Friday, April 29, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 29, 2011

Moriah Central School & Newcomb Central School District in Essex County is closed today.

The ferry that runs between Charlotte, Vt., and Essex, N.Y. is closed until further notice. Transportation officials say that 'record high water' prompted the closure. For ferry updates and the full schedule, click HERE.

Floodwaters receded and some roads reopened but anxiety over the prospect of more rain rose yesterday in northern Vermont, where incessant rain and lingering runoff from snowmelt sent rivers over their banks and Lake Champlain's water level to a record high. A day after the Lamoille River spilled into parts of Cambridge, Jeffersonville and Johnson, homeowners were drying off possessions and pumping water out of basements.

Vermont state officials are trying to assess the flood damage. If the destruction exceeds $1 million then Vermont could qualify for federal help. If the state qualifies for federal assistance it will not apply to private businesses or homes. The state, cities and towns could qualify for help, but low-interest loans might be possible for private enterprises.

Rain stopped as expected throughout Rutland County yesterday and by the afternoon, rivers had begun to recede according to the National Weather Service. The service has received no reports of flash flooding or water damage as a result of total rain accumulations of about an inch to an inch and a half in Rutland County. Addison and Windsor counties did not report any major flooding damage either.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has activated the statewide Emergency Operations Center amid reports of high winds and flooding from spring storms. State emergency management staff members have also been sent to areas hit or threatened by the storms. State police and Department of Transportation officials are also enacting their storm plans with local first-responders.

Between September and March the Middlebury College campus has seen nearly $70,000 worth of damage to its dormitories. There are concerns that with another month and a half to go in the school year, the current price tag for repairing the damage could increase. This will be the third year in a row Middlebury College has seen a rise in that expense and College Administrators are wondering why.

This week Vergennes aldermen took another step toward a new police station. The also heard a suggestion on how to pay for it without raising taxes. Aldermen unanimously voted to ask the City Manager to study building a new station on city-owned land off Green Street. The Tower Fund may be a possible way to pay for it.

Middlebury police and managers of several local affordable housing developments are joining forces to fight what they say has been a recent surge in illegal drug activity. Middlebury officials specifically identified John Graham Court as a neighborhood in which some residents have been complaining about drug transactions.

Vergennes aldermen had the opportunity on Tuesday to learn more about a potential natural gas pipeline. Vermont Gas Systems officials shared the benefits of making natural gas available to city residents and businesses. The company hopes to extend a line from Chittenden County to Addison County by 2015. The preliminary path along Route 7 would allow Vermont Gas to serve the densely populated areas of Vergennes.

A Vermont Rail System train spent less than an hour stuck behind the Rutland Town office after one of its cars derailed yesterday afternoon. The Operations Manager said it was unclear why exactly the car derailed, but that it happened as the train went over a rail junction. The train derailed at around 2:45 PM and was back on the track shortly after 3:30 PM.

A man's body was discovered at the mouth of the Middlesex Dam on the Winooski River yesterday. State Police say it's not that of David Driscoll, a young fisherman who is missing from a boating accident on the Lamoille River. The body discovered is that of a man in his late 40s, possibly early 50s, with gray hair, about five-feet-six or five-feet-eight, and weighing around 200 pounds. Investigators say they cannot rule out foul play and hope to know more once an autopsy is complete.

An abandoned landfill in New York is about to become a recreation area. The former Moriah dump, which was closed 15 years ago, will soon have hiking and walking trails. The site includes Cheney Mountain. Plans call for volunteers to make a walking trail at the base of Cheney Mountain and a trail to the top of the mountain all with no cost to taxpayers.

The NCAA says there's no need to take further action against Castleton State College, which forced its football coach to resign for improperly arranging student loans for 1 of his players. In a letter to the Castleton Associate Dean of Athletics the NCAA said it had considered processing the case as a "major infractions case," but because Castleton had the former Coach resign in February and efforts are being made to return the loan money no further action is needed.

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation has won a federal contract that will help the organization keep running. VSAC lost its primary function last year when Congress decided the federal government would administer student loans directly. Since then, the Winooski nonprofit has cut dozens of jobs. But now the feds have awarded VSAC a roll in servicing student loans and $1.3 million to carry out that function.

Fifteen civil engineers from the Vermont Air National Guard are preparing to head out for a four-month mission to Iraq, Oman, Kyrgyzstan and the United Arab Emirates. A deployment ceremony will be held this afternoon at the Hampton Inn in Colchester. The Guard says the airmen will perform firefighter duties and escort duties. They will start to depart early next week and be at their destinations by the end of May.

The operator of New England's electric grid says the improving economy is expected to lead to more electricity use this summer, but the region should have enough power to meet rising demand. ISO New England said Thursday that demand is forecast to peak at 27,550 megawatts under normal summer conditions of about 90 degrees.

In addition to the many events taking place this weekend here Middlebury, train enthusiasts from throughout New England will be celebrating the rich history of one of Vermont’s most prominent railroad systems. The 25th annual convention of the Rutland Railroad Historical Society takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Middlebury Inn. Meanwhile the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is taking place at Middlebury College beginning this afternoon at 5. Then on Sunday morning at 9 the Middlebury Maple Run, the Sweetest half gets underway. For more information about either event follow the links on our homepage.

Middlebury’s Liz Cronin was presented with a Bonnie and John McCardell Citizen’s Award by Middlebury College for her outstanding service to the community as the founder and previous chairwoman of the Face Off Against Breast Cancer Hockey Tournament. The tournament brings together women’s hockey teams from around the state to have fun and raise money for the support of cancer patients and their families. The 12th annual tournament this past January raised close to $60,000.

There will be major changes at Fort Ticonderoga this season. A major new exhibit, changing programs and a historic corn maze will highlight 2011 at "America's Fort." They will unveil a new exhibit called, "The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced Through the Eyes of America's Great Artists," when its opens May 20th. The exhibit will showcase 50 works from the fort's extensive art collection for the first time, presenting a visual history of Fort Ticonderoga.

Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site will hold its annual meeting Saturday, May 7th. The gathering will be at 10 AM at the historic site museum, located at the base of the Lake Champlain Bridge that is now under construction. Members will nominate officers as part of the annual business meeting. The meeting, and the group, is open to all interested people.

Vermonters can get rid of old prescription drugs free of charge this weekend. The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its second annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday. The event is aimed at reducing drug abuse. More than 25,000 pounds of medication were collected last year.

Even with gasoline near $4 a gallon, U.S. households are also facing the pinch of higher prices for everything from diapers to toilet paper to ice cream. Major makers of everyday consumer products and groceries say they have to raise prices to offset soaring costs for their fuel and key raw materials, such as such as corn and wood pulp. Retailers say they plan to pass along those increases, adding pressure on a sluggish economic recovery.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 28, 2011

A state of emergency for Essex County has been issued for 5 days. Town officials estimate there could be more than $1 million worth of damage in the Moriah, Port Henry area. They are hoping weather will cooperate and the water will recede. This way they can reopen the nearly two-dozen roads that are closed. Officials say they don't have a total cost yet for all the damage.

Moriah Central School superintendent William Larrow said they never expected such a disaster in their district yesterday morning. The Broad Street bridge collapse during flooding and is on the same road as the school's entrance. School officials are working closely with the town to assess safety after heavy rains washed out miles of dirt and pavement roadways. Moriah Central serves Witherbee, Mineville, Moriah Center and the Village of Port Henry. There are some 13 buses that go out every morning. Moriah Central School is closed today. The district says it hopes to reopen the school on Friday.

In just one night, Burlington received nearly two-and-three-quarters inches of rain. The city already has its wettest April on record and Lake Champlain is just a few inches shy of a new record water level. Flooding Wednesday was extensive along the Lamoille and Missisquoi Rivers, especially in the towns of Johnson, Cambridge, North Troy and Jeffersonville. A lot of roads remain closed, with more rain expected through Friday. Some towns may eventually be looking to assistance through federal disaster aid and state emergency aid.

Sen. Bernard Sanders will host a town hall meeting today in the Middlebury Union High School cafeteria. The forum is one of three around the state the senator held this week to discuss the impact of proposed federal budget cuts. The event includes a dinner at 6 PM followed by the meeting at 6:30.

An overheated chest freezer started a blaze that seriously damaged a home on Crescent Street in Rutland early yesterday morning. Firefighters were called to 120 Crescent St. during the early morning hours for a structure fire that destroyed most of an attached garage and part of an apartment built above it. The seven people living there are receiving shelter and assistance from the Red Cross. No injuries were reported.

A Cosmetology program is coming to Stafford Technical Center. The school will hire two instructors to teach in a salon being built in-house. A second program that was planned for this coming semester, heavy equipment operation, is not happening due to the lack of enrollment in the program for this fall. Architecture engineering design and computer technology programs were eliminated in exchange for heavy equipment operation and cosmetology.

A Vermont man charged with leading police on a high-speed chase during which he was shot and then continued to flee has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 26-year-old Jeffrey Davis, of Johnson, was being held on $100,000 bail yesterday. The eight charges include three counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.

The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington was burglarized. It happened sometime Tuesday night. The director said someone broke into two meat freezers, breaking off their locks and hinges with crow bars. Then, they stole four to 500 pounds of meat. The police have been contacted and are investigating the incident.

Two days after Republicans took aim at Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin's fundraising, state Democrats filed a complaint alleging that former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' campaign solicited campaign contributions from a registered lobbyist during the 2009 legislative session. The Democratic Party's executive director said that on March 2, 2009, Douglas and his campaign solicited a contribution from lobbyist Clare Buckley before the Legislature had adjourned for the year. He sent a copy of the letter Buckley received to Attorney General William Sorrell asking for an investigation. Sorrell said his office would look into it.

A bill designed to expand pre-kindergarten in Vermont won initial approval in the House on Wednesday, but not without a fight from Republicans, who argued it would add to the financial burdens of an already overtaxed education system. The House voted 99-36 to approve the bill and is expected to consider the legislation for final approval today. The bill would eliminate a cap on the number of pre-K students who can enroll in a given school district.

There's new information out showing fewer kids in Vermont are getting necessary vaccinations, according to the Vermont Department of Health. This week is national infant immunization week. Those at the state health department stress vaccines are safe and effective against 14 different diseases, including measles and mumps.

Attempts to raise the cigarette tax in Vermont have sparked debate about cross-border commerce. Some fear that raising that tax and lower gas taxes in New Hampshire will cause Vermont consumers to shop in the Granite State.

The University of Vermont expects to spend about $300,000 to find a replacement for retiring President Dan Fogel by March of next year. On Tuesday, a 20-member Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting. The Burlington Free Press said the schedule calls for the trustees to interview eight to 12 semi-finalists in November. The finalists will be brought to campus in January or February with a decision planned for March.

The Essex County Sheriff's Office is warning the public about an ongoing mail and email scam. The scam advises recipients that they will receive a significant inheritance. The writer claims to be an attorney representing an estate worth millions. He says he is unable to track any living relatives of the deceased. You are warned to be careful about sharing any personal information and remember if it looks to good to be true it probably is.

Direct Air will start non-stop flights between Plattsburgh and Lakeland/Orlando, Florida that will include a continuation to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company will operate two flights per week in both directions, starting Nov. 19th.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Chamber Day" today. Chamber staff, Ambassador Club Members, board members and other volunteers will be hand delivering the 2011 membership plaques to TACC members within the area. This evening the chamber will hold its April "After Business Mixer" at Sugar & Spice Country Shoppe from 5:30 to 7PM. Sponsors providing door prizes will be Achieve Fitness, Century 21 Adirondacks and Frenchman's Restaurant.

A Take Back the Night event will be hosted in the student lounge of the branch campus of North Country Community College from 6:30 to 8:45 PM this evening. The event, held to raise awareness of sexual violence, will include a panel of speakers, music and end with a candlelight vigil. The goal is to create safe communities and respectful relationships.

The USDA's undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services will speak at Vermont Foodbank's annual conference on hunger. The fifth annual conference will be held Tuesday at the Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee and is open to the public. Attendees must register ahead of time. The registration fee of $30 for members of non-profit organizations and $10 for each additional member and $40 for the general public covers the keynote speech, afternoon workshops and lunch.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 27, 2011

Sen. Bernard Sanders will host a town hall meeting tomorrow in the Middlebury Union High School cafeteria. The forum is one of three around the state the senator is holding this week to discuss the impact of proposed federal budget cuts. The other two are scheduled for today in Newport and Morrisville. The event includes a dinner at 6 PM followed by the meeting at 6:30.

Otter Creek continued to flood yesterday. Signs marking closed roads popped up around southern Vermont as the Otter Creek breached flood stage and caused headaches in some spots. Most flooding occurred in fields and known problem areas, like Depot Hill Road and Elm Street in Pittsford. The National Weather Service expected water levels to begin dropping as of last night.

The village of Port Henry Board of Trustees will conduct three consecutive public hearings beginning at 6 PM today at the village hall on Main Street. The first public hearing is regarding the village's intent to submit an application for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program. The second is regarding proposed Local Law No. 2 relating to the use of village water in the Village of Port Henry. The third hearing is for review of the revised water rate schedule.

State police in Addison County will be looking for drunken drivers at sobriety checkpoints this week. Police said the checkpoints would be set up at undisclosed locations throughout the county.

The Watkins Avenue school building turned maintenance garage in Rutland will not be torn down at this time. The Rutland School Board unanimously voted yesterday to meet with the city’s Board of Aldermen on May 3rd to discuss the future of the property.

The residents of the Town Of Monkton will usher in Monkton Day, Saturday, May 7th. The focus is a clean Environment, green living, and fun. This year's third annual Monkton town-wide event, sponsored by the Monkton Community Coffeehouse, will again see piles of debris in heaps around town awaiting pickup or disposal. In addition to Monkton's clean up, there's a town-wide yard sale, a flea market at the Volunteer Fire Department, and more. Local businesses and town organizations actively participate as well.

For the third consecutive year, all-terrain vehicles will be allowed on four town roads. Killington town officials designated Little Sherburne, Richardson, Stevens and Oxbow roads in the Little Sherburne neighborhood open for recreational ATV use. Many of the roads are passable by cars but each year the town designates them for the special use as well.

Most Vermonters are getting what they pay for at the pump. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture said Tuesday that inspections show consumers are getting accurate gas amounts at the nearly 500 gas stations around the state. The accuracy rate statewide is 98%. The agency's consumer protection section says it monitors all gas pumps for accuracy and investigates consumer complaints. Last year, the state investigated 31 complaints.

Authorities say lightning struck a northern Vermont man during thunderstorms that also cut power to 4,000 people and flooded some streets and streams. Richmond Rescue Lt. Andy Squires confirmed to the Burlington Free Press that the man was hit Tuesday night in Richmond but says medical privacy laws prevent him from giving further details. Fletcher Allen Health Care spokesman Mike Noble says the man's injuries are minor.

Vermont State Police say a driver is in custody after leading troopers on a high-speed chase in which several cruisers were rammed and officers injured before he was shot. 26-year-old Jeffrey Davis, of Johnson, allegedly failed to stop for police on Interstate 89 on Tuesday, rammed an Orange County Sheriff's Department vehicle and three Vermont State Police cruisers and was hit by police gunfire on Route 14. Police say he drove off again but was stopped by another trooper and surrendered without incident. Davis sustained non-life threatening injuries. Officers from the various departments sustained minor injuries.

A bomb threat forced all of the schools in Hartford to go into lockdown yesterday. Police set up a perimeter around the high school, where police say a man phoned in a threat Tuesday morning. He told the school secretary that he was on his way to the school to set off a bomb. Police checked every car near the building. No bomb was found.

In St. Albans, a bomb threat was found inside Bellows Free Academy yesterday. Students and faculty were evacuated. Police combed the buildings but found nothing. Classes resumed just after 12:30 PM. Suspects caught making bomb threats face up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Authorities say a fire that damaged a church in Chester, Vt., on Easter Sunday is suspicious. Firefighters who responded to a call about smoke coming from the steeple of the First Baptist Church on Sunday evening found fire in the first floor closet and second floor closet. The fire was quickly put out, and no one was hurt. Damage is estimated at $20,000. Police are asking anyone with information to call Chester Police or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 1-800-32-ARSON.

The Supreme Court is questioning whether state laws aimed at the marketing of prescription drugs to doctors violate free speech rights. The court took up a dispute yesterday between the state of Vermont and companies that sell doctors' prescribing information to pharmaceutical companies. The drug makers use the data to tailor their pitch to individual doctors.

The 12-member Vermont Electric Cooperative board met yesterday to consider a 20-year offer from Entergy to buy power from Vermont Yankee. Officials from Entergy arrived to present their offer and the Legislature's nuclear policy analyst presented the other side. The final vote count from the VEC Board members was 9-1 against the power contract.

If it weren't for the dead fish clean-up effort under way now, public campgrounds in Moriah and Port Henry might not be opening this year. A record number of a non-native fish called alewives washed ashore this spring at both facilities, including public beaches. Vermont Fish and Wildlife biologists say the alewives died due to stress caused by frigid temperatures. Biologists first discovered the species in Lake Champlain in 2005.

The state Olympic Regional Development Authority received 30,000 more visitors this winter than it did in the previous season. ORDA estimates that as many as 480,000 people visited Olympic venues in Lake Placid, Wilmington and North Creek during the 2010-2011 season. Last season there were about 450,000 visits to the venues, officials say. These numbers do not take into account CanAm Hockey, Canadian Hockey Enterprise and several group tours.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center will pay more than $2 million to settle a fraud case. Federal prosecutors say the hospital improperly billed various federal health care programs over a six-year period. Residents and not physicians performed the procedures, which is required for reimbursement. The hospital admits no wrongdoing but will pay $2.2 million to settle the case.

Vermont is gearing up for one of its oldest "green" traditions, Green Up Day. The 41st annual event will be held on Saturday, May 7th. Vermonters will head out in teams or on their own to clean up litter strewn along roads, trash dumped illegally over banks and other refuse that washes into rivers and lakes. After 40 years, the effort is still going strong as families pass on the tradition. Green Up Vermont will distribute over 46,000 of the special green trash bags used in the event.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 26, 2011

A portion of Weybridge Street will be closed to through traffic beginning at 8:00 this morning. The closure is between Murdoch Court and Freeman Way. Work there should be completed by the end of the day.

There has been a delay in the replacement of the deteriorating railroad bridges at Main Street and Merchants Row here in Middlebury due to tight state and federal finances. Both of the bridges were built in 1920 and are showing substantial signs of wear and tear as they continue to bear heavy traffic loads. Town officials will continue to voice concerns about a potential long-term delay in replacement of the two downtown railroad bridges.

Middlebury police are confronting a new drug threat. They fear Methamphetamine could soon be joining prescription narcotics and heroin on the list of top illicit substances among addicts. Authorities are asking residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity that might point to illegal drug use or sales. Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster agreed that meth has become an issue to contend with in the area.

Goshen residents are now wired for broadband Internet service. At a community broadband meeting last week FairPoint Communications announced town residents would be able to subscribe to high-speed Internet services. Parts of Hancock also have broadband access now as well.

A 64-year-old New York woman was injured in a crash that snapped a utility pole in half on Route 7 yesterday morning in Pittsford. Jennifer Gilbert of Salt Point, NY fell asleep and struck the pole. According to police she was wearing her seat belt and taken by ambulance to Rutland Regional Medical Center.

The Lake Champlain Region Marketing Committee is already looking at tourism opportunities and ways to publicize businesses and events. The committee has also unveiled its new logo. The simple but graphic design features a green depiction of the High Peaks across the top with "Lake Champlain Region" written in the middle and a blue design representing Lake Champlain on the bottom. To learn more about the Lake Champlain Region Marketing Committee, click HERE.

For the first part of 2011, the numbers show that people are spending in Essex County. According to the county's finance committee, mortgage, occupancy and sales tax revenues were up from where they were in 2010, and in a big way.

Fujitsu Frontech North America plans to move its point-of-sale equipment manufacturing and integration operations from California to Plattsburgh. According to company officials the move is expected to bring about 50 additional jobs to Plattsburgh. This will be taking place over the next few months. It will be completed by the end of September.

Two wireless communication companies are expanding their networks for Vermonters by adding infrastructure to an existing cell tower on Pico Peak. One is a two-way radio company from Williston and the other is AT&T. The cell company is adding 3G broadband cell services to its existing tower. AT&T’s new mobile broadband site at Pico Peak will enhance coverage and improve data speeds for area residents and visitors.

The Rutland School Board will vote tonight whether to demolish one of its properties and try and sell the land to the Stafford Technical Center Student Craft Corp. The student-led nonprofit is the only entity the district knows of that is looking to buy property in Rutland that would consider its Watkins Avenue property. The organization buys land in Rutland, and its electrical, plumbing and construction students build homes on the land then sell them for market value.

General Electric will not be making the alternative engine for the F-35 fighter jet. The Pentagon notified the company yesterday that the project has been terminated. Work on the engine was stopped a month ago, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the 3-billion dollar project a waste of money. The project was expected to help the GE Aviation plant in Rutland because the company makes parts for the engine.

The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to health care legislation that is a key part of Gov. Peter Shumlin's agenda. The Senate legislation won initial approval on a 21-8 vote and is due for final action today. It calls for setting up a health care "exchange," or marketplace in keeping with federal health care legislation. The Vermont bill also sets up a board that would review and approve designs for a publicly financed program available to all Vermonters.

Vermont's third-largest power company will consider a tentative deal today to buy power from Vermont Yankee. In March, Entergy Nuclear announced the tentative deal to sell power to Vermont Electric Co-op at a highly favorable price of 4.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, VEC officials say they will not finalize the deal unless the legislature agrees to let Vermont Yankee stay open.

A website problem at the Vermont Department of Labor caused some problems yesterday. People who went to the home page to try and file an unemployment insurance claim were not able to. Labor officials say the problem was just with the home page and not with the entire website. Officials say benefit checks will not be delayed. The problem started late Friday night and is now fixed.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been looking for a new spot for its Burlington office, has found one. It's in South Burlington. The DMV office will move to 4 Market Street in South Burlington. No date has been set for the move. The new location is near the University of Vermont, University Mall and Dorset Street.

Law enforcement agencies in northern border states for now will receive border protection aid after Congress nixed an attempt to limit the money to the Southwest. The Department of Homeland Security's budget requests for 2011 and 2012 specified that Operation Stonegarden grants were to be used only "to address the nation's Southwest border security issues." That restriction was removed in the 2011 budget bill Congress passed earlier this month. The department says northern border states are still eligible for the grants.

Vermont Republican leaders are accusing Gov. Peter Shumlin of violating the state law that says elected officials aren't supposed to solicit campaign contributions from lobbyists or the companies that hire them during the legislative session. State Republican Chairwoman Pat McDonald says Shumlin's campaign sent out two fund-raising emails this month, and that lobbyists were among the recipients. The Vermont Democratic Party issued a statement saying the campaign had not received any contributions from lobbyists. It says efforts will be made in the future to exclude lobbyists from e-mail solicitations.

Vergennes Union High School sophomore Kaitlin Leroux-Eastman has won the title of Vermont Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year. She is now the fourth member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes in the past five years to claim that honor and was the youngest of the half-dozen local clubs’ Youths of the Year vying in Montpelier for state recognition last week. She and her competitors were judged on club and community service and their personal character and poise.

Two Vermont groups are joining hands to promote the use of industrial hemp, the fiber harvested from cannabis plants. Vote Hemp and Rural Vermont are hosting their second annual Hemp History Week, set for May 2 through May 8. On May 4, at the West Monitor Barn in Richmond, there will be hemp displays, an annual meeting and opportunities to take action in support of hemp. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children and Rural Vermont members.

Waterfalls Day Spa here in Middlebury is set to transport you to London, England on Friday just in time for the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton right inside the spa itself. The owners are celebrating the Royal Wedding and promoting their business on the biggest wedding day of the century. On Friday Waterfalls Day Spa will offer the Royal Spa Mini Treatment for $20, with free champagne. For more info click HERE.

Monday, April 25, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 25, 2011

The Vermont State Police in New Haven, with the assistance of the Middlebury Police Department and Vermont Fish and Game, arrested Lorinda Wall of Middlebury. Wall's arrest was made in connection with several house burglaries in Weybridge. The recent robberies occurred at homes on Twitchell Hill and Field Days roads and Meetinghouse Lane in Weybridge. Investigators said Wall's arrest was linked to at least four of the residential burglaries in the area.

The Vermont State Police are still investigating the April 19th theft of several chainsaws from the residence of Jason Desorda on Martin Hill Road in Orwell. However, state detectives said Shawn Munger of Castleton, was arrested in connection with the case; he was cited for possession of stolen property and driving with a criminally suspended drivers license. Munger allegedly sold two of the stolen chainsaws in West Haven. The two chainsaws were later recovered and returned to Desorda. Munger is set to appear in Addison County Court June 13th.

The Rutland School Board is considering demolishing the Dana and Watkins buildings. The subject of the former school buildings came up at the board’s meeting earlier this month and Chairman Peter Mello said there could be a vote on the future of Watkins when the board meets tomorrow.

Some dairy farmers aren't sweet on part of a proposed $30 million settlement with a giant dairy processor that they say could hurt their income. The proposal would settle a class-action antitrust lawsuit filed in 2009 by five Northeastern dairy farms, who accused Dallas-based Dean Foods Co., Dairy Farmers of America and its marketing affiliate Dairy Marketing Services of working together to dominate the milk-buying market and hold down prices paid to farmers. Some farmers fear the move could lower prices paid to farmers if Dean starts shopping elsewhere.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning a get-together with representatives of Vermont's community health centers. Sanders will meet with them today in Burlington to discuss the future of the centers, which provide primary care, dental care, low-cost prescription drugs and mental health counseling to more than 108,000 Vermonters. The event is set for 11:15 this morning at the Vermont independent's offices on Church Street in Burlington.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell says to be on guard about decorative drinking glasses showing Gone With the Wind and Elvis Presley because some of them have lead in the painted illustrations. The products, imported from the Far East by Salt Lake City-based Vandor LLC, contain lead concentrations of up to 81 times the state limit for children of 100 parts per million.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed a bill to add Vermont to the list of states that want to get around the Electoral College and participate in a national popular vote. The measure puts Vermont on record agreeing to throw its Electoral College votes to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote in presidential elections.

A pastor from Tennessee will be in federal court in Burlington today, answering to charges he helped a woman involved in a custody dispute flee the country with her daughter. Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven were joined in a civil union in Vermont eleven years ago. Pastor Timothy David Miller, no relation to Lisa Miller, is suspected of helping her and her daughter travel to Central American in 2009. A federal arrest warrant remains outstanding for Lisa Miller.

The Vermont Senate will be holding a rare session to debate what's arguably the biggest issue on the table: health care. This afternoon, the 30 senators are scheduled to take up a bill that would dramatically change how Vermonters get and pay for their health care. The Senate will likely take up several amendments this week, many of them aimed at making the bill more business friendly.

Prices continue to rise at the pump. The Lundberg survey of gas prices puts the average national price for a gallon of regular at $3.88, 12 cents higher than just two weeks ago. Here in Vermont the average is $3.86, but in New York it's 20 cents higher at $4.06.

A New York man is being held on $250,000 bail in Vermont after allegedly being caught with 120 bags of heroin and nearly 1 1/2 ounces of cocaine. Vermont State Police said 36-year-old Carlos Sadler, of Green Island, N.Y., faces two felony drug charges and a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge following his arrest Thursday night after the car in which he was a passenger was pulled over in Rutland. He pleaded not guilty in Rutland criminal court on Friday. Police said the car's driver, 46-year-old Eric Stevens, of Rutland, was charged with drunken driving.

Beaver dams situated near Route 140 do not pose an imminent threat to the road. The highway was closed for several hours a couple of weeks ago after a beaver dam broke and flooded a section of the road above the White Rocks picnic area near the Long Trail parking lot. However, a state transportation official who recently conducted a visual inspection of the area from an aircraft concluded there were no looming threats to the road from the dams.

The University of Vermont has started the search process for a new president. UVM's 25th president Dan Fogel is stepping down, which leaves the school looking for a replacement. Friday morning the board of trustees approved a committee, which will be in charge of the search. UVM tried to make the 20-member search team as diverse as possible. The next step will be to pick a search firm to find potential candidates.

A federal study that concludes regional food hubs are emerging as important economic models is welcome news to those hoping to develop a hub serving southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire. A food hub is a facility that oversees the storage, processing, distribution and marketing of locally produced food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently studied clusters of food hubs in the Midwest and Northeast and found that the average hub has annual sales of nearly $1 million and creates about 13 jobs.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has launched a pilot program to help the commercial building sector and multifamily buildings reduce their energy use, save on operating costs and cut greenhouse emissions. Under the FlexTech Benchmarking Pilot, eligible customers will receive energy benchmarking and onsite energy assessments that will provide recommendations on low-cost building system upgrades.

On Saturday, April 30, you can join a daylong tour exploring woody biomass energy from harvest to processing to use. The tour starts in Bristol at 8:30 AM with a discussion of woody biomass supply and demand and an introduction to the Forest Guild's new biomass retention guidelines. The day will conclude with a tour of Mt. Abraham High School's wood chip heating facility and a group discussion. For more information and to register for the field tour or the symposium, click HERE.

Vermont's Fish and Wild Department is used to hearing complaints that beavers are flooding the property and cutting down trees. But lately, officials have been hearing from someone who's trying to protect the tree-chewing critters. Mandy Hotchkiss is working with state officials to alert drivers that beavers living in wetlands along the flooded shores of Lake Champlain have been crossing Route 2 between Milton and South Hero. She spent Friday morning holding up a sign reading "Caution, Beavers Crossing," while her business partner, dressed in a beaver costume, waved a sign that read "Honk 4 Beaver!"

Experts are urging eager spring hikers to hike with caution. They say hiking on high elevation trails during mud season can erode the trail and surrounding vegetation. Many of those trails are closed, specifically the summits of Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump. For the ones that are still open, there are some rules of the road. Walk in the mud, not around it. That will prevent further trail erosion. Hike on the lower trails that face South. They tend to dry out faster in the spring. Avoid the spruce-fir forests that are higher up.

Mountain Lake PBS has received $500 from the Stewart's Holiday Match program in support of the PBS “KID'S GO!” Writers Contest, a local competition designed to promote the advancement of children's reading and writing skills through hands-on, active learning. Jane Owens, Mountain Lake's director of outreach and education, said the money would help support the writers contest so children, families and the community can encourage students to be writers and illustrators and celebrate the creation of their stories.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host "Chamber Day" this Thursday. Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce staff, Ambassador Club Members, board members and other volunteers will be hand delivering the 2011 membership plaques to TACC members within the area. For more information on "Chamber Day" contact the chamber directly or visit the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

A fundraising drive is under way in which vendors at farmers’ markets around Vermont are being asked to donate 5 to 10 percent of their take from opening day, or from another day, to agricultural disaster relief in Japan. Carol Tashie of Radical Roots Farm in Rutland is spearheading the effort, dubbed “Farmer to Farmer: Vermont to Japan.” She will give a talk on the program May 1 at Grace Congregational Church, and a portion of donations collected at the church that day will go to the program.

Friday, April 22, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 22, 2011

Vermont health officials are warning consumers about a recall of alfalfa sprouts. The maker of Jonathan's Sprouts announced Tuesday that some of the sprouts sold in four-ounce and eight-ounce containers, with an April 23 sell-by date, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Test results are in, and they came back negative for harmful bacteria at a Burlington Water Treatment Facility. These tests come in the wake of a major sewage spill into Lake Champlain. Concern over harmful bacteria being leaked into Lake Champlain surrounds the water treatment plant in Burlington. Officials at the plant say an operator error caused 2.5 million gallons of wastewater to dump into Lake Champlain.

After two years of rock bottom prices, business is looking up for many Vermont dairy farmers. Cornwall dairy farmer John Roberts, who milks 200 cows at Butterwick Farm, said that this week his milk pulled in more than double what it was fetching just two years ago. According to the Vermont Agency Of Agriculture Vermont now has 1,005 dairy farms, nearly 100 fewer than in early 2008.

The Bristol Town Planning Commission held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue of gravel extraction in the proposed town plan. If gravel extraction were not allowed on the proposed site, it would be open for use as a residential development. Jim Lathrop made the accusation that developing his piece of land for residential use would bear more cost than benefit. A resource study has been proposed.

The Town of Lincoln will hold a crucial transportation meeting next Tuesday (April 26th) at 6:30 PM in Burnham Hall. The meeting will serve two purposes. First, to act as a local concerns meeting for community members and officials to discuss details surrounding the upcoming “Truchon Bridge” replacement project. Secondly, to serve as a platform to discuss a pedestrian feasibility study from the school to the village center that is being coordinated by the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.

Rep. Peter Welch heard a lot of concerns yesterday from Rutland area physicians and medical administrators who have reservations about a congressional budget proposal that would cut and change the delivery of Medicare services. Last week, federal lawmakers passed the 2012 budget out of the House with cuts to Medicare, which would be transformed, into a voucher system in which recipients would buy health insurance from private insurance companies.

Vermont lawmakers have snuffed out a proposed $1-a-pack boost in the state tax on cigarettes. After giving preliminary approval Thursday to a state budget that relies partly on revenue from it, the Vermont Senate voted 16-14 to defeat the tax, which supporters say would have raised $9 million annually.

The Vermont Senate is expected to discuss and vote on an historic health care bill today that would effectively create the path towards a single-payer system. All Vermonters would be eligible under the taxpayer-funded plan. Supporters also say it will be cheaper than the current system because it is more efficient. The total cost of the bill is still unclear since financing decisions won't be made until 2012. That has some small businesses and corporations like IBM concerned.

Your tax dollars will pay for a potentially long drawn out court case. Tuesday, Entergy, the company that owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant filed a lawsuit against the State of Vermont. The Vermont Attorney General's office will defend the State in this case, but the State's Auditor has some concerns about the cost. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said that the case could be a long one.

Two Vermont teenagers have been arrested and charged with robbing a store clerk as she was making a night deposit at a South Royalton bank. Seventeen-year-old Robert Williams of South Royalton and 19-year-old Samuel L. Robins of Norwich are charged with assault and robbery. The Vermont State Police say tips from the public helped to solve the case.

A 38-mile section of Route 100 will become the Scenic Route 100 Byway after being officially designated the state’s eighth scenic byway by the state’s Transportation Board this week. Earlier this year, a 50-mile stretch of Route 4 from West Rutland to Hartford received approval as the “Crossroads of Vermont” scenic byway. The Route 100 byway includes the towns of Andover, Ludlow, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Killington and Pittsfield.

Students at the University of Vermont could be paying more for their education soon to make up for the school's budget shortfall. The school says the shortfall is mainly because of the increasing amounts of financial aid grants that students do not have to pay back. Budget officials at the school say large salaries aren't to blame for the shortfall. UVM says they're going to fix the situation by reducing the operating budget by $3 million, freezing salaries next year and the 5.8 tuition increase. They also say layoffs could be another option.

North Country Congressman Bill Owens wants the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security Numbers from identification cards for senior citizens. A constituent told congressional staff that scammers often target senior citizens enrolled in Medicare because their Social Security Numbers appear on the program's ID cards. Now, Owens is urging CMS to remove the numbers in order to protect seniors from identity theft.

The Moriah Historical Society is seeking volunteers to help man the Iron Center museum this summer. The Iron Center museum will open for the season on Saturday, June 18. The museum will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3PM throughout the summer. The Iron Center Museum in Port Henry brings the industrial history of Moriah to life.

Some 75 administrators, teachers, foodservice workers and students gathered at Middlebury Union High School earlier in the month to discuss the movement that is bringing local foods into schools across the county. The second annual Stone Soup Summit aimed to spread information, ideas and experiences on all angles of the farm-to-school effort from composting to funding to incorporating local food education into the curriculum.

Mickey Heinecken has been awarded a Bonnie and John McCardell Citizen’s Award by Middlebury College this year for his outstanding service to the community. After coaching Middlebury College’s football team for 28 years, he founded the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He has also co-chaired both the United Way of Addison County and the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association with his wife Carol. And has spent countless hours volunteering for a wide range of other causes.

The Chaffee Art Center in Rutland is currently offering several classes throughout the spring, with a variety of new classes also coming this summer. To learn about these and other upcoming events visit the Chaffee Art Center Web Site at or by calling 802-775-0356.

On Saturday, April 30, you can join a daylong tour exploring woody biomass energy from harvest to processing to use. The tour starts in Bristol at 8:30 AM with a discussion of woody biomass supply and demand and an introduction to the Forest Guild's new biomass retention guidelines. The day will conclude with a tour of Mt. Abraham High School's wood chip heating facility and a group discussion. For more information and to register for the field tour or the symposium, Click HERE.

Fort Ticonderoga is the site of some of America's most significant history. Easter Sunday it will mark one of mankind's most important events. The fort will host the annual community ecumenical Easter sunrise service at 6AM April 24. The service is sponsored and conducted by the Greater Ticonderoga Clergy Association. Following the service, people are invited to a time of fellowship and food at the Ticonderoga United Methodist Church on Wicker Street. There will be a free will offering.

A 1.5-mile recreation path is moving forward in St. Johnsbury after 19 years of planning. The town is taking construction bids for the project, called Three Rivers Transportation Path. Proposals are due by May 18. It will run along a former rail bed and connect to the proposed Lamoille Valley Rail Trail between St. Johnsbury to Swanton.

Spring turkey hunting starts this weekend in Vermont. Kids age 15 and under can bag one bearded turkey on Saturday or Sunday as long as they have a hunting license, a turkey hunting license and a youth turkey hunting tag. They also need to complete a hunter education course and be with a licensed hunter who's over 18. The season for adults starts May 1 and lasts until May 31.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 21, 2011

Vermont health officials are warning consumers about a recall of alfalfa sprouts. The maker of Jonathan's Sprouts announced Tuesday that some of the sprouts sold in four-ounce and eight-ounce containers, with an April 23 sell-by date, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Rutland Police say they thwarted the plans of two would-be robbers. Early Thursday morning a 17-year-old girl allegedly walked into the West Street Corner Market, displayed a pellet gun and demanded cash. The clerk refused to cooperate and another employee called police. Meanwhile officers say her getaway driver, 21-year-old Aaron Gould, was down the road in West Rutland trying to rob the Sunoco store on Route 4. Neither suspect made off with any money. Both were arrested and are now behind bars. Police have not released the name of the 17-year-old girl.

A fire of suspicious origin destroyed a vacant home at Lord Howe and Pearl streets in Ticonderoga early Wednesday morning. A neighbor reported flames and smoke were issuing from the house at 107 Lord Howe St. at 12:42 AM. Crown Point, Schroon Lake, Putnam and Hague aided Ticonderoga firefighters. Wednesday's fire is the second one on that street in the last few years that may have been deliberately set.

Lake Champlain has reached well above flood stage. In Burlington water levels reached 100.8 feet. And in Rouses Point New York water levels are above 101 feet the highest it’s been since 2000.

Burlington is awaiting test results to determine the level of contamination from a big sewage spill Wednesday. About 2.5 million gallons of untreated wastewater was accidentally discharged into Lake Champlain at the sewage treatment plant in downtown Burlington. Public Works officials say it was the result of human error. A plant employee failed to open a valve to the chlorine pump Wednesday morning.

As the weather warms up, Vermonters spend more and more time outside. Ticks like the warm weather too, and they have already been spotted this year. Most Lyme disease occurs in the spring. Anyone who is outdoors should take precautions to prevent tick bites. Using appropriate repellents, daily tick checks and showering as soon as you come home should become standard practice. It is also possible to be exposed to ticks while working around the house, so take precautions when doing yard work and gardening as well.

Vermont lawmakers are going ahead with changes to the state's Clean Energy Development Fund that is aimed at freeing up money for new projects. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 7-4 to support a proposal by Gov. Peter Shumlin to allow recipients of tax credits to get half the money in cash grants instead. Supporters say the move will free up about $2.7 million.

A Vermont organization that tracks housing affordability says the cost of renting an apartment is getting harder and harder for people to pay. In its annual "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" report on housing, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency says that a modest two-bedroom apartment costs about $990 a month, a 7% increase over the year before. To rent that, a person would need an hourly wage of at least $19.13, or $35,595 a year.

The owners of a Vermont general store gutted twice by fire have signed a lease with an operator to run it when it opens later this year. Work is continuing on the Putney General Store, in Putney, which was heavily damaged by a fire in May 2008, rebuilt and then leveled in a second fire in November 2009. The second was ruled arson, but no arrests have been made.

Firefighters in Brattleboro say a historic building heavily damaged by fire may be salvageable. The fire Sunday damaged the upper floors of the Brooks House. Smoke and water affected the rest of the Victorian structure.

Castleton State College will have a special treat for the community: author Archer Mayor will be discussing his writing and its connection with his career in criminal justice. The event, taking place April 28 at 7 PM in CSC's Herrick auditorium, is free and open to the public.

According to Ticonderoga Town Police a traffic stop early Wednesday morning resulted in the seizure of several thousand dollars worth of heroin. It started when police pulled over a car driven by Zack A. Muroff of Ti. Inside the vehicle there were allegedly numerous packets of heroin with a street value of $7,500. Ticonderoga Police Chief Mark Johns said that police believe the heroin was going to be sold locally.

The Sherburne Elementary School Board unanimously voted to change the town school’s name to Killington Elementary School effective immediately. The Sherburne Volunteer Fire Department was the first to change its name to note its affiliation to the town. The School Board said there are a multitude of reasons why the board opted to change the school’s name.

The state Senate is expected to take up the single-payer system for health reform today with a vote likely on Friday. The House has already passed a version of the bill, and now the Senate is looking at some changes. State Senator John Campbell says self-insured plans will not be touched under the program.

Gov. Peter Shumlin will take his campaign for a single-payer health care system to Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Shumlin will speak to the Colchester college's faculty, students and pharmacists at 5 PM today. The first phase of the plan is currently moving through the Legislature.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch will be in Killington today at 5 PM for a “Congress in your Community” event at the Deli at Killington Corners on Route 4. According to Welch’s communications manager the event is for the public to ask Welch any questions or air their concerns.

Local food banks face the threat of funding cuts. It is the result of nearly $38 billion worth of proposed budget cuts to the Federal government. And with the demand for food assistance rapidly growing, food shelves could find themselves scrounging for cash. There are proposed cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's funding. The USDA gives goods and money to food banks like the Vermont Foodbank.

Vermont lawmakers have signed off on a $536 million transportation bill that includes money for interstate road paving, the state's contribution to a new Lake Champlain Bridge and money for deteriorating bridges. It includes $15.5 Million specifically for the Lake Champlain Bridge.

Vermont lawmakers and Gov. Peter Shumlin are at odds over whom to target with tax increases as they try to close a $176 million hole in next year's state budget. The Senate Finance Committee has passed legislation that would add a $1-per-pack tax to Vermont's cigarette tax, but Shumlin opposes it. He says the state's tax revenues would take a hit because people would go to New York and New Hampshire to buy. Shumlin wants lawmakers to sign off on a 3% provider tax on dentists, but state Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell says he'd rather not because their services provide a benefit to Vermonters' health.

There will be a special Westport Town Council meeting at 4 PM today to meet with a representative of Amtrak. The meeting is open to all.

Proposed changes to the Ticonderoga zoning law will be presented during a public hearing Tuesday, April 26, at 7 PM at the Ticonderoga Community Building auditorium. The hearing will include a presentation on the work of the town zoning revision committee and its efforts to make Ticonderoga's zoning law more comprehensive, clear and precise.

The village of Port Henry Board of Trustees will conduct three consecutive public hearings Wednesday April 27 beginning at 6 PM at the village hall. The first public hearing is regarding the village's intent to submit an application for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program. The second public hearing is regarding a proposed Local Law relating to the use of village water in the Village of Port Henry. The third is for review of the revised water rate schedule.

Moriah Central School Board will hold a special meeting at 8 AM Thursday, April 28th, in the Central Office boardroom. This meeting is to vote on the CVES budget as well for board candidates who that are also on the ballot. The public is welcome.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch says it's time to pull the plug on federal subsidies for the ethanol industry. He said the subsidies cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion a year and in the process drive up food prices and damage engines in boats, motorcycles and lawnmowers.

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to stop people from applying phosphorus fertilizer to their lawns. New lawns, phosphorus-deficient dirt and farmland would be the only exemptions. Lawmaker’s hope by limiting the use of phosphorus fertilizer, less will end up in the lake. Phosphorus runoff feeds the dangerous algae blooms that are popping up in Lake Champlain. If the bill passes violators could face up to a $500 fine.

A bill that would protect Vermont's celebrity moose is a step closer to approval in the Legislature. Yesterday the state Senate approved on second reading a bill that would exclude Pete the Moose from actions taken by the state on an Irasburg game preserve. The measure aims to undo what lawmakers did in the eleventh hour of last year's session, which was to grant private ownership of the animals at the 700-acre Big Rack Ridge preserve to owner Doug Nelson. Now, the Legislature is moving to repeal that because of pressure from hunters and wildlife officials.

Vermont Secretary of State James Condos has been named to a national task force examining ways to prevent identity theft. Condos and his counterparts from nine other states will serve on the Business Identity Theft panel, which is being formed by the National Association of Secretaries of State.

A group of retired Essex County employees are suing the county over an attempt to make them pay a larger portion of their health insurance. The county asked them to pay 12 percent of their premiums this year. According to the suit that violates their contract.

A longtime Connecticut legislator and former attorney general candidate has been chosen over more than 100 other candidates to head a regional education accrediting agency. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges says Cameron Staples will become its new chief executive officer starting July 1st. NEASC is the accrediting agency for more than 2,000 public and private institutions from pre-kindergarten through universities in New England's six states. It's based in Bedford, MA.

The town of Killington was recently awarded the 2011 Governor’s Award for Marketing Excellence at the 28th annual Vermont Travel Industry Conference. The Governor’s Award winner is selected by the VTIC Board of Directors and honors a tourism-related business, region, or association that has shown a clear understanding of the Vermont brand and has successfully incorporated it into at least one marketing initiative.

An informal poll has found support for making sweet corn the official state vegetable for New York. The state Farm Bureau conducted a survey on Facebook and sweet corn received more than twice as many votes as onions, the other main contender for the title. The unscientific poll comes as New York lawmakers consider competing bills, one backing corn and the other onions. New York already has an official fruit, the apple.

Common Ground Center, which is a nonprofit family camp and retreat center, will be celebrating the completion of their year-round Eco-Lodge at a Grand Opening scheduled for Saturday, April 30. Middlebury College educator Bill McKibben will speak at the dedication ceremony. Activities will begin at 1 PM and will include tours of the facility, food, music, speakers, educational booths, and family friendly activities.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 20, 2011

A Vermont athlete has reason to celebrate after her finish at the Boston Marathon. Kelly Brush of Charlotte was the top female finisher in hand cycling and sixth best overall in hand cycling. Brush was a standout skier at Middlebury College, but a racing accident in 2006 left her paralyzed. It hasn't slowed her down. Her time at Monday's marathon was 1 hour, 55 minutes, 1 second. And it was only her second marathon.

An explosion that destroyed the large steam boiler at the Ticonderoga Armory Community Center could be heard blocks away. At about 9AM Monday, pressure build-up in the commercial boiler caused the blast that blew off the unit's door and warped the heavy metal casing. The cause of the explosion was still unknown. The armory's main tenant is the Ticonderoga Central School District’s administration office, which was already closed for spring break this week.

The news coming out of Rutland Regional Medical Center’s annual meeting held yesterday was mostly about the challenges for the hospital and the nation. In addresses from the hospital’s president and other various speakers the themes were similar: Change is coming and it promises to be both good and bad. While the past year was a good one at the hospital, which finished $7.4 million in the black and saw the biggest fundraiser in year’s to help buy a new cancer-treating linear accelerator, the chairman of the board that oversees the hospital said he foresees a rougher road ahead.

Convicted murderer Jonathan Bruno’s request for a new trial has been denied. The 27-year-old was sentenced last year to serve a 35-year-to-life sentence for the killing of John Baptie during an argument behind the Rutland Wal-Mart in November 2007. The judge’s denial doesn’t exhaust the legal options for Bruno, who can appeal to the Supreme Court.

Vermont relies heavily on federal funds for countless programs, and just about everyone who relies on tax dollars is trying to figure out what big cuts from Washington, D.C., will all mean. The biggest immediate impact will be on transportation where nearly $13 million was trimmed. That could derail attempts to finance a high-speed rail project in Vermont. State officials say the current federal budget deal will trim nearly $5 million in programs in Vermont.

Both Vermont and Vermont Yankee are ready to go to war over the future of the aging nuclear power plant in Vernon. This is a legal battle over jurisdiction. Does the federal government or the state of Vermont have the authority to close Yankee's doors? If Entergy wins its injunction it would be allowed to continue operating despite state law while the case is litigated and that gives Entergy little motivation to speed things along.

The Vermont state Board of Education has approved a proposal to merge seven school boards into one in the Chittenden East Supervisory Union. Each town in the district must approve the consolidation plan in order to move forward. The issue will go before voters in those towns - Bolton, Huntington, Jericho, Richmond and Underhill - in June. The plan would consolidate the seven school boards with 45 members into one 15-member board. The unification plan is estimated to save $300,000 to $400,000 a year.

More than a dozen friends and family of David Driscoll came to the riverbank in Milton last night to light candles and pray. David Driscoll went missing and is presumed dead after falling off his fishing boat during a recent flood. He was sucked into the Lake Arrowhead dam and crews have been searching for him during the last week. They found David's sneaker over the weekend, but so far not much else has turned up. Crews will continue to search everyday until a body is found.

Some downtown merchants in Burlington said a proposed partial ban on outdoor smoking would drive their customers to communities where they could light up. The City Council voted recently to have its Ordinance Committee consider the proposal. Smoking inside is already illegal in Vermont. Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Joan Shannon said the current plan would allow outdoor cafes to decide whether to allow smoking.

The former town clerk of Woodbury has admitted she embezzled thousands of dollars from the town. 37-year-old Julie Blake pleaded guilty Monday to charges accusing her of stealing $18,000 over three years. Blake resigned after she was confronted by the select board and has repaid the money. She faces up to 10 years in prison at her sentencing in May.

The fire chief in a Vermont town where a landmark building went up flames says the fire was triggered by electrical wiring and may have smoldered for more than a day before it erupted into a five-alarm blaze. The Brattleboro Fire Chief says Sunday's fire in the 19th-century Brooks House has been traced to wiring in a space above a third-floor ceiling.

Vermont's unemployment rate continues to decline, dropping two-tenths of 1%age point last month to 5.4%. The March rate was 1.2%age points better than March 2010. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the numbers show the Vermont economy is recovering slowly. She says employers in the manufacturing, professional and business service, and leisure and hospitality industries are reporting significant increases in employment.

The New England Culinary Institute announced its graduation speaker. He's a former student and a star. The Food Network's Alton Brown will deliver the commencement speech. Brown is a 1997 graduate of NECI, an author and the host of "Good Eats" on the Food Network.

Former New York Governor David Paterson will deliver this year's commencement address at Paul Smith's College. The school says it chose Paterson because he has overcome obstacles his entire life. Paterson is legally blind. He became the state's first African-American governor at the height of the state's worst fiscal crisis. The 64th commencement at Paul Smith's College will be held May 15th.

More than 100 students and community members gathered at Poultney High School on Tuesday for the fourth annual Poultney Earth Fair to celebrate local food and sustainability. More than 20 exhibits from local organizations and Green Mountain College students featured topics such as ways to have a healthy meal and how our actions affect our food systems.

The Benson Village School is trying to raise enough money for the eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C. Eight students from the School have held three fundraisers this school year with one remaining push for donations left. The class needs about $1,500 more for a three-day civics camp with professional educators trained in all branches of government. To earn that money, the class is hosting a second basket raffle in the school’s gym from 11AM – 3PM on April 30. The event will also include a bake, book and rummage sale, and it’s the last chance for the students to get help from the public to pay for their field trip.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will deliver the commencement speech at Green Mountain College's graduation next month. Shumlin also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the May 14 ceremony in Poultney.

Police are searching for a suspect after a man was robbed at gunpoint in South Royalton last night. Police say a 19-year-old Tunbridge man was making a deposit outside the Randolph National Bank at 9:45PM when a man walked up to him with a handgun and demanded cash. The suspect is described as being about 6' tall and around 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing a camo jacket with brown pants and a ski mask.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 19, 2011

Middlebury is preparing for a busy roadwork schedule this Spring & Summer. Area residents will see utility improvements, ditching and repaving on several local roads. The most extensive work will include Stewart Lane, North Street, Buttolph Drive, Rolling Acres, Foote Street, Weybridge Street and Washington Street. The work schedule might also include a water main and storm water project involving portions of Charles Avenue and Water Street. This work has been made possible with the passage of two $3 Million bond issues.

After 16 years Middlebury’s After Dark Music series is ending. Series founders and coordinators Harvey and Carol Green explained that while they have enjoyed bringing numerous high-caliber folk, blues, jazz and other acts to town over the years, they are ready to retire from the physical strain and financial challenge of organizing a half-dozen shows each year. The Greens had launched the After Dark series with the goal of bringing back to Middlebury some of the performers at the annual summer Festival On-The-Green.

A small group of Middlebury voters have approved a 2011-2012 Mary Hogan Elementary School budget of almost $5.9 million. The annual budget meeting drew around nine residents who were not members of either the ID-4 school board or school administration.

Vergennes aldermen have approved the city’s farmers’ market request to use the downtown green for another season. The decision did start some discussion triggered by the proposed inclusion of a pizza maker among the market’s vendors. City Manager Mel Hawley had raised the issue that such a vendor might conflict with existing downtown eateries.

This Thursday Goshen resident’s will meet with representatives of FairPoint Communications to address bringing broadband Internet access to town. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting at 7PM at the Goshen Town Hall. While former Gov. Jim Douglas made high-speed Internet access a priority of his administration the only current option for Goshen residents is to connect to the Internet via dial-up service.

Vergennes aldermen have said they would like to retain one of two building sites on a city-owned parcel off New Haven Road as a possible future home for a new police station. The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes has also been interested in the parcel. The land was originally owned by the Vergennes ID school district and deeded to the city in 2010 when the ID board was dissolved.

Despite a challenging winter for the Vergennes Public Works Department and Police Department the city’s budget appears to be on track as the end of the fiscal year approaches on June 30th. The City Manager said that a combination of belt-tightening and better-than-expected revenue streams put the city’s finances in a better position than he had hoped even a few short weeks before.

Rutland Regional Medical Center President Thomas Huebner predicts a future full of risk and uncertainty the hospital weathers a storm of health care reform. He said the proposed reforms moving through the Legislature could be catastrophic to everything from patient care to doctor recruitment and retention in the state if the system the state settles on shortchanges health care providers. But despite the risks, he said he supports the reform efforts because the current system is unsustainable due to rapidly escalating health-care costs.

The state of Vermont has issued the permits needed to move dangerous chemicals from an Essex Junction home. Meanwhile, the potentially explosive chemicals are locked in a garage. The homeowner, Allan Fisher, said he brought the chemicals to his home from the Addison County home of his late father, a former research chemist. The Chittenden Solid Waste District says two environmental contractors have been lined up to do the work by the end of the month.

Rutland Probation and Parole Manager Michael O’Malley from Proctor died Sunday morning at Rutland Regional Medical Center after an apparent heart attack. He was 59 years old. Funeral services are scheduled for 11AM Thursday at Christ the King Church in Rutland. During his almost 30-year career with the state Department of Corrections, O’Malley was called on to lead. He served as superintendents in jails in Rutland, Burlington and Springfield and worked in the main DOC offices in Waterbury. For the last 13 years, he has run the Probation and Parole office where those that served under him said he was highly regarded.

Two subsidiaries of Entergy Corp. filed suit yesterday to stop the state of Vermont from shutting down Vermont Yankee when its state permit expires next year. Gov. Peter Shumlin says Entergy agreed in 2006 to a law that gave the state legislature power to say no to a license renewal for the plant. He says the company's now trying to get out of the agreement because it's not getting its way.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and officials from the state's two largest electric utilities are praising a decision by the Public Service Board to approve a 26-year electricity contract with the Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec. In March of last year, Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydro-Quebec that lead to the contract. In its decision, the board says the agreement benefits Vermont utilities and ratepayers. The state will purchase up to 225 megawatts of electricity starting in November 2012 and ending in 2038.

An overnight fire yesterday literally brought Brattleboro to a standstill. The fire broke out Sunday a little before 9PM. Fire crews say the fourth and fifth floors of the Brooks House received extensive damage. The building houses 59 apartments and 10 businesses. Luckily everybody was able to make it out safely. No word yet on what sparked the blaze. Officials continue to investigate the exact origin and cause, but at this time they say it does not appear to be suspicious.

Purchases of clothing and shoes in New York State that are less than $55 are now exempt from the state's 4-percent sales tax. The exemption, which will be in effect until March 31, 2012, addresses a previous measure that applied to purchases less than $110, as opposed to $55. The higher purchase level will be restored April 1, 2012. Clinton and Franklin counties charge 4-percent sales tax, which, with the state figure, brings the total to 8 percent. In Essex County, the 3 3/4 percent on purchases adds up to 7 3/4 percent.

Three New York legislators want the state to register domestic violence offenders just as sex crime offenders are publicly listed. It would require anyone convicted of domestic violence to be listed in a Domestic Violence Offender Database.

More than 300 people took part in Saturday's Day of Caring volunteer efforts, which were organized by United Way of the Adirondack Region. The daylong volunteer-driven event hosted more than 30 projects that included cleaning homes of senior citizens, building homes through Habitat for Humanity and renovating the Strand Theatre. Each county within the United Way region, which includes Clinton, Essex and Franklin, took part in volunteer projects.

Students at Mount Abraham Union High School got to work in the school garden last week. A team of ninth-graders turned the soil in the beds and began seeding a wide range of crops from spring lettuce and radishes to summer tomatoes and peppers to leeks and winter squash. Volunteer Walter O’Donoghue oversees the Mount Abe Garden.

The Boston Public Library recognized a local author for his contributions to literature during the 23rd annual Literary Lights ceremony in Boston on Sunday. Author Ron Powers of Castleton was one of eight New England authors to be honored as a “literary light” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.

Congressman Peter Welch says he's hitting the road to find out what Vermonters think should be in - and out - of the federal budget. The Democratic lawmaker is launching a "budget priorities tour" today in Winooski. The group for today’s 10:30AM session at Physician's Computer Co., in Winooski includes officials from the Rutland Tech Center, Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Country Products and Dynapower Corp.

A Vermont museum that boasts the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings is putting on a major display to show off some of them. "Grandma Moses and the `Primitive' Tradition," at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, will run from June 11th through October 30th. It contains 50 works by Moses and others who painted in that style. The exhibit commemorates the 150th anniversary of her birth in 1860.

Monday, April 18, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 18, 2011

High winds tore through our region over the weekend leaving plenty of damage in their wake around the state. Over the last 24 hours, about 2,000 Vermont Electric Cooperative customers lost power. Approximately 3,000 Central Vermont Public Service customers were in the dark a various points throughout the weekend.

Taxes are due today. With a tax code that runs close to 60,000 pages and dozens of possible credits, it is not hard to see why filing them daunts people. According to Turbo tax, nearly 27% of taxpayers wait until the last two weeks of tax season to file their taxes. That is mostly because filing your taxes is so confusing. The IRS says nearly 10 million people a year put off filing until mid-October. Remember, that is only an extension to file, not to pay them. If you owe any taxes you need to pay them as soon as possible.

Peak Lodge at the top of the K-1 Express Gondola at Killington Ski Area is being replaced this summer. The highest gondola-served restaurant and meeting space in eastern North America will come down this summer and visitors will be without a summit lodge until the 2012-13 winter ski season. The facility will include a multilevel restaurant, be somewhat smaller than the existing lodge and cost about $7 million to build.

A local Tea Party chapter gathered in Rutland’s Main Street Park on Saturday urging people to take a stand if they want to see change in local and state government. Rally organizer John Wallace of West Rutland said the purpose of the rally was to get people together who, no matter what side of politics they are on, want to see something different.

A program coordinator from the Library of Congress is coming to Vermont to discuss efforts to digitize historically significant newspapers from around the nation. UVM's libraries, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Ilsley Public Library of Middlebury and the Vermont Historical Society are collaborating to digitize up to 100,000 pages of Vermont newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. On Thursday, Deborah Thomas, of the National Digital Newspaper Program, will discuss the national effort in a 5PM speech at UVM's Bailey-Howe Library. Admission is free.

Police in Burlington say they are investigating an attempted break-in near the intersection of North Union and North Streets where a man forced his way into an apartment after the tenant opened the door and made threats. Neighbors told officials they saw the intruder flee in a maroon van with Vermont Registration possibly starting with EDD. Police said no one was hurt, but they're urging the community to be on the alert.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin celebrated his 100th day in office Saturday. The Governor's most notable moves include a plan to put Vermonters on a single-payer healthcare plan and a budget plan to cut into Vermont's $150 million deficit. Political expert Garrison Nelson said, the Governor is making some smart moves when it comes to using social media to get out his message.

As the Vermont Senate prepares this coming week to debate major health care legislation, a fight may be emerging over what conditions must be met before the state moves to a single-payer plan. One Senate committee added conditions that the Green Mountain Care Board can't go forward unless it can be shown it will do no harm to the Vermont economy. The Senate is expected to pass the bill, and then differences with the House-passed version will be worked out in a conference committee.

It's on to the Vermont Senate for a bill whose backers say it will promote competition in the propane industry. The bill passed by the House on Friday would eliminate minimum purchase fees and requirements imposed by some propane companies. It requires timely refunds, and requires companies to sell propane to customers that own a tank, as long as it meets safety checks.

After 13 years as president of Lyndon State College, Carol Moore is stepping down. She made the announcement Friday, but earlier this year she stated faculty and staff would have to be cut in order to deal with the budget deficit now projected at 350-thousand dollars in the next fiscal year. Students have already held protests over the cuts, and faculty members want to know why positions are being cut despite enrollment numbers going up. Moore says only she's leaving for personal reasons.

Vermont State Police say a woman and her baby are fine after she gave birth along the side of Interstate 89 in south Burlington early Saturday morning. Police say that when they arrived, the baby was having trouble breathing and the mother was in considerable pain. Police escorted the family in the car to Fletcher Allen Health Care. The mother, father and baby were all reported in good condition shortly after the incident.

New York State environmental regulators are giving dealers more time to sell inventory of older, air-polluting outdoor wood furnaces before strict new emission standards take effect. The DEC's new regulations took effect Jan. 28. The ruling Friday allows dealers to sell older boilers currently in their showrooms until July 14th. However the new fuel and installation rules would still apply.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell and his assistant Cindy Maguire were given a Humane Law Enforcement Award for 2010. They were honored for their crackdown on Bushway Packing, a former slaughterhouse in Grand Isle, where the office investigated the abuse of calves. The co-owner was fined and given a one year suspended sentence. An employee of the slaughterhouse was ordered to spend a month on a work crew.

The annual Ticonderoga StreetFest promises to be bigger and better than ever. Sponsored by the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership's Enterprise Committee, the third annual event will be held Saturday, July 30th from 10AM – 3PM. Vendors and others who wish to participate in StreetFest can go to the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership website, or contact the Ticonderoga Chamber of Commerce.

A group of nurses from North Country Community College's Ticonderoga campus recently visited Honduras to give their talents to the poor. The Ti group was teamed with students from the University of Southern Illinois Medical School. The group, which included doctors, physician assistants and nurses, treated more than 150 people a day from March 26th to April 1st. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, with about 65 percent of the population living in poverty.

The 45th annual Vermont Maple Festival parade marched through downtown St. Albans yesterday afternoon. Thousands of residents and visitors lined the sidewalk along Lake and Main streets to celebrate the taste of maple and watch the event. After forty-five years, excitement for celebrating the taste of pure Vermont maple has not diminished.

Castleton students are cleaning up an on-campus pond in hopes of creating a "third space." A third space is a location on campus for students and community members to gather that is not living or classroom space. The school will host a luau Thursday April 28th to help raise money and awareness about fixing up this space.

College students and community members celebrated spring, food and art at Sunday Sprouting, with a silent art auction and community potluck lunch to benefit the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link. The community event, hosted by Green Mountain College graduating senior Jason Jansen, was held at the college yesterday.

New York State has announced the launch of collaboration between National Geographic Maps and the Lakes to Locks Passage to highlight the historic, natural, cultural and recreational attractions along New York's only All-American Road in the collection of America's Byways. This project will create a co-branded website to promote geotourism: which is tourism that contributes to the economic health of communities by enhancing the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. This will include the New York communities along Lake George and Lake Champlain.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its second annual Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, and dozens of locations in Vermont are participating. On that day, the DEA will collect expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs and destroy them - free, with no questions asked. The event is part of the government's effort to reduce prescription drug abuse. To find the location nearest you, click HERE and type in your zip code or city and the site will show participating locations for the events, which run from 10AM – 2PM.

Friday, April 15, 2011

WVTK Local & State News April 15, 2011

Bruce and Hobbes travelled to Montpelier yesterday for a historic visit and broadcast from Montpelier for Humane Lobby Day, a day when animal advocates came from across the Green Mountain State to speak to legislators on animal welfare issues. During the course of the day, Bruce and Hobbes spoke at a press conference detailing some of the work they have done to help animals here in Vermont. Their appearance marked the first time in Vermont History that a non-police dog had been allowed in the Statehouse. Near the end of the day, Bruce and Hobbes got a big surprise when they were invited into the House Chamber, and along with other animal advocates, were recognized by that legislative body for their work on behalf of animals.

Five people, including a baby and a small child, were rescued from Otter Creek last night after the driver attempted to cross-floodwaters. The Pittsford Volunteer Fire Department and other first responders drove through rushing water north of the Gorham Bridge at about 6 PM to reach the people, who were standing on top of the car. No one was injured. You are reminded not to drive through floodwaters.

A televised public forum in advance of a revote on Addison Northwest Supervisory Union unification will be held on May 10th at 7PM at the Vergennes Opera House. It will be a full presentation describing what the school governance change would mean. It will then be broadcast locally on cable channel 17 on Wednesday, May 11, at 1 and 7PM; on Friday, May 13, at 8PM; and on Sunday, May 15, at 3PM. Both Addison and Vergennes residents will revote the issue on May 17th.

An ad hoc committee studying the prospect of upgrading Middlebury Fire Department facilities is close to deciding on a viable option. The Middlebury select-board was updated this week. There appears to be more support for maintaining the current Middlebury and East Middlebury Stations. A possible decision on a new facility slated for Route 7 South could be voted on next Town Meeting day.

Middlebury officials will be searching for a new assistant town manager to take over for Joe Colangelo. He left that post last week to become town administrator in Hinesburg. Officials will first review the assistant town manager’s job description to see if it should be adjusted before it is advertised. It is a job with a focus on municipal budget and human resources issues.

Next month voters in the Bristol Police District will weigh in a proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The budget features a 10.5 percent cut in spending and would require 6.5 percent less money from taxpayers.

This week Middlebury voters voted in favor of affirming a $3 million bond issue to finance various road improvement projects throughout town. The second Australian ballot vote was necessary to affirm a Town Meeting Day vote in favor of the bond. That initial vote was improperly warned and needed ratification. The proposed 20-year, $3 million bond issue is to take care of 17 different road improvement projects.

Town officials exploring the prospect of a new municipal building at the intersection of College and South Main streets will seek a consultant to help them flesh out plans. Due to the fact a new municipal building proposal is likely a few years off, the select-board wants to quickly make some needed energy improvements to the adjacent town gym in anticipation of heating fuel prices that could top $4 per gallon next winter.

Some VTel customers lost phone service Wednesday night because a thief stole some cable. Police say 150 feet of fiber-optic cable was cut from a pole in Shrewsbury. It cut off service to customers in the area. Crews worked overnight to repair it. If you saw anything suspicious near the railroad trestle around 11PM Wednesday call police Vermont State Police (at 802-773-9101).

A Rutland man who helped build a trail system through a city park has been honored with an environmental award. Central Vermont Public Service handed its annual Zetterstrom Award to Michael Smith. CVPS says Smith started the nonprofit that led the city to create Pine Hill Park. And Smith personally did much of the work to build the 16-mile trail system in the park.

Chittenden County Transportation Authority officials say an eleventh-hour agreement has averted a bus driver strike that threatened to disrupt about 9,000 commuters in northwest Vermont. After about 10 hours of talks aided by a federal mediator, representatives of the transit agency and Teamsters Local 597 said late Thursday they had generally agreed on the terms of a new contract and that the threat of a strike today had passed. Both sides agreed on the fundamentals of a 3-year contract retroactive to July 1, but that the language still had to be finalized.

A bill before the Vermont Senate would authorize the state to sell the Asa Bloomer Building in Rutland and the downtown parking deck. The authorization is part of the 52-page capital construction bill passed by the House earlier this month and currently in front of the Senate Committee on Institutions. The bill would also put a handful of historical properties on the auction block, including the Fuller farmhouse at the Hubbardton Battlefield and the Bishop Cabin at Mount Independence.

The Vermont Senate has advanced a bill to push the state beyond allowing people with debilitating illnesses to smoke marijuana, giving patients places to buy it for the first time. By a vote of 25-4 Thursday evening, the Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the establishment of 4 state-licensed dispensaries.

A change in federal requirements for milk spills is expected to help local dairy farmers. The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to exempt dairy farmers from provisions in the Clean Water Act that have required them to develop and implement plans to handle a milk spill the same way oil spills are dealt with. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer had been looking to change the regulations, saying they were designed for toxic substances and big oil companies, not small dairy farms in upstate New York.

A new program offered through the New York Energy Research and Development Authority will provide $25 million over the next five years to promote the production of hot water from solar power. The program provides incentives of up to $4,000 per site for eligible residential customers and up to $25,000 per site for eligible commercial and non-profit customers who use electricity to produce hot water.

Vermont State Police say no charges will be filed in the death of a 2-year-old boy who was accidentally shot at his Lowell home. Police said that another child was playing with the gun in a downstairs bedroom and accidentally shot the boy while his mother was upstairs with three other children. Authorities have concluded that the shooting was an accident and no one in the family will be charged.

The state of Vermont is looking for student applicants to serve on the state education board. Vermont secondary school students who'll graduate in 2013 or later are eligible for the job, which begins July 1 and carries a 2-year term. In the first year, the student is a non-voting member, but in the second, he or she gets to vote along with the eight adult members of the panel. The deadline to apply is May 13th.

Vermont labor department officials are issuing a consumer fraud alert about a telephone scam in which a caller asks for credit card information to pay for the cost of labor law posters. The calls start with a recording but are then patched through to a live person. Vermont isn't making phone calls about labor law posters or any other topic, and that anyone who is approached that way can report it to the state Department of Labor, especially if you get the telephone number where the call originated from in your caller ID.

Burlington Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold has announced his resignation starting July 1st. Leopold notes in his letter that the issues and controversy over Burlington Telecom have overshadowed successes. Leopold was appointed as Burlington’s CAO by Kiss in March of 2006. Prior to that appointment, Leopold served as the City’s treasurer from 1981-1988.

A Vermont teenager who was expecting a local businessperson for his mock job interview got a big surprise when he walked in. His interviewer? Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. Eighteen-year-old Matt Green, of Derby, a business technology student at North Country Career Center in Newport, was 1 of 135 students who needed to pass an interview segment to complete their 2-year programs. Instead of being interviewed by a bank executive, Green had a 10-minute "job" interview with Shumlin, who was at the center for a visit. Shumlin was impressed, saying he'd hire Green if he had a position for him.

Vermont is truly the "Green Mountain State". The annual ranking compiled by Greenopia is out and based on ten criteria. Vermont came out on top, ranked number one, with New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine ranking 8th, 9th and 10th. The founder of Greenopia says Vermonters are the most resource efficient in the nation. The states on the bottom of the list were Kentucky, Wyoming, Indiana, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Vermont Air Guard is going solar. Guard officials, accompanied by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, will break ground Monday on an $8.5 million renewable energy project they say will sharply cut base utility costs.

A federal judge in Vermont is considering granting preliminary approval to the partial settlement of an anti-trust lawsuit in which a national dairy processor would pay northeast dairy farmers $30 million. But the U.S. District Court Judge says she may defer a decision on a portion of the settlement that would require Dean Foods of Dallas to change its milk-buying practices in the region for 30 months.

A Vermont senate committee is preparing for some long hours in the coming days as it aims to get major health care reform legislation ready for debate by the full Senate. The bill under consideration aims to put Vermont on a path leading to a single-payer health care system but the Senate appears likely to insert another round of studies before the state takes that plunge. Senators said they were hoping to have the bill ready for debate by Wednesday but that has now shifted to Thursday.

Workers and managers from Vermont's IBM plant are bringing a fight about health care to the Vermont Statehouse. IBM government affairs Director John O'Kane has been warning about the dangers of a bill aimed at putting the state on a path toward single-payer health care. He says if it ends up imposing costs on business, it could make Vermont's IBM plant less competitive.

Firefighters in the Vermont town of Mount Holly say they don't know what sparked a blaze that destroyed a barn and killed more than 200 animals. The fire in the 70-year-old barn was reported Thursday morning. The owners of the farm haven't decided whether they will rebuild.

FairPoint Communications says it's embarking on effort to support more high-speed wireless services across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. FairPoint said it intends to extend fiber optic cable that will help meet need for bandwidth driven by new applications for smart phones, tablet computers and other wireless devices.

Rutland families will get a taste of what could be this summer. A group from within the Rutland Creative Economy working to create a children’s museum in the city will offer a series of exhibits at the Farmers’ Market and Friday Night Live. The group is working with a $1,000 grant from Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and wants to build a local buzz around the museum concept as members continue to raise funds and search for a permanent location.

New Yorkers can now recycle their old TVs, computers and other electronic gadgets at no charge. It's part of the state's new electronic waste law. The law, which officially took effect April 1, requires manufacturers to take back their products for recycling when customers are done with them. Manufacturers can decide how to accept the take-backs, whether it be in stores, collection events, or mail-back programs.