Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WVTK Local & State News June 2, 2010

It's now illegal to text while driving in Vermont. Governor Jim Douglas signed the bill into law yesterday. The bill also bans anyone under the age of 17 from using their cell phones or other any electronic device while driving, including their iPod. Violators will face a $100 fine for a first offense and a $250 fine for each additional offense.

Vermont lawmakers will not return next week to deal with a bill that was vetoed by the governor. Last week Governor Jim Douglas vetoed a bill that would change the current-use program. Douglas said the bill would have increased taxes for owners of farms and forestlands. Lawmakers will instead, address the current-use issue next session, which begins in about 6 months.

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

Teachers in Rutland Town will be on the picket line again this morning. They say they are hoping to send a message to the school board by picketing each day this week before school starts. Teachers say they're currently working under imposed conditions that include a 0-percent salary increase. Both sides are hoping to negotiate a multi-year deal.

Rutland City Police Chief Anthony Bossi will take a prolonged leave of absence soon for a medical condition requiring surgery. While Bossi is on leave, Capt. Scott Tucker will serve as acting chief. The 12-year chief is expected to make a full recovery and could return to work in a matter of weeks.

The Rutland Board of Aldermen will have up to $5,000 in city funds to hire outside legal counsel to help them review and possibly rewrite charter language concerning the city's Police Commission. At a meeting last week between the mayor, city attorney and two representatives of the board, Mayor Christopher Louras agreed to dedicate the funds from the city attorney's budget to get more specific about the scope of work they're seeking.

New York School Districts are finally getting their state-aid payments, but only partial payments. They usually get their state funding payments in March but this year Governor Patterson decided to hold on till the June 1 deadline. School Districts across the state will have to wait for the rest of the funding till there is a state budget in place, which is already 2 months late.

The Schroon Lake Central School District will again ask residents to approve a 2010-11 budget. A revised budget proposal will go to voters June 15 noon to 8 p.m. in the school lobby. Anticipating no increase in state aid, the proposed budget called for a 5.5 percent increase in taxes. Much of that increase is attributed to an on-going building project at the school.

Ticonderoga teachers will take night jobs at the local McDonald's next Tuesday June 8. That's when the Ticonderoga Elementary-Middle School will host "McTeacher Night" at the Ti McDonald's on Wicker Street. The event will feature teachers serving food 4:30-7 p.m. to raise money for a new playground at the school. The goal is to raise $4,000.

New York Governor David Paterson is planning to layoff thousands of state workers next year to help balance the state budget. State agencies are now being directed to begin picking positions that could be eliminated starting January 1. That date coincides with the expiration of a "no-layoffs pledge" Paterson made last year.

A program that helps Vermont National Guard families during times of deployment and helps solders adapt to life after war will receive more federal funding. The Vermont National Guard Outreach Program has been such a success in Vermont that it is now being looked at as a model for other states.

Thanks to a change in the wind patterns, cooler temperatures, and rain showers, the smoke from the Canadian Wildfires has moved out of the area. And there is more good news; crews are making progress on battling the flames. But so far, officials say the fires have already burned an area of forest twice the size of the island of Montreal.

A fire that destroyed a historic building in Barre on Monday has been deemed arson. Crews were called to the old Key Bank Building around 2:30 Monday Afternoon. It took more than 100 fire fighters from around the area to get the fire under control. The damage is estimated to be more than $200,000. Anyone with information should call the Arson tip line at (800) 32-ARSON.