Thursday, May 27, 2010

WVTK Local & State News May 27, 2010

Violent storms with damaging winds, hail and lightning rolled across northern Vermont last night, leaving more than 13-thousand homes in the dark. Hardest hit was Colchester, with a lightning bolt striking the Colchester Rescue station. One member of the department was hit, and rushed to a hospital. Trees were down across the city, while a transformer was reported on fire and power lines were seen arcing. In Burlington, more power lines were down and arcing, as well as in Shelburne, with Richmond, Ferrisburgh and Vergennes reporting trees and power lines down.

Construction of the new Champlain Bridge will keep a United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla busy this summer. There will be patrols on Lake Champlain every weekend throughout the summer. The intent is to lend assistance and promote safe passage through the congested area and answer any questions regarding traffic. Boaters should expect delays in the area because of the construction and the operation of two vehicle ferries. The Crown Point-based flotilla will also present a safe boating class June 19 at the Ticonderoga Elks.

Nearly 300 teachers and professional staff in Rutland will get a 3 percent raise each year until 2012 and will be able to choose another perk to make up for the pension money they lost as a result of the city Pension Board's latest action. The Rutland School Board solidified a new three-year contract with the Rutland Education Association Tuesday night.

The town of Moriah water department will shut the water off on the Moriah Road on Wednesday, June 2, 8 a.m. to noon to install a fire hydrant. Water may be cloudy when it comes back on; residents can run their outside hose until water clears.

Governor Jim Douglas has signed the biggest transportation in Vermont history. The bill includes about $182 million in state funding, $275 million in regular federal funding and $80 million in federal stimulus funds. Among other things, it calls for $113 million worth of major rehabilitation and maintenance work on Vermont bridges.

Vermont state employees in Rutland were back at work yesterday, one day after a propane leak prompted the evacuation of a state office building. The Bloomer office building and nearby businesses were evacuated Tuesday afternoon. Officials said the underground leak was temporarily repaired around 2 a.m. Wednesday and more permanent repairs will be made soon.

A Boy Scout camp in Eden Mills will reopen this summer after officials say asbestos contamination was removed from the property. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says crews have been working since samplings taken in 2009 showed the potential for asbestos in the buildings and property of the Mt. Norris Boy Scout Reservation.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant automatically shut down yesterday afternoon following some problems. At that time, the plant was at 70 percent of its normal output, coming on line earlier in the week after a refueling and maintenance outage, which started in mid-April. Spokesman Laurence Smith says no radiation has been released, and as soon as the problem is identified and repairs made, the plant will re-start.

Police in St. Albans are looking for the man who broke into an elderly woman's early yesterday morning. She was in bed around 2 AM when the man broke in and demanded money and medication. The 82-year-old faked a heart attack and was able to escape to a neighbor’s house. Police say the man is a large, heavy, older man with some facial hair, possibly a beard.

City of Plattsburgh Officials has opened the beach gates. The beach does not officially open until June 23, but with the recent heat wave, hundreds of people have been flocked to the beach to cool down. Officials say they are treating it like a park right now, the picnic area and the sand is open but the water is not.

It looks like lawmakers and Governor David Paterson are close to having a deal in place to open all the state parks and historic sites. Paterson said yesterday afternoon that no deal has been sealed, but he's optimistic. They are hoping to have all 178 state parks open in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Vermont is 1 of 8 states in talks to launch a pilot program that will allow high school students to graduate after their sophomore or junior year. The program would start in the 2011-12 school year. Students would volunteer to take a series of board exams. If they pass, they're eligible to enroll in community college or start on a career.

Due to a nationwide paint shortage, Vermont crews may wait until mid summer to re-paint faded road markings like crosswalks and turn only arrows. The state is discussing a backup plan if the paint shortage continues through the summer. Meanwhile, VTRANS crews will continue to work on state highway striping because it requires a different paint.

The Downtown Rutland Partnership will sponsor a free public reception tonight from 6 – 8 PM for the Vermont Arts Council exhibit "Art of Action: Shaping Vermont's Future through Art." The art is being exhibited through May 31 at 116 West St. in the Gryphon Building. All the art in the show is on sale. Prints of the artwork can be purchased at tonight's reception. For more information, call the Downtown Rutland Partnership (at 773-9380).

The Crown Point Memorial Day committee has decided to scale back the observance in 2010. The weekend-long carnival has been dropped. The traditional parade, fireworks and cemetery tour remain. The theme of this year's observance will be "Scouting USA," which observes the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts in the United States. Crown Point Boy Scouts will be in Veterans Park on Sunday, May 30, demonstrating their skills during a public "Fun Day" 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Crown Point's annual Memorial Day parade will begin Monday at 2 p.m. at Ferry Road and proceed north on Main Street, ending at Veteran's Park.