On February 7, 2019

Rutland Region news briefs

By Lani Duke

GMC closing does not affect CSJ

The closing of Green Mountain College is expected to have no effect on the College of St. Joseph, CSJ president Jennifer Scott told the Rutland Herald recently. She believes the board of directors at CSJ will not be influenced by the GMC board’s decision to close although CSJ continues to face losing New England Commission of Higher Education accreditation.

Her board has been addressing its financial issues using a plan created by the school’s leadership in June.

CSJ’s endowment fund dropped to approximately $500,000 from $5 million. Most of the fund was spent to cover college expenses and to launch a new degree program planned to bring in new students and fill a healthcare niche unique to Vermont, but which was canceled due to lack of accreditation.

Taking Rutland marketing up a level

The Rutland area’s regional marketing campaign is in its third year. Meeting with the city’s Marketing Committee Jan. 30, Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director Mary Cohen said the campaign evidenced the importance of public relations. The group wants to give more emphasis to positive changes in the real estate market and falling crime rate.

Committee chair and alderman Chris Ettori concurred, saying the effort should focus on more effective ways of getting that positive information into the public eye.

The marketing campaign is difficult to evaluate because of its duration, Mayor David Allaire noted. It is a 10-year plan, he commented.

The committee is working on a one-page request for proposals, Cohen said, as its members consider whether a single firm should manage the entire campaign or a specific niche firms should handle varying aspects of it, in the wake of contracted Mondo Media’s abandoning the campaign.

Organizers are working to raise funds to continue the campaign. Municipalities contributed $38,000 last year, Cohen said. Organizers have asked participating municipalities to chip in $1 for each person in town, rounding up the figure for Rutland City to $16,000.

Environmental activist files solar project complaint

The Cold River Road solar project (Otter Creek Solar 2), under construction in Rutland Town, violates Certificate of Public Good conditions, Annette Smith alleged in the complaint she filed Jan. 30 with the Public Utility Commission. Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

Otter Creek Solar 2 is one of two projects owned by Allco Renewable Energy subsidiary Otter Creek Solar. It and adjacent Otter Creek Solar 1 will produce 7.1 megawatts of energy.

Smith alleged that Otter Creek Solar 2 construction teams violated the CPG conditions in selling firewood, burning wood creating air pollution, disregarding the project plans for site clearing, using a different access road that created safety concerns, failing to disclose need of an easement form an adjoining landowner, and failing to disclose its inability to obtain that easement.

Several seats challenged

Wallingford voters have several races to decide, starting with Selectman William Brooks facing a challenge from John McClallen for his three-year seat and Mark Tessier challenging Selectman Bruce Duchesne for a two-year seat. Liz Filskov is looking to unseat Paul Rondinone for a three-year term on the Mill River Union Unified School District Board. Finally, Lee Perry and Jill Stone-Teer are both running for the post of delinquent tax collector.

In West Rutland, Selectman William Kulig has challenged Board Chairman Sean Barrows for a three-year seat. However, Kulig is not planning to vacate his one-year seat, having filed to run again, as has fellow incumbent Nick Notte. They face a challenge by former town clerk Jayne Pratt.

Basements flood from winter rain

The National Weather Service posted a flood warning for the Rutland area from Jan. 25 through mid-morning the following day, caused by steady rain Jan. 24 on frozen ground and standing snow on catchbasins as well as snowmelt. Hundreds of basements in Rutland City flooded, city Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Wennberg said.

Leaks in water lines dating from the 1870s have been plaguing the area around the Route 4-Route 7 intersection on North Main Street. Sprinkler system pipes in the former Rutland Herald building at 77 Wales St. froze and one burst, Herald General Manager Robert Mitchell said. (The Herald no longer occupies that building.)

Clarendon Road Commissioner Cash Ruane said Walker Mountain Road, Alfrecha Road, and Creek Road to Wallingford were all closed and likely to stay that way for several days. He predicts no lasting damage to the roads so long as they do not freeze.

Wallingford Town Clerk and Treasurer Julie Sharon announced that Waldo Lane was flooded and closed; Roaring Brook water was standing on Florence Avenue. Elm Street and Depot Hill Road were also closed.

RRMC saves for heart camera

Rutland Regional Medical Center plans to fund raise to buy a camera to study hearts with a $500,000 price tag. RRMC president and CEO Claudio Fort is optimistic that people will contribute towards the addition to the nuclear medicine center.

The new camera would replace one that has been in use for the past dozen years. It is still working but is nearing the end of its useful life, Fort told the Rutland Herald. However, technology improvements have passed it by, with computerization, and the hospital staff hopes to replace the current camera before age causes it to fail.

The camera can visualize blood flow in an artery, RRMC medical director Dr. Stan Shapiro described. Combined with a stress test, it will help pinpoint risks to an individual patient. It can also identify whether a patient has had previous heart attacks, 25 percent of which occur without the patient being aware that he or she has suffered one.

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