The Mountain Times

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News Briefs from the Rutland Region

Stopped on suspicion
A young man wearing a 9mm Beretta semiautomatic pistol was stopped by Rutland City police as he walked along a residential street in a neighborhood. To the police, he seemed suspicious. He was shirtless and young, carrying a handgun on his belt in a neighborhood where there have recently been two reports of shots fired and a shooting.

Police stopped Josh Severance of Milton as he was visiting Rutland, handcuffing him and putting him in the backseat of a patrol cruiser although he was told he was not under arrest. And he wasn't. Police checked his background records and the registration on the handgun he had purchased in 2010 before releasing him some 15 minutes later.

Severance believes his Second Amendment rights were violated. No law in Vermont prohibits gun owners from carrying either visible or concealed firearms without a permit, he says. And he did cooperate with the police.

Police chief James Baker says that the circumstances - shirtlessness, wearing a gun openly, local burglaries wherein guns had been stolen, and being in a neighborhood where shots have been fired - provided enough cues that "a reasonable person" might be suspicious. Some Rutland folks are saying the police were utterly correct; others deny it. The incident may wind up in court.

An especially concerning drug
Known as a molly, the clear capsule contains several drugs that, in combination, may be lethal. What is in them? This version found recently in connection to many overdoses contains heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. But any one of them may be different from any others.

Police report six Rutland overdoses in a given 12-hour period, none of them fatal, but all difficult to combat because they result from a combination of stimulants and depressants.

Tapestry Program receives large grant
The Tapestry Program of Rutland County recently received a five-year grant to help students who are struggling academically. It receives $216,000 a year, or $1.08 million in all to supply both after-school and a six-week-long summer program. The program is available to students in Rutland City, West Rutland, and Proctor elementary and middle school students. This tutorial program, known as the "Academy," matches students with licensed teachers to help them improve their academic standing.

Selection for the program is the result of standardized test results, grades, and teacher referrals. Tapestry has 730 enrollees this summer, 138 of them in middle school. In the fall, Tapestry will begin a new program, World On Wheels (WOW), linking with the new emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Reconstructing recreation
The city Recreation & Parks Department, quartered in a decaying former school building, had campaigned for a bond to build a new recreation facility, containing a year-round swimming pool, meeting rooms, and indoor field activities, most likely built outside the city limits. Recreation facilities are among the amenities most widely recognized for helping to attract new businesses that might relocate to a small city such as Rutland - one of the arguments used to promote the proposed bond.

But voters have turned down the proposal each time it appeared on the ballot. Meanwhile the former Dana School building continued to deteriorate. The roof leaked, and the building was declared unsafe. Its users were forced to find other locations for their operations. Head Start programming moved, and so did the Skelly dancers. Creative Economy committees had to find another place to meet. Recreation offices and programming had to relocate too, among others.

Now, to add to the turmoil, Recreation Department superintendent EJay Bishop recently resigned his position, after 18 years of working for the department, more than 10 of them at its head. He had recently become embroiled in concern about his hiring architectural services on Giorgetti Rink, in a manner that seemed to place his actions below a threshold for discretionary monies but, taken together over time, require aldermanic approval.

That may be a minor conflict compared to what appears to be a developing dissatisfaction with the new department headquarters in the North Street Extension complex. On its ownership travels, the new site passed from the Army into the hands of the National Park Service (as did all similarly released military reserve properties) and therefore may only be used for recreational purposes... maybe.

It appears four to six roofs on the property have been leaking for some time, and some folks believe that the site may be in much poorer shape than had been thought initially. No one knows how much may need to be sunk into repairs to begin using the property.

Taking over as temporary director is Cindi Wight, long time recreation director, who recently gained a master's degree in parks and recreation management. The city is looking into what process the city charter outlines for hiring a new superintendent. Wight has expressed interest in assuming the position on a permanent basis.

Lani's weekly calendar picks
Sat. & Sun., Aug. 10-11 - The Chaffee Art Center's 52nd annual Art in the Park Summer Festival draws crowds to Rutland's Main Street Park. Shop, listen to music, sample from food concessions and enjoy artist demos.
Tuesday, Aug. 13 - The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce holds its 32nd annual Winter in August celebration at 50 Merchants Row, in downtown Rutland. Sample local restaurants' specialties and vote for your favorite, 5-8 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 13 - Pine Hill Park at Giorgetti Park hosts the Summer Sunset 5K Running Series with a 6:30 p.m. trail run.

Tagged: News Briefs, Rutland Region