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Local
Man charged in federal gun case faces local charges

A Fair Haven man facing federal gun charges missed his court date on a separate charge because he is in federal custody.

Kenneth D. Stone Jr., 29, failed to appear in Rutland criminal court on Monday to be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crash that caused property damage.

Attorney Chris Davis, who represents Stone, said he believed his client was in federal custody. Judge Thomas Zonay issued a $50 warrant for Stone’s arrest.

In an affidavit, Officer Scott Alkinburgh, of the Castleton Police Department, said he responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash on Route 4 at Exit 5 around noon on March 14.

On the way to the scene, Alkinburgh said dispatchers told him about reports that the driver had fled on foot.

At the crash scene, Alkinburgh said he talked to Jeremy Waite, a supervisor with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, who said he had witnessed the crash. He said he was driving west on Route 4 when he saw a car, at least a mile ahead of him swerve left then hard right and off the road.

Waite said he saw a truck and a car stop after the crash but by the time he got to the scene, the driver was running away. He said he was sure there was only one person in the car.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Warden Robert Sterling brought his K-9 unit to the area to track the driver.

Alkinburgh said he was notified that police had located a man, later identified as Stone, in front of RMG Stone in Castleton. When Alkinburgh spoke to Stone, Stone allegedly denied he had been driving the car but said he knew the owner and planned to buy the car.

“(Fair Haven Police Officer Sean) Galvin told Stone it seemed coincidental that he was buying a car, that was crashed, off Travis but wasn’t driving it. Stone replied to us, ‘I was not driving the car. I might’ve been catching a ride but I was not driving the car,” the affidavit said.

The registered owner of the car is Travis J. Bailey.

Officers with the Vermont Department of Corrections’ Office of Probation and Parole told police on the scene they were on the way to take Stone into custody.

Sterling told Alkinburgh the K9 had tracked Stone to the area where he was questioned by police.

According to Alkinburgh, the situation with Stone became heated after he asked Stone to participate in field sobriety tests.

Alkinburgh said Stone attempted to walk away from him several times and he asked Stone if he could stand still.

“Not really. I’m getting aggravated,” Stone replied, according to the affidavit.

Alkinburgh said he asked Stone to explain.

“I’m wasting my time right now … You just informed me the car that I was purchasing from my buddy is wrecked. My buddy is gone and I’m being harassed,” Stone allegedly said.

Stone was then arrested and detained until his probation officer could reach the area.

Alkinburgh said police also found a gray hooded sweatshirt with the crashed car’s keys, fragments of car window glass, an uncapped syringe and other items near a home where Stone was found.

Stone and two others from Rutland, Gregory R. Miller, 33, and Jennifer R. Griffin, 44, have been charged in federal court with conspiring with “others known and unknown to the grand jury” to use a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in connection with a drug trafficking crime from 2017.

All three face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Police said the gun was later used to wound a New York City Police detective in July.

Stone has been held in federal custody since the end of April.

On May 8, a fire destroyed Stone’s home at 110 Stony Drive in Fair Haven.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com


rlayman / Robert Layman / Staff Photo  

Beaver Dam Beginnings

The start of a beaver dam is seen across Kent Brook, which flows into Kent Pond in Killington, seen here Tuesday.


Local
Efficiency Vermont offering free home, business walkthroughs

From now until the end of the year, home and business owners in Rutland County can have an expert scope out their buildings to see where they’re losing heat.

Brad Long, community engagement manager for Efficiency Vermont, said Friday these energy walkthroughs aren’t full energy audits, but they will give the owner of a home or small- to medium-sized business a good idea on where their property needs some attention. Those who take advantage will also be informed of programs that can lower energy costs.

“What we’re trying to do is build participation in the community,” Long said.

About 50 people in Rutland County have had an energy walkthrough, he said. What officials are finding is a lot of energy is being lost through basements and attics, places where people don’t spend much time and thus don’t notice the loss of heat as often.

He said the biggest sign a building is losing heat is icicles hanging from eaves. Long said rising heat is enough to melt the ice outside, but then it refreezes, forming the icicles. This can lead to problems besides high heating bills, such as mold.

Long said the program’s focus is on downtown Rutland City, and some of West Rutland, though county residents and business owners are eligible. Jeff Buell, public relations manager for Efficiency Vermont, said Friday his organization plans to make a number of outreach efforts this summer in the Rutland area, including displaying an energy efficient home.

To schedule an energy walkthrough, people can contact Efficiency Vermont by calling 888-921-5990 or go online at efficiencyvermont.com/rutland. An energy expert from the organization will then visit. The walkthroughs take between an hour and an hour and a half. People receiving the walkthrough can get up to 12 free LED light bulbs and a $50 coupon for energy efficient appliances.

“Winter is finally releasing its grip, but we know it will be back,” said Tyler Richardson, executive director of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), in a release. “Getting free expert advice from Efficiency Vermont is an excellent opportunity to identify projects to work on, so when next winter comes around you will be ready and able to save money and be more comfortable. They can also help connect you with the many resources available through Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and other organizations to help save energy and money.”

REDC is working with Efficiency Vermont to get more people involved with this program, which is also focusing on the Bellows Falls, St. Johnsbury and Swanton communities. Long said communities were chosen because of their population density and age of their housing stock. Long said many Vermont homes are old and in need of energy efficiency work.

According to its website, Efficiency Vermont is a creation of the Legislature and is governed by the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Its mission is to assist people in the state with lowering their energy expenses, the hope being this will help the economy and environment.

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com


Local
Chief says fire truck shouldn't raise taxes

Chief James Larsen said Tuesday that the city can buy a new fire truck without raising taxes.

The Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to recommend the full Board of Aldermen authorize spending up to $1.5 million to replace the 1986 tower ladder truck that was taken out of service last month after failing a safety inspection. Larsen said the department has written a 24-page application for a $1 million federal grant, but even if the grant is denied, the fire equipment fund can cover the payments.

Larsen said the city’s existing tower ladder truck — which features a 102-foot ladder and a platform rated to hold 800 pounds — was built by a company that went out of business in 1992 and “failed miserably” when it underwent its safety inspection in April. In addition to cracks in the ladder itself, the ladder dropped 5 1/2 inches in a test that only allowed for a half-inch of drift.

“No one can, in good conscience, put more money into the vehicle,” Larsen said. “It’s way beyond its service life.”

However, Larsen said the department saw the truck’s demise coming, and had formed a committee more than six months earlier to look at replacing it. This committee worked with Louisiana-based Ferrara Fire Apparatus to design a truck to the city’s specifications, and Larsen said that if the city acts quickly, they can purchase the truck as a “production line demo model,” which he said will reduce the price.

Waiting and getting a non-demo truck, Larsen said, would tack at least $100,000 into the purchase price.

“That was before the 15% tariff for steel went in,” he said.

Larsen said that the grant application was endorsed by the Vermont Congressional delegation and Rutland Regional Medical Center President Claudio Fort, and that the fact that the truck had to be taken out of service bolstered the city’s chances. He said they would know if they got the grant later in the summer.

If the city doesn’t get the grant, Larsen said, the roughly $143,000 annual payments could be covered by the $175,000 a year budgeted for the fire equipment fund, and that a two-year deferment on payments would let the city put $350,000 in the fund before it started paying off the truck.

“There will still be purchases out of the fire equipment fund, but we should be in good shape,” he said.

Alderman Thomas DePoy asked if anything was salvageable off the old truck or if there was an alternate use for it.

“Can it go to any fairs or museums?” he asked.

Larsen replied that the federal grant includes a requirement that the old truck be destroyed so it cannot cause injuries elsewhere.

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com