On February 1, 2018

Rutland Region News Briefs – 1.31.18

By Lani Duke

Rutland Town considering zero-sort recycling

Rutland Town residents now deliver sorted recyclables to the Northwood Park transfer station on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but that may change. The town Select Board decided Jan. 9 to invite Casella Waste Systems and Hubbard Brothers to meet with the board in February to discuss a possible change to “zero-sort” recycling.

Presently, the town sorts and ships its recyclables to Syracuse, N.Y. Switching to zero-sort might eliminate some opportunities for the town, Selectman Joe Denardo said. The market for recyclables continues to fluctuate. But joining other Vermont towns in switching to zero-sort may be easier for the town itself, he said, noting that he doubts recycling will ever pay for itself.

Select Board Chair Josh Terenzini cautioned that the town should do more homework on the ramifications of zero-sort recycling. After only one discussion, the town isn’t ready to make a decision, he told the Rutland Herald. However, the town already has more than enough in its capital improvement fund to buy the $21,000 compactor necessary for the conversion.

Community caring

The Carris Reels Charitable Foundation gave a check for $2,000 to the Adaptive Martial Arts Association Jan. 16. The Foundation has been supporting the AMAA since 2014.

Business community changes

Durgin’s Cleaners, 5 Terrill St., is closing Feb. 2 after 30 years in business, as Andi and Don have decided to retire. All clothing must be picked up by the end of business that day; no new orders will be taken.

Debra Poplawski-Wilson is closing storefront operation of Sweet Lovin’ Creations, 38 Wales St., but continuing to fill special occasion baking orders. To order, call (802) 236-6521.

The law firm of McCann Morgan & Getty, PLLC has opened its office at 36 Merchants Row in downtown Rutland. It comprises attorneys Paula McCann, Ron Morgan, and Matthew Getty.

Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services, Inc. and Rutland Community Care Network, Inc. has hired two new employees: Michelle Michalkovic, MSW, and Erika Lamb, CPA. As director of residential and emergency services in the Behavioral Health division, Michalkovic oversees two residential programs and the emergency services team of clinicians and case managers. Lamb comes to CCN as controller. Previously a certified public accountant in South Burlington, Lamb joins the chief financial officer and finance team.

Mount St. Joseph to play football on its own

After combining programs and playing football together for two seasons, Mount St. Joseph decided not to sign another two-year contract with Poultney High. Instead, newly hired head coach Tucker Peterson will guide a team competing in Division III with its games arranged by the Vermont Interscholastic Football League and all home games at St. Peter’s Field.

MSJ officials felt that signing another two-year contract with Poultney would mean the end of football on Convent Avenue, assistant principal and former head coach Phil Hall told the Rutland Herald. Coordinating activities between schools that are 22 miles apart presented a logistical struggle of where to practice and to hold a given weekend’s game as well as which jerseys to wear.

Players at MSJ had been dropping away, Hall said. During the first year of the combined program, 50 students were in it, but by the end of the season, the number had dwindled to less than half that. The positive aspect of the “two-year cooperative” was that younger players could play junior varsity football, get stronger, and be ready for varsity competition.

Peterson said he felt compelled to keep another school from losing its football program. He had played for Mill River, then worked after college as assistant coach for his father Art at Mill River before leading that program a year and coaching Castleton University for two seasons. He said that MSJ was “the school to be at” when he was a student. In the interim, both Winooski and Oxbow lost their football programs. He wants his own two sons to have the opportunity he did.

State dissatisfied with Rutland region energy plan

The Rutland region’s draft energy plan fails to meet state standards and lacks details, stated a memo from the Vermont Department of Public Service and the Agency of Natural Resources. Plans must cover meeting greenhouse gas reductions while increasing renewable fuels and building efficiencies and setting deadlines for doing so, as well as allowing for regional economies, according to the Rutland Herald.

July 1 is the deadline for the Rutland Regional Planning Commission to meet those state requirements for energy compliance. Municipal plans for Rutland County towns must then suit the RRPC’s review.

The state goal is 90 percent fossil fuel independence by 2050 in all sectors, and the plan must specify how to reach that goal. The memo recommends the RRPC prioritize actions that “counter” increased greenhouse emissions resulting from workers who commute from the countryside.

Annette Smith of Danby, recently elected chair of a new RRPC ad hoc energy committee, commented ironically that planners think workers should all move to cities. Other committee members concur, voicing a feeling that town plans are coerced into promoting “smart growth,” developing housing in compact centers.

Although the RRPC has chosen to exclude industrial wind facilities, the two agencies’ memo indicated that the RRPC plan must include a resource map that identifies wind potential wind areas.

Rutland Town Elementary school board wrestles with boiler issues

Rutland Town Elementary students found themselves with extra time off from school after Christmas and New Year’s break when the school heating system failed to work properly during a subzero weekend and pipes burst in the building.

The boiler sensor configuration would only alert if the flame failed to start, the School Board learned during its Jan. 8 meeting.

There were no other operational sensors set up to alert if temperatures dropped exceedingly low. Responsibility for the heating system is divided among a number of different contractors, with controls ready for review only on the school computer, but not remotely, Greg Connors, Rutland Central Supervisory Union director of Information Technology, explained.

Once the boilers were thawed, they were operational within 24 hours, but the system had to thawed slowly to not cause more damage. Contractors had to wait for parts to arrive, so students had to wait until Jan. 8 for school to resume.

School Board Chair Lynette Gallipo promised that a total heating system audit would be complete in February, with board member Nicole McPhee suggesting defining an appropriate heating system replacement cycle and setting aside funds to do so. The Board vice-chair/clerk urged establishing a system of “continual oversight” for the building when occupied, especially in extreme weather.

Board and staff agreed that the chain of command needs an update with an eye toward quickening response.

RCSU Superintendent Debra Taylor said boilers will receive physical inspection every eight hours in extreme weather.

Park timber removal postponed

Rutland Town’s select board decided to delay timber sales in Northwood Park until December 2018. Cersosimo Lumber Co. Inc. of Brattleboro was the successful bidder, offering $47,558 with plans to remove the “whole trees” it will take rather than leaving treetop debris to decompose.

The Select Board specified that harvesting should take place during the winter and portions of the park will close for safety reasons during the harvest. Rutland Town is willing to wait until Cersosimo’s equipment, currently in use on another logging contract, is available to do the work, Josh Terenzini told the Rutland Herald. The harvest will tie up those restricted portions of Northwood Park for three months.

Locally based Mendon Trucking and Excavating had bid $29,989 for the contract but planned to use traditional logging methods. Its harvest would have occurred over two winters.

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