Thursday, May 20, 2010

WVTK Local & State News May 20, 2010

Residents in Schroon Lake will vote a second time on the school budget at a special election in June. Meanwhile, no decision has been made in Ticonderoga on a second vote. New York law says a school budget can only be voted on twice. If the second budget gets defeated, the district must then adopt a spending plan within state parameters.

Authorities are warning you to be on the lookout for a nationwide phone scam that has started to target Vermonters. The phone scam works like this ... someone calls you saying they are from a magazine company and that you owe them money. They then proceed to try to get your address and credit card information. Police say you report any suspicious calls you receive.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture officials announced the beginning of a new benefit for dairy producers called Farm First. In addition to providing confidential consultation and counseling, the first of its kind program also provides current information and referrals to farmers who work day and night to keep their dairy farms running.

Police have arrested a Rutland man for allegedly robbing a convenience store last week. Authorities say 20-year-old Jeffery Bussino held-up the Midway Mobil at gunpoint last Tuesday. When the cash drawer wouldn't open, police say Bussino took the whole register. Bussino was identified from store surveillance videos.

A developer made his opening pitch to the town of Fair haven on Tuesday for a project he says will create hundreds of jobs in the region. Beaver Wood Energy outlined its proposal to build a 29-megawatt biomass plant off Route 4. They are seeking to build a similar plant in Pownal. The company is still working on financing and has letters of intent from five utilities to negotiate to buy the power.

Vermont's largest electric utilities now have the approval necessary to buy power from a large new wind farm in northern New Hampshire. It's going to be about two years before the 99-megawatt Granite Mountain Wind Project will be built in New Hampshire's Coos County, complete with 33 turbines. Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power will buy half of the power generated. GMP is also trying to build its own wind farm in Lowell, and both utilities are working on plans for long-term hydropower from Quebec.

Following last week's meeting with local businesses in the Moon Brook watershed, the mayor and city engineer will meet with attorneys from the Conservation Law Foundation next Friday. Mayor Christopher Louras said he requested the meeting as an opportunity to share with the city's argument that temperature and not storm water, as the state contends, is what's keeping aquatic life out of Moon Brook.

The museum at the Stephen A. Douglas Birthplace in Brandon will hold a soft opening tomorrow, debuting several displays on different aspects of Brandon's history. Born in Brandon in 1813, Douglas trained in the area as a cabinetmaker before leaving for Illinois in 1833. The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce is still looking for volunteer staff and that anyone interested should contact the chamber.

Officials are trying to prevent a nuisance species from entering Lake Champlain. 

The spiny water flea reproduces at such a high rate that it can wreck fishing lines and displace native species. 

The creature has been found in a New York lake. Officials had worried that the flea would float 60 miles into Lake Champlain but a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Vermont has found that it's more probable it will reach Lake Champlain on boats that are not being cleaned.

Groups supporting changes to the state's current use tax program say they want to keep the program sustainable and maintain public acceptance of it. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is urging Governor Jim Douglas to sign legislation officials have said is likely to be vetoed.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its 26th annual Business and Industry EXPO. This year the chamber expects more than 200 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees. The EXPO is next Wednesday and Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington. Register online by tomorrow and admission is free.

About 4 dozen employees are out of work, at least temporarily, at the Via Cheese plant in Swanton. Little is known about the plant closure other than word from the plant manager is that Via Cheese is going though a financial restructuring. The closure is raising questions about a community block grant loaned to the company for upgrades from the Town of Swanton last year.

Businesses from around the region will be coming together today for the annual Business Expo in Plattsburgh. The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 22nd annual event at the Plattsburgh State Field House again this year. The expo is a chance for participants to meet the people they do business with on a daily bases.

The State of Vermont plans to release 90 inmates who are currently serving time behind bars for non-violent crimes. Officials say they're people who have been convicted of things like property damage or driving with a suspended license. The plan is for the inmates to be released as beds become available in transitional programs throughout the state.

The City of Plattsburgh Fire Department will be flushing out more fire hydrants today. Between 9 and 2 today they will be inspecting the hydrants on the South Side of the City. While they are flushing the water though each hydrant, the pressure will stir up sentiment in the system. Residents may notice cloudy or rust colored water.