Sat, Nov 23, 2013 09:47 AM
Hobby Lobby buys the former grocer for $3 million
National arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby has purchased the old
Hannaford grocery building on South Main Street in Rutland, with
intent to appear soon before the city's Development Review Board
with plans for re-developing the property. Among the changes are
removing the peak on the façade and a number of other cosmetic
The 47,000-square-foot structure has stood vacant since early
2008, when the Hannaford supermarket moved to the Green Mountain
Shopping Plaza. Hobby Lobby purchased the former grocery for $3
million, buying it from Martin's Foods of South Burlington.
Contaminants and pesticides affect 145 local homes
145 Rutland County homes have been tested, with 33 yielding
positive results for contamination with the potentially deadly
neurotoxin chlorpyrifos, a pesticide banned for indoor use since
2001. All these homes were sprayed by Cary Buck, owner of AAA
Accredited Pest Control of North Clarendon, who treated some 437
homes in the area since 2009. Only a few of the homes have shown
pesticide levels high enough to call for evacuation; most of the
properties' owners remain living in them; however, it is possible
that household pets living in the homes have died as a result of
Authorities refuse to comment on whether the occupants have
reported health conditions that could be a result of the spraying,
citing a breach of medical confidentiality, but note that it is
hazardous to children and pregnant women. Neil and Patricia Whitney
of 10 Chaplin Ave., Rutland, had to move out of their home after
Buck sprayed the building. They are suing the state's Agency of
Human Services for hiring Buck to eliminate the bedbugs brought in
by a state-sponsored foster child who came to live with the
Whitneys in April 2012. The family's attempt to rid the house of
the pests failed; so did that of a New York-based company brought
in by the Department of Children and Families. DCF then hired
Buck's company, who sprayed the home in April 2013, leaving behind
so much liquid residue and kerosene-like stench that the family
could not stay in their house.
Named in the suit are Human Services secretary Douglas Racine, DCF
commissioner David Yacovone and Rutland DCF district director John
Zalenski, claimed as the parties at fault for negligence,
deprivation of property, lost wages, expenses, and mental anguish.
The family lived for several months in a camper parked at their
house or in motels paid for by state funds. They believe they will
not be able to ever return to their house, because of high
pesticide levels and health risks to their 14-year-old son, who
lost 30 pounds and was ill from exposure to pesticides used by the
first state-hired exterminator who sprayed their home before Buck
Killington Avenue paving
Work recently resumed on Killington Avenue after several weeks in
which the busy street's users traversed some 1,700 feet of dirt
road, sans asphalt. The Mountain Times was not been able to reach
contractor Wilk Paving prior to press, so it is unknown what took
so long to start work on the pre-winter portion of paving - putting
in contours and the bottom pavement layer - but, regardless, the
final layer will not be installed until spring, as initially
The city finally has a completed contract with the state over the
downtown parking deck, signed by the state's Buildings and General
Services commissioner Michael Obuchowski. Now the city is free to
negotiate with LAZ Parking to run the deck on the city's
The city has a three-year lease plus option to renew for two
years. The state will pay the city $50,000 a year in management
fees. City and state are to split the cost for a new parking
system, offering a variety of options for users.
Few raise concerns on potential new industry at Clarendon
The Pepsi Bottling plant warehouse at 2720 Route 7B in North
Clarendon has stood vacant for quite some time. But when an
industrial company planned to move into the building, bring a
couple dozen high-paying jobs with it from Florida, some neighbors
became unhappy over its anticipated re-use. They believe it falls
outside the parameters of light industrial use, as state on its
conditional use permit application.
Farmer Mold and Machine Works Inc. president Jim Gilmour of
Middletown Springs says his company builds custom automation
machinery for industry, and has been for 80 years. Newer technology
doesn't require the oils and other chemicals that seem to be the
basis for neighbors' concerns about pollution; instead, it relies
on water-based coolants. A recent public forum hosted by the
Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) seemed to alleviate
most fears, but a few complainants continue to express fear of
pollution and lowered property values. Gilmour says he wants his
company to use an existing structure, bringing it up to code and
energy efficient, improving the space, and becoming an integral
part of the community.
Cooling resistance toward groSolar's planned project?
Sentiments were somewhat more amiable at a recent solar project
meeting in the Rutland Town offices. Although a number of residents
living on Cold River Road had formed "Vermonters for Responsible
Solar" in opposition to a proposal for 9,726 solar panels in a
24-acre field on the southeast end of town, most of the 50-some
attendees at a project informational meeting approved of the
installation. Developers groSolar and Green Mountain Power have a
commitment to keep the project on the site for 25 years, groSolar
Executive Vice President Rod Viens told the attendees, generating
2.3 megawatts to be used in Rutland County.
During the 90-day construction phase, the project would employ 25
to 40 workers plus subcontractors; for the next 25 years, groSolar
would pay Rutland Town $10,000 per year in lieu of taxes.
Both Rep. Thomas Terenzini (R-Rutland Town) and resident Dave
Fucci said they are concerned about the project. Terenzini cited
its lack of long-term jobs. Both objected to its appearance, saying
that the solar panels would not be concealable in the parcel's
natural depression, in an area designated for industrial use. Fucci
likened the project's appearance to that of "9,762 billboards,"
roadside advertising banned across the state.
Concern over the appearance that solar panels present on the
Vermont landscape vs. the value of the electricity they produce may
well eventually polarize community leaders, as evinced in this
confrontation. Rutland Economic Development Corp. executive
director Jamie Stewart labeled objections to development in a
planned industrial site "scary," implying that industrial
development and aesthetics must strike a balance.
Terenzini plans to take up solar project regulation when he
returns to the state legislature in January, taking a copy of
Town's latest Solar Facility Siting Standards.
Stafford Tech cuts hospitality and tourism program, adds STEM
In recognition of Vermont's changing business needs, Stafford
Technical Center is dropping its hospitality and tourism skills
program for one that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering
and Math (the much discussed STEM approach). The new STEM academy
opens in the fall of 2014 with 16 students, at the cost of space
and staff to cover the recreation, resort, and small-business
management curriculum. Students in the program enter a high-paying,
high-demand job field, Stafford director Lyle Jepson recently told
the Rutland City School Board.
Lani's weekly picks
Thursday, Nov. 21 - Vermont Environmental Consortium annual
meeting and trade show with presentations and workshops at The
Opera House, 67 Merchants Row, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 21 - Country singer Josh Gracin gives concert at
the Paramount Theatre, 8 p.m., 775-0903.
Fri.-Sat., Nov. 22-23 - Grace Congregational Church hosts holiday
craft fair. 4-7 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday,
Saturday, Nov. 23 - West Rutland Town Hall hosts the fifth annual
Dancing Darkly with the Night of the Living Geeks, a
bellydance/fusion event celebrating the best in geek pop culture.