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.