Monday, January 14, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 14, 2013

The Addison County Chamber Of Commerce After Hours Business Mixer is coming up this Thursday.  January’s mixer is hosted by the Rikert Nordic Center. Come early at 4 PM and enjoy an hour of free skiing. Rentals are free too if you don’t have your own equipment.  The mixer will take place from 5 – 7PM.  For more information or to RSVP to see just visit the Chamber Website.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce “January After Business Mixer” will be held this Thursday at Dunkin Donuts of Ticonderoga from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. Dunkin Donuts is located on Wicker Street in Ti.  Sponsors providing door prizes will be Eddie’s Restaurant, Swift Maintenance and the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Dunkin Donuts of Ticonderoga offers the freshest in coffee and baked goods daily. The staff at Dunkin Donuts invite you to stop by today and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee, relax by the fireplace, and connect to free Wi-Fi.  Although an RSVP is not required, they are appreciated and can be made by contacting the Ti Chamber Office.  Just visit for details! 

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Open House with the North Country Small Business Development Center tomorrow.  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 he Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce office.  In addition 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 tomorrow. 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

Monkton residents met last Thursday night to voice their growing displeasure with the proposed natural gas pipeline expansion project that could run through the middle of town.  Upwards of 80 people gathered at the Monkton fire station to meet with representatives from Vermont Gas Systems in a meeting that company official’s hope will start the dialogue to resolve issues. The Burlington-based company has proposed laying a gas pipeline through several towns in Chittenden and Addison counties. The $72 million project, known as the Addison Natural Gas Project, would connect the pipeline that enters Vermont at Highgate and extend it south to Middlebury and eventually Rutland.  Meanwhile the company is meeting with state regulators later this month to discuss rerouting the project and hopes to have representatives from Monkton at the table.

The Moriah Volunteer Fire Department held a special tour for the Moriah Girl Scouts. Troop 3163 visited the fire department last Tuesday to learn about fire safety at home. The Scouts also learned about the job of a firefighter and how they keep people safe.  The Fire Chief showed the scouts the firehouse equipment, thermal-imaging cameras, the turn out gear for emergency response and did demonstrations on how the equipment is used.  According to the troop leader the visit to the firehouse was one of many steps the scouts must complete to earn the Bronze Award, the highest award the troop is eligible for at their age level.

A meeting that will address the New Russia Post Office’s fate is coming up this week.  The upcoming session when the U.S. Postal Service will inform patrons of intentions to reduce hours and invite input is set for noon Friday, along with meetings at 1:30 PM in Mineville and 3 PM in Moriah Center. In 2011, Essex County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing the possible closing of post offices in New Russia, North Hudson, Moriah Center, Schroon Lake and Keene Valley.

According to County officials paperwork finalizing the sale of Horace Nye Nursing Home will be signed any day now.  The County Board of Supervisors voted last June to sell the 100-bed facility to the Centers for Specialty Care of the Bronx for $4.05 million.  But legal issues have held up the actual signing of the sales agreement. After the contract is signed, the next step is application to the State Department of Health to transfer the operating license to the Centers for Specialty Care.

Ward Lumber in Jay is hosting a free Equine Night on Tuesday, February 19th from 6:30 to 9:00 PM for equine enthusiasts.  Seminar topics include the economics of feeding horses and the role of protein in their diet. There will also be a question-and-answer session.  The event is free, and there will be prize drawings, pizza and refreshments. To register, go to or call Kim at 946-2110, Ext. 120.

Jazz returns to the Brandon Music Café this Thursday! Brandon Music will host the pianist and composer Kenny Werner at 7:30 PM. General Admission is $15 and reservations are encouraged. A dinner & show package is available for $30.  Kenny Werner's influence on the musical community is unsurpassed. A Guggenheim Fellowship Award-winner and celebrated recording artist he has impacted an entire generation of musicians. His compositions and dynamic live performances have impacted audiences around the world for more than 30 years. For reservations call Brandon Music @ (802) 465-4071.

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is questioning who's going to pay for Gov. Peter Shumlin's proposals for improving the state's education system. It cites the governor's proposal that some of the money for expanded childcare he's seeking will come from the state education fund, which is raised from property taxes and supports the statewide school funding system. The governor also wants to make free school lunches available to more low-income students, and allow high school seniors to start college early.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says grant money is available to improve shooting ranges in the state. Shooting clubs, sportsmen's groups and operators of shooting ranges, including archery ranges, have until January 31st to apply for the funding. The grant program - which provides 75% reimbursement and requires a 25% non-federal match from the recipient - was created in 2010 to improve shooting ranges and enhance their safety and operation.

There are big plans for online development in Vermont this year and thanks to Senator Patrick Leahy rural communities now have a boost in funding to help develop more online resources.  The Economic Development award was helped secured by senator Leahy and it will be going to the Vermont Council on Rural Development to help online resources during disasters like Tropical Storm Irene. The $1.8 million grant will help businesses’, non-profits and local communities develop online resources after devastating storms.

During the first week of Vermont's legislative session ways and means members heard from state financial leaders about why they're projecting an increase to next years property tax.  Leaders say it's because of education.  Even though the state is losing students, its costs keep rising.  The problem mainly lies with teacher salaries and that's forcing school spending to rise by nearly 5% next year.  To make up the difference lawmakers are considering increasing property taxes statewide by 5-cents per $100 dollars of assessed value.

A nonprofit organization that helps women find meaningful and well-paying jobs is partnering with Comcast on a technician pilot training program. Vermont Works for Women is hoping to attract 10 women to train for a field technician career in the telecommunications industry.  Comcast approached the organization last year to increase the number of women who work as field technicians. Step Up to Telecommunications is a six-week, 80-hour program. The team of instructors will include Comcast senior technicians and staff.

A federal appeals panel in New York is poised to hear arguments today over whether Vermont's only nuclear power plant can continue to operate without approval from state regulators.  The case has drawn attention across the country since last year. A federal judge ruled that the plant could continue to operate even without state approval.   State approval expires March 21.  The Vermont Yankee plant has operated since 1972. It produces one-third of the electricity consumed by Vermont. Utilities in neighboring states buy about 45% of the power generated by the station.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has declared a public health emergency for New York State because of the severity of the flu season. Cuomo made the announcement Saturday. His executive order allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between 6 months and 18 years of age. The order also suspends for the next month the section of State Education Law limiting the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents only to individuals 18 years of age or older.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer says retailers that sell assault weapons should stop offering them for purchase while Congress discusses gun regulation legislation.  Yesterday Schumer released a letter he sent to major retailers asking for a voluntary moratorium.  The New York Democrat says consumer demand for guns has gone up in the weeks since the December mass shooting in Newtown, CT. President Barack Obama has made gun control a top priority. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to give him a comprehensive package of recommendations for curbing gun violence this week.

The vast majority of New York school districts have beaten the January 17th deadline for adopting a state-approved teacher evaluation plan.  Those that don't, risk losing their share of a 4% increase in state education aid.  Education Commissioner John King says that as of Friday, the department had approved 637 plans. Forty-seven districts were awaiting approval but seven districts - including New York City - had yet to submit a plan.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he won't extend Thursday's deadline.  Evaluations are based in part on how students score on standardized tests.

The January thaw in New England has even reached New Hampshire's Mount Washington, which recorded the all-time warmest temperature ever for the month.  Margaret Curtis from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, says the temperature at the Mount Washington observatory hit 48 degrees at 6 AM Sunday, making New England's tallest mountain warmer than Phoenix and San Diego for a brief spell.  The previous record warmth for the month atop Mount Washington was 47 set on Jan. 20, 1995.  Curtis says temperatures will begin cooling across the region to more seasonable temperatures starting Monday, with the possibility of a shot of extreme cold Friday into Saturday.

Cold water rescue crews saved the day when they saved the lives of several ice fishermen who fell into Lake Champlain.  Authorities say at first, a family of three fell in, and then when two other fishermen tried to help, they plunged through as well, with the ice only being about an inch thick.  They were all in the water for a little over a half hour before rescue crews got them out and to medical centers for treatment.

The Burlington International Airport now has what a lot of airports don't have: a yoga studio.  There's no charge to use the room, which has pillows, mats, and even instructions if you've never practiced yoga before.  Airport Director Gene Richards says it's what customers told airport administrators they very much needed and wanted.  Airport employees are also welcome to use the yoga studio, giving them a place to de-stress.

A former state trooper facing criminal charges is in court today.  James Deeghan is accused of stealing more than 200-thousand dollars from the state by padding his time sheets.  Deeghan originally pleaded not guilty on two felony counts, and is expected to change that today as part of a plea-bargain, and could face more charges today.

The deadline is approaching to register for a business plan competition aimed at expanding farm, food and forestry businesses in Vermont.  Vermont Technical College and Strolling of the Heifers are putting on the competition. The deadline to register is February 5th.  All applications must involve some aspect of farming, forestry or food processing, distribution, packaging or retailing, including restaurants.  Finalists will be picked by March 20 and have until May 22 to prepare detailed business plans.   Contestants can register and find rules and information online at

Adirondack Park Agency scientists say plastic mats used to smother Asian clams in Lake George are damaging the lake's shoreline ecosystem by killing native plants and animals. According to The Glens Falls Post-Star, the agency is allowing the mats only in sites smaller than 3 acres.