Patrick McArdle

Reporter, Rutland Herald

Patrick McArdle is a reporter for the Rutland Herald. His reports are part of a partnership with VPR and the Times Argus and Rutland Herald.

AP Photo/ Winfried Rothermel

Some local residents are finding that it’s harder now to find wood pellets to fuel the stoves they are using to heat their homes, and those who produce and sell the pellets say there are reasons they’re in shorter supply this year.

Michelle Hogan of Bennington said she had noticed the problem recently and couldn’t find pellets in many local and national stores.

“Across the board, it’s hit or miss. They [store employees] tell you the truck’s coming in, [but] the truck doesn’t come in. Three days later, the truck comes in. By the time you get back, they’re gone,” she said.

Patrick McArdle / Rutland Herald

Kenneth Stethem, a former Navy SEAL, has developed a machine that police can use to test Tasers and make sure they’re operating correctly, and Stethem is hoping the machines will be required across the state and manufactured at Mack Molding.

The Bennington Select Board voted on Monday to support the identification of a site, known locally as the Jard property, as a Superfund site which would allow the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove any contamination in the area.

The property, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, could be placed on the EPA's national priority list if the federal government accepts a request by Gov. Peter Shumlin. The vote taken on Monday was to ask Shumlin to make that request based on the town's support.

Local manufacturer Mack Molding has acquired medical product development company Synectic Engineering of Milford, Conn.

Mack’s president of northern operations, Jeff Somple, said he expects the growth of Mack will bring new jobs to Vermont.

“I like to use the term on something like this, ‘We don’t make acquisitions to get bigger. We’re big enough. We make acquisitions to get better because you can always get better,’” Somple said.

A tentative proposal to build a 2.2 megawatt solar-powered electricity generation plant is no longer in the works but town officials are still hoping to attract a solar project with a request for proposal released last week.

Lee Krohn, Manchester’s planning director and zoning administrator, said he had been considering a solar project for some time.

After a contentious meeting in a packed firehouse this week, the chiefs of the Bennington Rural Fire Department voted to restore all 15 members who had been suspended last week to active duty.

Chief Shawn Gardner said he made the decision to “try to move this department forward.”'

“It's not the decision we really wanted to make but it's the right decision for this time. We're going to just try to work on it from there and see what we can do to keep this department moving from here on out,” he said.

Patrick McArdle

Some banks used to give away a toaster to those who opened a new account, but on Monday, Merchants Bank took the idea a step further by giving away the almost 150-year-old bank.

Officials at Merchants Bank had already announced in February that plans had been made to close branches in Bennington and North Bennington and replace them with a new site in Bennington. But while Merchants rented its space on Main Street in Bennington, it owned the building on Bank Street in North Bennington, leaving residents of the village wondering what would become of it.