Monday, December 17, 2012

WVTK Local & State News December 17, 2012

The Middlebury Select Board will meet tomorrow evening at 7 in the Main Conference Room of the Town Offices.  Items on the agenda include Reports from various committees including the Recreation and Town Steering Committee. Adoption of the National Flood Insurance Program Regulations will take place.  The Vermont Gas Systems' Request for Letter of Support for the Addison Natural Gas Project will be addressed.  There will also be reports on various projects and a discussion of the FY14 Budget, including the responses to date from Department Heads, the Estimated Grand List & the Revised Schedule.  To view the complete agenda just visit the Town’s Website.

Middlebury College has teamed up with two other liberal arts institutions, Williams and Connecticut colleges, to lead a three-year initiative that will implement strategies they hope will accelerate recruitment in liberal arts schools.  The project, known as Creating Connections Consortium, or C3, will target faculty with historically underrepresented backgrounds. The three colleges will play host to three to four two-year post-doctoral fellows to immerse them in a liberal arts environment. The C3 initiative is funded by a $4.7 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A fourth host college will be added during the second year of the project. The first C3 summit is scheduled for fall 2013 with the first fellowships starting up in spring 2014.

Vermont State Police are currently investigating a burglary in Cornwall.  Susan Burdick discovered that several pieces of jewelry had been stolen from her residence. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police in New Haven at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted online at or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.

You are invited to join the Addison County Chamber Of Commerce for the December after hours mixer which will be held at the Waybury Inn on Thursday December 20th from 5 – 7PM. Joe & Tracey always treat everyone who attends very well!  As in past years, donations will be collected for a local non-profit. This year the recipients are HOPE and Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation. Please bring two (2) food items or you can pay the usual mixer admission fee, which will be donated to Helen Porter.  For more information and to RSVP to Sue just visit the Chamber’s Website.

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Quintet and Counterpoint Holiday Concert will ring in the season at the Congregational Church in Brandon on Monday, December 17th at 7:00 PM. The concert is a joint benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of Brandon and the Benjamin White Memorial Scholarship Fund at Otter Valley Union High School. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for students and seniors 65 and over, and free for children under age 18 with an adult ticket purchase. Tickets are available at the Brandon and Pittsfield branches of Lake Sunapee Bank and the Boys and Girls Club of Brandon, and by telephone at the VSO office.  For more information, or a complete listing of forthcoming VSO events, please call (800) VSO-9293, ext. 10, or visit

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Open House with the North Country Small Business Development Center on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  Services provided by the North Country SBDC will be available at the Chamber office typically on the second Tuesday of each month. The open house will be from 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM at the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce office.  In addition on the 15th from 8:00 – 9:30 AM the Chamber in coordination with the North Country Small Business Development Center and Mannix Marketing will host a Business Seminar entitled Facebook 101. This seminar will cover the basics of setting up a Facebook page for your business or organization as well as using Facebook in your marketing plan. Refreshments for this seminar will be provided compliments of Dunkin Donuts of Ticonderoga.  For more information just visit

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce is working to improve their community calendar of events in order to become the central calendar for the area. TACC is looking for area businesses, organizations, and committees to share their event information as well as a schedule of upcoming special events. The calendar will serve as the central location for community members and visitors in finding events within the area as well as a referencing tool used when planning future events in the Ticonderoga area. While individual events are encouraged to be submitted to the community calendar, organizations can also submit their yearly schedule of events. Events can be submitted by emailing or visiting the Chamber office in Downtown Ticonderoga.  For additional information regarding the Community Calendar of Events visit, the Chamber’s Facebook page or call 518-585-6619.

The Chilson Volunteer Fire Company will hold its 35th annual dinner dance Saturday, February 9th, at 5:30 PM at the EMA on Maplewood Lane in Ticonderoga.  Proceeds of the dinner dance will help Chilson Volunteer Fire Department purchase a federally mandated radio system.  The Chilson fire department will receive some equipment from Essex County, but will need at least $16,000 of its own funds for additional radios, conversions and installations.  Tickets for the dinner dance are on sale now for $15. For more information e-mail or visit the department on Facebook at Chilson Volunteer Fire Department.

Kevin Buch, the field engineer with Flatiron Construction, recently accepted the 2012 Jeffrey J. Zogg Build NY Award for Flatiron’s work on the Lake Champlain Bridge. The award was presented at the Associated General Contractors of New York State 26th annual statewide Construction Industry Conference held in Saratoga Springs. The new bridge both preserves the historic integrity and aesthetic quality of the original bridge, while incorporating features that will contribute to a 75 to 100-year design life. 

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras has told the Board of Aldermen that significant cuts to water and sewer are going to involve personnel.  The Mayor and the Public Works Commissioner have provided a list of prioritized cuts ahead of this week’s Public Works Committee meeting on the water and sewer budget. The list was assembled in response to a request to show how a proposed increase in water rates could be cut from 6.6 percent to zero.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand along with Sen. Olympia Snowe is leading a bipartisan coalition of senators in urging Agriculture Committee leaders to keep a key dairy pricing reform amendment in any final Farm Bill agreement. The Snowe-Gillibrand amendment that was included in the Senate Farm Bill would jump-start the process to bring certainty for the nation’s dairy farmers by stabilizing milk pricing. It has passed the full Senate as part of the 2012 Farm Bill.

Delegates to the New York Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting cast their ballots recently in Albany to elect their representation on the state’s Board of Directors. It culminated a three-day-long meeting where resolutions were discussed and voted on to set NYFB’s 2013 policy agenda.  Dean Norton, who has served as president of New York Farm Bureau for the past four years, was re-elected to a third two-year term.

Andrea Mead Lawrence’s name will soon be on Pico Mountain Ski Resort’s newest building, but until then it adorns a sign on a fence.  Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports and the Pico Ski Education Foundation officially announced Saturday that their new facility at Pico would be named in honor of Lawrence, Olympic gold medalist and daughter of the ski area’s founders. Work on the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge is scheduled to begin in April.

Cold weather makes electric cars ineffective because their batteries run out quickly, but students at Green Mountain College have built a new garage that should help. On Friday afternoon Twenty-one students of the Renewable Energy and Ecological Design course unveiled a solar-powered garage that will house an electric vehicle used by the school as part of its fossil fuel-free commitment. The students were charged with creating a charging station for the electric vehicle that would also keep the car warm during cold winter days.

Vermont State Police say five people suffered minor injuries in a chain-reaction crash on Route 103 in Shrewsbury.  Police say 3 of the vehicles were moving during the crash at about 2:45 Saturday Afternoon while five parked vehicles were hit by others involved in the crash.  Police say a northbound vehicle crossed the centerline, hitting a southbound car. The crash caused a chain reaction involving another moving vehicle and five vehicles parked at a car dealership.  A motorist in one of the moving vehicles had to be freed from her car by emergency personnel.

House Speaker Shap Smith says he has his own misgivings, but he won't block the Vermont House from debating decriminalization of marijuana. Governor Peter Shumlin supports decriminalization and has argued that he does not want to see young Vermonters' future job prospects be harmed by getting arrested for small amounts of marijuana.

Two Vermont hospitals that affiliated a year ago say they've been able to realize more than $1 million in cost savings in the first year of their partnership. Fletcher Allen Partners, the parent corporation of Burlington's Fletcher Allen Health Care and Berlin's Central Vermont Medical Center, say they've been able to save money on purchasing supplies and on human resources.

Several Vermont individuals and groups are being honored for their work to promote and take care of trees in their communities. The tree steward awards went to Susan Smith of Charlotte, the city of Montpelier, the Dummerston Conservation Commissioner, Will Sightler and Polly Thompson of Rockingham.

A driver lost his life after a head-on collision in Killington.  The name of the 47-year-old man from Starksboro has not yet been released, but authorities confirm the crash was on Route 4 near the Killington Skyeship gondola.  The driver of the other vehicle, Earl Smith of Loudon, New Hampshire was airlifted to a hospital and is now listed in stable condition.  The cause of the crash is under investigation, but state police say at this point it appears alcohol was a factor.  Full and empty beer containers were found in the cab of the Dodge pickup driven by the Starksboro man.

The mayor of Winooski is going to talk publicly today about his F-35 experience last week.  Mayor Mike O'Brien joined Governor Peter Shumlin and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger on a one-day trip to Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, for a first-hand experience hearing F-35 fighter jets.  The Air Force wants to base the planes with the Vermont Air National Guard, and some opponents say the newer jets are also much noisier.  So far, O'Brien has not given his support to either side of the argument, but will give his impressions later today to the city council.

It's the 17th of December, and many Vermonters are finally seeing some good accumulations of snow.  The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers is eager to get started with some sledding, and says the trail season is now here.  Considering how bad it was last year, any snowfall is welcomed and considered encouraging.  The trail season kicked off Sunday.  A study by the association estimated snowmobiling brings close to half a billion dollars to the state's economy each year.

The skies may be dark today with storm clouds, but a commissioning ceremony is marking the formal opening of its first solar project in Rutland.  The 150-watt solar farm off Cleveland Avenue is located at the former city landfill.  Green Mountain Power says contractors and students from Stafford Technical Center who worked on the project will join city and utility officials for the event.  It's just the beginning, according to utility and municipal leaders in Rutland.  Construction for a larger solar farm in the town begins next fall.

Three Vermonters are planning to gather to cast the state's three votes in the Electoral College that will formally elect President Barack Obama to a second term.  Today is the day when the state's three members of the Electoral College - the national body that actually elects the president and vice president - meet at the Statehouse.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is demanding that the federal government tighten the nation's gun laws in the wake of the school incident in Connecticut.  Cuomo says the unspeakable tragedy is every parent's worst nightmare, caused by mental health problems and a culture of violence.  The governor also says it is a gun control issue, and that federal gun laws don't make sense.  Cuomo says the nation can do a better job, but admits the politics of the country make change difficult.

The Vermont Department of Mental Health is offering any help for those troubled by the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.  The department of Mental Health says with the tragic shootings in Connecticut, children will be understandably troubled when they hear this kind of news. Talk to them and let them know that everyone in the community is working together to make sure that they and their families and pets are safe.  To help adults talk with children about such tragedies, they offer guidance on their website, or dial 2-1-1 for help.