Monday, March 18, 2013

WVTK Local & State News March 18, 2013

A winter storm warning has been posted for the entire listening region by the National Weather Service.  Meteorologist with Fox 44 and ABC 22 say we will see snow fall begin tonight between 6 and 8 PM to the south and make its way northward as the night progresses.  BY morning we should see 2 to 6 inches.  Snow fall will continue throughout the day with heavy snow fall in the afternoon.  Total accumulations will be between 6 to 12 inches with as much as 18 inches in the higher elevations.

The New York State Department of Transportation is planning to investigate why some of the lights on the new Lake Champlain Bridge to Vermont aren't working.  The $76 million bridge opened late in 2011 after its predecessor at the same location was found to be unsafe.  The bridge's lighting system includes 66 LED floodlights, and 276 2-foot long LED pedestrian lights on the handrails. Many are not working.  A New York DOT spokesman says the problem will be investigated this spring when it's warmer so engineers can get onto the bridge and look at the wiring.

The Vermont House passed a same-sex couple health care coverage bill Friday.  According to the bill, H. 315, any employer operating outside of Vermont is required to offer the same health care coverage and benefits to same-sex spouses that they would offer to opposite-sex spouses.  Legislators passed the bill 139 to 5.

Vermont's unemployment rate for January 2013 drops to 4.7%.  According to the Vermont Department of Labor, this represents a decline of two-tenths of a percent from the prior month's revised estimate of 4.9 percent.  January's unemployment numbers mark the sixth consecutive month without an increase in the unemployment rate in the state.

Vermont lawmakers are considering adding candy to a proposed sugary-beverages tax.  In the House Ways and Means committee Friday, lobbyists from the Vermont Grocer's Association argued against the proposed tax, or removing sugar-loaded items from the sales tax exemption.  Health advocates lobbying for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax do not want to see that happen by simply lifting the sales tax exemption.

The Castleton fire department wants a new station and has petitioned town officials to put its construction on a special bond ballot.  First Assistant Chief Richard Combs says the petition asks for a $1.5 million bond to construct a new emergency service building on land near Castleton Corners, less than 2 miles from its current location near the college.  Once the petition is verified, meaning the signatures on the petition are from legal voters, town officials are required to warn a special vote.

The Shoreham Zoning Board of Adjustment has given its approval to WhistlePig’s proposal to establish a whiskey distillery at its property off Quiet Valley Road.  The main stumbling block in the project now is other interested parties want to see a separate Act 250 review of the proposed WhistlePig distillery, which would involve conversion of an existing, on-site dairy barn and construction of a 50-foot-by-90-foot storage barn.