Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 22, 2009

CROWN POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Public viewing areas will be set up in New York and Vermont for the demolition Wednesday of the Lake Champlain Bridge. In New York, two viewing areas will be available along the shore in Port Henry, about 2 miles west of the 80-year-old bridge. On the Vermont side, Route 125 in Addison, Vt., is the designated viewing area. A 1,000-foot buffer zone will bar the public from the area immediately surrounding the bridge, and the Federal Aviation Association has established a 2,000-foot no-fly zone around it. The span, on the lake's narrow southern end, was closed Oct. 16 when engineers deemed it wasn't safe because of severe erosion to its concrete piers. The demolition will be broadcast live on the Internet: https://www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge

With the Champlain Bridge about to come down, its replacement is taking theoretical shape. The public advisory committee voted unanimously last week to recommend a design resembling the existing bridge. That designed has also been favored heavily in an online poll. Vermont Agency of Transportation spokesman John Zicconi said the design is not the final choice, as New York and Vermont will take public comments until Jan. 11 and make their decision soon after.

University of Vermont officials say the school is getting a $5 million donation to help take a middle school technology program statewide. The goal is to have the program, providing schools with training and equipment, in place at ever middle school in Vermont within the next 10 years.

The Vermont Health Department says it has enough swine flu vaccine for anyone over aged 6 months who would like to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu. Health Commissioner Dr. Wendy Davis says the focus continues to be on vaccinating high-risk populations, but other people can be vaccinated as well.

FairPoint Communications has named a former Vermont legislator and secretary of administration Michael Smith, to be the company's new Vermont state president. FairPoint bought Verizon Communications' landline and Internet operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It's had lots of technology problems and filed for bankruptcy.

The deadline for bids to acquire 79 supermarkets in the Northeast operated by the bankrupt Penn Traffic Co. has been extended for six more weeks. After getting a request for extra time from Sen. Charles Schumer, the supermarket chain's largest lender, GE Capital, agreed to extend yesterday's deadline for potential buyout offers.

A Republican familiar with the plan says Rudy Giuliani is expected to endorse Republican Rick Lazio for New York governor. The decision is confirmed by a Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official isn't authorized to speak about the endorsement. The endorsement by Giuliani, known as America's mayor for his leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks, is scheduled for Tuesday. Lazio is a former congressman from Long Island and announced his candidacy months ago. He's been campaigning since. Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Democratic Gov. David Paterson is seeking a full term in 2010 and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is expected to be weighing what would be his second run at the job.

Two teenagers will be in a Burlington Courtroom today answering to the charges of mugging a woman on lower College Street yesterday afternoon. Police say 17-year-old Robert Bigelow and a 15 year old attacked the woman and stole her purse. Police will not say whether they believe this is connected to the mugging last week near the Macy's parking garage.

Police are seeking the public's help in identifying a suspect who they say attempted to rob Small Dog Electronics in South Burlington early yesterday morning. Investigators say nothing was taken from the business. Anyone with any information about this crime is asked to call the South Burlington Police Department.

If you’re going to explore the Adirondacks, the Department of Conservation reminds you that winter time can be a dangerous time for being in the wilderness. Officials say you should dress in layers, with hats, gloves, boots and wind/rain-resistant outerwear. Day packs should include an ice axe, food, water, clothing, maps, compass, first-aid kit and blankets.

Construction starts today on the docks for the new ferry that will cross Lake Champlain near the Crown Point Bridge. The 140-ton steel framework for the dock will go up on the south side of the bridge. The first load of steal is being delivered today. Officials hope to have the steal work done by early January so the entire dock can be completed by the end of January.

Vermont State Police arrested a man they say is responsible for at least 17 burglaries of camps in the Fairfield Pond area. 23-year-old Joseph Shepard of St. Albans Town was arrested in connection with the cases. Police say Shepard stole copper plumbing and other items from the camps in the first half of December.