The Mountain Times

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Rutland Region News Briefs (1)

Block party
Congratulations to Maria Fortune, winner of the pink princess bicycle at the recent Northwest Neighborhood Block Party in Rutland. In all, four young people had their names drawn to receive shiny, new bikes. Many folks turned out to meet their neighbors, enjoy free hot dogs and hamburgers, talk with service agencies, and listen to the Castleton state College jazz band.

Water woe
The value of clean stormwater runoff may come up against the value of fish habitat as the city and the state Department of Natural Resources try to thrash out an approach that will work for all parties.
There are more than two contenders in this fight. Combination Pond and Piedmont Pond are valuable amenities to the people who bought homes near these two contributors to the Moon Brook watershed. But stormwater runoff entering Combination Pond conveys too much pollution into Moon Brook, and trout don't thrive there, says DNR... another reason trout don't survive there is because the pond absorbs too much solar warmth, according to Rutland City. The DNR seems ready to agree to a study exploring the city's position. If engineers agree that eliminating the Combination Pond dam is the answer, the DNR seems ready to yield.
Loss of the dam without a court action may be unacceptable for many homeowners in the area, however. As many as 70 property deeds include pond access; losing that ability without "compensation or due process" is unthinkable.
Locals value Combination Pond as a family recreation site, with fishing in warm weather, ice-skating in cold. They feel left out of the decision-making process, and some are irritated that neither mayor Chris Louras nor city attorney Charles Romeo put in an appearance at their recent gathering to discuss the pond's future.
Some question whether a deal can have truly been reached. Alderman Chris Siliski - who did attend the get-together - seems to imply that removing the dam is a bargaining chip in the city's battle with the DNR. The results of an independent study may give the city more leverage, and private citizen property deeds must also be a factor.
Potential alteration to wildlife habitat may come into play. Residents observe deer, wild turkeys, herons, and ducks along the reservoir, and trout in the water.

Banking acquisition
Lake Sunapee Bank, a New Hampshire-based company with eight branches in Rutland and Windsor counties, recently completed acquisition and is now sole owner of Charter Trust Company, a New Hampshire-chartered non-depository trust company. Charter Trust is headquartered in Concord, NH, with offices in New London, Meredith, Peterborough, Hanover and Rochester.

Park Ave area sees improvement
Citizen involvement is improving the quality of life in parts of Rutland, residents and police officials agree. One such neighborhood is on Park Avenue, where occupants formed a Community Watch Group a few years ago. Working with police, they reported suspicious activity and vehicles; police consider neighborhood involvement to have been essential to successful investigations in the area.
Several other community watch groups are having similar effects on the micro-communities and streets where they live, police chief James Baker reports. Plans call for bringing the various groups together to support each other.

Aldermen continue to seek recreation audit
Talk around town is that members of the Rutland board of aldermen still would like to secure an outside audit of the Recreation and Parks Department. Even if the board were to pass a new, detailed motion for a bid on a forensic audit, there will not be the necessary seven votes to override the mayor's expected veto.
Mayor Chris Louras has already vetoed a request to solicit bids on a four-year forensic audit of the recreation department, contending the request to vague to act upon. Were the board to pass a motion worded in conformance with charter requirements, the board could legally insist that the mayor proceed with a request for proposals, says city attorney Charles Romeo.

Town to regulate solar
Concern over a seeming over-abundance of proposed solar projects, Rutland Town's select board, planning commission, and town attorney collaborated on a town plan amendment to regulate large solar panels. The standards would encompass aesthetics, historical significance, size, setbacks and other elements.
More than half a dozen solar power generation proposals have come forward in recent months, a number large enough to trigger resident concerns. Their fears include view obstruction, property value loss, and tourism stifling.

Lani's weekly picks
Fri.-Sat., Oct, 18- 19 - Marble Valley Players present Plague! The Musical at West Rutland Town Hall Theater. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19 - Rutland Town PTO holds a pre-holiday craft fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the school gym.
Tuesday, Oct. 22 - The Paramount Theatre presents singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt in a special acoustic concert. 8 p.m. 775-0903.