The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Rutland Region

WATER & SEWER
Individual and business efforts to reduce their water use may end up driving up the price they pay. Billed water usage dropped about 10 percent from fiscal year 2008 to 2012, 75,939,100 cubic feet to 66,989,300. Sounds good, but water and sewer funds also dropped, creating a combined deficit of $165,000 in FY2012.

A rate study calls for a 6.6 percent increase in the water rate, 14.9 in sewer treatment, and 20.2 in sewer maintenance. That would cost the average Rutland family $7.87 a month, a 10.9 percent increase.

100 PERCENT PRINCIPAL
The West Rutland School Board recently voted to increase Joseph Fleming's contract as principal from interim to full-time, or from 80 to 100 percent and to contract with him through the upcoming school year, through June 30, 2014. The decision is less than universally popular.

Former principal Juanita Burch-Clay continues to sue the board, specific board members, and principal over her firing over the summer.

TWO-WAY STREET
A small house at 629 Main Street will be demolished sometime this winter as part of a town project to help alleviate traffic near the high school and public library. With the structure gone, the town may open up a second lane of traffic, converting High Steet to a two-way street.

The fire department has dreamed of making High a two-way street for years; its current one-way status has long been a source of anxiety for emergency planners. Improving the street is also a boon to teachers and students who use the school parking lot, enabling them to turn left onto High and then onto Main, rather than winding through residential neighborhoods.

REHAB COMPLETE
Dewey Avenue's rehab was expected to be complete this week, ahead of schedule thanks to prime weather conditions and speedy work by Jack Bowen Excavating. The road had been squeezed down to one lane for more than a year and a half, since a landslide collapsed under it a few weeks before tropical storm Irene.

COMMUNITY GIVING
•    The Rutland Area Farm & Food Link recently closed out its Grow-A-Row program with the observation that it had collected more than 14,000 pounds of fresh food, gleaned at 18 area farms, and distributed donations to 21 local charities. The program also benefits farmers, providing a way to easily donate surplus produce. "In the midst of a busy growing season, this program makes the difference between composting our extra produce and donating it to help our community," Ryan Wood-Beauchamp of Evening Song Farm told the folks at RAFFL.
•    The Palms Restaurant recently hosted a benefit to raise funds to aid communities ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. The non-profit Restoring Rutland organization, organized the concert that featured DanK and The Funksticks and Rick Redington and The Luv. Money raised is going to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, initially created to honor the 343 New York City firefighters who died as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack, and continues to assist wounded soldiers and New York City firefighters and police officers. The foundation has refocused part of its attention on Hurricane Sandy victims, working with people who are trying to rebuild on Staten Island. Restoring Rutland will continue to accept donations for the foundation through the end of the year.
•    The eagerly anticipated Wonderfeet children's museum in downtown Rutland has moved closer to reality thanks to a $20,000 donation from Green Mountain Power. All the Rutland Creative Economy folks need now is $5,000 more to use as a match when they apply for a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant. A children's museum was one of the items that Creative Economy participants ranked high as a community need, both to educate children and to provide an additional tourist destination for stimulating the local economy. Eventually, they envision it as growing into a facility as important as the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich.
•    Green Mountain Power expects to be part of creating the museum with input from GMP's planned Energy Innovation Center, currently under construction in the former Eastman's building on Merchants Row. Museum exhibits have been open primarily during the summer Friday Night Live series.

CONGRATULATIONS
Fabian Earth Moving of West Rutland for completing 75 years in business, let alone their great contributions to the community at large.

Mill River varsity cheerleaders Leslie Hixon, Anna Baker, Tara Conover and Gage Greeno for taking part in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and to freshman Shania Perham for being in the Philadelphia Dunkin' Donuts parade. They were each chosen to participate in the parades at a Universal Cheerleading Association camp in New York during the summer by recruiters from Spirit of America Productions.

Garland Mason for becoming coordinator for the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link's New Farmer Initiative. He is also starting his own farm in Tinmouth.

HOLIDAY SPIRIT
On the positive side, the annual Christmas tree lighting in Depot Park marked the official beginning of the holidays. This year's celebration began with seven decorated trees - sponsored by The Palms Restaurant, Walmart, the Rutland Regional Medical Center, Green Mountain Power, the Community College of Vermont, Pyramid Holistic Center, and the Rutland Herald -- rather than the sole tannenbaum of years past. Hopes are for even more trees in the future.
Children met Santa Claus at the Paramount Theatre, turned in their Christmas wish lists, and followed Saint Nick to Depot Park to see the trees lit up.

LOSS
The community mourns the loss of criminal defense attorney Matt Harnett. He had been a partner in the offices of Lorentz, Lorentz, and Harnett. Complications from lymphoma treatment at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center caused his death.

BUSINESS
Stafford Technical Center's Cosmetology Program has officially opened its Bellezza Salon to the public. The full-service, student-run salon offers haircuts, color, permanents, nail services, facials, waxing, and more. It's open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 770-1055 for an appointment.

RUTLAND RECREATION
Rutland Youth Theatre will present Annie at the Paramount Theatre Dec. 14 & 15. Purchase tickets at the Paramount.
Fencing just began at the Godnick Adult Center, 1 Deer St., on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. It runs through the end of March. The Godnick also hosts adult fitness strength training Tuesdays and Thursdays, and integrative yoga on Wednesdays.
Winter adult volleyball begins Sunday, December 9, at Rutland High.
The Rock Climbing Center offers classes beginning in January, levels 1 through 6.  Call the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department, 773-1853.

LANI'S PICKS
Friday, Dec. 7 - Tap is not confined to mobs of cute girls and a few boys in twinkly outfits. It's gone industrial. See for yourself when Tap Dogs comes to the Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m. Call 775-0903 for tickets to all Paramount events.
Saturday, Dec. 8 - Country rock harmonies and Southern pop took all-male band Sister Hazel to 40 weeks on Billboard charts with the 1997-released 'All For You." Its performance is all for you at the Paramount Theatre Saturday at 8.
Sunday, Dec. 9 - Tidings of great joy ring from the Paramount Theatre stage at 3 p.m. when the Vermont Symphony Orchestra presents its Holiday Pops concert that traditional and classical movie of the season plus a salute to Woody Guthrie. It's the first in a series of VSO Sunday matinee concerts, with successors to follow in January and March.
Wednesday, December 12 - West Rutland School K-12 winter concert.

Tagged: News Briefs, Rutland Region