On June 14, 2017

Rutland Region News Briefs

Sullivan temporarily out of jail

After serving two years in jail, convicted in the hit-and-run death of Mary Jane Outslay, Christopher Sullivan is out, for now. His wife wrote a $50,000 check, Gordon Dritschilo reported in the Rutland Herald. Sullivan was represented by a public defender, based on his claim that he had no home equity or income and was impoverished and that his wife’s income is less than household expenses. But her ability to bail him out is not abnormal, Defender General Andrew Valerio commented. Sullivan will be sentenced again June 29. The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled the trial judge should have allowed time for a mitigation witness.

Groundbreaking anticipated for VFFC greenhouse project

The Rotary Club of Rutland is giving $82,000 to build a pair of new greenhouses on the southwest corner of the Vermont Farmers Food Center site, 251 West St., as a way of honoring the centennial of the chapter, founded in 1919. Groundbreaking is expected later this month, VFFC president Greg Cox said.

Rotary Club members Jack Facey and Dr. Mark Price said the club’s hope is for a project as significant as the gift of Rotary Park, donated in the 1920s and still important to the city for its frequently used ball fields. Groundbreaking is expected later in June, Cox told the Rutland Herald’s Patrick McArdle.

They will be used year-round for food production and education.

The education component begins with students from Rutland City Schools’ Allen Street campus Tapestry and EPIC programs. Future programs will include children from kindergarten through 12th grade. As the new greenhouses are installed, kids can help from start to finish.

“It’s almost like an erector set,” Cox said. The Matterhorn-model greenhouses will have a common wall, designed to be energy efficient. One is to be 30 by 60 feet; the other, 30 by 84 feet. They are 12 feet high, built with 4×4 posts and 30-foot trusses, resulting in a “bullet-proof” resistance to snow load. The twin walls are made of polycarbonate. Controls are state of the art, capable of opening and closing vents and pulling shading cloth into place to control temperature, and capable of calling for help if the system controls fail. Bob Rimol, owner of Rimol Greenhouse Systems, has provided numerous discounts and special deals for the project, becoming, in effect, a partner, Cox said.

With construction of the greenhouses and programming to teach schoolchildren how to grow food, the VFFC has reached the fourth goal of a series that took shape in the meetings that started with the Rutland Creative Economy, Cox observed. The first was a year-round farm market. The second was the creation of a food aggregation/distribution facility. The third was a commercial grade community kitchen, recently completed.

West Rutland School brings language to trout project

Seventh through ninth graders at West Rutland School learned more than biology when they helped to raise 108 trout from egg to fingerling size this spring. Forty-six students took part in releasing the fish into the Clarendon River, June 8.

Students tested water in the 55-gallon tank in which the fish were growing, cleaned and maintained it, and controlled the water temperature, even adding supplemental bacteria, as part of their science studies. Studies also expanded into the English department as they researched trout and wrote “nature journaling,” English teacher Zach Eastman told the Rutland Herald. In the 2017-2018 academic year, Eastman and science teacher Janice Jackson intend to add in work from other departments, such as art. A $1,000 grant from the Vermont chapter of Trout Unlimited purchased eggs and equipment while organizing training for the two teachers.

Signs of progress, Rutland readies for new pool

To make an omelette, you have to break eggs, according to the popular aphorism. Mayor David Allaire, city aldermen, members of the state legislature, Wight and other Rutland City residents recently came together to break ground for the new public swimming pool.

The new pool will open for summer 2018, Rutland City Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Cindi Wight has promised.

City considers foundation for park advocacy

A nonprofit foundation may provide more support for Rutland City’s parks while developing channels for donations. Recreation Committee chair Tom DePoy told the Rutland Herald the proposed foundation would work for improving existing parks, adding equipment such as playground sets and the planned bathhouse at the new pool, while leaving day-to-day operations to the Recreation and Parks Department.

A foundation could accept individual, corporations, and business donations, DePoy observed, to provide for park improvement through a non-profit. Fellow rec committee member William Notte sees the foundation as funding improvements without burdening taxpayers. Mayor David Allaire favors the foundation as developing longer-range thinking for the city’s parks, helping to attract and retain young families.

The aldermen have voted unanimously for Recreation Superintendent Cindi Wight to build a task force that would formulate the foundation’s mission, bylaws, and memorandum of understanding that would give the city foundation oversight. Another source of park improvement may be through the PepsiCo company. Representative Greg Foster met with aldermanic recreation committee chair Tom DePoy and the Board of Aldermen to offer sponsorship for scoreboards and other support in return for beverage rights and vending opportunity.

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