Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inmate who died had no medications

The state medical examiner has released a cause of death in the case of a 23-year-old woman sho died in the state prison in St. Albans about a day after she started serving a sentence for a probation violation. Police say Ashley Ellis weighed only 87 pounds because she suffered from anorexia. The investigation is not yet complete but the medical examiner ruled the cause of death as complications of anorexia and lack of access to medication. Ellis was reportedly taking Potassium to treat her anorexia. Vt. Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito says a private health company is responsible for providing health services to Vermont inmates, and that DOC employees were not involved in treating Ellis or providing her medications. Vermont legal expert Cheryl Hanna said liability for the woman's death could fall to the medical service company or the state, depending on the facts. She also said criminal charges are possible pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Third molest charge against Bryer

Police have charged Shaun Bryer after a third alleged sexual abuse victim came forward. Bryer is the 28-year-old Morrisville teacher who was charged earlier this month with sexually assaulting two 14-year-old boys over a number of years. Another 14-year-old boy later told police Bryer put his hand down his pants less than two months ago. A teenage boy witnessed the incident and Bryer was charged yesterday with an additional count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. Bryer was also charged with possession of child pornography. Police found a nude photo and nude videos of the two original victims on Bryer's flash drive. Bryer is currently out on bond.

Plattsburgh State University Gets Ready for Swine Flu

Students at an area university are not being tested for H1N1.

The Press Republican reports that Dr. Kathleen Camelo, who is the director of Plattsburgh State's Center for student Health and Psychological Services says -- quote --“We will see a percentage of different viruses, but H1N1 will probably be the majority of causes for influenza illness.” She says anyone with flu-like symptoms will be considered to have H1N1 or swine flu and will be treated accordingly. She says young people are the focus since they tend to have the virus before symptoms set in and can carry the disease to others. Camelo added that while 90 percent of the deaths from seasonal flu are senior citizens, 90 percent of deaths from H1N1 are probably, as she described them "non seniors".

Growers: Good Crop of Apples This Season

Cool temperatures and plenty of sunshine herald good news for apple growers in Addison County. Those conditions are paving the way for good color on this year’s crop of apples, as well as thick crowds at pick-your-own orchards in the region. Bill Suhr, the owner of Champlain Orchards in Shoreham said quote -- “It’s a very good crop.” He tells the Addison County Independent that many orchardists in the region are reporting similar news. Pickers took to the field last month and will be busy harvesting the county’s apple crop well into October.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sanders - fed money coming for Vt. teens

Senator Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that $523,000 has been granted to Vermont to keep at-risk teens out of the state's criminal justice system. The money will go to organizations that offer counseling and training to get teens on their feet, and out of trouble. Sanders said the teens aren't getting the attention they need, especially in a recession with families who don't have a whole lot of money.

Franklin County jail to close

Federal immigration detainees will be housed at the Addison County jail in Middlebury when the Franklin County jail closes this week after more than a hundred years of service. Sheriff Robert Norris said the 20-bed jail doesn't meet modern standards for federal detention facilities. The jail lacks the required exercise area and can’t maintain 24-hour medical service for just 20 prisoners. The Sheriff’s Department has housed federal prisoners for about 15 years; most are illegal aliens. There are four full-time detention officers. One has retired and another has applied for a transfer.

Accused baby shaker charged

Thetford police have arrested a man on suspicion of abusing his baby then beating his wife. Police say 26-year-old Jeremy Quillia shook his 1-year-old daughter excessively when she wouldn't stop crying, then squeezed a bottle of milk into the baby's mouth, causing her to gag. When his wife, the baby's mother intervened, police said he punched her in the face repeatedly and threatened her with a knife.
Quillia is charged with aggravated domestic assault and child abuse.

Concerns raised at Forest park meeting

A meeting of Forest Park residents revealed concerns about a proposed redevelopment plan. The neighbors aren't the only ones who have worries about the plan. Residents of the public housing development asked Rutland Housing Authority Director Kevin Loso about how residents would be moved when the buildings are torn down. Loso also faced concerns ranging from how the agency will accommodate residents who are relocated – and how the new development will manage trash and security. owners of the adjacent properties expressed concern about how and when the demolition and construction work would be done and who would care for the new development. The next meeting will be at 4 o'clock this afternoon at the Rutland Free Library. Another meeting is set for 10 a.m. on October 15th at the Dana Recreation Center.

Police - Woman sent porn to teen girl

A St. Johnsbury woman has been charged with using her cell phone to send pornography to a 13-year-old girl. Forty-year-old Brenda Simard-Reid appeared in court Monday to deny six misdemeanor charges. Police were notified about the porn after the girl's phone was confiscated because she was using it on a school bus in violation of school rules.

Special Election Set to Replace McHugh

November 3rd is the date that Governor David Paterson has set for a special election to fill a vacant New York Congressional seat. Three people are vying for the seat: For the Republicans, Dierdre Scozzafava who represents Jefferson County in the state assembly, Doug Hoffman is running as a Conservative and is from Lake Placid and Bill Owens, who is an attorney from Plattsburgh is running on the Democrat ticket. One of the three will replace Republican John McHugh vacated the seat to become secretary of the Army. Nov. 3 is also the day of the general election.

New Wood Pellett Co Moves into VT

Governor Jim Douglas calls it exciting: a new employer in these tough economic times. The new employer is Vermont Wood Pellet Company and WCAX TV reports that it turns wood into pressed pellets for fuel. The plant will hire 15 employees, which officials say will help Rutland County's struggling economy. The company said it picked Vermont over other states because of the deal it got on its energy for the first five years the company is open in Clarendon. Vermont Wood Pellet can put out abut ten thousand tons of pellets a year and that's enough to heat at least 3,300 homes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vermonters helping National Guard families

A group of Vermonters is working to make sure family members are taken care of when members of the Vermont National Guard depart for training before a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Elizabeth Perreault formed the group called Guardian Angel to raise a thousand dollars. That goal was met the first day, and the total so far is nearly six-thousand dollars. The money will go toward helping families of service members with emergencies or utility bills. If you'd like to donate, contact Perreault at (802) 279-2688.

Man charged with ongoing molestation

A 29-year-old Ludlow man will face charges he sexually abused six preteen children for a year or more.
Jonathan Warren was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail Monday after pleading not guilty to the charges in Vermont District Court. Police say Warren forced the children to have sex with him -- and sometimes each other -- at knifepoint. He was arrested after being caught with a partially undressed 11-year-old girl. Police said Warren was a longtime friend of the children's parents, and sometimes baby-sat for them.

Group forms to save Wilson Castle

A Rutland County community group is working to save Wilson Castle off West Proctor Road. The Friends of Wilson Castle is sponsoring a restoration project to save the castle from further deterioration. The local landmark was built over seven years in the 1860s by a doctor who fell in love with an English noble lady when he was in residency in Britain. She refused to come to Vermont unless she had a proper castle. Wilson castle has 32 rooms on three floors. It boasts 13 fireplaces and more than a hundred stained glass windows. The Wilson family decided to share the castle with the public in 1962. The castle is still open for tours from May until October each year.

FairPoint talks to avoid bankruptcy

FairPoint Communications is in talks with some of its lenders as it tries to restructure its debt and avoid bankruptcy. FairPoint said it has entered into an agreement with lenders that together hold more than 50 percent of its loans and commitments. Last year, FairPoint bought Verizon’s landline and Internet assets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and has had problems with operations and customer service ever since.

Rutland Housing authority may get grant money

Forest Park, the largest public housing complex in Rutland, is the target for a $20 million revitalization project the Rutland Housing Authority hopes to fund through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program. The program has so far invested $6 billion in replacing the worst public housing developments with mixed-income communities. The housing authority's Kevin Loso said the grants are highly sought and tough to get, but says the fact that Rutland will receive a $2.4 million grant from the federal stimulus program is a positive sign for his 8 to 9 million dollar grant application.

Getting Close to Naming a Principal

More than a dozen people have tossed their hat into the ring of Plattsburgh High School principal candidates.

The Press Republican reports that the School District plans to stop accepting applications at the end of this month and the next High School principal could be named by early November. Plattsburgh City School Superintendent James "Jake" Short.said the job at the high school opened earlier this year when the School Board chose not to grant former Principal John Fairchild tenure. The Plattsburgh School District set the salary range for the position at $85,000 to $115,000, depending upon experience and the application deadline for the High School principal position is Sept. 30.

George W. F. Cook Dies at 90

A longtime local attorney whose career in public service included time in the Vermont Senate representing Rutland County and more than a dozen years as the U.S. Attorney in Vermont died on Saturday morning.

The Rutland Herald reports that George W. F. Cook's career spanned graduation from Rutland High School in 1936 to U.S, Attorney appointed by two presidents. In between, Cook spent time in the military, graduated from Columbia University and Georgetown Law Schools, became President Pro Tem in the Vermont Senate, and was father to four children. His wife of 63 years, Laicita said quote -- "The only things that were important to him were being a good, hardworking, honest lawyer and that his children were well-educated."
George Cook was 90 years old.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rutland flu forum this week

The state Department of Health will hold a public forum in Rutland this week to discuss preparation and preparedness for the upcoming flu season. Health Commissioner Dr. Wendy Davis says this flu season will be complex, and that's it's more important than ever to take precautions. The Rutland forum is scheduled for Wednesday at the Rutland Holiday Inn.

Priest apologizes for molests

A former Catholic priest who is accused in more than 20 lawsuits of molesting altar boys in Vermont is apologizing for his actions. 80-year-old Edward Paquette said he prays daily for the families of the people he harmed. Court records say Paquette molested boys from the 1950s through the 1970s at parishes in Vermont and two other states. He was defrocked by the Vatican last April. One of Paquette's victims told the Burlington Free Press the Diocese of Burlington should have warned people about Paquette because it knew of the history of molestation charges against him before he came to Vermont.

Bank boss charged with theft

A former bank manager is charged with three counts of federal bank fraud. The Vermont U.S. Attorney's Office says 44-year-old Kevin Thivierge approved loans totaling $85,000 in the name of a bank customer but used the money for himself. Thivierge served as a Chittenden Bank manager from 2003 to 2007. If convicted he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined $1 million for each charge.

Man held on DUI number 4

A routine traffic stop on Railroad Street Saturday landed a St. Johnsbury man in jail, charged with driving without a license and under the influence for the fourth time. 34-year-old Scott Keithan was pulled over for an equipment violation just after midnight Saturday. Police said Keithan was subsequently taken into custody and processed for what would be his fourth drunken driving conviction and for driving with a criminally suspended license. Arraignment is set for October 12th.

Officials Investigate Missing Money at Proctor High School

Authorities in Proctor are investigating some missing money from the high school there.

Local and possibly federal authorities are looking into missing money at Proctor High School after an employee there mishandled and potentially misappropriated the money. The Rutland Herald reports that Rutland Central Supervisory District Superintendent Wendy Savery said last week that she couldn't indentify the employee or the amount of money involved, but did say it was a significant amount. She did say that as of last month, the employee no longer works at the school. Both local and federal law enforcement officials are being tight lipped about the investigation.

No Seasonal Flu Shots for Kids Yet

Season flu vaccines will only be available to adults in Essex County for the moment. That's because New York State Heath Officials say the vaccine for children won't even be shipped until this week and it will come from Tennessee. This means that the flu shot clinic schedule will only include adults for now. Those over 18 years old in the village of Jay will be able to get shots on September 28th, in Lake Placid on September 29th and there may be vaccines available for those in Schroon Lake for September 30th. The Essex County Public Health Department says this is NOT the vaccine for the H1N1 or Swine Flu.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vermont officials asking more FairPoint questions

Customers of FairPoint Communications have been plagued with problems ever since the company took over phone and internet service from Verizon back in February. Now, Vermont lawmakers are meeting with company executives to get to the root of the company's problems. FairPoint executives told utility regulators from three states earlier this month that it will be another two months before the company can come up with a plan to resolve its customer service, billing and other problems. The Vermont hearing is scheduled for next Thursday.

Replacement sought of Morristown teacher

The select board in Morristown is looking for candidates to fill the seat held by the chairman who resigned last week after being charged with molesting two children. Former Select Board chairman and Morristown Elementary School teacher Shaun Bryer resigned from the board after his arrest. He now faces 17 child sex charges. Bryer's teaching license has been suspended and he's on administrative leave from the Malletts Bay School. Residents have until October 8th to apply.

Woman charged in kidnapping and beating

A Brattleboro woman has denied charges that she beat and kidnapped another woman, then fought with police when they tried to arrest her. Police say 22-year-old Desiree Boucher forced the woman into her car and beat her. A passenger in the car said Boucher had asked the woman about a boyfriend.

Man assaulted pregnant woman - police

A 27-year-old Fair Haven man remains behind bars for allegedly assaulting a pregnant woman on Sunday. Daniel Murray pleaded innocent Monday in Rutland District Court to multiple felony charges. Castleton Police said Murray threw the pregnant woman to the ground and threatened to kill her because she refused to buy him more beer and tried to leave the house where Murray had been drinking. Murray is also accused of restraining the woman and her two children by driving them at speeds of up to 90 mph. Judge Thomas Zonay set bail for Murray at $50,000.

New Brandon shopping center discussed

The Brandon Development Review Board put off discussion of the application for a new shopping cenrter on Route 7. About 40 people came to the hearing with questions about traffic, noise and other issues. Two of them were concerned the trucks delivering to the site would produce noise above the limit of 70 decibels. As to the potential increase in truck traffic, developer William McCabe said Hannaford already sends trucks past the site to deliver to Rutland. The board will take up the matter at its next meeting on October 28th.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mobile Dentist Office Takes a Bite Out of Bad Dental Health

The dentist will see you matter where you are!
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile dental office was in several neighborhoods near and in Burlington yesterday taking a bite out of the lack of dental care for kids. The rolling exam room is a $400 thousand dollar model of technology that is with everything a dentist needs to check a kid's dental health, It has two dentist chairs, an x-ray machine and all the stuff a dentist could want. Fox 44 reports that the state says some ten thousand kids need to brush up on good dental health and the free mobile dentist will help rinse away their problems.

Budget Includes Increase

The Plattsburgh mayor’s proposed 2010 budget includes an increase in the tax levy. Mayor Donald Kasprzak unveiled his budget proposal last night, which includes a 7.5-percent increase in the tax levy. The Press Republican reports that the tax rate would rise 4.9 percent or by fifty cents per $1000 of assessed valuation. Kasprzak said rates for water and sewer service would not increase, but that city electric rates could go up between five and almost six and a half percent. That issue is now before a judge and waiting for a decision. The Municipal Lighting Department is in the red more than a million dollars and the mayor proposed layoffs in the department, but the council voted it down. The council then has until Jan. 15 to approve a final plan.

Cops have another suspect in high-end break-ins

Vermont State Police have arrested a second suspect in a series of break-ins throughout Franklin and Addison Counties. Police arrested Shawn Gagnon on Wednesday. 21-year-old Melissa Labounty was taken into custody Tuesday. A 24-year-old St. Albans, Kyle Gagner, is still being sought. Police say expensive items were stolen from the homes, including laptops, jewelry, hunting equipment and coins. Some of these items were sold at local pawn shops. The total value is expected to be tens of thousands of dollars. If you have any information about the case, please call the Vermont State Police at (802) 524-5993.

Teacher - no knowlege of teen party in home

A Bennington County school teacher denied in court that she hosted an underage drinking and drug party. Police say they found eight minors drinking and smoking pot at 38-year-old Allyson Hoffman's home last month. Investigators say they found evidence of cocaine and prescription drug abuse. Hoffman claims she was asleep and had no knowledge the kids were having a party in her house.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clerk stole $7000 from store - police

An employee of a store in the Diamond Run Mall is charged with embezzlement after police said he stole more than $7,000 from the Game Stop over the course of a year. 30-year-old Stephen Peton pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court to the charges which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail. Rutland County Sheriff's deputies say Peton confessed to falsifying product returns, store transfers and inventory adjustments to steal the money.

Third of state could get flu - Davis

Addison and Rutland Counties could be face a flu epidemic affecting a third of its residents if predictions by state health officials come to pass. Dr. Wendy Davis, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health said even though Vermont is now reporting sporadic cases, she expects the H1N1 flu strain to arrive in earnest before long. Statewide, 200,000 people could eventually become infected. Planning so far has focused on school-age populations that are being hit harder by the virus. Davis said that unlike seasonal flu, H1N1 seems to spare the very elderly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No mistakes in handling of teacher

State school officials said yesterday are defending their decision in the case of a teacher accused of molesting two students. Former schoolteacher Shaun Bryer was reprimanded about inappropriate behavior with students starting in 2004, but Morristown officials say their hands were tied without evidence. The fifth-grade teacher is accused of making friends with the two boys when they were in third grade and later showing them pornographic movies in his home and molesting them dozens of times.
Steve Dale of the state Department for Children and Families says the Morristown School District did the right thing in reporting Bryer in 2008.

H1N1 hitting youngsters hard - Davis

This year's H1N1 flu virus is hitting younger people harder than other age groups, and officials are urging everyone between ages 6 and 24 to be vaccinated. Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Wendy Davis says the state expects to receive the vaccine by mid-October. Davis said people should also be vaccinated for the winter flu. That vaccine is available now and in enough supply for everyone who wants it to be vaccinated. She added basic health habits can help slow the spread of the disease: Wash hands frequently, cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and stay home if sick.

Cops seek third in burglary spree

The Vermont State Police have made an arrest and are looking for two men in connection with a string of burglaries in Franklin and Addison counties. The thieves made off with coin collections, money, laptops, and hunting gear worth tens of thousands of dollars. Police have arrested two suspects and are looking for a third.

State deciding which jobs to cut

Just one day after negotiations broke down between state workers and the administration, the governor's staff began deciding which jobs to cut. Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville estimates 200 to 300 jobs will be eliminated, half of them through layoffs. Governor Douglas said he's disappointed over the union's rejection of the administration's offer of no more layoffs in fiscal year 2010 while requiring a commitment of $10 million in savings in each of the next two fiscal years. The union's director says the group proposed giving up dental coverage and other benefits for $5 million in savings over the next two fiscal years.

Welch to hold conference with Rutland residents

Congressman Peter Welch will hold a conference call next Tuesday to talk with Rutland County residents. The Rutland County forum is the fourth such call scheduled by Welch. Nearly 400 callers took part in the Franklin County forum ,and another 330 were on the Bennington County conference. Most voiced concerns regarding health-care reform, the economy and small business and veterans' issues. The Rutland forum will be next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who wants to participate can do so by dialing 877-269-7289, then enter the PIN code 13785.

Lowe wants his job back

Former Vergennes Police Chief Michael Lowe asked a judge to dismiss a DUI charge, claiming the state can't prove the prescription drugs he was on made him unable to drive safely. Lowe was after he crashed his police cruiser into a parked car in June. Lowe resigned after prosecutors charged Lowe with embezzlement and drug charges.

Council Approves Resolution to Create Sewer Disctict

Plattsburgh Town Council approved a resolution Monday night to create the Cumberland Head Sewer District.

The expected vote makes room for opponents to get signatures on a petition. The Press Republican reports that it will take five percent of the property owners in the proposed district to put the issue to a permissive-referendum vote and the petition has to be submitted within 30 days of the resolutions adoption. Several people spoke against the district as previous council meetings. Council members said they voted for the district for several reasons including the concern that the federal government would mandate a sewer system and that people would have a chance to vote on the sewer system.

Last of Four Carjackers Sentenced to Four Years

The last of four Connecticut men involved in what prosecutors call a violent carjacking just over a year ago has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Rahe Autry of Waterbury Connecticut was sentenced in a Rutland County Court last week for robbery and assault when he and three others from Connecticut carjacked a car from three people in Rutland during a police chase. None of the victims was seriously hurt. The other three accomplices have all pleaded guilty to lesser charges and are serving anywhere from just over three years to five years in prison.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hinesburg woman accused in DUI that injured child

A Hinesburg woman involved in a two-car crash Friday that left her 4-year old son with a severed spine, had been drinking, according to police. Investigators said Heather Carpentier collided with another vehicle, and both immediately caught on fire. Carpentier suffered a broken leg, and her son a severed spine...her one-year old son also in the car, was not seriously hurt. Carpentier was cited for a DUI and may also be charged with endangering a child, among other things.

St Albans property vandalized

Police are investigating a series of vandalisms in St. Albans Saturday. Reports came in of mailboxes, cars, and street signs being tagged with gold spray paint graffiti. Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Albans Police Department at 802-524-2166.

Administration, union talks at impasse

The Vermont State Employees Association and Governor Douglas' administration are at an impasse after talks on how to solve a $7.4 million budget gap and avoid layoffs broke down last night. The state will begin deciding today what jobs to cut. VSEA Director Jes Krause said the union gave up money and agreed to continue bargaining for the next two fiscal years, but the administration rejected the offer, which included furlough days and concessions on the medical and dental plan.

Welch to request more money for SS recipients

Congressman Peter Welch will ask the Social Security Administration to grant a cost of living increase for social security recipients. He told a group of senior citizens yesterday he will introduce a bill asking for a re-examination of the cost of living index. Welch wants the system to take into account the cost of medical inflation, which is of major concern to seniors. 104,000 Vermonters receive social security.

Animal abuser faces additional charges

New charges have been filed against a woman who already pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. Investigators say Suzanne Hegarty had several cats, horses and other animals on her property in Brandon last month despite a court order prohibiting her from caring for animals. Authorities removed more than 100 animals from the property earlier this year; Hegarty recieved an 8-year deferred sentence.

Essex Co Names Temp Dir for PUblic Health Dept.

Essex County has named a temporary director for its Public Health Department and promoted the staff of the agency’s Women-Infants-Children Program to full time.

Public Health Assistant Director Deborah Endsley will become acting director of the department until a replacement for Kathryn Abernethy is hired. The Press Republican reports that Abernethy is retiring at the end of the month, and a search for her replacement is expected to take several months.

Essex Co Names Temp Director for Public Dept.

Essex County has named a temporary director for its Public Health Department and promoted the staff of the agency’s Women-Infants-Children Program to full time.

Public Health Assistant Director Deborah Endsley will become acting director of the department until a replacement for Kathryn Abernethy is hired. The Press Republican reports that Abernethy is retiring at the end of the month, and a search for her replacement is expected to take several months.

Green Mountain Coffee Brewing with Solar Power

Its been a year in the works, but Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ha finished a 100 kilowatt solar panel array that they say will make them energy responsibe.

Matt Deluca of GMCR told Fox 44 that they've committed to responsible energy use for several years and quote-- "is kind of a capstone to that." He said GMCE has partnered with GroSolar and Green Mountain Power and now has 572 solar panels on the roof of the distribution center in Waterbury. DeLuca says that kind of power brews up about nine percent of the facility's energy use.

State, union still at odds over contract deal

Members of the Vermont State Employees Association held a rally outside Governor Douglas' office Friday to support an agreement to save 300 jobs and millions in labor costs. Talks between the union and the administration have been going on for weeks now trying to negotiate a deal to save the state money without taking money and benefits away from Vermont's employees. The orignal deadline of Friday passed without an agreement and was pushed back to today. The Governor says he's willing to agree to the union's deal for the current fiscal year if talks continue for cost reductions over the next two years. The union objects to that condition.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fed money to Vermont homeless program

A federal grant of $400,000 has been awarded to the Vermont Department of Mental Health. The four-year grant addresses homelessness around the state and allow the state to establish a program to provide homeless people with housing before anything else. The program will begin by assisting sixty homeless people in the Burlington area, then expand to other areas of Vermont. The state will work with Pathways to Housing to reduce homelessness among the mentally ill.

Fed money to Vermont homeless program

A federal grant of $400,000 has been awarded to the Vermont Department of Mental Health. The four-year grant addresses homelessness around the state and allow the state to establish a program to provide homeless people with housing before anything else. The program will begin by assisting sixty homeless people in the Burlington area, then expand to other areas of Vermont. The state will work with Pathways to Housing to reduce homelessness among the mentally ill.

Selectman wants to stop expensive bike path

A St. Johnsbury selectman wants to stop work on a bike path, and he's taking his case to the federal government. Jim Rust wants to stop construction of the path without the town having to pay ten percent of its projected one-point-seven million dollar price tag. About six-hundred-thousand dollars have already been spent on the bike path.

Rutland jobless rate down slightly

The unemployment numbers for August are out. Despite some improvement, the Rutland area remains the highest in the state at 8.3 percent. The statewide jobless rate for August was 6.8 percent, unchanged from July. Nationally, unemployment climbed from 9.4 percent to 9.7 percent in August.
Vermont Department of Labor commissioner Patricia Moulton Powden said summer youth employment and growth in the health care and social assistance sectors kept Vermont's unemployment rate comparatively low.

Rutland property overappraised

Rutland Town's lister said last week that all property in the town are over-appraised by about 10 percent. But Town Lister Howard Burgess said since the whole town is in the same situation, those numbers will not be adjusted. He added that the over-appraisal would not cause someone to pay higher taxes and that making an across-the-board adjustment would delay tax bills until the end of the year.

DNA points to man in robbery

Police arrested a Middlebury man in connection with the armed robbery of a convenience store in Addison County last month. 23-year-old Adam Racine pleaded not guilty Thursday in Rutland District Court. A crucial piece of evidence in the investigation Racine's DNA found in a blood stain found on a bandana that police say the gunman wore. The clerk on duty in the Quick Stop at the time of the holdup told police the robber wore a bandana, and identified it after a witness said it fell from the man's face.
Judge Nancy Corsones set bail for Racine at $50,000.

Gagnon Trial Delayed to November

Raymond "Foxy" Gagnon's federal child-porn trial has been delayed.

The 61-year-old retired teacher was set to go on trial this month for allegedly purchasing and possessing child pornography, but the Press Republican reports that federal officials said that the proceeding has been adjourned until Nov. 2. Gagnon remains free on restrictions, including electronic-home monitoring with limited excursions allowed, pending the trial, which will be in Albany. He has pleaded not guilty to possessing and receiving child pornography.

Tuition Insurance May Not Be What it Claims to be

Ever hear of "tuition Insurance"?

Its supposed to be insurace that helps college students get their tuition back if they have to leave school, but some are finding that its not what it claims. Students told the Burlington Free Press that they leave school for mental health reasons. Many students say they couldn't get their tuition back even if they had the insurance since the insurance requires that for a mental health issue a student must be in the hospital for two days in a row and those in the halth industry say that's not normal. But for a physical illness, students do not have to be hospitalized. In either case, the paper says, students would not necessarily get a full tuition refund for leaving school.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Parents hold gun control forum

Parents of children who have died at their own hands held a public forum yesterday to discuss what can be done about the availability of guns. Essex Junction Representative Tim Jerman says the topic needs to be discussed in light of Vermont's suicide rate, the highest in New England. The state also has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. The current maximum penalty in Vermont for providing a child with a loaded gun is a $50 fine.

Mixed economic news for Vermont

Secretary of Administration Neale Lunderville says general fund revenues are up, but cautions it's not exactly time to pop the champaign corks. While money coming into the state's transportation and education funds are only slightly below target, Lunderville said that overall, the revenues don't reflect an end to the recession. He says the state still faces tight budget times, with budget projections more than $200 million out of balance during the next two years.

Man cleared of hunting charge

A Vermont man has been cleared of a rare charge that he interfered with a hunter. Forty-two-year-old Mark Codling of Cabot was accused of intentionally interfering with 14-year-old Tyler Barnett, who was deer hunting on the opening day of rifle season last November. Prosecutors said Codling stood in Barnett's field of fire, yelling and firing shots to scare off deer and intimidate the teen. Barnett testified Codling asked why he wasn't hunting in Stanndard, then stood below Barnett for up to an hour.

Thief putting company out of business

A sports equipment company says an employee stole so much money from the business that it's been forced to close its doors. Owners of New Horizons in Sports on Williston Road will close the store at the end of the month-- they say because an employee embezzled $44,000 from the company. 56-year-old Patrick Huntley is charged with stealing the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle. New Horizons in Sports will continue to operate its website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Middlebury Man in Jail on $50,000 Bond

A Middlebury man's in jail on 50 thousand dollars bond in connection with an alleged robbery. Vermont State Police say they caught 23 year old Adam Racine with the help of DNA. Racine was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly robbing J.D.'s Quick Stop on Route 100 in Hancock. The robbery happened on August 19th and DNA evidence found at the scene matched some from Racine. Store employees say Racine was in the Quick Stop several times on the day of the robbery. He's charged with felony assault and robbery.

Stand Up and Bike

Most of us like to sit when we ride our bikes, but the Press Republican reports that's no the case for Frank Cavaluzzi. He likes to ride standing up, so that's what he's doing around the entire perimeter of Lake Champlain. Cavaluzzi calls the ride "Stand Up for Cancer" to promote and raise money for cancer awareness. He says he hopes to raise about five thousand dollars from his ride which started in Burlington. Cavaluzzi says anybody who wants more info or to contribute to the cause can go to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morristown teacher loses license

The Morristown teacher accused of molesting children in his neighborhood had his teaching license revoked yesterday. 28-year-old Shaun Bryer is accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child, lewd and lascivious conduct and other charges. Police said his victims were two 14-year-old boys. The Department of Education's Jill Remick said Bryer surrendered his license yesterday and the state promptly revoked it. Bryer is free after posting $25,000 bail.

Bennington to appeal safety fines

The town of Bennington plans to appeal nearly $6,000 in fines for safety violations. A total of 220 safety violations were discovered by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration during an inspection of town facilities in July. Several buildings were cited for having power strips plugged in together and other electrical issues. The most serious was an electrical outlet in the town clerk’s office that wasn't properly grounded; that could have resulted in dangerous voltages on the outside of a small refrigerator. The town will issue a report detailing the time and effort it has spent to correct the violations.

Evidence OK for child porn child

A judge has ruled that evidence seized in a child pornography case against a former Brattleboro teacher can be introduced at trial. Sixty-year-old Eric Achenbach taught at Brattleboro Union High School for 31 years before the charges were filed. He was arrested last year after hunters found a chest filled with child porn in the woods near his Vernon home. Achenbach argued police seized the chest illegally and said the evidence should be thrown out. A judge ruled on Tuesday that the evidence could be admitted because Achenbach's property was not posted as "No Trespassing."

Jail time for woman in gun case

A federal judge sentenced a Rutland woman to jail yesterday. Judge J. Garvan Murtha handed down a sentence of four months yesterday to 40-year-old Tammy Lynn Waite for supplying a handgun used in a deadly shootout. She had been on probation, but was returned to custody last month after violating her probation. Waite pleaded guilty last year to lying when she said she bought a handgun for herself. In fact, she purchased the weapon for Carlos Vasquez. He is an alleged drug dealer who was working from Waite’s house. He was killed there last year during a shootout.

Burlington Rated #1 by National Mag

Where's the best place to raise a family? Well, Burlington Vermont, of course and Children's Health Magazine said so! Many residents said they like it because its clean, safe and there's a lot to do when the kids are out of school. So what gave Burlington the high marks? The schools! There's a lot of money spent on each student which is one factor toward the high graduation rate. Right there are two reasons the magazine says the city is number one of 100 rated. Burlington also has fewer obese children because it has fewer fast food joints. What else makes Burlington make the top of the list? More advanced degrees and higher median incomes than other parts of the country.

NY Primary Results In

Challenger Kristy Sprague beat incumbent District Attorney Julie Garcia in the hotly contested Republican primary.

The Press Republican reports that unofficial results reported Tuesday night by the Essex County Board of Elections showed 2,312 votes for Sprague and 2,044 for Garcia. Sprague won the towns of North Elba and Ticonderoga, while Garcia took a nearly 10-point hometown win in Moriah and earned strong support in Schroon. Both candidates will remain on the ballot, Sprague running as a Republican, a conservative and an independent and Garcia running as a Democrat. In the sheriff's race, Essex County Sheriff Henry Hommes turned back a challenge from Michael "Ike" Tyler Tuesday, winning the Republican Party primary, 2,119 votes to 1,927. The Press Republican also reports that Hommes and Tyler will still face off in the Nov. 3 general election, where Tyler is running as an independent, along with a third candidate, Robert L. Kirby. Hommes is also running as Conservative and independent in the general election.

Burlington Gets Number One Ranking

Where's the best place to raise a family?

Well, Burlington Vermont, of course and Children's Health Magazine said so! Many residents said they like it because its clean, safe and there's a lot to do when the kids are out of school. So what gave Burlington the high marks? The schools! There's a lot of money spent on each student which is one factor toward the high graduation rate. Right there are two reasons the magazine says the city is number one of 100 rated. Burlington also has fewer obese children because it has fewer fast food joints. What else makes Burlington make the top of the list? More advanced degrees and higher median incomes than other parts of the country.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yankee emissions ok despite increase near school

Vermont's radiological health chief said yesterday that recent changes at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will likely increase the amount of radiation measured at a nearby elementary school. William Irwin of the state Health Department told the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee that the higher radiation levels at Vernon Elementary School are still below state and federal limits. The Committee is looking at changes to the way the state regulates radiation emissions at Vermont Yankee.

Flu prevention talk set for Rutland

A flu prevention forum is set for later this month in Rutland. State health commissioner Dr. Wendy Davis says it's more important than ever to take precautions because this coming flu season will be complex.
The meetings will host public health experts who will discuss preparations that people and communities can take to cope with the regular seasonal flu as well as swine flu. The Rutland forum will be on September 29th at the Rutland Holiday Inn.

West Rutland town sale set for September 26

West Rutland residents have a second chance to clear out their garages before the snow flies. A townwide sale will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The last sale was held back in May and was hailed as a big success. Residents have to register their sales with the town by Friday in order to be included on the townwide map. For more information, call the town office at 438-2263.

More than 3m700 to Take Retirement

New York budget officials say the number of state workers will decrease by just over 37 hundred this fiscal year. Some eleven hundred workers will take a one-time severance payment of $20,000. The state Budget Division says the cuts will probably save about $260 million over two years because they're part of cost-cutting agreements that were negotiated in June between Governor David Paterson and two unions to avoid layoffs.

IBM Hiring

While a lot of companies are laying people off in the slow economy, IBM says it's hiring in Essex Junction. IBM Spokesman Jeff Couture said quote -- "We are looking to fill manufacturing positions, manufacturing operators, and maintenance technicians." Couture says IBM needs to fill 240 of those chip manufacturing jobs this year and so far, 126 have been filled. WCAX TV reports they are the kinds of good paying jobs that made IBM Vermont's largest manufacturing employer for nearly 50 years. IBM says the new jobs carry only a one to three year guarantee for now but could become longer-term depending on the economy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

West Nile arrives in Rutland County

With the threat of the H1N1 virus at the forefront, we don't hear much about West Nile virus any more, but a mosquito caught in Brandon has tested positive for West Nile. West Nile mainly affects birds, but it has been transmitted to humans by mosquito bite. Last month's case was the first in Rutland County since 2005. Health officials say there's no cause for alarm, but people need to use preventative measures, such as wearing long sleeves, avoiding mosquitos as much as possible and getting rid of standing water. West Nile causes flu-like symptoms including fever and body aches, and causes serious symptoms in about one percent of those who become infected.

Vermont group proposes mandatory paid sick days

A coalition of Vermont organizations wants the state to guarantee paid sick time for employees of businesses in the state. The Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition is proposing a measure that gives employees working for a business for a year one hour of sick time for every 30 hours, with a maximum of 56 hours. The measure would apply only to businesses with 10 or more employees. The group said the issue is especially important now because of the CDC's recommendation to stay home from school or work if you're showing any signs of flu. There are more than 106,000 Vermonters who don't get paid if they stay home from work because of their own illness or a child's. A study by UVM medical students said lack of coverage plays a direct role in the health of the population.

Rutland survey shows mixed opinions

A new community survey has found that while Rutland residents have a high opinion of their neighborhoods, they don't think very highly of city services. On a scale of one-to-ten, residents gave the fire department a 8.5 and schools a 7.9. Neighborhood quality of life was rated 7.5. City departments appear to have some work to do, as city government responsiveness got a 6.3 and street maintenance a lowly 3.8.

Schoolteacher facing child sex assault charges

An elementary school teacher is facing multiple sexual assault charges involving two of his students. 28-year-old Shaun Bryer is known as a popular school teacher in Morristown and chairman of the Morristown select board. Bryer was arrested over the weekend after two 14-year-old boys told police he sexually abused them over two years, beginning when he was their 5th grade teacher at Morristown Elementary School. The boys told investigator Bryer molested them at his apartment, never at the school, and he paid them $20 to $150 each time. Bryer could receive a life sentence if convicted.

City workers start charitable group

Members of a Rutland City employees' union have started a nonprofit to help and promote the Rutland community. DPW employee Tom Franzoni told aldermen the group's organizers were inspired by the Rutland United Neighborhoods' Green Up Day efforts back in May. The union, Rutland DPW and Clerical Workers, Inc. plans to raise money to help local charities or residents facing hard times. The group will hold a raffle with 12 monthly drawings and a grand prize at the end of each year. Franzoni said the group wants to hear from officials and the public about where the group's help is needed.

VT State Employees and VT Have No Deal Yet

There is still no deal in place between the state of Vermont and its employees union and that could make for a tough day on Friday.

Hundreds of state employees could be laid off on Friday since there is no agreement between the state and its employees union. The Rutland Herald reports that last week, the Vermont State Employees Association proposed furloughs and unpaid holidays to make up a more than $7.4 million dollar deficit. And on Monday, the Governor's administration agreed to the cuts, if the union agreed to cuts next year and the year after that. The union countered, saying it will only negotiate contracts for each year separately.

Lots of Pot in Essex County

Authorities in Essex County, New York uncovered a large pot growing operation over the weekend.

A state police helicopter spotted what it believed to be a large marijuana growing operation in Jay. WCAX TV reports that authorities on the ground located more than 800 marijuana plants. Police expect to make at least one arrest in the case.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cops raid home, seize guns and drugs

The local drug business was dealt a blow Thursday night when police seized guns, a half-pound of marijuana, paraphernalia and more than $2,000 in cash. The raid, on a West Street home, was executed after a lengthy investigation. Police Chief William Humphries said the home has long been a source of drugs. Three people were issued citations. They are the souple living in the home and an unidentified minor. The chief said additional charges could be filed, including federal charges.
The local drug business was dealt a blow Thursday night when police seized guns, a half-pound of marijuana, paraphernalia and more than $2,000 in cash. The raid, on a West Street home, was executed after a lengthy investigation. Police Chief William Humphries said the home has long been a source of drugs. Three people were issued citations. They are the souple living in the home and an unidentified minor. The chief said additional charges could be filed, including federal charges.

Big fines for passing school buses

Now that school is back in session, Vermont State Police have issued their annual warning to motorists that failing to brake for a stopped school bus can result in big fines. Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop for school buses displaying red lights. Trooper Thomas Mozzer said police have received numerous complaints about cars on Route 4 during morning bus routes. Failing to stop can result in a $243 fine and five points on your license.

Brooke Bennet figure sentenced

Brooke Bennett's former stepfather was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison Friday on child pornography charges. 41-year-old Raymond Gagnon's attorney asked a federal judge to consider Gagnon's cooperation in the death of the 12-year-old girl, who police say was raped and strangled by her uncle last summer. Michael Jacques, a convicted sex offender, is accused of luring his niece to his home with the promise of a pool party. He has pleaded innocent to the charges. Authorities say she had been drugged and raped before her death.
Brooke Bennett's former stepfather was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison Friday on child pornography charges. 41-year-old Raymond Gagnon's attorney asked a federal judge to consider Gagnon's cooperation in the death of the 12-year-old girl, who police say was raped and strangled by her uncle last summer. Michael Jacques, a convicted sex offender, is accused of luring his niece to his home with the promise of a pool party. He has pleaded innocent to the charges. Authorities say she had been drugged and raped before her death.

Medical rules waiver extended

The state will extend a health insurance partnership with the federal government. The Global Commitment health care waiver won the extension after a vote of the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee. The waiver means Vermont has considerable flexibility in using federal money for Medicaid, Catamount Health, and the Dr. Dynasaur program for children.

Drivers Warned To Stop for Stopped School BUsses

Vermont State Police giving drivers a very basic warning:

Failure to brake for a stopped school bus can result in stiff penalties. State Police say failure to stop can result in a traffic ticket that attaches five points to an operator's license and carries a $243 fine. The Rutland Herald reports that Trooper Thomas Mozzer said vehicles on either side of the road are required to stop for school buses displaying red signal lights.He said many of the complaints police have received involved vehicles on Route 4 in Mendon during morning bus routes.
Mozzer said that Vermont State Police will be aggressively enforcing the law in the wake of the complaints.

Polikce Close Case on Thefts, ATV Fire

Police say they have closed the cases on two thefts and an arson with the arrests of two local teens.

The first theft was reported in late May, when a Franklin County resident found $1500 missing from inside his truck. The Press Republican reports that police said the man had left the money unattended after he sold a vehicle and was given the cash. Malone-based State Police said about a month later that they were contacted when a Bombay resident reported a stolen all-terrain vehicle. Then two weeks after the complaint was lodged, a trooper on patrol spotted a burned ATV abandoned in a local sand pit and linked it to the open case. Police say they solved the cases last week when they arrested 16 year old James L. Labarr and an unidentified 15-year-old boy from Bombay.Police believe Labarr,of Bombay, is responsible for the money theft and was the person who set fire to the stolen ATV.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pharmacy worker charged in drug theft

A Florence woman was allegedly caught on tape drinking narcotics from a bottle taken off a pharmacy shelf. 45-year-old Rene Meyer is charged with embezzlement and possession of narcotics. Police say video surveillance cameras at Rutland Pharmacy showed Meyer drank drugs twice while working at the Pharmacy in May. Court records show that Meyer admitted to taking the drug and claimed her doctor had prescribed it for her but she didn't have insurance to pay for it. Meyer had worked at the store for four months. Judge Thomas Zonay ordered a hearing on October 5th.

Vermonters running out of jobless benefits

More than 1,100 Vermont residents will exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of the month. A report by the National Employment Law Project shows that number of people would run out of benefits by the end of September and more than eighteen-hundred by the end of the year. Vermont provides up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Once those are exhausted, the federal government offers another 33 weeks of benefits; that has been extended once this year as part of the economic stimulus package. After both are used up, some workers will qualify for another 13 weeks of state unemployment benefits. According to the state, 702 Vermonters have maxed out their federal unemployment benefits so far this year and 319 exhausted all their unemployment benefits, including the final round of state funds.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Onve in a Lifetime Race Comes to Lake Champlain

For the next two weeks, we'll see something that we may never see again.

Dozens of sailboats on Lake Champlain for the Lightning World Championship that's happening on Malletts Bay. Fox 44 reports that next week some 62 boats from a dozen countries will converge on the lake and sailors will race a 19-foot sailboat called The Lightning. Organizers say the championship only comes to the North American continent every six years, so it is a big deal. Organizer Richard Fastiggi jokes that they won't choose Malletts Bay again since the sport moves elsewhere the next time. The race continues through next Friday.

Monahan Filaments To Close

They say not as many people want their products...

So Monahan Filaments officials say they'll close their Middlebury plant, leaving nearly 70 people out of work. Brian Crawford, vice president and general manager of Monahan told the Addison County Independent quote -- “We don’t have the business to support the facility,” The comapny bought the former Specialty Filaments business out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2007. Now, Company officials cited “market conditions, and the cost of operations in Middlebury,” as the main reasons for the decision. Some 55 employees were let go in April and the last day of work for the last 70 employees is November 15th of this year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No decision from NRC on Yankee appeal

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is postponing indefinitely a decision on the appeal by a group opposed to the relicensing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution asked the NRC to review a July decision by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board approving testing methods that plant owner Entergy uses to check metal fatigue at the Vernon plant.
Entergy has applied to the NRC to extend the plant's operating license for another 20 years, from 2012 to 2032.

FairPonit grilled by regulators

Regulators from three northern New England states met with FairPoint Communications yesterday looking for answers to the company's ongoing service problems. Thousands of FairPoint Customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have had billing problems and trouble with the company's phone and Internet services. FairPoint CEO David Hauser says the company will fix them, in part by bringing in consultants and forming teams to focus on problem areas. FairPoint wasn't able to answer every question regulators had about its timeline for resolving the problems. The Vermont Department of Public Service has asked FairPoint to give them a reason why they should be glad to operate in Vermont.

Federal aid coming for energy assistance

Three Vermont counties have been awarded federal grants for renewable energy projects. Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the legislation authorizing the grants, and said they'll help to pay for energy efficiency, use of more alternative energy and incentives for people to use carpools or public transportation. Franklin, Caledonia and Orleans Counties are first in line for the money, and Sanders says he expects most Vermont counties will receive funding.

New phone scam is just that

City Police are warning the public about yet another telephone scam. A caller you are owed thousands of dollars as a reward for paying your taxes on time. As usual in these schemes, you have to pony up hundreds of dollars as a bank transfer fee. Police said the people running the scam had access to quite a bit of the victim's personal information including their dates of birth and social security numbers. Bottom line, paying your taxes on time is expected, nothing special, the government doesn't reward you for it, and don't believe anyone who calls you offering money for anything.

Sales Tax Holiday a Hit

The Vermont sales tax holiday was a happy one for many retailers.

Many retailers in the area say their sales tripled during last month's sales tax holiday. WCAX TV reports that the University Mall says it hasn't gotten final sales numbers yet, but many of its retailers reported enthusiastic sales. Several stores at the state's largest shopping mall were up 300 percent. Even clothing and shoe stores, which never have sales tax; and the food court, which was not tax-free, had a good day. Mall marketing manager Jamie Polli said quote -- "Once people are out to buy that one or two items they had in mind that day, they're out to do other stuff. They're in the mall, they're going to eat. The food court was busy, the fashion stores were busy." The Vermont Retailers association says the timing of the sales tax holiday was perfect. Retailers got the dollars for back to school and as the stock market was improving and shoppers had the money to spend.


September is National Hunger Action Month, and the Vermont Foodbank is asking all of us to help fight hunger this month. Foodbank CEO John Sayles says one in eight people in Vermont depends on the charitable food system; more than twenty-thousand of them are kids. Every dollar donated provides two meals to a local resident. The food bank is asking Vermonters to give a little, and feed a lot. They also suggest walking in the annual Foodbank Harvest Walk, September 26th in Bellows Falls.

State's Attorney job sought by Addison County attorney

An Addison County lawyer is has announced he will seek the job of Addison County State’s Attorney, which became vacant when John Quinn retired. David Fenster got the most votes during a County Republican Committee caucus to decide whose names would be sent for Gov. James Douglas’ consideration. Committee Chairman Curtis Willey said four people applied for the nomination.
Willey said the Governor will pick either Fenster or one of two others to fill the rest of Quinn’s term.
Governor Douglas has not set a timeline for interviews or for the appointment of a new states attorney.

State auditor changes parties

State Auditor Tom Salmon has left the Democratic party to become a Republican. In announcing his plans yesterday, Salmon said he's been frustrated by the way Democrats have handled the state budget, adding Democrats have moved too far to the left.

Vermont issues serious warning to FairPoint

A Department of Public Service spokesman is warning FairPoint Communications that its license to operate in Vermont is in serious jeopardy. The Department filed a petition last month demanding to know why FairPoint should be allowed to continue operating despite problems its customers have been dealing with ever since February, when FairPoint took over landline phone and Internet service from Verizon. The department's Stephen Wark said, "It's not a bluff." Regulators in New Hampshire and Maine have been reporting similar problems with FairPoint. The company paid $2.3 billion for the networks in the three states. FairPoint spokeswoman Beth Fastiggi said the company would describe the progress it has made in a meeting to be held tomorrow.

New head at social service agency

The Rutland County Parent Child Center has a new executive director with decades of experience and a lifetime of dedication. Caprice Hover plans to increase community participation and put the center's financial needs in the spotlight here in Vermont and in Washington. The Center has about 50 employees staffing offices in Rutland, Brandon and Poultney. It serves more than three-thousand children and families with child care, assists teenage mothers get high school diplomas and supports other programs. Hover's experience in the nonprofit sector has made her a successful competitor for grants. In 2005, she applied for and received $80,000 from Congress for the Rutland Housing Coalition.

Man's death not suspicious after all

Vermont State Police say the man whose body was found in a wooded area of Clarendon probably died of natural causes. Police were called to Gorge Road Friday by someone who spotted the body. The man was later identified as 67-year-old Charles Graham of Middlebury. Results of an autopsy haven't been released but police believe Graham had a medical condition that caused his death.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Essex Co DA Investigating Missing Money

The Essex County District Attorney is investigating some missing money from North Hudon town Court.

The total 2225 dollars came up missing after a newly hired court clerk could not balance her cash drawer and asked for an audit. reports that the state comptroller's office conducted the audio and found the shortage in Justice Deborah Duntley's office. DA Julie Garcia said a former clerk recorded the receipts that totaled the missing amount, but never deposited them in the bank. The audit showed the former clerk was able to misrepresent monthly cash balances and mask the missing money. North Hudson officials say they have added security software to its computers to keep this sort of thing from happening again.

Vergennes Police Chief Resigns

Vergennes Police Chief Michael Lowe has resigned.

Lowe submitted his resignation on Friday, facing criminal charges and having an admitted drug problem. Lowe has been away from his post, on leave, since he was involved in a minor traffic incident in June which led to DUI and later other criminal charges. Lowe faces charges of embezzlement and prescription fraud. His lawyer says the charges are a result of the now former chief's addition to painkillers. Court records indicate Vergennes Patrolman Mott Roorda supplied the chief with some drugs over the past two years. WCAX TV reports that he was suspended last week and is also expected to resign.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Small plane crashes, pilot OK

A small airplane crashed at the Morrisville Airport yesterday, but the pilot suffered only minor injuries.
Morristown Police reported the single-engine plane took off at around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. The plane lost power before crashing at the end of the runway. The unidentified pilot was conscious and alert after the crash and was airlifted to Fletcher Allen Hospital.

Woman who framed man to pay same price

A woman whose lie sent a former boyfriend to jail for 92 days may spend the same amount of time behind bars. 23-year-old Kellye Stephens said she got threatening emails from Rick Anderson. Anderson spent 92 days in jail before police discovered the e-mails were phony. Stephens has now pleaded no contest to lying to police, and State's Attorney Tom Kelly said he'll ask the judge to send her to jail for the same amount of time.

Grandmother may leave jail after plea deal

A 57-year-old grandmother accepted a plea deal Friday that may get her out of jail. Denise Bates has been in jail since mid-August after Probation and Parole officials decided she violated her furlough when she was charged in July with misdemeanor retail theft. Bates agreed to plead guilty to the charge in exchange for the chance at freedom. Bates returned to jail after the hearing, but it's unclear how long she will remain behind bars. Bates was charged with first-degree murder for her role in the 2003 killing of an 85-year-old man in Benson. She was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for testimony against two co-defendants.

Burglary suspect in custody

Police investigating a string of burglaries arrested a Rutland man Saturday for breaking into the Burnham Hollow Country Store. Officers who responded to a call of a burglary in progress arrived to find Charles Doucette inside. Police said they arrested Doucette and he made "a full confession." State Police are also investigating other burglaries in Mendon and Killington.

Man gave cops hints he was DUI

When you open your car door while you're still driving, that's a sure sign to police that you may have had a few too many. That's one of the reasons State Police arrested 22-year-old Jonathan Majka Saturday morning. He was pulled over on Merchant's Row in Rutland City after reportedly driving over the double yellow lines and opening his door with the car in motion. Police reported Majka had a blood-alcohol content of point-one-four-six, nearly twice the legal limit. He was charged with DUI.

Pot farm found in Mount Tabor

State Police discovered a marijuana farm in Mount Tabor Saturday. Troopers found 15 mature marijuana plants in a remote area off the railroad tracks. Anyone with information is urged to call State Troopers at 802-773-9101.

Body Found in Clarendon

The body of a 67-year old Middlebury man was late Friday afternoon off of Gorge Road in Clarendon, Vermont.

Vermont State Police identified the body as that of Charles Graham of Middlebury. Autopsy results are not conclusive but police say there are no signs of foul play and authorities are calling this an "undetermined death" until the investigation has concluded..The Medical Examiner from Burlington responded to the scene. Gorge Road is a dirt road in a heavily wooded area.

Rainy Day Fund Intact

Despite the current recession, Vermont still has its rainy day fund.

Among all of the disagreements between lawmakers and officials Douglas administration over the state budget, there is one point of agreement: Few lawmakers and nobody in the administration want to spend the state's rainy day funds. The Rutland Herald reports that the question comes up: When will those reserves be used to offset the drop in state tax revenue that has led to hundreds of positions being eliminated and nearly130 state workers being laid off, the closure of highway rest areas and reductions in some programs? Lawmakers say when the economy improves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Comment angers man who sued state troopers

A man who was awarded $135,000 to settle his lawsuit accusing two Vermont State Police troopers of excessive force said yesterday it was wrong for the troopers' boss to defend their actions. Kevin Farnan of Petersburgh said a statement by state police director Thomas L'Esperance was sickening.
Farnan sued the troopers last year, saying he was clubbed, hit with pepper spray and shot nine times with a Taser after being placed in handcuffs after a bar altercation.

Plea deal possible in hunting death

A Georgia man may take plea bargain to avoid trial in the 2007 shooting death of a hunting companion.
An October trial date had been set for thirty-nine-year-old Timothy Madden. He was charged in the death of 43-year-old David Jenkins. Madden said he mistook Jenkins for a coyote. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for today.

Vermont Guard mission may change

Members of the Vermont National Guard were told yesterday of a change to its mission in Afghanistan.
The original plan called for the 1,500 men and women troops to be scattered throughout the country. Instead, the troops MAY work in one centralized zone. Major General Michael Dubie did not say if it is a low- or high-violence area of the country. He did say the guard will work with the Macedonian Army. The newly-elected president of Macedonia is expected to be in Vermont sometime this month to meet with Vermont National Guard leaders.

Negotiators - No teachers' contract yet

Mediation to resolve the conflict over Rutland Town teachers' contracts ended with no resolution in sight. Teachers are asking for a 4 percent increase for one year and school officials are insisting on a one-year salary freeze. Teachers Negotiator Randy Dewey said a proposal was made to the School Board in May but received no response. Board chairman Stacy Chapman called the lack of a contract "unfortunate" and said the School Board is dealing with the realities of the tax burdens on Vermonters.
Negotiations between teachers and school officials have been in progress for six months, with the first public meeting held just after the March school budget vote.

Two accused in robbery of woman

A pair of West Rutland women are charged with robbing a woman at gunpoint inside her home on Summer Street. 27-year-old Jessica Stone and 23-year-old Brittney Stone were arrested Tuesday after police another woman's purse in a car the sisters were in. A woman told police she was robbed by the Stone sisters. Officers said that after the robbery, the sisters drove around until they were pulled over.
No gun was recovered, so police ask anyone who finds a gun in the neighborhood not to touch it and to call police at 773-1816.

Two accused in robbery of woman

A pair of West Rutland women are charged with robbing a woman at gunpoint inside her home on Summer Street. 27-year-old Jessica Stone and 23-year-old Brittney Stone were arrested Tuesday after police another woman's purse in a car the sisters were in. A woman told police she was robbed by the Stone sisters. Officers said that after the robbery, the sisters drove around until they were pulled over.
No gun was recovered, so police ask anyone who finds a gun in the neighborhood not to touch it and to call police at 773-1816.

Vermont school transportation costs rise

While the number of miles dropped, the cost for transporting students to and from school in Vermont increased.

A new analysis in the Vermont Transportation Energy report shows miles driven decreased by two percent, but the cost of driving those miles went up 29 percent to more than 48 million dollars. The Burlington Free Press reports that the report covers a five year period from 2003 through 2008. The report says quote -- “The increase in cost parallels the increase in fuel cost. These costs are borne by local property taxpayers as part of their overall school taxes.” The reports states that only a portion of transportation costs was spent on fuel though. This summer, Vermont didn’t see the budget-busting prices for fuel of last year. Triple A says diesel set a record of nearly $5.00 a gallon in Vermont in June 2008, compared with $2.78 on Wednesday. But fuel costs remain more substantial than in previous years.

VT Teen Sentenced to Jail for Sexting VO

Sexting has made its way to Vermont, and a teen faces jail for doing it.

Sexting is when a person sends pics of him or herself or another person performing sex acts. Isaac Owusu, a former South Burlington High Schooler pleaded guilty to sexual assault for directing two teen girls to video or take pictures of themselves performing sex acts on themselves. They were Owusu then told them to send the pictures to him. He pleaded guilty to three related charges and will spend three months in jail, but could have been sentenced to two years and the sexual assault charges were dropped in favor of lesser charges with the plea agreement.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tax amnesty ends in Vermont

Vermont's tax amnesty program brought in much less than the expected 2.5 million dollars. The Legislature estimated that amount would be paid by delinquent taxpayers during the six-week amnesty period. Penalties were waived for people paying back taxes during the program, which ended Monday. Early figures released yesterday show only about $1.1 million has been paid. It was the second time Vermont had held a tax amnesty period; the last was in the recession of 1990.

Seizure possible cause of firefighter's death

Vermont State Police say a seizure may have been the reason for a fire truck accident that killed a firefighter. 55-year-old Kenneth Frizzell was returning from a call when he lost control and hit a telephone poll Sunday in East Charleston. The medical examiner reports Frizzell may have had a small seizure just before the accident. Frizzell was the only person on the fire truck. Police say the truck was totaled.

New top prosecutor named in Rutland

There's a new boss at the Rutland County prosecutor's office. Governor Douglas announced the appointment yesterday of 58-year-old Marc Brierre who served as a deputy state's attorney in Rutland for 26 years. He succeeds the retiring State's Attorney James Mongeon. Brierre lives in Rutland where he's a member of the Rutland Town School Board. Mongeon was Vermont's longest-serving prosecutor before his retirement. He recommended Brierre as his successor.

Firefighter held on child sex charge

A firefighter was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to charges that he had sex with a girl under 13. 34-year-old Rusty Brooks was charged with three counts of sexual assault. Brooks is a member of the White Creek, N.Y., Fire Company and at one time was an assistant chief of the North Bennington Fire Department. Court records show the the girl's aunt notified the Department of Children and Families, saying the child had been sexually abused since she was 10. Brooks denied the allegations.

Jazz star coming to Middlebury

Violinist Jonathan Jazz Russell will perform at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on September 20th.
Russell is the newest jazz phenomenon and released his first self- produced CD in 2006 entitled “Sheik of Araby.” He recently performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Band. Oh, and one other thing: He's 14 years old.

Sierra Club: Middlebury College and University of Vermont on "Cool Schools" List

The Sierra Club says two Vermont colleges are on its top-20 list of "coolest schools" for their efforts to stop global warming.

Middlebury College and the University of Vermont are numbers 3 and 4 respectively, on Sierra Magazine's list. Schools are graded on a 1-10 scale in eight categories. Middlebury installed a wood-chip fired biomass steam heating plant this year. The plant will meet about half of the school's heating, cooling and hot water needs. The University of Vermont was touted for its wide variety of on-campus initiatives, like its new Clean Energy Act, the Campus Kitchens Project and the university's Sustainable Food Working Group. Our two schools were beaten out of the top spots by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Washington at Seattle.

Scozzafaza Comes to Plattsburgh

The race to fill New York's 23rd Congressional district seat has made its way through Plattsburgh.

Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava used bikes as a back drop to talk about jobs yesterday. Fox 44 reports that The current New York State Representative out of 122nd Assembly district started her tour by checking out some Harley's. Part of her plan for job creation is to push Harley Davidson to move a factory from Pennsylvania to the area. She said quote -- "They're looking around for a new location for a manufacturing plant, and we want to make sure they know we have the location, have the workforce, and we're willing and able if they want to come to the New York area to set up shop."
In addition to job creation, she also talked about health care reform. saying something must be done, and while she's not in favor of a nationalized plan, she wouldn't rule out some sort of public option.


50-year-old hardware store closes without notice

Rutland shoppers will have to get used to seeing one more empty storefront downtown. A hardware store that has served residents for more than a half-century suddenly closed its doors for good yesterday. As hard as it was for some to take the loss of another local business, some shoppers were even more rattled by the fact that no notice had been given. One man did say that he was in the store recently and noticed there wasn't as much merchandise on the shelves as he was acustomed to seeing.

Not guilty plea from Rutland robbery suspect

An 18-year-old Rutland man has denied any involvement with three robberies Sunday and Monday. Police say Bigelow robbed Mac's Market on Route 7 shortly after Cumberland Farms on Route 7 was robbed. A gas station on Route 4 was robbed by an armed gunman the night before. At this point, Bigelow has only been charged with the Mac's Market robbery, where a clerk made a positive identification. Bigelow has a felony conviction after being arrested in connection with a 2007 burglary. For that reason, he was ordered held without bail.

Vt. Yankee supervisor suspended - alcohol

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is in the spotlight again after a supervisor at the plant was placed on restricted status after testing positive for alcohol. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed the supervisor's unescorted access to the plant was revoked Monday after a random test disclosed the presence of alcohol. A spokesman for Vermont Yankee was not available for comment.

No stamps at state fair

A longtime part of the Vermont State Fair will be missing from now on. The Rutland County Stamp Club has pulled out of its annual display after 55-years because it can't find enough members to participate. The stamp club's Michael McMorrow said the hobby just isn't as popular as it used to be. The withdrawal also the end of another of the annual traditions – commemorative stamp covers, the envelopes marked with logos, stamps other marks designed by a club member. Fair manager Richard Rivers said the space formerly used by the stamp club will be turned over to a photography exhibit, showcasing a hobby that has grown steadily over the past few years.

Man pleads guilty to pointing gun

A man entered a guilty plea to charges he pointed a gun at a man on Curtis Avenue in Rutland. 38-year-old Carl Peer pleaded was cited in June after police said he took a gun from the back seat of his car during an argument and pointed it at the man he was arguing with. He was booked on a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment in Rutland District Court. He received a suspended sentence of from three-months to one-year in jail.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Same Sex Marriages Not the Same State-to-State

Although Vermont passed same-sex marriage into law and several couples took advantage of the new law early Tuesday morning, one civil rights lawyer says there's still a long way to go legally.

Lawyers and same-sex marriage activist Beth Robinson says while those living in Vermont are assured of things like health care, once they're beyond the border, those benefits still might not exist. Fox 44 reports that Wanda Walton and Martha Martin couldn't be happier, they just got their marriage license. But the Georgia couple, who got married in Vermont early yesterday morning won't get those benefits when they head home. Martha Martin says quote -- "In Georgia, they don't recognize this, but for us it's a symbolic act. Robinson calls the new law progress, but says there's still a long way to go. She says as individual states recognize same sex unions, the country as a whole will have to take notice. Robinson says issues, including social security benefits, health plans, and end of life rights will still only be accepted on a state-by-state basis until the federal government steps in.

Legal Impact of Same Sex Marriage

Legal Impact of Same Sex Marriage VO

Although Vermont passed same-sex marriage into law and several couples took advantage of the new law early Tuesday morning, one civil rights lawyer says there's still a long way to go legally.

She says while those living in Vermont are assured of things like health care, once they're beyond the border, those benefits still might not exist. Fox 44 reports that Wanda Walton and Martha Martin couldn't be happier, they just got their marriage license. But the Georgia couple, who got married in Vermont early yesterday morning won't get those benefits when they head home. Martha Martin says quote -- "In Georgia, they don't recognize this, but for us it's a symbolic act. Lawyers and same-sex marriage activist Beth Robinson calls the new law progress, but says there's still a long way to go. She says as individual states recognize same sex unions, the country as a whole will have to take notice. Robinson says issues, including social security benefits, health plans, and end of life rights will still only be accepted on a state-by-state basis until the federal government steps in.

Stop Signs Added at Intersection

Officials in Peru, New York agreed to place additional stop signs at a dangerous intersection where a state trooper was killed. Trooper Travis Capen was off duty and on his motorcycle last month when he was hit and killed on Laphams Mills Road. He was struck by a car pulling off Dashnaw Road which does have a stop sign. WCAX TV reports that they will now add stop signs to Laphams Mills Road too, which will make that intersection a four-way stop.

Ethan Allen workers laid off

About 250 layoffs announced in June went into effect Friday at an Ethan Allen furniture plant in Vermont.
In January, the company reduced hours for most Vermont employees. 110 workers were laid off in February and 20 more were let go in March. The laid-off workers are eligible for federal assistance, job search and relocation allowances.

St. Johnsbury soldier honored at funeral

Family and friends gathered this weekend to honor the life of 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Joseph Fortin, who was killed in Iraq last month. The Governor and and Fortin's fellow soldiers were among the mourners.
The St. Johnsbury man was killed by an improvised explosive device near Baghdad. Thousands of mourners lined roads as the soldier's body was returned to St. Johnsbury from the Burlington Airport.
Fortin left a wife, his parents and siblings.

Fairpoint answers charges it faked data

FairPoint Communications is denying a whistleblower's allegations that it faked a demonstration of its readiness last year. Regulators in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine received anonymous e-mail from
someone claiming to have inside information about the company who said FairPoint used a computer simulation to trick a consultant into believing its systems were ready. The company announced yesterday its own investigation turned up no evidence of such fraud.

Man arrested in string of holdups

Rutland City Police say they have arrested a man in connection with one of three robberies that took place Monday night and yesterday. 18-year-old Brennan Bigelow will be arraigned today in Rutland District Court. He was held overnight at the Rutland jail on $150,000 bail. State Police said the robbery spree began Sunday night when a man with a gun held up the Shell station in Rutland Town. Early yesterday morning, Cumberland Farms on South Main Street was held up by a man with a similar handgun. Later in the morning, Mac's Market on North Main Street was robbed at gunpoint. The gunman got into a car that was described to officers by a store employee. Police stopped the car and the man, later identified as Bigelow, was arrested. No one was injured in any of the robberies.