Susan Keese / VPR

In Springfield Monday night, more than 200 people turned out to consider ways to deal with the problem of drugs and criminal behavior in town.

Rutland Police Chief James Baker was asked to come to Springfield to talk about Rutland’s approach to similar problems over the past few years. Baker is also the former director of the Vermont State Police. He said it takes more than police action to deal with drugs and crime. It takes creating an environment that isn’t conducive to illegal activity.

In 2014, Gregory Zullo was pulled over for having part of his license plate covered. The state trooper said he smelled marijuana in the car and towed the car. The Vermont ACLU sued the state and is appealing the case to the Vermont Supreme Court.

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont over a traffic stop in Wallingford last March.

The ACLU says that the young man filing the lawsuit was stopped, his car was seized and he was left to walk eight miles home after a trooper said he smelled burnt marijuana.

21-year-old Greg Zullo was pulled over for having some snow on the bumper of his car, which the trooper said was touching or covering the registration sticker on his rear license plate.


It’s hard to miss a painting that’s more than three stories high. In Rutland, a growing number of over-sized murals are coloring the downtown skyline.

Persi Narvaez’s painted his first Rutland mural, a bright yellow splash of food and flowers, two years ago. He just finished his second, even larger work this month.  This one in brilliant blue highlights the city’s architecture.    

Toby Talbot / AP

A visit to the hospital can be terrifying…and then you get the bill. Right now, hospitals receive money by billing for each patient visit, but sometimes those charges can seem out of synch with the services received.

We’ll talk to Tom Huebner, President and CEO of Rutland Regional Medical Center, about whether it would be possible to bring costs down by changing the way they budget.

We’ll also hear from Richard Slusky, Director of Payment Reform for the Green Mountain Care Board, and Joe Woodin, CEO and President of Gifford Medical Center.

A group of Vermonters trying to combat the negative impact of drug addiction is putting on a benefit concert at the Vermont State Fair Sunday to raise money for three organizations tackling addiction head on.

They call themselves Vermonters for Vermonters, and about two dozen volunteer members met recently at a Rutland church to work out last minute details for Sunday’s concert.  

Quechee singer and songwriter Joey Leone founded the group and will be one of several musicians performing.   

Other acts include: Jeremy Graham, Ashley Buchart and Bow Thayer.

Paramount Theatre

Well-known Rutland area music director Rip Jackson says he’s pulling out all the stops for his upcoming production of Les Miserables, which opens Thursday night.

At a recent rehearsal at Rutland’s Grace Congregational Church, the eyes of 55 singers and 23 musicians were laser focused on Jackson, who’s directed scores of productions over the years, from early renaissance choral music and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass to Jesus Christ Superstar and Miss Saigon.

Nina Keck / VPR

West Ridge Center for Addiction Recovery, more commonly known as Rutland’s methadone clinic, opened last November amid high hopes that it would help ease the city’s growing heroin problem. Clinic officials say they’re currently serving about 350 patients and should have no trouble meeting their goal of 400 by the end of the year.

Rutland Police Chief Jim Baker believes the clinic is part of the reason the city has seen a 24 percent drop in the calls for police services in the first six months of this year.

Nina Keck / VPR

While many soccer fans have been shouting at their televisions from the comfort of their living rooms, hundreds of World Cup enthusiasts have been watching recent matches in high definition on a 30-by-24 foot screen at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre.

Bruce Bouchard, director of the Paramount, said they installed their high definition projection equipment last year initially to show the Metropolitan Opera. 

Nina Keck / VPR

It’s not often that a press conference includes tearing down a building. But city and state officials gathered in Rutland Monday to demolish the first of a number of blighted properties in the city’s northwest neighborhood. The event kicks off a $1.25 million renewal project aimed at boosting property values, lowering crime and encouraging homeownership.

Nina Keck / VPR

If you want to find out about your family history, there’s a lot of info on the web. But if the ancestral homestead or the great great grandparents you’re researching were in Vermont, chances are any photographs or documents will not be just a computer click away.

But a group of volunteers in Rutland is trying to change that and make their city’s history accessible anywhere.

Nina Keck / VPR

A Rutland couple who was suing the state over a botched bed bug extermination has reached a settlement in the case. 

Neil and Patricia Whitney, long time foster parents in Rutland, agreed to drop their lawsuit against the state Department for Children and Families, the state agency of Human Services and several state officials for $450-thousand dollars. 

Nina Keck / VPR

Most every town has its “malfunction junction,” or assorted traffic headaches that drive people crazy. But as officials in Rutland recently found out, trying to fix those trouble spots can be an even bigger headache.

Woodstock Avenue is what you’ll take if you’re driving between Rutland and Killington. It’s part of U.S. Route 4, with four lanes, big trucks, a local high school and lots of densely packed businesses.

Despite a petition against her, outgoing Burlington Superintendent Jeanne Collins remains in the running for the top job in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union.

As Seven Days reported last week, Collins is the only finalist for the superintendent job in Rutland, where she would oversee seven schools.

Rutland Family Frustrated By Pesticide Cleanup

Apr 4, 2014
Nina Keck / VPR

A foster family that’s suing Vermont officials over a botched bedbug extermination says they’re not getting enough answers about ongoing cleanup efforts at their Rutland City house. The family says only two of their home’s three floors are being cleaned and they say they’ll never feel comfortable living there again.

A Rutland lawmaker says the state needs a more comprehensive approach for dealing with bedbugs in buildings used for state services.

To that end, the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony on Wednesday from Rutland foster parents who had to move from their home because of an allegedly botched attempt to exterminate the pests.

Patricia and Neil Whitney say a foster child brought bedbugs into their home in 2012. The couple believes the state knew the risk of infestation and should have had a plan in place to deal with the problem.

Rutland is no longer the master of its own domain – on the web, that is.

The city government didn’t renew its lease on the web domain when it expired last week, and a Panamanian cybersquatter picked it up, the Rutland Herald reports.

VPR/Susan Keese

A 65-year chapter in Rutland’s history will end on Sunday, when the Midway Diner serves its last burgers, omelets and fries.

The much-loved local eatery on Route Seven will be replaced by an International House of Pancakes.

John Valente the Midway Diner’s co-owner, stood outside the restaurant Thursday. He shouted out a greeting to his old friend Bud Creed.

“Hey Bud!” He said. “Bud, how you been?”

“Pretty Good!” Creed answered. “I came down to get my last Western.”

“I’m going to miss you,” Valente called after him.

The Blood in This Town, the documentary about Rutland’s grassroots effort to revitalize itself will make its European debut this weekend.The 80-minute film by Art Jones will be shown Sunday in Breda one of Holland’s largest cities.

Monique Mols, a Breda native who translated the film into Dutch says she hopes the can-do spirit in Rutland will inspire residents of Breda who’ve seen their city hurt by unemployment and the European Debt Crisis.

Nina Keck / VPR

Green Mountain Power says there are a lot of Vermonters who’d like to use solar power. But many are unable or unwilling to install the necessary equipment on their homes.  

GMP officials say now, thanks to a new partnership with the nation’s largest solar developer, they’ll be able to offer a new way for customers to take advantage of solar power without installing the hardware.