Friday, July 30, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 30, 2010

The District 9 Environmental Commission has denied an Act 250 permit for a proposed gravel pit in Bristol. The commission ruled the proposal, which has been tied up in permitting and litigation for around seven years, “would cause and result in a detriment to public health, safety or general welfare.” The Lathrop Limited partnership can appeal the decision with in 30 days.

As the state agency that administers benefits to people living in poverty implements a new processing system for its services, charities in Addison County have reported that some of their clients have experienced delays in receiving benefits. The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity in Middlebury said that last week alone six people had received word that their applications had been delayed due to “work overload”.

This week Middlebury selectmen got a look at what could be the community’s next big capital improvement project. Once the Cross Street Bridge is completed a new municipal fire station may be next.

The bridge across the New Haven River at South Street in the Bristol village closed for repairs as of Tuesday and is not expected to open again until 2012 at the earliest. VTrans inspected the bridge last week as a follow up to an inspection last October.

Middlebury and Ripton officials will support looking closely at a $1.6-million plan to install a series of floodwalls and culverts along Route 125 from Ripton to East Middlebury. The project would be a way of minimizing washouts and other damage from future flooding.

The community of Ticonderoga will be host to the second annual Street fest tomorrow, bringing a mix of arts and craft vendors, food kiosks and other unique exhibitors to Main Street. Montcalm Street will close at 8AM for set-up, with the event kicking off at 10AM. Fort Ticonderoga's award-winning Fife and Drum Corps will open the event. The event will close at 4PM with the street reopening to vehicles at 5PM.

The director of the Vermont Correctional Academy has been sentenced to probation for a DUI last year. Barry Mulcahy of Leicester has been on paid administrative leave since his arrest last December. As part of a plea bargain, the state dismissed the felony charge of impeding a police officer and a misdemeanor charge of simple assault. Mulcahy agreed to plead guilty to DUI and disorderly conduct, with a minimum of four- to 18 months on probation.

Members of Vermont's delegation to Congress say the Air Force wants the Vermont National Guard to be the first guard unit to get the new F-35 fighter jet. The guard bases at the Burlington International Airport are 1 of 2 preferred homes for the planes, along with an Air Force base in Utah.

State Senator and gubernatorial hopeful Susan Bartlett is proposing a state office of innovation, saying the state can help Vermont inventors get their ideas into the marketplace. The proposal is part of Bartlett's jobs and economic development plan unveiled today. Bartlett is among five Democrats facing off in next month's primary.

An arson investigation is underway at a home in Rutland. Police say a fire at the Pelkey home on Smith Street Wednesday was deliberately set. No one was home at the time. Investigators say damage was contained to two rooms. Its the same home were Wendy Pelkey Grant, 2 years ago, shot and killed her husband. She is currently serving 6 to 15 years for manslaughter.

The Vermont National Guard is one step closer to getting the new F-35 fighter jets. The Air Force says it has narrowed its list of potential locations down to 2, South Burlington and a base in Utah. The new jets would arrive just in time as the F-16 is being phased out. If Vermont were chosen, the first jets would arrive in 2018.

A Vermont company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning supplies is pairing up with Wal-Mart. Starting in August, Seventh Generation products will be sold in 1,500 Wal-Marts nationwide, but not at the one in Williston. The company said the partnership is a great opportunity for them to get their product into more homes.

Clinton County Legislators are considering charging parking fees at the Plattsburgh International Airport. Since the airport opened in 2007, they have seen a steady increase in business and now the parking lots are full on a regular basis. The Airport Committee recommended the county seek bids from companies willing to manage the parking situation.

The Vermont Air Guard has its next mission, flying F-16s in Korea. Major General Michael Dubie did not give many details, only that the Green Mountain Boys will be flying missions in Korea starting sometime next year. Dubie would not comment on how long the deployment will last.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has changed its plans and will not be sending a dive team down to a sunken tugboat in Lake Champlain until next spring. Officials with the EPA say there isn't enough time to plan a dive to explore the William H. McAllister before seasons change. They fear that the tugboat that sank in 1963 might still have fuel aboard and be leaking it into the lake.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 29, 2010

The town of Brandon reached an agreement with artist Liza Myers to keep her mural up through October when the Brandon Artist's Guild summer fundraiser comes to an end. Zoning regulators complained the mural violates Brandon's sign ordinance. But Myers argued it was her contribution to the fundraiser, not advertising for her gallery. She hopes the ordinance will be changed. Brandon's planning commission is discussing amendments to the current sign rules.

With less than 30 days until the start of school, the threat of a teachers’ strike in Rutland Town still looms, but officials say no matter what school will open. 

The Chairwoman of the School Board said the board hopes to agree on a multi-year contract with teachers before Aug. 25 but in the event of strike there will be an alternative plan in place.

The aldermen’s Public Works Committee in Rutland is supporting a request to have a $1.2 million bond request for Library Avenue placed on the November ballot. By a 3-to-2 vote the committee made the recommendation last night. The issue will need to pass the full Board of Aldermen on Monday before it is placed on the ballot.

There is still no state budget in place after yesterday's special session in Albany. Governor David Patterson says he will keep forcing lawmakers back to Albany until the budget that was due April 1 is passed. The next session is scheduled for today. 9 senators were missing from yesterday's special session.

The House has OK'd a measure aimed at protecting American authors, journalists and publishers from foreign libel judgments. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, along with Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, co-authored the measure, which now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

New York is a finalist in a competition with other states to receive millions of dollars in school reform grants. The "Race to the Top" competition is part of President Obama's economic stimulus law and rewards reforms aimed at improving schools. The grant could bring $500 million to the cash-strapped state. Vermont chose not to apply for the grant money. The winners will be announced in September.

Magic Hat Brewing Company, the largest craft brewer in Vermont may be the target of an acquisition by a company based in Rochester, New York. "Beer Business Daily" has reported North American Breweries was days away from closing the deal to purchase Magic Hat's parent company.

The Attorney General's office continues to investigate whether Vermont Yankee's owners intentionally misled the state. Officials are reviewing 2 million pages of documents. They plan to start interviewing Entergy workers in the fall. Vermont Yankee is set to close in 2012.

The Black Watch Memorial Library in Ticonderoga will host a concert in conjunction with the Heritage Museum. It is a family performance by Nan Hoffman celebrating the summer reading program entitled "Sing A Story – Read A Song: Make A Splash – Read!" It will take place Friday, July 30 at 9 a.m. at the Heritage Museum, 137 Montcalm Street. It is free and open to the public.

Tonight’s second annual “Honor Our Past” fundraiser at Rutland’s Holiday Inn produced by the School Board of Christ the King and Mount St. Joseph Academy is expected to draw more than 230 attendees and at least $20,000 for student scholarships. The event has become a key part in sustaining MSJ’s future for a new generation of Catholics and students who don’t subscribe to a particular denomination but want a small school environment. Tickets for the event are $75 a person.

A Vermont man has begun a 2-day jail stay for his role in an alcohol-fueled vandalism spree that damaged six fiberglass cows in downtown Burlington in May. Christopher Newton, who broke his foot when 1 of the cows fell on him, also will have to pay restitution. The cows are part of the "Cows come Home" public art project.

Voters in Clinton County will decide in November whether or not to abolish term limits for county legislators. At a public hearing before last night's meeting, several people spoke up in favor of abolishing the term limits. Legislators then voted 7 to 2 in favor of placing the issue on the November ballot.

Essex Middle School is now going solar. Solar Panels have been added to roof. Officials say the panels will provide between 15 to 20-percent of the schools power. The school and its Edge Academy are among 10 Vermont schools that received funding to install solar panels. School administrators say they will also use them as a tool in teaching about solar energy.

A pair arrested in Burlington for stealing a car may have helped police crack even more cases. Burlington Police say they arrested 29-year-olds Sean Maring and Nina Keus, both of Burlington, on Tuesday. Police say they have now linked the pair to a number of other crimes in South Burlington and Essex.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 28, 2010

Energy analysts say heating oil prices are projected to rise only modestly this coming winter, giving homeowners in the Northeast a second year of relief from the sky-high prices they were paying two years ago. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that residential prices in the Northeast will climb gradually in the months ahead before topping out at about $3.10 a gallon in the dead of winter.

The Department of public works is asking Rutland city aldermen to make a definitive decision on whether they will give residents the chance to vote on a $1.2 million bond for a Library Avenue storm sewer project. The project is on the state’s Municipal Pollution Control Projects Priority List, which makes it eligible for about $800,000 in assistance out of the total $2 million cost. The state has to know by Aug. 13 whether the city will pursue the opportunity.

Vermont has joined with 30 other states in an effort to create national standards that measure what students know, regardless of where they live. The states have jointly applied for millions in federal grant funds to develop a new way to assess student progress, using a common set of national standards to gauge how much – or how little – students know. 
Grant awards are expected to be announced by the U.S. Department of Education this September.

A website with extensive information about the newly launched Adirondack Region Medical Home Pilot can now be reached online at The pilot, launched earlier this year, offers a new, patient-centered model for the delivery of health care services that emphasizes the role of primary care. It is expected to increase access to services, improve quality of care, and lower costs over the long-term.

Next month's state primary ballot will include an unusual three-party primary for the part-time job of lieutenant governor, which is opening up as Brian Dubie makes a run for governor. The Democratic, Progressive and Republican parties all have two person battles to make the November ballot in the race.

Vermont's ACLU is part of a coordinated effort by civil liberties groups trying to force the FBI to turn over records on the agency's use of racial or ethnic profiling. The Vermont group's head says FBI agents have typically been able to collect information about "ethnic-oriented" businesses and other characteristics in communities with ethnic populations.

The Rutland Regional Medical Center has been given permission by the state of Vermont to upgrade a key piece of cancer-fighting equipment. The state has issued a certificate of need that will allow the medical center to replace its 15-year-old linear accelerator, a tool used to direct cancer-fighting radiation at a tumor while doing minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

A 27-year-old musical tradition is moving. The Champlain Valley Folk Festival is this weekend in Burlington. Thirty-five groups are performing in Waterfront Park. The event had been in Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh, but several costly years of rain forced the organization to look for alternatives. Tickets are now $20. It kicks off with a dance this Friday and features two full days of concerts Saturday and Sunday.

An office complex in Essex Junction was evacuated yesterday morning. Smoke sent everyone out of One Market Place for about 45 minutes while firefighters investigated the situation. The smoke was first noticed at a hair salon. Firefighters found the smoke coming from a malfunctioning air conditioning unit.

Both Clinton and Franklin Counties are receiving a boost in federal funds to help increase security along the Canadian border. Clinton County will be getting $400-thousand, which officials say will be used for equipment and to pay for overtime for deputies. Franklin County will receive $300-thousand in federal money to buy equipment for the border.

A new company will be starting production at Imperial Park in Plattsburgh. SOLVE Composites has signed a five-year lease. Once they finish renovating their space, they will be making parts for Nova Bus. Erin Hynes of The Development Corporation says SOLVE will create 44 jobs within the first 2 years of production.

Authorities are investigating a fire in Barre that started next to a railroad tanker car filled with heating oil. When firefighters arrived Sunday evening, they discovered a burning box spring mattress propped up against the tanker. Fire crews quickly doused the flames. Officials say there was never a serious threat of explosion because the tanker was not pressurized.

A Vermont man is going to prison for child pornography. 44-year-old Glenn Little of Georgia pled guilty to owning child porn and was sentenced today to 20 months in jail. Investigators caught up with Little after police in Illinois downloaded images from his computer. He was ordered to report to prison next month.

A former University of Vermont men's basketball player is turning pro. Marqus Blakely has signed a 2-year deal with the Los Angles Clippers. While no details were given on how much he'll receive, Blakely will only get the full amount if he makes the team after preseason camp this fall. Blakely graduated this spring after earning 2 America East Player-Of-The-Year Trophies, and leading the Catamounts to the NCAA tournament.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 27, 2010

The next phase of a major project to rebuild parts of Green Mountain Power Corporation’s Vergennes dam is getting underway this week. Demolition experts will begin what is expected to be about two weeks of blasting to allow replacement of decayed piping. Traffic on West Main Street will be stopped when blasting occurs, and you can expect some delays. The $3-million-plus project began in May with the construction of temporary dams both above and below the west side of the Otter Creek falls.

Vermont State Police seized 31 marijuana plants they pulled near Route 22A in Fair Haven following an aerial search conducted with the Vermont Air National Guard. It was the first such flight of the year, and police will do several more in the coming weeks, weather permitting. Anything more than 25 plants constitutes a felony under Vermont law. A mature plant generally has a street value of $1,000 to $2,000.

The United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc. has begun a new year of fundraising and with a new name. The nonprofit organization — which helps more than 35 partner agencies — has now expanded to encompass Franklin County and has adopted the name United Way of the Adirondack Region. This year's fundraising campaign team will look to raise $750,000. The official kick-off for the 2010-11 fundraising campaign won't take place until this September. For more information about making a contribution to United Way of the Adirondack Region may call 563-0028 or visit

While Vermont has historically been insulated from the growth of illegal drug labs, police say they're seeing more methamphetamine cases. Evidence of that rise comes in last week's discovery of a meth lab inside a St. Albans home, the eighth such find this year. That compares to five cases through all of last year.

A candidate for Vermont secretary of state says troops abroad are getting bad information about the date of Vermont's Aug. 24 primary election. Republican Jason Gibbs says troops in Iraq are being told the primary is Sept. 14, citing an assertion made by Gov. Jim Douglas in a satellite interview from the Mideast Saturday. The outdated information came from a guide published by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, in Washington, D.C.

The Green Mountain Alliance of Amateur Astronomers wants the public to come to the Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site on Thursday. It's the annual "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" program where amateur stargazers can see the night sky. Organizers say people can bring their own telescopes or binoculars plus blankets and bug spray. The free event starts at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday.

The National Museum of the Morgan Horse is leaving Shelburne. The Morgan Horse Association is planning to move this summer, parting ways with the national museum located in the same building, next to the Shelburne Museum. While the association is only moving down the road, the museum is planning to lease a space with more foot traffic, potentially in Middlebury.

The head of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce is leaving for a similar job. Barbara Brassard will become the program coordinator for the Essex County Retired Senior Volunteer Program starting September 1. The chamber director's job is being advertised now. Resumes need to be submitted by August 6.

Governor Paterson is hinting that layoffs may be coming to the state workforce. That's despite an understanding with the unions that no one would be laid off prior to December 31st of this year. The Governor says the state can no longer abide by the agreement because of drastic cuts in revenue and the unwillingness of the unions to go along with concessions such as furloughs.

Just in time for the upcoming primary, a Vermont web designer has launched his new Facebook application designed to help Democrat candidate Matt Dunne in his race for governor. Tom Bacon created his new Gooroo Facebook application, which allows Dunne to post a video question every day. Bacon says it helps voters voice their opinion and interact with a candidate.

The guidelines have been set and now families in the North Country can apply for free or reduced-price school meals for the up-coming school year. Application forms for the lunch program have been sent to households. Additional copies are available at the principal's office in each school and may be submitted at any time during the school year to the school's principal.

Hot off a concert at the White House, Brandi Carlile is set to bring her unique blend of rock, pop and folk music to Vermont. Scheduled to play the Paramount Wednesday at 8 p.m., Carlile is looking forward to spending time in Rutland. Tickets are available at the box office, or online at

A man suffered only minor injuries after being run over by a street sweeper in Burlington. Investigators believe the employee driving the street sweeper did not see the worker behind him and backed over him. Luckily the brushes were not running at the time. Both the street sweeper operator and the victim are employed by the same company.

The City of Plattsburgh is looking at re-opening a waste treatment facility. Residents had a chance last night at an informational meeting to voice their opinion. Most said the plant just smelled too much before. City officials want to re-open the plant, this time using a different method to process waste; one they say, will be a lot less smelly.

The Salvation Army in Burlington is asking people to stop leaving donations at the old storage warehouse location. A few weeks ago, they closed storage warehouse. Officials say in most instances, the items people are leaving is not sellable, so then end up having to pay to dispose of them. Officials say you can still drop off donations at 3 stores between 9 and 5.

A Vermont lawyer is guilty of violating the state's rape shield law. The state Supreme Court ruled against Jasdeep Pannu. Last year, Pannu was representing a man accused of statutory rape when he went against the judge's instruction and told jurors about the girl's sexual history. The trial judge found Pannu in contempt. Vermont's highest court supports that ruling.

2 Plattsburgh State students charged in an alleged gang assault have pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Police say, back in April 5 men assaulted a man who went to the Beta Fraternity House to pick up a friend. The man was hospitalized and has since recovered. Recently, Christopher Tommasino and Ryan Stacey both admitted to reduced charges.

The Agency of Transportation is warning residents in South Burlington that there will be a foul odor in the air around Dorset Street Tomorrow and Thursday. They will be repairing a culvert with a resin that has a strong smell like an epoxy or paint. Officials say it isn't harmful. The smelliest time will be on Thursday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 26, 2010

Lake Champlain groups will share $6.5-Million in federal funding to protect and restore the lake. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy obtained the money in the current federal budget. The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission will funnel the money to lake projects. The money is in addition to the $18-Million Vermont and the federal government budgeted for lake this year.

New York Governor David Paterson is calling the Legislature back for a rare summer session to complete a state budget now 15 weeks late. The budget was due on April 1st. Paterson said the special session is scheduled for 6 PM on Wednesday. He says that if a budget isn't finished, he'll call another session for Thursday.

A former postal clerk in Rutland has been indicted on federal mail theft charges. Last Thursday, a federal Grand jury charged Michelle Donahoe with embezzling mail items in 2009. Investigators say Donahoe stole hundreds of pieces of mail taking checks and cash valued over $1,000. If convicted, Donahoe could face up to 5 years in prison.

A Wallingford woman says she photographed a catamount in her back yard, and according to a state biologist it could be the real thing. He said that while he could not confirm it was a catamount that was sighted by Linda Reeves of Wallingford, he could not dismiss it, either. Catamounts are a type of mountain lion that was native to pre-Columbian Vermont. They are officially believed to have been hunted to extinction however there are 50 to 55 sightings around the state each year.

Williston Police were led on a high-speed chase over the weekend. Around 11 PM Friday night, police tried to pull over a Chevy Blazer for erratic driving near the Shaw's on Williston Road. The driver then led police on a high-speed chase toward Richmond that ended when the driver hit a telephone poll at the bottom of French Hill. The driver, 32-year-old Paul West of Hinesburg, was killed on impact. The passenger, 35-year-old James Savard Jr of Burlington, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The incident is still under investigation.

Broadband Internet access throughout Vermont remains elusive three years after lawmakers and Gov. Jim Douglas said that was their goal by 2010. Now all six gubernatorial candidates are saying they'll continue to push for statewide broadband. The goal of statewide broadband by 2010 was set in legislation passed in 2007, which also created the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas' office says he plans to appoint nine new members to the state's commission on Native American Affairs by September 1st if enough qualified candidates apply. A new law requires members to have lived in the state at least three years and for the commission to reflect a diversity of affiliations and geography.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas was in Germany, where he and a group of other governors are visiting wounded soldiers. It was the last stop on a 4-day trip to the Middle East. The delegation also stopped in Sharana Air Base, south of Kabul, where Douglas met with Vermonters from the 3-172 Infantry Company of Westminster.

The Ticonderoga Heritage Museum has a new — and big — exhibit. A turbine from a hydroelectric plant has been placed outside the museum at the entrance to Bicentennial Park. Besides the new exhibit, this summer the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum will again host a series of children's programs. The children's programs, held every Wednesday and Friday at 9AM through Aug. 14, and are free.

The Vermont Department of Health has issued a warning about Blue-Green Algae Blooms in St. Albans Bay. Recent tests show the blooms in St. Albans Bay contain low-level toxins. Officials said people can still use the area for recreation, but are warning residents to stay clear of the large blooms of algae.

Due to flood damage from last week's storms, the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Center's weight room is closed. 4-inches of water collected in the nautilus room, weight room, hallway and portions of the cardio room. Most of the flooring in those areas will have to be replaced. The repairs should be completed in the next 7 to 10 days.

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss has called a special meeting next Monday to discuss Burlington Telecomm. During the meeting, City Council will receive an update on the company's status from BT's financial advisors. BT is supposed make another loan payment with interest on August 17th, but the city does not have that money.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department wants your help to monitor wild turkeys. It is estimated there are about 50,000 wild turkeys in Vermont. The state is trying to keep track of them to set hunting seasons. Starting August 1st, wildlife officials want the public to go online and report turkey sightings.

The Town of Plattsburgh has passed a local law that bans using a rifle on Cumberland Head. The measure was adopted to protect the safety of Cumberland Head residents and those who travel its roads. The law however does not ban other legal weapons, such as shotguns, muzzle loaders, black powder firearms and bow and arrow.

With the help of some new grant money, The City of Plattsburgh will be constructing 2 new docks for kayakers and canoeists to launch from. The grant money is from the Environmental Protection Fund. The docks will be built at Wilcox Park and the Dock Street Landing. Officials hope to have the new docks built by late fall and open for the public to use next spring.

Vermont officials say there have been an unusual number of attacks by rabid foxes this year, but it's not cause for alarm. The latest attack happened July 11, when an 8-year-old boy was bit on the leg in Bennington. It tested positive for rabies and both father and son are undergoing treatment. Officials say this is the 6th attack by a rabid gray fox this year.

The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury has a new distinction to brag about. They were just ranked by Trip Advisor as 1 of the Top 10 Sweetest Attractions in the United States.

Friday, July 23, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 23, 2010

As construction continues on the new Crown Point Bridge, more money is being earmarked for the project. The state of Vermont has sold more than $14-Million in transportation infrastructure bonds. The federal government will pay 80-percent of the total costs of the bridge project, with the balance divided between Vermont and New York.

Efficiency Vermont is offering more money for old refrigerators and freezers. For the past year they've been offering a $30 incentive for you to recycle your old refrigerators and freezers. For the rest of this month and all of August they will be offering $50 for your old appliances and free pick too. Fridges must be operational, and there is a limit of 2 units per household.

Bristol residents approved the amended police department-spending plan for fiscal year 2011 in a 25-16 vote on Monday evening. The plan moved forward following an initial 20-19 vote to cut the proposed budget by $10,000. A good portion of the approved spending plan will be raised by taxes on residents in the Bristol police district.

Champlain Oil Company may not proceed as planned with a convenience store, gas station and fast-food restaurant on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. It has been found that the project lacks sufficient space to conform with Conservation District zoning on some of its lot.

Vergennes aldermen this week have agreed to talk further with officials from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes about selling or leasing land near the city’s recreation area on which the club could build a youth center.

As Vergennes Area Rescue Squad officials approach the funding phase for their planned major expansion of the Panton Road headquarters, they are seeking more help from the community in raising the roughly $1 million needed. An initial meeting of the squad’s building renovations committee drew only four local residents even though 28 letters were sent to key community members they thought could help spearhead fund-raising efforts.

One of Rutland’s oldest motels is up for auction next month. Economy Inn & Suites, formerly the site of the Econo Lodge on South Main St., will go on the auction block at 11 a.m. Aug. 12. Merchants Bank foreclosed on the owner of the 51-room motel and decided to put it up for auction.

Katie Smith has announced she is running for the position of Rutland County State's Attorney. She is running in the Republican primary race scheduled for vote on Aug. 24. Smith has been engaged in the practice of criminal law, including experience in Rutland County at the Vermont State's Attorney's Office and at the Public Defender's Office, for the past decade.

The National Weather Service has confirmed three tornadoes in Maine and one in Connecticut following a day of wild weather in which fast-moving storms knocked out power to thousands of homes, flooded roads and felled trees across New England. In Vermont, weather service officials say damage in Brookfield and Chelsea, was caused by strong winds, not a tornado.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, who's in the middle-east this week with a delegation of 4 other U.S. governors, spent a second day in Iraq and also visited troops in Kuwait. Douglas visited Joint Base Balad in Iraq, touring a combat hospital and a Staging Facility, where wounded service members prepare to be flown out of country for treatment.

Perdue Farms is recalling more than 91-thousand pounds of frozen chicken nugget products that may contain foreign materials. The products subject to recall include the 1-pound, 13-ounce bag of "GREAT VALUE Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets" with a "BEST IF USED BY" date of June 9, 2011. The company discovered small pieces of blue plastic. No injuries have been reported.

Burlington Police are looking for your help in identifying a thief that broke into several cars in the New North End. Police say he stole a wallet from one car last week, and then used the victim's credit card at Hannaford's and an ATM. He left in a white vehicle. If you have any information, please call the Burlington Police Department.

No charges have been filed yet in connection with a raid on 3 suspected meth labs in St. Albans and Georgia earlier this week. 20 people were evacuated during the raid Tuesday. St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor says authorities are still working with state and federal prosecutors about what charges to file if any.

Vermont had a Powerball winner from the July 14 drawing. The lucky anonymous player purchased the $30,000 winning ticket at Stewart's in Fair Haven. The winning ticket matched four numbers plus the Powerball number. And because the player selected the Power Play option, it multiplied their winnings from $10,000 to $30,000.

Former UVM Basketball player Trevor Gaines died unexpectedly yesterday. Gaines played for the Catamounts until 2002, leading the team to its first-ever regular-season championship. According to UVM Athletics, 29-year-old Gaines died after he collapsed during a pickup basketball game. Gaines has spent the past 7 years playing basketball overseas, mostly with a team in Austria..

Lamoille County Field Days gets underway starting today. This years schedule includes agricultural exhibits each day along with Arts and Crafts, Truck and Tractor Pulls, and shows for all ages from different musical acts, a talent show, and even a magician show. For a complete schedule of events, visit

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 22, 2010

Crews have been working throughout the night to restore power to customers. At one point last night CVPS officials say they had over 11-thousand customers in the dark. Chittenden County was hit hard yesterday afternoon followed by Rutland County getting the brunt of the storm last night. Workers say most of the outages were due to down trees and limbs.

There is an update to the story about the hit-and-run accident Sunday morning in Moriah. Police now believe 31-year-old Joshua Novak was lying in the road before he was struck. Police have also released the name of the driver, 20-year-old Mandy Lebeau of Middlebury. Police say she initially left the scene but returned a short time later and reported the accident to police.

Police in Rutland are warning residents to be on the lookout for daytime burglaries. They say they've seen more than 25 daytime burglaries so far this summer. Most happen while people are at work or on vacation. Police say in some of the cases thieves got in by removing window air conditioning units that weren't locked down.

A weeklong bicycle tour through the Champlain Valley is promising to bring hundreds of cyclists and thousands of tourism dollars to the region. Velo Quebec, a Canadian-based nonprofit cycling organization, will bring their popular cycling adventure to the area Aug. 7-13. The tour will take participants on a 500-mile journey from Adirondack Community College in Glens Falls north to Montréal in a scenic journey meant to trace the steps of the region's earliest explorers and settlers. Ticonderoga is marked as the second "cyclist village" on the journey where tour participants will be making two overnight stays and will be encouraged to make optional scenic detours through some of the surrounding towns and villages.

Dairy farmers in Vermont and elsewhere could be forced to spend thousands of dollars to meet a new regulation that holds them to the same cleanup standard for spilled milk as oil producers do for oil spills. New York Senator Charles Schumer has called on federal regulators to finalize a proposed exemption for dairy farmers.

Foreclosure rates are expected to rise again nationally and weaken the economic recovery. But Vermont continues to have the lowest rate of foreclosures by far in the country. For the first six months of this year, Vermont had just 78 foreclosures. That's just 1 of every 4,008 households. New York ranks 41st for foreclosures with 1 in every 326 households.

The results are back and they show that the powdery substance that was delivered to the Plattco Corporation in Plattsburgh was harmless. The powder arrived in a package that was opened by employees Tuesday morning. Because it was "potentially hazardous material", a number of employees had to go though a decontamination process.

Governor Jim Douglas made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit troops serving there. Governor Douglas along with 4 four other governors were there yesterday morning to surveying conditions as troops prepare to leave the country next year. Douglas said, "It is a privilege to be able to see firsthand the work they have done in Iraq."

Burlington Police are looking for the man the attempted to rob a convenience store just down the road from the Police Station. According to reports, the unidentified man walked into Simon's Tuesday Night, flashed a handgun, and demanded an employee open the register. He then fled without any cash. If you have any information, please call the Burlington Police Department.

A Shrewsbury man is being charged with impersonating a state police trooper. Police say 48-year-old Joseph Marro confronted two drivers this month, one in Wallingford and one in Clarendon, and accused them of speeding. In both instances, police say Marro claimed to be an off-duty state trooper. He is currently behind bars for lack of bail.

The region’s town greens will come alive with the sounds of Shakespeare over the next two weeks. 

The Rutland Youth Theatre hits the road with “The Comedy of Errors” as this year’s selection for Traveling Shakespeare. 

Among the towns the group will visit are Bristol, Wallingford, Shrewsbury, West Rutland, Middlebury, Castleton and Orwell. 

As part of the Rutland Recreation Department, the theater group will also play two shows for its own audience, one in a more unique location: the former quarry within Pine Hill Park at Giorgetti Arena.

The Bassmaster Northern Open kicks off on Lake Champlain today and runs through Saturday. 400 anglers will set their sights on winning the top prize of more than $45,000. Anglers will launch and weigh-in from the Plattsburgh Boat Basin. The public is invited to come and watch this nationally televised event.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 21, 2010

An 18-year-old Brandon man faces criminal charges for allegedly threatening to post indecent pictures of a 13-year-old girl on the Internet unless she agreed to have sex. Geoffrey G. McDonald pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court. He was freed on conditions of release that included a requirement that he not possess a cell phone and that he have no contact with girls under the age of 16.

The city of Rutland has received good news regarding the funding it’s seeking to complete about $660,000 in repairs to the Rutland Free Library. 

A representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that his agency is “ready to reserve the funds” for the repairs. 

Reserving the funds doesn’t equate to final approval, but with the aldermen’s signature the city was able to lock in a 4 percent bond interest rate.

Rutland City tax bills, utility bills and even parking tickets can now be paid by credit or debit card, either online or at City Hall. As commonplace as that might sound, it’s not a prevalent luxury in Vermont. Other than Rutland City, only Morristown and North Hero are listed as payee options on the drop down menu of the website facilitating payments, That website can also be accessed through

The New York State Comptroller's Office says the state may not be able to cover its September payment to schools. They add, the state is currently running in the red and facing an $87-Million negative balance. Lawmakers are expected to return to Albany soon to continue working on the budget.

Vermont's jobless rate continues to drop. The state Department of Labor said the unemployment rate for June was 6 percent, down about 2-tenths of a point from May and 1.2 percent from June of 2009. The acting commissioner of the state Department of Labor say the job market is showing slow but steady improvement. Between May and June, Vermont added over 3-thousand jobs.

A new report from the Vermont Yankee Public Oversight Panel says some changes have to be made in order for the nuclear power plant to continue operating past its scheduled closing next year. The report's findings come as Yankee continues to face a litany of ongoing problems. The panel also says with proper equipment maintenance, the plant could be safely operated past 2012.

Five hundred teens from church groups across the nation are in Rutland this summer doing community service, just for fun. 

Dozens of volunteers are helping carve new paths at Pine Hill Park. 

They also work at Goshen’s Camp Thorpe for the disabled and on other days they serve food at Rutland’s Open Door Mission for homeless veterans, play games with kids at a local church and keep seniors company at area nursing homes. For more information on YouthWorks or to donate, go to

A long-empty town storefront will reopen today as a co-op offering local and organic fare. 

The new Proctor General Store will feature fresh vegetables from local producers, grocery staples and organic meats and deli items including sandwiches and soups. 

The co-op is comprised of 70 members and is actively recruiting more.

Two Vermont State Troopers are being called heroes after pulling a woman from her burning car. The daring rescue happened Friday when a car's gas tank exploded. Troopers Robert Giolito and Christopher Loyzelle caught a glimpse of the 24-year-old driver trying to crawl out, and pulled her away. Samantha Couture not only survived, she's now recovering at home from burns and broken bones. The troopers were treated for minor cuts and bruises, as well as smoke inhalation.

Postal officials in Barre plan to offer a special postmark later this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts. Barre is credited with being the first community to organize a Scout troop -- Troop 1. Starting July 27th, collectors and others can bring a stamped envelope to the city's post office to get the postmark.

Vermont state police say a man who pretended to be a trooper and confronted a motorist in a parking lot has been arrested. Police say a Springfield woman told them the man drove behind her with his headlights flashing before confronting her in a gas station parking lot in East Wallingford last week. Days earlier a Rutland man riding a motorcycle in Clarendon reported being pulled over by a police impostor.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell says two caregivers, one from Rutland and one from Barre, who submitted bogus time sheets have been convicted of Medicaid fraud. Both submitted false timesheets and got paid for services they never rendered.

Police in Colchester are investigating an attempted robbery at the McDonald's in Malletts Bay. They say a man demanded money from the register yesterday morning at 6:30. When the clerk called the manager, the would-be robber ran away. If you have any information, please call the Colchester Police Department.

Investigators believe a fire that ripped through a Beekmantown motel was an accident. The blaze broke out just before 2 AM yesterday morning at the Stonehelm Motel on Spellman Road. About 50 guests were evacuated as more than a dozen fire departments battled the blaze for several hours. Investigators believe a fan shorted out in one of the rooms and that sparked the fire.

Haz-Mat teams were called to the Plattco Plant in Plattsburgh yesterday after an employee opened a package and discovered a white powder. The package came from reputable source in Maine although they said they didn't put any power in the package. A sample of the powder has been sent to the New York State Health Department lab in Albany for testing.

A lengthy investigation lead police to 3 suspected methamphetamine labs. 2 of the labs were in St. Albans, the third was in Georgia. About 2 dozen people were evacuated and firefighters were called in due to the explosive nature of meth labs. So far, no one has been arrested in connection with the drug labs. The investigation continues.

An Underhill man will see some jail time for embezzling about $45,000 from New Horizons Sports in Williston, over a 4-year period. Patrick Huntley was sentenced yesterday in Burlington. A judge ordered him to spend a month in jail, followed by 60 days work crew. Huntley worked as the stores comptroller, during the time. The store has since closed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 20, 2010

A series of storms that swung through our area made quite an impact in Middlebury. Lightning struck the corner of a home on Buttolph Road just after 5 PM yesterday. The fire chief says there was smoke at first, but crews were able to contain it. No one was injured in the incident.

New York State Police have released the name of the man that was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Moriah this past weekend. 31-year-old Joshua D. Novak of Port Henry was killed instantly when he was hit by a car early Sunday morning in the Deckers Flats section of town. Police say no charges are expected to be filed immediately as the investigation continues.

Middlebury officials plan to create a committee to decide what to do with any surplus local option taxes the town collects beyond what is needed to pay off the Cross Street Bridge. However they will not establish such a panel until the $16 million project is completed.

The town of Leicester held a community forum to start updating the 2003 Town Plan, which was supposed to have been updated in 2008. Last week year-round and summer residents filled out questionnaires at the Leicester Meeting House, answering questions on everything from their favorite areas of town to their thoughts on a number of sample zoning ordinances.

Tax bills in Rutland City will increase by about 6.5 percent this year, according to information the mayor and treasurer presented to the Board of Aldermen on yesterday. That total increase mostly comes from a jump to the education homestead tax rate. 

The municipal tax rate meanwhile grew by a little more than 4 cents. 
The first quarter city tax bill is sent out Aug. 31.

The Great Brandon Auction will serve as a sort of yard sale for the Stephen A. Douglas Birthplace this week. The auction, which begins at 4 this afternoon in Brandon’s Central Park, features a number of pieces taken from the historic house. The auction is an annual fundraiser for the chamber. This year’s proceeds will go toward the bill for the recently completed renovation of the Douglas birthplace into a museum and visitor center.

The president of Castleton State College said the school is planning to add a new 150-bed dormitory and an open-air pavilion to the Castleton State College Campus. The college has put out a request for proposals from architects and engineers on the $13 million project that will also include a new physical plant building. The school will also have to relocate six tennis courts. The school hopes to hire architects and engineers by early August, work through the fall and winter on design and permitting and then begin construction next year.

The state attorney general's office has settled consumer claims against debt settlement firms in Florida and Indiana. State officials say the firms will pay back residents and the state more than $206,000. 1 of the firms will complete negotiations with its customers' creditors while the other will stop all business in Vermont.

J.D. Power and Associates has ranked CVPS highest in the East for customer satisfaction among mid-sized utilities. The company surveyed customers for the results. CVPS also scored well for its corporate citizenship and communications.

Its official now, the Chittenden Bank is now the People's United Bank. The name change went into effect yesterday at all 46 branches throughout the state. 2 years ago Chittenden Bank was bought by Connecticut-based People United Bank. Company officials say operating under one name will be more efficient and it will also give customers easier access to their money all over New England.

A new restaurant has opened in the former Sirloin Salon building on Shelburne Road. The Shelburne Steakhouse recently opened to public. The Shelburne Steakhouse is the latest of several new businesses on Route 7, just south of Burlington. The new restaurant owners plan to have an official grand opening in the near future.

The New York State Board of Regents is changing the way students are graded on standardized testing. Under the new scoring system, students will have to answer more questions on Math and English correctly in order to be considered proficient. Next week, schools will get the results of tests administered in the spring under the new scoring system.

The nanny in Grand Isle that is charged with inappropriately touching a 10-year-old boy in his care has changed his plea to guilty. Donald Shepard was charged in June of 2009. The trial was scheduled to start today. Shepard changed his plea yesterday as part of a plea deal in which the state dropped a number of other charges. He faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Officials with Chittenden County Transportation Authority are once again looking at moving the bus station downtown. The current station in Burlington is outdoors on Cherry Street. They want to build a station somewhere else downtown that can offer more amenities for riders. Right now CCTA is only in the planning phase, they hope to have a new station open in 5 years.

There is a new Chief of Police in Williston. Chief Roy Nelson became official yesterday during a swearing-in ceremony at the Williston Police station. Nelson comes from Cromwell, Connecticut where he worked for 28 years. He says he's humbled and honored to begin serving the community. Chief Nelson takes over for interim Chief Doug Hoyt.

A new crack has been discovered in Vermont Yankee's steam dryer. Officials says the crack doesn't pose any risk to operations at the plant and that it is actually an extension of an an old crack that was found back in 2004. The steam dryer removes moisture from the steam before it goes into the turbine that produces electricity.

If you see helicopters flying low in the skyes around Plattsbugh and Mechanicville, don't be alarmed, its just NYSEG conducting inspections of their power lines. They expect to conduct the inspections over the course of the next week. Officials say they will delay the inspections if the weather does not cooperate.

The 63rd edition of the Clinton County Fair opens today at the fairgrounds in Morrisonville. This year's fair features a Beatles Tribute Show, Truck and Tractor Pulls, A Demolition Derby, North Country's Got Talent, and much more. For more information, visit The fair runs until thru Sunday, July 25.

Monday, July 19, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 19, 2010

New York State Police are investigating a hit-and-run in Moriah that left an unidentified man dead. According to reports, the body of the man was found yesterday morning around 4 AM along Dugway Road. State Police have interviewed a man who may have been involved. They also impounded a vehicle yesterday afternoon. No other information is available at this time.

A fire in Crown Point did some serious damage to a home in Crown Point. The fire broke out just after 7 last night on Hammond Lane. Several fire departments responded to the scene including, Port Henry, Moriah, Ticonderoga and Crown Point. As of late last night there was no word on any injuries or the cause.

The Lake Bomoseen Association plans to check boats going into the lake next summer. The organization has endorsed a proposal to work with the state to place “greeters” at boating access points to distribute information on invasive species and offer to check boats for those species. Lake Bomoseen already has Eurasian milfoil, curly pond leaf and zebra mussels and there is a long list of other species they hope to keep out.

At tonight’s Board of Aldermen meeting in Rutland, Mayor Christopher Louras will make his recommendation for the outside legal counsel the board requested to help them review police commission charter language. After calling around to attorneys in the state who do municipal work he’s selected John Page of a Montpelier law firm.

Needed roadwork is underway in the town of Hubbardton. Town crews are doing ditching work on Monument Hill Road to be followed by culvert work in preparation to repave it for the first time in at least 15 years. That work is expected to cause some temporary road closures, planned for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8AM to 5PM. Meanwhile Frog Hollow Road is also going to be closed in the near future for bridge replacement. That project is expected to take a week to 10 days.

Up to 100,000 pages of historic Vermont newspapers will one day be digitized and available to the public. The University of Vermont has received a $390,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is returning to New Hampshire to support Democrats running for the state Legislature. Dean will be the featured guest this afternoon at a fundraiser for the Committee to Elect House Democrats in Concord.

The largest piece of privately owned land in Vermont has been removed from a program that offers landowners tax breaks. State officials cited the owner for improper logging. Regulators said Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. violated its forest management plan by cutting too many trees on 140 acres in Lemington. That's part of a 56,000-acre tract owned by the Maine-based company.

When it comes to personal wealth, Democrat Peter Shumlin appears to have the most among this year's Vermont gubernatorial candidates. Last year, he made nearly $1 million, and he has already lent $150,000 to his bid for governor, according to campaign finance reports filed this past week with the secretary of state.

People from all across Vermont paid their last respects this weekend as a fallen solder was laid to rest. Over 300 people filed into the North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury Saturday morning to show the Grady family their support. 25-year-old Specialist Ryan Grady will be remembered as a hero, and big man with a big heart that wanted to serve his country.

South Burlington Police have arrested 3 men in connection with vandalism at a construction site at the end of Quarry Hill Road. The site is the future home of an apartment complex. According to reports the 3 men did thousands of dollars worth of damage late Saturday Night. The vandals also pulled a fire alarm in one of the building.

Shelburne Farms is working with Green Mountain Power to install 770 panels over 3-quarters of an acre. Shelburne Farms calls it a solar orchard and says it's an important step toward its goal of generating all its electricity. The site was carefully selected to maintain the beauty of Shelburne Farms, which is a National Historic Landmark.

A Westford man was arrested over the weekend for firing a gun in downtown Burlington. 27-year-old Jesse Palker fired 2 shots around City Hall Park early Saturday morning. No one was hit and police say it's still unclear why Palker fired the shots in the first place. Police say Palker was not targeting anyone specifically and that he had been drinking.

Biologists are blaming the heat for killing dozens of fish in Lake St. Catherine. 87 fish, mostly Northern Pike, were recently found dead. Biologists say the fish were killed after extreme heat caused water temperatures to rise to 90 degrees in a shallow section of the lake. They say other fish kills have been reported around the state following the recent heat wave.

Originally set to begin next month, Kathryn Shoemaker's trial in the death of Ravin Miller is now set for October. Officials both sides still have to settle a number of issues before the trial can move forward. Shoemaker remains behind bars at Clinton County Jail. She faces life without parole if convicted of the highest murder charge.

A Fairfield man is facing a number of charges after police say he fired a gun at another man over the weekend. Police say another man accused David Smart of vandalizing his property. Investigators say that's when Smart pulled out a handgun and fired 2 shots. The bullets missed the other man. The two men then got into fight and Smart was arrested.

Killington Mountain looked a lot like California's wine country this weekend. Hundreds gathered for the 9th annual Killington Wine Festival. With venues at both the top and the bottom of the mountain, a trip up the Gondola gave festivalgoers a taste of the resort, and the opportunity to taste over 500 different wines. Organizers say the event attracts locals and tourists at a time when the Killington area sees a boost in visitors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 16, 2010

Officials say it could take about a week to clean up the gasoline leak in the Neshobe River. Yesterday they discovered the source of the leak to be an old gas tank at the Mobile Station on Route 7. Until the river is clean, people and pets are advised to stay out of the water. The Department of Environmental Conservation says it's unlikely there will be any fines.

Originally both Vermont and New York agreed that the new Crown Point Bridge would not be a union-based job. Now Flatiron Construction, the company that's under contract to build the new bridge, has hired unions from both states to work on the project. Officials with Flatiron say that this is not just a union job; they are also looking to hire 20, non-union, general laborers.

Inter-Lakes Heath in Ticonderoga will now be affiliated with Fletcher Allen Health in Burlington. As part of the new affiliation, Fletcher Allen will provide some of the physicians at Inter-Lakes Health. Officials at Inter-Lakes Heath say they like the idea of being able to provide their patients the benefits of an academic medical center.

Middlebury voters passed a $3 million bond on Tuesday to support a mounting backlog of needed repairs to the town’s water system infrastructure. The work will take place during the next three fiscal years. The bond passed 65 – 28.

There could be more senior housing coming to Middlebury. One of the nonprofit developers of Middlebury Commons is planning another affordable housing project for seniors — this one in Middlebury South Village off Court Street.

Developers of the proposed Eastview at Middlebury retirement community are seeking $1 million in federal funds to leverage more financing. The 98-unit project is slated for land next to the Porter Medical center campus off South Street.

The five towns in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union received their state educational property tax rates last week for the next fiscal year. The educational rates will remain stable relative to recent years. These rates typically make up about three-fourths of the towns’ total residential tax rates.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the Addison County Community Trust just over $1.35 Million Dollars in grants to help finance a proposed 25-unit senior housing project off of Monkton Road. The grant was a key-funding component to the $5.8 million project that will be built adjacent to the Vergennes American Legion and the Shaw’s Supermarket plaza.

The 2010 Schroon Lake Tennis Tournament will be played in August. Players of all ages and abilities are invited. There are categories for singles and doubles, for children and adults, including century doubles and parent and child. The tournament will be held from Monday, Aug. 2, through Saturday, Aug. 7. The matches are played at the Schroon Lake town tennis courts. Application forms can be obtained at the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce.

The 16th annual Addison County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Golf Tournament was held on June 25th at Middlebury College’s Ralph Myhre Golf Course. The Chamber hosts this annual tournament to raise money that funds a $4,000 scholarship ($1,000 per year for four consecutive years) which is awarded to a graduating senior from the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center. This year’s scholarship recipient is Alexa Clarisse, the daughter of Judi Ellwood of Salisbury. Alexa will be attending Purdue University this fall, majoring in Engineering. She has been very involved in athletics at school, participating in soccer, track and field and alpine skiing. She has done a great deal of community service, participating in Hands to Honduras, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, United Way Days of Caring, and Dragon Boats. She is also a member of the National Technical Honor Society and an excellent student in Hannaford’s Engineering/ Architectural Drafting program.

New campaign numbers are out in the race to become Vermont's next governor. Republican Brian Dubie has raised the most cash. And in the crowded five-way Democratic primary race, Deb Markowitz is working to cement her lead in the Democratic primary race for governor. She has raised the most of the five Democrats at nearly 524-thousand dollars.

Police and U.S. marshals spent the week checking up on Chittenden County's 288 registered sex convicts. They discovered 21 are missing. Some of the missing have been cited into court and police will apply for an arrest warrant if they cannot track others down. Face-to-face sex offender checks are required under the federal Adam Walsh Act.

State economists say Vermont's economy is slowly recovering. The economists say after several tough years, the state will start to see steady growth. They also claim tax collections are doing better and fewer people are out of work. Despite the recent improvements, next year's budget already has a 100-million-dollar shortfall.

A manhunt continues this morning in Lamoille County for a fugitive wanted on multiple warrants. Police spent much of yesterday searching a wooded area in Morristown, looking for Darren Bingham, who is wanted on domestic violence and other charges. The search for Bingham started with a chase in the Stowe area yesterday morning.

Clinton County legislators are once again bringing up the idea of abolishing term limits for themselves. They voted on the issue last year and it didn't pass. Legislators will be holding a public hearing on the issue July 28, and then vote on whether to put it on the ballot. If it passes, the motion would be on the ballot for the voters to decide later in the fall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 15, 2010

People are being warned to NOT to go into the Neshobe River in downtown Brandon. State officials have discovered gasoline in the river and are trying to determine were it is coming from. So in the meantime, people are being asked NOT to go into the river and to keep your pets away from the water as well.

The education property tax rates in Killington that appear on bills for the rest of the year are down for both residents and nonresidents. 

The Town Manager attributed the slight decrease in rates to a more than 2-point jump in the town’s common level of appraisal. Town officials said they were hopeful a town wide reappraisal would further reduce taxes in 2011.

The Rutland School district’s two top administrators will get pay raises each year over the next two years. 

Eight members of the 11-member School Board unanimously approved a 2.5 percent raise for Superintendent Mary Moran for the next two years and a 3 percent raise for Assistant Superintendent Robert Bliss for the same time period.

Sidewalks will be little bit wider, safety signs little more numerous, and kids a little healthier this fall, as the Vermont Agency of Transportation announced a grant of $1.3 million to upgrade walking and biking routes to schools around the state. After submitting proposals, 22 institutions received a slice of the federal money, supplied through the Safe Routes to School project.

The School District in Crown Point has hired a new principal and guidance counselor. Elaine Dixon, a social studies teacher at Crown Point since 2004, became principal July 1. She replaces Agatha Mace, who has retired after 38 years in the district. Andrea McDonald has been named guidance counselor. She replaces Cathy Russell, who leaves Crown Point after 20 years to become principal at Seton Catholic in Plattsburgh.

Moriah has a plan to expand its courthouse. Champlain Valley Tec students will construct a 576 square foot addition at the current court building to help the town meet a state mandate. The town will lay the foundation this summer and students will erect the addition starting in September. New York State has mandated court expansion in Moriah since 2008.

Critics of Vermont Yankee made their case to get the nuclear plant shut down once its operating license expires in 20 months. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair held a public forum on the plant yesterday in Brattleboro. Opponents of the plant told him they're concerned about safety and angered about the handling of this year's tritium leaks.

The body of a Vermont National Guard soldier killed in Afghanistan is back in Vermont. A roadside bomb killed 25-year-old Ryan Grady on July 2 near Bagram Air Force Base. Four other Vermont National Guard soldiers were wounded in the same attack. A funeral for Grady has been set for Saturday in St. Johnsbury. About 1,500 Vermont National Guard soldiers are serving in Afghanistan.

Stores along the New York border in Vermont are seeing a boost in cigarette sales. The tax increase, which took effect on July 1, has raised the price for a pack of cigarettes in New York to over $9. That has residents now traveling to Vermont to save a few dollars on smokes. While being on the Vermont side of the border, most also take advantage of cheaper gas prices too.

Unless more funds are found, the North Country Teacher Resource Center will be forced to close its doors. The state Legislature created teacher centers all over the state in 1984 to help educators by providing professional development for teachers. Due to budget cuts, there is no funding for the teacher centers across the state.

Not a whole lot of the details have been released but police say a pair of teenagers from Barre admitted to set the fire that destroyed the old Key Bank building on Memorial Day. Investigators say the teens are also responsible for a number of other crimes in the Barre area. They were arrested recently in New York for stealing a car and burglarizing a supermarket.

The Ethan Allen furniture plant in Orleans is back open after a fire there Tuesday. The blaze erupted after an explosion in the plant's sawdust vacuum system. Some 350 workers were in the plant at the time, everyone made it out OK. Quick repairs were made and the plant re-opened yesterday.

The Burlington Department of Public Works will be flushing hydrants in the New North End of the city of the coarse of the next few weeks. Officials say if you notice your water is rust colored or has a strange odor, don't worry, its just sediment in the system, let your water run for several minutes and it should clear up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 14, 2010

Opponents of a proposed shopping center in Brandon say they like the town’s new Hannaford where it is and will go to court to keep it there. The attorney representing a coalition of residents fighting the placement of a Hannaford at the corner of Route 7 and Nickerson Road said the group would appeal the decision of Brandon’s Development Review Board to give a permit for the new store.

The Community College of Vermont is seeking approval from the city of Rutland to begin construction of a new campus. Rutland residents have expressed concern over demolishing a church that has been standing since 1913, but so far the historical society has not raised any concerns. The location on West Street requires that three vacant buildings be demolished so a new structure can be built.

After several months of meetings and union negotiations, the Rutland Free Library’s trustees have settled on a budget that avoids layoffs and a projected $70,000 deficit. 

A large part of bridging the budget gap came down to changes in personnel hours. 
The library has 13 employees, 10 of whom are union members. Each year about 75 percent of the revenue that funds the library’s budget comes from tax support from the five municipalities it serves.

The U.S. Department of Education says Vermont schools need to do more to help special-education students. The review found Vermont was deficient in evaluations of students seeking special-education services and in submitting timely and accurate data to the federal government. About 15 percent of Vermont students qualify for special education services.

The New York State Budget battle continues. The Senate and Assembly are both refusing to accept Governor David Paterson's revised revenue bill. The bill would allow state and city universities to increase some tuitions and financial aid. It would also establish a $1-Billion contingency fund should federal Medicaid money come up short.

The remains of a fallen soldier will be back in Vermont today. The arrival is not open to the public. But the wake and funeral for Specialist Ryan Grady are. The wake will be held on Friday evening from 5 to 8 PM at the North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury. The funeral will be Saturday at 10 AM.

Congressman Peter Welch is trying to get funding to make old buildings more energy efficient. Yesterday he announced a new piece of legislation called "Building Star." It would provide money to retrofit old commercial spaces into apartment buildings and businesses. Welch says it would not only save energy, but it would also get construction workers back to work.

The Vermont Legislative Committee on Mental Health Oversight will meet in Rutland on Thursday. 

The committee is seeking a community view of how the infrastructure of care is meeting the mental health care needs of people in the Rutland County area. The meeting will be held at noon tomorrow in the Leahy Conference Center of the Rutland Regional Medical Center. An agenda can be found on the Vermont Legislature’s website.

A critic of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is lobbying the six major-party candidates for governor. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group delivered to the candidate’s more than 2,000 postcards yesterday calling for Vermont Yankee to be shut down.

Vermont will be among the states on the itinerary as the White House promotes its work to develop electric cars. The chair of the White House Council on Environment Quality will visit Vermont on Friday to tout research on advanced batteries and new electricity-powered vehicles.

A business group that favors the relicensing of Vermont Yankee is bashing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for excluding it from a meeting with plant critics. The Vermont Energy Partnership says the Wednesday meeting between the NRC Chairman and representatives of 6 anti-nuke groups will be one-sided and send the wrong message to supporters who want fact-based assessments.

A fire has damaged part of an Ethan Allen furniture mill in Vermont. No injuries have been reported. The fire broke out yesterday afternoon after an explosion in the system that vacuums sawdust throughout the mill in Orleans. Most of the plant should be back in operation today. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.

Town officials in Clarendon want residents and business owners to return assessment surveys regarding their water supply and wastewater disposal systems located within the village and surrounding area. The information will be used to assist the town in determining what, if any, course of action needs to be taken to address water and sewer concerns.

Construction has begun on the new Tractor Supply Company store in Shelburne. The Shelburne branch will be Vermont's 6th. The company operates in Bennington, Derby, Montpelier, Rutland and St. Albans. There also is a store in Plattsburgh. The new store is scheduled to be completed by November and open in late January or early February.

There soon may be more flights flying in and out of the Burlington International Airport. Airport officials are in negotiations with the airlines that are already flying out of Burlington. The airport is hoping to add non-stop flights to Baltimore, Atlanta, Tampa, Charlotte, and Boston. Officials say if they can't strike a deal with the current carriers, then they will talk with other airlines.

Sentencing for former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff has been delayed for the 5th time. As with previous delays, the defense asked for more time to address issues in the pre-sentencing report in hopes of reducing the amount of jail time Ortloff will get. Sentencing guidelines call for 10 years to life. The hearing has been rescheduled for August 10.

The pilot and a teenage passenger are OK after the glider they were in made an emergency landing in Huntington. The aircraft landed in a farmer's pasture yesterday just before noon after they dropped too low to return to the airport. The pilot and teenage passenger are from a summer camp in Sugarbush for teens that want to learn how to fly. The incident is still under investigation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 13, 2010

Middlebury voters are headed to the polls today to cast ballots on a $3 million, 20-year bond to fund a mounting backlog of needed repairs to the town’s water system infrastructure. The backlog of projects came about due to focus on water-related upgrades near the new Cross Street Bridge project which meant that other projects had to be delayed.

The Lincoln Community School is facing some tough budget decisions. They are weighing needed repairs and the costs associated with them. The Lincoln Community School board will sketch out three options for the ailing school building at a hearing tonight.

The owner of Alden Place in Vergennes is vowing to fight a state order shutting down the facility last month after finding numerous violations. A few weeks ago the Vermont Department of Disability, Aging and Independent Living, decided to shut down the facility and revoke the owners license after receiving complaints from workers at the home. Owner Virgie Booska and her attorney are appealing the state's decision to close, and she remains steadfast in her innocence.

Language classes at Middlebury College were postponed this past week during the recent heat wave. Last Thursday afternoon students took to cooler spaces and activities like swimming instead of being in classrooms with no air conditioning.

No charges will be filed following the death of a trainer at the Vermont Police Academy. The trainer, David McMullen, was the target of an investigation involving inappropriate images. During the investigation, he committed suicide. The attorney general announced yesterday with McMullen dead, and no one else involved, there are no grounds for a criminal prosecution.

We have an update to the missing person's story in Winooski. The elderly woman, reported missing on Saturday, has been found. Police say they've spoken with 87-year-old Mary Nader and she's doing just fine.

Police will be releasing details today about 2 people of interest in connection with an arson fire in Barre that destroyed the old Key Bank building. More than 100 fire fighters battled the blaze on Memorial Day. Vermont State Police Lieutenant Jim Cruise confirmed that the 2 people are now in custody in Essex County, New York and will face more than just arson charges.

A major drunk driving loophole has been closed in New York. Governor David Patterson signed into law what's called "Jack Shea's Law". In the Shea case, the court ruled that blood tests showing the driver was drunk could not be used because the blood sample was not drawn by a doctor. The new law, effective immediately, allows trained medical staff to now take samples.

Plans are moving forward to reduce the population of double-crested cormorants on Lake Champlain, birds thought to eat too many sport fish and destroy the wooded islands where they nest. Federal and state wildlife officials from Vermont and New York met recently and agreed to set a target population for the nonnative sea birds on the lake that would not diminish the fish population. The details of the plan have not been worked out.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy are touting a proposal they say could help stabilize milk prices paid to dairy farmers. At a forum in South Burlington yesterday, Sanders said the proposal, which caps how much farmers produce, would mark a fundamental change in how dairy products are priced.

Governor David Patterson was in Lake Placid for the first time since taking office. He was on hand yesterday as both bobsled tracks were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The first bobsled track was built for the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and was the first official bobsled track in the U.S. The second was constructed for the 1980 Games.

Primary election ballots sent to cities and towns around Chittenden County had to be destroyed and replaced due to a printer's error. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says the problem was the Democratic ballot was printed on a larger piece of paper than the Republican or Progressive ballots. The ballots were replaced in time to meet yesterday's early voting deadline.

Vermont State Police are hoping to give out thousands of dollars for information that helps them solve cold cases. There are about two dozen unsolved homicides in the state. And a dozen missing person cases where foul play is suspected. In an effort to encourage individuals who may have information to any of these cases, the State Police announced Monday they are offering a reward of up to five-thousand dollars for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a case. For more information: 802-241-5355

Efforts to eradicate teen smoking have plateaued in Vermont. After a long, steady decline, Vermont's youth smoking rate has remained unchanged at 16-percent since 2005, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC is pushing states to invest more in prevention and cessation efforts.

Vermont’s gas prices have fallen a bit. The average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $2.72, nearly $.05 less than a week ago. Vermont's average matches the U.S. average, though the country has seen a smaller drop over the past week. The highest gas is $2.99 in Morrisville while the lowest is $2.64 in South Burlington. Gas prices in Vermont and across the country have been steadily declining over the past month.

The engineering and mathematics building at the University of Vermont is back open after being evacuated yesterday morning. The Burlington Fire Department responded to a call of an unidentified odor at Votey Hall around 7:45 AM. Haz-Mat crews found nothing. No injuries were reported. The building was back open for afternoon classes.

A Vermont-made movie has earned big national praise. The country's largest teachers' union, The National Education Association, praised, "Shout it Out" earlier this month for the way it brings attention to the seriousness of school bullying and cyber bullying. The Vermont-made film puts to music the sometimes tough realities of teenage life.

A brief and quick moving storm did some serious damage throughout Clinton County. High winds around 5:20 yesterday afternoon blew a parked DC-10 thru a fence at the Plattsburgh International Airport. Lighting struck a transformer in Peru, knocking out power for a short time. A number of trees also blew over, some taking power lines with them in Cliff Haven and Keeseville.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 12, 2010

Early voting in Vermont's Primary starts today. The legislature, this past session, moved up the primary date from September 14th to August 24th. They also made another change so that voters can now request a ballot 45 days before an election. There are a lot of primary races this year including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and auditor.

Vermont's Congressional Representative, Peter Welch, officially announced he is running for re-election. The democrat held his campaign kick-off in Waterbury Saturday. He seeks a 3rd term. Welch will face the winner of the Republican primary, which is a 3-way race between John Mitchell, Keith Stern and Paul Beaudry.

A beaver dam gave way here in Addison County over the weekend. Fire officials in Orwell said a small beaver dam in a wooded area on Sunset Lake Road gave out around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. A 50 foot section of the road was under several feet of water, trapping 30 individuals at their homes or camps for several hours as the water drained.

The longtime head of Vermont's largest electric company is stepping down. Bob Young says he will retire next year after 15 years as president of Central Vermont Public Service. He says he will stay on as president, chairman and CEO until next May to allow for a smooth transition. Young, who will be 63 when he retires, says he and his wife want to devote more time to family, community service and the arts.

Authorities say a 26-year-old man who applied for Vermont driver's licenses three times this year using the identities of others has been charged with identity theft. Prosecutors say the man, whose real name is Bryan Wells, was caught by a clerk who recognized him from a photograph investigators had circulated.

The state on Friday awarded 765 moose hunting permits through a lottery. Winners of the 765 moose hunting permits have until July 26 to buy the permits from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. For residents, the permits cost $100. For nonresidents, the cost is $350.

Some agriculture universities across the country are reducing their cowherds as high feed, fuel and labor prices make it difficult to keep animals during tight economic times. The sales are taking place despite growing enrollment in agriculture programs. The University of Vermont, which is selling 255 Holsteins, plans to have faculty do research on private farms, a change that the school thinks will provide access to more cows, and reap more research. The school will keep 65 cows at its farm for research and teaching.

A new report by the Vermont Nature Conservancy shows that the climate across the Champlain basin is changing, and scientists say these changes will affect ecosystems and species in the area significantly. We’ve seen a two-degree increase in average annual temperature in the Champlain Valley, since about the 1970s. The temperature increase could mean that invasive species thrive in our area and animals native to Vermont that live in the lake could be threatened. The report also shows that the Champlain Basin could receive up to four to six inches more precipitation per year, as rain instead of snow.

Police in Winooski are looking for an elderly woman who's been missing since Saturday. 83-year-old Mary Nader was last seen on the front porch of her home. Her family says she wandered off just before midnight. Nader has dementia and has disappeared before. If you have any information, please call the Winooski Police Department.

Two 13-year-old boys had a close call over the weekend. They were swimming near the boathouse on the Burlington Waterfront when they felt an electric shook, paralyzing them. The father of one of the boys jumped in and was able to help the boys out. Workers with the Park's Department shut off power to the dock. They later found a boat's 120-volt electrical cord plugged into a 240-volt outlet, with the excess electricity energizing water in the area.

New York State Police have made an arrest in connection with a string of burglaries in the area. 24-year-old Zachary M. Dahl of AuSable Forks was arrested on Saturday. They say he allegedly burglarized a number of homes and businesses in Wilmington. He's also being charged with burglary at the AuSable Forks Elementary School.

Friday, July 9, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 9, 2010

A $212,006 surplus has been discovered from the 2009-2010 UD-3 budget. Now the board is planning how to spend a portion of that surplus and see if it can propose a smaller spending plan in its 2011-2012 budget. The UD-3 board will apply a portion of the surplus toward the budget, while earmarking the remaining $100,000 for three capital improvement projects at Middlebury Union Middle & High School.

The Middlebury select board has approved a fiscal year 2011 residential tax rate of approximately 10 cents above the current rate. The new rate translates into a property tax increase of $202 for the owner of a home and 2 acres valued at $200,000. The impact will be less for residents whose household income qualifies them for property tax prebates under Act 68, Vermont’s education funding law.

Middlebury voters will head to the polls next Tuesday to cast ballots on a $3 million, 20-year bond to fund a mounting backlog of needed repairs to the town’s water system infrastructure. The backlog of projects came about due to focus on water-related upgrades near the new Cross Street Bridge, which meant that other projects had to be delayed.

In two unanimous decisions the Brandon Development Review Board said a developer can put a Hannaford Supermarket on Route 7 south of town but nothing else. The decisions, subject to a number of conditions, approved a conditional use permit for the grocery store and found it compliant for the locally reviewed Act 250 criteria. However it cut the additional buildings along with 145 of the 295 requested parking spaces and a planned access to the property from Nickerson Road.

Businesses affected by the closure of the Champlain Bridge are now being offered free consulting through the Vermont Small Business Development Center. Adviser Sarah Kearns will offer her services to businesses of any type until the end of 2011 — even after the replacement bridge is scheduled to open in the fall of next year.

Six Rutland County towns that contract for service from the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department are getting a little overtime for free. 

A reassignment in the department has freed up a patrolman to divide his time between the contract communities and would add significant coverage to the towns at no additional cost. Right now, the department has contracts with the towns of West Rutland, Proctor, Clarendon, Wallingford, Hubbardton and Chittenden.

The monthly art walk sponsored by the National Bank of Middlebury takes place tonight, with galleries and stores staying open until 7 p.m.

In addition to exhibits at the galleries, an acoustic rock and blues act will perform at Two Brothers Tavern and harpist Margie Bekoff will play at the Middlebury Community House. The Vermont Book Shop will host a poetry reading. 

More than 30 venues participate and all exhibits free. Maps are available at the venues.

The Carillon Garden Club is searching for businesses and homes in both Ticonderoga and Hague to honor for their curb appeal of outstanding gardens and/or plantings. Community Enhancement Awards will recognize the efforts of local gardeners who beautify the communities. Certificates recognizing the curb appeal of floral gardens, spots of color in planters or window boxes and landscaping will be awarded.

Wallingford parents have created a new daycare center. Kids’ Cove of Wallingford will be opening its doors this fall as a nonprofit Vermont-licensed child care center providing play-based learning and care for youngsters ranging in age from six weeks to 12 years old. A capital campaign is under way to raise $375,000 for building improvements, equipment and playground purchases. For more information call Rowan Muelling-Auer at 345-4040.

Summer Fest and Pedal Palooza, a hodge-podge of free, nature-linked activities put on by the Rutland Parks and Recreation Department and various local businesses takes place this weekend. Centered at Giorgetti Park, events will begin tomorrow morning at 10, and run through 4 p.m. To sign up or for more information on Summer Fest and Pedal Palooza, call the Rutland Parks and Recreation Department at 773-1822, ext. 0.

State Attorney General William Sorrell is suing a Texas-based debt settlement company. The state claims CSA-Credit Solutions of America used unsubstantiated "results" claims in its web ads, charged up-front fees to clients and did business in the state without getting a required license.

Governor Jim Douglas will be playing host this weekend as most of his colleagues gather in Boston for their annual summer meeting. Douglas is chair of the National Governors Association and says the meetings give governors an important chance to "learn from each other." The event is being underwritten with $2 million in corporate donations.

Democrats Doug Hoffer and Ed Flanagan say they'll stress their strengths in their campaigns for state auditor. Voters will decide between the two in the August 24th primary. Hoffer has been a behind-the-scenes player in economic policy, while Ed Flanagan is a state senator who held the job for eight years in the 1990s and is running to regain the post.

The chairman of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is traveling to Vermont next week to meet with groups critical of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The groups want Vermont Yankee shut down until repairs can be completed to ensure any leaks of radioactive substances have stopped.

Researchers are discovering blue-green algae all over Lake Champlain and are warning people to keep themselves and their pets out of it. The Vermont Department of Health says if you do come in contact with the blue-green algae, shower immediately. Pets should also be bathed as well if they get in it because dogs tend to lick it off their coat and would ingest it.

Burlington Police are crediting a Hilton Hotel employee with helping to save a UPS driver from a vicious beating. 23-year-old Nathan Noble saw a UPS driver pulled out of his truck by 2 men and then beaten. He called 9-1-1 and chased after the pair. Police shortly afterwards arrested 19-year-old Jason O'Reilly and 18-year-old Nicholas Gardner. UPS says the driver is doing OK.

Police have arrested a golf-cart driver who allegedly left an accident that claimed the life of a local all-star athlete. 42-year-old Bernard Farley of Saranac Lake, faces many charges, including leaving the scene of an accident. Police say Farley was illegally driving a golf cart when he hit 19-year-old Casey McHugh, who was riding his skateboard. McHugh died the next day.

Residents in the Town of Plattsburgh, Beekmantown and Woods Mills are being asked to conserve water during the continuing heat wave. In response to the recent dry conditions, coupled with high consumption, officials are hoping to rebuild the public water supply. For residents that means you are prohibited from watering your lawns and washing your vehicles.

Police in Burlington are looking for 4 men who forced their way into an apartment and attacked the man who lives there. The victim lives in an apartment on South Winooski Avenue. Investigators say the 4 men also stole an amount of money. Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to the arrests of the 4 men.

The American Red Cross is reminding people to keep and make appointments to donate blood during the current hot spell in the northeast. This time of year, they usually see a drop in donations but the need for blood continues. As an added incentive, throughout the month, all blood donors will receive a coupon for a free carton of Friendly's Ice Cream.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

WVTK Local & State News July 8, 2010

Governor David Paterson has vetoed 6,681 New York State Budget items. Paterson says the state just can't afford the extra spending. The biggest rejections are $419 million in aid to public schools and $91 million for higher education. He also rejected $180 million to $190 million in pork barrel grants carried over from last year.

The July 4th holiday weekend was a relatively safe one on Vermont highways. State Police are reporting only 1 fatality over the 4-day holiday weekend. That crash happened Friday when an 88-year-old woman died in a head-on collision in Searsburg. State Police are also reporting only 9 DUI arrests over the weekend. That's down from 20 last year and a high of 37 in 2006.

Danby-based Fuller Sand & Gravel was awarded the Rutland city’s paving contract for the new fiscal year. The company was the lowest of five bidding vendors on nearly every material unit price it quoted. Earlier this year, Fuller also outbid Pike, Whitcomb and Wilk to receive Rutland Town’s 4.5 miles of paving work.

The new finish on the College Of St. Joseph’s two residence halls is a new exterior foam insulation that will help reduce energy costs and eliminate moisture problems in the buildings. The material is called Sto Exterior insulation and because the college chose such an energy-efficient option, they were able to secure more than $122,000 in grant money from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund to pay for the project.

A fire and explosion of a propane tank forced the evacuation of the CVPH Health Plaza. Emergency crews were called just before 3 PM yesterday afternoon. No one was injured in the incident. The fire was caused by a faulty value on the propane tank. Services at the Health Plaza are expected to be up and running today.

The Battle of Hubbardton reenactment is set to take place this weekend. This was the only revolutionary war battle fought in Vermont. 
The event runs Saturday and Sunday, with the full-scale narrated re-enactment taking place Sunday morning and various smaller events and demonstrations both days marking the battle that took place July 7, 1777. Admission each day is $5 for adults and free for children under the age of 15.

The Ticonderoga summer enrichment music program has been saved. A private donation will allow the program to continue this year at the Ticonderoga Elementary-Middle School. The program had been eliminated from the 2010-11 school district budget as administrators struggled to close a deficit. The program begins on Tuesday and runs for five weeks, Tuesday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon. Students may sign up for a time slot during the first week of sessions.

Lisa Lovell wants to paint the town, literally! The Crown Point woman hopes to paint buildings along her town's main street in an effort to improve the community's image. She is willing to paint, scrape and make minor repairs to buildings for free and is hoping building owners will provide the materials or that people will make donations to cover the cost of paint and accessories. Anyone interested in helping or making a donation can call the Crown Point town hall.

New Hampshire regulators have approved a plan by FairPoint Communications to work itself out of bankruptcy. Last week, Vermont regulators rejected FairPoint's plan, saying they could not find that FairPoint has demonstrated the financial capability to meet its obligations. Maine regulators approved FairPoint's plan last month.

Several Vermont boating facilities could soon get a facelift. State Fish and Wildlife officials say several federal grants are currently available for the construction, renovation and maintenance of docks and buoys and other water projects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides boating infrastructure grants that cover up to 75 percent of the cost of the project, with awards capped at $100,000.

Police have arrested a man that robbed a St. Albans man at gunpoint yesterday morning. According to police, 26-year-old Matthew Greenan of Enosburg demanded prescription drugs from the St. Albans resident. Greenan then took off on a bicycle. He was found 3 hours later outside of a convenient store.

To help compensate for the high electricity usage, Green Mountain Power is now using it's Diesel Generator in Essex Junction duing peak hours. Officials at GMP say they only use the generator in situations like this were there is a great demand for electricity. They say they are only running the generator during peak hours from noon to 6 PM.

The Williston Police Department is investigating the theft of 210 bundles of shingles stolen over the 4th of July weekend. Investigators say the shingles were taken from a jobsite at the MorrisSwitzer Environments for Health building on Talcott Road. The shingles are worth about $7-thousand. If you have any information, please call the Williston Police Department.

The Vermont Transportation Agency is one step closer to getting the permits it needs to continue construction on the Circumferential Highway Project. The Army Corps of Engineers has determined the new design addresses all the environmental concerns. VTrans still needs a number of state permits. Construction wouldn't begin before 2013.

33rd Annual Mayor's Cup Regatta and Festival gets underway today. For the next 3-days there is fun for the entire family all over the Plattsburgh area with parades, live music, fireworks, a bike race, and of course the regatta on Lake Champlain. For a complete schedule of events, visit