News Briefs
October 11, 2017

Rutland Region

By Lani Duke

National Night Out

More than 1,000 people came to the Giorgetti Athletic Complex to celebrate National Night Out, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont announced in its recent newsletter. More than 35 organizations came to inform the community about their services and take part in the fun. The 15th annual National Night Out is the last one being held at Giorgetti. Next summer’s will be at White Pool.

Museum conversion scored too low

The Norman Rockwell Museum of Vermont on Route 4 in Rutland Town will not be converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, at least not yet. Dan Reilly Jr. learned Sept. 22 that his proposal had not acquired “enough points,” he told VTDigger.

Rutland Town Select Board Chair Josh Terenzini said he is disappointed that there will be no facility where it is most needed. The board had agreed to support Reilly’s submission when he presented it at the group’s August meeting.

The state awarded its fifth permit for a dispensary to PhytoScience Institute, which plans to open dispensary sites in both Bennington and St. Albans.

Greenhouse a gift from Rutland Rotary to VFFC

The Rutland City Rotary Club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a gift to the Vermont Farmers Food Center that will continue growing plants while educating youth for years. The 4,320-square-foot greenhouse is a teaching tool, used as students from primary grades through high school learn to plant seeds and harvest crops, Rotary organizer Dick Rowe told the Rutland Herald.

Rotary and VFFC leaders joined in cutting the ribbon on the project during the Food Center’s harvest dinner fundraiser Oct. 2. In addition to Rotary’s $81,996 contribution, federal grants added $19,700 for the state-of-the-art structure, VFFC President Greg Cox said.

Stafford Technical Center students helped with the greenhouse’s design and construction, further increasing the educational component of the project, said Rutland City Schools Superintendent Mary Moran. For younger students, the greenhouse will provide enrichment. For middle schoolers, it has opportunities for science, history, and culture.

The school is already buying as much locally grown produce as it can, Moran noted. The greenhouse experience will enable students to see the growing food and connect with the “local” items as they appear on school lunch menus, she extrapolated.

Honors and awards

The Vermont Association of Broadcasters will induct Brian Collamore to its Hall of Fame Dec. 2 during its annual Hall of Fame banquet. He has been a part of WSYB radio since 1974, both on the air and in sales. Co-host of “The Proctor Gas Morning Show,” he has officiated at ice hockey games for more than 40 years and is serving Rutland County as a state senator in his second term. VAB awarded him its Distinguished Service award in 2013.

Act for America, the country’s largest non-profit national security organization, honored Rutland Town resident and community leader Don Chioffi as Citizen Activist of the Year Oct. 3, Sam’s Good News reported.

Hospital asks permission to expand footprint

The Vermont Orthopedic Clinic, 3 Albert Cree Dr., has outgrown its building. Built originally to accommodate four providers, it now holds 12. Rutland Regional Medical Center has applied to the Green Mountain Care Board for a certificate of need so that RRMC may erect a new medical office building that would house the clinic, and to convert the current clinic for finance and human resources staffers, who have been working in rented offices, at a cost of $1.7 million.

The application includes $3.2 million to renovate the hospital loading dock – built in 1957 – and rework a neighboring space to serve the hospital dietary program. Also included in the $3.2 million total are site drainage and financing costs, with total completion before 2020 begins.

RRMC CEO Tom Huebner told VTDigger that the construction was not intended to encourage more growth, but only to accommodate the growth that has already occurred in the orthopedic department. The Rutland clinic, with its 12 orthopedic specialists, matches the size of orthopedic departments at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

The Green Mountain Care Board has been questioning whether the state’s abundance of orthopedic infrastructure promotes excessive orthopedic surgery. On Sept. 28, the board told Copley Hospital at Morrisville that it must adjust its fiscal year 2018 budget because revenue from orthopedic surgery is increasing too much.

Huebner sees growth in hospitals’ orthopedic sector as a natural result of the state’s aging population, that people need joint replacement as they get older. Surgical technique improvements help people stay more mobile.

Hospital asks permission to expand footprint

The Vermont Orthopedic Clinic, 3 Albert Cree Dr., has outgrown its building. Built originally to accommodate four providers, it now holds 12. Rutland Regional Medical Center has applied to the Green Mountain Care Board for a certificate of need so that RRMC may erect a new medical office building that would house the clinic, and to convert the current clinic for finance and human resources staffers, who have been working in rented offices, at a cost of $1.7 million.

The application includes $3.2 million to renovate the hospital loading dock – built in 1957 – and rework a neighboring space to serve the hospital dietary program. Also included in the $3.2 million total are site drainage and financing costs, with total completion before 2020 begins.

RRMC CEO Tom Huebner told VTDigger that the construction was not intended to encourage more growth, but only to accommodate the growth that has already occurred in the orthopedic department. The Rutland clinic, with its 12 orthopedic specialists, matches the size of orthopedic departments at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

The Green Mountain Care Board has been questioning whether the state’s abundance of orthopedic infrastructure promotes excessive orthopedic surgery. On Sept. 28, the board told Copley Hospital at Morrisville that it must adjust its fiscal year 2018 budget because revenue from orthopedic surgery is increasing too much.

Huebner sees growth in hospitals’ orthopedic sector as a natural result of the state’s aging population, that people need joint replacement as they get older. Surgical technique improvements help people stay more mobile.

Rotary donates to local cupboard

Rutland South Rotary Club recently donated 1,000 food items and raised $1,000, all of which was given to Rutland Community Cupboard. The food items were collected at Rutland South Rotary’s annual fundraising raffle at Spartan Arena.

Rutland Town administration in flux

RUTLAND TOWN—Fired Rutland Town administrator Joe Zingale plans to file a lawsuit against his former employer, he told VTDigger Oct. 3. However, he said he could discuss no details. His attorney, Paul Gillies, also refused to comment on the topic.

Rutland Town Select Board Chair Josh Terenzini observed that the town has received no summons and complaint, and that the town would defend its decision to terminate Zingale.

The town’s five-person Select Board terminated Zingale in September by unanimous vote, using the terms “gross misconduct” and “insubordination.” No more specific allegations have emerged.

The Select Board planned to discuss qualifications for Zingale’s successor at their Oct.3 meeting. They may go farther than that, according to the Rutland Herald. There was discussion of changing to a town manager format. Some still like the town administrator system. Terenzini would make the road commissioner’s position more a director of public works, adding water and sewer issues.

The board decided to discuss the town manager/town administrator issue in a public meeting Oct. 24 at 6, outlining the board’s priorities for the position and inviting Rutland city’s public works commissioner, Jeff Wennberg, to speak. Changing to a town manager-type government would require a townwide vote.

Since Zingale is no longer at the helm, the town’s employees and Select Board members are being more active in the town’s administration, Terenzini commented.

Casella

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