Thu, Nov 7, 2013 07:20 PM
New businesses open downtown
New clothing store Raw Honey opened Nov. 1 at 5 Center Street, in
space formerly occupied by King's Fine Furniture. Owner Rebecca
Buonadonna describes her business as urban oriented, "reasonably
priced quality fashion." She already owns Fruition Fineries at the
corner of Merchants Row and West Street.
The former Aubuchon Hardware at 122 West Street will become a baker
café, owned by Roots the Restaurant chef/owner Don Billings. It's
great news to see these two local business owners making the
commitment to fill additional storefronts downtown.
$1 million grant to aid the city's fight against crime,
A $1 million federal grant to map and analyze Rutland's crime data
was recently rejected, which was a disappointment and somewhat of a
surprise to project officials. Police chief James Baker noted that,
although the grant was supposedly targeted for smaller, rural
cities, all recipients were larger communities than Rutland.
Planners had hoped that the three-year grant would facilitate
linking more than 30 local social service agencies, municipal
offices and the Rutland Police Department in combating the city's
illegal drug culture.
Baker says the rejection necessitates a change of focus. In the
nine months or so since applying for the grant, the city has made
significant strides. In May, police began mapping crime data to
identify trends and locations where criminal activity is likely.
What the grant would have done was to enable hiring a coordinator
to liaise police activities and crime data with Project VISION and
social workers, mental health workers and domestic abuse
Giorgetti Park bike shop closing for good
The bike shop at Giorgetti Park is closing. It has been a
little-known amenity, occupying a single room at the arena, renting
bikes and selling parts and repair services. Too invisible and
isolated to be a commercial success on its own, it was run by the
city with a single employee. No more.
Much of the gear it contained will be offered on Craigslist. A list
of equipment to be sold was given to the aldermen at a recent city
meeting; it includes a variety of 44 repair tools, in all with an
estimated wholesale value of $1,142, plus five Kona bikes, valued
at $300 to $350.
Depleting mall funds opens discussion for different approach
Concern over the Zamias fund (from the Diamond Run Mall) eventual
depletion occupied the Rutland City Finance Committee recently.
Mayor Chris Louras is calling for prudence so that the money is
available for future needs; recent requests for funds have been
growing, and he fears there will be nothing left when
"high-priority projects" develop.
Louras has criticized the beautification project where Church,
West, and Wales streets intersection, saying that the money could
be better spent on sidewalks connecting "challenged neighborhoods"
to downtown. He believes the money may be needed in revitalizing
the Northwest quadrant.
Finance Committee chair Chris Siliski presented proposed guidelines
calling for a minimum 20 percent match from an organization
applying for the money along with criteria for job creation,
business growth or other economic impacts. He has also proposed
depositing part of the fund in longer-term investments with an
interest rate exceeding inflation.
Over the upcoming seven years, the fund is scheduled to receive six
more $100,000 impact fee payments and a final payment of $88,000
from the Diamond Run Mall's owners. The money is intended to
compensate for revenues lost to the city when the mall was built
outside the city limits. The fund currently contains nearly
$800,000, with some $175,000 committed to projects that the
aldermen have already approved. Currently held in a money market
account, the fund generates minimal interest, but is always
available for projects that the aldermen approve.
Of the four projects recently funded with Zamias money, Louras says
he recognizes benefit from two: parking deck equipment and the
Paramount Theatre's new video system, but the Baxter Street Alley
improvement and beautification of the West, Wales, and Church
streets intersection would not have made the Department of Public
Works project list.
Aldermen differ in their approach to the fund. Should it become a
loan source rather than grant funds? Alderman Jon Kiernan thinks
so. He promotes developing a policy for maximum grant sizes and
maximum annual expenditures.
Alderman William Notte believes the current approach works well,
that it is effective and transparent, that, although the money
should be spent wisely, the aldermen need to retain as much
flexibility in the fund's use as possible.
Look for similar discussions in the future.
Discussion: How best to deal with violent students
Do new policies put teachers more at risk for injury?
Teachers and staff who work with students who have emotional or
behavioral issues may face injury, Rutland City school Board
members learned at a recent meeting. Rutland Education Association
representatives complained to the board on behalf of an
unidentified member who resigned after repeated injuries inflicted
by students in more than 10 years of teaching; that resignation was
subsequently discussed in closed session.
Although not specifically identified, the board accepted the
resignation of Stacey Ladabouche, a school counselor at Rutland
Intermediate School, at the same meeting.
Rutland Intermediate School staffers receive insufficient training
and monitoring, a recent complaint to the Department of Labor
Should the state consider modifying that part of Special Education
law that promises "least restrictive" environments for all
students, regardless of ability, or how the practice is
Rutland City Public Schools superintendent Mary Moran noted that
the self-contained classrooms at both Rutland Intermediate and
Northeast Primary schools provide close supervision in
self-contained classrooms in an environment that provides for
emotionally and behaviorally challenged students. Those students
are provided educational opportunity in a more supportive
environment than other students but enter the "mainstream" of
school culture in such public activities as eating lunch and
A complaint from Don Whipple, manager of the state's Occupational
Safety and Health Administration under the Department of Health,
incorporates OSHA logs containing claims of "scratches, bites,
contusions, concussions and other problems" from aggressive
students. During the 2012-13 school year, OSHA records note 13
staff injures, 10 of them in classroom environments. Since the
current academic year, staff has already received six injuries,
five of them suffered in classrooms, but there have been no
injuries to students, Moran said.
District policy calls for paraeducators to receive Crisis
Prevention Intervention, a course that covers dealing with
emotional or violent outbursts as well as physical restraint
methods. When an incident occurs, the student's special education
team is to meet afterwards to debrief, examining what led to the
incident, what the staff response was, and what can be done for
different results. The district's safety team, containing both
staff and administrators, meets quarterly for an overall discussion
of safety concerns.
The district's position is that a protest to raise safety concerns
was the wrong approach; school board chair Peter Mello sent a memo
stating just that to all Rutland City school employees the day
after the meeting.
Stop sign experiment
A new three-way STOP where General Wing Drive (home of The Maples)
intersects with Stratton Road is an experiment. If it works well,
the signage and the STOP will remain in place. If motorists are
unhappy with the arrangement, the STOP will disappear after several
Lani's weekly picks
Saturday, Nov.r 9 - Comedian Drew Carey performs at the
Paramount Theatre, 30 Center St., 8 p.m. A performance for only
those 16+ years old.
Sunday, Nov. 10 - The Paramount Theatre hosts Catwalk for a Cause,
a hair and fashion showcase for the talents of local hair stylists
and make-up artists, featuring fashion trends from area clothing
stores. Benefits United Way of Rutland County. 4 p.m.
Thursday, November 14 - Learn to weave wampum, America's first
currency. Chaffee Art Center, 3:30 p.m.