The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Rutland Region 2.2

CITY SUPPORTS UTILITY MERGER

Rutland's aldermanic board recently gave formal approval to the proposed merger of Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power. In return for that support, both the Downtown Rutland Partnership and the Rutland Economic Development Corp. (REDC) will receive $100,000 for development projects.

The Partnership would split its share among a façade grant program, an economic and business development strategy, and a program to help market downtown parking. REDC's plans are less defined, but are described as a "Green Growth" fund. Other provisions of the agreement are to also be included in any Public Service Board order approving the merger.

Customers are to save $144 million over 10 years. There are to be no layoffs or forced relocations other than a few at executive level.
The agreement also includes a promise of no layoffs or forced relocations, except "some executive officers" and plans to keep a certain percentage of employees headquartered in Rutland. Other plums for Rutland include an operations center in either Rutland City or Rutland Town, and an energy program development center. One of these two centers is to be downtown.


Carving Studio at milestone

The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in West Rutland celebrates 25 years of providing sculpture workshops, residencies and exhibitions to developing artists of all ages and proficiency levels. This year, a matching Cultural Facilities Grant enables putting Americans with Disability Act-accessible restrooms in the former Vermont Marble Company Coping Shop, the third building that the Carving Studio has purchased as it continues to thrive and expand.

The first classes of the semester are underway. Students come for Castleton State College and Green Mountain College to take courses. Papier mache sculptor, a former CSSC trustee, is February's artist in residence. Abstractionist painter Rita Fuchsberg opens a gallery exhibit at 259 Marble Street on February 3.

The Carving studio anticipates raising much of its winter operating costs through its annual Marble Mardi Gras Dinner and Auction, scheduled for March 3.


Remembering Mark Blucher

Rutland Regional Planning Commission executive director Mark Blucher died recently at age 71. His death is a loss to Rutland County and the state and his wisdom and leadership will be greatly missed.

Among the many community contributions he fostered were the Rutland Farm & Food Link, the Creative Economy, Rutland Office on Aging, and public transportation via the Marble Valley Regional Transportation District (The Bus). He also served his community as executive board member of the Rutland Region Workforce Investment Board. He was also a member of Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies, the National Association of Development Organizations, and the Barbershop Society of America.


Flory's Plaza plan released

A recently released state plan proscribes what steps are necessary to remove Flory's Plaza, on Route 4 in Center Rutland, from the state's list of contaminated properties. The corrective plan issued by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources calls for removing septic tanks, a dry well, and areas of contaminated soil, plus closing the on-site water supply, a floor drain, and monitoring wells. The select board may now formally request a property clean-up.

Locals and out-of-town visitors have complained about the site's decaying buildings and unkempt appearance for some time. Roofs have collapsed on at least two buildings; walls have appeared ready to collapse. The town could take steps to declaring the property a public nuisance.


RUTLAND MUSIC TEACHER TOPS STATE

School Band & Orchestra Magazine recently named Peter Miller, director of fine arts at Rutland Intermediate School, in its 14th Annual 50 Directors Who Make a Difference list. Congratulations, Mr. Miller.

Miller has been teaching in the Rutland City Public Schools for 14 years, building the largest stringed instrument and orchestra program in the state (200 students). He also is music director for the Lakes Region Youth Orchestra and teaches at Castleton State College.


POLICE CORPORAL RETIRES

After 26 years in the Rutland City Police Department and 30 years in law enforcement as a whole, Corporal Chuck Hall is retiring. His service to Rutland has included street patrol and school corridors; he's saved lives and counseled young people. Now he's on to something different, planning a new career.


Road work on Routes 4 and 7 schedule for 2013

Routes 4 and 7 will receive two inches of replacement paving during the 2013 construction season, the Vermont Agency of Transportation plans. Also Business Route 4 will receive repaving from the Rutland town line to Route 7, as will about 1.5 miles of Route 3.
The project list also includes curb cut consolidation, a two-way left turn lane on Route 7 between Strongs Avenue and Jackson Street; lane reconfiguration, lighting and sidewalk repair from Wales Street to Route 7 on West Street; and restriping on Route 4 between Deer Street and Stratton Road so that there are three lanes.

The state also has $100,000 in engineering work on Center Street Alley scheduled for 2013, plus $10,000 in right-of-way work.
City crews aren't involved in highway work but are scheduling sidewalk changes to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards in the project area. Some began last summer, with more to follow during the coming summer. Tripping hazards will be reduced by remedying dislocation between adjacent slabs.


RUTLAND UNEMPLOYMENT LOW

Rutland area unemployment is slightly above the state average, at 5.3 percent last month compared to Vermont's 5.1. That's close to full employment, the state Department of Labor contends. Rutland's rate a year ago was 6.3. State officials attribute the local figures to ski industry and holiday seasonal work. Some local contractors have been staying busy, still cleaning up after tropical storm Irene.

The state average unemployment during 2011 was 5.5, falling 0.7 percent from the previous year. Rates seem really good compared to national figures, calculated at 8.5 percent. But the figures may be misleading, according to the Public Assets Institute, saying that the state has fewer employed workers and fewer unemployed workers who were actively looking for work last month. The state's labor force altogether lost more than 1,000 individuals.

Over the last 10 years, the state has lost more than 28 percent of its manufacturing jobs, stolen by foreign competition. In December, the private sector as a whole gained 5,050 employment positions, while government shrank by 750.



LANI'S PICKS

Thursday, Feb. 2, and Friday, Feb. 3 - Classical pianist Charlie Albright leads a residency/master class at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Rutland on Thursday before presenting a Friday evening concert. His honors are too numerous to attempt to list. Tickets: 775-0903.

Saturday, Feb. 4 - 10th annual Winter Fest, at Giorgetti Park, begins at 11 a.m. Learn ways to be more physically active when it's cold outside, and try your hand or back - or whatever -- in the new "wife carrying" contest. Also new are the curling clinic and winter paintball. Call 773-1822.

Saturday, Feb. 4 - Satin and Steel and the On the Rocks bands perform at the Spark Your Winter Blues silent auction and dance to benefit Rutland Catholic Schools, held at the Holiday Inn, Rutland. Call, 236-3485 or 747-8199.

Tuesday, Feb. 7 - Come and hope you're chosen to participate in one of the acts as the Masters of Illusion transport the Paramount stage into a theatre of magic. This is the best-selling magic show to appear on Broadway and you can see it in Rutland. Call 775-0903.


CCV-Rutland celebrates opening of new academic center

RUTLAND-On Thursday, Feb. 2, the Community College of Vermont (CCV) will welcome Governor Peter Shumlin, the CCV Board of Trustees, and friends and community members to a ribbon cutting ceremony starting at 3 p.m. at the College's newest academic center at 6o West Street in Rutland, Vt.

Speakers at a brief outdoor ceremony will include Governor Peter Shumlin, CCV President Joyce Judy, CCV Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Moore, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, DEW Construction Corp. President Don Wells, and Vermont State College Chancellor Tim Donovan.

The eight million dollar project was built to CCV specifications by DEW Construction Corp. and will be leased to the college. The new building's 32,000 square feet doubles the size of CCV's former facility on Evelyn Street. Among the features offered are: 24 large classrooms, 4 computer labs with 100 computers, two 900 square foot science labs for anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and environmental science classes, two 800 square foot art rooms with a kiln and four pottery wheels, large learning center and a main floor student lounge with smaller gathering spaces on upper floors.

CCV- Rutland, the second largest of 12 CCV academic centers throughout the state, has seen a 30 percent growth in students in the past five years. It currently offers 140 classes, serves 800 students, and employs 20 full-time staff members and 90 part-time faculty members.


Call for vendors for the 51st Annual Art In The Park festivals

RUTLAND- The Chaffee Art Center is pleased to announce its 51st Annual Art in the Park Fine Art & Craft Festivals for 2012. The August 2012 Festival has been voted a Top 10 Summer Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The Chaffee is currently looking for vendors for the August 11-12 and October 6-7, 2012 shows.

Last year in honor of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, refinements were made to elevate the shows to become signature events for the Central Vermont area. Volunteers wearing 50th anniversary t-shirts handed out commemorative bags at the event gate to remind attendees that they were a part of "Vermont's Oldest Continuing Arts Tradition."

Art in the Park Festivals are held in Main Street Park, at the Junction of Routes 4 and 7 in the heart of Rutland. Estimated attendance of 8,000 to 10,000.

A panel of professional jurists who are well versed in the various mediums represented will ensure a high degree of quality from the artisans and products that are represented at the events.

Space will be allocated on a first come.Visit www.chaffeeartcenter.org to download an application.

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