Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 29, 2013

The Middlebury Finance and Fundraising Task Force of the Town Offices Steering Committee will meet today in the Small Conference Room.  Fundraising is one of the topics to be covered.  Then the Select Board will hold a special meeting at 7 PM in the Main Conference Room. Agenda Items include Finalizing the FY14 Budget & Warning for Town Meeting.  Then tomorrow, the Winter Term Students will make a presentation of a proposed conservation plan to the Middlebury Planning Commission at 7 PM in the Ilsley Public Library Community Meeting Room.  For complete agendas and details on all of these meetings just visit the Town’s Website.

The Westport Town Council will hold a special meeting at 4 PM on Thursday to discuss personnel matters.  All meetings are open to the public.

The Addison County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a trip to China in October!  You can find information on the trip by visiting the Chamber’s Website.  The Chamber will be hosting an informational meeting about the trip on Wednesday, February 20th, from 5:30-7:00 PM at the Middlebury Inn. There is no cost to attend this meeting but they just ask that you RSVP so they know that you're coming.

Valentine's Day is coming and if you LOVE animals, the Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center's "Have-A-Heart...Give-A-Heart" fundraiser is a chance to show it!  Now through Valentines Day, all across Addison County, you can purchase a bright pink heart to show your support for animals!  Whether it's one dollar or a million dollars, every donation matters!  If you make a donation, you can proudly display your heart to show YOU made a difference.  You can pick up your heart at the WVTK studios in Middlebury, or for other locations, or information, please call 388-1100, or visit the shelter on Boardman Street in Middlebury!

Ticonderoga Area emergency personnel are pleading with residents to post their house numbers prominently on their homes and mailboxes.  The captain of the Ticonderoga Emergency Squad explained most often when they are dispatched all they have is a house number and they don’t always find it.  Posting a number on a home or mailbox isn’t enough it must be large enough to be visible.  The Essex County director of emergency services says missing house numbers are a big problem throughout the county. Having a visible number for emergency personnel is a law in Essex County.

A plan to bring early voting to the state of New York could spell financial hardship for many counties, including Essex.  Two Board of Elections Commissioners spoke about the state’s plan to adopt early voting, possibly starting this year, with members of the Board of Supervisors during its January 14th Public Safety Committee meeting.  Early voting would allow registered voters to vote up to seven days in advance of a primary election and 14 days before the general election, with each county required to designate at least five polling places that would be open for early voting.  The board would have to sit down and discuss where they would place the five early voting locations around the county.

A disease outbreak at a state fish hatchery will reduce the number of trout stocked in Essex County waters this year.  The Essex County Fish Hatchery Director said the State Department of Environmental Conservation told him the number of brown and brook trout stocked by the state in Essex County will have to drop 20 percent. That will mean a greater dependence this season on Essex County’s own fish hatchery. The Essex County Fish Hatchery has so far been free of disease. The state says only 224 Adirondack lakes will be stocked this year, 102 fewer than last year.

A state-of-the-art shore retaining wall is now protecting docks and campsites at the Monitor Bay Town Campground on Lake Champlain.  The $285,000 project was partially funded with a $117,500 State Department of State Environmental Protection Fund Act grant.  The town issued five-year municipal serial bonds to pay for the work, which included the new protection wall at the campground docks and electrical and water services. The campground barrier was damaged by wave erosion in 2009, then again by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The town nets about $15,000 a year on the 42-site campground.

Fort Ticonderoga has four scholarships available for middle and high school teachers to attend the 18th-annual War College of the Seven Years War, to be held May 17th to 19th.  This annual seminar focuses on the French and Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing together a panel of historians from around the country and beyond. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required.  The scholarships are available for first-time attendees to the War College. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Fort’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org under the “Explore and Learn” tab by selecting “Life Long Learning” on the drop down menu and then clicking on the War College.

A local animal rescue group is seeking donations following its rescue of three horses from Chittenden County.  Last Tuesday volunteers with Spring Hill Horse Rescue responded to a Shelburne home following a call from the Humane Society of Chittenden County. Volunteers took in a stallion and two mares of whom were severely malnourished and visually impaired following years of dark confinement.  Spring Hill Horse Rescue receives no government aid and survives entirely through donations from the public. To make a donation, or for further information, visit the website at www.springhillrescue.com.

Police are investigating a Monday morning burglary and say some time between 8:30 and 11:30 AM someone broke into a home at 691 Barrows Towne Road in Killington and caused damage.  Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area is asked to call the Vermont State Police Rutland Barracks at 802-773-9101.

The Vermont Marble Museum is looking for a few good tenants to fill space in the building that houses the museum rent-free.  The Building owners are putting the word out that they’re looking for industrial, retail, studio and office tenants to occupy the remaining space in the factory building with up to eight months of free rent.  They signed a deal at the end of last year to sell most of the museum collection to the Preservation Trust of Vermont for $250,000. The Trust also has a one-year option to buy the building from for $480,000. Of that amount, the Trust has raised $125,000 toward the purchase including a $100,000 donation from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

Supporters of a call for a 3-year moratorium on wind power projects in the Vermont say the solution to global warming is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, not build industrial-scale wind projects on the state's ridgelines. The group that calls itself Ridgeprotectors issued a statement yesterday after Senator Bernie Sanders urged Vermont lawmakers not to impose the moratorium.

Security has been tightened at Brattleboro area schools because of a safety concern.  The superintendent of the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union informed parents and staff on Sunday that the school doors would be locked Monday.  Town officials were notified on Friday that a person, who had previously made nonspecific threats involving school age people, might be returning to the area.  Representatives from the police, fire department and the town met to develop a plan.  School representatives have been asked to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior to police.  The front doors will remain locked at all schools today.

Most Rutland County voters will have to make at least one decision on local officers at the polls in March. Brandon has three candidates seeking two seats on the Select Board. The town also has a contest for first constable, with incumbent Gigi Corsones facing challenger Gerry McGraw. In Pittsford, Cathy Rider has challenged Selectman Alan Hitchcock for his two-year seat on the board. Proctor voters will choose between candidates vying for spots on the town’s Select Board and School Board this year. And West Rutland has a crowded School Board Ballot. 

State Police say one person is dead after a fiery two-car crash in the town of Jamaica.  It was snowing yesterday afternoon when a woman southbound on Route 30 lost control of her Toyota Corolla, skidded across the highway and collided with a northbound SUV.  The smaller car burst into flames, and the woman driving it died at the scene.  The other two people in the SUV were treated at a nearby hospital for minor injuries and released.  Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to call State Police.

Vermont's Congressman Peter Welch is going after foreign scammers who fleece thousands of dollars, especially from seniors.  He's sponsoring a bill to create an office within the Federal Trade Commission to educate the public, primarily seniors about the dangers of those calls.  Vermont's Attorney General says it helps because individual states cannot go after the thieves, and each year hundreds of Vermonters become victims of the foreign phone scams.

Mad River Glen is celebrating its 64th anniversary today, with a special gift to skiers.  Like it does every year on its anniversary, the Waitsfield resort is rolling back lift ticket prices to what they were when it first opened in 1949: three-dollars-and-50 cents.  The special lift ticket prices at Mad River Glen are for today only until 4 this afternoon. 

Governor Cuomo is saying "thank you" to state lawmakers who supported his sweeping gun control law.  The governor has sent a letter to those who backed the law, calling them "politically courageous, and governmentally responsible."  The letter comes as gun control advocacy groups continue to hammer the law, which tightens the state's assault weapons ban and ups criminal penalties for illegal weapons.

A minimum wage deal appears to be in the works in Albany.  According to "Crain's Business," a compromise deal is in the works to help the proposal get through the state Senate.  Governor Cuomo has proposed increasing the minimum wage to eight-75 an hour as part of his latest budget proposal.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says his fiscal monitoring system for cities around the Empire State is ready to go.  DiNapoli says the monitoring system is designed to sound early warnings if a local government appears ready to go over its own fiscal cliff.  The comptroller says the system has the blessing of many local officials around the state, saying they welcome the monitoring that can help highlight financial trends in communities.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has blasted new teacher evaluations as shams and a fraud, created to extract school aid -- not improve teachers. Bloomberg told lawmakers at a state budget hearing today they were irresponsible to pass the 2010 law tying school aid to union approval of local teacher evaluations.

New York law enforcement authorities will be visiting communities across upstate to explain the state's new, stricter gun control law. Representatives of the state police and Division of Criminal Justice Services have scheduled forums starting this week to talk about the "NY SAFE Act" and answer questions about changes in the law governing ownership of assault-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Inside a Shelburne, Vermont barn a horse rescue group found the animals that they say were standing in feet of manure and hooves weren't cared for.  Disturbing images that have the Chittenden County state's attorney's office investigating owner George Wilson.  "We want to review the evidence, other possible complaints," said Chittenden County State's Attorney TJ Donovan.  No decision was made Monday as Donovan met with police and health experts.  He couldn't give specific details on what they discussed, because it's an active investigation.  We spoke with Wilson, who declined to go on camera, he says the allegations aren't true and would like to speak to the media, but right now he says he feels like the deck is stacked against him.  Wilson, who used to work in TV, says there are no more animals that live there.  As for the three horses, Wilson voluntarily gave them up to spring hill horse rescue.  It's a situation that isn't just gaining attention in Chittenden County.  The state's top prosecutor, Bill Sorrell, says he's monitoring the case.  "I'd be happy to help the Chittenden [County] SA's office, or to take the case if they would like," said Sorrell.  A statement that didn't surprise Donovan, because he says images like these are sure to upset many people.  "This is something that hits close to home in a state that's known for its agricultural history," said Donovan.

Delta airlines will be adding new non-stop service from Atlanta to Burlington.  The service will start during the first week of June.  According to a press release, the new non-stop service will have 16 first class seats, 15 economy comfort seats and 118 seats in economy on a MD-88 aircraft.  The first flight departing Atlanta to Burlington will be at 3:30 PM on June 6th. That flight will arrive in Burlington just after 11:00 PM. The first flight leaving Burlington will be the following day at 7:15 AM.