Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WVTK Local & State News January 9, 2013

Today the Vermont Agency of Transportation will be holding an Open Forum and Public Hearing regarding the Middlebury State Airport Runway Reconstruction and Safety Area Improvements.  The Open Forum begins at 6 PM and provides an opportunity for interested parties to ask questions of VTrans representatives specific to their property.  The Public hearing begins at 6:30 PM so VTrans can receive comments and suggestions for changes from interested persons. Project plans are available for review in the Middlebury Town Clerk's Office.

The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board will meet at 6 PM today in the conference room of the school.  Items on the agenda include public recognition of faculty and staff members for supporting community members during the holidays, recognition of the Adirondack Youth Climate Board and a presentation of the E-L-C-S Green Team.  The meeting is open to the public.

A State of Vermont official reported that project cost overruns at Porter Hospital to install and implement an electronic medical records system, required the issuance of an amendment to a 2010 certificate of need.  Steve Kimbell is the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation and said that the hospital has been issued an amendment to the certificate. The amendment addresses the project’s cost overrun.  It’s an increase from $4.3 million to $7.1 million.  According to a Porter spokesperson, they believe that the significant investment will improve patient care, coordination and communication for their patients and the community. Porter will be required to submit monthly reports to the Department of Financial Regulation on the progress of the project, which should be completed sometime next year. 

A Church in New Haven is on the move.  The historic Advent Church on Dog Team Road was removed from its original foundation last week.  The church was built in the 1830s by parishioner Samuel Noble Brooks and was moved a few yards south.  Construction of a new residence, at the adjoining former site of the Dog Team Tavern, began last month.  The church also served as a community center for the unincorporated hamlet of “Brooksville”.  You will find an historic marker at the site that tells the church’s complete story.

Auditions for the Middlebury Players' April production "The Three Penny Opera" will be held at two local locations.  The first one is tomorrow at 7 PM in Middlebury College Axinn Hall, Room 229 and the next audition takes place Saturday afternoon at 2 at the Middlebury Town Hall Theater. 

Green Mountain Power is alerting customers to a telephone scam.  The utility said several small businesses in the Rutland area received phone calls Monday evening from someone using a blocked number but claiming to represent GMP.  The caller requested business owners to provide credit card information to pay their account balances, threatening to disconnect their power if they did not pay.  GMP officials say they have not made such calls. Anyone who gets such a call is asked to notify police and warned not to provide the caller with any personal information.

Port Henry may soon have an art gallery.  A meeting of local artists has been scheduled to gage interest in the creation of an artist’s cooperative. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 24 at Noon at George’s Restaurant. Organizers say participating artists will be responsible for the gallery and all artists are welcome to take part. Besides an art gallery, the new co-op may offer art classes. For information about the meeting or the proposed cooperative call Jackie Viestenz at 546-9855. 

A new organization called Riley's Wishes is dedicated to helping seriously ill children, in memory of a special boy who died of cancer.  Riley Knight of Ticonderoga passed away nearly three years ago at the age of 11. The group’s mission is showing kindness to children who are ill and making sure Riley is remembered. The group members also hope to do something special for Riley’s classmates when they graduate eighth grade and again when high-school graduation rolls around. 

Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas was sworn in Monday to an unprecedented fourth term as leader of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Randy Preston nominated Douglas for chairman of the board saying Randy took the reins during the economic downturn of the whole country and there could not be a more challenging time. According to county records, no supervisor has served more than three terms as chairman. Douglas thanked his colleagues for their overwhelming support.

The project to build a replica 18th-century sawmill as a tourist attraction has been re-energized with some state funding for its design.  The sawmill would resemble those that stood on the banks of the LaChute River in the 1700s.  The $45,000 State Department of State grant will be used for research and design of the replica structure. A French sawmill was built along the north bank of the LaChute River in 1756 to cut timbers used in the construction of what was then Fort Carillon.  The structure was partially destroyed in July 1758 then burned by the French before the British took the fort in July 1759, renaming it Fort Ticonderoga.

The We Love Our Troops group is now collecting items to send to Moriah serviceman Luke Boyle and his comrades stationed in Afghanistan.   Those who’d like to contribute are asked to provide such items as Valentine’s Day cards, thank you notes, valentine candy and other goods, including packaged tuna, boxed soups, nuts and trail mix.  A collection box is located at the Moriah Town Hall on Park Street in Port Henry. The items must be shipped no later than January 15th in order to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day.

The organizers of a Vermont gun show say they will allow the display and sale of assault weapons despite a request by the mayor of Barre that the weapons not be displayed in the aftermath of last month's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon tells The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus the representatives of the Barre Fish & Game Club "were complete gentlemen", but they declined his request.

Vermont State Police say no one was injured when a car hit a train in Middlesex. The crash at 9:45 yesterday morning occurred just off U.S. Route 2. Witnesses say 59-year-old Colleen Bloom was trying to cross the tracks when her foot slid from the brake to the accelerator causing her vehicle to hit the Amtrak Vermonter passenger train.

According to Superintendent Dan French Google has donated 36 laptop computers to the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union recently.  The computers are called “Chromebooks” because they run using Google's Chrome operating system and will expand the district's initiative of having one computer for every student.  The press release said the laptops are good for schools because they are easy to maintain and manage.

Vermont U.S. Rep. Peter Welch says he wants to use the federal health care reform law to help control health care costs.  Welch outlined his plans yesterday during a visit to a Montpelier doctor's office.  He says it's possible to put Medicare on a sustainable path without slashing benefits to seniors.  Welch says organizations such as "OneCare Vermont" reward providers for improving a patient's health rather than the number of procedures they perform.  He calls it a common sense approach that should be expanded nationwide.

Three New York state Assembly committee chairmen are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to suspend the comment period on new gas drilling regulations until a health review is completed.  The 30-day comment period for revised regulations for shale gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing or fracking ends on Friday. Numerous environmental groups and elected officials from around the state have called on Cuomo to extend the comment period. They say it should wait until after a health impact review now under way is completed and the regulations revised to reflect the health review findings.

New design options for the Route 7 road reconstruction through downtown Brandon are going in the right direction, however proposed traffic lights and crosswalks are still contentious issues.  The Brandon Select Board held a special meeting last week with CLD Consulting Engineering, of Manchester, NH, which was tasked with studying new design specifications for the road reconstruction. CLD proposed three options in the redesign of Brandon’s Central Park. The reconstruction of Route 7 in downtown Brandon, known as Segment 6, is scheduled to begin in 2014 and continue for at least two years.

It's a sight one young skier is not likely to forget.  19-year-old Jeff Palmer of Shelburne was near the Gatehouse Plaza at Sugarbush when he noticed a Bull Moose coming right towards him.  Jeff said he popped off his skis and ran, with the moose veering up the slope as Palmer ran towards the woods.  The state Fish and Wildlife Department says it's had reports of this particular moose spotted by hundreds of people at different spots around Sugarbush over the past two weeks, and at times trails had to be shut down until it moved back in the woods.  At this time, there are no plans to remove the moose.

Vermont State Police are frustrated over the high numbers of lost skiers on Killington Mountain.  Yesterday afternoon, once again State Police got a 9-1-1 call about two skiers who intentionally skied off the main trails and were lost.  One had medical issues, but State Police tracked them down with G-P-S and got them down late last night.  Both were medically checked out and released.  State Police say the number of skiers, mainly on Killington, is intentionally leaving the marked trails, getting lost and straining resources.

Now that the 23rd Annual People's State of the State is over, it's time for the New York Governor to give his State of the State address.  Yesterday, members of the Hunger Action Network called upon Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise minimum wage to 10-dollars an hour and provide more funding for emergency food programs.  Governor Cuomo is expected to give his State of the State address at 1:30 this afternoon.

District attorneys around the state are pushing new proposals to help curb gun violence in New York State.  The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York has introduced numerous proposals the group says address a wide range of issues that contribute to "senseless gun violence."  Among the proposals is a statewide ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and a law that would ammunition to be micro-stamped for easier identification.

Officials say the state of Vermont state will get $30 million in federal funds and insurance payments toward a $42 million total price tag to help replace the state hospital in Waterbury.  Gov. Peter Shumlin and others released the figures yesterday while they were marking the start of construction on the Green Mountain Psychiatric Care Center, a 25-bed facility next to the Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.  Construction of the Berlin facility is expected to cost $28.5 million. The rest of total price tag will be for other, smaller facilities in other parts of the state.  State officials hope to have the Berlin facility open by early next year.

A Colchester woman has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for hitting a pedestrian with her car while texting and driving.  Twenty-year-old Emma Vieira of Colchester had pleaded guilty in October to grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with injury resulting for striking and seriously injuring 53-year-old Deb Drewniak in August, 2011, as Drewniak was walking her dog in the dark in Colchester.  The Judge sentenced Vieira to 30 days in jail, five months home confinement and five years of probation.