Monday, April 30, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 30, 2012

Seymour Street here in Middlebury will be closed to through traffic tomorrow (Tuesday) from 7AM until 5PM. It will be closed at Main Street and at Elm Street for water main work at the Fire Station. Access to businesses and residences north of the Fire Station will be via the Elm Street End.

The memorial service for Sheriff Jim Coons will be held 11:00 this morning at Mead Chapel at Middlebury College with the reception immediately following at the American Legion Post on Wilson Road behind G. Stone Motors. There is NO PARKING area at the chapel. Public parking is provided at the Center For Fine Arts and at the Nelson Arena on Route 30 and at the American Legion Post. Shuttle van and busses have been arranged to bring people from the parking areas to the Chapel. The Legion shuttle will run between 9:30 and 10 only. Please do not use Route 125 Hillside or Adirondack View for parking.

Fire crews in Ferrisburgh were still on scene this morning cleaning up after a massive overnight fire. The building housed two businesses, Erikson’s marine and a farm equipment repair shop on route 7. At least ten departments were called in to help but it looks as though the building is destroyed. Fire officials still don't know the cause of the fire but say it started in the repair shop. Crews blocked off route 7, just north of Ferrisburgh, but it is now back open. They say a water line in Vergennes broke which also gave them problems getting water to the fire. It will take most of the day to fix it.

Brandon’s waterline project would reroute the village’s waterline to run through the Brandon Inn, behind the buildings and reconnect to the Neshobe River near West Seminary Street. Town Manager Keith Arlund said recently their goal is to complete the rerouting of the waterline before the reconstruction of Route 7. A public forum to further discuss the project and update the Brandon community will be at 7 this evening at the Brandon Congregational Church.

According to police a reported drive-by shooting in Rutland’s northwest neighborhood actually was an accidental shooting that took place inside a home on Cleveland Avenue. Officers were called to Cleveland Avenue shortly after 3:30 on Friday afternoon where they found 22-year-old Brendan Barber lying near the road with a gunshot wound. Barber initially told police someone shot him from a passing car near the intersection of Baxter Street and Library Avenue but eventually told police he was shot by a friend who was showing him a gun. The investigation continues.

Plans to open a methadone clinic on Park Street in Rutland fell apart last week when the property’s owner announced the building was no longer available to rent, according to state and local health officials working to open the clinic. For months, officials with the state Department of Health, Rutland Mental Health and Rutland Regional Medical Center had been eyeing a vacant industrial site owned by Rutland Plywood as the preferred location for a drug treatment center that would serve upward of 75 people a day to start with. Officials met at the end of last week to talk about options moving forward.

Last Thursday afternoon vehicles parked at the Mount Philo State Park were broken into and property was stolen. The unknown suspects broke into the locked vehicles by breaking door windows. Property stolen from one of the vehicles included a black and brown hand bag, a grey leather pocketbook, a red wallet, approximately $300 hundred dollars cash, personal checks, and credit cards. Information was obtained from witnesses in the area indicating the suspects were white males, possibly in their 20s, and they fled the parking lot in a vehicle described as a grey Subaru Impreza with a rear spoiler. If you have any information pertaining to this case, please contact the Vermont State Police in Williston. (802) 878-7111

On behalf of Woodchuck’s Earth Week Campaign, 12,672 trees will be planted in the United States to help purify the air we breathe. According to Woodchuck’s Facebook page, 6,336 fans were added in just one week–an enviable social network achievement by any terms. The nation’s number one hard cider maker marks its third year of a unique partnership with American Forests and the Global ReLeaf program. In those three years Woodchuck has donated a total of 34,722 trees.

The new Ticonderoga Central School District budget raises taxes 3.5 percent but stays under the state tax cap. The basic tax cap is 2 percent, but districts are allowed exclusions for spending on certain items, so Ticonderoga's cap would have been 9 percent. If voters approved the spending plan, the amount to be raised by taxes for 2012-13 would be $10.31 million, up $344,770, a 3.5-percent increase from $9.96 million this year. The budget hearing is at 7PM Tuesday, May 8th at the Elementary-Middle School cafeteria. The budget vote is Noon to 8PM Tuesday, May 15th at Ticonderoga High School and Hague Community Center.

Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership, PRIDE, Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce and Ticonderoga Kiwanis will join forces for a clean-up day on Saturday, May 12th. The community clean up will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers can contact Joyce Cooper at 585-2640 or email Volunteers can also sign-up on the day of the event next to Rathbun Jewelers. Volunteers will be organized into groups and lunch will be provided. As part of the clean-up effort, Good Point Recycling from Middlebury is expected to have a truck at the public parking lot on the corner of Montcalm Street and Champlain Avenue for people to recycle old electronic equipment.

The Elizabethtown Planning Board has scheduled four monthly comprehensive planning workshops at the Town Hall. All at 3:30PM on Wednesdays, the first is this coming Wednesday, and then June 6th, July 11th and August 1st. The public is welcome.

Former Vermont Governor Philip Hoff was honored in Castleton yesterday. Hoff was the first Democratic elected Governor in the state since 1854. He was the guest of honor at a luncheon at Castleton State College and at the end of the event Castleton President David Wolk presented Hoff with a distinct honor, a new campus building in his name. Construction on Hoff Hall is set to be finished this June. It will be a completely solar-powered, 162 bed dormitory.

Former Governor Madeleine Kunin returned to the Statehouse to defend women's rights. Kunin told a crowd of about 200 people on Saturday to stand up for hard-won women’s rights, which she said is suddenly under assault around the country. She spoke at 1 of more than 50 marches and demonstrations staged across the country by members of The aim was to counter legislative and political initiatives, such as ultrasound mandates, "personhood" bills and pay-equity repeals, that women's-rights advocate’s regard as regressive. Senator Bernie Sanders also spoke at the rally.

The National Endowment for the Arts is going to be helping the Vermont Symphony Orchestra conduct its 2012 Made in Vermont Music Festival tour. The tour will include a commissioned work by Vermont composer David Feurzeig. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is 1 of 788 organizations across the country that will receive a total of $24.8 million in NEA “Art Works” grants. The Vermont Symphony is recommended for a $12,500 grant. The Made in Vermont Tour will take place between September 27th and October 7th. Vermont Symphony Executive Director Alan Jordan says the tour brings music to the state's villages and towns.

Vermont State Police are investigating separate cases in which cars were stolen and then driven into rivers about 75 miles apart. A car stolen from a home in the village of Saxtons River on Saturday was later located in Saxtons River. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police at 802-875-2112. In Plainfield, a vehicle reported stolen Saturday morning was driven over an embankment and down 15 feet into a river. Troopers said the occupants got out of the car and were seen fleeing the scene. The vehicle, which was on its roof submerged in the water, was recovered by a wrecker. Police did not have the name of the river. Anyone with information is asked to call State Police barracks in Middlesex at 802-229-9191.

A nonprofit research group says New Hampshire had the highest average student debt load, followed by Maine at number two and Vermont at number 6. The Project on Student Debt's sixth annual report found that students who graduated from 4-year colleges in Vermont had an average loan debt of $28,391. The study, released in December, found high-debt states concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest.

It was an especially bad weekend for house fires across Vermont, with several reported leaving their owners homeless. There were two fires in southern Vermont, one in Woodstock and one in Chester, with the Red Cross responding to help those families. Another home went up flames in West Berlin, as well as one in Colchester. The head of the American Red Cross in Vermont says the non-profit gets maybe 110 to 155 calls, mostly to house fires in an average year. With two more months to go in the current fiscal year, the Red Cross says it's already gone past that number.

Lawmakers thought they were going to wrap up the current session by last Friday, but it looks like they have at least another week, possibly two to go. They still have items such as passing a budget and redistricting left to deal with, but something they're stuck on is the merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service. A state board is reviewing the deal but some lawmakers are not happy with the utility putting money owed to customers into programs instead of giving it back. The governor is a strong supporter of the merger, and thinks it's a mistake for lawmakers to get involved.

A man from the town of Pomfret is pleading no contest to theft and is going to jail for thirty days. Scott Simpson is accused of stealing a Civil War cannon. Police say he took the antique from his grandparents' rental property in Woodstock and unloaded it at a pawnshop for cash.

One man is recovering while another faces criminal charges after a car in Brattleboro hit a pedestrian. Police there say Sunday night there was some sort of fight between the two men, and when one walked away on Chickering Drive, the other man followed in a pickup truck and struck him. The Brattleboro Reformer reports Shawn Therieau also knocked out a fire hydrant in the process before speeding away. He was arrested after a short chase and is now facing aggravated assault and drunken driving charges. The victim was treated and released.

Castleton state college now holds the record for the world's longest dodge ball tournament. Students played 41 consecutive hours, wrapping up play Sunday morning at 8AM. The tournament started on Friday afternoon at 3. That shatters the previous record of 31 hours and 10 minutes set by some athletes in Albany, New York.

The Middlebury Maple Run is coming up on Sunday, May 6th. We’re expecting 800-900 runners at this year’s event and could use a few additional volunteers! This is a great opportunity for young and old. We have a variety of jobs that take just a couple of hours. This is one of Middlebury’s premier events that brings more than a thousand people to town including runners, family and guests. More than 40% of them are from out of state. It’s a perfect time to show off what a great community we are by welcoming the runners and making sure they have a great event. Learn more about how you can help right now at

Butson Hotel Management and the Courtyard by Marriott in Middlebury have announced that they rank in the top 2 percent overall of all Courtyards by Marriott in Guest Satisfaction. The Courtyard by Marriott Middlebury has attained many awards from silver through platinum with Marriott International and many of their staff has been with the company since the first year of business in 2004. With room renovations completed this past January the lobby and café renovations are scheduled to be completed in early 2013.

The Vermont House has passed a resolution thanking 1 of its members for the peanut M&M’s. Representative Ken Atkins, a Winooski Democrat, has carried on a tradition since 1999 in which every time there's a pause in legislative action for a House roll call, he dumps a bunch of M&Ms into a glass jar on his desk and other House members gather around for a snack. The retired teacher says he likes a snack during House action, and he used to tell his students not to bring a snack to class without enough to share. Atkins says he tried putting out plain M&Ms with the peanut ones once, but no one took the plain ones.

Friday, April 27, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 27, 2012

Seymour Street here in Middlebury will be closed to through traffic on Monday, April 30th starting at 7AM until 5PM. It will be closed at Main Street and at Elm Street for water main work at the Fire Station. Access to businesses and residences north of the Fire Station will be via the Elm Street End.

Vermont State Police are currently investigating the theft of a ring from the residence of Lisa Bowdish in Salisbury. The estimated value of the ring is $500.00. Anyone with information concerning the theft of the ring is encouraged to contact The Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks. (1-802-388-4919)

The memorial service for Sheriff Jim Coons will be held 11:00 AM on Monday, April 30th at Mead Chapel at Middlebury College with the reception immediately following at the American Legion Post on Wilson Road behind G. Stone Motors. There is NO PARKING area at the chapel. Public parking is provided at the Center For Fine Arts and at the Nelson Arena on Route 30 and at the American Legion Post. Shuttle van and busses have been arranged to bring people from the parking areas to the Chapel. The Legion shuttle will run between 9:30 and 10 only. Please do not use Route 125 Hillside or Adirondack View for parking.

At Tuesday’s Middlebury Select Board Meeting the Board appointed candidates to a number of boards and commissions and nominated Pete Diminico to the River Task Force. There are still several openings on the Recreation Advisory Board, the Sports Commission and the Board of Listers, and an opening as the Town's alternate representative to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. Interested individuals should contact the Town Manager's Office.

The Business Development Fund Advisory Board held its first meeting on Monday. The initial four members of the Board, two representing the Town and two representing the College, recommended Ken Perine as the fifth member of the Board, representing the business community. On the Advisory Board's recommendation, the Select Board appointed him as the fifth member on Tuesday.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Fire Facilities will be held at 6:30PM on Tuesday, May 8th at the Seymour Street Fire Station. This week the Select Board approved the lease of property from the East Middlebury Fire District, pending negotiation of provisions acceptable to the Fire District for disposition of the building if the Town terminates the lease before the end of its 99-year term. The closing on the Community Cottage was last week. Meanwhile the Board approved hiring Judy & Steve Harris as Clerk of the Works for the fire facilities project.

The Middlebury Downtown Improvement District Commission will solicit proposals for a downtown public parking study. The study will measure the utilization of downtown parking spaces, which would enable more efficient management of existing parking. Responses to the Request for Proposals will be due on May 30th and considered at the next DIDC meeting on Thursday, June 7th.

Brandon’s waterline project would reroute the village’s waterline to run through the Brandon Inn, behind the buildings and reconnect to the Neshobe River near West Seminary Street. Town Manager Keith Arlund said recently their goal is to complete the rerouting of the waterline before the reconstruction of Route 7. A public forum to further discuss the project and update the Brandon community will be at 7PM on Monday at the Brandon Congregational Church.

The Addison County Chamber of Commerce congratulates Vermont Coffee Company and its employee, Lily H., for winning the Pot of Gold at the Chamber’s monthly after hours business mixer held at Art on Main, Bristol last week. Each Chamber member’s name is placed into a pot and one business’s name is drawn at each month’s mixer. If an employee is present from the business whose name was drawn, that business-employee wins the pot. The pot starts at $500 and increases $50 each month that it goes unclaimed. The next after hours business mixer will be held on Thursday, May 17th at Bristol Financial Services in Bristol.

Mitt Romney was the top vote getter in the North Country in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary. Romney tallied 403 votes in Clinton County; 257 in Franklin and 469 in Essex County, easily outdistancing Ron Paul, who came in second in all three counties. Turnout was extremely light, as only 618 voters went to the polls in Clinton County out of a possible 14,800. In Essex County, 753 people voted out of a potential 11,855, and in Franklin County, 417 cast ballots out of 9,749 registered Republicans.

Village leaders in Port Henry are hoping the community and potential campers will turn out for an event designed to show off the rebuilt Port Henry Village Campground. The camping facility on Lake Champlain was virtually destroyed by last year's tropical storms, and a $950,000 project to rebuild it is wrapping up just in time for the summer season. An open house from 1 to 3PM on Sunday May 6th will introduce residents and potential campers to the facility, which has showers, washrooms, a convenience store, a concession stand, playground, basketball court and public beach to accommodate its 99 sites. The village will give away a free weekend of camping. In addition, George's Italian Restaurant of Port Henry will be set up at the open house with free coffee and cookies and will be selling hot dogs, sno-cones and soda.

The Fort Ticonderoga Association named Anne McDonald to its board of trustees. McDonald is a retired teacher and a Ticonderoga resident. McDonald holds an undergraduate degree from Russell Sage College, Troy, and completed master level work at SUNY-Plattsburgh. McDonald is active in regional professional, political, civic organizations and has served as the chairwoman for the Essex County Republican Committee and president of the Heritage Museum Board of Directors in Ticonderoga. She is currently a member of the North Country Community College Foundation Board.

The Vermont Senate has voted to intervene in a case before the Public Service Board - the proposed merger of the state's two largest utilities. At issue was whether lawmakers should tell the board to direct the companies to make refunds to ratepayers of $21 million for extra payments they made a decade ago to get Central Vermont Public Service out of financial trouble. That money was to be paid back if CVPS was ever sold. The companies want the money to go to weatherization and efficiency measures, but the Senate yesterday voted to have that money returned directly to ratepayers. The House is to vote on the bill today.

Governor Peter Shumlin is not happy with lawmakers on their actions considering a proposed merger of the state's two largest electric companies. Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power Corporation plan on merging, and politicians aren't happy with the way ratepayers, who paid extra to help a financially-strapped utility, are not getting paid back. Governor Shumlin feels lawmakers are overstepping their boundaries by even getting involved, as the ultimate decision rests with the Public Service Board.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy is using his authority to hold hearings into the misconduct of Secret Service agents on a recent presidential trip to Colombia. Vermont's senior senator is also leading the effort to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, backing an amendment that would focus on domestic violence and rates of violence against teens.

A group of immigrant students from two Chittenden County high schools are telling lawmakers they have to deal with racism in school most every day. Some of the same students staged a protest at Burlington High School earlier this month where they said they should not be judged on standardized test scores, which show performance gaps between immigrant students and others.

There's a lot of "green" lights going in and around East Montpelier, but this has nothing to do with the stop-and-go kind of green lights. Instead, it's the environmental type, as L-E-D lights are going up to replace all the outdated street lamps. The town administrator says the intent is to do something positive for the environment, and it's not costing the town anything. Green Mountain Power is picking up the tab, and is partnering with Efficiency Vermont to work together with towns to assess and convert lights over to L-E-D.

A key state lawmaker says a bill calling for labeling of genetically modified food won't pass this year. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he generally supports the idea, but there's no time to act on the bill before lawmakers adjourn for the year.

Vermont hunters will have an opportunity to weigh in on deer management. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is set to hold two public hearings next month on the management of white-tail deer. Last year, hunters took 12,132 deer during the archery, youth, rifle, and muzzleloader seasons.

A 30-year-old man is in custody on charges he was peering into windows in South Burlington. South Burlington police say Benjamin Alley was arrested just before noon on Thursday and charged with stalking. On April 15, South Burlington police reported they were investigating reports of a "Peeping Tom" on Hadley Road. Police say they found Alley in a wooded area near Hadley Road after receiving a report that a man was staring into homes. Investigators determined that it was not the first time Alley had been looking into homes on Hadley Road.

Brandon Music on Country Club Road in Brandon will present Trio Balkan Strings this Sunday at 7pm. The concert is a part of the year-round weekly “Sunday Jazz” series hosted in the intimate Brandon Music Café. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $18 at the door. The trio is world-renowned for high-energy virtuosic performances that flow seamlessly from solo features to ensemble pieces, and include their own technique for playing with six hands on one guitar. For more information just click HERE.

The Middlebury Maple Run is coming up on Sunday, May 6th. We’re expecting 800-900 runners at this year’s event and could use a few additional volunteers! This is a great opportunity for young and old. We have a variety of jobs that take just a couple of hours. This is one of Middlebury’s premier events that brings more than a thousand people to town including runners, family and guests. More than 40% of them are from out of state. It’s a perfect time to show off what a great community we are by welcoming the runners and making sure they have a great event. Learn more about how you can help right now by clicking HERE.

Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power, is slated to give this year’s Castleton State College Commencement Address. Powell has served as president and CEO of the company since August 2008. She joined GMP in March 1998 and previously served as the company’s chief operating officer. Since becoming GMP’s president, she has led the company in building cost-effective renewable wind power for its customers and in merging with Central Vermont Public Service.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 26, 2012

A short-lived power outage affected downtown Vergennes yesterday morning. According to Vermont Outages, the source of the outage was a transformer located on a pole along MacDonough Drive. Businesses and residences along Main Street and other streets were without electricity for 45-50 minutes. A utility crew fixed the unit and power was returned by 11 AM.

The memorial service for Sheriff Jim Coons will be held 11:00 AM on Monday, April 30th at Mead Chapel at Middlebury College with the reception immediately following at the American Legion Post on Wilson Road behind G. Stone Motors. There is NO PARKING area at the chapel. Public parking is provided at the Center For Fine Arts and at the Nelson Arena on Route 30 and at the American Legion Post. Shuttle van and busses have been arranged to bring people from the parking areas to the Chapel. The Legion shuttle will run between 9:30 and 10 only. Please do not use Route 125 Hillside or Adirondack View for parking.

Vermont's League of Innovative Schools is adding to its ranks. The Vermont Education Department announced that Vergennes Union Middle and High School have been inducted into the group. The league is designed to promote innovative strategies and best practices in classrooms across the state. Vergennes will begin piloting proficiency-based graduation requirements with its incoming freshman class. The high school's co-principal, Ed Webbley, is crediting leadership from his teachers for the accomplishment. The department of education also recognized Vergennes for its experiential learning program that has students’ complement what they're learning in the classroom with different hands-on activities outside of school.

Chefs at Middlebury College's main dining hall are seeing a lot of green. They've opened their kitchen to 10,000 pounds of donated avocados. The fruit came in 400 crates from a Middlebury parent in California earlier this month. The culinary team at Middlebury was quick to find a spot for the produce on their menus. The lunch menu yesterday had avocados in everything from quiches to a bowl where people could chop them up for themselves for salads and snacks. Students’ say they're easy to find and much appreciated.

The Addison County Chamber of Commerce announced a change in ownership of Almost Home Market in Bristol. The new owners are Beth Marr of Vergennes and Gary Smith of Bristol. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held recently to celebrate Almost Home’s new ownership. The new owners believe that successful businesses are built one customer at a time and they promise to provide the freshest, most interesting local foods, fresh baked pastries, gifts for the home chef and hand selected wines and beer. The pair will be using local ingredients including items from their kitchen garden. They will also be adding new items such as hand cut steaks, chicken, fish and artisanal cheeses and smoked/cured meats.

Rutland's proposed 2-mile bike path is back on track. The project was set to go to bid last fall, but Tropical Storm Irene put plans on hold. Now, the city is set to start phase one in July. The path will go from Giorgetti Park through quiet neighborhoods and along waterways until it ends at the College of St. Joseph. About $1 million in grants and donations are funding the project. But organizers say it could cost up to $1.8 million, so they are hoping for more donations in the future.

A series of vehicle break-ins in Rutland Town has state police looking for the thief. A number of break-ins on Victoria Drive took place between midnight and 4:30AM Wednesday. In one instance a handgun was taken from a vehicle. Vermont State Police Trooper Rene Klementowski said the vehicles that were broken into were GMC models that were locked by their owners, which prompted police to suspect that a general key or remote was used to gain entry. Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to contact the Vermont State Police.

Brandon Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Donna Towle as head chef of the Brandon Music Café. Towle has over ten years experience in the food service industry, having held positions in delis as well as restaurants, including Back To Vermont in Poultney, the Iron Lantern Restaurant in Bomoseen, where she worked as prep cook and baker, and Castleton Pizza and Deli. Towle has won four awards for her chili, which will be featured on the menu at the Music Café, along with her other baked goods. Towle is excited to be in her new position at the Brandon Music Café, since she has always enjoyed cooking, especially for her two boys. Learn more at

The Addison County Economic Development Corporation has been awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant by USDA Rural Development to be used for an economic gardening pilot program with four Addison County businesses. The ACEDC will work with the Edward Lowe Foundation in conjunction with National Center for Economic Gardening to run the program. Economic gardening is an innovative, entrepreneur-centered economic growth strategy that offers balance to the traditional economic practice of business recruitment, often referred to as "economic hunting".

The Ticonderoga Heritage Museum will host the 10th annual Taste of Ti on Thursday, May 17th at 6:30PM in the Ticonderoga Elementary/Middle School cafeteria. Tickets are $17.50 and are on sale now at Rathbun Jewelers and the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce office. All money raised from this event benefits the museum’s free summer children’s workshops and other free programs that take place at the Heritage Museum.

Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas appointed three of his peers to the Horace Nye Pending Sale Evaluation Sub-Committee late last week, along with Office for the Aging Director Patty Bashaw and Horace Nye Home Registered Nurse Sabrina Westover. Douglas named Lewis Supervisor David Blades as the chair of the sub-committee, with Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley and Minerva Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey as fellow members. County Public Health Director Linda Beers was named as an alternate and advisor for the committee. Douglas said that the task of the newly formed group was to visit and evaluate the operations of the private firms that submitted bids for the purchase of the Horace Nye Nursing Home.

New York state education officials are admitting that two questions on this week's standardized math tests don't add up. The state's third- through eighth-graders have three days of math tests starting Wednesday. That's after three days of English tests last week. But the state Education Department told principals Monday that one question on the fourth grade math test has two right answers and one question on the eighth grade test has no right answer. Department spokesman Tom Dunn says the errors are just typos and the questions will not count.

Governor Peter Shumlin is hailing what he calls good news on the corrections front: Vermont has seen a reduction in its prison population, while its crime rates also are down. Numbers released yesterday show Vermont's inmate population has dropped by more than 140 since 2008, to 2,059 people behind bars. It had been projected to grow by 26% between 2008 and 2018.

Governor Peter Shumlin is accusing some Vermont lawmakers of pandering for votes in their fight to get refunds to ratepayers of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation. A group of legislators has been pushing for $21 million to be repaid to ratepayers in checks for extra money they paid a decade ago to get CVPS out of financial trouble.

A man found dead in a swimming pool last week is no longer considered the prime suspect in a string of robberies in St. Albans. Chris Davis was 22 and from Swanton, and his death so far has been ruled "suspicious." Police now say a woman who used a debit card belonging to Davis has some explaining to do. While they believe they know how she got his card, they don't believe she's responsible for his death. They also now believe he was likely dead by the time the two hold-ups in St. Albans were committed.

The former Chief Financial Auditor at Dartmouth College is accused in the misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars from college and non-profit groups in Vermont and New Hampshire. Bruce D. McAllister is 79 and from Thetford, and he pleaded guilty yesterday in U-S District Court in Burlington to a single wire fraud charge. That involved a co-ed fraternity at the college and a private fishing club in Bridgewater. Prosecutors say the siphoning of funds went on for about 25 years.

A new publication is helping forest managers prepare for a possible infestation of an invasive beetle. The emerald ash borer has destroyed tens of millions of ash tress over the past decade. Ash Management Guidelines for Forest Managers can be found on the Vermont Forest, Parks and Recreation web site or through a county forester.

The Vermont Senate has voted to allow police access without a search warrant to a database of Vermonters' prescriptions that is maintained by the Vermont Department of Health. In an 18-11 vote after more than two hours of debate on Wednesday, the Senate rejected the arguments of some members that allowing police access to the database would violate rights against search and seizure promised by the U.S. and Vermont constitutions. The majority sided with those saying police access would not be unlimited, and that investigators need to be able to crack down on an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the state. The House earlier voted to require a search warrant before police got access to the database. A conference committee likely will have to work out the difference.

The Vermont Senate is set to debate a miscellaneous tax bill including a new $7.5 million tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Backers’ say the tax is needed to replace money that Vermont Yankee had been paying into state coffers to support renewable energy. The agreement calling for those payments ended March 21, the date the plant was originally set to shut down. The plant is continuing to operate, and backers of the tax say it should end up with Vermont Yankee paying about what it did before. Critics of the tax call it unfair and punitive.

Snake Mountain Bluegrass will perform at the Vergennes Opera House this Saturday at 8PM. This local, Vermont-style bluegrass band featuring banjo, fiddle, mandolin and tight harmony vocals, will be performing a variety of old and new songs along with some originals. The Connor Sisters will join the band for a special performance. Middlebury College teacher Gregg Humphrey and Middlebury construction company owner Mike Connor formed Snake Mountain Bluegrass about twenty-five years ago.

Maine has been named the most peaceful state in the country by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Researchers looked at several factors including the number of homicides, violent crimes and the incarceration rate. However Vermont is the second most peaceful state, followed by New Hampshire. Just avoid Louisiana, which landed at the bottom of the list.

Coming up tomorrow in Glenbrook Gym, Castleton State College students will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest dodge ball tournament. The event will raise money for Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as tools to affect social and behavioral change. The current dodge ball tournament that Guinness has on record is from Albany. They set the record for 31 hours and 10 minutes. Castleton’s goal is 40 hours straight. The tournament will begin at 4PM Friday and will continue straight through until 8AM Sunday. The volunteers feature 20 athletes, 10 boys and 10 girls, from seven different varsity sports.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 25, 2012

The memorial service for Sheriff Jim Coons will be held 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 30 at Mead Chapel at Middlebury College with the reception immediately following at the American Legion Post on Wilson Road behind G. Stone Motors. There is NO PARKING area at the chapel. Public parking is provided at the Center For Fine Arts and at the Nelson Arena on Route 30 and at the American Legion Post. Shuttle vans/busses have been arranged to bring people from the parking areas to the Chapel. The Legion shuttle will run between 9:30 and 10 only. Please do not use Route 125 Hillside or Adirondack View for parking.

The Crown Point Central School Board will hold a special meeting at 7:45 Thursday morning in the superintendent's office. On the agenda will be the CVES budget vote and elections. The public is welcome.

Yesterday morning (April 24th) co-workers notified the Rutland City Police Department that James Patten did not show up for work Tuesday and this was highly unusual. Co-workers had located James Patten’s vehicle unsecured in the Price Chopper parking lot at the Rutland Shopping Plaza. He was seen last on the night of April 23rd at approximately 10:30PM. James Patten is believed to be despondent and suffering from depression. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rutland City Police Department (802-773-1816) or the Vermont State Police. (802-773-9101)

Vermont Farm Tours is ready to roll on May 1st. Vermont Farm Tours is a culinary tour company that offers personal tours led by local food and wine expert, Chris Howell. Rooted in his experiences as a farmer, educator, and community organizer, Howell cultivates an authentic interest in local foods by immersing guests in the connection between taste, place, and producer. This year, groups of any size can enjoy a variety of engaging biking, walking, and van tours and guided tastings. Vermont Farm Tours has been in operation since 2009 and has won numerous accolades including recognition as one of Vermont’s 2011 Best Attractions by Yankee magazine. Call 922-7346 for more details.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce 10th Annual Fundraiser Dinner and Auction will be held Friday, June 15th at Silver Bay YMCA (Gullen Lounge). You are invited to attend as well as be a sponsor of this wonderful event that supports the Chamber and their mission to serve, market and promote the Ticonderoga Area. The goal for this year is to have the Annual Fundraiser Dinner & Auction be the TACC premier fundraising event supporting the ongoing efforts of the Chamber. For details and to make your reservation today because space is limited, visit

Ticonderoga could soon have a new department store. Stage Stores, Inc. is in discussions that could lead to the opening of a Peebles in the community. According to the company website, Stage Stores “brings moderately-priced, nationally-recognized brand name and private label apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for the entire family to small and mid-size towns and communities across 40 states.” Ticonderoga supervisor Deb Malaney said she understands the company is considering placing a Peebles in the former Grand Union building located at the intersection of Routes 9n and 74.

Brandon Music on Country Club Road in Brandon will present Trio Balkan Strings this Sunday at 7pm. The concert is a part of the year-round weekly “Sunday Jazz” series hosted in the intimate Brandon Music Café. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $18 at the door. The trio is world-renowned for high-energy virtuosic performances that flow seamlessly from solo features to ensemble pieces, and include their own technique for playing with six hands on one guitar. For more information just visit

The Vermont Ski Areas Association hired Sarah Neith as its new director of public affairs. Neith will work with Vermont ski resorts to strengthen winter tourism through Ski Vermont’s public relations efforts and the association’s youth and agricultural programs. She’s a 2003 graduate of the University of Vermont, has been a ski patroller in Vermont since 2004 and has a strong understanding of the sport and mountain culture.

The North Country Community College Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Steve Tyrell to serve as the college’s sixth president, effective June 15th. Following a nationwide search, the Presidential Search Committee and the Board of Trustees interviewed four candidates. The Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution at a special Board meeting held yesterday appointing Dr. Tyrell as President.

The House is expected to vote later this week on a measure that would intervene in the Public Service Board's review of a proposed utility merger. Critics of the deal between Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service have focused on $21 million in ratepayer funds that bailed CVPS out of financial trouble a decade ago.

A Rutland newspaper publisher is throwing his hat into the ring in the race for governor. According to the Rutland Herald, Roy Newton will challenge state senator Randy Brock in the Republican primary. Newton publishes both the Rutland Sun and the Lakeside News. He has never held elected office.

The 2012 road construction season is off to an early start thanks to warmer than usual winter. Work on Route 302 in Barre is the largest and most disruptive project in progress in the state and will continue through the summer. Big paving projects will also mean delays this summer on Route 7 between South Burlington and Charlotte and on Interstate 89 between Richmond and Waterbury.

The Vermont Senate has passed stage two of Vermont's push to get as close as it can to a universal, single-payer health care system by late in this decade. By a 20-7 vote, the Senate approved a House-passed bill that sets up a regulated health care marketplace, or exchange, and requires employers with 50 or fewer workers to either enroll their employees in the exchange or let them do so on their own. In the House meanwhile, lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill designed to increase transparency in the health insurance industry. It requires insurers to report annually on what percentage of claims are denied and to make top executives' salaries public.

Sweet 16 doesn't just come with a driver license anymore it now comes with the ability to save a life. Vermont became the 39th state in the country yesterday that allows 16 year-olds to donate blood. The Red Cross estimates that about one thousand more people will be donating every year. According to the bill, teens will not need parental consent.

White River Junction's mail processing center is no longer on the short list for possible cuts. The news comes as the Senate is considering legislation to save the U.S. Postal Service from bankruptcy. Sen. Bernie Sanders called the announcement a major accomplishment, speaking from the Senate floor where they debated dozens of amendments to comprehensive postal reform. Sanders says he expects the Senate to pass reform by the end of business today, however the House may prove to be more of a challenge for the reform bill.

Court records say a Vermont woman charged in the death of Melissa Jenkins has provided DNA samples to police. The Caledonian-Record reports the samples were obtained from Patricia Prue at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Center on April 18th. The 33-year-old Prue and her husband, 30-year-old Allen Prue of Waterford are charged in the March 28th death of Melissa Jenkins of St. Johnsbury.

It's on to the desk of Governor Peter Shumlin for an education bill that had been sought by him and at least two predecessors. The measure changes the title of Vermont's top education officer from commissioner to secretary. The bill also allows for the governor to pick a candidate form three nominees suggested by the state Board of Education. Currently, the board picks the state's education chief.

Backers of marijuana decriminalization have failed in their effort to bring the measure to the full Vermont House for a vote. The measure had been held up in the House Judiciary Committee, with House Speaker Shap Smith opposed to it. The bill called for someone caught with an ounce or less of marijuana to be punishable by a civil fine of $150.

State police say a Vermont inmate facing charges of sending threatening letters to Governor Peter Shumlin has been accused of attacking and seriously injuring another inmate in a fight. Police said 21-year-old Dakota Gardner allegedly attacked 19-year-old Ryan John on Monday inside the prison in Springfield. Correctional officers and medical staff administered life-saving measures to John, who was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

New York police are stepping up enforcement on cell phone use during their Operation Hang Up campaign. According to a press release, police issued more than 150 tickets in the first 12 hours of the campaign. The total number of tickets issued so far in Essex County this year was 46. Governor Cuomo signed a law in July 2011 making the use of a handheld electronic device a primary traffic offense. This allows law enforcement to stop motorists solely for using their cell phones. The penalty was also increased from two to three points.

The Tenth Annual North Country Spelling Bee is scheduled to take place at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake this Saturday. Registration begins at 9:30AM and the Spelling Bee begins at 10:00. Everyone is invited to join in the fun! Spellers compete in teams of two: two adults, an adult with any-age student, or two students 12 years or older. Created and organized by Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties, this event will generate proceeds through team sponsorships to fund free educational programs for adults, children, and families. If you want to have fun as a speller or sponsor other spellers, please call Literacy Volunteers at Saranac Lake, 891-5567; Port Henry, 546-3008; or Malone, 483-9366.

The Independence Petting Farm in Orwell is offering free tickets to the farm to the first 20 visitors to arrive on Saturday May 5th. The petting farm, which has all kinds of animals including goats, pigs and even a baby lamb, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm’s store also has fresh and canned goods for sale. The Independence Petting Farm is located at 134 Old Stage Road in Orwell. It is open from 8AM to 6PM every day. For more information, call 948-2429.

The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link will benefit from an all-day food event at Roots the Restaurant on Wales St. in downtown Rutland on Thursday. The event runs from 11AM to 9PM. The restaurant will donate 15 percent of sales and all tips to support Rutland Area Farm and Food Link’s work within the community. Local celebrities will be guest servers throughout the day. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 747-7414.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 24, 2012

The Town Of Middlebury will hold its Select Board meeting this evening at 7. Items on tonight’s agenda include nominations & appointments to Town Boards and Commissions, a Middlebury Business Development Fund Advisory Board Report, an appointment to the Business Development Fund Advisory Board, the Rolling Acres pavement recycling and asphalt bid approval and an update on the Fire Facilities Project. For complete details you can visit the Town Of Middlebury’s Website Select Board page.

The Crown Point Central School Board will hold special meetings this week. The first, a contractual session with the Crown Point Teachers Association, is at 6 this evening. The second one takes place at 7:45 Thursday morning in the superintendent's office. On the agenda will be the CVES budget vote and elections. The public is welcome.

Vermont State Police are investing a burglary that took place at the Bridge Restaurant in Addison on Sunday night. Suspects forced entry into the establishment and then proceeded to steal money before fleeing the scene. If you have information regarding this incident please call the Vermont State Police in New Haven. (802-388-4919)

New Haven Troopers responded to a report of an assault in Leicester late Monday night. The investigation lead to the arrest of 48-Year-Old Donald Foley on two counts of aggravated assault, unlawful mischief and interference with emergency communications. Foley and the victims, an elderly couple who reside in Leicester, began a verbal argument that became physical. Troopers were advised that Foley then left and took their phone so that they could not call for help. Foley is being held on $75,000 bail and is to be arraigned in Addison District Court this afternoon.

A route from Burlington to Middlebury has been added to the bus schedule and is up and running. The commuter bus runs Monday through Friday, four times each day and connects Chittenden and Addison counties in Middlebury, Bristol, Starksboro, Hinesburg, South Burlington, and Burlington along the Route 116 corridor. Get details and view the schedule right now at

Officials of the Vergennes American Legion Post 14 announced that the theme for this year’s Memorial Day parade, to be held on Monday, May 28, would be “Honoring Their Memory”. Legion Post 14 annually sponsors the two-mile parade and observance, the largest in the State, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Legionnaire Henry Broughton of Vergennes will chair the parade committee. This year will mark the last year that Broughton will be in charge of the parade; he will step down at the conclusion of this year’s commemoration.

The Proctor museum that tells the story of Vermont's once glorious empire of marble rock will close its doors forever this fall. According to the Owner’s the Vermont Marble Museum is going out of business due to rising electric rates. The museum is located in a wing of one of the former Vermont Marble Company buildings. Businessman and politician Redfield Proctor, who served as the company’s first president, founded the Vermont Marble Company in 1880.

The Rutland County Sheriff's Department will soon have a new home. The department has been renting a space above the city police station for about a decade but is now buying it's own location on 88 Grove Street in Rutland, which was a former TV repair shop. The Sheriff's office says they hope the new location will bring more positive visibility to the troubled neighborhood. Renovations are set to begin soon and the move should happen sometime this summer.

Five retirements and concessions on health insurance kept the tax-levy increase to 1.77 percent in the new Crown Point Central School budget. The amount to be raised by taxes in the proposed budget for 2012-13 totals $1.51 million, up from the present $1.48 million. The budget itself increased only 0.83 percent, to $6.13 million from $6.08 million. The Superintendent said they were able to keep the spending plan under the state's 2 percent tax cap. The public-information hearing on the budget is at 7PM Tuesday May 8th in the school library. The budget vote is Tuesday May 25th at the school from Noon to 8PM.

The proposed Moriah Central School budget holds a tax-levy increase to 1.95 percent. The amount to be raised by taxes went from $3.62 million this school year to $3.69 million in the 2012-13 budget, a $70,690 increase. The school stayed under the state's 2 percent tax cap, which would have been 2.36 percent for Moriah with allowed adjustments. The public information meeting on the proposed budget is at 6PM Thursday May 3rd in the school library. The budget vote is from 1 to 8PM Tuesday May 25th at the school. A scholarship fundraising spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Moriah Teachers Association will take place from 4 to 7 the same evening in the cafeteria, along with a school art show.

The Rutland Community and Economic Development Committee meets tomorrow to discuss a proposed solar power project. AllEarth Renewables, working with Green Lantern Development, has proposed putting solar collectors on the old poor farm property, which would power a number of municipal buildings. A representative of AllEarth has said the project would cost the city nothing and take an estimated $2,000 a year off its power bill. Mayor Christopher Louras has said the project should not affect the community gardens or the city’s tree nursery, both of which are located on the same property off Woodstock Avenue. The committee meeting is scheduled for 5:15PM in the downstairs conference room at City Hall.

Police in South Burlington are issuing few details in what turned into a deadly shooting Monday morning. Police say it happened outside of the City's Edge condominium and apartment complex, adding only that the victim was a man, and all known suspects are in custody. Police call the death a, quote," targeted act of violence."

Organizers say more than 550 people are signed up to attend a 2-day Maine emergency preparedness conference in Augusta. Those registered for the conference today and tomorrow include first responders, government officials, business leaders, school administrators, health and social service providers and volunteers. The emergency manager for the state of Vermont will discuss the state's response to Tropical Storm Irene last year. Hazardous materials responses workshops are also part of the agenda.

A top Vermont agriculture official says growing demand for milk by producers of Greek yogurt is good news for the state’s dairy farmers. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Diane Bothfeld says the demand from Greek yogurt producers is an opportunity that could lead to higher prices. Some producers of Greek yogurt, which is richer and takes up to five times as much milk to produce as traditional yogurt, say they are having trouble getting enough milk to meet the demand. Tom Moffit of Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro says that during the winter, when milk production is down, he couldn’t get enough milk to meet demand. Greek yogurt contains double, or even triple, the amount of protein that’s in conventional yogurt.

A debate over health care reform grew to its most passionate when Vermont senators turned to an amendment dealing with high school athletes who suffer concussions during games. Monday's debate ended with the Senate giving preliminary approval to a bill earlier passed by the House that sets up a health care exchange in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010. But the House-passed version contained a provision containing a standard saying that coaches need only to have reason to believe a student athlete has suffered a concussion before pulling him or her out of a game. Sen. Dick Sears wanted to change that standard to the coach needing to have actual knowledge. Compromise language is expected to be added before final passage of the bill.

Vermont's environment had a rough year in 2011. That's according to a report issued yesterday by the Agency of Natural Resources on the health of the state's environment. Among the findings: flooding last spring and during Tropical Storm Irene led to the highest release ever of environmentally damaging phosphorus into Lake Champlain.

Senator Bernie Sanders says geothermal energy is helping heat more Vermont homes, businesses and schools. Sanders, an independent, outlined some of the successes of geothermal heating projects in Vermont. He says investments in geothermal energy will reduce the $350 billion a year that Americans spend to import oil from foreign countries.

Vermont is planning to expand a program that connects schools to local farms. Since 2006, the Vermont Farm to School program has provided nearly 50 Vermont schools with funding to get more nutritious food into cafeterias and nutrition and agriculture education into classrooms. Officials say a total of $200,000 in state and federal funds will allow the Vermont Agriculture Agency to expand the program over the next five years. The funding will go to schools and to support the development of regional networks and resources to evaluate the impact of the program. The Vermont Agriculture Agency says Vermont was the first state to pass legislation to make Farm to School initiatives a priority.

Crews with Burlington Electric are hitting the streets to replace meters across the city. The Smart Grid update effort kicked off yesterday morning and looks to bring new advanced meters to roughly 20-thousand customers this year. Right now meters are read once a month, but the new technology will allow the same reading to come in every 15-minutes. Some customers have privacy concerns over the technology and others are worried about exposure to the radio frequencies from the devices. Burlington stands by the technology but says those folks will be able to opt out of the new meters for a fee.

More teenagers will soon be able to donate blood in Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin will sign a bill today lowering the minimum age for donating blood to 16 in Vermont. The current minimum age is 17. Parental consent is required for 16-year-olds. The Red Cross estimates the change will add another 1-thousand donors each year.

The annual “McTeacher Night” returns to Ticonderoga Tuesday, May 1st. Ticonderoga Central School teachers will work at the local McDonald’s that night with all restaurant proceeds going to refurbish the kindergarten playground. Teachers will be flipping burgers and cooking fries from 4:30 to 7PM. The owner has agreed to donate all profits from the “McTeacher” event to the playground fund. This is the third annual “McTeacher Night.” Last year the event raised about $5,000 for the elementary school playground project, which is separate from the kindergarten playground.

Local New York law enforcement will be teaming up with The Prevention Team to help dispose of old prescriptions. The Essex County Sheriff’s Department, Ticonderoga Police Department, Lake Placid Police Department, Moriah Police Department and Prevention Team will join forces as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday the 28th. Take-Back Day will take place from 10AM until 2PM. The Ticonderoga Police will host prescription take-backs at their offices, as well the Lake Placid Police Department. The Moriah Police Department will have their take-back location at the Town Hall in Port Henry, while the Sheriff’s Department will have sited at the Town of Jay community center in Au Sable Forks, Kinney Drugs in Elizabethtown and the town offices in Minerva.

He was once the face of New Hampshire and soon will be a tourist attraction once again. A memorial is opening this summer honoring the Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia Notch where the jagged stone profile collapsed almost nine years ago. A plaza being built near the site will include hundreds of stones that pay tribute to the Old Man. Seven steel rods are also being installed to give visitors a sense of what the Old Man once looked like. They say if you stand in the right spot you will able to see an outline of a profile of the Old Man as it once appeared in the Notch.

Monday, April 23, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 23, 2012

Vermont State Police have been actively investigating the theft of between approximately $12,000-$13,500 dollars of metal from a private residence in New Haven. The metal was taken to an area scrap yard and sold for a small fraction of the actual value of the property. Investigation into the matter led to the arrest of Stepfanie Williams of New Haven. Williams was cited to appear in Addison District Court for the violation of Grand Larceny and violations of conditions of release. Additional charges may be forthcoming. The property was recovered at an area scrap yard and will be returned to the owner.

Vermont State Police have made a second arrest in connection with a home invasion and burglary in Weybridge. It happened Friday morning. Police say two teens, 19-year-old Ariel Moore and 18-year-old Jessi Curavoo, entered the unlocked home of an elderly couple while the residents were still in bed. Police say they stole nearly 3-thousand dollars worth of property. Police located some of the stolen items at a pawnshop, including a collection of sterling silver.

The Town Of Middlebury will hold its Select Board meeting tomorrow evening at 7. Items on this weeks agenda include nominations & appointments to Town Boards and Commissions, a Middlebury Business Development Fund Advisory Board Report, an appointment to the Business Development Fund Advisory Board, the Rolling Acres pavement recycling and asphalt bid approval and an update on the Fire Facilities Project. For complete details you can visit the Town Of Middlebury’s Website Select Board page.

More than 900 runners are expected in Middlebury the weekend of May 5th & 6th for the fourth edition of the “Middlebury Maple Run – The Sweetest Half.” This is another record year so far with an increase of approximately 100 participants from 2011’s race. With the increase of registered runners the direct economic impact of this year’s race should top $150,000 according to Addison County Chamber of Commerce president Andy Mayer. He said, “People appear to be telling their friends that the Middlebury Maple Run is a not-to-miss event.” He further noted that “based on lodging reservations runners are making a weekend trip out of the event and that’s good for many businesses in our area.” Registrations are still being accepted. Runners can register online until Thursday, May 3rd at 4 p.m. or download and mail a paper entry form. Get complete details right now at

Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center students from Automotive Technology, STEM Academy, Culinary Arts, Diesel Power Technology, Health Careers, and Industrial Design and Fabrication demonstrated their knowledge at the annual Vermont SkillsUSA competition. This year’s theme was “Champions at Work” and Hannaford students proved they are by winning various medals this year. They joined students from other Career and Technical Centers at the Sheraton Inn in South Burlington April 5th.

Marc Sherman of Hyde Park, along with William Sayre of Bristol, and Sean Walsh of Fairfield joined other Vermont business leaders last week in expressing concerns about Vermont's economic future. They appeared before a joint legislative hearing of the Vermont Senate Economic Development and House Commerce committees. More than 100 individuals representing businesses from across Vermont participated in Employer Day sponsored by the Vermont Coalition of Employment and Prosperity in Montpelier. Sayre stated that Vermont's tax burden has become one of the highest in the nation relative to income, and that our property tax structure has now become an additional income tax.

The two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded by a new regime have sued the town. The suit, filed in State Supreme Court of Essex County, asks that Glenn Russell and Ronald Clarke be restored to the Town Board of Assessment Review and that the appointments of two new members who took their places be nullified. The town will file a response to the suit by the required May 16th deadline.

Champlain Area Trails has hired Joanna Bateman to manage its communications and administration. Bateman’s responsibilities will include devising communications strategies, website renovation and streamlining organizational workflow. Bateman and her husband Bill relocated to Essex last June from the Albany area. In addition to working with CATS, she will continue operating her own business, Joanna Bateman Studios, which provides full-service graphic design and communications services to small businesses and non-profits since 1997.

Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward brought the message of the New York State budget to members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors for her final time. Sayward, who will be retiring at the end of the year, spoke at the beginning of the Department of Public Works committee meeting on April 16th. She said there has been a lot accomplished over the past year and in the new state budget, including moves to consolidate services and trim excess equipment.

Ticonderoga residents will again receive free admission to Fort Ticonderoga this season, but only after applying for an “Ambassador Pass.” Previously, local residents simply had to show a valid drivers license or other form of identification as proof of residency to gain admission to the fort. Now the “Ambassador Pass” will be required and must be obtained in advance of a visit. Children younger than age 18 will receive free admission with their parent’s pass. To secure an “Ambassador Pass” local residents should contact Fort Ticonderoga’s business office at 585-2821 or visit to download the form.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation is urging motorists to be extra careful when driving through work zones on roads and highways across the state. Vermont is participating in the National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week this week. The theme this year is "Don't Barrel through Work Zones." The construction season is getting under way early this year and there is much work to do as crews continue repairs needed after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. The agency is going to use a series of public service announcements, social media campaigns and live radio and TV to promote safety in work zones.

The unusually dry spring is leaving Lake Champlain's level near a record low - just a year after it approached the highest level on record. The National Weather Service in South Burlington says the lake had fallen to 96.04 feet above sea level as of Saturday. That's nearly the same as the mid-April low-water mark of 96.27 feet set in 1995. The U.S. Geological Survey says the lowest Lake Champlain level on record was 92.08 feet above sea level, recorded December 4, 1908.

The House may be asked this week to debate a measure that would have the Legislature direct the Public Service Board on how $21 million is repaid to customers of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation. Green Mountain Power, whose parent company is acquiring CVPS, has proposed putting $21 million into weatherization and energy efficiency, and then billing ratepayers to recoup that investment.

Legislative leaders say this session's adjournment will likely be delayed. Lawmakers had originally planned to go home this Friday but they could be in session through the first week in May. They still have to wrap up the annual state budget, a miscellaneous tax bill, the capital budget for state building projects and a measure to begin implementing health care legislation.

While Earth Day has been around since the 1970's, Putney School had its first celebration on Sunday. It actually started out as a homework assignment for 14-year-old Isabella Schultz, who thought up the event, drew up a proposal and presented it to the school administration. It featured over 22 workshops, with live entertainment and food from local vendors. Schultz says her one hope is for people to leave with the idea that one small change could better the earth.

Scat-sniffing dogs are helping scientists study moose in the Adirondacks. The dogs come from Montana and were hired by researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake in 2008 to sniff out moose droppings. The scat was then sent to a lab. Scientists say the four-year study could shed light on the genetics of the state's moose while also helping measure the size of the population. It's currently estimated that there are between 800 and a thousand moose in the Adirondacks.

The latest housing report from RE/MAX of New England shows double-digit growth in home sales in March compared to the year before in all six New England states. Home sales jumped 25% in Vermont, but median sale prices lost ground.

Police have arrested four people following an armed home invasion in Berlin. It happened at a home on the Paine Turnpike Saturday. Police say the four forced their way into a home trying to find the whereabouts of someone involved in a drug deal. Police say when the residents tried to call 911, one of the assailants pointed a gun and threatened to kill her. After vandalizing the house and taking items they fled in an SUV. All four suspects were picked up in Barre. They're due in court today.

State forest rangers would train more volunteers to help with search & rescue operations under a bill approved by the New York Senate, following unsuccessful searches for two young men in the central Adirondacks. A college student vanished in the Old North Woods in March and a restaurant worker disappeared more than a year ago. Republican Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury says when someone is missing in a remote area, it's crucial to have as many trained people as possible in the search. Her bill would establish a program in which the state trains and credentials volunteers. A similar bill is pending in the Assembly.

The Vergennes Union High School Commodore Parent Teacher Group is hosting its first fundraising event – The Trinkets & Treasures Rummage Sale - on May 5th at the VUHS Middle School Gym from 8am-2pm. This is the perfect time to do some spring-cleaning and help out the VUHS students! This sale is organized like a department store with luxury items in the Boutique section. Other departments include: Housewares, Clothing, Electronics, Furniture, Books, Media, Toys, Games, Educational Items, Camping and more. They are still accepting donations of the following items: household goods, furniture, books, collectibles, fishing and sporting gear, arts and craft supplies, newer adult and children’s clothing, shoes, boots, toys, games, jewelry, tools, and more. Items need to be in good condition and working order. They last drop off time is this Saturday from 9am-10am at the Vergennes Union High entrance. If you need to arrange a different drop off time or have large items please contact Holly Weber at 877-6858.

Google is hosting free back-to-back trainings on Google+ and Google Tools for Nonprofits on April 25th at the Ilsley Public Library. The first session, which takes place from 1 – 2PM, will be a quick walkthrough of Google’s Tools for Nonprofits. The second session from 2 – 3:30PM is focused on getting your nonprofit up to speed on Google’s new social media platform Google+. Access the links to register for each of these sessions below:
First Session
Second Session

The Ticonderoga Festival Guild will present the Curbstone Chorus of Rutland in concert this Sunday, April 29th at 3PM at the Best Western Inn and Suites in Ticonderoga. This is the group’s second appearance in Ticonderoga. They were featured on the summer concert program under the guild tent several years ago. Tickets are $10 a person with a special rate of $5 for students. More information about the group is available at

Organizers of the fifth annual Earth Fair in Poultney hope to shine a light on the town’s residents who are implementing simple and sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives. The Earth Fair will take place from 2:30 to 5 PM tomorrow at the Poultney High School gym. The event will feature approximately 52 exhibits, activities and programs including wood-fired pizza tasting, live music and tie-dyed T-shirts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 20, 2012

You can soon get aboard the cable ferry to cross Lake Champlain. The ferry links Ticonderoga and Shoreham. It takes seven minutes to cross and costs $9 per car. The ferry closes in the winter. It's set to open tomorrow for the summer and will run seven days a week.

Vermont State Police are investigating a theft of a white 1999 Dodge Passenger Van from Sanford Road in Orwell. The owner believes this van was stolen between April 11th and 18th. This van is currently registered in Vermont. The van has tinted windows. Also stolen from the property were 6 industrial size batteries. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is encouraged to call the State Police in New Haven. (802-388-4919)

Middlebury College has sent a slam poetry team of their top five poets to compete in the national competition in La Verne, CA this week. Forty schools from around the country are competing, including giant state schools, community colleges, and of course small liberal arts schools like Middlebury. The team is called Poor Form Poetry.

The Counseling Service of Addison County is proud to announce the receipt of a gold level worksite wellness award from the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. These awards recognize the employer’s efforts to encourage employee wellness. They were presented at the 2012 Worksite Wellness Conference, which took place in Burlington on March 28th. CSAC’s achievements in wellness included innovative employee competitions that encouraged individual goal setting in exercise, eating healthy, and stress management. The agency also opened a 24-7 employee fitness center in 2011.

CVPS Cow Power™ will be a topic of discussion on a new PBS series, ‘America Revealed.” The Blue Spruce Farm, the first CVPS Cow Power™ farm producer, will be featured during the series’ third episode, which is scheduled to air on PBS/Vermont Public Television next Wednesday April 25 at 10PM. The show is titled “Electric Nation.” PBS host Yul Kwon visited the Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, where co-owner Marie Audet showed him how Cow Power supplements energy on their farm and at local residences. The ‘American Revealed’ series aims to help “viewers discover and appreciate the vast infrastructure that makes our modern lives possible.”

Residents in Pittsford have urged the town’s elected officials to do their research on the proposed wind project and make sure they protect the interests of the taxpayers throughout the proceedings. Several Pittsford and Florence residents voiced their concerns to the Select Board this week regarding the proposed 20-turbine wind farm on Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline. Residents are asking town officials to protect the rights of landowners in the area and make sure they bring a property value agreement to the table at every point of the proceedings. A petition is being circulated that would make sure town officials present the property value guarantee to the developer.

College students and recent post grads looking for valuable experience working with sports and recreation, people with disabilities and/or non-profit management may wish to apply to one of the many internships that Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports has available this summer. The internships are important to successfully run the largest year-round disabled sports non-profit organization in the state, and Vermont Adaptive's staff is seeking individuals with a diverse talent background. Interested students should visit

Brandon Music on Country Club Road in Brandon will present Vermont pianist Chris Bakriges with vibraphonist Mark van Gulden this Sunday at 7PM. Chris has been admired as an “adventurous pianist” by jazz legend Anthony Braxton. The concert is a part of the year-round weekly “Sunday Jazz” series hosted in the intimate Brandon Music Café. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $18 at the door. Doors open at 6:15. For more information and to pre-register visit

A Proctor man lost his life after crashing his car into a Rutland church. It happened just after 11PM Wednesday. Police say 22-year-old Christopher Loso drove north on Cottage Street, crossed Williams Street, and then slammed into the front steps of the United Methodist Church. Loso was not breathing when rescue crews arrived and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The cause of the accident is under investigation, but police say they found no evidence of braking or an attempt to avoid the crash.

A Vermont jury has convicted a woman of selling 10 bags heroin to someone who was co-operating with the Vermont Drug Task Force. Tiffanie Felix, formerly of Rutland, was convicted following a 2-day trial. Police said she sold the heroin for $150. Police from Rutland and Springfield joined Law enforcement officers from the state in the investigation. Felix awaits sentencing. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Vermont Department of Labor says that unemployment checks are being delayed this week. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the checks were supposed to be in the mail by 3:30 Thursday afternoon, but a "significant error" was discovered and the checks had to be reissued. Most recipients of unemployment insurance checks should now receive them on Saturday, although some could be delayed until Monday. People who receive unemployment payments electronically are not affected by the problem. Officials did not describe the problem.

A helicopter has been hovering over several communities in Rutland County. According to the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, the chopper is looking for Bigfoot. The Animal Planet program "Finding Bigfoot" is filming an episode in the area and has been trying to gather aerial footage of the area. There's no word yet on when it’s set to air.

FEMA is pitching in to help pay for repairs to a heavily used railroad bridge in White River Junction. VTrans bridge number 501 almost collapsed during Irene after it support beams washed away in the flooding. Underwater welding teams and multiple construction crews fixed the bridge in September, and the project ended up costing almost $15 million. Now FEMA has announced it will pitch in $11 million to help defray the costs.

It's back to the old rulebook when it comes to working on rivers and streams in Vermont. Since Irene hit last August, emergency rules allowed the state to eliminate the comment period when reviewing a permit to alter a waterway. The state was still approving projects, but those decisions were made quickly, often over the phone. Now that the emergency is over the state is reinstituting the old rules. If you received verbal approval from a river engineer after September 3rd but have not started the work you must re-apply for a permit.

The Senate has endorsed its reapportionment map. But the proposal could face tough opposition in the House because the bill makes changes to the map that the House adopted for itself. Every ten years both the House and Senate redraw some of their district boundaries to reflect changes in population. Bennington Senator Dick Sears defended the Senate's action. But Rutland Senator Peg Flory warned that making changes to the House map could have severe consequences. The measure is scheduled to come up for final approval in the Senate today.

The Vermont House and Senate are disagreeing on whether to remove the philosophical exemption used by some parents who don't want their kids to have immunizations required to attend school, and Gov. Peter Shumlin says he's siding with the House. A bill passed by the Senate would eliminate the philosophical exemption, while the House and the governor want to maintain it. Shumlin's position runs counter to the one pushed by his health commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, earlier in the legislative session. Chen argued that vaccines are an important public health measure and that he would like to see the philosophical exemption eliminated. On Wednesday, Shumlin reiterated that he does not want to force parents to vaccinate their kids. He says he has disagreed with Chen on the issue.

The Vermont House is set to debate a resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's hotly debated Citizens United decision of 2 years ago. The amendment being considered Thursday adds a twist to the House debate. It targets the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned corporations and says they should be barred from making political campaign contributions or helping to pay for things like governors' inaugural balls. It's aimed at Green Mountain Power and its Canadian parent company, Gaz Metro.

Here’s another reason to be extremely careful around dry vegetation right now. Firefighters say a hot chainsaw on a dry field started a five-acre brush fire in St. Johnsbury. The four-alarm fire broke out in a field yesterday as a homeowner set the chainsaw down for a moment. Firefighters tell the Caledonian-Record the fire was driven by wind up a steep hill.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a comprehensive NY-Sun initiative to expand solar development in New York yesterday. According to a press release, the initiative is expected to double the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually in New York, and quadruple that amount by 2013. The program is offering $30 million and is accepting applications.

St. Mary’s School students received a sweet treat recently. The world’s largest chocolate bar visited the Ticonderoga school. Weighing 12,190 pounds the bar was produced by World’s Finest Chocolate. It is 4 feet wide, 3 feet tall and 21 feet long. It contains a whopping 1,200 pounds of almonds, 5,500 pounds of sugar, 2,000 pounds of milk powder, 1,700 pounds of cocoa butter and 1,400 pounds of chocolate liquor. It has been certified by Guinness World Records as the “World’s Largest Chocolate Bar.” Even though the students were tempted, no one got a bite. In fact, they were given a lesson in moderation. The gigantic chocolate bar is part of the “Think Big, Eat Smart” educational program that teaches students about portion control.

Spirit Airlines will add a third round-trip flight each week between Plattsburgh and Myrtle Beach starting June 14th. The company was already scheduled to start offering two weekly trips in May. The North Country Chamber of Commerce, which serves as the marketing and development organization for Plattsburgh International Airport, welcomed the announcement.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 19, 2012

Funeral services for Addison County Sheriff James Coons will be held on Monday April 30th at 11AM at Mead Chapel at Middlebury College. He passed away Monday night at his home in Middlebury. Jim had been Sheriff in Addison County for 31 years. High Bailiff, Donald M. Keeler, Jr., has assumed the duties of Sheriff. Sheriff Keeler has been a Deputy Sheriff at Addison County Sheriff’s Department for 40 years.

You are invited to join the Addison County Chamber Of Commerce today for the next after hours business mixer, which is being held at Art on Main in Bristol. The mixer takes place from 5 – 7PM. For more information click HERE.

Vermont State Police are investigating a Burglary at a private residence in Shoreham. Unknown individuals forced entry into a locked home, stole a television, and cut approximately 30 feet of copper piping from the basement area. The value of the television and piping is approximately $370. However, because the copper pipe was cut, the basement flooded causing damage and water charges estimated to be more than $1,000. Anyone with information is asked to contact Vermont State Police at the New Haven Barracks. (1-802-388-4919)

The Town Of Middlebury Business Development Advisory Board will hold a meeting on Monday afternoon at 3:30 in the Town Offices Small Conference Room. Items on this meetings agenda include the consideration of candidates for the fifth position on the MBDF Board. This position is to be held by a Middlebury businessperson. A review of the adopted timeline will be discussed to determine if adjustments may be required and a review of the status of business contributions to the MBDF effort and discussion of how to assure that business contributions are fully secured before the recruitment effort begins.

Middlebury College has awarded the 2012 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching to assistant professor of mathematics, Emily Proctor. Students at Middlebury admire Proctor’s passion for teaching mathematics and her concern for undergraduates. Her service to Middlebury has included terms on the Community Council, the Athletic Policy Committee and the Faculty Council, and in 2009 Proctor and three other mathematicians from liberal arts colleges received funding from the Mellon Foundation to conduct a two-day workshop here for geometry professors.

It's the end of an era for the Foote family farm in Charlotte. They are yet another Vermont dairy farm calling it quits. In 1950 there were more than 11,000 dairy farms in Vermont. The numbers have dropped drastically in the decades since. In May of last year the state dipped below 1,000 dairy farms for the first time ever, and almost 30 farms have called it quits in the months since. Milk prices have fallen recently and are expected to fall as much as 20 percent over the next several months. Meanwhile, feed and fertilizer costs are rising or are holding steady. Another family in the area has purchased the Foote farm. They do not have plans to continue the dairy operation, but the land will remain a part of the Vermont Land Trust and will be used for agricultural purposes.

The developers of a proposed wind farm on Grandpa’s Knob hope to file a certificate of public good application with the Vermont Public Service Board later this year. Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power, said in the meantime, they would be finalizing several site studies and environmental reports including noise, visual studies and housing surveys as part of the ongoing project layout with engineers. They are also conducting ongoing negotiations with Vermont utilities for the project while planning meetings with the project’s host towns and affected residents within the next six weeks.

Coca-Cola, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and stock car racing fans in the Champlain Valley will celebrate their independence in style on Wednesday, July 4th at the first annual Coca-Cola Firecracker Twin 44s. The event is scheduled to be the only stock car race held in the area on the Independence Day holiday and will include a pair of special feature races and a massive fireworks display. The festivities will begin at a special 5PM twilight start and will conclude with a fireworks show.

Visitors to the Essex County Fair could be allowed to hoist a frosty mug of brew this year. By a 5-to-2 vote, the Public Works Committee of the County Board of Supervisors took the first step toward authorizing beer sales at the County Fair in Westport in August. Beer-tent approval will get another vote April 30 at Ways and Means, and if it passes there, a final vote at the board's May session.

The new mill manager was the old mill manager at International Paper's Ticonderoga mill. Christopher Mallon first came to Ticonderoga as mill manager in 2002. He held the position for seven years before taking that same job at the Augusta Georgia IP mill in 2009. Mallon said he missed Ticonderoga and wanted to come back. He will assume overall leadership responsibility for operations, employee engagement and financial success at the Ticonderoga mill.

When it comes to parents opting out of vaccinations for their children, Governor Peter Shumlin is changing his mind. A bill that passed in the Senate and failed in the House eliminates the philosophical exemption for parents. Shumlin originally agreed with the bill but now says parents should not be forced to vaccinate their kids.

The general election is still about six months away, but already Senator Bernie Sanders has more than three-point-six million dollars cash for his re-election campaign. That's more than Senator Patrick Leahy had at the same stage of his last re-election. Sanders raised 941-thousand, spending about a quarter million during the first three months of 2012. So far, Jack MacGovern of Windsor who is also president of the Hanover Institute is the only Republican to say publically he'll oppose Sanders.

The head of the Vermont National Guard says new fighter jets that could be based in South Burlington are likely to be "a little bit louder" than the jets now based there. Adjutant General Michael Dubie says that conclusion about the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter comes from an environmental impact statement released by the U.S. Air Force this week. A public hearing has been set on the proposal to house the new planes in Vermont is set for May 14 at South Burlington High School.

For the next six months some Vermont cellular telephone users will be able to text 911 emergency calls for help. Vermont's Enhanced 911 Board says that Verizon Wireless customers will be able to send a text message to 911 that will be answered at a public service answering point in Williston. The people who receive the messages will coordinate the emergency response with the appropriate agency. David Tucker of the Enhanced 911 Board says the trial is intended to examine use of text-to-911 for emergency situations in which someone is hearing impaired or if the caller might be placed in danger if they are overheard making a voice call. People texting 911 need to remember they must provide location information and they should not use texting slang.

More than $200,000 was awarded to Vermont farmers Wednesday. Sixteen farms received historic preservation grants to help repair and restore their properties. The award ceremony took place in the Statehouse. Organizers say this money is important to maintain Vermont's history and preserve the working landscape. Many of the farmers will be matching the grant money awarded to them by the state division of historic preservation.

Legislation giving the Governor more control over education policies is moving through the Legislature. The bill elevates the Department of Education to Agency status and makes the Secretary of Education a member of the Governor's cabinet. Currently, the commissioner of Education reports directly to the State Board of Education. Rutland senator Kevin Mullen is the chairman of the Senate Education committee. He said the bill is a way to make sure that important educational issues are discussed at the highest levels of government.

Vermont has won what state officials are calling a precedent-setting change in federal policy that will allow federal disaster relief aid to be used to pay for help received from the National Guard. National Guard units from Vermont and other states including Maine and New Hampshire helped respond to Tropical Storm Irene when it caused widespread flooding in the state in late August.

Teachers in the Franklin West Supervisory Union have agreed to a new two-year contract. The deal gives teachers an average raise of 2 percent each year with no step increases. The board will also continue paying 80 percent of the teachers' health insurance premiums. The Franklin West Supervisory Union covers schools in Fairfax, Fletcher and Georgia.

The Vermont office of the United States Attorney General is expanding its prosecution of a group of people being charged with methamphetamine crimes in the Northeast Kingdom. Prosecutors say eight more people were arrested Tuesday, bringing to 13 the number of people charged with methamphetamine related crimes in the Island Pond area that began last spring and ended in November. The indictments were issued by a federal grand jury earlier this month. The charges carry a range of penalties up to 40 years in prison. Some of the defendants have already appeared in court. Others are due in court today.

The Moriah Central School women’s choir made the big time this spring. The choir performed at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program March 21st through the 26th. The performance capped a nearly yearlong effort to raise the money needed to send the group after it was selected following an audition last spring. The Moriah choir decided to audition for the Disney program after hearing about it from students at Lake Placid Central School.

The Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union will host a First-Time Homebuyers Seminar on Thursday, April 26th at 6:30PM at the Ticonderoga High School Superintendent’s Conference Room. There is no charge for the program. Space is limited, and pre-registration for the free seminar is required. Contact TFCU at 585-6725 or visit online at to register or to speak with a TFCU loan expert.

The second annual Middlebury Bach Festival will take place April 27–29, featuring music ensemble Artek and members of the New York Baroque Dance Company. Student singers and instrumentalists from Middlebury College and regional professional musicians will also join together for a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Easter Oratorio, BWV 249. Three days of musical events will bring the College and town of Middlebury together, modeled after the way the famous organist and composer worked in Leipzig over 275 years ago. Tickets are available through the Middlebury College Box Office.

A Rutland Woman will be honored at the White House Thursday for her efforts to provide clean water to the world. Carolyn Meub led the transformation of a small rotary club project into an international charity. Pure Water for the World raised one-point-five million dollars last year, and provided water and education services to more than 400-thousand people in Haiti and Honduras. She credits donors and those she works with for the program's success.

It's a little less than two weeks until the spring turkey-hunting season gets underway. But for kids, it all begins this upcoming weekend. Youth turkey hunting weekend is this Saturday and Sunday. To be eligible, a resident or non-resident must be 15 or younger, have a hunting license and successfully completed a hunter education course. An unarmed adult who holds a hunting license and is over 18 years old must accompany the youth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WVTK Local & State News April 18, 2012

It is with sadness that we report that Sheriff James B. Coons passed away Monday night at his home in Middlebury. Jim had been Sheriff in Addison County for 31 years and was currently Vice President of the Vermont Sheriff’s Association. Addison County Sheriff’s Department and Vermont Sheriff’s Association will pass along the details of services when they are available. High Bailiff, Donald M. Keeler, Jr., has assumed the duties of Sheriff. Sheriff Keeler has been a Deputy Sheriff at Addison County Sheriff’s Department for 40 years.

More contentious negotiations between administrators and teachers may be on the horizon. Last night, representatives for nearly 200 teachers in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union declared they want a new contract by the end of the school year. The teachers are currently working under imposed conditions, after the school board and teachers failed to reach agreement on this year's contract. Board members said they're surprised by Tuesday's request. Supervisory Union Board Chairman Lanny Smith said he thinks an agreement could be reached in May. All sides maintain they'll do whatever possible to avoid the picket lines. The last day of school in the district is scheduled for June 7th. The supervisory union serves schools in Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro.

You are invited to join the Addison County Chamber Of Commerce tomorrow for the next after hours business mixer, which is being held at Art on Main in Bristol. Mingle with fellow business people in Art On Main’s store, share hors d’oeuvres, drinks, door prizes and a chance to win the Pot of Gold—now valued at $950! The mixer takes place from 5 – 7PM at 25 Main St. in Bristol. For more information and to RSVP to Sue Hoxie please click HERE.

Google is hosting free back-to-back trainings on Google+ and Google Tools for Nonprofits on April 25th at the Ilsley Public Library. The first session, which takes place from 1 – 2PM, will be a quick walkthrough of Google’s Tools for Nonprofits. These tools give nonprofits free options for technical needs and challenges that any organization might encounter. This is an ideal session for anyone managing an organization’s software and hardware use. The second session from 2 – 3:30PM is focused on getting your nonprofit up to speed on Google’s new social media platform Google+. This goes beyond traditional social media tools - increasing your org’s online visibility while also making internal discussion and collaboration a snap! This session is ideal for anybody in charge of communications and development. Access the links to register for each of these sessions:

First Session
Second Session

A special subcommittee will go on the road as soon as next week to visit nursing homes run by the three bidders for Essex County's Horace Nye Nursing Home. All three operate nursing homes in New York state, and the County Board of Supervisors appointed a five-person subcommittee this week that will begin scheduling visits to see how those facilities are operated. The subcommittee will report back on how the other nursing facilities are operated so county lawmakers can make up their minds.

Experts were on hand for a two-day leadership conference in Rutland. City Police were the students receiving advice from five different experts, from a Highway Patrol Lieutenant in Minnesota to Castleton State College President David Wolk. Interim Chief James Baker says he organized the conference as an effort to streamline the department behind one mission and one vision in advance of the hiring of a new chief. Also included in the training was a lesson on bias free policing, which was required as part of a discrimination settlement voted by the board of alderman in February.

Police have confirmed that the body found in the St. Albans city pool was that of a missing Swanton man wanted for questioning in connection with an armed robbery. Prosecutor Jim Hughes says police are investigating the pool as a crime scene. Authorities have been looking for 22-year-old Christopher Davis of Swanton who's been missing since the end of March. Davis was wanted for questioning in the armed robbery of a Swanton convenience store.

Police in Essex have arrested a man following a brutal beating. Police say they found a 52-year-old Essex Junction man severely beaten around 9 p.m. Monday in the Maple Street Park off Route 117. They have arrested 20-year-old Andrew Leblanc of Tupper Lake, New York, in connection with the attack. Police say the beating appears to be an isolated incident and they do not believe the public is in danger.

A judge has ruled that a Vermont woman charged with her husband in the killing of 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins must provide a DNA sample to police. The judge has denied Patricia Prue's motion to dismiss the request for DNA collection.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's encouraged by a vote in the U.S. Senate to modernize the U.S. Postal Service. But he says the effort to save the mail processing facility in White River Junction and rural post offices still faces several hurdles. The Senate voted 74 to 22 on Tuesday to take up the postal service legislation. Sanders helped write an amendment that creates a special commission to help the agency develop a more entrepreneurial business model. The legislation also calls for the appointment of a chief innovation officer to direct development of new products and services to strengthen the postal services' finances. The struggling postal service has agreed to delay the closing of thousands of local post offices until May so that Congress could act.

Extremely dry conditions prompted a forest fire in Brookfield. A blaze broke out shortly after 4:30 yesterday afternoon and quickly spread to a forest off Route 65 near the floating bridge and the post office. Fire officials say it engulfed about 7 acres and was put out by 6PM. The area that burned was right over a power line where fire officials say line workers were working earlier Tuesday. They believe work on that line might have caused a spark, igniting that fire.

The Senate started this week with 39 bills on its calendar, and yesterday, it dealt with 6 of them. One of the bills was the Transportation Budget for next year. It's the largest in state history because it includes an additional $100 million in federal funds to help with damages caused by Tropical Storm Irene. The Senate also voted to expand the state's ignition interlock system for drunk drivers and passed the Capital Bill for next year. This legislation contains money to build a new State Hospital in Berlin.

The United States Air Force will hold a public hearing next month on a plan to add F-35A fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington. The public has 45 days to comment on the draft environmental impact statement that was released on Friday. The Air Force is looking at several different scenarios for where the jets would be based. Burlington is 1 of 2 preferred locations. A Guard official says the jets take a minute and half to take off and a minute and a half to land twice a day as they head to and return from training elsewhere. A public hearing will be held on May 14 at the South Burlington High School.

Trader Joe's, a popular grocery chain known for funky marketing and an in-house brand of top quality products, could open its first Vermont store early next year. A South Burlington developer has filed an application with the city's Development Review Board to build a new 20,000 square foot building on Dorset Street, across from University Mall and next door to the Healthy Living Natural Food Market. The application says 13,000 square feet of the space would be leased to Trader Joe's, with the remainder available to a second tenant.

With gas prices climbing, more people are taking the train. Nationwide, the number of people who rode Amtrak between October and March climbed nearly 4 percent compared to the same period last year, and that's good news for Vermont rail lines as well. Ridership on Amtrak’s' Ethan Allen Express, which runs between Rutland and New York City, jumped 9 percent while passengers on the nearby Adirondack, between New York and Montreal, grew by 5.5 percent.

The Best Buy at Champlain Centre is not on the list of 50 stores the chain expects to close this year. The company announced back on March 29th that it planned to close 50 of its big-box stores in the United States but didn't identify which stores at that time. The only store in New York on the list released Saturday is in New York City.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting on Saturday, May 12th at 1:00 PM as part of a daylong celebration of the Ticonderoga Emergency Squad’s new facility. The new Ticonderoga Emergency Squad building is located at 118 Champlain Avenue in Ticonderoga. The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad will be hosting a variety of events on Saturday May 12th as part of Grand Celebration and Open House for their new facility. Events include a Mass Causality Incident (MCI) Drill at 10:00 AM near their facility, a ribbon cutting, a free Community BBQ including hotdogs and hamburgers as well as a Basket Raffle and 50/50 Raffle following the ribbon cutting. For additional information click HERE.

Starting Over Strong, a federally funded crisis support program run out of Washington County Mental Health Services, is inviting people affected by Tropical Storm Irene to share their stories Thursday at the Wellness Center on South Main Street in Rutland. The event, scheduled for 3PM, is designed to let flood survivors meet others from their community and will feature a “story circle” open to people who were in the flood, helped others in the flood or had family affected by the flood. For more information visit

Dartmouth College has appointed an interim president, a day after President Jim Yong Kim's election to lead the World Bank. The Dartmouth Board of Trustees named Provost Carol Folt as the interim president of the College. Folt will begin July 1st. Kim will remain Dartmouth’s president until then, leading Dartmouth through the conclusion of the academic year and Commencement.

There's something about the comfort and security of living in a small town. Vermont has a lot of them, but one in particular stands out, and is listed on Smithsonian Magazine's top 20 small towns in America list. Brattleboro was ranked number 11, and with good reason. The writer of the article called it a "hidden artistic haven" with plenty of artists, galleries and museums. And, there are abundant festivals, including Brattleboro Music Center's Northern Roots festival.