Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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.