Thursday, December 10, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 10, 2009

Transportation officials say they will likely be blowing up the Champlain Bridge very soon. The plan is to bring the 80-year old bridge down in a controlled explosion. Officials are about to select a contractor for the work but they still need permits. The bridge contains potential environmental hazards like lead, which will end up in the Lake. VTRANS hopes to be able to get the bridge down before the Lake freezes over.

The storm that blasted New England knocked out power to at least 14,000 customers in Vermont. By late yesterday, about 10,000 customers were still without electricity. Central Vermont Public Service says Bennington, Rutland and Addison counties were hardest hit, with high winds knocking down trees and power lines. Winds measured almost 44 mph at the Middlebury Airport and had downed so many trees and branches that emergency personnel closed portions of Painter and Cobble Roads, Foote and Munger Streets and even part of Route 116 late in the afternoon.

Governor David Paterson says New York has run out of cash and he's directing budget officials to reduce aid payments to schools, local governments and non-profit service providers until things improve. The state faces a negative general fund balance of more than $1 billion at the end of December, which would be a first for New York.

A warning for people who take certain Alka-Seltzer products … there's a voluntary recall on some packages of Alka-Seltzer plus day and night cold liquid gels. The problem, the packaging does not properly display information about drowsiness. The lot number is 296939-L. Consumers who purchased the product should contact Bayer for a replacement or refund.

FairPoint Communications says it's going to take more time to file its bankruptcy reorganization plan. The troubled telecommunications company says it will file the plan by January 15th. The company says it is pushing back the deadline to finalize settlements with lenders, unions and other parties.

The state of Vermont spent nearly $206,000 on bottled water for the Statehouse and other state offices last year, and now a consumer group is urging officials in Vermont and three other states to think outside the bottle. Corporate Accountability International says groundwater is being privatized by bottlers and that the bottles are big parts of waste streams.

A Burlington Clinic that provides services to more than 12,000 low income residents received a 10.9-Million-Dollar grant from the federal government. The one-time gift will allow The Community Health Center of Burlington to more than double in size from 15,000 square feet to almost 32,000 square feet. Construction is expected to start this spring.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen have welcomed a baby boy. Brady announced the birth yesterday. He says the baby was born Tuesday and that he and Bundchen had not chosen a name. He called it "a wonderful experience in my life."

Manchester Police Chief Manfred Wessner is retiring next July after 37 years as chief. Wessner was 26 when his predecessor -- Dana Thompson -- was murdered during a 1972 pharmacy robbery.

The driver of a UPS truck that was hit by a train is in critical condition at a Burlington hospital. State police say 28-year-old driver Joshua Newton slid on a snowy road into the path of the northbound freight train in Roxbury yesterday. Police say he was not speeding.