Monday, December 21, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 21, 2009

The Ticonderoga Ferry plans to return to its regular schedule today. It operated on an abbreviated schedule Sunday after being closed Friday and Saturday due to ice forming on Lake Champlain, The ferry, which connects Shoreham to Ticonderoga, N.Y., will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is free. The ferry's season was extended due to the closing of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Crown Point, N.Y., and West Addison. The bridge, which was closed in October because of problems in the span's piers, is scheduled to be demolished Wednesday. The ferry schedule is dependent on weather conditions, said John Zicconi, director of planning, outreach and community affairs for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. For the latest information, travelers can go to the ferry company's Web site at

The Crown Point Bridge is schedule to be demolished on Wednesday and officials are expecting crowd. State officials are making it clear that this is a construction site and safety will come first. No one will be allowed within a thousand feet of the bridge. They say, “We’re not throwing a party here.” There will be no facilities and parking will be scarce.

The latest unemployment report includes some good news about Vermont's economy. Vermont's unemployment rate dropped in November for the third month in a row. It fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.4 percent. However, state labor officials remain wary of the numbers because other economic indicators suggest the Vermont job market is not yet in full recovery.

A panel formed to examine the viability and financial structure of Burlington Telecom will hold its first meeting today. The seven-member Blue Ribbon Committee on Burlington Telecom, is tasked with assessing the city-owned telecommunications company's debt load and whether it needs more financing to operate.

It's been a decade since the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in a groundbreaking case that led to the state's civil unions law. The court ruled in a case deciding whether gay and lesbian couples were entitled to the same legal rights and protections as married male and female couples. Now, Vermont and a handful of other states have laws recognizing gay marriage.

Police are investigating a train-car crash that killed an elderly couple in Randolph, Vt., but they say crossing lights and bells were working at the time of the collision. Randolph Patrolman Tom Simpson say that the engineer on the Amtrak passenger train told him the train was traveling within its speed limit when it struck the car.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials say ice fishing season is just around the corner, if nature cooperates. Fish and Wildlife officials recommend at least 6 inches of solid ice for safe fishing. Vermont's ice fishing season for trout, salmon and bass starts Jan. 16.

About 447,000 Dorel baby car seat carriers are being recalled after dozens of reports of the child restraint handle coming loose. There have been at least three injuries to babies, including bumps, bruises and a head injury. Dorel Juvenile Group Inc., of Columbus, Ind., has received 77 reports of the child restraint handle fully or partially coming off the product. The recall involves Safety 1st, Cosco, Eddie Bauer and Disney branded infant car seat carriers with certain model numbers. They were sold at department and juvenile product stores nationwide from January 2008 through this month. The recall was announced on Friday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Dorel Juvenile Group.

The health care overhaul taking shape in Congress includes a provision pushed by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy to increase the state's Medicaid payments by $250 million over six years. The provision, also supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, is included in an amendment of negotiated provisions offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday.

A 19-year-old Green Mountain College student is suing the school over a lack of single-sex bathrooms in the her coed residence hall. Jennifer Weiler filed a civil complaint last week against the Department of Public Safety, which enforces building and plumbing codes she claims were violated. According to the lawsuit, Weiler and others are uncomfortable with the flimsy curtains on the shower doors and men using the toilets without closing the door. A college spokesman declined to comment.

An alert driver may have saved the life of a Vermont man whose car flipped over into an icy brook. Authorities say Randy Leavitt was driving home Thursday night and noticed tire marks cutting through a snow bank in South Royalton. He found a car overturned in Broad Brook and the driver trapped with only his head above water. Leavitt pulled David Martineau of East Barnstead part way out of the window and ran to a nearby home to call for help. Temperatures reached minus 4 degrees that night.