On June 17, 2015

News Briefs: Rutland Region

Rutland Mental Health announces personnel changes

RUTLAND–Dan Quinn, executive director of RMHS, resigned after seven and a half years, believing his leaving would smooth the path to an easier relationship with state officials. RMHS employs a staff of about 400, providing $22 million in mental services to the Rutland County area. Dick Courcelle, a program director at Rutland Mental Health Services, will take over interim leadership of the organization. Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (RAVNAH) recently hired Nicole Moran as director of hospice and palliative care for its newly formed VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region. She has more than a decade of experience in nursing and clinical management.

New limo in town

RUTLAND–Chris Thayer and his business partner Brent Peterson have started up Vermont Limousine & Shuttle, offering affordable luxury transportation. Affordable is the key word, Thayer says; his service is not just for the affluent, nor is it a taxi. It’s a contract service, with personable, non-smoking drivers and consideration for individual event budgets.

This too shall pass

RUTLAND–Although it’s inconvenient, rejoice in the disruption as important street improvements are taking place. The shared use path along South Main has been receiving pavement markings and manhole covers are being reworked. Pavement markings are also taking place to delineate Business Route 4. Dorr Drive Bridge is under construction, finally. All traffic—motor vehicle, bicycle, and foot—must continue to detour while Ripley Road and access to Dorr Bridge from that direction are closed. Construction is also beginning on Ripley Road Bridge. Finally, sewer lines are also going in on River Road.

Solar for the stage

RUTLAND–The Paramount Theatre recently gained a new “do” on top, with the recent installation of solar energy collectors. Same Sun of Vermont provided the panels and oversaw their installation. The Paramount is one of three successful applicants in a Green Mountain Power/USDA Rural Development Program grant contest, receiving $20,000 from GMP and $22,000 from the USDA in solar project funding. The theatre topped up the solar project by borrowing $17,000 from USDA.

Philip Allen of Same Sun anticipates the collectors will generate 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, meeting about one-third of the theatre’s needs. Installation required use of a crane to swing the panels to the building’s flat rooftop.

Parking deck moves out of the red

RUTLAND–Figuring in a management fee has brought the operation of the downtown Rutland parking deck out of the red, Rutland City treasurer Wendy Wilton told the Finance Committee during its June 4 meeting. After the fee’s inclusion, Rutland City appears to be $9,000 to the good rather than $36,000 in the hole. The Finance Committee also discussed developing signage that more effectively directs motorists to the deck from various locations in downtown, and the installation of a new automatic entry and exit system, enabling deck operation 24 hours a day without attendants.

City school to set up foundation

RUTLAND–The Rutland City Public School District is setting up a foundation which will invest and manage the gifts the district receives. Investing in stocks and mutual funds yields a return whereas parking the money in a checking account does not, and is a common practice in school districts across the country, the district’s director of budget and financial affairs, Peter Amons, told the School Board.

Establishing a foundation to invest gifts to fund scholarships for graduating seniors would allow the district to add $5,000 to $6,000 to the $30,000 in scholarships it hands out each year, he projected. It could also fund programs or equipment for the district.

As drafted, the foundation would be governed by a five-person board of directors: three appointed by the School Board, plus the superintendent and CFO. The School Board is scheduled to vote on adopting the foundation’s drafted bylaws and an agreement between the foundation and the Board at a meeting on June 23. The district plans to transfer some $275,000 in donations to the foundation as soon as that organization has achieved its 501(c)(3) status, in about six months.

Special Benefits District seeks more funding, tax increase

RUTLAND–The Downtown Rutland Partnership (DRP) asked the Rutland Redevelopment Authority for a 15 percent increase in the special benefits district tax that the RRA collects. The DRP promotes, beautifies, and organizes special events in the downtown district. Funds for these activities are collected by the RRA, which turns over most of the money to the DRP.

Mike Coppinger, the Partnership’s executive director, asked for the increase from $237,000 to $252,000 at the RRA’s June 9 meeting, saying lack of surplus funds that the DRP had enjoyed in earlier years prompted the request. Tightness in the RRA’s budget may force that organization to increase the special benefits district tax. Downtown property owners seem to be largely in support of the DRP’s efficacy in making the downtown attractive to both tourists and locals, and they appear likely to encourage the RRA toward granting the increase.

“Little Library” commemorates Carly Ferro

Rutland Discount Food and Liquidation Center co-owner Justine Taylor has created a Little Library in memory of Carly Ferro, killed in a tragic car accident as she was leaving her job at the store. Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, local contractors Kevin White and Howard Stickney, Knight’s Kitchens, and Green Screen Graphics contributed to the project, as well as many, many donors. The library offers not only books but also composition books and pencils for children.

Thank you

to Stafford Technical Center construction technology students for using their new construction skills to build a storage shed for the Rutland Garden Club to stow tools and equipment.

to Bob Bearor, Teenie’s Tiny Poultry Farm owner, for again holding his annual free Teenie’s Seniors/Handicapped Fishing Derby, recently celebrating its 35th anniversary. More than 200 individuals turn out each year for the Chittenden event. Thanks also to the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in North Chittenden for donating fish to the derby.

to all who worked to bring the National Railway Historical Society’s national convention to Rutland. It has brought 435 professionals and train enthusiasts from more than 30 states and Canada, according to Rutland Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue. Expectations are for the visitors to spend a total of more than half a million dollars during their week-long stay.

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