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.