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.