Thursday, April 29, 2010

WVTK Local & State News April 29, 2010

The former police chief of Vergennes will be spending six months in prison. Mike Lowe was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty earlier this month to DUI, prescription fraud and neglecting his duties. Probation will follow Lowe's six-month sentence. His attorney is asking for the sentence to be spent on a work camp.

Porter Hospital is getting some money from the state to cover losses during the Champlain Bridge closure. When the bridge closed, employees had to travel long distances to get to work. The hospital decided to reimburse employees that cost, which was about $10 a day for mileage. The state budget bill sets aside $40,000 for Porter, which is the total spent during the time the Champlain Bridge was closed.

Thousands of electric customers are still without power across northern New York and Vermont after a record setting snowstorm dropped two feet of snow in some areas. There are still over 4,000 customers in the dark. The majority of them are Vermont Electric Cooperative Customers. Officials say the power should be restored to just about everyone by tonight.

Killington Town officials faced some harsh opposition to a proposed $900,000 land purchase during a recent informational meeting on the former Fireside Lodge property. The public will vote on two questions at the polls Tuesday: whether to purchase the 37-acre property, located on Killington Road across from the Grist Mill Restaurant, and how to fund it. At a meeting Monday, some residents expressed their concern about what the land will be used for and if they will be asked for money out of their pockets in the future for further development on the property.

Rutland will sponsor an informational meeting at 6 p.m. on May 12 at Rutland Regional Medical Center's Leahy Conference Center to help educate the property owners around Moon Brook Watershed about how they may be affected by new state storm water rules and regulations. The changes in law with which the watershed and, eventually, the entire municipality will be expected to comply arise largely from Moon Brook's designation as a storm water impaired waterway.

Democrats and Gov. Jim Douglas may be close to reaching a deal on how to fix the state's unemployment insurance trust fund. The governor and House and Senate leaders met several times yesterday. Because of the recession, the state has to borrow $4 million a week from the federal government to pay benefits. Both sides are trying to figure out the right balance between having employers pay more or having laid off workers get less.

New York Gov. David Paterson is asking the Legislature to pass his spending proposal or start working a full, 5-day week to craft and pass a state budget, now nearly a month overdue. Paterson is also asking the Legislature to approve a 1-day furlough for 100,000 state workers every week as the state continues to function on two-week emergency spending appropriations.

A Plattsburgh State student has been charged with filing a false report after telling police she was attacked by 3 men on the path behind Wilson Hall. The student, whose name has not been released, is being charged with a misdemeanor for filing a false report. She also faces judicial charges from the University.

The Vermont Senate has OK'd a resolution asking Washington to drop its threat to penalize states that want to lower their drinking age. Supporters of the proposal to lower the drinking age to 18 say having the threat of loosing federal highway money removed would allow the state government to have a proper debate on the issue.

The Essex Town Post Office will stay open. The U.S. Postal Service had considered selling the post office on Essex Way and transfer the operations to the Essex Junction Post Office on Pearl Street. Selling the property would have generated some revenue for the Postal Service. The property is worth $2.5 million dollars.

A New York man has pled guilty to charges stemming from a plan to rob a bank in Jericho last year. 20-year-old Shane DiRisio of Weedsport pled guilty to having a stolen gun. In exchange for his plea, authorities dropped the charges of conspiring to commit armed bank robbery. Police say DiRisio and 24-year-old Daniel Shinosky of Jericho planned to rob the Merchants Bank.

Senate lawmakers approved a bill setting tough penalties for Vermont slaughterhouses that abuse or mistreat animals, a reaction to last year's scandal at a Grand Isle facility. Under the proposed new rules, slaughterhouses could face fines for mistreating animals and a facility would be permanently shut down by the state if they are found in violation more than two times.

Three Democrats running for governor of Vermont took their campaigns to a forum at Barre Town Middle and Elementary School. Matt Dunne, Peter Shumlin and Doug Racine answered questions posed by seventh- and eighth-grade students about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, the cost of higher education and other topics.

A Vermont hiker has been rescued in Jericho after becoming lost on the Long Trail in the snowstorm. State Police say 19-year-old Dylan Sunderland of Burlington started hiking from the Underhill State Park on Monday and planned to camp for two nights at two different camp locations along the trail. Searchers found him at 12 p.m. yesterday near the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho. Police say he is in good condition although he had become ill after falling into a brook.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has dropped its effort to bar a documentary filmmaker from bringing his camera along on a tour of the plant with the state Public Service Board. The filmmaker has been working on a film about the debate over relicensing the plant.