Thursday, December 20, 2012

WVTK Local & State News December 20, 2012

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 tomorrow 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.

Otter Creek Brewing Company has earned the honor to be designated as a "SHARP Company." They are only the ninth company in Vermont to receive such an award and only the fourth brewery nationwide to achieve this recognition.  SHARP, the Safety Health Achievement Recognition Program, is a national program implemented by states under the Federal OSHA. The award recognizes high-hazard businesses with exemplary safety and health management programs.  Vermont is now home to two breweries that have achieved this status, with Long Trail Brewing Co. in Bridgewater Corners having been designated a "Sharp Company" in 2010. Otter Creek will receive their SHARP flag at an open house event today.

On Monday at approximately 12:30 AM Vermont State Police troopers were advised about a family fight which took place at an apartment building on Route 22A in Shoreham. Police said that 27-year-old Jason A. Gagnon of Bomoseen, attempted to force entry into an apartment by punching and kicking the door in an attempt to come into contact with two females inside it.  Police allege Gagnon vandalized the female's vehicle.  An arrest warrant was requested for Gagnon and has not been located.

The Board of Trustees of Ilsley Public Library will have a vacancy in March for a five-year term.  The Board of Trustees has five members and sets library policies, oversees long range planning, advocates for the library, and promotes its use.  According to library director David Clark the board works with the Middlebury Select Board to provide appropriate funding.  Persons interested in serving are invited to run for the board at the March town elections.  All candidates must be registered voters in the Town of Middlebury.  A petition is required with signatures of thirty registered Middlebury voters. The petition may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s office or the library and must be submitted to the Town Clerk by January 28th.

The decision date on nominees to replace Rutland Democratic Sen. William Carris has been set.  Kathy Hall is the chairwoman of the Rutland County Democrats and says the party delegates for the county Senate district will meet at 6:30 PM January 2 in Rutland Regional Medical Center’s Leahy Center.  Delegates from Rutland County towns with the exception of Mount Holly, which was attached to Windsor County in the recent redistricting, will pick up to three names to forward to the governor.

A very key component in Ticonderoga Downtown Revitalization is now in place.  North Country Community College and Jasama LLC, an independent real estate development firm, have agreed on a deal to build dormitory/study “cluster” student housing along Montcalm Street.  This project will have an impact on both Ticonderoga and the school.  NCCC wants to expand their Ti Campus in both student body size and academic offerings.  The campus currently hosts approximately 150 students, but could double that student body if housing was available. Under the agreement, Jasama will create dormitory suites for 16 students in the upper level of what is known as the Huestis Building, next door to Sunshine Laundry, in time for the 2013 Fall Semester.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that $738 million has been awarded through Round Two of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.  The goal of the program is to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to put New Yorkers back to work and rebuild our economy.  There are 725 projects that will benefit from this funding including $1.75 million for International Paper to convert existing power plant from heating fuel to natural gas including equipment modifications for new natural gas line, or use of liquefied natural gas to support the long-term stability of this major manufacturing operation.

Essex County Manager Daniel Palmer may not be leaving his job after all.  On Tuesday, he told department heads that he was reconsidering retiring from the post he’s held since 2008.   County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas said Palmer had filed his retirement forms with the state but never gave the county an official letter of resignation, which would have to be retracted if he stayed. 

Moriah Central School students prepared for Christmas by celebrating Polar Express Day.  Kindergarten students made gingerbread trains with family members in the morning. That afternoon they viewed “The Polar Express” in the school auditorium on a big screen with surround sound. The story has inspired many communities to actually create “Polar Express” trains that provide rides to children during the holiday season. The Saratoga-North Creek Railroad offers a “Polar Express” leaving the Saratoga Springs station.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he will not take over as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a spot that opened up this week with the death of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye.  Leahy said in a statement Wednesday that he has chosen to remain as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He says staying in that position while maintaining his seniority on Appropriations "will allow me to protect both the Constitution and Vermont." Leahy has taken over as president pro tem of the Senate, a position that puts him third in the line of presidential succession.

The United States government says it's not going to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing a woman as part of a drug deal in southern Vermont.  During a Wednesday court hearing in Rutland, federal prosecutors said they would not pursue the death penalty against 30-year-old Frank Caraballo, of Holyoke, MA.

The FBI has ruled out serial killer Israel Keyes in the disappearance of Vermont teenager Brianna Maitland in 2004.  Keyes, who committed suicide in jail on charges of killing an Alaska woman, confessed to the 2011 murders of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, and as many as five unnamed victims, four in Washington state and one on the East Coast.

Police in Vermont have arrested two women on a charge of robbing a South Burlington gas station. Police allege the women told the clerk at the Jolley Mobil on Shelburne Road Tuesday night they were armed with a knife and left with cash and multiple cartons of cigarettes. No weapon was shown. Officers from South Burlington and Shelburne responded to the report of a robbery at about 11 PM Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected buyouts for 33 Vermont properties damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and spring flooding last year. Irene Recovery Officer Sue Minter says the state may appeal in some of the cases. She also says the state is pulling together a team to look at alternative funding sources to help these homeowners.

The East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network recently raised $475,000 in capital from 45 different investors to help expand high-speed technology services to rural homes and small businesses.  The new investments will allow expansion of a high-speed fiber-optic network into un-served areas of Chelsea, Vershire, Thetford, Norwich, Tunbridge, Strafford, Bethel, Sharon and Woodstock.  ECFiber is extending its network in phases as funds become available.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says more than 2,100 more accounts of registered sex offenders have been purged from online gaming platforms as part of an initiative to keep them from contacting children. In April, the Attorney General's office said several big gaming companies agreed to eliminate the accounts of convicted sex offenders registered in New York, resulting in 3,500 cancellations.

The state isn't taking it very well that FEMA won't foot the entire bill for larger and stronger culverts, after losing more than two-thousand of them to Tropical Storm Irene and spring flooding last year.  That can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for each small town, as it collectively adds up to about ten-million dollars.  The state appealed this week to FEMA headquarters in Washington, using the situation in Townshend as a test case, where Dam Road culvert washed downstream and was beyond repair.

A truck driven by a Vermonter triggered a massive chain-reaction crash on Long Island, New York.  Suffolk County police say the tractor-trailer rig driven by Raymond Simoneau of Rockingham struck several cars on the Long Island Expressway, and that quickly grew into a 35-vehicle pile-up. One woman lost her life and 33 other people hurt.  The expressway was shut down in both directions for several hours, with the eastbound lanes closed overnight.  Simoneau was not hurt and has not been charged.

Chester artist Barre Pinske was inspired by the words of President Obama to the town of Newton, Connecticut, and felt compelled to make a broken heart in tribute to the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook School last week.  Pinske carved it out of pinewood, and etched the names of the victims on the side, finishing it in red and placing it on a pedestal.  After leaving it out in front of the Chester Bank for the community to sign, he plans to take it to Newtown this morning.  Pinske says it's helping him process his own emotions so he can move on, and hopes it helps others do the same.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to make the DMV more customer-friendly.  Cuomo is moving forward with a proposal he hopes will end the usual thought process of the DMV being a horrific, unfriendly, time-consuming place to ever have to go.  The governor wants to see customer-service reps at DMV offices greeting motorists, along with self-serve kiosks.  The changes are aimed at slashing the average hour long wait at DMV offices in half.  Fifteen locations will implement the governor's plan this month for a test-run.

New York State tax collections through November were 163-million dollars below the state's updated estimations. The State Comptroller says the 39-point-two-billion dollars collected were also over 700-million dollars below initial estimates in April.  He says it's clear that tax collection growth is not going to meet year-end expectations amid a continued slow economic recovery.

Next summer you might see groups of people on Segways rolling around Burlington.  That's because a company, called Burlington Segways, is planning to start tours.  In Vermont, Segways are generally allowed, though towns and cities can make their own rules. Until recently, it seemed as if the City of Burlington didn't like the idea of Segway tours. If Rick Sharp gets his way, starting next spring he'll be leading Segway tours on the Burlington bike path and up through the city. "Segway tours are something that make a lot of sense at this point. There are over 200 cities in the United States that have them," says Sharp. Sharp is the co-owner of Burlington Segways and uses one because he has a hard time walking. "We want to provide access to the Burlington waterfront for disabled people. We want something that is fun," says Sharp. But not everyone is happy about Segways on the bike path. "I don't see why the next step wouldn't be say, go-carts," says Bob Herendeen, who is against the Segway tours. On Wednesday, the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department heard from people about the Segway tour plan.  Some opponents are concerned about the safety of the Segways. "They're very controllable," says Sharp. Sharp seems to have won over critics in Burlington. The parks department has proposed a one-year trial, which appears will be approved next month.

Vermont wildlife workers say an owl is lucky to be alive after crashing into the grill of a moving vehicle.  A state biologist says last week a driver hit the animal on a back road in Addison and drove eight miles to work where he called wildlife officials.  After freeing the bird wildlife leaders say they released it back into the wild.  That's something they say usually doesn't happen because a crash like that would normally kill the animal.