Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 23, 2009

Officials say demolition of the closed Lake Champlain Bridge between New York and Vermont has been delayed until Monday because ice and severe cold have slowed preparations for the explosions. Two public viewing areas will be available on the New York shore in Port Henry and another will be set up on the Vermont shore on Route 125.

Some Vermont National Guard members are returning home today to spend Christmas with their loved ones. About 700 soldiers are training in Indiana right now. They've been gone for about two weeks. About half of the soldiers are taking advantage of free bus rides home, and will be arriving back in Vermont this morning.

A new report says the condition of Vermont's housing stock is hurting low-income people in more ways than one. The 2010 Vermont Housing Needs Assessment, which was released yesterday, says low-income households are being forcing to pay a higher percentage of their income in rent than other groups.

Vermont health officials are urging college students returning home for the holidays to get swine flu shots while they're home. The state Department of Health says H1N1 flu illnesses have dropped in recent weeks, but that cases are still being confirmed.

Democratic state lawmaker Ira Trombley has passed away. He was 57 years old and a fellow lawmaker says he had recently suffered from a foot infection. A state party leader tells The Burlington Free Press Trombley was a passionate public servant.

Ground beef from a farm in Shelburne is being recalled because of possible E. coli contamination. State health officials say most of the affected meat from Harrington and Sons Packing has already been retrieved. There have been no reports so far of any illnesses.

Gardener's Supply has been sold to its employees. Founder Will Raap will continue as chairman of the Burlington-based garden products retailer, but he will also work on other nonprofit and for-profit initiatives.

The state of Vermont wants to crack down on unlicensed salvage yards, and it's looking for your help. Only about 75 salvage yards have state licenses, but the state Agency of Natural Resources says up to 300 may actually exist around the state. State officials say they want to bring the yards' owners into compliance with state and local laws.

Vermont State Police say a 911 call from a passenger in a car traveling the wrong way on Interstate 91 led to a drunken driving charge against the operator. Bradford L. Sargent, of Brattleboro, was charged after 911 dispatchers fielded calls from people who had seen his car traveling north in the southbound lanes near Brattleboro.

Some indigenous Vermont turtles are getting a cozy home for the winter, thanks to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington. For a fourth year, the aquarium on Lake Champlain is hosting a group of spiny soft-shell, northern map and painted turtles. The spiny soft-shell turtles, whose loss of habitat has made them a high priority for conservationists, are among the hatchlings who will also be used for weekend stewardship and awareness demonstrations at ECHO. They'll be released back into the wild next spring.