Sunday, July 31, 2011

WVTK Local & State News August 1, 2011

Vermont State Police say they anticipate “multiple additional charges” against a Middlebury man questioned in connection with an arson fire at a Pittsford car dealership. Steven Browne was arrested Friday for disorderly conduct, violating conditions of release and resisting arrest. As he was being taken to the Rutland jail, he got away from his escort in the jail parking lot and led police and corrections officers on a chase into the East Creek before being recaptured. He was caught driving a silver 2005 Honda Accord stolen from Curtis Auto Sales in Pittsford and trying to cash a check from the business. Police were already investigating a fire, ruled as arson, and accompanying burglary at the dealership, and detectives said they found items taken from the business in the Honda.

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an 11-year-old northern New Hampshire girl who's been missing for five days. An FBI agent said at a Saturday afternoon news conference that the reward would also cover information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for Celina Cass' disappearance. Jane Young of the state attorney general's office says a community member was adding a $5,000 reward.

Divers were searching a pond in northern New Hampshire for any sign of Celina Cass. Divers were sent to Back Pond on Sunday morning. The small pond is less than a mile from Celina Cass' home in Stewartstown, where she lives with her mother and stepfather. Authorities aren't leaving "any stone unturned" in the search for the fifth-grader.

The Vermont State Police are currently investigating a theft from a motor vehicle on Quaker Village Road in Weybridge last Friday. A backpack, several electronic items and other goods where taken from a vehicle at the residence. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks.

Vermont State Police are currently investigating a larceny from a farm on State's Prison Hollow Road in Monkton on Saturday. Approximately 125 feet of #8 Strand Copper Wire from one of the farm's silos was stolen. The owner was unsure of the estimated value of his stolen copper wire. Anyone with information is asked to contact he Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks. (802-388-4919)

Vermont State Police say they are concerned about a rash of copper thefts at Vermont power sub stations. They say sub stations run by 3 of the state's utilities have all been hit by thieves in the past month. It's a problem Vermont State Police say is becoming more prevalent, and putting lives in danger. And it's not just thieves’ lives that are put in danger, but also the workers who run the sub station.

Vermont State police have arrested two men for second-degree homicide in the slaying of a Bellows Falls woman. Police say the two men have links to the woman. Her body was found in Dummerston Friday morning. Police say drug activity is the likely link for Friday's homicide. Police sources place the two men and the homicide victim, Melissa Barratt, together in Dummerston on Thursday. They have yet to release information on the weapon used or which of the two men allegedly fired the shot. The investigation is ongoing.

A violent crime task force in Vermont is making inroads in investigating firearms trafficking networks that link some of North America's biggest cities through Vermont. The eight-man unit, run by the Vermont office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, includes lawmen from ATF, the Vermont State Police, the Addison County sheriff's department and the U.S. Border Patrol. Established four years ago, it added a Border Patrol representative in 2010. The task force has so far identified three U.S.-to-Canada firearms trafficking organizations and that the addition of the Border Patrol has made both agencies more informed about the flow of illegal drugs and firearms.

Vermont's three members of Congress are opposing plans by the U.S. Postal Service to close 3,600 post office branches across the country, including 14 in Vermont. In a letter to Postal Service commissioners, Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter Welch say in rural states like Vermont post offices are often the heart and soul of a town and they must not be closed. The delegation says federal law prohibits the Postal Service from closing post offices just because they lose money.

Vermont's Champlain College has a new dean for its business school. He is Dave Strubler, of South Burlington, who was tapped Friday by college President David F. Finney. Strubler spent 16 years at Kettering University, in Michigan. He's also worked for an international automotive research and development center and a small business education company, also in Michigan.

The Burke Mountain ski resort in northern Vermont has installed a wind turbine it hopes will generate 15 to 20% of the mountain's energy needs. Burke Mountain vice president Tim McGuire said that the 121-foot turbine should be online by the end of August. It's expected to produce a little less than 300,000-kilowatt hours.

The Vermont National Guard has announced plans to conduct live firing exercises at its Ethan Allen Firing Range six nights a week through August until midnight. On Sundays, the firing will run from 10Am to 4PM. The Guard says illumination flares may be fired in conjunction with the nighttime exercises. Live ammunition firing is normally conducted daily at Ethan Allen Firing Range during daylight hours.

The seemingly never-ending story of the Cape Wind project is about to be told in 84 minutes of film. "Cape Spin" is the feature-length documentary about Cape Wind, the nation's first offshore wind farm. The battle over Cape Wind has raged since it was proposed in 2001. But the filmmakers say they aimed to separate fact from distortion and let viewers make their own decisions. The film is ready to premiere later this year.

A Ticonderoga man faces felony charges after an investigation revealed he defrauded the Essex County Department of Social Services. The county's Fraud Investigation Unit and the Ticonderoga Police Department arrested 39-year-old Andre Lisee last week. Investigators allege that he submitted an application for public assistance that contained false information. In return, he received almost $4,200 in benefit payments to which he was not entitled. He was issued a criminal summons and is scheduled to appear in Court on August 11th.

Hundreds of bikers turned out to help raise money for families who have loved ones serving overseas on Sunday. More than 200 people took part in the 7th annual Ride for the Guard. The bikers took off Sunday morning from the VFW in Essex Junction. The event collects money for the Vermont Military Assistance Fund. Over the seven years they've raised more than $50,000 dollars. Organizers say they believe it's successful because of the amount of people who serve from the Green Mountain State.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is launching its annual online wild turkey brood survey, and it's asking for input from the public. Director of Wildlife Mark Scott says if you see wild turkeys this month, you can help by reporting your sightings in the survey online. The turkey brood survey will be on the department's website.

Friday, July 29, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 29, 2011

Dozens of investigators from a variety of state and federal agencies are working out of the school in the northern New Hampshire community of Stewartstown in their efforts to find a missing 11-year-old girl. Police went door-to-door in Stewartstown yesterday asking residents for any information they might have about the disappearance of Celina Cass and townspeople are continuing to pass out flyers with pictures of the girl who was last seen when she went to bed Monday night. Police have said that there's no indication she ran away and there were no signs of a struggle.

A truck rolled onto its roof near Route 7 in Charlotte yesterday afternoon. Around 2:40PM multiple fire departments arrived at the scene along with State Police. Police say only the driver was in the truck. The driver went up a driveway off of Rt. 7, lost control of his truck and rolled down an embankment. Route 7 southbound was down to one lane while they removed the truck from the side of the road. The driver was taken to Fletcher Allen Hospital for precautionary reasons.

This year's flooding events have seen clear signs of stream erosion from Lewis Creek and the New Haven River to the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake Bomoseen. Vermont Organics Nursery's Streambank Restoration Program is helping to restore and stabilize areas affected by flooding. Damaged areas are repaired, and land is stabilized against further damage and soil erosion using eco-friendly materials. Homeowners with stream problems in Addison and Rutland counties can tap the expertise of the Streambank Restoration Program by calling Vermont Organics Nursery. (802-528-8512)

The Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department’s plan to upgrade its two fire stations received some good news this week. The town’s development review board OK’d the plan and the select-board set September 27th as the first of two community-wide votes on the project. If ultimately approved by voters on Town Meeting Day, the project would add 8,100 square feet of space onto the southern end of the Seymour Street fire station and demolition of the East Middlebury station, which would be replaced by a basic, 2,000-square-foot, wood-framed building.

Patricia J. Hannaford Career Center teachers will return to work this fall with a new, three-year contract that requires them to pay a greater proportion of their health care premiums but assures them some modest wage increases. The full Career Center board formally ratified the agreement on July 20th and by the 22 teachers back in June. The 13 career and technical education programs at the center draws students from the 17 towns in the Addison Central, Addison Northeast and Addison Northwest supervisory unions.

The Ticonderoga and Crown Point school districts have agreed to consider a possible merger. The two school boards have asked the Department of State for an application for grant money to conduct a study of the issue. Nothing other than grant funding for a study has been discussed at this point. If grant funding for a study is secured, the study will review the tax base, programs, enrollment, transportation, number of employees and other aspects of each district. It could take a year to complete.

The Rev. Elisabeth Smith’s lengthy career has taken her to churches stretching from South Carolina to Massachusetts. She is now the new pastor at the Middlebury United Methodist Church. Smith officially began her new duties July 3rd. She replaces the Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, who recently took over leadership of the Lebanon, NH United Methodist Church after eight years in Middlebury.

Downtown Bristol has been a state Designated Downtown district since 2006. Every five years, the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership is required to apply for a renewal of the town’s designation. At the beginning of the week Bristol Town Administrator Bill Bryant and Carol Wells, director of the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership and a select-board member, made the trek to Montpelier to apply for Bristol’s downtown title in person.

Addison County firefighters hosted the 2011 Vermont State Firefighters Association annual convention last weekend and took a majority of statewide awards this year. Five area firefighters, three from Bristol and two from Middlebury, received awards at the VSFA’s annual awards ceremony which was held at the Middlebury American Legion Hall on Saturday.

13 Vermont teens took part in a special 4-H program known as Citizenship Washington Focus a few weeks ago. For many it marked the first visit to the nation's capital. And aside from first seeing the many visual wonders of the capital it was a unique opportunity to study the workings of the United States federal government up close. The July visit to Washington, sponsored by the University of Vermont Extension, opened a door for teens on the political process and the responsibilities of informed citizenship. The following 4-H delegates from Addison County took part in this year's CWF program: Jonas Hastings, Bridport; Elizabeth Hill, Bristol; Rachel Howlett, Bridport; Kelli Jerome, Leicester.

From July 11th through July 15th, Vermont State Police officials worked closely with key members of the Iraqi federal police force in a series of classroom and field training activities in Vermont. The VSP and Iraqi law enforcement officials also worked closely with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Education program to make this local educational effort a reality. The over-arching program provides Iraqi police officers with an opportunity to acquire enhanced professional skills.

Vermont State Police are seeking information leading to the arrest of people responsible for growing 95 marijuana plants authorities cut down in Mount Holly. Police say the plants taken in Thursday's roundup were growing in several plots with several plants each, and that the plants had an estimated street value of $285,000. Anyone with information is being asked to call the State Police in Rutland. (802-773-9101)

Senator Bernie Sanders is hailing an agreement to be announced between the Obama administration and U.S. automakers that will increase the average fuel economy of American cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Sanders calls it a huge step forward for saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He says it will also help generate new jobs.

There were some scary moments yesterday in the eastern Vermont town of Newbury when a propane truck rolled over. The driver of the truck told authorities he was trying to avoid a deer. He wasn't injured, and none of the highly flammable propane fuel leaked from the vehicle's tank.

A Vermont-based manufacturer of protective military eyewear is expanding into helmets. Essex Junction-based Revision's Soldier Systems division has won a $2 million, 3-year contract to support the design, development and demonstration of the U.S. Army's next-generation head protection gear.

The state of Vermont won't issue the environmental permits Green Mountain Power needs to start work on the Lowell Mountain wind project in time to begin construction next week. GMP had hoped to begin work August 1st so the 21 turbines in the project can be operating by the end of next year. The area where the turbines will be installed includes small streams that could be filled in or altered by road building and construction and the Agency of Natural Resources is still reviewing GMP's request for a water quality permit.

Hiking the nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail already is grueling, and the U.S. Postal Service may make it even tougher. A plan to close rural post offices could shutter several outposts long used by hikers to receive food and gear as they walk the trail from Georgia to Maine. No final decisions on the closures have been made. Mike Healy is a 26-year-old Chicago resident currently hiking the trail. He said that post offices are a lifeline.

Gov. Peter Shumlin toured Vermont Wood Pellet's factory in Clarendon yesterday. Shumlin says smaller facilities like Vermont Wood Pellet have seen success on the biomass front. It's the larger-scale companies that have more problems to power through. Not only do the large-scale plants have more problems to work through, they're also more expensive. The Green Mountain College plant cost $5.8 million to build and won't be paid off for at least 18 years. The plant in Middlebury cost more than double that at $12 million. Officials say they expect it will take at least 20 years for the plant to turn a profit.

Last week, Citizens Bank began collecting new school supplies for its Gear for Grades initiative, which is an effort to help local children go back to school with the gear they need to learn. New pencils, folders, glue, notebooks and other supplies can be donated at any Citizens Bank branch in Middlebury and elsewhere through August 6th.

An educational program held at Fort Ticonderoga in July is being credited with infusing $100,000 into the town's economy. According to For Ti Executive Director Beth Hill, An estimated $100,000 of the total $160,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant received by Fort Ticonderoga this year will be injected into the local economy. Fort Ticonderoga hosted two weeklong workshops for teachers. The teachers stayed in local hotels, ate in local restaurants and shopped in local stores.

Lori Kelly-Bailey, co-producer and director of the film "Mineville," brought her movie to Moriah Central School July 17th to raise money for the school's women's choir, which is raising money to visit Disney World in Orlando. The choir has been selected to perform next year as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program. It was the third screening of "Mineville" at the school. Students earned $4 for each movie ticket sold. They also sold baked goods and popcorn. The Moriah choir must raise about $28,000 to cover the costs of the trip. Other fund raising events are being planned. The choir will also accept donations. Donations can be sent to Moriah Central School.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 28, 2011

On Route 22 in Willsboro roadwork has restricted traffic to a single lane moving in alternating directions from the Willsboro/Essex line to the Chesterfield/Willsboro line. Work will continue there until further notice. Meanwhile, crews will be performing pothole patching throughout Essex County. Flaggers in construction areas will control traffic.

Vermont State Police were dispatched earlier this week to Quiet Lane in the Town of Salisbury located at Kampersville Camp Ground for a reported theft from a motor vehicle. $100 cash was taken from inside the vehicle along with a Rockford Fosgate stereo system with an Amp valued at approximately $450. Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Haven State Police Barracks. (802) 388-4919

Lt. Governor Phil Scott continued his "Vermont Everyday Jobs" tour at the GE Aviation plant in Rutland this week, where he gained hands-on experience with a mix of classic and cutting-edge technology, as well as a startling appreciation of the energy needs of Vermont's manufacturers. He started the day in a parts production cell for the CF34-10 engine, used in regional passenger jets. The Lt. Governor started his "Vermont Everyday Jobs" initiative to promote Vermont businesses and highlight the hard work that Vermonters do every day in all areas of our economy.

Vermont State Police received a complaint of a Burglary located on the Lincoln Gap Road in Lincoln on July 7th. The owner of the residence advised that a Cannondale Bike color Orange and Yellow was stolen along with approximately 150 CD's and $150 worth of loose change. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the New Haven State Police Barracks. (802) 388-4919

Almost $3 million in federal disaster assistance money is on its way to Vermont homeowners and business affected by spring flooding. The grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency includes $1.9 million in housing assistance, $863,000 in small business loans and $95,000 for other needs such as replacement of personal property.

Police said they found a knife that could have been used to stab 54-year-old Ralph Bell. Vermont State Police divers found the knife in the Winooski River Tuesday morning. It was under the Blue Bridge, a rail bridge off of Intervale Road in Burlington. Burlington Police said the knife has been sent for forensic examination to look for fingerprints and DNA. Police will likely look for the DNA of 25-year-old Daniel Whalon who is being held for Bell's death.

Police in Chittenden County are warning the public about a high-risk sex offender just released from custody. 33-Year-Old Patrick Sinclair has multiple convictions for lewd and lascivious conduct for exposing himself in public dating back to 1997. He maxed out his most recent conviction and was released from prison without completing sex offender treatment. The corrections department lists Sinclair as a high-risk offender. Police say he has no listed residence and may be living in the Chittenden County area.

The faculty union at the University of Vermont says it's "profoundly disappointed" by the size of the compensation package given to outgoing President Daniel Fogel. United Academics, which represents 800 full and part-time faculty at UVM, says the school's Board of Trustees should be "ashamed and embarrassed" to pay Fogel $27,000 a month, plus additional benefits after he leaves office.

Governor Peter Shumlin says he disagrees with Senator Bernie Sanders' call for someone to challenge President Obama from the left in next year's Democratic primaries. The first-term governor calls Obama "the smartest person I've ever met." He says the president is doing a great job and Democrats and progressives should work to get him re-elected.

Governor Peter Shumlin is now criticizing outgoing University of Vermont President Daniel Fogel's compensation package. Shumlin says he thinks Fogel's pay package is more suited to corporate America than academia. United Academics says the school's Board of Trustees should be "ashamed and embarrassed" to pay Fogel $27,000 a month after he leaves office.

Thirteen years after opening its doors to homeless men, who served in the armed forces, the Dodge House in Rutland is preparing to offer the same shelter for women. On August 10th a two-bed home for female veterans will open right next door to the five-bed shelter that has served for years as both home and support for male veterans coping with psychological and substance abuse issues after their military careers ended. The Dodge House works with other agencies that refer homeless veterans to the shelter.

The head of the Vermont Democratic Party is resigning to take a new job. Judy Bevans says she is going to work at Sterling College in Craftsbury next month and will not be able to serve out the remainder of her term. After Bevans leaves, Jake Perkinson will serve as acting chair.

The FBI has joined the search for an 11-year-old girl missing from her New Hampshire house just a mile from the Canadian border. Celina Cass was last seen in her Stewartstown house working at a computer at around 9PM Monday and was gone the next morning. Police say there's no indication that she ran away or that someone took her from her home in the community. They say there are no signs of a struggle. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young says the FBI has joined the case because it's an investigation into a missing child. She says authorities are still desperately looking for the girl.

As Republicans and Democrats bicker in Washington about raising the debt ceiling, Gov. Peter Shumlin thinks Vermont will be OK if the U.S. government defaults. Shumlin said yesterday in his weekly press conference that if the U.S. partially defaults or is not able to pay its bills, Vermont's state obligations wouldn’t be affected. Shumlin also said Vermont is still in good fiscal shape compared to other states.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says the state has had success in promoting renewable energy and efficiency projects, thanks to $32 million in federal stimulus funding. He and Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Energy had recently conducted a routine review of the state's use of the money and given Vermont high marks.

A signal sent from an iPhone brought the last of 382 solar trackers into position perpendicular with the sun and marked the commissioning of what developers say is the largest solar installation in Vermont and the largest installation of its kind in North America. The project, unveiled Wednesday uses 382 AllSun Trackers produced by Williston-based AllEarth Renewables. The pole-mounted trackers use global positioning systems and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day, producing more than 40% more energy than fixed solar.

405 people now have permits to hunt moose in Vermont. The drawing was held Wednesday morning in Montpelier. State leaders say more than 8,780 Vermonters applied, 2,600 from out of state. There was also a drawing for 50 archery season permits.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has reported a third quarter net income of $56.3 million, or 37 cents a share, an increase of more than 200 percent from the same quarter last year. Net sales for the third quarter increased 127 percent to $717.2 million. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters President and CEO Lawrence Blanford said that fiscal third quarter results were driven by strong consumer demand for the company's Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system as well as from its first-ever spring advertising and brand support programs, designed to raise awareness of the Keurig system.

There is some mixed news about invasive bugs in Vermont, the search for one devastating pest turned up another. The state has set over 2,000 traps looking for the emerald ash borer. The bugs have devastated ash trees in other parts of the country. Fortunately, no borers have been found so far. But the bad news is another bug was discovered, an infestation of subterranean termites. They nest underground below the frost line, so they can survive the winter cold. The termites are now feeding on timber.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles officially opened its new location in South Burlington yesterday. The DMV decided to move out of Burlington after a nearby development project at the North Avenue site caused disruptions and created dust, degrading air quality at the old facility. Officials say the new location across from the University Mall offers more natural light, better access and a covered parking garage.

New York ambulances can now use rear-projecting blue lights in an effort to make them more visible to oncoming motorists and therefore safer. The measure passed by the Legislature and signed this month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives ambulances the same option as fire and police vehicles for one or more blue lights in combination with red and white lights displayed for rear projection.

Local bands and locally prepared ethnic treats will be served up this weekend in downtown Rutland. This week’s Friday Night Live will be mixed up with international delights served by area restaurants. On Friday and Saturday, Center Street and a portion of Merchants Row in Rutland will be closed to traffic and transformed into a large, open-air marketplace. About 86 vendors are expected. The event is rain or shine and admission is free.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 27, 2011

Vermont State Police say a body pulled from Lake Champlain has been positively identified as Rene Viau of Ferrisburgh. He disappeared after the boat he was in went out of control after being rocked by the wakes of other boats. Police say he was standing in the front of the boat without a life jacket when he fell overboard. Police say their investigation continues.

New Hampshire State Police are seeking the public's help in finding a missing 11-year-old Stewartstown girl. Authorities say Celina Cass was last seen at her home in the northern New Hampshire community on Monday at about 9PM. She's described, as being 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs about 95 pounds, has hazel eyes and waste-length brown hair. She was last seen wearing: pink shirt, pink pullover, blue shorts and shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call the New Hampshire State Police. (603-846-3333)

The U.S. Postal Service is studying more than a dozen outlets in Vermont for possible closure or conversion. According to a release from the service 3,700 retail offices nationwide are under consideration for closure. The post offices under consideration are in rural areas and make less than $20,000 in revenue per year, according to the U.S. Postal Service. The following Vermont post offices are included in the study for possible closure: Beecher Falls, Cambridgeport, East Ryegate, Florence, Gilman, Granville, Highgate Springs, Lyman, McIndoe Falls, North Thetford, Rupert, Stockbridge, Websterville and West Newbury.

A Ticonderoga man was injured when he pulled into the path of a worker maintenance train Monday afternoon on Kirby Point Road. The Ticonderoga Police Department said Keith Dolbeck was eastbound when he pulled into the crossing around 2:40PM. The train hit his pickup truck on the passenger side. He was transported to Moses Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga and then airlifted to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Police said he was in stable condition as of Monday night. Ticonderoga police and Canadian Pacific Railway Police are still investigating.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he knew there were doubters in the audience he addressed at universal health care forum in Rutland on Monday. But he said Vermont has nothing to lose and more than healthy living to gain if a plan to implement the first single-payer system in the union came to pass and he asked doubters of the initiative to help find solutions rather than just pointing out flaws.

Frank Miglorie, the state’s longest-serving college president, will be leaving the College of St. Joseph in Rutland this year after 28 years in the top administrative post. He said that after 41 years at the private, Catholic college as a professor then president it’s time for a change. He said he’s taking a sabbatical then will jump back into higher education part-time. His plan is to move out of the area and away from the winter seasons, selling his house in Rutland Town. The college will launch a national search for a new president by the end of June 2012.

The Castleton municipal offices will be closed Thursday and Friday during the temporary relocation of the offices to Castleton State College. The town hall offices will reopen at the temporary location at Castleton State College’s Old Chapel on Seminary Street on August 1st. The phone numbers will not change. The Castleton Police Department will be relocated to the Fair Haven municipal offices on North Park Place.

Vermont's attorney general is cracking down on landlords whose rental housing isn't in compliance with the state's lead law. William Sorrell said his office has sent letters to 14 Rutland landlords as part of a statewide effort to reduce exposure to lead hazards in Vermont's rental housing. Each has three months to bring his or her property into compliance. Vermont's lead law requires landlords of buildings dating to before 1978 to do annual maintenance, including repairing peeling paint and cleaning common spaces.

A long-idled cheese plant is re-opening for business, providing a major outlet for struggling dairy farmers across northern Vermont and New York. Swan Valley Cheese Company of New Jersey announced yesterday it is ready to reopen the former Lucille and VIA cheese plant in the town's industrial park. Gov. Peter Shumlin joined the Swan Valley CEO to cut the ribbon on the remodeled plant. The plant is expected to process up to a half million pounds of fresh milk daily in the coming weeks.

A hotly debated road construction project through the northeastern Vermont town of Danville resumes this week, nearly two weeks after state officials called a halt to it. That unusual action was taken so state transportation officials could work with contractors to come up with a better traffic management plan for the busy U.S. Route 2 corridor. The Agency of Transportation is promising periodic meetings with area residents to hear any concerns.

Members of the Vermont Electric Cooperative are voting on a controversial $12 million transmission line upgrade proposed in the Northeast Kingdom. More than 33,000 members of the cooperative are eligible to vote on the transmission upgrade, and most are doing so by mail-in ballots.

Authorities say dozens of malnourished dogs were found at a woman's home in Vermont. Of the 68 dogs found at the Bakersfield home of Karen Maple, 54 were taken to shelters because they lacked adequate food or water or proper sanitation or needed medical attention. The rest were deemed healthy. A pony and some cats were also examined but not seized. State police say that shortly after troopers came to her house, she became unmanageable and had to be physically removed from her home. She kicked a trooper in the process. Maple is being held on charges of cruelty to animals, disorderly conduct, simple assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Bail has not been determined.

A Vermont high school is putting an end to the pajama party. The revised dress code at Bennington's Mount Anthony Union High School now prohibits pajamas and slippers. The Associate Principal tells The Bennington Banner too many students were coming to school wearing nightclothes. He says the slippers are a safety hazard.

The Northern Border Regional Commission has announced a new round of funding for economically strapped Canadian border regions of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The commission plans August 1st to begin accepting applications for the money and to announce how it will award the $1.25 million available by September 30th.

A panel established by Vermont lawmakers to take a critical look at the exemptions contained in the state's public records law is having its first meeting. The state Public Records Legislative Study Committee, which consists of 6 lawmakers, is holding its inaugural meeting today in Montpelier. The meeting included representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Vermont State Employees Association and the Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services.

Community supported agriculture has been growing in Vermont and elsewhere, and now the state's two U.S. senators are hoping to give it a boost from Washington. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would set up a new competitive grant program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote CSA farms, in which consumers buy direct from farmers, paying part of the cost of what they get at the beginning of the growing season. They say Vermont has been a leader in the CSA movement.

Vermont tops the nation when it comes to underage drinking. That's according to a new survey being released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report is based upon data collected in 2008 and 2009. More than 36 percent of 12-to-20-year-olds admitted drinking alcohol in the month the survey was conducted. Vermont teens are also near the top of the list for marijuana usage. Nearly 11 percent of Vermont teens admitted using the drug. The only state with a higher teen marijuana usage is Alaska.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law creating a statewide alert system for Alzheimer's patients and other vulnerable adults who wander off and get lost. The system is similar to the nationwide Amber Alert program for missing children. It will use the same mechanism to provide rapid public notification regarding missing adults who suffer from dementia or cognitive impairments that put them at risk.

The 17th annual Addison County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Golf Tournament was held June 24th at Basin Harbor Club. The Chamber hosts the annual tournament to raise money that funds a $4,000 scholarship, which is awarded to a graduating senior from the Hannaford Career Center. This year's scholarship recipient is Lauren Peck who will be attending Keene State College this fall and majoring in sports management. She has been very involved in athletics at school, participating in field hockey and dance team.

The Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership says that Streetfest continues to grow this year. The event, which features arts and crafts, shopping, food, entertainment and family activities, will be held in downtown Ticonderoga on Saturday. Montcalm Street will be converted into a pedestrian mall open to the public from 10AM to 3PM. More than two dozen crafters and vendors and 23 local merchants have signed up to participate. Should the weather not cooperate, the event will be held Sunday.

You may want to dig up any old lottery tickets you might have lying around. Vermont Lottery officials say there are three winning tickets still out there. One is a $10,000 Powerball winner sold at the Price Chopper in Bennington for the draw on June 1st. The second winner was for the June 17th Mega Millions drawing. A ticket sold at Shaw's in Williston is worth $10,000. The third unclaimed ticket is for the Megabucks Plus. A ticket purchased almost a year ago at the Hannaford in St. Albans is worth $30,000.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 26, 2011

A portion of Route 7 (North Pleasant Street) here in Middlebury will be closed today to all southbound traffic. The southbound traffic will be rerouted via Exchange & Seymour Streets. Northbound traffic will be permitted. This is due to the Stewart Lane Infrastructure Project.

State Police will continue to search for the body of Rene Viau using two cadaver dogs today. Police cut the search short Monday after rain caused poor visibility for State Police divers. Police said he fell off of a boat on Lake Champlain near Ferrisburgh, Saturday, and did not resurface. They believe that the wakes made by two passing boats may have caused his boat to pitch, sending him overboard.

The Addison County Chamber Of Commerce is reminding you that individual and family disaster aid is available to Vermont residents who experienced damage from the flooding that occurred from April 23rd to May 9th in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans counties. The final date to apply for both FEMA grants and U.S. Small Business Administration loans is August 15th. You can register online or over the phone. Just visit or call 800-621-FEMA. (3362)

There was a bit of a jolt for bank employees in Middlebury yesterday afternoon. A car drove across the parking lot at the People's United Bank and went the wrong way through the drive in, crashing into the side of the bank. Police described the driver as an elderly man who may have suffered a medical event just before the crash. People working inside the bank said the crash sounded like a large chunk of snow or ice falling off the roof. And they were shocked to see the car wedged between the flagpole and the bank.

Construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge connecting West Addison, and Crown Point has been moving forward this summer. The bridge's signature archway is now assembled and appears ready to be moved to the site of the new bridge. The 1.8 million pound arch will be floated down the lake to the bridge site where it will be raised. All of the steel at the bridge site is up and waiting. The bridge contractor, Flatiron, has begun pouring the concrete decks. Meanwhile a huge Grand Reopening Celebration continues to be planned for October 15th & 16th. Learn how you can be part of history at

The Vermont State Police are currently investigating multiple Unlawful Mischief complainants from the Orwell area that occurred sometime between the night of July 24th and the morning of the 25th. Witnesses state that a small vehicle had been travelling around destroying mailboxes and planters by the roadside. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks. (802) 388-4919

Two Rutland teens have been charged with breaking into the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor and making off with $10,000 worth of sculptures and a flat-screen television on May 18th. 18-year-old Michael E. Farrell and his 17-year-old friend were charged recently with felony counts of burglary and receiving stolen property. They are scheduled to appear in Rutland criminal court for arraignment on September 19th.

The Willsboro Central School Board will meet at 6 this evening in the conference room. Agenda items include personnel and business and finance. The meeting is open to all.

The next regular meeting of the Moriah Central School Board is at 6PM Wednesday, August 3rd, in the High-School library. This session had originally been scheduled for August 16th but is taking place earlier because of the need to hire staff for the upcoming school year. Regular business will be on the agenda, as well, along with an update on the capital project. Following the meeting, an executive session will be called for personnel discussions and hiring.

Seven months after a fire struck Hubbard Hall in Elizabethtown, the building is being demolished. It was one of Elizabethtown’s oldest and best known structures, having served at one time as a hospital and later as a college, but was severely damaged in a fire last January that displaced a number of local businesses. The cause of the fire has still not been determined.

Implementing New York State's new 2-percent property-tax cap could cost Essex County most of its projected $13 million fund balance next year. Under the tax cap, Essex County is allowed to raise only $147,000 more in taxes next year. The current tax levy barely covers the cost of state-mandated programs. And contractual increases in wages, health insurance and State Retirement Fund contributions already on the table total $3.4 million for 2012.

Bulwagga Books and Gallery in Whiting is closing its doors after 15 years in business. However it won’t be the end of Bulwagga Books as the owners will relocate to a new house in Middlebury and reopen as a smaller, appointment-only shop. But the closing marks the end of a long run that established Bulwagga Books as both a destination for book collectors and a unique stopping point on Route 30 in Whiting.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for three Vermont counties hard-hit by spring flooding. Washington, Orange and Essex counties will get flood relief under the announcement made Monday by Gov. Peter Shumlin and the state's three-member congressional delegation. Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon says the inclusion of Orange County in the declaration is key to covering damage to the reservoir that serves the city's water system.

The owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant says it will refuel the plant this fall despite uncertainty about whether it will be able to operate beyond March, when its current operating license expires. Entergy and the state of Vermont are fighting over whether the plant will operate beyond March. Vermont Yankee officials had said they were unsure if they would order $60 million worth of nuclear fuel unless they knew the plant would continue operating.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell says he wasn't surprised that the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power decided to spend $60 million to refuel without knowing if the plant will be able to operate past March. Sorrell says New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has annual revenues of about $11 billion. Vermont Law School Professor Cheryl Hannah says Entergy made a business decision.

A Burlington man charged with killing a man whose body was found under a railroad bridge will be held without bail while a competency evaluation is done at the Vermont State Hospital. Daniel Whalon, did not enter a plea when he appeared in court yesterday to answer a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Ralph Bell of Burlington.

A long-time faculty member of the University of Vermont who spent the last four years leading a Vermont foundation is going to become UVM's interim president. On August 1st John Bramley will become interim president, taking the reins from Dan Fogel who is leaving office 11 months earlier than he had planned. The UVM board of trustees is planning to choose a permanent president by next spring. From 2007 to 2011 Bramley was the president and CEO of the Windham Foundation, the largest private foundation registered in Vermont.

State utility regulators want to give low-income Vermonters a break on their electric bills. The Public Service Board says customers of the state's two largest utilities should help subsidize a new program. With the Public Service Board order, Vermont joins other states in the Northeast in establishing a special low-income electricity support program. The PSB said there was a clear need. The board noted that in 2009, about 11,900 customers had their power shut off because they couldn't pay their bills. All other ratepayers, including residential and commercial customers, would fund the program.

Vermont's attorney general says the state will be getting $10,000 as part of a settlement of complaints against a Salt Lake City-based company that imported drinking glasses that had high levels of lead in them. The settlement is with Vandor, LLC and covers drinking glasses that carried illustrations of Elvis Presley and the movie "Gone With the Wind."

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has expanded funding for programs for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. In accordance with the New York State Legislature's passage of the Green Jobs-Green New York Act, they will make funding available to help those entities save energy and reduce energy expenses. The move is also expected to create green jobs in the state.

The Second annual Ferrisburgh Day is coming up this Saturday. Events run from 9AM – 5PM. From 10 – 4 Rokeby will open its walking trails to Ferrisburgh residents, and offer free admission to town residents to its 11AM, 12:30 and 2PM house tours. At the same time the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will offer free admission to town residents. From 10 – 2 the central school will offer tours of its student gardens and composting programs, with lunch served from Noon to 1. Other events include slide presentations at the Grange Hall, Fire Department displays with Children’s activities and even the Historical Society will host an open house offering samples from recipes based on the 1912 Ferrisburgh Social Club Cookbook. For a complete list of events just click HERE.

Monday, July 25, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 25, 2011

Police say a man is dead after his boat lost control and tossed him overboard Saturday night into Lake Champlain. Police say 46-year-old Rene Viau of Ferrisburgh did not resurface. Crews searched the area of Kellogg Bay and Porter Bay until it got dark Saturday night. A New York State Helicopter was called in to aid in the search. The Vermont State Police Scuba Team was out on the lake Sunday into the afternoon to look for his body. Police say it is now a recovery mission. They also say he was not wearing a life jacked. They also say alcohol was not a factor in the accident. The search continues today.

A Burlington man has been arrested in the death of a man whose body was found under a railroad bridge. Daniel Whalon, of Burlington, has been charged with fatally stabbing Ralph Bell. Whalon, who's charged with murder, is expected to be arraigned today in Chittenden Superior Court. Police say he has a criminal record dating to 2002 that involves property crimes, fraud and misdemeanor assault.

Vermont State Police are currently investigating the report of a vandalism incident to a motor vehicle in the town of Starksboro. The report says that someone smashed out the front window of his 1998 Nissan Frontier. The approximate value of the damage is $300.00. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks. (1-802-388-4919)

Gov. Peter Shumlin will take part today in a forum designed to answer questions about the state’s efforts to implement a first-of-its-kind state-run universal health care system. At a forum hosted by the Rutland-Addison Central Labor Council, Shumlin will talk about the bill he signed during the last session that outlines a number of steps the state will undertake to create the new system dubbed Green Mountain Care. He is just one of several speakers who will lead a discussion panel from 5:30 to 7PM today at the Rutland Intermediate School auditorium.

Seven properties in Wallingford may be put on the block in an effort to collect delinquent property taxes of $92,800. Delinquent tax collector Lee Perry notified the Wallingford Select Board last week he would be sending information on the properties to an attorney in an effort to set the tax sales in motion. All seven accounts are more than two years past due and the property owners are not making any efforts to resolve the delinquencies.

The slopes are bare but the state’s ski areas are focused on laying the groundwork for the 2011-12 season by investing tens of millions of dollars in capital improvements. Those improvements range from new amenities including a restaurant atop Killington Peak and hotel and Water Park at Jay Peak to more mundane items like energy-efficient snow guns and computers. Despite the high-risk nature of the business, the Vermont Ski Areas Association President said resorts continue to invest heavily in improvements.

Construction could resume soon on a $6.6 million Vermont road project that was halted suddenly because of traffic snarls and complaints by motorists and businesses. The Route 2 improvement project in Danville entails rebuilding the road and village green along with relocating utilities. It was halted July 14th.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says Vermont will receive $2 million in federal funds to help redevelop polluted former industrial sites, known as brownfields. Shumlin says the projects have led to the creation of jobs, new housing and more green space.

Vermont state officials had planned to pull the plug on water coolers and bottled water deliveries in state offices and buildings this month but now are reconsidering amid a wave of complaints from state workers. Officials say bottled water is a waste of taxpayer money and Vermont could save up to $200,000 a year by having workers use fountains and tap water instead. But many workers complained that the tap water in their buildings is dirty and that they'll have no way to get clean drinking water if the state stops buying bottled water for them. The policy was to take effect July 1st.

A woman was taken to the hospital after being struck by a personal watercraft while she was on an inflatable tube in Lake Champlain in Colchester. Elizabeth Fish of St. George was on the tube at about 6:30PM Saturday when she was struck by a SeaDoo operated by Newton of Colchester. Newton told police he lost control of the SeaDoo as he was turning close to Fish's tube. Fish was taken to Fletcher-Allen Health Care in Colchester. Police are investigating.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Department is investigating a shooting in West Swanton. The incident happened around 11:30 Saturday night on Route 78. Deputies cordoned off a dark colored sedan, with multiple bullet holes visible. According to detectives, a shooting did take place and one person was transported to the hospital. The extent of the injuries is unknown. The incident is still under investigation.

With Vermont Yankee set to close its doors next year, a number of Vermonters came out to get educated on how nuclear power works. The Vermont nuclear power conference took place Saturday at the University of Vermont. People got the chance to learn how atoms are spilt, but also ways to get involved in the fight to explore new energy options without using Vermont Yankee. Organizers say they hope to hold more events like this in other parts of the Green Mountain State.

Vermont's unemployment crept up slightly in June, for the second month in a row. The state Department of Labor says the rate rose to 5.5% - an increase of one-tenth of a percent - but that it's still well below the national jobless rate of 9.2%. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says Vermont employers are adding jobs but that there has still been a decline in total employment and labor force.

Kids on bikes may soon start getting tickets from Ticonderoga Police. Ice cream tickets, that is, for cold treats at Stewart's Shops. Ticonderoga Patrolman Randy Bevins came up with the idea to reward children he sees on the roads and trails wearing helmets and otherwise following bicycle safety rules. He contacted the Stewart's Shops corporate headquarters and was given 100 tickets to start.

Community groups are working hard to regenerate downtowns in Port Henry and Ticonderoga with bright colors and art. By the end of this summer, colorful murals will adorn many storefronts in Port Henry. More than 10 downtown Ticonderoga businesses will have renovated their facades using state grant money. Moriah Community Economic Development Group has also been working to help the area.

The town of Derby wants a dog park, and is in the running in a national competition to get it. The PetSafe Company, which handles pet training, fences and other items is running the PetSafe Bark For Your Park competition, which relies on Internet votes for cities. Out of five hundred towns, Derby came in 5th, and was the only city in the Northeast to make it to the 15 finalists. The winning city gets 100-thousand dollars to build a dog park. If you'd like to cast a vote for Derby, go to The contest ends August 3rd.

After a wet spring, officials say the state’s summer tourism industry is thriving. Steve Cook, deputy commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing, said stable gas prices and nice weekend weather can be credited for the strong presence of visitors in the state so far this season. He also pointed to state parks, which have had a good turnout for overnight camping, by both Vermonters and out-of-state visitors, and he is elated by the number of campsite reservations already for August.

Burlington's downtown will come alive with street performers from around the world during the city's annual Festival of Fools. Organizers say the event on August 5th – 7th is a festival of street theater that celebrates circus arts, music and comedy for family audiences. Four main stages downtown will feature continuous street theater.

Friday, July 22, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 22, 2011

A Middlebury man was killed in a two-vehicle accident Wednesday morning in Alabama. 39-year-old Adam Myers of Middlebury was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. His wife, Caitlin, and his children, ages 2 and 4 were transported by ambulance to the Hospital.

If you own property in Ferrisburgh, Vergennes or Addison you will see your property tax bills go down this year, thanks largely due to lower school rates. Homeowners are due to get bills with decreases ranging from about 4.7 cents in Ferrisburgh to 9.1 cents in Addison. Non-residential taxpayers in those three communities are also looking at lower tax bills, with decreases ranging from 1.5 cents in Vergennes to 6.3 cents in Addison.

Middlebury College has named James R. Keyes vice president for college advancement. He will be responsible for managing fundraising and alumni operations of all of Middlebury's entities: the undergraduate college, the Language Schools, the Schools Abroad, the Bread Loaf programs, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is a 1971 Middlebury Graduate. He is also the former president of Citizens Bank of Vermont and First Vermont Bank.

The Addison County Community Trust has reached a deal to buy the now-vacant, 14-unit Gevry Trailer Park in Waltham. It is located on the Vergennes city line and is a property the nonprofit agency hopes to use for affordable or senior housing.

There is good news for some broadband users in Addison County. Over the next three years more than 400 Addison County homes, businesses and schools connected to the Internet via Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom will enjoy increased Internet speeds as the company expands its fiber optic network.

Yesterday, FairPoint Communications announced new broadband Internet access for 20,000 Vermont customers. The effort is part of a 3-year; $71 million plan to reach communities around the state. Gov. Peter Shumlin is praising the progress. He says expanding access is key to making sure Vermont's economy moves forward. In the last seven months FairPoint installed 300 new broadband stations and put down nearly 1,000 miles of new fiber as part of the expansion. Right now, it is working toward $7 million in additional service infrastructure.

Burlington-based Cross Pollination Inc. reached a major milestone toward its proposed 2.2-megawatt solar power project off Route 7 in New Haven. On July 8 the Vermont Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good. But New Haven resident John Madden, saying the project would ruin the aesthetics of the region and has asked the PSB to reconsider or alter its order.

Good-hearted folks in the Addison community were working this week to help out Val and Tim Birchmore and their five kids, who lost their home on Lake Street in West Addison to a fire last Saturday night. Around 75 firefighters from five towns rushed to the fire. Addison Fire Chief Chris Mullis said earlier this week that the fire was under investigation, but that it appears to have started with an outside gas grill on the back porch.

The National 9/11 Flag will be will make a special appearance at the VFW in Middlebury during the annual Vermont State Firefighters Convention today. Destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 it was stitched back together seven years later by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas. The flag is a living testament to the resilience and compassion of the American people. The historic flag ceremony will take place at the VFW on Exchange Street in Middlebury at noon today.

Within the next week the Middlebury College Solar Decathlon team will complete the construction of a solar-powered home inspired by a historic New England farmhouse. The 980-square-foot house still needs side trimming, cabinets, appliances and subcontractors need to complete energy wiring. People are also painting and doing interior work. The college's Solar Decathlon team has been working on the project for about two years for the 2011 Solar Decathlon, a two-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce will host the SOAR Summerfest 2011 Stimulus Auction this evening during the Summerfest and a concert by Gene Childers. The event is sponsored by the Chamber and Lake Sunapee Bank. A SOAR Facebook page has also been established to keep Participants up to date. Also check out their website,, to see the entire list of items valued at over $2,000.

Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union will begin its second annual school supplies drive for area children in need on Monday, August 1. The campaign asks the public to drop-off new school supplies at any TFCU branch or ATM site throughout August.

Groups opposed to a wind power project planned for northern Vermont's Lowell Mountain say the project will hurt mountain streams and cause erosion. The groups say plans by project developer Green Mountain Power Corp. to protect upland streams and guard against erosion depend on experimental technology, which has failed elsewhere. They also maintain storm water runoff is being underestimated in the draft permit. A Green Mountain Power spokeswoman says what the groups call experimental is the most appropriate technology for the site, and that water quality in area streams will be subject to continued monitoring during construction and operation of the project.

A Rhode Island native who entered the Vermont political scene last year as campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Deb Markowitz is heading out to Indiana to run a Senate campaign there. Paul Tencher managed the 2010 campaign of Markowitz, the former secretary of state who lost narrowly in the Democratic primary to Gov. Peter Shumlin. He says he'll be managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Democratic Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly, and hopes to return to Vermont when that race is over.

A standoff has ended at the Veterans' Affairs Hospital in White River Junction. Police say an armed Hartford man who barricaded himself in a room for five hours has been taken into custody. Police say the standoff started after the man checked in as a patient Thursday but refused to give up a pistol and a knife found in his bag. A wing of the hospital was evacuated. No hostages were taken.

Two economists who advise Vermont State officials on what to expect from state revenues have upgraded their forecast slightly, but say economic worries remain. They say despite a range of problems, Vermont state revenues outpaced their January forecast by about $2.5%, ending $37.6 million ahead of their forecast for the just completed fiscal year. Gov. Peter Shumlin responded to Thursday's news by saying he wants to devote any excess revenues to shoring up the state's reserve funds and putting money aside to build a new Vermont State Hospital.

Governor Peter Shumlin says there's no need for a special session of the Legislature to clarify the state's position on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Shumlin's comments are a response to an essay this week by a former state environmental conservation commissioner who suggested a special session might help the state defend itself against a civil suit by plant owner Entergy Corporation.

Police in Vermont say they now know the identity of a man whose body was found under a railroad bridge in Burlington, and they say he was murdered. Police say Ralph Bell, of Burlington, sustained lethal injuries in an altercation and subsequently fell about 50 feet from the bridge.

The head of the union that represents thousands of Vermont state employees is stepping down to take a job as director of affirmative action and equal opportunity at the University of Vermont. Jes Kraus, director of the Vermont State Employees Association, announced yesterday he’d resign effective September 6th after three years in the job.

It's not often Vermont gets temperatures in the 90s, with high humidity. When it does, dairy farmers make sure their cows have plenty of water and shade and know to expect less milk. Many dairy farms use fans, sprinkler systems that spray mist and good old-fashioned shade to keep their milkers from overheating. The assistant state veterinarian for the state Agency of Agriculture says that when cows get too hot, they don't eat as much, and when they don't eat as much, they don't produce as much milk.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is now accepting applications for grants to expand meat processing in the state. The Legislature created the program, which provides matching grants for investments that will result in increased capacity at meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities. A total of $50,000 is available. Applications are due by August 22nd.

Vermont State Police and the Humane Society are investigating a suspected case of animal cruelty involving several horses in Jeffersonville. Pictures taken by a neighbor sparked an animal cruelty investigation. The investigation brought police to a farm on Junction Hill Road where Vermont State Police say the horses were in better shape then expected. Police say the horses don't appear to be abused or in any immediate danger. They had both food and water on the premises. However the police and the Humane Society say they are still investigating. Today a Veterinarian is expected to check on the horses and determine if they are healthy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 21, 2011

A Heat Advisory Is In Effect From The National Weather Service From Noon – 7PM. The Weather Channel Says: Hazy, Hot and Humid Today – High In The Mid 90’s!

With the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid to upper 90s in parts of northern New England, health officials are reminding people to take it easy to avoid heat stress. Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen recommends avoiding strenuous activity and drinking plenty of water. The forecast calls for high humidity and temperatures in the 90s in parts of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire today and tomorrow.

As it gets hotter this week, New England utilities expect demand to reach the third-highest level on record, on Friday. Green Mountain Power says their customers use the most electricity between 2 – 4PM. Bob Murphy with Efficiency Vermont recommends other options to keep cool and also save money like running fans versus air conditioners when possible and watch out for leaks, seal around windows to keep the heat out.

The New York State Department of Health has rescinded the boil-water order that has been in effect the past two months in the Town of Essex. An elated Town Supervisor Sharon Boisen said in an email that she was “relieved that Essex residents, business owners and visitors to the town will no longer have the added expense and inconvenience that a DOH boil-water order creates.”

Still no ID on a man found dead near the Winooski River in Burlington, but police say his death is very suspicious. Investigators are still combing the scene near a train trestle known as the Blue Bridge. Police say the man suffered multiple injuries and it appears he fell 40 feet from the bridge to a wooded area below. But police are focusing on what happened on the bridge before the man fell.

Essex Police say they are discussing plans for large-scale searches for Bill and Lorraine Currier, possibly to include members of the public, in coming weeks. Essex Police are also waiting on the results of high-tech DNA testing, done out of state. Large-scale searches could begin within the next two weeks. He said those searches would likely involve police dogs and possibly the help of the public. Police are waiting until weather temperatures cool down to employ the public or large teams.

Taxes in Rutland stayed roughly level as the Board of Aldermen set the rate for fiscal year 2012 on Wednesday. The municipal rate went up about a quarter of a penny - after rounding off it holds steady at $1.31 per $100 of assessed property value. On the school side, the homestead rate remains at $1.38 while the nonresidential rate dropped from $1.63 to $1.62.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative budget writers are set to gather to hear a revenue forecast designed to help them in their budget deliberations. This afternoon's presentations by two consulting economists is expected to provide updated data on how the economic recovery is progressing in Vermont and the country and give the administration and lawmakers a sense of what to expect revenues to do in the coming fiscal year.

With Borders closing its doors for good, book publishers and local book store owners agree it's a bad sign for the book industry, and a sign that the industry is moving in a different direction. One thing book owners and publishers say really changed the industry, is a lot of people don't buy books anymore they turn to electronics. Borders closing marks the end of the chapter for big box bookstores and some business owners hope there's still a place for local bookstores.

There's good news for Vermont's credit rating in the midst of the national debt showdown. Moody's Investors Service says Vermont's credit rating has not changed or been placed on review for a possible downgrade. This means the state's rating will likely not be affected by the debt ceiling talks in Washington. The state's good credit rating allows it to borrow money at lower rates, saving taxpayers money.

University of Vermont President Dan Fogel is resigning effective July 31. The move comes after a rocky few months. Fogel's wife is being investigated for alleged inappropriate behavior with a UVM employee and there are concerns about her mental health. UVM's Board of Trustees accepted Fogel's resignation Wednesday.

Vermont wildlife officials say a fisherman has been arrested and charged with taking a lake sturgeon - an endangered fish - from Otter Creek in Ferrisburgh. 27-year-old Dhan Gurung, of Winooski, was caught July 2nd with the fish inside his car. Lake Champlain has the only lake sturgeon population in New England. He was cited into Addison Superior Court on Aug. 22 to face the charge. If convicted, he faces up to $1,000 in fines and $1,000 more in restitution for illegal possession of lake sturgeon. Vermont Fish & Wildlife officials say that if you catch a sturgeon, you should turn it loose where you caught it.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says an agreement between Green Mountain Power, Central Vermont Public Service Corp., and Vermont Telephone Company will give the state more control over energy consumption, expand access to broadband and create jobs. GMP, CVPS and their 17 partners will install about 250,000 advanced meters over the next two years to transmit information from homes via a wireless broadband network being built by Vermont Telephone. State officials say the companies have agreed to share use of the technology to provide energy information to companies and homeowners and deliver high-speed broadband service across the state.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he will appoint a criminal defense attorney and a magistrate to Vermont Superior Court judgeships. Martin Maley and Alison Arms will serve in the state's northwestern district. The two will serve mainly in Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Orleans, Lamoille and Washington Counties.

Federal prosecutors say a Rutland man has been charged with traveling across state lines to engage in an inappropriate act with a child. Thirty-year-old Ryan Wynne Grace was arrested Tuesday and was ordered held pending trial after his first court appearance. Prosecutors say Grace traveled to New York State in early July to meet up with a 13-year-old boy, and he intended to do so again on July 6th but was intercepted by police.

Voters shot down construction of the Westport Municipal Center with a vote of 258 to 181. This was the second time in a little more than a year that voters went to the polls to decide on funding for a multi-purpose building, and the vote drew 89 more voters this time around. The plan was to build a structure that would include space for the Westport town offices and court, Public Works garage, Westport Fire District station and Westport Central School District bus garage.

The chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors hopes to renegotiate the terms of a contract with county workers. With two of the state's biggest unions, the Public Employees Federation and the Civil Service Employees Association, striking deals in recent weeks to stave off layoffs, Randy Douglas wants the union that represents the county's workforce to sit down at the bargaining table. The county is currently in the final year of a four-year contract with the local Civil Service Employees Union, which represents about 400 county employees.

Vermont is one of 37 states that as of Monday has agreed to apply for a chunk of $500 million in federal grant money to aggressively reform, and expand, preschool education. The grants, called The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, will reward states that create comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems with better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful work force development. Grants will be awarded no later than December 31st.

The Vermont National Guard is visiting 15 former firing ranges around the state as part of a national effort to clean up potential environmental hazards left behind. Among them: Three in Windham County, including the Broad Brook Firing Range in Vernon, which has been out of commission since 1945. Ordered by Congress in 2009 to address lingering risks at former firing ranges around the country, the inspections will consist of checking grounds with metal detectors and shovels. About 400 sites nationally will be checked.

Lawmakers from Essex County are taking their concerns over the condition of area roads and bridges straight to the Executive Mansion. Essex County Chairman Randy Douglas says he wrote Governor Andrew Cuomo recently, seeking help in getting state highways and bridges fixed. He says popular roadways like State Routes 86 and 22 are literally crumbling under the wheels of motorists.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pooling $1 billion from existing economic development funds in the massive state bureaucracy for jobs programs. He says the fund is the biggest New York has directed to creating and retaining jobs. It will be the basis for grants to 10 regions in the state. Local governments in each region will have to cooperate to create comprehensive plans to attract and retain employers.

A federal lawmaker from New York says removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards will go a long way in combating identity theft. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation this week aimed at removing the identification numbers from cards carried by Medicare enrollees. The Democrat hopes the measure will provide additional security for the 40 million Americans who carry Medicare cards.

If you have seen a haze in the sky during the last two days, it is not just a result of the summer-time heat. It's also a smoke traveling all the way from Ontario. There are more than 100 active wild fires in northwestern Ontario, including 6 new fires Wednesday. A northwesterly wind direction Tuesday and Wednesday has carried the smoke through Quebec and parts of the northeastern United States. It's also caused the sun to appear more colorful when it's close to the horizon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 20, 2011

Starting today, a stretch of extreme heat is expected to hit Vermont. The temperatures could reach the 90s and feel like close to 100 degrees with the humidity. Experts say the best way to protect yourself from these dangerous temperatures is to stay inside. Make sure you drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty. The chronically ill and elderly should be especially careful and try to stay in the air conditioning as much as possible. Also, Hobbes is reminding you never to leave your companions in a hot-parked car or outside in the direct sun. Make sure your pets have access to plenty of water as well.

Vermont State Police from the Rutland and New Haven Barracks are currently investigating the report of two stolen vehicles. The first vehicle, a 2001 Blue Chevrolet Silverado was stolen from Benson and driven to Davis Garage in the Town of Shoreham on July 18th. Davis Garage also reported that an unknown individual forced entry through the rear roof area of their business, accessing the garage area, and took the key to a 2001 Gold Ford Taurus. The individual subsequently stole the Ford Taurus, which had been parked behind the garage. Nothing else was stolen from the garage and there was no other damage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the State Police New Haven Barracks. (1-802-388-4919)

A Charlotte man was arrested Friday after police said they discovered he tried to steal metal pipes from a maintenance shed behind the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town. Levi Davis was arrested and charged with petty larceny after a hotel guest saw him try to take metal pipes away from the shed. Police said Davis tried to drive away when the guest saw him but his truck was stuck in a ditch. Police dogs tracked him to the railroad tracks behind the hotel where he was found.

Starting this Friday, hundreds of Firefighters from around Vermont will be arriving on the campus of Middlebury College. The Firefighters will be in town for the 122nd annual Vermont State Firefighter Association Convention. On Friday you invited to enjoy Fireworks at 9PM at the Middlebury Union High School lower football field. On Saturday at Noon the opening Ceremonies and Parade will be held at the Middlebury College Sports Complex. And on Sunday at 9AM Fire trucks and apparatus from around the state will be on display.

The Essex Select-Board has approved spending up to $15,000 to conduct DNA testing in the case of Bill and Lorraine Currier. The couple vanished on June 8th and police suspect foul play. Police made the request but aren't saying what it is that they want tested. Essex acting Police Chief Brad LaRose tells the Burlington Free Press that the needed types of DNA tests are not available in Vermont which is why the town must pay for the work to be done out of state.

A federal judge in Vermont is considering whether to approve a settlement that would require dairy processor Dean Foods to pay Northeast farmers and their attorneys $30 million to settle antitrust allegations in a class-action lawsuit. A hearing was held on Monday in Rutland to determine whether the settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." U.S. District Court will take what the attorneys and a farmer said Monday under advisement.

A new program has been launched to reduce the phosphorous that feeds the algae when it washes into lake Champlain in storm-water runoff. The group Lake Champlain International has introduced a certification program that will help homeowners and others clean up the storm-water that runs off their property. It's fairly easy for you to become certified, by taking some simple steps to improve the quality of the water that washes away like redirecting downspouts, and dealing with pet waste and use of pesticides and fertilizers. You may also need to make some small fixes-such as replacing gutters or adding rain barrels in order to make their homes "watershed friendly."

Having helped remake the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, Mark Foley Jr. has said he will step down as chairman of the organization's board. Foley confirmed yesterday he was moving to Rutland Town and would have to vacate his position as a result. Foley said he and his wife found a house they liked that happened to be on the other side of the town line. He said he would remain on the board until it hires a new executive director.

The president of the University of Vermont is reportedly leaving his post at the end of the month, rather than his earlier announced plan to do so at the end of the next academic year. Daniel Fogel will be meeting in executive session with the UVM Board of Trustees today. The only item on the board's agenda is a discussion of contracts.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is hailing President Barack Obama's support for legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and have the federal government grant legal recognition to married same-sex couples. The White House announced support for the Respect for Marriage Act on the eve of a Senate hearing to be chaired by Leahy today on repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and replacing it with the new legislation.

Governor Peter Shumlin has chosen a lawmaker who led the effort to enact a new health care law to head the state agency that runs public health insurance programs. Shumlin says he's chosen state Rep. Mark Larson to be commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, which manages Medicaid and other government-subsidized health insurance programs.

Brian Dubie is raising money to help pay legal expenses following his run for governor last year. The Friends of Brian Dubie Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to Dubie supporters earlier this month. The letter, signed by former Gov. Jim Douglas among others, makes a plea for money to fight what it calls a First Amendment issue. That issue is a poll conducted by the Republican Governors Association. Democrats allege the RGA shared the results with the Dubie campaign, violating the state's campaign finance laws. The state hopes to wrap up its investigation by the end of the summer.

Burlington police have found a dead body off Riverside Avenue. Officers were called to a railroad bridge off Riverside Avenue near the Gardener's Supply store around 7:30PM Tuesday. Winooski police actually received the call. Burlington police have not identified the body at this time. They say at this time, they are treating the incident as suspicious, until they determine otherwise.

Many people who live closest to Vermont Yankee are standing by the nuclear power plant after a judge ruled not to keep it open while the lawsuit about the power plant's future plays out. The plant is Vernon's largest employer. Just about everyone in town either works there or has a friend or relative who does, so it's tough to find anyone who wants it to shut down. Several in town described a growing frustration in the fight to save what they see as the key to Vernon's economic survival. Many worry about future electric bills and the value of their homes. An Entergy spokesman released a statement saying that the plant would be evaluating its near-term options in the coming days.

A Manchester man charged with bilking aspiring authors on the promise of publishing their books says he's not guilty. 62-year-old Peter Campbell-Copp is charged with false pretenses and attempted false pretenses for allegedly defrauding writers and printing companies of thousands of dollars.

The Vermont e-waste recycling program went into effect earlier this month, allowing people to properly and safely dispose of unwanted electronics for free. The program, called e-Cycles has been fairly successful in its first few weeks, but there has not been as much volume as many people expected. Solid waste districts are just one of the many places Vermonters can bring their old computers, televisions, monitors, printers and keyboards. There are a total of 66 free drop-off locations statewide, including retail stores and nonprofits as well as solid waste facilities. The majority of the e-waste goes to Middlebury recycling facility Good Point Recycling.

Vermont State Parks announced a new contest starting this week. The contest is called "Where is Whipple?" Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks, will be making an appearance at one of Vermont's 52 state parks. The challenge is to find him and take a photo with him while he is at the park. 

The first person to post the photo on the park's Facebook page wins a prize package for their park. To get clues on where Whipple will be next visit the park's Facebook page.

Flight simulations and air shows are in the works as more than 20 pilots from all over Vermont are gearing up for the sixth annual Rutland County Remote Control Air Show at the Fair Haven airport Saturday. The gates will open at 9AM. A choreographed air show is scheduled for noon. More than 60 planes ranging from gliders with no engines to small planes with electric engines and large gasoline-powered planes will be on display at the Fair Haven airport.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 19, 2011

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. repaired power lines knocked down off East Ridge Acres Road in Mendon on Monday morning after a thunderstorm passed through the area. CVPS reported small, scattered outages throughout Rutland and Addison counties, which were quickly repaired.

Middlebury College faculty member Kateri Carmola pleaded “no contest” to an embezzlement charge in Addison County District Court last week for allegedly taking $4,500 from the Salisbury Historical Society over a three-month period last year. Court records indicate she allegedly made 11 transfers ranging from $200 to $1,000 between July 6th and September 8th, 2010. Addison County District Court Judge Nancy Corsones agreed to the proposed 18-month deferred sentence.

Bristol resident Brian Simmons is heading to Louisiana to compete in the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Championships. He is looking to regain a world title he won twice early in the decade. Brian can be seen often in the summer throwing at the Sodbusters Horseshoe Pitching Club in Middlebury. He has won seven Maine State Championship titles, two New Hampshire titles, four Rhode Island titles and two Vermont State Championships. Simmons has been inducted into the National Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame, has his own horseshoe line and holds numerous professional records.

A Vermont Agency of Transportation employee is facing charges for allegedly flashing a woman while on the job. Twenty-three-year-old Riley Bockus pleaded not guilty to a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct. He was driving an AOT work truck on Squier Road in Clarendon and exposed himself to a woman who was fixing a flat tire. The Agency of Transportation is also conducting an internal investigation.

The New York-based Nathan Childers Band returns to the Castleton concert series night. Show time is 7PM. Nathan Childers, a graduate of Otter Valley Union High School, brings his saxophone and band from New York. He has played with many of the world’s finest performers and ensembles. The concert is free and open to the public. The rain site is the Castleton State College Casella Fine Arts Center.

Fort Ticonderoga is looking to relaunch itself using a planning grant it just got from a national endowment. Fort Ticonderoga Executive Director Beth Hill said the $85,000 grant from the Perkin Fund will support Phase One of the organization's new comprehensive plan. The planning initiative will begin later this month.

A former school in Rutland on Watkins Avenue is on the market for close to its assessed value. The Watkins school turned maintenance garage, vacated by the city school district last year, is listed for $209,500. As of April of this year, the last assessed value on the property was $197,400. The Rutland public school district listed the property on the market last week after months of contemplation on what to do with the property.

Vermont is making more in tax revenues. The state closed out the fiscal year 11 percent ahead of last year. Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says he's pleased to see revenues improving but expects the state will see slower growth moving forward. General fund revenue is still 4 percent lower than in fiscal year 2008. Spaulding says the better-than-expected tax collections will likely be used to help offset federal cuts.

A federal judge says he won't order that Vermont's only nuclear plant remain open while a lawsuit to determine its long-term future plays out. Vermont is moving to shut down Vermont Yankee. Both the governor and the state Senate are on record as wanting it to close when its initial 40-year license expires in March. The plant's owner got a 20-year license extension from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It argues in a lawsuit that the federal action pre-empts the State’s.

Police investigating the mysterious disappearance of a Vermont couple now say they suspect foul play. William and Lorraine Currier, of Essex, have been missing since June 8th. Their car was found several days later, and police have gathered forensic evidence from it and from their home.

The Vermont attorney general's office says a Fair Haven man has pleaded guilty to home improvement fraud for taking a deposit to replace a roof but never doing the work. Court documents say John Burgart of Burgart Roofing, Inc., entered into a contract with an Underhill couple to replace the roof on their home for nearly $14,800 for which he required a down payment of $8,500 to buy the materials. But the attorney general's office said Monday that Burgart took the money but never bought the materials or performed the work. Court papers say he also failed to return the down payment. As part of his probation, Burgart must pay back the down payment.

A church in Burlington has been burglarized, causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage. Sometime Sunday night or early Monday, an unknown suspect or suspects made their way into St. Joseph's Church on Allen Street, forced their way into the tabernacle and stole a vessel used to contain Holy Communion hosts. A three-inch cross was taken from the top of the tabernacle, too. Police are offering a cash reward for information leading to the thieves and the safe return of the items.

The city of Burlington is planning a public meeting this week as it seeks citizens' involvement in a new effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At a session set for 6PM Wednesday at the Fletcher Free Library, city officials will unveil a 36-point plan designed to reduce the city's role as a contributor to climate change.

Twelve inmates from Vermont are facing charges in connection with a riot at the Franklin County jail in Massachusetts that caused an estimated $250,000 in damage. The Greenfield Recorder reports the inmates were identified as alleged participants in the July 7th disturbance at the Greenfield jail through video surveillance.

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority says it has chosen two companies for incentive discounts to provide "last mile" broadband connections. VTA officials said Monday that Southern Vermont Broadband Cooperative and Cloud Alliance, LLC, have been chosen for the discounted commercial broadband connections on the Vermont FiberConnect network. More awards are expected in the coming weeks.

St. Michael's College campus felt the ground shake after a boiler exploded in one of the dorm buildings late Monday morning. Authorities say college workers were replacing the boiler when it blew up. The building suffered significant roof damage. No one was hurt during the explosion.

Tourists visited Vermont in June despite the rainy, flood-filled spring. The state pulled in 7.5 million dollars in rooms and meals taxes, a 23-percent jump over the same period last year. And revenue is also up year to year by 6.5 percent. State leaders say an improving economy and new efforts to market Vermont using social media are fueling the spending.

Military retirees from throughout New England are being invited to an event in Vermont that offers legal assistance, health care information and details on benefits they may be eligible for. The 14th annual Northern New England Military Retiree Activity Day is scheduled for Saturday at Camp Johnson, in Colchester. Organizers say retirees from all branches can attend and get updates on military retirement benefits they've earned while serving in the armed forces. The event gets under way at 8AM. It's being held at the Vermont National Guard's regional training institute.

Last week, about 500 students gathered at the Davis Center at the University of Vermont to celebrate what many of them thought was unattainable: the goal of going to college. The students were from Vermont and Upstate New York Upward Bound programs. It's a federal program that mentors teenagers from low-income and immigrant families, and students who would be the first in their families to attend college. They get one-on-one support with schoolwork, standardized tests, help with navigating financial aid and guidance in applying to college. And during the summer, they study on college campuses.

Killington Resort will host a stop on the Winter Dew Tour next January. Resort officials announced Monday that Killington will be the second stop of the 2011-12 Winter Dew Tour, the largest snow sports event in the East. The tour will start at Breckenridge Ski Resort, in Colorado, go to Killington, then to the Dew Tour Championships at Snowbasin Resort in Utah. The 4-day event at Killington, which is set for January 19-22, will feature ski and snowboard athletes competing in slope-style and super-pipe.

Monday, July 18, 2011

WVTK Local & State News July 18, 2011

Hundreds of items, from home furniture to an original piece by Warren Kimble, will be up for auction at the 23rd annual Great Brandon Auction tomorrow. Hosted by the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce, item previews begin at 2PM at Brandon’s town park, with items going to auction at 4PM. During the previews, people who cannot spend the afternoon can leave bids as well. The proceeds from the event are used by the Chamber for local projects and events as well as its annual scholarship for an Otter Valley Union High School graduate. For more information on the auction, contact the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce.

More than a month after a Vermont couple vanished, police in their hometown are planning a briefing to update the public on the status of the investigation into their disappearance. Essex police will host a news conference today at the Essex Town Fire House. But they said they’ll release only limited information on developments since the investigation into the suspicious disappearance of William and Lorraine Currier is active. A $10,000 reward has been posted for information leading to their whereabouts.

Most rice in the U.S. is grown in the South, but several Vermont farmers are experimenting with cold-hardy varieties in what could be a model for other small farms in his region. Erik Andrus says he tried for several years to grow grains on his farm in Ferrisburgh, but the land was too damp for him to have much success. Then, in February, he took a workshop on growing rice offered by a couple that had been testing growing it in colder climates. This spring, he dug out two rice paddies and put in 50,000 seedlings. The rice he is growing is a cold-hardy, short-grain type similar to Japanese rice. He's hoping to get 4,000 pounds that he'll sell to a local health food store and at farmers' markets.

A highly toxic plant, giant hogweed, was found near the Lake Champlain Transportation Co. ferry dock in Essex. Its sap can cause severe burns, blistering, painful sores and dark scars. The plant was properly removed and the reaming stem treated by the Nature Conservancy. The plant will be checked in about two weeks to see if the treatment worked. The plant in Essex was the second-known occurrence of it in the Adirondack Park; the first was found near Old Forge.

Town of Essex officials may know soon whether they can lift their boil water order tomorrow. The order has been in effect since April 29 due to high water turbidity levels. The town needs two consecutive days of water tests with acceptable turbidity levels before the order can be lifted. The turbidity prevents accurate readings of water tests for bacteria, copper and lead.

The new water system in the hamlet of Wadhams will begin operation tomorrow. Westport Supervisor Dan Connell said that letters had been sent out to local homeowners within the water district telling them that the new system would be starting up. During the initial switchover process, there may be some sediment that causes cloudiness, but that should only last for two days, at most.

Police say they busted a motorcyclist driving 118 miles an hour over the weekend. It happened Saturday on Route 7 near the Clarendon-Wallingford town line where police say they clocked a 25-year-old driving 118 mph in a 50 mph zone. The Wallingford man reportedly refused to pull over but police eventually caught up with him at his home. He is now charged with speeding, careless and negligent operation and trying to elude police.

A Rutland sports bar will close its doors after police say a gun was pulled on a patron. It happened on June 25 at Jilly's Sports Bar on Merchants Row. The bar's owners are now giving up their liquor license rather than face a disciplinary hearing before the state Liquor Control Board. Police say they also found drugs inside the bar when they searched the property.

Vermont Yankee's owners are hoping a judge will decide this week whether to stave off the state's shutdown of the nuclear plant. Entergy's lawyers told a federal judge that if he doesn't grant an injunction against the state by this Saturday they might be forced to pull the plug. The July date coincides with when Entergy will have to decide whether to spend $60 million to re-fuel the plant. The company doesn't want to spend that money if the plant will be forced to close next March when its original license expires.

The state of Vermont says it will pave more roadway repairs this construction season than had been planned originally, due to bad weather this winter and spring. The Vermont Agency of Transportation is using $2 million left over from the just-ended fiscal year to make short-term repairs to about 23 additional miles of road in spots scattered around the state.

A federal judge in Vermont is holding a fairness hearing on a settlement that would require dairy processor Dean Foods Co. to pay Northeast farmers and their attorneys $30 million to settle antitrust allegations in a class-action lawsuit. The hearing today in Burlington will determine whether the settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." Farmers will have a chance to object to it today.

A shareholder of the Central Vermont Public Service Corp. is suing to block the proposed sale of the company to the parent company of the state's second largest utility, Green Mountain Power. In a federal lawsuit filed last Wednesday, Howard Davis, of Maine, said the directors of CVPS and the company seeking to buy CVPS are working to enrich themselves without sharing those benefits with individual shareholders. Davis is seeking to have his lawsuit declared a class action on behalf of all CVPS shareholders.

Thousands of people turned out in Tinmouth for the 17th annual SolarFest. SolarFest features a unique marriage of both education and entertainment. The event also showcased some of the latest in green auto technology. Several alternatively fueled vehicles were on display including a fully electric Tesla Roadster, which can travel over 200 miles on a single charge and reach speeds up to 120 miles per hour. Volunteers say events like SolarFest will help ensure a bright future for renewable energy here in Vermont.

Vermont state revenues for June came in ahead of forecast for the fourth month in a row, and they’re ahead of the target set a year ago by about $60 million. That’s the word from Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding, whose monthly revenue report on Friday said general fund revenues for June were nearly $113 million. That’s more than 14 percent above what had been forecast for the month.

The national debt is no longer just a federal concern as state credit ratings could be affected. Vermont currently has the highest credit rating in New England, but Moody's Investor Services has said even the top states would have their ratings reviewed this week in light of the continuing national debate. But State Treasurer Beth Pearce says the news is disappointing because the state's good credit allows it to borrow money at low rates, saving taxpayers money, but she is confident the state will do well in a review.

Fields were packed with berry pickers yesterday on New England farms despite spring flooding setbacks. Some local farmers report a weaker growth this berry season due to their fields being submerged in water during the record spring flooding. Even though some farmers say the flooding was a setback, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture says growers are reporting one of the best crops in years.

Three Vermonters are listed among President Barack Obama's 27 top re-election campaign fundraisers during the past three months. Jane Stetson of Norwich raised more than $500,000. Carolyn Dwyer of Montpelier, Vermont co-chairwoman of the Obama For America National Finance Committee, raised between $200,000 and $500,000. Charles and Marie Kireker of Weybridge raised $100,000 to $200,000.

Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont's main tourism website needs to do a better job reflecting the state's growing diversity. Shumlin's comment follows recent criticisms from the Brattleboro-based Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity. The group says out of 187 people pictured on the website in early June, there was one picture showing two African-American musicians.

Northeastern Vermont will celebrate good food and Vermont agriculture at the annual Kingdom Farm & Food Days in August. The free event includes a bike tour, guided tours of a farm, and workshops and garden tours. Volunteers are needed for the Aug. 20-21 event.

Home brewers are encouraged to register now for the Southern Vermont's Homebrew Competition and Festival in September. The fifth annual event will take place September 24th at the Bennington Brush Company in downtown Bennington. The festival costs $35 for admission and includes tasting throughout the afternoon, live music, brewing tips and demonstrations.

On Saturday over 200 people walked to honor and remember law enforcement officers who died while serving and protecting. The walk is called "Funds for Fallen Officers" and all the money raised will go towards helping families of fallen officers. Each person in the walk sponsors a fallen officer or K9 dog that was killed. This is the second annual walk and organizers say it's important to remember those who died trying to keep citizens safe. This year they are hoping to raise 25,000 dollars.

The Back Home Again Café is now The Yellow Deli in downtown Rutland. Closed for renovations for a month, the Center Street restaurant has reopened with a new name, a new menu and more than a few interior changes. The redesign was done to align the downtown restaurant with eight other restaurants owned by The Twelve Tribes.