On April 8, 2015

News briefs: Rutland Region


Stephen Sawyer, owner/head chef of Table 24 restaurant, recently announced his plans to open a new wine bar and tapas-type casual restaurant featuring European wines at 118 Merchants Row. Construction is already underway at the former  Nacho Mama location, with plans to open in early June. Sawyer has yet to choose a name for his new venture.

New public figures, new futures

New Mentor Connection executive director Chris Hultquist took up a challenging job on March 20, on the heels of a town meeting vote that turned down the organization’s request for $12,000 in its first appearance on the city ballot. As he learns the community, Hultquist leads Mentor Connection in a strategic planning process that includes studying how the organization is branded in the community. Consisting of executive director, one full-time staffer and one part-time employee plus approximately 150 volunteers, Mentor Connection matches youths in 23 area grade schools with volunteer mentors. Hultquist finds the organization to be extremely strong and well integrated in the community. Mentors and students enjoy unusually long relationships, often four to five years, he commented, an extension of time extremely rare in a pardigm that sees most relationships lasting only one or two years.

Also new to Rutland’s service organizations and facing significant challenges is Jennifer Burkey, recently hired as Rutland district director for the Department for Children and Families. She is not the only new DCF hire;  the state has been hiring additional staff since Casey Family  Programs’ investigation into the death of two toddlers revealed how understaffed and overworked the department was. Thirty additional workers have been added to the roster.

Burkey had previously been director of the Head Start program in Washington County, New York.


to Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum for enlisting 206 participants in the Shiver Me Shamrocks 5K race, raising a total of $44,500 the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. Money raised goes toward building a credit-union exhibit at the museum.

to Rutland City as a whole and to the police department specifically for a rapidly diminishing crime rate, with burglaries down 34 percent and shoplifting down 25 percent. And for successfully using using crime data mapping to modify patrol schedules for maximum efficacy.

to incoming business NextSun Energy, planning to open an office in the former Chittenden Bank building on Merchants Row. The Boston-based company is developing two solar projects in Rutland, one near North Main and another at the end of Park Street.

to the Palms Restaurant, owned and operated by the Sabataso family, for celebrating the eatery’s 82nd anniversary on Palm Sunday, March 28.

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