Friday, December 11, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 11, 2009

Vermont electric utilities are estimating that about 1,500 customers are still without power following the first major winter storm of the season. Central Vermont Public Service Corp. said by 5 p.m. yesterday most of the outages were in Addison, Bennington and Rutland counties.

The New York Department of Transportation is going to show people 5 possible designs for a new bridge across Lake Champlain that will link Crown Point and Addison. The designs will be displayed tomorrow at a series of meetings in Ticonderoga at LaChute Hall. The meetings will be at 9:30, 12:30 and 3:30.

The lay-offs have started at Pfizer in Rouses Point. Officials say a total of 200 pink slips are being handed out now. The employees are being given 90 days before being put out of work and the layoff includes all managers. Workers at Rouses Point can re-apply for jobs at other Pfizer plants.

FairPoint is blocking calls from people using the long distance phone provider Global Naps. FairPoint officials say they have not received any payments from the Massachusetts company for the use of its lines in months. Industry officials suspect thousands of calls from Global Nap customers to FairPoint customers are being blocked.

Governor Jim Douglas says Vermonters should get ready for more cutbacks in state services. The state is facing a $150 million deficit next year. Douglas is working on a state budget to present to lawmakers next month. He says state government needs to be more efficient but cuts to programs will also be part of his plan.

The pedestrian ferry between Basin Harbor and Westport is now closed. According to the New York Department of Transportation, the service ended on Tuesday because of the rising water level of the lake. Officials say the docks flooded "to a point that safe operations for passengers and crew" could not be assured.

The federal government is lifting weight limits for trucks on Vermont's interstate highways as part of a pilot program. The goal of the one-year program is to solve a problem that sends heavy trucks through Vermont cities and villages instead of using interstate highways. Legislation containing the change was included in the federal transportation bill that is being considered by Congress.

The 340 members of the Vermont National Guard’s 172nd Cavalry squadron leaving today for combat training in Indiana have a new name for their upcoming mission in Afghanistan: Task Force Morgan. Today’s farewell ceremony, like the one Sunday for 298 members will be held at the University of Vermont tennis complex.

Some residents of Rutland aren't happy about changes to the snowplow routes. This is the first winter season in 40 years that plowing contractors Don and John Quirk have had their routes changed. Town Clerk Marie Hyjek says she received 15 complaint calls during Wednesday's storm.

A group of Vermont Yankee opponents who want the state to block its re-licensing are planning a novel approach - walking 122 miles from Brattleboro to Montpelier to buttonhole legislators at the Statehouse. The march, by members of the Safe and Green citizens group who live in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns begins Jan. 2.

Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas is surprised he was sent home by coach Bill Belichick for being late to a team meeting. Thomas was 1 of 4 players who were sent home for tardiness on Wednesday. Thomas also said he almost got into a car accident as he drove to Gillette Stadium during a snowfall that tied up traffic.