway; he envisions a trail similar to the developing Creek Path, with lighting, a paved walkway, and uprights that block vehicle traffic. Some 100 walkers utilize the path each day now, he estimates.

The West Rutland Booster Club is working with PEGTV, Rutland County's public access television station, to sponsor the 54th annual West Rutland Glodzik Basketball Tournament beginning Saturday, March 9, and continuing through Friday, March 15. The invitational tournament is for both boys and girls play at the 5/6 grade age level.

The Glodzik tournament began as a boys' event 25 years ago to honor the late coach Ed Glodzik. Girls' basketball was added last year. PEGTV is filming the games on the opening weekend, some games during the week, and the March 15 championship game, and broadcasting them on PEGTV channel 15. DVDs of the games will be available for purchase, with the money donated to the West Rutland Booster Club to help support next year's tournament. Games will also be available through PEGTV's video on demand portal.

West Rutland School plans a sports banquet for Wednesday, March 20.

As springtime looms, put the West Rutland marsh on your must-visit list. Formed when marble processing shops dumped sand that had been used in the marble finishing process into the Castleton River, the marsh is the result of the water flow being plugged up. Colonized by water-loving plants, the marsh soon became home to least bitterns and 135 other species logged by Rutland County Audubon. More than 900 participants have taken part in the group's monthly bird monitoring walks.

In addition to its bird species, the marsh is also a place for quiet recreation and meditation. Cyclists, runners, walkers, and horseback riders use the dirt roads surrounding the main marsh.

A new residential rehab program for women at the VAC complex on Park Street is in the planning stages. The 10-bed facility will house women nearing the end of their prison sentences and eligible for furlough release if only they did not have behavioral, mental health and substance abuse problems.

The residents will receive counseling, therapy and treatment for drug addiction, while also learning life skills for independent living and a range of job skills as diverse as accounting, jewelry-making, marketing, woodworking and website building. Named Mandala (the Sanskrit word for unified living) House, the residence/program strives to develop a sense of accountability in its registrants. Director for the program is Cheryl MacKenzie, holder of a Ph.D. in psychology and a license in addiction counseling, overseeing a 10-person staff. Together with the enrollees, they will create a family environment with 24-hour-a-day supervision to help the women improve decision-making skills and earn their independence.

Corrections officials estimate residents will live at Mandala House no less than six months, but with an average occupancy of about a year.

Renovations to a building where the women will take classes are currently underway.

The proposed methadone clinic in Building 10 of the Howe Center is apparently being pushed further into the future. Officials had anticipated opening the clinic before Halloween last fall, but the state and service provider Rutland Mental Health Services continue to disagree over its financing. If those differences could be reconciled, the clinic's opening would still be at least five months after the agreement; time has to be built in for staff finding and training, space renovation, and organization.

Sunday, March 10 - Vermont Symphony Orchestra performs "Three for Two" - Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, Philip Glass's Echorus for 2 Violins and String Orchestra, and David Ludwig's Seasons, Concerto for Two Violins. The 3 p.m. concert at the Paramount Theatre concludes with Mozart's Symphony No. 40.
Sunday, March 10 - The Italian American Club, 73 Grove St., hosts the food and music sampler Beat the Winter Blues Fest, an evening of live music, complimentary beer and wine and delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts. 4 to 7 p.m. The concert benefits Dinners with Love, taking free, high quality restaurant meals of their choice to hospice patients and their families. No reservation necessary.
Wednesday, March 13 - Rutland Free Library's 2nd Wednesday Community Cinema presents Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, looking at heroines from the comic books of the 1940s to the on-screen superwomen, and how their representations often reflect society's anxieties about women's liberation. 7 - 8:45 p.m., 773-1860.

Tagged: News Briefs, Rutland Region