The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Rutland Region

RUTLAND CO-OP GROWTH PLANS
Many community eyes focus on the food hub taking shape on the former Mintzer property on West Street. As volunteers clean up and ready the site for the winter farmers' market, proponents of locally grown food also have exciting developments at the Rutland Area Food Co-op to anticipate.

At its annual meeting, Co-op members created a list of priorities for the organization's growth. The top priorities were a deli for take out and eat in, produce department expansion, local fresh produce increases, community education and outreach, increased employee benefits, and a café, coffee shop, and bakery. Exciting developments!

NEW POLICE CHIEF BAKER
The search committee for Rutland's new police chief did what what most expected recommending that interim police chief James Baker be hired. Baker can do more than 'hit the ground running' - he's already been leading the department since former chief Anthony Bossi retired at the beginning of the year.

In all, the committee had considered applications from 64 individuals across the nation. The $30,000 that Rutland spent on the national search was not wasted, they say. Their extensive search has convinced them that Baker is the best fit for the job.

They have publicly cited accomplishments Baker already made. He has made great strides in stabilizing a police department that had faced charges of police misconduct and racial bias. The department has created fresh mission and vision statements, and developed a new approach to overcoming any potential bias. Baker has also advocated for a opioid addiction treatment center and developed a strong community presence.

REC THEATRE
Congratulations to the Rec Department's Rutland Youth Theatre program and its director Saskia Hagen Groom for receiving the National Recreation and Park Association's Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities Award. The Mullen award goes to "the most innovative and effective arts and humanities programs across the nation."
Rutland Youth Theatre began in 2002, and has grown consistently; today, it gives five performances a year, two in the Paramount Theatre. As many as 50 to 60 young people take part in the larger shows.
Rutland Youth Theatre plans auditions for its fall production of The Jungle Book on Sunday and Monday, August 26 and 27 at the Godnick Adult Center. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20, at Rutland Intermediate School.

FOOD = FAMILY
Family life and values are well represented by the foods you ate as you grew up, says artist Persi Narvaez; the art he's applying to the side of The Opera House in downtown Rutland carries that message. The Chaffee Art Center, sponsoring his mural painting project, hopes the new art will serve as a pilot for more building-side art. Call the Chaffee, 775-0356, to help.

HUNGRY FOR PANCAKES?
If no more roadblocks arise, Rutland will soon have a 170-seat IHOP as the Handy family takes over the Midway Diner at 120 S. Main St. to remodel and convert as a member of the pancake-oriented franchise. Midway owners Frank Trombetta and John Valente plan to sell the long-time restaurant property on 1.5 acres while retaining 1.92 acres of undeveloped property, having successfully divided the site.

Plans already on file with the city Building and Zoning Department indicate the Handys plan to spend $212,000 on the remodeling. Interior reconfiguration will increase seating from 126 to 170 capacity, and parking lot re-striping will increase vehicle count from 64 to 92.

CONGRATULATIONS
Congrats too to Fran Veller of Berkley, Veller and Greene Real Estate for being named Rutland County Realtor of the Year.
And to Serenity House of Wallingford, recent recipient of $95,000 in state grant funds to supplement its normal state and federal moneys. Serenity House and its parent organization Recovery House help individuals overcome substance abuse and addiction.

LANI'S PICKS

Friday, August 10 - Friday Night Live draws to a close with Drum Journey of the Earth, the winner of the Downtown Tavern's Battle of the Bands, and Money Shott. 773-9380.
Saturday and Sunday, August 11-12 - Art in the Park a Vermont Chamber of Commerce Top 10 Event, fills Main Street Park with visual, musical, and gustatory treats. It's year number 51 for this summertime festival benefiting the Chaffee Art Center.
Saturday, August 11 - Southern country singer Travis Tritt tears up the stage at the Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m. 775-0903.
 Tuesday, August 14 - Winter in August celebrates the importance of the ski industry to the Rutland economy. Vote for your favorite restaurant's specialty at the event outside the Chamber of Commerce office on Merchants Row. 773-2747.

Tagged: Lani's Picks, Rutland