Monday, January 21, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 21, 2013

The Middlebury Select Board will hold a Public Hearing and Information Meeting on the Preliminary Proposed Town General Fund Budget for FY14 tomorrow.  This includes Capital project Funds as well.  The meeting will begin at 7:00 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 websiteat the Town Manager's office or by calling 388-8100 ext 201.  Committee and Project reports will also be part of this meeting.  Visit the Town’s Website to view the complete agenda. 

Other meeting’s in Middlebury this week include the Planning Commission; they meet this evening at 6 at MVAA on Collins Drive. Agenda Items include a Discussion with Vermont Gas Systems at 7 PM.  The Town Offices/Community Center Steering Committee will meet tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Town Offices.  The Middlebury Public Works Committee is meeting in the Town Offices on Thursday afternoon at 4. Agenda Items Include the Monroe Street Traffic Data, Review of Bids on a Dump Truck, Road Salt Usage and Schedule for Replacement of a Sidewalk Tractor.  Also on Thursday at 4, the Downtown Improvement District Commission meets.  They are planning a Review of the Status of Grants and Pending Projects also a Discussion of Downtown Parking.  Then on Friday at Noon the Design Advisory Committee meets at Noon at the Town Offices. Agenda Items include a Review of Middlebury College's Athletic Facility on South Main Street.  Get details on all of these meetings by visiting the Town’s Website.

Republican voters of the Vergennes area Addison 3 Legislative District nominated Warren Van Wick and Mary Ann Castimore as candidates for Gov. Peter Shumlinto consider replacing the late Republican State Rep. Greg Clarke.  Both candidates have been active in local Republican activities.  The Governor has already been asked to select one of the two Addison County GOP candidates.

Pre-Tech Precision Machining in Mineville recently received the coveted AS-9100-C certification. This is the quality management standard specifically written for the aerospace industry awarded by the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System. The certification places Pre-Tech among the best in the Aerospace and Defense Quality Management System International Standard. The certification may also be key to future expansion of the Pre-Tech Mineville facility.

Ticonderoga High School athletes enjoyed a banner season last fall on the playing field and in the classroom.  All four Sentinel varsity teams that include the football, women’s soccer, men’s cross-country and women’s cross country teams, earned the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Team award. To get the honor each team’s academic average must be 90 or better. 

A wind-driven fire destroyed both a home and garage at 4 The Portage in Ticonderoga Saturday afternoon.  Three firefighters suffered injuries during the six-hour battle to knock down the flames. All three were treated at Moses Ludington Hospital and released according to the Essex County Fire Investigator. A water main break further complicated the effort. The Town of Ticonderoga fixed the pipes quickly, however the lack of water affected firefighters, changing their source of water from hydrants to portable tanks filled with lake water.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though it appears to be accidental.

Essex County lawmakers are unhappy that Hacker Boat Co. is using state money to move out of the county.  The Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council got Hacker a $600,000 state grant so it can expand its operations by moving to Queensbury in Warren County.  That means closing Hacker-Craft plants in Ticonderoga is a loss of 38 jobs locally.  Meanwhile the company plans to build a new facility in Queensbury and consolidate its production and restoration in the same building. Hacker Boat also has administrative and sales offices in Hague’s Silver Bay hamlet in Warren County and said recently there were no plans to close the Silver Bay facility, which is located on Lake George.

Despite of rising costs for fuel, highway salt, pensions and insurance, the Town of Elizabethtown managed to keep its tax-levy increase at 3.5 percent for this year, which is within the state tax cap.  The allowable rate for Elizabethtown, as calculated by the New York State Comptroller’s Office, is 4.3 percent for this year. The total town budget is $1,519,762, with $798,853 raised by the tax levy. The Fire District budget is $111,533, which brings the total for all costs to $1,631,295 and the total amount to be raised by taxes to $910,381. The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value is up 29 cents from this year; the rate is $6.18 per $1,000 for 2013. 

You can dine out at participating restaurants this Wednesday and help United Way of the Adirondack Region at the same time.  Numerous eateries in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties are taking part in the third-annual DINE UNITED event, with either a percentage of their proceeds, of the wait staff tips or a straight donation going the agency, which helps fund 41 partner agencies that help the community in various ways.  Find a complete list of restaurants and their locations at and click on the event tab.

According to Police a group of three teenage skiers from the Pittsburgh, PA area, were the latest group of skiers who had to be rescued after they deliberately skied out of bounds yesterday afternoon.  Vermont State Police said the skiers, all 17-year-old girls, were at Killington with a school group and skied out of bounds at 1:16 PM Sunday from the Juggernaut Trail. The girls later called 911, and their location was determined through GPS.  The Killington Ski Patrol entered the woods and were able to locate the teenagers and get them out unharmed. State police and E-911 were also involved in the rescue.

A new program at Rutland High School encourages students to take a global view in the 21st century.  Vermont Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca visited the high school Friday to observe interdisciplinary collaboration in action and discuss a new Global Studies program.   Students will be required to study a foreign language and perform 50 hours of globally focused community service, such as writing letters for Amnesty International or raising money for clean-water projects. The program is scheduled to roll out this fall.

Developer Mark Foley has purchased the former Stoplite Lounge in Downtown Rutland.  Foley closed on the West Street building for $94,200.    The bar closed last year following a challenge to its license by the city.  Meanwhile, Foley is working with Small Dog Electronics to prepare the space that company will use in the Gryphon building later this year. Foley recently re-branded the building as “The Shops at Gryphon Square” and said the Small Dog announcement has generated strong interest in the building’s remaining available retail space.

A 50-year-old Vermont man is being held on $100,000 bail following his arrest in connection with a bank robbery and an attempted robbery of another bank. Police say John Fenley Jr. was arrested Friday after they found more than $2,000 of stolen money at his home in Hartford. Police are seeking an arrest warrant for a second suspect who lives out of state.

The skies will be active over southern Vermont and New Hampshire when the Massachusetts Air National Guard conducts flight training this month. The exercises will take place during the day on Wednesday and again on January 30th. Air Guard officials say the training flights will involve F-15 fighter jets finding and escorting nonmilitary aircraft to a regional airport. The 104th Fighter Wing is preparing for an upcoming inspection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says repairs to its fish hatchery in Bethel that closed after Tropical Storm Irene are almost completed and the facility could begin raising fish again by March or April.  The tanks that hold fish both inside and out have been cleaned and disinfected and repairs to the water and electrical systems are almost done.

A University of Vermont professor has won a $400,000 National Science Foundation Career Award for his research proposal on "smart" electrical grids.  Dr. Paul Hines, a professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematics Sciences, has proposed research on "harnessing smart grid data to enable resilient and efficient electricity."  He says the research would study ways to use smart grid data to find patterns of vulnerability in power systems, and would use the results to reduce the risk of cascading power blackouts.

State police are looking for the driver who hit a pedestrian Saturday night in Pittsford, and kept on going.  It happened at the intersection of Taylor Road and Route 7, when Naomi Taylor was walking southbound and was struck by a northbound car.  Taylor, who is from West Rutland, was treated for her injuries at the hospital.  There's no description of the car at this time, but State Police say it should have some right-side damage.

Everyone is okay, but it was pretty scary Sunday afternoon when high winds left about 70 people stranded on a ski lift at Smugglers Notch.  The powerful winds caused a chair to derail on the Madonna 2 lift, and that left the others stranded for about 90 minutes.  No one was hurt and one spokesperson for the ski resort says the staff is well trained, but in the 25 years he's worked there, this is only the second time they've needed to conduct an evacuation.

A Vermont lawmaker says he's going to pull a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  It's been less than a week since State Majority Leader Phil Baruth proposed the bill.  However, on Sunday he told Seven Days Newspaper it's clear to him there's little support in the State House for it.  He made the statement on Sunday, one day after hundreds of gun rights activists rallied in Montpelier, showing their opposition to his bill.

Police say they've heard it all from drivers stopped for speeding, but this case in Norwich may be a new one.  Police stopped 21-year-old Samuel Robbins over the weekend, saying he was driving at 82-miles-per-hour in a 40-mile zone on Woodstock Road.  According to police, Robbins blamed his high speed on the music he was listening to in the car.

Governor Andrew Cuomo will be unveiling his state budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year tomorrow.  New York is facing a projected budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year of around a billion-dollars, and Cuomo is expected to close that with a combination of cuts and new revenue.  The budget is expected to total around 132-billion-dollars in spending for the fiscal year.  Cuomo will deliver the budget address at 2 PM tomorrow.

Thousands of gun rights activists held a rally at the State Capitol in Albany Saturday to protest New York's tough new gun control laws.  Protesters huddled in the bitter cold to express their displeasure over the measure that tightens restrictions on assault weapons and ammunition in the state.  The demonstrators heard from several speakers and chanted loudly to help illustrate their message.  The protest was one of many that were held across the country in an effort organized by the group Guns Across America.

Started by then President-Elect Barack Obama in 2009. The National Day of Service has stuck around for another term but it's not on partisan lines.  "This really has nothing to do with politics," Chittenden County's National Day of Service organizer Anna Niemiec said.  "This really has to do with getting people connected to do service in their community."  Which is what we found at the food drive in Monkton, VT. Where names on a volunteer list meant more than signing up but pitching in.  And at the Champlain Senior Center where a paint job that originally had only fourteen commitments turned into much much more.  "I think we had 45 but it was 43 that we had out here painting at one time," Senior Center Director Bonnie Campono said.  The organizers were honest in that some of the volunteers came from Re-elect President Obama email lists but what they had not counted on moving forward.  "Undoubtedly people brought friends," Campono said.  Two volunteers at Habitat for Humanity ReStore summed up best together.  "I think we can go on in on a nonpartisan basis and everybody group together and do something good for the community," UVM teacher and volunteer Mary Cox said.  "I just thought it was a cool thing they were using their resources to get people to do community service," UVM student and volunteer Connor Ferrara said.

As the gun control debate continues, several hundred people rallied at the statehouse in Montpelier over the weekend in support of gun owners.  They were also there protesting against the passing of more gun control legislation.  The event was part of a nationwide protest ... Taking place in 47 other states.  The organizer says he was motivated by the assault weapon ban in Burlington.  "I think that violence is the problem. I don't think that gun ownership is the problem; I don't think that what kind of guns we can own is the problem. I know that I own many guns that people may or may not agree with and yet none of my guns have ever hurt anyone and they never will” with an excellent turnout organizers hope to hold more events like this in the future.