By Lani Duke
Rutland Plywood fire sends up more smoke
The city of Rutland continues to uncover new information about the fire that flattened Rutland Plywood and those affected. Now we learn the Vermont Department of Corrections is affected.
When the fire burned down the plant, it eliminated jobs for 15 of the 66 people on supervised release under furlough. Keith Tallon, Rutland district manager for probation and parole, credited the plant as his department’s “biggest and most consistent employment partner in the county.”
Rutland Police Chief James Baker also noted that losing the plywood plant would deeply affect Project VISION’s inmate reformation program, hampering efforts to help inmates transition back into the community.
Vt. State Fair lawsuit continues
Richard Rivers, former Rutland County Agricultural Society (RCAS) president and Vermont State Fair manager, recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the RCAS. He claims that the “progressive discipline” component of his contract was not followed, that some of what he had been asked to do was beyond his position, and that he was harassed by one fellow trustee for his sexual orientation. Rivers says the contract calls for the employer to discuss problems, give written notice with 30 days to correct the problem, then a second written notice and another 30 days.
New library director welcomed
Welcome Abby Noland! Noland recently moved to Rutland to be new director of the Rutland Free Library. She comes to Rutland from the Preble County, Ohio, library system.
Community improvement projects hit snags, delays result
Last spring, Wallingford voters approved a bond to improve and modify Wallingford Elementary. The work has hit a couple of snags: higher than expected construction bids and lack of grant funds for a new pellet boiler system. The intended project had called for a new roof and new interior ventilation systems, an elevator, entryway redesign, kitchen upgrades, and solar arrays, as well as the new pellet boiler system. If the town can find a buyer for the Little Red Schoolhouse, the proceeds may be used to fatten the WES construction budget.
Playground to be moved
At last word, a playground in Rutland’s Hickory Street development was to be moved rather than eliminated. The city’s Development Review Board had wanted the playground gone, but the Rutland Housing Authority (RHA), owner of the development, had appealed that decision. As constructed, the playground stood on the development’s southeast corner, across from the new Head Start office. The RHA had hoped to keep the new playground site open. The playground is still close to the new, expanded Head Start office in the development’s community center.
Owner of blighted building seeks rights to develop, city unsure
Developer Joe Giancola hopes the city will allow him to develop the former Dana School building on the corner of East and East Center streets. Giancola purchased the former school and recreation center for $40,000, with the intent of renovating it as a mixed residential and commercial building. The aldermen have voted to turn down his request to change the building’s zoning, which would allow more uses. Yet without improvements, it remains one of the largest and most obvious blighted properties in the city and produces minimal tax revenues. Neighbors, however, say they want to be able to have input on intended uses, and more than one alderman has objected to what might be considered spot zoning.
to Cristina Kumka, recently promoted to Channel 21 field producer, coordinator and technical director at PEGTV. In addition to her weekly news show County News 802, she will take on the added responsibilities of filming, producing and coordinating all programming on the government public access channel in Rutland County.
to Rutland City Department of Public Works for officially meeting the EPA standard for disinfectant byproducts in the water supply for the tenth quarter in a row. Not only did results from all four sampling locations meet the four-quarter running average, but each alone was below the 60-ppb standard. With test results like this, there may be no need for monochloranimation modifications to the water treatment plant.
to the Paramount Theatre on gaining commitment from Rutland’s Earth Waste & Metal at the $25,000 Gold Sponsor level for the 2014/2015 season, alongside The Rutland Herald and GE Aviation. In the upcoming performance season, the Paramount anticipates opening its doors more than 150 times, hosting more than 50,000 patrons, and generating a projected financial impact of $5,000,000 on the greater community.
to Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Clinic for being awarded a $165,000 loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to purchase the facility and land that it currently leases. It employs 40 people with expectations of adding three more in three years.
Lani’s weekly calendar picks
Saturday, Sept. 13—The 2014 Walk To End Alzheimer’s meets in Main Street Park, 7 Court Square at 9 a.m., with ceremony at 10 and 2-mile walk at 10:30. The Prevent Child Abuse walk begins at the Howe Center with check-in at 8 a.m. and walk beginning at 10.
Saturday, Sept. 13—SculptFest 2014 opens at 636 Marble Street, West Rutland.
Sunday, Sept. 14—Wallingford First Congregational Church dedicates its steeple at 11, followed by its annual church picnic at Wallingford Lodge on Elfin Lake.
Sunday, Sept. 14—Three Tomatoes Trattoria hosts Bella Notte, a celebration to raise funds for the hospice program of the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice. Cocktails at 5 p.m., dinner at 6:30, live auction at 7:30.
Wednesday, Sept. 17—College of St. Joseph hosts “Hollywood Tales” with Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who portrays the Most Interesting Man in the World in the popular Dos Equis commercials. 7 p.m. Tuttle Hall Theater. Proceeds benefit CSJ’s Provider Scholarship Program and Hunger Free Vermont.