Local News
October 15, 2014

Rutland Region News Briefs

By Lani Duke

Musical chairs at City Hall

Former Rutland City Public Works commissioner Alan Shelvey is taking over the position as interim zoning administrator from Robert Barrett. Barrett had filled the position since the August retirement of former zoning administrator James Simonds, but wanted to return to his city building inspector duties, saying he lacks the training for taking the job on a permanent basis.

Vandalism continues to irk Wallingford

The Wallingford select board fails to combat vandalism effectively, members of Wallingford’s conservation and recreation committees recently complained. The town has suffered four major incidents of vandalisms in fewer than four months, the most recent occurring Wednesday, Oct. 1, at a newly built canoe launch on Otter Creek. They kicked in the retaining wall for the river bank at the Waldo Lane canoe launch, pushing logs into the water, while uprooting stakes, string and flags for the site, and tossing collected litter and Green Up Day trash bag into the water. Vandals have also stolen redeemable bottles and copper from air conditioners at the town transfer station. Presumably the same people also damaged picnic tables and spray painted basketball hoops with violent images that disturb children and sensitive adults.

Security cameras don’t fit in the town budget, the select board responded, noting that the sheriff’s department has issued no-trespass orders to more than a dozen minors.

Clarendon shuffles planning chair position

Clarendon’s Planning Commission takes yet another shuffle as Gale LiCausi resigned from chairing the group. LiCausi agreed to remain as clerk, taking the meeting minutes and administering the town’s municipal grant application for $8,000 through the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The money is to help update the town plan; moneys will be awarded in December. The board elected Carol Geery as its chair; Heidi Eccleston became vice chairwoman. Geery currently represents the town on the Rutland Regional Planning Commission’s executive board. Commission member Marjorie Southard volunteered to be the town’s alternate representative.

Rutland Town sets the pace for solar standards

At least one other Vermont town is considering using Rutland Town’s standards to regulate solar energy projects as a model. Shelburne town planners recently asked for advice on developing their own rules for solar energy development, indicating they are interested in using Rutland Town’s recently created document as a template. Although Shelburne already contains two solar installations, a proposal for a third, near the Vermont Teddy Bear Company on Route 7, concerns its neighbors. Without formal siting standards, Shelburne won’t have much input on the development, planned to occupy an acre of highly visible property near the major north-south corridor.

Authorities note that the efficacy of Rutland Town’s standards has yet to be tested. The state Public Service Board apparently can determine that the town’s solar standards are “advisory rather than controlling” and therefore ignore the standards if it wishes. That could change if state legislators decide that the PSB must follow town standards rather than merely taking them under consideration.

Rutland Plywood workers slowly bouncing back

About half of the 170 Rutland Plywood workers who lost their jobs when a fire destroyed their workplace have found jobs, although some of those appear to be temporary. Among the more than 30 local employers who have hired former Rutland Plywood workers are Carris Reels, Vermont Wood Pellet Co., Mill River Lumber, Earth Waste Management, and Green Stone Slate; The state Department of Labor plans a second job fair on Thursday, Oct. 23, intended to help those who are still laid off.

Vermont Supreme Court hears five cases in Rutland

The Vermont Supreme Court recently came to Rutland for the day, part of an autumn tradition of holding court in communities around the state. During its single-day visit, the bench heard a total of five cases.

Of the five, the one discussing what constitutes windshield obstruction is presumably the one that may affect the largest number of Vermont residents. The law—23 Vermont Statutes Annotated Section 1125— prohibits most objects being hung from either sun visor or rearview mirror. Regardless, many people festoon their mirrors with military dog tags, necklaces, souvenirs, worksite lanyards, and other items on string, cord, or chain, impairing vision.

When Bennington police stopped Robert Hurley last year for having a pine-tree shaped air freshener impairing his vision and subsequently charged him with drunken driving, they were misinterpreting an absurd law, attorney David Scherr argued to the high court. It lacks provision for testing to see whether or not a driver’s vision is obstructed.

Bruins players practiced at Spartan

Visitors of another stripe also came to Rutland recently. Four unnamed Boston Bruins team members recently spent a morning practicing at Spartan Arena in a private session. Few saw them, however, as the practice was from 6:30 to 9 a.m.

Repair or replace? Where?

The Rutland City Recreation Committee recently recommended spending up to $36,000 on a study for design proposals and estimates for a new city pool, including both indoor and outdoor options. Funding for the study is to be drawn from the Giorgetti Park trust fund.

One estimate indicates that upgrading the 44-year-old White’s Pool to meet safety and structure standards would require $1.3 million, while a new pool would cost $2 million. The only city-owned pool opened in 1970; it replaced the 1929-constructed Rotary Park pool.

An existing study calls for $2.3 million in code improvements for the Giorgetti Park rink. Adding a 4,500-square-foot pool on the building’s west side, designed to share bathroom and locker facilities, could cost an additional $1 million or less, and another $1 million or so could enclose it for year-round use.

Rutland Redevelopment Authority executive director Brennan Duffy’s suggestion to add a fitness center at Giorgetti rapidly drew negative comments. Alderman Gary Donahue and others felt that doing so would compete with private businesses and inflate the cost of construction to a level beyond taxpayers’ willingness. In fact, any recreation bond may draw more negative reaction from the community than positive.

Congratulations

to Sara Gilbert of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, scheduled to be honored as one of the Class of 2014 Rising Stars by Vermont Business Magazine.

to Joey Leone and his fellow Vermonters for Vermonters volunteers, who garnered more than their goal of $10,000 with the benefit concert that topped off the Vermont State Fair in September. Checks are on their way to Project Vision, Vermont Recovery Network, and Dismas House. More premium items remain to be auctioned on eBay.

to Dr. Judy Fisch, named to represent the New England district on the American Dental Association’s board of trustees. She is the first Vermonter on the board in more than 60 years. What an honor!

to Jerry Miglorie, on finding a buyer for Jerry’s Nissan and being able to retire without disappointing his loyal customers.

Lani’s weekly picks

Friday, Oct. 17—American Legion Post #31, 33 Washington St., hosts Pampered Chef bingo to benefit developmental disabilities. 5 to 9 p.m. 775-1370.

Saturday, Oct. 18—Pine Hill Park, 2 Oak Street Extension, hosts the 10th annual Leaf Chase. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 773-1822.

Saturday, Oct. 18—North Clarendon Grange, 64 Grange Hall Rd., hosts a Texas Holdem poker tournament. 5 p.m. $60 buy in, 2,000 chips. Proceeds benefit Mill River High School Project Graduation 2015.

Saturday, Oct. 18—The human form takes flight when Alvin Ailey’s Dance Theater performs at the Paramount Theatre. 8 p.m. 775-0903.

Sunday, Oct. 19—The Paramount Theatre screens the Metropolitan Opera’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” (The Marriage of Figaro) in HD. 12:55 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20—A community forum on drug market intervention brings David M. Kennedy, criminology professor and director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, to the Paramount Theatre. 5:30 p.m. 747-3634.

Monday, Oct. 20—Ben and Sophie Esser Calvi present a discussion of wine- and cider-making in Vermont at a Rutland Master Gardeners meeting in the Godnick Center, 6 Deer St., Rutland. 7 p.m.

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