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.