On September 6, 2017

Rutland Region News Briefs 9/6

By Lani Duke

Hearing to determine Zingale’s position at town administrator

Joe Zingale’s position as Rutland Town administrator is under scrutiny. Select Board Chair Josh Terenzini suspended Zingale with pay Aug. 29 after Terenzini’s delivery of a disciplinary letter resulted in an argument. The Select Board will meet to determinate whether Zingale should be fired for non-performance.

Zingale told Susan Smallheer of the Rutland Herald that he has served Rutland Town as its administrator under a variety of job titles for 33 years. He has asked that people who have used his aid over the years to attend the Sept. 6 hearing to demonstrate their support. However, Terenzini has said that the 6 p.m. hearing is closed to the public because it deals with personnel issues.

Anti-crime efforts pay off with improved statistics

Collecting data on crime in the city enables law enforcement to target the city’s “hot spots,” according a report on WCAX-TV.
The accumulated data entered into “RutStat” plots crime on a map, Rutland City Police Department Crime Analyst Bradley GoodHale explained.

Currently, the map shows 185 “three-peats,” or places where crime has occurred three or more times.

Once the department identifies a three-peat, it can devise a strategy to lowering crime at that specific location, GoodHale elaborated. That strategy may mean increasing police presence at the location, whether by cruiser or foot patrol.
Since RutStat formed in 2013, larceny police reports are down 22 percent, burglaries by 45 percent, and vandalism by 31 percent.

Other factors also figure into reduced crime: more resources to combat opiate-related problems, increased access to mental health service and reducing the number of abandoned buildings.

Courcelle Center gymnasium feasible

Rutland City’s recreation committee examined the feasibility and cost analysis for a $2.5 million gymnasium at the Courcelle building which Recreation and Parks Superintendent Cindi Wight presented to them Aug. 30. The study is extremely preliminary, lacking a full engineering study, she cautioned, describing the report as an “information only” account, an opportunity to see the work that NBF Architects had already put in on the project, according to the Rutland Herald.
The structure so outlined is for a 103 by 88 foot gymnasium plus a separate 65 by 27 foot combination of restrooms, storage, and lobby. As designed, the gym is an open space containing a full-size basketball court and bleachers; the court could also be used for pickleball.

As drawn, the gym requires a higher degree of fire protection that is not part of the Courcelle building, Wight noted. The project choice is between installing a $100,000 sprinkler system throughout the entire building or erecting a firewall separating the gym from the Courcelle building. Building the project could require parking lot alterations. The committee took no action on the report.

Rutland City has no gymnasium for public use. The city has courts where students may play but there are no sites where adults and teens may play spontaneously. The city had courts where individuals and groups could improvise a game, and were in use nearly every day, Committee Chair Tom DePoy observed.

The city lacks a place for noon games and intergenerational play, he said.
Combining efforts with the school system to fund recreation opportunities has become restricted because state law requires separating education from municipal elements, Alderman William Notte commented.

Rutland City may set policy to charge for exclusive facility use

The city recreation committee is weighing whether to charge for exclusive use of some park and recreation facility sites. Recreation and Parks Superintendent Cindi Wight said that there are already fees to use the Godnick Center and the ice arena at Giorgetti Park, according to the Rutland Herald.

Other Vermont communities take a variety of approaches to charging for facility use, Wight mentioned. They may charge for gazebo use or for out-of-town children’s baseball teams. Recreation committee chair Tom DePoy questioned whether it is appropriate to charge for use without having determined if there is a cost to the city. Wear and tear may be figured into costs, commented Chris Ettori, who is not a committee member; he also highlighted that Wight’s proposal stipulates charges be nominal.

The city makes no charge for school use of athletic fields but does charge when exclusive use is requested, because no one else could use them at the same time, Wight explained. Committee member Melinda Humphrey said she is concerned that charges may become accepted practice to the point that popular sites, such as the pool, may become largely unavailable to the public.
Wight said she intended to get the topic under discussion and policy development underway before her upcoming departure at the end of September.

Personnel changes at hospital

Rutland Regional Medical Center President and CEO Tom Huebner announced to the hospital’s board of directors and staff Aug. 30 that he plans to retire March 31, 2018. He joined the hospital staff as vice president of corporate services in 1990, and became president and CEO in 1997.

Robert L. Rivard, M.D., has joined the Rutland Regional Medical Center’s emergency department team.
He earned his residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn., after completing medical school at the University of Colorado in Denver.

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