Free skills training offered
The Rutland campus of the Community College of Vermont is one of five centers offering free job training workshops and courses. Beginning in October, they will offer courses leading to industry-recognized certification in high-demand, high-wage sectors, with a focus on manufacturing, technology, and health care. In addition to technical knowledge, the courses also feature workplace conflict resolution and communication. The programs are financed by a $2.4 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Classes are not only for new jobseekers but also for those already in a career field, to help upgrade their skills.
Reflections help planning for fair’s future
As the Vermont State Fair approached the end of its 2015 season, observers indicate that a high number of families attended the fair, enjoying foods that they could carry away easily. Parents say they appreciated the family-friendly atmosphere, attractive for grade schoolers, but not so much for middle school and older students. Specialty food sales seemed light but acceptable.
Officials have already decided on a number of changes for the annual event in 2016. The fair shrank from 10 to 9 days this year; next year, it will be even shorter, and probably held before Labor Day. Rutland County Agricultural Society president Roland McNeil also said the 2016 fair will have more teenager-attracting elements. Vendors are hopeful that the fair will stabilize and attendance will rise to the levels it enjoyed in earlier years.
City pensions underfunded
Rutland City pension fund doesn’t receive enough funding, lower than it should be by 40 percent in the most recent valuation, city officials recently reported. It has apparently been consistently underfunded since 2000, based on payments into the fund and disbursements given out. School district contributions are also lower than distributions, by about 20 percent. Mayor Chris Louras wants a re-evaluation of the levels, saying that all four city departments (police, fire, public works, and general) make different contributions and receive different benefits, yet the report indicates that each department is similarly underfunded by the same amount. People’s United Bank, the compiler of the report, is expected to report back on the apparent improbability.
Local control on solar, too
Rutland Town has joined some 40 towns in signing onto a resolution that gives them more input into approving sites for solar projects in their communities. Project size, location, and appearance are all matters of concern. Even when towns have already created local development guidelines, the Public Service Board seems to ignore town concerns, according to Rutland Town selectman Don Chioffi.
SunCommon representative Emily McManamy claims it is better to have statewide solar standards than to utilize town plans. But Act 48 indicates the PSB must consider town plans when it evaluates energy creation proposals.
Pellet boilers are questioned
Some Wallingford folks are questioning the installation of wood pellet boilers in Wallingford Elementary. One complaint is that voters believed that new heating was already included in the $900,000 recently bond funded. Now there is an additional $300,000 being requested, making for $1.2 million total.
Some in the community believe the current oil-fired boilers, although they are not in operating condition, only need some work from a boiler technician to get them going again at 80 percent efficiency.
Wood pellet boilers require more maintenance and have more moving parts, so are less reliable. Also, the wood pellet supply is more vulnerable to shortage than is oil. In any case, even if the two new, wood-fired wood pellet boilers are installed, one of the two oil boilers will need to be brought into working order as an emergency back-up.
Nor is the school seemingly interested in the kind of efficiency projects that would help the school conserve energy, such as replacing and/or reputtying older windows and replace single-surface wooden doors.
Long-awaited water-sewer expansion becomes a reality
Supporters for both West Rutland and Rutland Town business communities gathered to celebrate groundbreaking for the sewer and waterline expansion linking the two communities along Business Route 4. Lack of sewer and water connections has long hampered business development on this vital corridor. And the project is truly a local one, designed by a local company, built by a local contractor, and providing long-term dependable water and wastewater service.
Tree clearing near the Route 3 intersection on Sept. 18 marked the start of construction, with excavation scheduled to start Sept. 21. Belden Co. of Rutland holds the contract for the $1,847,206 project. The projected schedule calls for main pipeline placement before winter strikes, with connections to follow by early summer.
The 12-inch water main is to run east from the junction of Bus. 4/Pleasant Street in West Rutland, stopping near the new Rutland Town fire station on Bus. 4 near Simons Avenue. A 6-inch sewer main is to run from the intersection of Pleasant Street and Sheldon Avenue in West Rutland east on Bus. 4 to Route 3 in Center Rutland.
Who is already making plans to expand once the new hookup is complete? Poultney Pools is one, noting that the new lines will allow them to make a larger addition than might have been possible without them.
Apparently a white Dodge Caravan with New York license plates has been traveling door to door in Chittenden. Its three male occupants claimed to sell food products, but residents felt they seemed to be finding a way to get entrance to houses or at least a look inside.
to Barbara Wiskoski for her more than 25 years as librarian at the West Rutland Public Library. She retires on Sept. 20.