On July 20, 2017

Rutland Region News Briefs

By Lani Duke

PTSD support center opening in Rutland

Lani Preston recently announced the PTSD Resource Center of Vermont has relocated to 187 West St. in Rutland. It provides “education and awareness” of what post-traumatic stress disorder is and support for individuals who have been diagnosed with the malady.

Currently subgroups address the concerns of those who are or have been in the military, police, and fire departments, as well as those whose trauma has arisen from their family situations.

Monthly peer support groups meeting at the site are Battle Buddies, meeting the first Wednesday of the month; Blue Group (first responders), second Wednesday; Survivor Strong (third Wednesday; and Family Strong, fourth Wednesday, all gathering 6 to 7 p.m.

“We talk about positive coping skills while participants air their perspectives,” Preston explained. Videos explaining PTSD and overcoming it are on YouTube, she said, and stimulate telephone calls from all over the country.

Incentive grants lack takers

Only one business so far has utilized a Rutland Redevelopment Authority (RRA) program intended to bring new businesses to Rutland City. Only Vermont Maple Sriracha applied for and received a $5,000 grant; one other firm applied and was approved but their business plans folded.

Brennan Duffy, RRA executive director, hopes new criteria will make qualification easier. The program is now open to all new Rutland businesses investing a minimum of $10,000 and creating two or more new full-time jobs in the city. It would also support secured loans up to $50,000 and “forgivable” loans below $10,000, Duffy told the Rutland Herald on July 12.

Legal expert against DiMauro removal

Vermont Law School Professor Jared Carter doubts Public Defender Joshua O’Hara will succeed in having Judge Theresa DiMauro removed from the bench at Christopher Sullivan’s sentencing hearing. Vermont judges are “presumed to be honest and have judicial integrity” Carter told the Rutland Herald.

The scheduled sentencing hearing received a postponement while Judge Dennis Pearson, assigned to consider the motion, decided whether he would declare DiMauro disqualified to preside over testimony on Sullivan’s state of mind when he fled the scene where his car struck and killed Mary Jane Outslay on Strongs Avenue. The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that DiMauro erred when she refused time for an expert witness to present testimony at Sullivan’s trial.

At the sentencing hearing, DiMauro had commented that there was a slim chance Sullivan’s sentence would be reduced as a result of that testimony. Judge Pearson must rule on whether DiMauro had shown bias and had prejudged the case.

Stream release keeps water off streets

Nearly 4 million gallons of untreated water entered Rutland City’s streams following unusually concentrated rainfall July 1. “Rains this evening resulted in a brief combined sewer overflow. Overflows are allowed to prevent combined stormwater and wastewater from backing up onto streets and into buildings,” said the Department of Public Works’ Facebook page soon afterwards. Some Rutland residents complained about the overflow to the DPW, a concern that the department’s commissioner Jeff Wennberg addressed in a conversation with the Rutland Herald on July 12.

Most of the water released, 3.35 million gallons, was stormwater, while only 645,000 was wastewater. Nor was the source of the city’s drinking water affected. That same day, approximately 7.63 million gallons of urban stormwater received treatment in the city’s system. Wennberg commented that, if urban stormwater were separated from wastewater and released untreated, the runoff reaching local streams would have contained phosphorous and other contaminants.

The department’s Facebook page recently posted, “People need to understand that there has never been a time since humans lived here that the waters have been this clean and well protected. Prior to the mid-60s, 100 percent of all the wastewater went directly to streams without any treatment at all.”

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