Thursday, January 17, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 17, 2013

There will be a joint meeting of the Addison, Ferrisburgh and Vergennes Town Republican Committees this 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.

The Addison County Chamber Of Commerce After Hours Business Mixer is coming up this evening.  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 evening 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.  Just visit for details! 

The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board will meet at 7 this evening.   The meeting is exclusively focused on executive-session discussion of the employment history of particular individuals, as well as discussion of collective negotiations.  No other board action is on the docket for the meeting.

The Westport Central School Board will hold a special budget meeting on Thursday, January 24th at 5:30 PM in the library.  All board of education meetings are open to the public.

Jazz returns to the Brandon Music CafĂ© this evening! 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.

Coming up tomorrow morning at 9 the Middlebury River Task Force will meet in the Ilsley Library Community Room.  Then next Tuesday the Select Board will hold a Public Hearing and Information Meeting on the Preliminary Proposed Town General Fund Budget for FY14.  This includes Capital project Funds as well.  The meeting will begin at 7:15 PM in the Town Office Conference Room. The total proposed budget is $8,943,097 with $6,366,592 to be funded by property taxes.  Your comments, suggestions and input are important and appreciated.  Copies of the proposed budget may be obtained from the Town's website at the Town Manager's office or by calling 388-8100 ext 201.

A Wallingford man has been charged with a pair of criminal offenses after allegedly driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit on Route 7 in Salisbury.  Vermont State Police arrested Paul Burroughs after a motor vehicle stop along a section of Route 7 where the posted speed limit is 50 mph. Police said he was clocked driving more than 80 mph.  Four juveniles under the age of 18 were in the car.  According to Police, Burroughs was issued a citation to appear in Middlebury criminal court in March to answer misdemeanor charges of excessive speed and reckless endangerment.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, January 30th at 5:00 PM as part of The Sentinel Grille Grand Opening Celebration. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a reception. In addition from 5:15 to 6:15 PM only you can purchase gift certificates of $50 for $40, limited to two per person.  The Sentinel Grille is located on Route 9N / Hague Road in Ticonderoga. A winter weather date of Thursday, January 31st at 5:00 PM has also been arranged.  Visit for more information.

The Chilson Volunteer Fire Company will hold its 35th annual dinner-dance Saturday, February 9th at 5:30 PM at the EMA at 9 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 now on sale for $15. Interested people can call Larry Lauman at 585-9133 to purchase tickets or for more information.

As New York State continues to deal with a flu outbreak, Essex County Public Health officials said they are ready to help with vaccinations and medical assistance.  Officials say that the county does have a strong supply of flu vaccinations, and more are on the way.  They are not concerned about a shortage of vaccinations. Gov. Cuomo declared the state a disaster emergency because of the numbers of the flu.

New York now has the strictest gun laws in the country, but without the vote of North Country representatives.   Sen. Betty Little, Assemblyman Dan Stec and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey all voted against the NY Secure Firearms and Ammunition Enforcement Act of 2013 that passed in the Senate Monday night then the Assembly on Tuesday, followed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

You are invited to watch the races and even build a vehicle during Rutland Cub Scout Pack 120’s Pinewood Derby Race, from 6 to 8 PM Friday at Christ the King School.  More than 40 children are expected to race their hand-made cars. Spectators can also build their own, using the same materials as the scouts. For more information, call 802-779-1413.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he'll begin hearings in two weeks on gun safety proposals, as President Barack Obama pushes for fast action. Senator Patrick Leahy says he envisions a series of hearings examining violence in popular media and how to keep guns safe, among other topics.

In a rare legal proceeding, the state Supreme Court is to hear arguments that the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is continuing to run in violation of a 2002 order by the Public Service Board. The anti-nuclear group New England Coalition is asking the court to intervene in what it says is plant owner Entergy Corporation's disobedience of the board order that allowed Entergy to buy Vermont Yankee.

A six-month-long investigation by the Vermont Drug Task Force Mobile Enforcement Team culminated Tuesday with the arrests of 47 people.  The sweep concentrated on Bennington County, with charges filed for distribution and sale of drugs, along with several other criminal offenses.  Operation County Strike involved more than a hundred state, local, county and federal law enforcement officers.  No one was hurt when the arrests were carried out.

Here's a medical alert for Vermont women who get migraine headaches.  According to a new women's health study, women who experience migraines and also a sensitivity to flashing lights, may be more at risk of having a heart attack.  They may even be at a higher risk of getting blood clots and having a stroke.  Researchers say migraines are the second-most contributor to heart attacks and strokes -- not diabetes or obesity.  The number one contributor is high blood pressure.

Vermont schools are safer now than they were a month ago, according to some school administrators.  The school shooting in Connecticut in December had them looking at their own environment and changes needed.  Vermont schools are mandated by law to have an emergency plan in place with at least one drill a month.

Lost skiers are continuing to be a problem for State Police, ski patrollers and other first responders.  Vermont's Public Safety Commissioner has been meeting with troopers and ski resort officials this week to find some sort of solution, with a new public safety campaign in the works.  In the past several weeks, 47 lost skiers and riders were reported, with 45 of them in the Killington-Pico area.  Police point out in some cases it was obvious the skiers went under ropes and past out-of-bounds warning signs.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says fixes to the gun control measure signed into law by Governor Cuomo this week will be swiftly approved.  Opponents of the landmark legislation had said the measure's quick passage caused the need for clarification.  Silver says there are some questions, such as whether police can use assault weapons or multiple firing cartridges.  The speaker says, though, those questions will be dealt with quickly and the appropriate fixes will be made.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is hoping to give financially stressed communities time to turn things around.  His office will soon put in place a new fiscal monitoring system that will calculate and publicize an overall score of fiscal stress for municipalities and school districts across the state.  DiNapoli says the "early warning" system will identify those headed toward fiscal crisis and give local officials sufficient time to consider options.  The move comes after a new DiNapoli report finds local governments across the state are increasingly turning to local tax revenue to make up for sluggish growth in federal and state aid.

A minor earthquake has rattled the northern Adirondacks. The 2.4-magnitude temblor struck at 8:46 yesterday morning and was centered 11 miles northeast of Saranac Lake.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has piled up mostly five-figure donations to build a massive campaign fund even as he pushes for campaign finance reform to limit future donations. A New York Public Interest Group analysis shows about 80% of Cuomo's donations were for $10,000 or more to give him a mid-term campaign fund of $22 million.

A day after the toughest gun restrictions in the country were signed into law in New York... in Washington, the President announced a similar plan on the national level.
-Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammo clips
-Have everyone who purchases a gun undergo a universal background check
-And make more funds available for mental health care.
President Obama also says, school security needs more support.  "Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown."  And in New York, Governor Cuomo is already facing the same opposition the President says he expects. Only yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed the strictest gun rules in the nation into law. And gun rights activists are already calling for repeal. Those against the law say if the restrictions are not repealed, they'll take the issue to court. Another group opposed to the Governor's new law actually started an online petition to get him impeached. The petition is on the White House's web site and it's calling for the President to impeach Governor Cuomo for quote "violating" second amendment rights. The petition already has about 3,905 signatures as of 5:25pm. They would need 25,000 by February 14th.  Legislation in Vermont hasn't even come to the floor yet, and already there are a lot of people upset. Yesterday, we told you about one senator who's proposed a bill that would ban semi-automatic guns.  Governor Peter Shumlin still wants to wait and see what happens at the federal level, before we make any changes at the state level, but other senators aren't confident in Congress and are already proposing bills and a gun task force to start a full discussion locally.  "These granite walls were built to contain the heat of a really powerful debate," State Senator Philip Baruth said.  And that's indeed what Baruth's bill has done. "At this point I can tell you that I don't support his bill," State Senator Richard Sears said.  Let's break down the proposed bill. It would ban semi automatic guns, limit the amount of bullets in a cartridge to ten and require parents to put locks on all guns. This was introduced Tuesday.  I asked Sen. Baruth, "how many emails have you received since yesterday about this?" He replied, "I would say 150."  Baruth say's about 75 percent of them were against his plan. "It grandfathers any weapon that's currently owned, it grandfathers and exempts antique weapons or collectable's, so we're not talking about taking anybody's guns," Sen. Baruth said.  Senator John Campbell has proposed a gun task force. It would include gun enthusiasts, and victims of gun violence... gain their input, and then make a proposal.  "Our children... their lives and the lives of others are far too important for us not to do anything," Sen. Campbell said.  I spoke with someone from the National Rifle Association who says mental health is the real problem and says lawmakers need to leave guns alone. Even with that input, many lawmakers feel confident there will be a change in gun control by the end of this legislative session, even if it means both sides compromising.  "It may not be what everybody wants," Sen. Campbell said.  There's a public hearing set for February 7th at the Statehouse to discuss the assault weapons ban proposal. At that time, a new bill that would ban felons from possessing firearms will be introduced.

To help improve its aging facilities Vermont governor Peter Shumlin announced plans to build a new visitor center along interstate 89.  What's normally a state run facility wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent.  Shumlin made the announcement yesterday in Randolph.  The reason for the savings; the project would be privately funded.  The developer plans to show off the local art, music and other things to help get more people to visit.  “All these things will be in that 4,000 square foot component. So we're going to promote Randolph and the downtown area like crazy.” the visitor center still needs environmental approval.  They hope to break ground next spring and if all goes according to plan open by early 2015.