Friday, December 4, 2009

WVTK Local & State News December 4, 2009

Federal highway officials could OK demolition of the closed Crown Point Bridge over Lake Champlain early next week. A New York official says the decision could come Monday with a contractor chosen to carry it out possibly on Wednesday.

State transportation agencies in New York and Vermont are looking for public comments on options for a new bridge over Lake Champlain. The existing bridge linking Crown Point, N.Y., and Addison, Vt., has been closed since Oct. 16 when it was found to be in unsafe, deteriorated condition. Transportation officials plan to demolish it and build a new one. The states will hold three meetings to present plans and options to the public on Saturday, Dec. 12, at LaChute Hall, 132 Montcalm Street, Ticonderoga. The identical meetings, at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 and 3:30, will include a formal presentation followed by a question & answer session. Attendees will be asked for opinions on design and features for the new bridge. Comments also may be e-mailed to R01

State DMV officials say drivers can now get enhanced driver’s licenses, which can be used for land travel to Canada, out of the agency's Rutland office. Until now, the licenses have only been available out of the DMV's central office in Montpelier.

FairPoint Communications has filed a court motion asking that it not be forced to give Maine customers rebates because of its poor service as the company works its way through bankruptcy. A hearing on the motion is set for Dec. 9. FairPoint bought Verizon's landline and Internet operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in 2008.

Vermont state employees will see a 3 percent pay reduction and no automatic step increases for the next three years, under a contract agreement with the Douglas administration. Gov. Jim Douglas is hailing the agreement, saying it shows state workers are willing to tighten their belts in the face of the current economic downturn.

Police in Burlington say a woman is being held for a mental health evaluation after she allegedly assaulted two staff members at a school. Police Chief Michael Schirling says Halima Deng, a former parent of a Lawrence Barnes School student, entered the school prompting officials to lock it down. She's charged with simple assault.

Vermont state Auditor Tom Salmon says he wants to move forward after pleading guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. During a court appearance yesterday in Barre, Salmon entered the plea and agreed to pay a fine of $500 and $376 in court costs. His license also has been suspended.