Friday, April 30, 2010

WVTK Local & State News April 30, 2010

The New York State Department of Transportation will be hosting a public informational meeting regarding the status of the Lake Champlain Bridge. Key topics will include an update on the design of the new bridge, current debris clean up, and commemoration of the old bridge. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 11th, at 6:30 PM at the Addison Central School.

Vergennes Union Elementary School officials are looking at spending up to $200,000 this summer to replace one of the school’s boilers and build a new roof on one section of the East Street building. The School has $125,000 set aside in a capital fund including $15,000 in its recently approved budget to help pay for the work.

Charlotte Residents will once again try to pass a school budget for next year on May 18. Until then, officials have some work to do on trimming the budget. Another work session is planned for Monday Night at 7 at which they expect to vote on the budget that will be presented. A public hearing on the new proposed budget will take place on May 13 at 7 PM.

The Vermont House voted unanimously to join 47 other states that use ignition interlocks to help stop drunken drivers. Lawmakers say they want to provide an alternative to the traditional 90-day license suspension for first-time offenders. A similar bill has already passed the Senate. Governor Jim Douglas hopes both the House and Senate can come to a compromise soon.

Dairy farmers across the region are facing a tough decision. Its spring time and time to start thinking about planting crops so that they will have enough feed for the winter. Cash strapped farmers are finding it hard to come up with the money for seeds and fertilizer. To help, the state is offering nearly a million dollars in low-interest loans to farmers for spring planting.

Vermont's cleanup plan for Lake Champlain may be in jeopardy. The EPA is withdrawing its approval of the plan-- suggesting the state may need to do more to clean up the lake. Officials will spend the next four months reviewing more recent scientific data to determine whether additional pollution controls are needed.

School and town officials in Starksboro are considering a plan to install a 150-kilowatt solar array in the town before the expiration of generous state and federal tax credits. The selectboard and the Robinson Elementary School board are jointly considering the possible solar array, which officials hope could supply town and school buildings with renewable energy while locking in electricity costs for both groups.

Middlebury College’s library will finally get a name but officials aren’t saying what that name will be. Since it opened in 2004, the library has been known as the “new” or “main” library. But at a ceremony next Thursday (May 6) evening, the college will introduce the longtime college alumnus and supporter for whom the library will be named.

A retired hospital vice president has been selected to take the reins of leadership of the Rutland Police Commission. Mayor Christopher Louras has chosen 66-year-old Larry Jensen to fill both an empty seat and the chairman's post on the five-member commission charged with overseeing the Police Department.

Rutland Town plans to pave 14 streets this summer, including McKinley Avenue and a portion of Town Line Road, where they'll use a cold mix instead of hot mix to save some money. Four contractors put in bids for the project and the job went to Fuller Sand & Gravel after a unanimous vote by the Select Board.

Some state lawmakers want to see restrictions put on how far Vermont's executive branch can go in monitoring state workers' Web usage. While one lawmaker calls such snooping an insult to state employees, the state's human resources chief says taxpayers have an interest in seeing that state workers use their time at work effectively.

A house in West Chezy is completely destroyed after catching on fire twice in 12 hours. The owner left the house on Wednesday because there was no power. Authorities suspect the first fire started once the power was restored. Fire fighter were called back to the house a few hours later to find it once again, engulfed in flames. The cause of both fires is still being investigated.

The U.S. Department of Labor's latest statistics reveal Burlington has the lowest unemployment rate in New England. The jobless rate for the city in March was 6 percent, down from 6.9-percent a year ago. It's not only the lowest unemployment rate in the 6-state region, but also the 20th-lowest rate among the 372 metropolitan markets measured by the Feds.

Vermont's Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is hoping to add 10,000-square feet of office space in Williston. On Monday the Williston Selectboard will consider a request to expand at the Marshall Avenue warehouse. In December, the company was authorized to receive almost $300,000 in job creation incentives from the state for expanding its facilities in Chittenden County.

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Green Up Day-- the annual effort to clean up Vermont. It started back in 1970. Communities across the state will be hosting drop-off locations for any trash you pick up as well as other activities. You can check with your Town Clerk to find out what's taking place in your community.