News Briefs
June 8, 2017

Rutland Region News Briefs

Rec employee receives state award

The Vermont Parks and Recreation Association has recognized April Cioffi with its Young Professional Award, awarded annually to member recreation professionals age 40 or younger and employed in Vermont for at least two years. City Recreation & Parks Superintendent Cindy Wight said she nominated Cioffi for her commitment to the community as well as other reasons. Cioffi strives to make sure all enjoy Rutland’s recreational opportunities regardless of socio-economic class, Wight commented.

At age 33, Cioffi has been a full-time Rec Department employee for 11 years. Her job as program director has her organizing such events as the annual Halloween parade, and winter festival; she recently created an elementary rock-climbing club that attracted 10 children and a running club that drew in nearly 20.

West Rutland history marker for Lemuel Haynes

The state has approved West Rutland’s plans for a historical marker recognizing Lemuel Haynes. Haynes is believed to be the first African-American pastor ordained by a mainstream church organization in the U.S., licensed to preach in 1870 after serving in the American Revolution. He pastored a “mostly white” church in Rutland for 30 years, according to PBS. Political division “moved” the Congregational church site to West Rutland, near where the sign will be located, by the bench at Pleasant Street Cemetery. The marker is scheduled to be delivered and installed this fall. The town is looking for volunteers to improve the appearance of the cemetery. Peter Kulig is looking into signage.

Wallingford projects new town plan

The Town of Wallingford is brainstorming a five-year outlook and new town plan June 12. Sal’s is catering the 6:30 p.m. dinner at the Rotary Building.

The discussion will include the responses on a five-question survey that has been available at many local businesses and online.

Effect of poster ed is saved life

Rutland Town eighth-grader Cameron Greene remember having seen a poster on the Heimlich maneuver outside his school’s lunchroom. He applied what it showed, saving the life of classmate Joe Anderson by using the Heimlich maneuver.

When Anderson choked on a dry sandwich, Greene simply reacted, he recently told Rutland Herald reporter Gordon Dritschilo. Greene had been seeing the poster everyday as he stood in lunch line since he had been in kindergarten, school principal Aaron Boynton commented. The principal said he now realizes the importance of placing important information where students can see and absorb it frequently.

Of cemeteries and memorials

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 648 laid a memorial wreath at West Street Cemetery, with music from the Rutland High School Band June 26. The ceremony included raising and lowering the flag and a firearms salute from American Legion Post 31.

West Rutland had its own Memorial Day parade, sponsored by numerous businesses and individuals.

West Rutland sculptor Don Ramey holds a $9,000 contract to replace the Rutland County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Main Street Park in Rutland. The current monument is cracked and has a repaired toe, said Rutland VVA chapter president Adrian Megrath, according to the Rutland Herald. His organization is concerned about the memorial’s future as its membership, comprising only veterans of the Vietnam conflict, becomes older. Megrath hopes to establish a fund to provide perpetual maintenance.

In November, Military Times reported that the Rutland VVA chapter, the nation’s first, was offering Rutland City $10,000 to set up the fund, saying that the chapter’s 141 members are widely dispersed with only six to eight individuals attending monthly meetings.

Only half the normal number turned out for the May 26 Rutland Police Benevolent Association memorial to honor deceased members. The roster honors 37 individuals, the first being Daniel J. Brown, who died in 1956, the last being Donald L. Morgan, who died in 2015. Three on the list are honorary.

Rainy weather probably held the attendance down; the ceremony is usually held outdoors at the flagpole outside City Hall.

People bettering their community

Jody Condon, Castleton University controller, and Joshua MacDuff, small-diversified farm advocate and Kinney-Pike Insurance farm insurance provider, have joined the Vermont Farmers Food Center board of directors. Condon will serve the organization as its treasurer.

Town priorities discussed

West Rutland is inventorying its roads to set priorities for repair, and may also inventory its sidewalks. The town has received a $136,641 grant to resurface Marble Street from Crescent to Water Street and Marble to Whipple Hollow. Under question is whether to make the repairs in the current work season or to fold the grant into a larger scale project in 2018.

With completed access to the town’s recreation area, now is time to turn attention to a recreation master plan. After reviewing previous discussions on the subject, Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette suggested having only one park rather than two, and using the existing fence to help enclose a 1.7-acre dog park. She also suggested a new playground set and a pavilion, possibly using some Ronald MacDonald money and drawing on $90,000 in the recreational fund.

New DRP head Steve Peters

The Downtown Rutland Partnership has hired Steve Peters as its new executive director. He has most recently been working as marketing manager for the Rutland Area Food Co-op, and managed the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link’s communications and food education program before that. Peters is an English and education graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. He has participated in downtown marketing committee planning, and organized events himself. He is also active in Rutland Young Professionals and writes a food column for the Rutland Reader. Peters will officially begin work June 14.

Feds drop civil forfeit for property sale

The U.S. attorney’s office has agreed to drop its civil forfeiture action on the boarding house at 24 and 24-1/2 Cottage St. in Rutland City so that John Ruggiero and Sylvie LeBel are able to buy it. Ruggiero already had a $30,000 lien on the property, according to a report in the Rutland Herald.

The sale was a private matter between property owner and the buyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella explained. Among the conditions of the dismissal was an agreement that the buyer be local; Ruggiero signed a letter of understanding, thereby better able to monitor activity there.

In a May 31 press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office described the purchaser as 24 Cottage LLC, owned primarily by Ruggiero and LeBel and located on Tenney Brook Court. The “acknowledgement letter” carries an agreement that the new owner has a responsibility to eliminate drug trafficking on the property by informing authorities of suspected trafficking or manufacturing, attempting to evict tenants suspected of drug trafficking, and working with law enforcement to prevent or discourage illegal activity on the property. Additional guidelines include reporting suspicious activity; maintaining lighting, fencing, and landscaping; towing abandoned vehicles; and installing video recorders in public areas.

Complete Streets guideline draft available

Tuesday, June 13, Rutland City plans to hold a public hearing at the Courcelle Recreation Center (North Street Extension), gathering public reaction to the draft of its Complete Streets Guidance Document, completed April 20. The document answers the requirements of the State Legislature’s 2011 Act 34, that transportation policy considers all users, independent of age, ability, or preferred transportation method. The Public Works Committee has been working on the document since June 1, 2015, when the Board of Aldermen approved a collaboration including the mayor, the Public Works commissioner, and the city engineer to develop a plan that would implement the Clean Streets program in the City. The City’s website indicates that the Recreation Department, Police Department, Redevelopment Authority, Planning Commission, School Department, Marble Valley Regional Transit District, and other organizations have already given input during its development.

After public comment is considered and incorporated, a final draft will be presented to the state Board of Highway Commissioners at its first meeting in July, who may accept or modify the plan. Its decision is final.

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