Friday, February 15, 2013

WVTK Local & State News February 15, 2013

Middlebury has picked a jobs czar.  On Tuesday, the Middlebury selectboard endorsed Jamie O. Gaucher, deputy chief of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, as the town’s first-ever business development director.  Gaucher, his wife Elizabeth and their young daughter are already looking for a home in Middlebury in anticipation of his job-start next month.  Gaucher will be expected to bring new jobs to Middlebury while helping current local enterprises become stronger.

Skiers who go out of bounds at Vermont resorts may face criminal citations in the future.  Senator Kevin Mullin introduced legislation this morning in response to this year's abnormally high number of rescue efforts.  Should it pass, skiers and riders that go beyond designated trails and require rescue assistance could face a trespassing charge.  As currently written, the fine would amount to no more than $500.

Before Bristol can get a new firehouse, residents must first pass two bond requests, the first one will be on Town Meeting Day.  A vote for the first bond will fund the purchase of more property next to the current firehouse and signify a commitment to complete the fire department upgrade on the North Street site.  The second bond vote, which town officials have said would likely coincide with the 2014 general election, would be an estimated $1.6 million to $2.2 million and would cover the construction and insurance costs of the facility upgrade.  Before residents make their final decision on the proposed bond requests, they are invited to tour the firehouse tomorrow morning from 9 to 11 and attend a public hearing on February 25 during the selectboard meeting at Holley Hall.

Once again, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott broke a tie over a highly controversial bill, casting his vote to approve the end-of-life legislation.  The one finally passed Thursday is a much-reduced version of the original bill allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medicine to terminally ill patients.  The latest gives doctors and relatives immunity if they help a terminally ill patient end their own life.  The legislation now goes on to the House.

So much for Vermont getting a new state plane.  The V-Trans budget included a 155-thousand dollar line item for a new plane, with that amount paid each year for ten years.  The current state plane is 50 years old, and even the governor says it's not safe, adding he was a passenger one time when the door swung open while in flight.  However, Governor Peter Shumlin says this is probably not the year to spend the money on a new plane.  The old one is used mainly by the Agency of Natural Resources for aerial surveillance.

Middlebury College will host its 90th annual winter carnival today and tomorrow.  The Nordic races will be contested at the Rikert Nordic Center on the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, while the alpine events will be held at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl on Route 125 in Hancock.