Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 30, 2010

Flatiron Constructors is now hiring workers to help build the new Crown Point Bridge. The $69.6-Million project is expected to create at least 200 jobs, 50 local workers along with another 150-200 subcontractors. Interested workers can apply at the headquarters being established on the Vermont side of the lake.

State police say they're looking for the public's help to find a 14-year-old Rutland girl. Police say Erika Grosso was last seen Sunday evening when she was dropped off on Granger Street in Rutland. The teenager was wearing jeans and a teen shirt with the word "Pink" printed across the front. Police believe the girl is a runaway. She is described as five-feet-five-inches tall and 125-pounds with red hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact state police.

Kelly O'Neil-Teer has resigned as deputy director at Fort Ticonderoga. O'Neil-Teer served as the fort's acting director for 18 months following the retirement of Nick Westbrook. She was credited with leading Fort Ticonderoga through a financial crisis in 2009 but now will be pursuing a new career opportunity after working for the Fort for more than 20 years.

Bicycle patrols are returning to the streets of Rutland. Bike-riding officers haven't been seen in Rutland for the past three years. Now, three officers are taking to the streets on two wheels. In many cases bicycle patrols can cover more ground and can assist other units patrolling in cruisers at a quicker pace. Even one unnamed local business has donated a $600 mountain bike to the department.

FairPoint Communications has named a new executive vice president and chief financial officer. Ajay Sabherwal will join the company July 19th. Sabherwal spent the last five years as CFO for two renewable energy companies. Company officials praised his finance background, saying his experience will help FairPoint emerge from Chapter 11.

Vermont's effort to reform its healthcare systems will be headed up by a Harvard University professor who helped put together a health system for Taiwan. The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports Dr. William Hsiao was chosen to lead the designing of 3 health care model options, including a single-payer system and a public health insurance option.

While Washington bolsters security efforts along the border with Mexico, northern state lawmakers are warning it shouldn't come at the expense of security along the frontier with Canada. A group of senators including Bernie Sanders and Olympia Snowe have sent a letter urging the Homeland Security Secretary not to overlook the northern border's needs.

A nursing home in New York's North Country is costing the county too much and now officials say they want someone else to take it over. On Monday Essex County lawmakers voted to collect proposals to lease or buy the Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown. The county is losing over $2 million a year on the 100-bed facility. Officials say there are no plans to close the facility.

A key suspect in an alleged Russian spy ring operating in the United States spent time at a Vermont college. Christopher Metsos was captured yesterday in Cyprus. He's accused of being the moneyman for a ring trying to infiltrate American society. Metsos studied for one semester in 1994 at Norwich University, in Northfield, Vermont.

A new national report says adult obesity rates in New England are lower than in most other areas of the country, but are rising. The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report that among the six New England states, Vermont scored third. Nearly 23% of Vermont adults are obese.

Three police agencies in Rutland County have gone online to inform residents about crime in their neighborhoods. 

Using a national crime reporting system, Rutland City Police, state police and the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department are posting their calls to a national crime map maintained by Updated with new reports every 24 hours, the map has the potential to help residents and police keep ahead of criminal activity.

A house fire last week in Champlain has been ruled arson. The 2-story unoccupied home at the corner of Main and Willow streets was destroyed. Investigators say the fire was intentionally set.

Two brothers from Hudson Falls have pled guilty to trafficking heroin in Vermont. 30-year-old Jesse Dougher and his brother, Jordan, admitted they supplied heroin to dealers and sold directly to users in Burlington and West Pawlet from 2004 to 2009. Jordan and Jesse Dougher will be sentenced in October.

Starting tomorrow a pack of cigarettes in New York will cost $1.60 more, raising the price to about $9.50 a pack. Some smokers say the new tax is just too much and will force them to quit. Others plan to travel to Vermont to save a few bucks on a pack of smokes. The cigarette tax is expected to generate more than $400 million for state health care programs.

Police officers in Burlington are still waiting for a new contract. The last contract expired over a year ago. The pension system has been one of the major topics of debate. City officials say there isn't enough money in the pension fund to cover officers that may retire within the next 30 years. The city will be presenting a new proposal to the union within the next 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 29, 2010

A company based in Anchorage, Alaska, has won the latest five-year contract with the U.S. Department of Labor to operate Northlands Job Corps in Vergennes, the federal job-training center for disadvantaged youths. An official of that company said few changes are planned in staffing and programming. The transition will become official on Thursday.

The Rutland City aldermen approved budgets and a combined water and sewer rate that will raise ratepayer’s costs by about 14.9 percent in the new fiscal year. While a 4 percent cut from what the City Hall administration originally proposed, the hike will equate to about a $12.94 quarterly increase for the average two-person household.

A steering committee of state, regional and local officials started talking about how to deal with erosion on the Neshobe River. 

The group, organized by the Rutland Natural Resources Conservation District, plans to spend the next 10 months using a recent study to assemble a corridor management plan for the river and organizing projects to reduce erosion along it.

A Rutland teenager was rescued yesterday afternoon from the lower gorge in Clarendon after falling from a rope swing. The 16-year-old girl was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center with unknown injuries. She was conscious and talking to rescue crews after falling roughly 20 feet into the Cold River.

Governor David Patterson says he will veto the legislature's budget. He calls the spending plan unbalanced, irresponsible. Lawmakers made 6,900 additions to the budget yesterday, just hours before approving the spending plan that's 3 months late. The budget is estimated at about $136-Billion.

Vermont Utility Regulators have rejected FairPoint's plan to get out bankruptcy. Maine regulators last week approved FairPoint's plan for reorganization in that state. New Hampshire hasn't acted yet. The Vermont Public Service Board says the proposed reorganization plan doesn't do enough to promote the good of Vermont.

Sixty-six members of the Army Guard's air ambulance company will be leaving on a deployment to Iraq in September. The unit will be flying medical support missions for U.S. forces. Some of those members could be seen in the skies of Chittenden County this week conducting special aerial training.

The former head of the Vermont State Police is returning to law enforcement. Retired Col. James Baker has accepted a temporary job as police chief of Manchester. Baker most recently served as interim director at the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford. He succeeds Chief Manfred Wessner, who is retiring after nearly 40 years. Baker will serve as chief until town officials choose a permanent replacement.

State Troopers say Senate President and candidate for governor, Peter Shumlin was pulled over for speeding earlier this month. He clocked going 81-miles-per-hour on Interstate 91 near Fairlee. Shumlin says it was a simple mistake. He has since paid the ticket. So far, the other candidates for governor have not been cited or caught speeding.

The Burlington City Council has passed a budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st. After a nearly 5-hour session last night, the council passed the $53-Million budget with a 10 to 3 vote. Most of the discussion was not about property taxes but about Burlington Telecom owing the city $17-Million. Mayor Kiss says the situation is under control.

Mount St. Joseph Academy is continuing its battle against low student counts by aiming for a reputation as a sustainable school. 

The private Catholic high school will give each of its 25 incoming freshmen a mini-laptop computer. 
School administrators received word yesterday that MSJ is one step away from getting a prized accreditation it failed to get earlier this year. The focus of the school’s latest fundraising efforts and development of the school’s technology and arts programs is to get more students inside MSJ’s doors, regardless of their financial status.

The Addison County Parent-Child Center was started 30 years ago and has grown into its own building on Monroe St. with a staff of 40 full- and part-time workers offering more than two-dozen programs and services. Co-director Sue Harding will be retiring this year. Longtime employee Sue Bloomer will succeed Harding to team up with Co-director Donna Bailey. The federal Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs selected the Center as one of four parent-child centers nationwide for special funding to develop innovative educational and counseling offerings for teen parents-to-be.

The Tuesday Concert Series of the Ticonderoga Festival Guild begins on July 6 with a concert by Towne Meeting. All concerts begin at 8 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Pavilion behind their building on Montcalm Street. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Towne Meeting appeared on the Ti Festival Guild stage in 2009 and has been brought back by popular demand.

Monday, June 28, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 28, 2010

Recent Middlebury College Graduate Katherine Lupo is raising $12,000 to make a giant mural out of a painting by one of her fellow Middlebury College alumni. She did a 500-foot mural with the help of students and volunteers in her Connecticut hometown last summer. Now she’d like to bring Sabra Field's "Cosmic Geometry" to life on the side of the Wright Theatre. The college’s Committee for art in Public Places pledged $12,500 for the project if Lupo could raise the same. She’s working with the alumni office and targeting specific donors who might be interested.

Green Mountain Beverage, the maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider, has made the commitment to buy 25 percent of its electricity through Cow Power — the manure-to-energy program run by CVPS. Woodchuck Hard Cider’s 62,000-square-foot Middlebury plant uses 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year. Green Mountain Beverage President Bret Williams said he was sold on Cow Power after a tour of the Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport. 
The 20-year-old company has also made other improvements to help the environment.

Rutland businessman J.R. Bullock is close to breaking ground on a store and office building at 199 Stratton Road. The 5,000-square-foot ground floor of the two-story wood frame building will be home to Olivia’s Market with the second floor dedicated to three offices. The L-shaped building would also have a drive-through beverage redemption center, a kitchen for food preparation and approximately 21 parking spaces.

Vermont officials are warning restaurant owners of a scam involving con men posing as state food inspectors. The Vermont Department of Health says the bogus inspectors call and threaten to impose fines if a restaurant does not book an appointment for an inspection. Similar scams are reportedly targeting food establishments elsewhere across the country, including New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Vermont State Police have charged a Saranac Lake, N.Y., man with intentionally causing a head-on collision that seriously injured a woman. Police say 28-year-old Brandon Lane purposefully drove his vehicle into oncoming traffic on Route 7 before the June 20 crash in the Town of Rutland. A passenger in the other car, 58-year-old Joyce Rule, of Vergennes, suffered a broken wrist, broken ankle and broken vertebrae in the crash.

Lester Daby was honored for 50 years service during the 136th annual Port Henry Volunteer Fire Department banquet recently. He received tributes and proclamations marking his anniversary with the department. Approximately 70 people attended the traditional event that recognized several of their members for many years of service to the department and community.

Senator Bernie Sanders secured over $140 Thousand Dollars in federal funding for Rutland Area Programs. $50 Thousand Dollars will go towards programs designed to help at-risk children. $43 Thousand Dollars in federal funds were also given to a new six-week summer program in Rutland Public School District. School Officials say the funds will be spread out in all levels of programming in the district. The Dodge House in Rutland, which provides assistance to war veterans, also received $30 Thousand Dollars to make repairs to its facility.

Five Democrats seeking to run for governor in Vermont want to jumpstart the economy, create jobs, promote small businesses and expand high-speed Internet access. Susan Bartlett, Matt Dunne, Deb Markowitz, Doug Racine and Peter Shumlin are all eager to show recession-weary Vermont voters they have the answers ahead of the August 24th primary.

The Vermont School Boards Association has held formal talks with a quarter of the state's 60 supervisory unions in the three weeks since a school consolidation bill became law. Associate Director Winton Goodrich tells The Times Argus that many supervisory unions have long considered mergers - and the new law might provide further incentives.

The state says about 310,000 pounds of contaminated soil and other waste from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is being shipped to a licensed radioactive waste disposal facility in Utah. The plant tells The Brattleboro Reformer that soil that's built up as a result of construction work done at the plant over the years is also going to be shipped out.

Despite months of negotiations, contract talks between Burlington teachers and the city School Board are at an impasse. Both sides have agreed for a mediator to come in and try to reach some sort of agreement, but a date for the mediation has not been set. The school board is facing a deficit of a million dollars, caused by such things as increasing costs and extensive school renovations. The teachers' current contract expires in August.

Friday, June 25, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 25, 2010

A tugboat that sank to the bottom of Lake Champlain in 1963 could be leaking fuel into the water. For years now there have been reports oil in the water near the site where the William H. McAllister sank. After sending a remotely operated vehicle down to the wreckage, the EPA believes there could be between 10,000 to 14,000 gallons of fuel still in the tugboat.

Next year, students at the Whiting Village School may not have to pack their lunches. A new foodservice contract that is being negotiated within the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union could allow Whiting Village School for the first time to offer students’ nutritious, in-school breakfasts and lunches. The contract will also offer the chance for the other RNeSU elementary schools to save money on their food programs.

The operator of the Alden Place Residential Care Home in Vergennes has appealed the state’s revocation of her license. She and her lawyer said that many of the complaints about her management of the home are untrue, and that state officials never allowed her to tell her side of the story during the investigation.

State officials confirmed their plans to relocate the Vermont Agency of Human Services’ Addison County offices from their current home on Exchange St. to a new building that will be built in the Middlebury South Village development off Court Street. An agreement has been entered and the state is committed to the relocation.

The New Haven Planning Commission began the process of weighing in on a proposal by Cross Pollination LLC to build a solar farm off Route 7. Commissioners acknowledged in a draft letter to the Public Service Board that while the company’s potential solar installation largely fits New Haven’s town plan, large questions remain about how the solar farm would be executed, operated and ultimately decommissioned.

After pushing hard for months to advance a new draft of the Bristol Town Plan and a proposed extraction ordinance, planners in Bristol are now delaying the process. With no consensus at hand in the debate over gravel mining in the town, the planning commission is saying another year could pass before the issue comes to another vote.

Proponents and opponents of a gravel pit near the Bristol village will meet again on Monday for an Act 250 hearing. This is the latest chapter over a proposed 26-acre excavation project off of Rounds Road. After two separate applications for town zoning permits and several appeals to the state Environmental Court, commissioners from Rutland County will weigh in on whether or not the proposed gravel pit conforms to Act 250.

The bridge on McKinley Avenue between Route 7 and the Vermont State Police barracks will close to all traffic starting Monday. 
 Anyone who needs to get to the state office complex at the barracks, which includes offices for the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and Vermont Agency of Transportation, must do so from the intersection of McKinley Avenue and North Grove Street. 

The Bridge is getting a new deck and new railings, funded by federal stimulus money.

Maine utility regulators have approved FairPoint Communications' bankruptcy reorganization plan and its request to modify an agreement struck when it took over Verizon's landline and Internet operations. North Carolina-based FairPoint is seeking similar approvals in New Hampshire and Vermont, but regulators have yet to make a decision.

New York lawmakers are considering changes to the state's sales tax as a way to bring in more revenue. Current law exempts purchases of footwear and clothing under $110 from the state's 4 percent sales tax. So far, the budget includes a big tax increase on cigarettes. However, the budget is now almost three months overdue. Lawmakers hope to pass a spending plan by the end of the week.

A new airline is flying out of Plattsburgh. U.S. Airways Express has taken over for Cape Air yesterday with 3 flights to and from Boston on weekdays and 2 flights each way on weekends. Colgan Air, a regional carrier for U.S. Airways, hopes they will lure more passengers from Montreal and Burlington since there is no longer daily flights out of Burlington to Boston.

Police are investigating an overnight break-in at AuSable Forks Elementary School. Faculty and teachers arrived yesterday for the last day of classes to find that vandels had broken windows and stole items from the school. Authorities say a maintenance truck is also missing. Dispite the damage, the last day of school yesterday ran as scheduled.

Authorities say someone broke into Small Dog Electronics in South Burlington. Storeowners said the suspect set off alarms around 4:30 yesterday morning after using a rock to smash through the front doors. The suspect did get away with some merchandise. If you have any information or seen someone trying to sell Apple products, other than a store, call the South Burlington Police.

Hunters can start applying for Vermont permits to hunt antlerless deer. The season this year will run from December 4th through the 12th. Fish and wildlife officials have not yet decided how many permits will be issued but the application deadline is August 26th.

The Route 2 Bridge between Middlesex and Moretown is now open to 2-way traffic. The bridge has been under construction for the past 2 years and replaces a 1928 truss bridge. The new one is much more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, with 4 foot shoulders. VTrans will now focus on removing the 1-lane temporary bridge.

The FBI has now joined the investigation into an arson fire in Barre. The old Key Bank building on Main Street was gutted by fire on Memorial Day. Investigators say it was intentionally set. Also, the reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has gone up to $12,500. If you have any information about this fire, please call the state's arson tip line at 1-800-32-ARSON.

Seven companies have issued recalls of their drop-side cribs. They are ... Jenny-Lind Drop-Side Cribs by Even-Flo; Child Craft Stationary-Side Cribs; Jardine Drop-Side Cribs; Bonavite, Babi Italia, and Issi Drop-Side Cribs made by La-Jobi; Million Dollar Baby Drop-Side Cribs; and Simmons Drop-Side Cribs. Officials say the sides can malfunction, injuring the baby.

Vergennes is working with arts organizers in nearby towns who, in the last few years, have set up regular arts walks in Middlebury and Bristol. The public is invited this Saturday to view a variety of art at the Vergennes Opera House, Bixby Memorial Library, Studio V, and Creative Space.

The Middlebury Lions Club has formally pledged $25,000 to the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, which is raising money to pay for its new headquarters just north of Porter Medical Center. The first of five annual $5,000 checks was presented to Mickey and Carol Heinecken, who are spearheading the MVAA fund-raising effort.

Middlebury College has received a grant of $137,000 to do thermal energy retrofits on three campus buildings. The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund announced the recipients of $1.7 million in grants on June 16. The college was among 14 public-serving institutions in the state to receive a grant. The money comes from federal economic stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and was allocated to the institutions to encourage renewable energy and efficiency.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 24, 2010

A lot of people felt it, but no one was hurt when an earthquake centered in Quebec rattled northern New England, including Vermont and upstate NY. The magnitude was confirmed at 5.0, and the epicenter was about 38 miles north of Ottawa. When the earthquake hit shortly before 2 yesterday afternoon, reports were called in to WCAX from people feeling it from as far north as Newport and as far south as Brattleboro.

The Essex-Charlotte ferry crossing is back to two-boat service. The run was down to one boat-- cutting service in half. Lake Champlain Transportation couldn't immediately bring in another boat because it's strapped providing temporary ferry service at the Champlain Bridge. But a second boat arrived Saturday allowing them to resume normal service.

A middle school leader from New Hampshire will be Poultney High School’s new principal beginning this coming school year. 

Thomas Fitzgerald is the former four-year principal of the Goshen Lempster Cooperative School in Lempster, NH. Fitzgerald is also a licensed high school English teacher and will officially start July 1.

Governor Jim Douglas says the state will need to eliminate some positions in the state government in the coming months. But he says he hopes to achieve job reductions through attrition, not layoffs. Douglas says one of his Administration's goals in the next 3 months is to determine how to reduce state spending by as much as $20 million.

Vermont Yankee confirms it had to fix two cracks last week in a water-cooling tower at the nuclear power plant. While that's one problem another one is growing over the fact Entergy, the plant's owner, failed to notify state regulators about it. While Governor Jim Douglas is far from happy about it, he says he's leaving it up to state regulators to determine if Entergy violated any rules.

The Vermont State Police say a Hinesburg man charged with assaulting his estranged wife and two other people is in custody. Thirty-5-year-old Shaun Freeman was taken into custody in the case of aggravated domestic assault and multiple counts of aggravated assault.

A Plattsburgh business is getting new owners. Mold-Rite Plastics makes jar caps, child-resistant closures, and vials. Irving Place Capital of New York City is buying the company. Officials at Mold-Rite say the owners plan to keep the plant open and even grow in Plattsburgh. Mold-Rite currently employs 350 people in Plattsburgh.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard in Burlington is preparing to help with the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. The Burlington station was directed to find volunteers from the unit that would be willing to help out. The Coast Guard doesn't know how many additional members will be needed on the Gulf Coast, but they are given about 30 days notice from the time of their departure.

About three dozen endangered turtles were released into Lake Champlain Wednesday. The spiny soft-shell turtle has seen its population slowly dwindling, so the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is taking measures into their own hands. When raised in captivity, this unique species is four times more likely to survive.

The Vt. Labor Commissioner is leaving her job to work for the private sector. Patricia Moulton Powden announced Wednesday she is leaving her job to work for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in Berlin as Vice President of Public Affairs.

A former Saranac Lake medical worker is accused of stealing $100,000 from her former employer. 61-year-old Mary Harvey worked in the office at North Country Family Physicians for more than 10 years. Police aren't saying how Harvey allegedly stole the money, but say they were contacted after administrators at the clinic found problems while sorting through records.

A Burlington man is facing charges after police say he used a baseball bat to attack another man. Authorities say 50-year-old Buddy Miele attacked another man around 9 PM Tuesday Night on Pine Street. If you have any information about the attack, please call either the Burlington Police Department or Champlain Valley Crime Stoppers.

The Chittenden County Emergency food shelf will be able to feed more families than originally planned. The food shelf was presented with a check for $732. The money was raised by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, at its "business after hours" events. The Food Shelf says the money will help feed about 45 families for the next month.

Friday Night Live will kick-off tomorrow night in Rutland. This downtown signature event attracts hundreds of people each week with the promise of shopping, dining and entertainment, returns to celebrate its fourth season. This year you can expect it packed with a wider variety of musical offerings and special events like last year’s inaugural Trash to Art competition and the infamous, world’s-largest Twister board of two summers ago.

Fort Ticonderoga will host more than 700 re-enactors during its Grand Encampment this Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will experience the battle each day at 1:30 p.m. The program hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The weekend will also feature on-going demonstrations of military, civilian and American-Indian camp life including cooking, weapons demonstrations, children's activities and more. For information visit Fort Ticonderoga Dot org.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Canadian Earthquake Felt Locally June 23, 2010

A moderate earthquake rattled east-central Canada today and was felt into the northeastern United States. The U.S. Geological Survey pegged the quake at 5.0 magnitude. It was centered about 38 miles north of Ottawa, Ontario, at a relatively shallow depth of about 12 miles. Tall buildings swayed in Ottawa, Toronto and Detroit.

Mike Carlson was at his desk when he noticed his chair starting to move. The computer monitor on his desk at Central Vermont Public Service Corp. in Rutland shuddered, too, Wednesday afternoon moving from side to side, thanks to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake in Canada that shook a region stretching as far west as Michigan and into New England. Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon reported an "unusual event," the lowest of 4 levels of emergency classification. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan says the earthquake wasn't felt in the control room but was in other parts of the site. Vermont Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma said no reports of damage have been reported.

An earthquake in Canada was felt across upstate New York and Vermont, shaking buildings and lighting up phone lines to emergency services. There are no reports of any serious damage. The U.S. Geological Survey says its latest information shows the 30-second-long quake was magnitude-5.0, not 5.5 as originally thought. It was centered about 40 miles north of Ottawa. People from Buffalo to Albany and north to Massena on the St. Lawrence River say pets were startled and plates rattled at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. David French, 53-year-old state worker from Cicero, says he was at his computer inside his home outside Syracuse when he felt his chair shake. The quake prompted several calls to state police in Ray Brook in the Adirondacks.

An magnitude 5.0 earthquake near the Ontario-Quebec border in Canada, was felt throughout New England this afternoon. Tremors were reported from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont down Massachusetts and south into Rhode Island and Connecticut. In addition to New England, the U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake was also felt in many other states in the Northeast and Midwest. "The Boston Globe" reports two buildings near Boston were evacuated including a medical building in Brookline and an office building in Medford. No injuries or major damage had been reported.

WVTK Local & State News June 23, 2010

CVPS has unveiled its new 50-kilowatt solar project along Route 7 in Rutland called “The Renewable Energy Education Center”. The 264-panel array sits just across the street from a hydro facility, together they will form a working classroom for students and others interested in renewable emission-free energy.

A Hinesburg teenager is facing marijuana charges after leading police on a high-speed chase. Police in Hinesburg seized 70 pot plants last week after a runaway driver led them to a house on Major Street, where cops found an indoor growing operation. The suspect fled, but several days later police arrested 19-year old Shawn West. He now faces felony cultivation charges.

The Rutland City pension fund was sent spiraling off track in the past decade by a series of employee benefit increases never matched by increased employer contributions. The city’s pension fund, which services the school department and municipal employees, has a $23.7 million funding gap. Rectifying the pension fund will likely require a combination of decreasing benefits and increasing both employer and employee contributions.

IBM has just landed a new contract. The Essex Junction plant will soon be manufacturing high-security chips to be used in a number of electronic documents. They include "E" passports, identification cards for the Defense Department, and enhanced driver's licenses. The state-of-the art chips will only be manufactured in Essex Junction.

Good news for New York State Employees ... paychecks will be delivered on time as scheduled today. State officials have worked overtime to make sure all 153,000 state employees received their pay as normal. In the midst of passing this week's emergency spending bill, the Legislature missed a 5 PM deadline on Monday that threatened at least some of the checks.

The Plattsburgh beaches are now official open for the season. The beach originally was scheduled to open today, but opened early this past weekend to accommodate beachgoers during the nice weather. The beach will remain open 7 days a week from 11 AM to 7 PM through Labor Day weekend.

Vermont Yankee officials say a plant design flaw is largely to blame for the tritium leak discovered this winter. The company issued a detailed report on the cause and the cleanup and now claims to be an industry leader in dealing with leaks. Entergy officials held a press conference yesterday to talk about what was done to stop the leak and what's being done to hopefully prevent a similar leak in the future.

In a cost-cutting move, Kentucky has pulled its inmates out of a privately run prison there -- leaving only roughly 560 inmates from Vermont in the eastern Kentucky facility. Vermont contracts with Corrections Corporation of America to help alleviate overcrowding problems.

Police have arrested a man they say broke into a St. Albans home last month and tried to attack an elderly woman. 50-year-old Ervin Bessette faces charges a number of charges including burglary, unlawful restraint and lewd conduct. Authorities say Bessette told the woman he either wanted money or drugs. Police are still unsure why the grandmother was targeted.

Vermont State Police say they suspended the search for the body of a 78-year-old woman believed to have been murdered by her daughter. Investigators say they have searched the entire area behind the Westford Elementary School; were Mary Wilcox was supposed to be buried. Authorities are standing-by until they get better information about where to search.

UVM will be selling its entire research cowherd. It's a cost cutting measure that will change the way UVM conducts farm research. As part of a new initiative, the Vermont Dairy Center for Excellence will send UVM scientists off site to work with private farmers. All 255 cows are up for sale and will preferably be sold as a single package. UVM is accepting bids for the next month.

New York may be the first state to expand DNA testing to all crimes, including misdemeanors. Governor David Patterson's proposal would require adding about 48,000 samples a year to a laboratory system that state officials say is capable of handling the extra work, with no current backlogs.

Independence Day will be celebrated early in Schroon Lake this year. Because July 4th falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed July 3. The Independence Day celebration will begin with The Schroon Lake Community Church's annual chicken barbecue in its community room starting at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10 a person. Many other events are scheduled throughout the day and will conclude with the fireworks display over Schroon Lake at dark.

The First Congregational Church Strawberry Festival in Crown Point, scheduled for this Sunday from 11AM to 5PM, is seeking crafters and vendors. There is no charge. Vendors and crafters are asked to contact Gary at 597-3520 to reserve space. People should bring their own tables and tents, if needed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 22, 2010

Bristol selectmen and Police Chief Kevin Gibbs adjusted a police district-spending plan for 2010-2011. The new cuts call for canceling the town’s contract with the Addison County Sheriff’s Department; relocating the police department after Dec. 31 and trimming overtime pay for the department’s four officers.

School officials at Mount Abraham Union High School are planning to build a homegrown cooperative that could, in time, expand to serve elementary schools in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union. They are searching for a new food services manager and that person will head up the new Addison Northeast Food Cooperative. The approach is modeled on the nationally recognized cooperative that the Burlington School District uses for its food services.

A relatively dry, cool spring has helped limit Addison County’s mosquito population. Those in charge of battling the bugs warned that just one substantial rainstorm could change that. So far officials have not received one complaint call regarding mosquitoes.

Officials of the John W. Graham Emergency Shelter are working toward a major renovation of the shelter’s original building in Vergennes. On June 8, the Vergennes City Council agreed to support the homeless shelter board’s application for a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant that could pay for a portion of a project that would follow sensitive historic preservation guidelines.

At its annual meeting last Thursday night, the Better Middlebury Partnership honored Middlebury College President Ron Liebowitz as Citizen of the Year and J.P. Carrara & Sons, Inc. as Business of the Year for their significant roles in building the Cross Street Bridge, a town goal that has been 50 years in the making.

Killington town leaders will decide tonight how to move forward with the Green Mountain National Golf Course, that has more than $4 million of debt. 

The main item tonight on the town Select Board’s meeting agenda is a review of the most recent and long-term financials of the municipally run golf course. The three-member board must decide if the town should continue to borrow in the short term to cover a long-term debt.

A new report shows Vermont has the second highest graduation rate in the country. According to the publication "Education Week," Vermont's high school graduation rate was 82-percent in 2007, the last year for which detailed records were available. That's second only to New Jersey. The national average was 69-percent. The report also says Vermont's graduation rate had one of the highest percentage increases over the past ten years in the country.

The New York Legislature passed the latest emergency spending bill last night, but not without some consequences. Because the bill was passed after 5 PM yesterday, some of the 153,000 state workers due to be paid tomorrow, likely wouldn't get paid until at least Thursday. Also included in the bill is a hike in the cigarette tax, making the price for a pack of cigarettes $9.20.

After 2 years of searching, Williston now has a new police chief. Roy Nelson of Cornwall, Connecticut has been hired to fill the position. Nelson starts on July 19, replacing acting Chief Doug Hoyt. Williston has been without a full-time police chief since July 2008, when Chief James Dimmick suffered a stroke.

A car crash in Willsboro has claimed the life of a Plattsburgh woman. Police say 37-year-old Leona Geddes was traveling north on Mountain View Drive and went off the road into an embankment. Someone driving by at 7:30 yesterday morning noticed the car and called police. Police are unsure why the vehicle went off the road.

Residents in St. Albans are cleaning up after vandels broke a number of windows around city this past weekend. Sometime late Friday Night or early Saturday Morning, someone broke 8 windows at the Blooming Minds Enrichment Center, a St. Albans daycare. Vandals also used a BB Gun to destroy the windows of 7 parked cars and a home.

Plans for a Whole Foods store in South Burlington are on hold. The organic grocery chain announced plans last summer to build its first Vermont store off Williston Road, behind the Holiday Inn. City officials expressed concerns about access and traffic. Whole Foods has since withdrawn its application, but the city expects the developers to return with an updated proposal.

24 men from Vermont and New York have been implicated in a drug trafficking operation. A federal grand jury indicted 17 of the suspects, and 7 others have already agreed to plead guilty. Prosecutors say the group distributed large quantities of cocaine and marijuana in Vermont between 2006 and 2009. Some of the charges could bring up to 40-years in prison.

CVPH Medical Center has entered into an agreement with Team Health to run the Emergency Care Center. Team Health helps hospitals across the country with emergency department management services. CVPH has been looking for a new medical director for the emergency department since April 1. The transition will be complete by October 1.

Neighbors around the Cabot Creamery are worried that the plant is using so much water that it’s drying up the wells on their properties. The company back in 2007 discovered they need a water permit from the state. Neighbors say they want the state to study the cheese maker's impact on neighboring wells before issuing the permit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 21, 2010

A head-on crash on Route 7 in Rutland Town yesterday afternoon sent a man in a wheelchair and three other people to the hospital with minor injuries. 

No one was killed in the accident just past Pinnacle Ridge Road on the Rutland Town / Pittsford border but all four people involved in the two-car crash were sent to Rutland Regional Medical Center suffering from minor injuries like bumps and bruises. The accident remains under investigation and it’s unsure if alcohol or speed were factors in the crash.

A new law takes effect on July 1 that is intended to help clean-up Lake Champlain. Starting next Thursday, stores in Vermont are no longer allowed to sell dishwasher detergent containing phosphorous. The ban follows the phosphorus ban in laundry detergent that's been in place for more than 3 decades. Phosphorus is known to feed the toxic blue-green algae blooms in the lake.

The Moriah Shock Facility will remain open. On Friday, the New York State Assembly passed the governor's Protection Bill. The senate is expected to pass the bill today. The Protection Bill keeps Moriah Shock open but does not include provisions for The Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility. It is still slated to close.

The Department of Health is reminding parents and caregivers to watch young children closely and teach them not to touch, taste or smell wild mushrooms. 4 cases of children eating wild mushrooms have been recently reported in Vermont. Health officials warn that as little as one bite of a toxic mushroom could cause serious illness or death.

A pack of cigarettes is about to get more expensive in New York. This week's emergency spending bill includes a $1.60 increase to the cigarette tax, making it the largest in the country. Lawmakers say the new taxes will generate around $440-Million in revenue. The legislature will vote on the new emergency-spending plan today.

Killington’s economic development plan is to reach some of the 80 million people who live within a day’s drive of Vermont. 

The job now belongs to former Killington Resort employee Suzanne Dundas. 

She was hired last week as the town marketing, media and events coordinator working in the Office of Economic Development and Tourism. Her first task is to pitch the town’s summer concert series, every Thursday at the town’s recreation fields on River Road beginning July 15.

One man is in critical condition and several other people are now homeless after a house explosion in Swanton over the weekend. Witnesses say parts of the roof blew clear off the house Saturday morning damaging 3 cars and 2 nearby homes. The cause remains under investigation but police do not believe it is suspicious at this time.

Senator Chuck Schumer is proposing a national measure that would prohibit sex offenders from working as karate instructors, youth coaches, carnival workers, clowns, magicians, or dance instructors as well as a number of other jobs in the private sector. The measure would cover people who are paid or volunteer to do the work.

Some good news for job seekers... The number of Vermonters without a job declined slightly in May -- according to statistics released by the state Labor Department. The state's unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in May, down 1.1 percent from a year ago. Vermont was one of ONLY THREE states -- along with Minnesota and Oregon -- to see a drop of 1 percentage point or more.

A Vermonter taking part in the LCI Fishing Derby has broken the record for the largest Lake Trout. Dana Laduke, of Bomoseen caught a Lake Trout Saturday weighing 16.77 pounds. The previous record was just under 16 pounds. Laduke is in the running for a $30,000 prize. Laduke says he will likely split the prize money with his team.

Police believe they have found the body of a South Burlington man who's been missing for months. 29-year-old Beck Shultz was last seen in February near the Winooski River. Authorities conducted a number of searches. His body was recovered last week. Police say his death was not suspicious and the investigation is closed.

An 83-year-old man was arrested over the weekend for going the wrong way on Interstate 89. William Barrett of Barre was seen by a number of drivers traveling north in the southbound lanes of the interstate near Berlin. Police had to use a rolling roadblock to stop Barrett. Authorities say his license was already under suspension for previous violations.

Friday, June 18, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 18, 2010

Around two-dozen neighbors made their final appeal this week to the Middlebury Development Review Board to deny a bid by the Fenn family to establish a gravel pit off Route 116, just north of Quarry Road. The neighbors argued the pit proposal violates local zoning laws; would bring dust, toxic fumes and noise pollution to a residential area and would set up the potential for traffic collisions on Route 116.

Three more teachers in the area have announced their retirement. Sue LaRock, Julie Fox and Jean Childers, who count each other as friends as well as co-workers, have each decided to retire from their jobs at the Neshobe School after a combined 68 1/2 years of service.

Drivers here in Middlebury got their first-ever opportunity to travel behind the town’s municipal building, as Academy Street officially opened to traffic in the first of what will be several changes in downtown traffic patterns this summer. Academy Street is the new, one-way road linking College Street to Main Street. It is but one part of the $16 million Cross Street Bridge project scheduled for completion by the end of this October.

The new boss at Schroon Lake Central School will be a familiar face. Gerry Blair, who served as interim superintendent at Schroon Lake from 1997-98, will return June 28. Blair will serve as interim again, replacing Mike Bonnewell while the district searches for a new permanent superintendent. Bonnewell, who has been Schroon Lake superintendent for nearly a decade, is leaving June 30 to take a new position.

Part of Rutland’s auxiliary watershed, located on a remote portion of Notch road in Mendon, has been turned into a dumping ground by people disposing of everything from household garbage to construction waste. And with the level of illegal dumping taking place since September, the frequency of the cleanups and the costs associated with the work could increase. The city forester had considered fencing off the land but feels that would not solve the problem.

More Vermont inmates will be released from jail in the coming weeks. To fill a budget hole, the Legislature and governor cut the corrections budget by $7 million. Some of the savings is coming from releasing non-violent offenders early. Authorities say those released early will be monitored in the community.

Construction work on North Willard Street in Burlington has come to a complete halt after crews found a buried skull. Crews were digging drainage ditches near St. Joseph's Cemetery when they unearthed the skull. The cemetery has been used since the 1800s so officials believe there could be unmarked graves. Police do not suspect fowl play.

A fire in downtown Randolph has destroyed part of the Main Street block. Fire crews arrived on the scene yesterday morning to find flames shooting out of the roof of the 3-story building. Everyone made it out of the un-harmed. The blaze, which has been ruled arson, destroyed the top floor and a section of the roof, but water damage is an issue throughout.

Hundreds of people turned out for CPVH's annual "Eat Desert First" event, bringing together cancer survivors and their families. The event held last weekend, allows cancer survivors to share their stories with others and provides hope for those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer.

A 16-year-old is facing a number of charges after being pick-up for going 101-mph on Interstate 89. An Agency of Transportation Inspector was monitoring traffic yesterday near the Richmond Exit when he stopped Kevin B. Nelson of Waterbury. Nelson also faces fines for having 2 passengers in the car who were not family members, which is against junior operator rules.

The Campbell Soup Company is recalling 15 million pounds of Spaghetti-Os with Meatballs. According to the company, the meatballs did not get the proper amount of heat in the cooker. The recall includes Spaghetti-Os with Meatballs, A to Z with Meatballs, and Fun Shapes (Cars) with Meatballs. The affected cans have "EST 4K" along with the use-by date between June 2010 and December 2011 printed on the bottom of the can. No illnesses have been reported.

Vermont transportation officials are urging political campaign supporters not to plant their lawn signs in places that could obscure drivers' sight lines. State law bans off-premises signs and those placed within public highway rights of way.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it's satisfied that Vermont Yankee officials were truthful in their dealings with federal regulators. Vermont Yankee's owners came under fire earlier this year amid revelations they had provided misleading testimony to state regulators about the presence of underground piping at the nuclear power plant in Vernon.

The school day in Colchester is going to be longer next year by about a half hour. Starting in September 2011, the length of the school day will be extended by a half hour to a full 7 hours. The decision was made this week by the Colchester School Board at the suggestion of the superintendent.

Authorities are once again warning you to be on the lookout for what's called the "Grandparent Scam" or "Canada Scam". The scam works like this, someone calls a senior citizen pretending to be a grandchild arrested in Canada needing money. Police say think twice and always double check a relative’s whereabouts before getting caught up in the scam.

The Colchester Food Shelf is looking for a new location. Right now the food shelf is located in cramped quarters at the Holy Cross Church. If fact, each year around the holidays, they end up having to turn away donations because they just don't have the storage space. They say they are looking for a place that has plenty of room and is a bit more local.

Construction work on North Willard Street in Burlington has come to a complete halt after crews found a buried skull. Crews were digging drainage ditches near St. Joseph's Cemetery when they unearthed the skull. The cemetery has been used since the 1800s so officials believe there could be unmarked graves. Police do not suspect fowl play.

A fire in downtown Randolph has destroyed part of the Main Street block. Fire crews arrived on the scene yesterday morning to find flames shooting out of the roof of the 3-story building. Everyone made it out of the un-harmed. The blaze, which has been ruled arson, destroyed the top floor and a section of the roof, but water damage is an issue throughout.

Hundreds of people turned out for CPVH's annual "Eat Desert First" event, bringing together cancer survivors and their families. The event held last weekend, allows cancer survivors to share their stories with others and provides hope for those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer.

Construction work on the Exit 15 off ramp on Interstate 89 will begin Monday. According to the Vermont Department of Transportation, or VTrans, drivers should plan extra time to get to their destination. The plan is to add another lane to the ramp to avoid traffic being backed up on the Interstate. Crews will also add a new traffic light at the intersection with Route 15.

After a 10-year hiatus, the Vermont Reggae Fest is back this year. The 3-day event in Johnson is scheduled for August 13th through the 15th. To make sure neighbors are well informed, the Lamoille County Sheriff's Department will be holding an informational meeting at the site of the Lamoille County Field Days on June 29th at 6 PM.

And in Sports ... Vermont's Boys of Summer are back. The Vermont Lake Monsters will kick-off the 2010 Season tonight at Centennial Field against the Lowell Spinners. The first pitch is at 7:05. Yesterday afternoon the team was at the University Mall signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. This season, the Lake Monsters will play 38 home games at Centennial Field.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 17, 2010

The Vermont Attorney General's Office is warning you about a rental scam on Craig's List. Officials say the scammer posts a rental ad on the website for a property someone else owns, and then breaks in to show it to interested renters. The scammer then takes off with the renter's deposit. It's an old scam but officials are now just seeing it in our area.

A police chase in Hinesburg led them to about 70 marijuana plants. This past weekend, police were alerted to a suspicious driver. When they spotted the vehicle, the driver led them on a chase that ended at a home on Major Street. The driver fled inside and when the officer followed, he found the pot plants in a bedroom. Charges are expected to be filed soon.

Governor David Paterson has issued an ultimatum to the Legislature saying that they should pass a negotiated budget by June 28th or he will take care of it himself. He says he will add all the cuts that need to be made to emergency spending bills. He also said that he would not sign on any budget that includes deficit spending or borrowing.

Plans for a new Armed Forces Reserve Center are moving forward in Rutland Town. Pending Act 250 approval, the four-lot subdivision at the corner of Route 7 and Post Road will be the future site of a 70,000-square-foot facility used by Army Reserve units and Army National Guard units.

For many local businesses, the Killington Stage Race’s decade-long hiatus was worth the wait. According to an estimate of the event’s economic impact the three-day road bike race drew 560 racers and their guests for a total of 1,398 visitors, who spent a total of $528,527 on food, beverages, hotel stays and other activities.

The search continues today for a man that held-up Simon's Deli and Grocery on Williston Road. South Burlington Police say the man, armed with a handgun, walked into the store around 9 last night demanding money. He then took off on foot. If you have any information, please call the South Burlington Police Department.

Residents in West Rutland who are not registered to vote can register in time to be eligible to vote in this year’s primary and general elections. 

A justice of the peace and notary public will be on hand to register voters on Saturday, June 19, and again from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at the West Rutland Food Shelf. The registration event is for anyone in the Rutland area, not only for West Rutland.

New figures from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency show the median price of a home in the state fell 5% last year to $190,000. It's the first substantial decline on record, but the agency says many would-be first time homebuyers still can't afford a home.

The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation has won a 3-year; $21 million contract to set up energy efficiency programs for municipal utilities in six states. The goal is to save 70,000 megawatt-hours of electricity during the 3-year term of the deal with Ohio-based American Municipal Power.

Vermont's Congressional delegation continues to push for sanctions against BP and the oil industry in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Rep. Peter Welch took oil executives to task Tuesday during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Welch wants to end billions of dollars in tax breaks and other government incentives to the oil industry and focus that money on the clean up and developing renewable energy. The oil industry says the government incentives are critical to maintaining thousands of jobs.

A team of students dedicated to preventing bad decision-making among its peers will be recognized June 29 for being the best organization of its kind in the nation. 

Stafford Technical Center’s SADD chapter, or Students Against Destructive Decisions, is one of more than 9,000 registered student groups in the nation. For the past year, students have generated awareness of issues that force teens to make daily decisions that can drastically alter their lives – from drunk driving to abuse in relationships.

Members of the Carillon Garden Club of Ticonderoga spent a day of gardening at the Inter-Lakes Health nursing home recently. Some of the residents helped garden club member’s plant window boxes that will be enjoyed on the terraces this summer. Other areas around town will also be enhanced by the planting of colorful annuals. Two of the club objectives are to promote interest in gardening and to protect civic beauty. The Carillon Garden Club meets regularly from March through December and has 45 members.

A Canadian bicycle tour this summer will be an economic boast for Ticonderoga. A Montreal based bicycle tour organization will bring as many as 2,000 cyclists to Ti for two days in August. The bicycle tour is scheduled to take riders from Montreal to Lake George, where they'll spend a night. On Aug. 8 cyclists will come to Ticonderoga and stay overnight. They will spend Aug. 9 touring local attractions and stay a second night before leaving Aug. 10 for Plattsburgh.

Investigators think it may have been a cigarette that started a fire which took the life of a Ray Brook Man last week. According to authorities, 61-year-old Craig Amrhein was unable to escape the fire. The medical examiner ruled that Amrhein died from smoke inhalation. Investigators believe he may have failed to put out a cigarette, which sparking the blaze.

A new housing development in South Burlington has received approval from the Development Review Board. The project that includes constructing two buildings at the former Olympiad Fitness Center. One would have 39 residential units. The other would be a mix of residential and medical offices. The project still needs local and state permits before construction can begin.

A Williston father will spend the next 22 to 25 years in prison. 51-year-old Robert Kolibas was convicted back in March of drugging and inappropriately touching a 13-year-old friend of his daughter's during a sleepover. Kolibas was in court yesterday for his sentencing. He has 30 days to file an appeal.

A Bolton woman is facing a number of charges for scamming over $14,000 from Vermont Medicaid. Authorities say 34-year-old Marja Lawrence, who was a caregiver for a disabled woman, submitted a number of claims for services she didn't provide.

One of Vermont's favorite rock groups seems to have hit a high note with the music industry. Waitsfield-based Grace Potter & the Nocturnals celebrated the release of their new self-titled CD last week. Yesterday that album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and at number 3 on the rock album chart.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 16, 2010

Voters in Ticonderoga and Schroon Lake passed their school spending plans while residents in St. Regis Falls said no. The schools districts offered revised budgets for the up-coming school year after voters turned down the first versions back in May. Under New York Law, St. Regis Falls must now adopt a contingency budget.

19 people have been arrested on drug charges as police wrap-up a lengthy investigation. During the drug raids, police recovered a large amount of cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs, as well as several thousand dollars cash. Police say the dealers were selling to people in Milton and the surrounding communities.

Rutland Police Chief Anthony Bossi is home and recovering well from surgery performed earlier this month. He returned home Saturday and was resting comfortably after the unspecified medical procedure. 

No date has been set for Bossi’s return.

A section of the Saranac River in the heart of Plattsburgh is now off limits to all people as crews work to clean up the riverbed. That pertains to boaters, tubers, kayakers, anglers, and swimmers. The clean-up project is part of a plan to rid the river of deposits from the former coal-tar plant that operated on the banks of the river decades ago.

Governor David Patterson says he will offer budget legislation but if lawmakers don't act, then he will put the cuts into the next emergency spending bill. The emergency spending bill approved Monday Night included $300-Million in cuts to mental-health and human-services programs. The next emergency spending bill could included cuts in economic development and transportation.

Two Vermont State employees working for the Governor's Highway Safety Program are now on paid administrative leave, and authorities are not saying why. Program Coordinator Jeanne Johnson and Alcohol Safety Program Coordinator Stephen Reckers were put on leave. Officials say a number of grants given out by the program are now under review.

State officials say Vermont's General Fund revenues were almost 10% below expectations for the month of May. But there is good news; officials feel the state is on target for the year. The state is almost $2 million ahead of its projections for the year to date. The biggest shortfall last month came in personal income tax receipts, which were off 30%.

The American Red Cross is asking for blood donations, especially if you are Type O-Negative. O-Negative is known as the "universal" blood because it can be used by patients with any blood type. Officials say the blood supply in Northern New England is at critical levels. 83 Hospitals across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine get their blood from the Red Cross.

The state's teachers believe that poverty at home continues to play a big role in classroom achievement, and that poorer districts have less favorable learning conditions in their schools. That's according to a survey of teachers and support staff commissioned by the Vermont-National Education Association.

State tourism officials are asking businesses and organizations to serve as "information ambassadors" to boost tourism. Businesses that agree to participate will post a new blue "info" sign, and to give out maps and other information about sights to see in their area.

Independent candidates for office are unhappy with a change in the law that will require them to file as candidates by tomorrow. In prior years, independents could wait until after the September primary to file. The change is part of a new law that moved the primary to August.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting next week on the safety performance of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. NRC staff conducted their annual assessment of the nuclear plant and will present their findings. They will also discuss the recent leak of radioactive isotopes from underground pipes and the resulting contamination of groundwater around the plant. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on June 22 at the Brattleboro Union High School.

A Rutland woman charged with being the getaway driver in an armed robbery at a Subway restaurant on Woodstock Avenue in the city answered to a felony charge yesterday. Natasha Bruso pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court to a charge of aiding in the commission of a felony. She was cited last month to appear in court after she allegedly told police she drove two men to and from Subway on March 22. The hold-up netted $313 from the register.

A Rutland woman charged with selling heroin to a police informant on three separate occasions answered to a trio of felony offenses yesterday. 

Holly Palmer pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court to three sale-of-heroin charges. She was freed on conditions of release after her arraignment. If convicted, Palmer faces up to 15 years in jail.

The Sherman Free Library in Port Henry is hosting "Be a Reading Champ" this summer. Children in grades kindergarten through sixth grades can earn prizes for reading books through Aug. 21. Each week between now and Aug. 14 children can put their name in a drawing for prizes. At the end of the program, there will be gift certificates for first, second and third place for the ones who read the most.

With cyber-bullying a growing problem, some companies are trying to curb it. One new Facebook application will let parents track and control pretty much everything their children do on the social media website. It's called GoGoStat Parental Guidance, and it will alert parents to friend requests, wall posts, and other interactions. GoGoStat is free. There are other similar applications, such as Social Shield, and while they do cost a few bucks each month, they also allow for more control.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 15, 2010

Voters in 4 North Country communities head to the polls today. Residents in Schroon Lake, St. Regis and Ticonderoga will be voting on revised school budgets while residents in Westport will decide whether to allow bonding for a shared-services building. The polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM in St. Regis and from noon to 8 PM in Schroon Lake, Ticonderoga and Westport.

Construction of the new Crown Point Bridge will force the closure of a popular historic site for the season. The Chimney Point State Historic Site, which commemorates early Native American, French, and English settlers who used the area, is located on the same road as the new bridge. Officials fear it won't be safe for people to be at the site while construction is going on.

Four longtime Addison Northwest Supervisory Union employees are stepping down. Vergennes Union High School English and reading teacher Cathy Spaulding will retire after 35 years. Sally Bushey, Anne Matteson and Lenore Morse also announced their retirements.

Three Otter Valley Union High School teachers have announced their retirements. Bruce Douglas, who has taught science at the school for 32 years, Christine Brown, a math and science teacher at the middle school for 29 years, and Doug Werner, a career services teacher for 17 years, will all be saying their final farewells to the school when it closes its doors for the summer this week.

The town of Bristol will continue to revise its bylaws with a $12,350 grant it received this last from the state Municipal and Regional Planning Fund. With the grant money, Bristol will partner with Smart Growth Vermont, a nonprofit organization, to incorporate as much community input as possible into the process of rewriting its bylaws. Vergennes also received funds from the Municipal and Regional Planning Fund.

Andrew D. Williams pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court yesterday to a felony charge of aggravated assault with a weapon after allegedly firing a .22-caliber bullet that struck 57-year-old Bobby Adams in the chest. Adams told police the friendly game of cards turned ugly after a bad hand. Williams remains in jail with bail set at $75,000.

Forest Dale native Jason Gibbs is seeking to be Vermont’s next Secretary Of State. He believes there are some needed changes in the secretary of state’s office. Those changes include making the office more streamlined and user-friendly for political candidates, businesses and residents in general. If Gibbs is to advance to the Nov. 2 General election, he will have to top Williston-based attorney Chris Roy and Middlesex Democrat Charles Merriman in a GOP primary on Aug. 24.

The new chairman of the Rutland Police Commission told his fellow commissioners yesterday that he wants to improve the department’s public image. During the first meeting since the city’s Board of Aldermen voted to appoint him as the head of the five-member commission, Chairman Larry Jensen outlined some ideas for improving the department’s relations with the community.

A shutdown of the New York State government has been avoided. Senators passed the emergency-spending bill last night. A shutdown at the state level would have frozen state worker pay checks, suspended lottery games, and other nonessential services. It would have also closed state parks, campgrounds, courts, and unemployment offices.

The state of Vermont will NOT be collecting the $250 rebate checks being sent to some seniors to help cover the cost of prescription drugs. Vermont officials said yesterday that because the state was already helping seniors cover those costs with the V-Pharm Program they wanted to collect the checks to help reimburse the program. They have since abandon those plans.

After a two-year absence, the town of Moriah summer youth recreation program is returning home. The five-week program will be held at Moriah Central School this summer. The past two years it has been held at Champlain Valley Tec in Mineville because of construction at the school. The program will begin July 6 and conclude Aug. 5 and will operate 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. daily.

A woman has been arrested in connection with 2 attempted robberies. Police last night arrested 26-year-old Amanda Bean of St. Albans. They believe she flashed a knife and demanded money from the clerk at Simon's Quick Stop in Burlington last Sunday Night, and then later, doing the same thing at Dunkin Donuts on Williston Road.

A new report says more Vermonters are paying too much for their housing. The report titled, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" tracked the differences in wages and housing costs for 2009 and says 3,000 more Vermonters are living "cost burdened". The report also says rental prices have held steady in spite of increasing vacancies.

Officials in Williamstown have given approval to plans for what will be the largest solar farm in the state. Plans call for the farm to be located just off Exit 5 of Interstate 89 and include nearly 9,000 solar panels on 744 arrays. The "Williamstown Solar Farm", which will generate an estimated 2.1 megawatts, still needs to be approved by the Public Service Board.

Vermont's rating of bike friendliness has dropped. The state slipped from 21st in 2009 to 34th in the nation. The report released last month by the League of American Bicyclists says most of the improvement by other states was due to passed legislation to protect cyclists and enhance their infrastructure. Vermont also loses points for not having a separate capitol fund for bike projects.

The Burlington City Council voted to boycott Arizona. The city council passed a resolution last night asking all city departments and businesses to boycott Arizona companies and stand against an immigration act passed in the state. Burlington joined a growing list of cities passing similar resolutions across the country, including New Haven, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts.

The Chittenden County Transportation Authority or CCTA has added a new buss route. The new buss route goes directly from downtown Burlington to Williston. The route not only includes the shops and stores in Williston, it also extends up into the village just past the town hall. For more information on routes and schedules go to

A man from Great Britain was arraigned yesterday in Franklin District Court after he was clocked going 104 miles-per-hour on Interstate 89. Spencer Lodge was arrested Friday in a rented Lamborghini. Lodge reportedly told police he and 27 other people had rented cars in New Jersey and were heading to Montreal in a "Cannonball Run" type race.

Monday, June 14, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 14, 2010

People should be able to start appling for jobs to build the new Crown Point Bridge in the next couple weeks. Both governors Jim Douglas and David Patterson were at the official ground breaking cemeromny on Friday. Officials at Flatiron Constructors, the company that will build the new bridge, say they will start hiring once they setup offices on both sides of the lake.

Rutland police say a late-night card game ended in a shooting sending one man to the hospital and another to jail. Investigators say a fight broke out just before midnight Saturday between 37-year-old Andrew Williams and 57-year-old Bobby Adams. Adams ended-up getting shot. Officials say he will recover. Williams surrended to police yesterday morning and is now behind bars.

According to the town of Benson Route 22A needs wider shoulders, better maintenance and more traffic enforcement. Those were the three main areas of concern to emerge from a recent discussion of a proposed management plan for the highway. The Rutland Regional Planning Commission is working on the plan and talking to select boards along the road. The Commission plans to continue gathering input from towns along Route 22A in the coming weeks.

New York officials say that despite a recent upturn in milk prices, 1 of every 10 dairy farms in the state could fail in the next 6 months if something isn't done. Vermont officials agree; infact, they predicted that about 20-percent of the dairy farms in Vermont will close this year. Federal authorities are considering changes in milk price regulation, but that bill isn't expected until 2012.

New York state offices and agencies could be headed for early closure today if lawmakers can't approve an emergency-spending bill. That bill is expected to pass today to keep government running for another week. The emergency bill includes more than $300 million in cuts to mental health and social services programs.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie launched his campaign for Governor Saturday at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex and followed it with rallies across the state. Dubie spoke about educating youth, clean energy, and creating jobs in Vermont.

The Vermont Secretary of State's office is reminding independent candidates for elected offices in the November election that there are new filing deadlines. To be on the November ballot, candidates must file petitions with the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on June 17th.

Vermont's two U.S. Senators are urging the state not to try to collect money from seniors who are getting federal Medicare prescription drug rebates. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy say many Vermont seniors are hurting financially, and the state should reconsider its plan to collect the money.

The ranks of Vermont's Roman Catholic Church are dropping. The statewide Diocese of Burlington says it has 118,000 members, making it by far the biggest church in Vermont. But that represents a 20% drop from the 149,000 members the church had in 2005.

A new project in Plattsburgh will save the city money and is good for the environment too. Using only federal stimulas money, the city will begin work on a new geo-thermal heating system for the city police station. Officials have already designiated a site for the system that extracts power from heat stored in the earth. Digging is expected to start in the next few weeks.

City officials in Burlington are currently work on next year's budget and they say they will hold the line on taxes. The exact details of the spending plan are not finished yet but they say that Burlington Residents should only see a slight increase in property taxes for next year. They are currently predicting only a 1-percent increase.

A home in Johnson was destroyed over the weekend when fire raced through it. Firefighters say the home on the Whitcomb Island Road, just off Route 100, was fully engulfed when they arrived. No one was home at the time, and no one was hurt fighting back the flames. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Walkers took the streets of Burlington yesterday to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association. Survivors of heart disease, or those whose families have been touched by the number one killer of Americans were out there with a goal of raising 88-thousand dollars. That money will remain in the state, going towards research done by Vermont doctors.

The federal government is giving a local group $4.5 million to make Rutland County buildings more energy efficient. Neighbor Works of Western Vermont hopes Rutland County will lead the state in energy efficiency. Helping homeowners make such improvements has been a goal for the group since an "energy summit" it organized in September. Neighbor Works will offer efficiency audits, which look at what improvements can be made to a home, and then manage the construction while those improvements are made.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 11, 2010

Construction crews will break ground on the new Lake Champlain Bridge today. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the temporary ferry docks on the New York side of the lake at 10:15 this morning. Both Governors Jim Douglas and David Patterson will be there for the start of construction on the new bridge.

Ticonderoga Police are looking for the person or persons responsible for shooting 3 horses at local farms. All 3 horses are still alive but are under veterinarian care while they recover from their gunshot wounds. If you have any information about the horse shootings, please call the Ticonderoga Police Department.

As the town of Pittsford finishes work on its water system, the Select Board has turned its attention to the sewer. The board voted this week to warn a $1.97 million bond issue for sewer improvements. The vote is scheduled for July 20 with informational meetings at 6:30 p.m. on July 13 and July 19 at the Lothrop School gymnasium. Those plans include laying down new pipe in the most worn-out areas and replacing a pump station where a lot of groundwater seeps in.

A team of engineers is proposing to build one of the state’s largest solar farms on the west side of Route 7, across from the Hill Top RV Center in New Haven. The proposed project would feature 178 ground-mounted solar trackers with panels capable of harvesting enough energy to power 500 homes annually. It would also include an organic farm operation calling for sheep and goats to graze near the high-tech equipment. This is the second major solar farm proposal to be pitched in Addison County in recent months.

Officials from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living in late May revoked the license of Alden Place Residential Care Home LLC in Vergennes for a series of 23 alleged violations that affected “the health and safety of the residents.

The Rutland Redevelopment Authority is projecting to finish the fiscal year about $10,000 in the black. While not a significant sum of money, it does represent an improvement from this time last year when the RRA finished more than $13,000 in debt to the city.

CVPS customers will see a slight decrease in the bills stating next month. Central Vermont Public Service has been collecting a 1-percent surcharge that was added to your bill last year to help cover the cost of repairs from the 2008 Ice Storm. That surcharge expires at the end of the month. For most people, the surcharge turns out to be about 30 cents a month.

The Paterson administration has begun preparing state agencies for what could be the first government shutdown in New York History. The shutdown could begin as early as Monday at midnight unless lawmakers pass an emergency-spending bill. With no budget yet for the fiscal year that began April 1, the state has been relying on emergency bills to stay in operation.

Two teenagers, missing since Sunday, have been found safe and sound. Police say the search came to an end after received numberous tips that the 2-missing 16-year-olds were seen in the Middlebury area. Hunter Pawlaczyk of South Burlington and Zoe Robb of Burlington were considered by police as runaways.

The Education Commissioner has braced school officials around Vermont for across-the-board spending reductions in next year's budgets. After holding the line on spending last year, school districts will be asked to shave $23 million from the bottom line in fiscal year 2012. 
The reduction directives are part of Challenges for Change.

One of the men charged in the shooting death of a former St. Michael's College professor has changed his plea. In court yesterday, 28-year-old Chad Lussier changed his plea to guilty. As part of the plea deal he will serve 60 days in prison. Lussier was taken into custody to start serving his sentence immediately.

A German company is pulling its operations out of Vermont and is headed back to Europe this year. Suss MicroTec says it's going to relocate a division from Waterbury to Germany later this year, which means a loss of 80 jobs. Suss also has a service and sales division in Waterbury, which is moving west to California.

A pair of St. Mary's School students will be the featured speakers at Flag Day ceremonies in Ticonderoga. Sponsored by Ticonderoga Elks, the Flag Day festivities will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. in Bicentennial Park. In the event of bad weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Ti Armory on Champlain Avenue.

The Slate Valley Teen Center has programs and a location, now it just needs to bring the two together. 

The Fair Haven Select Board last week voted to allow the organization to use the second floor of the town office building rent-free for 20 years. In return the center has to renovate it at no cost to the town.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 10, 2010

The construction of the new Lake Champlain Bridge is expected to bring hundreds of workers to Crown Point, making it an economic opportunity for local merchants. To prepare, the community may form its own chamber of commerce. A group of Crown Point residents met yesterday to discuss the formation of a local chamber. It agreed to meet again June 23 at 3 p.m. at the town hall. Currently Crown Point businesses can join the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.

A Zamias Fund grant approved this week will likely allow the Paramount Theatre to replace its leaky roof this construction season. The grant was officially approved at the Monday evening Board of Aldermen meeting by a 7-to-2 vote. The grant will also allow the Paramount to leverage a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant of about $16,000 that will pay for the remainder of the $47,000 estimated roof replacement.

Plans to close a polling station in Mineville have been scrapped. The Essex County Board of Elections no longer has plans to shut down polling places in Mineville, AuSable Forks, Wadhams and Keene. In the town of Moriah the board of elections plan was to merge polling places in Mineville and Moriah.

A pool party and barbecue for families of the Vermont Army National Guard is set for Sunday at Northwood Park pool in Rutland. This year the Rutland unit deployed to Afghanistan in January. In total 1,500 Vermont troops left in 2010, the largest group of Vermonters to deploy since World War II.

Another radioactive leak has been reported at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Power plant officials say this time the cause was found quickly and resolved. They say it came from a one-inch relief valve in the plant's cooling system within Vermont Yankee and never got out outside. The leak was stopped Tuesday afternoon, and the valve was replaced early yesterday morning.

Rep. Peter Welch wants BP to stop paying profits to shareholders and buying TV ads until the oil spill disaster is over. Welch says the millions going to a public relations campaign and stock dividends would be better spent on cleaning up the environmental damage.

State environmental officials in New York are stepping up efforts to stop the spread of destructive forest pests in firewood. It is against the law to transport untreated firewood into the state or moving it more than 50 miles. Now authorities plan to set up checkpoints on the Adirondack Northway to nab violators. Campers at state campgrounds will have to identify the source of firewood they bring in. Violators can face fines and jail time.

The branch manager of CitiFinancial in South Burlington is facing charges that she took out loans under someone else's name. A Colchester woman was paying a mortgage loan, when she discovered 5 loans were made to her without her knowledge. Police say information on the loans led them to the local branch manager, 35-year-old Angela Feeley.

Police are looking for 2 teens that have been missing for several days. Hunter Pawlaczyk of South Burlington and Zoe Robb of Burlington were last seen going to bed in their separate homes Sunday Night. Parents notified police once they discovered that the teens and their bikes were missing. Authorities are now considering them runaways.

A Ticonderoga man, who shot a State Trooper, will spend the next 15 years in prison. During a several hour standoff 2 years ago, Trooper George Stannard was trying to disarm 40-year-old Donald McCray, who was suicidal at the time, when he was shot in his hand. Stannard has since lost use of his right-hand but still remains on the force because he is left-handed.

Bomb sniffing dogs are now on the job at the Burlington International Airport. They made their debut Tuesday. The team of 3 trained dogs and TSA handlers can also provide the same bomb detection security at bus and train stations. The director of the airport's TSA says the dogs can find explosives in seconds.

The numbers are in and Vermont Ski Areas saw an increase in visits this past season. The Vermont Ski Areas Association says the state's resorts had 4.1 million skiers this past season, that's up 1.4 percent over the previous season. Officials say Vermont resorts did surprising well considering less than perfect weather and the recession.

Ticonderoga town board meetings can now bee seen live on TV. For years the town board meetings have been taped and later shown on the community cable access channel provided by Time Warner Cable. Recently some people asked about televising the meetings live. You can now turn on the community access channel at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of each month to see the Ti meetings live.

Moriah's public access television channel has made major improvements thanks to new equipment. The new technology has been a great benefit to the channel, which is operated by Moriah Central School. The new system allows for a schedule of programming, better quality of picture and sound, immediate access from a remote location in the event of a school or town emergency and an improved and updated message board. The channel is also now in sync with the school website.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 9, 2010

Benson voters approved their school budget yesterday, 99-84. The revised budget included cuts to the legal fund, health education, the Spanish program and the field trip budget, along with some changes to individual health insurance program. Yesterday’s vote in Benson left Vermont with eight school districts that have yet to approve budgets.

Rutland Town teachers announced last night they will strike in the fall if their contract is not settled prior to the 2010 school year. A strike is a last resort for educators frustrated with negotiations that have lasted more than a year and deadlocked in July 2009.

A small oil spill was discovered in Lake Iroquois in Hinesburg. Authorities say work crews were drilling on private property when there was some sort of problem with the equipment. That's when some of the oil in a hose made its way into the lake water. Buoys were set up to help contain the spill. Federal officials came in last night to help with the clean up.

New evidence shows efforts to clean-up Lake Champlain might be working. Using new methods, U.S. Geological Survey Scientist have found the there has been 1 to 3-percent decrease in phosphorus levels each year from 2000 to 2008. Phosphorus is a plant nutrient washed into the lake that feeds waterweeds and algae blooms.

Officials at the Burlington International Airport say construction on the main runway will cause cancellations, delays, and diversions throughout the summer. Until the repairs are completed, flights will be diverted to Albany anytime the weather reduces visibility to under one-mile. The $19-Million repair job is expected to be finished in September.

Until a state budget is passed, the New York Transportation Department will not be cutting the grass along the highways. A spokesperson said, "Because of the budget situation this year, we are only mowing for safety issues." Also put on hold for now is any non-essential road stripping and guardrail repairs.

A change to a contract between the Rutland city school district and Rutland Mental Health Services will cut 12 full-time jobs. 12 of 15 RMHS employees working at the district's SUCCESS alternative school will be let go in August. The provider's $690,000 contract with the district will be substantially reduced and the treatment program for K-12 students will be restructured.

A top official says state agencies made roughly $265,000 in duplicate payments to vendors over a 2-year period. Auditor of Accounts Tom Salmon says the state also has not yet been able to recoup $61,000 of that money.

A group that tries to help teens and young adults get back on their feet after spending time in jail has found a home. For the past few months, Hope and Community Incorporated has been trying to open a live-in rehabilitation facility in the Rutland area. But several communities have blocked the group's attempt, including a site in Killington. According to the nonprofit's executive director, the facility will open at the former Sand Hill Residential Community for Young Women in Castleton. Hope and Community's goal is to open in a few weeks.

State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding said he will refuse to allow members of the Douglas administration to monitor the Web-viewing habits of state employees working in his office. Controversy has plagued the administration's Web-monitoring plan since some lawmakers began denouncing the initiative in April. The administration has spent $120,000 on software that will be used to block certain websites and track the Internet habits of thousands of employees.

There will be a ribon cutting ceremony tomorrow at the new State Archives Building. Construction began on the new building in Middlesex in 2008 after a flood damaged storage space in Montpelier. The new State Archive Building will be the home of the Vermont State Constitution as well as the official correspondence of governors, legislative records and other documents.

One of two men accused in the shooting death of a former St. Michael's College professor plans to change his plea tomorrow. Police say 28-year-old Brad Lussier of Colchester, was one of four men who were firing guns in a backyard shooting range in Essex 2 years ago. Last month a jury convicted 40-year-old Joseph McCarthy of manslaughter for setting up the firing range.

If you notice pine trees around the state are turning brown, than your not alone. Officials say we are now seeing the effects of Needle Blight that spread though the trees last summer. Tree experts say don't give up and cut any of your pine trees down. It's just going to take time for the trees to recover.

A Massachusetts teacher cleaning up her classroom in preparation for a move has discovered a Colonial-era document buried in a pile of outdated textbooks and dusty scraps of papers. Dated April 1792 and protected by plastic, it appears to document the payment of a debt by a Vermont man named Jonathan Bates. Bates served in the Continental Army in 1780 and died in 1808 at age 63. He's buried in Williamstown, VT.

The SADD chapter at the Stafford Technical Center in Rutland has been named the best in the country. The group held a dating violence presentation, was a top 20 finalist in a national competition about distracted driving, and helped set up the first college SADD chapter in Vermont at Castleton State. Students say they were very surprised but very excited about the honor.

A tradition will return during this year's "Best Fourth in the North" celebration. A bed race will be held along Ticonderoga's Montcalm Street following the Montcalm Mile and before the annual July 4th parade. The 24th annual Montcalm Mile will race along the parade route at 1:45 p.m. It will be followed by the bed race and then the annual parade at 2 p.m. Registration forms and rules for the race can be obtained on line at best-4th-in-the-north dot com or at Century 21.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 8, 2010

Voters in the town of Benson will try to pass a school budget today. This will be the third time a spending plan for next year has been proposed to the voters. There was an informational meeting last night. The polls are open today at the Community Hall from 10 to 7.

Expect some slow-downs in New Haven as you head through the village over the next few weeks as work begins on the town’s first sidewalk. Kennedy Construction of North Ferrisburgh is expected to break ground next week on the project, which will slightly enlarge the village green, install sidewalks along the green and North Street to Beeman Elementary School, and construct a safer crosswalk across Route 17.

For the second year in a row, Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects launched a special fund-raising campaign in order to meet the growing demand for services by Addison County residents still weathering tough economic times. The organization is seeking to raise $145,000 in donations and another $6,700 through special events including a fashion show this fall. Anyone interested in donating to the HOPE fund-raising campaign should call the agency at 388-3608.

Vergennes aldermen have given permission to Vergennes Opera House backers to sell the theater’s no-longer-used fixed chairs as a way to help pay for the sprinkler project. The cost of that project recently increased by $20,000 when it was learned there was not enough water pressure in the original design to reach the top of the structure and an extra pump would be needed.

The Rutland city treasurer and school district chief financial officer support a recommendation from Mayor Christopher Louras that the pension board be reconstituted as a professional board of financial specialists. At Monday's meeting, Louras introduced language for the board to consider as a possible revision to the ordinance that outlines the terms of the city's pension plan.

Vermont State Senator Susan Bartlett has formally kicked off her campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Bartlett has represented Lamoille County in the Senate since 1993. She faces four other Democrats in the August primary. Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie is the sole Republican candidate for governor.

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Mount Snow Resort are among five companies that will share in $92 million in federal stimulus bonding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CVPS was authorized for $25 million from the tax-exempt Recovery Zone Facility Bond Program. The bonding will help finance $48 million in capital projects this year, including infrastructure, transmission, distribution, buildings and generation.

Vermont Yankee has been ordered to reimburse opponents for money spent investigating misleading statements nuclear plant officials made to state regulators and lawmakers. The state Public Service Board granted reimbursement requests from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, the New England Coalition and the Windham Regional Commission. The board said Vermont Yankee must pay attorney's fees and other costs related to the plant's misrepresentations about whether it had underground pipes that carried radioactive substances.

The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation is launching a new program to promote training and licensing of organic lawn care providers. A searchable list of local Be Green qualified yard care and landscaping companies will be available on the DEC's website.

Two New York lawmakers say it's time for prepaid cell phone users to identify themselves. That's rattled some civil liberties groups, who say the bill may threaten privacy rights. Prepaid phones can be a lifeline for people with limited incomes or poor credit. But since they can be purchased anonymously, they're a favored tool of drug dealers and other criminals looking to cover their tracks. Prepaid phones also have been linked to suspected terror activity.

The Burlington City Council is looking to changing the way the city elects its mayor again. Currently a mayoral candidate only needs 40-percent of the vote to be elected. The City Council voted last night to change the city charter so a candidate for the office would need a 50-percent majority. The measure now goes to the Charter Change Committee.

Police, schools and other groups in New York are joining together to prevent kids from committing crimes at school. The Coalition for Safe Schools recently launched a campaign to keep kids safe. It will work with school districts in Essex and Clinton counties. Coalition leaders said they will respond to school violence and hopefully prevent it.

A Morrisonville man has admitted to causing a deadly crash last fall. 33-year-old Aaron Trombley pleaded guilty to several charges yesterday in Clinton County Court. Police say on October 16, last year, he was driving while on drugs in the Town of Plattsburgh when he hit another car head-on. 2 of the passengers in that car died as a result. He is facing up to 15 years in prison.

About 9,000 Vermont Seniors will be getting a one-time, $250 rebate check. The checks are to help close a gap in Medicare Coverage for prescription drugs. The first round of checks will be mailed out on June 10 for seniors who have already paid over $950 for prescriptions this year. People covered under Medicare Part D should receive a check automatically.

Teens looking for something to do this summer now have another resource. Susan Hull Grasso and Sarah Vincent , 2 stay at home moms, that have several teenagers themselves, have created a website to help kids age 13 and up find jobs and volunteering opportunities. The women say there are a lot of opportunities out there. The website is

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced it would close the Morses Line border crossing and now there is a group of people that is fighting to keep it open. Local residents on both sides of the border say, it’s the cheapest and most convenient way for them to cross the border. They say closing it could have devastating effects on local farms and businesses.

This up-coming weekend is Vermont Days. It’s your chance to visit one of the many state parks or historic sites for free. This Saturday is also Free Fish Day; the one-day of the year you don't need a fishing license in Vermont. For more information or a complete list of activities surrounding Vermont Days, go to