Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 16, 2013

The Addison County Chamber Of Commerce After Hours Business Mixer is coming up tomorrow.  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 tomorrow 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 Compass Music and Arts Center is a new organization, situated in the former Building K of the Brandon Training School in Park Village, Brandon. As part of its community-based and educational programs, CMAC plans to develop a small, permanent exhibit about the history of the Training School and especially the history of Building K. However, this won’t be possible without the personal stories, memories, and artifacts of those who were connected with the site. They are looking for former employees, students and residents, Brandon community members, and anyone else who would like to contribute, to contact them so that they may portray the school accurately with first-hand accounts.  CMAC is being developed by the nonprofit organization Compass Music and Arts Foundation Inc. and Diversions LLC, which operates the Brandon Music Café on Country Club Road.  To share your memories, photographs, and artifacts, please contact Kathryn Marshall at 802-247-4295 or

Vermont State Police announced Tuesday it has completed the move into its satellite office in Fair Haven after officially closing the Castleton Outpost after more than 30 years.  The Commander of the Rutland barracks said the troopers began moving into their new space in the Fair Haven Police Department late last week and that the outpost is basically empty. The outpost, located near the Castleton Four Corners, played host to the State Police for more than 30 years. People can continue to contact state troopers for nonemergency situations in the western part of the county at 468-5355. Emergency calls, as always, should be made to 911.

In coordination with Winter Fest 2013 the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce is promoting Ticonderoga Area businesses that will be offering promotions the day of the event. The Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership plans Winter Fest with support from the Ticonderoga Central School, Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce as well as other area organizations and businesses. Winter Fest, which is a free event, will be held Saturday, February 9th from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the Ticonderoga Recreational Fields, Ice Skating Rink and surrounding areas. The Winter Fest promotions flyer is available at the Chamber office, participating businesses, on the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, or

The American Veterinary Medical Association recently released its U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, which revealed that Vermont ranks first for pet ownership with 70.8 percent of households owning a pet.  In 2006, which was the last time the AVMA put together the sourcebook, Vermont again made the top 10 list of pet owners, ranking 1st with 74.5 percent of households owning a pet. Vermont also ranked as the top state for cat ownership in 2011.  Remember many animals are looking for their forever-home right here in Addison County.  Check out the Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center’s ‘Pet OfThe Week’

There will be a joint meeting of the Addison, Ferrisburgh and Vergennes Town Republican Committees tomorrow evening at 7 at the Bixby Library in Vergennes. The meeting will select candidates to recommend to Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin to serve out the unexpired term of late Rep. Greg Clark.  All are welcome to attend, but please note that only registered members of the three town committees will be able to vote.

Ben Karkoski has received the Duane Crammond Memorial Scholarship.  The $1,000 award was recently presented to Ben, who just completed his first semester at SUNY-Potsdam.  The LaChute Road Runners Club presents the scholarship each year to a Ticonderoga High School graduate who participated in varsity cross-country and/or track & field who attends college full-time. The winner is selected by a scholarship committee and is a person who reflects the strong academic, athletic and character traits of Crammond.

February 1st is the deadline to apply for tuition reimbursement through the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York’s educational initiative, the Higher Education Learning Plan.  The first-ever, statewide community-college tuition-reimbursement program is geared toward recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters. Due to a variety of factors, many volunteer departments are experiencing a need to recruit and retain more members.   Nearly 200 students across New York applied to participate in the program for the fall 2012. For more information, visit

About 300 unionized workers and Green Mountain Power have reached a five-year labor agreement that brings all employees under one contract after the company's expansion following its merger with the Central Vermont Public Service Corp.  GMP said yesterday the contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 brings all union employees together under a single contract.  Before last year's merger, workers for GMP and CVPS belonged to the same union, but worked under different contracts.  The details of the contract were not released.

Top officials with the administration of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin are defending his proposal to take $17 million from benefits for low-income working Vermonters and use it to subsidize childcare for the same category of people. Human Services Secretary Doug Racine says good childcare is an investment that will pay off in better outcomes later in life.

Some of Vermont's top elected educators and school superintendents are calling for changes to ensure every student succeeds.  During an event yesterday in Montpelier, representatives of the state's school boards and superintendents outlined a 5-point plan that they are calling "a comprehensive agenda to create a world-class education system."  Among the proposals are calls for the Legislature to provide universal access to pre-kindergarten education for every student, develop a system that gives credit for what a student has learned rather than how much time the student has sat at a desk and having businesses engage schools with meaningful work study and internships.  The plan did not carry a price tag, but some of the proposals would cost money.

Vermont State Police say they have found child pornography on the computer of a woman charged with killing a popular Vermont prep school teacher. The Caledonian-Record reports documents filed in the case against Patricia Prue say investigators also uncovered forensic evidence showing the computer was used to conduct research on kidnapping.

New York has become the first state to dramatically stiffen its gun laws after last month's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. With Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature yesterday, parts of the measure that sped through the Legislature in two days take effect immediately.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is freezing investment by the public workers' pension fund in firearms companies following recent shooting tragedies. DiNapoli says he has directed that the massive pension fund not buy any new stock in firearms manufacturers following last month’s sad incident in Newtown, Connecticut.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has collected more than $4 million in campaign contributions in the last six months and has amassed an almost unassailable $22.4 million campaign fund nearly two years before he runs for re-election. Cuomo released the total figures yesterday as required by election law that mandates six-month reports.

Lawmakers have plenty to talk about, and are hopeful they'll get something done this session regarding guns.  Senate Majority Leader and Democrat Phil Baruth of Chittenden is proposing a bill banning manufacturing, possessing and selling assault weapons, with the same for magazine clips with a capacity for higher than five bullets.  Current owners of such weapons and clips would be exempt from the regulation.  Representative Pat Brennan, also of Chittenden but a Republican, believes mental health reform is what should be focused on instead of a weapons ban, with more discussion needed.

After years of talking about it, residents in the Northeast Kingdom are finally getting their own Wal-Mart.  An area resident started ten years ago with a petition drive to bring the nation's largest retailer to Derby after Ames closed.  Two years ago, 85-percent of voters in Derby and Newport asked planners to support bringing in Wal-Mart.  The company now plans to build its first Supercenter in Vermont on land off of Route 5 in Derby, covering 150-thousand square feet.  If the permit process goes smoothly, construction could start early next year.

When the emergency aid bill for Hurricane Sandy passed in the U.S. House last night passed, it was without relief for Vermont's Tropical Storm Irene.  The nearly 51-billion dollar originally had provisions giving FEMA authority to help with relocation and construction costs of the Vermont State Hospital as well as help in rebuilding bridges and culverts.  The bill is now in the hands of the Senate, and the office for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says it's not clear if the Irene relief can or will be added back in.  Right now, FEMA and insurance will pay 30-million of the 43-million estimated for the new hospital system.

The National Rifle Association is less than pleased with New York State's newly passed gun control legislation.  In a statement on its website, the NRA says "Cuomo seized the opportunity to exploit tragedy and put his own personal politics ahead of sound public policy.  The governor was determined to steal the thunder from an anti-gun White House."  Governor Cuomo had pushed for New York to take the lead on gun control reform following last month's Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

The head of the Conservative Party in New York is furious Senate Republicans allowed a vote on Governor Cuomo's gun control legislation that ultimately was signed into law.  Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long says GOP lawmakers "made a very serious mistake" and risk eroding their base in the Empire State over the vote.  Long ultimately blasted the measure as a "political charade" that only boosts the governor's political standing.

State health officials say flu vaccine is still available for New Yorkers who want to get a flu shot, though there may be some localized shortages because of late season demand.  According to the Health Department, providers have been vaccinating since September, and those needing more vaccine should use the national Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System to help in ordering more.  The department says it is also surveying pharmacists and hospitals to determine their vaccine availability.

As New York works on its gun legislation, in Vermont, one lawmaker has introduced a similar bill.  The bill, introduced by Sen. Philip Baruth, a Chittenden County Democrat, would ban semi-automatic guns, limit the amount of bullets in a cartridge to 10 and require parents to put locks on guns.   This comes as Governor Peter Shumlin has said he wants legislation to come from the federal level, not Vermont.    He disagrees with the governor and believes the Green Mountain State should not sit around and wait.   "Just as with same-sex marriage, or other things that we've done piecemeal, I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of in making your states regulations what you want them to be," said Baruth.  The bill was introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning.   Baruth began to draft the legislation after the movie theatre shooting in Colorado. He isn't sure if it will pass, but since its introduction, his inbox has been flooded by emails from pro-gun groups opposed to the bill.   To read the bill, click here.

The Vermont food bank was in danger of not meeting its 2012 goal.  However they finally got there! Yesterday they got a major jump on this year's goal!  40-thousand pounds of food were donated by "ocean state job lot."  The company raised over 1-point-2 million dollars this past year for food banks all across New England.  “The economy's a little south, and people know people need help and they're willing to help out.” It’s a great start to the year--but the food bank still needs help to make sure this year's goal is met and they say they expect even more people to be relying on them this year so all donations make a difference.