Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WVTK Local & State News March 19, 2013

The Vermont Legislature is back at work, with a busy week of action on the House and Senate floors.  The House is expected to take action on boosting transportation funding by increasing the gasoline tax. The bill moves to add a percentage sales tax on the per-gallon cost, in addition to the flat fee now assessed.  The new tax would be phased-in over two years.  In the Senate, final passage is expected on a bill that would open some police investigative records to public review when that would not interfere with an active investigation.  The move is opposed by police and prosecutors.

A North Carolina man was sentenced yesterday to 150 months in prison and 4 years supervised release for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and for assaulting a police officer.  A press release says 35-year-old William Parker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine in the Burlington area.  Parker also received a concurrent sentence of 6 months for assaulting a police officer in the Post Office on Elmwood Avenue in Burlington.  Investigators say Parker and several other individuals with ties to North Carolina, New York, and Georgia distributed crack cocaine in and around Burlington from about June 2011 through February 2012.  Parker also sold heroin in Chittenden County.

More than 90 people turned out to tell the Essex County Board of Supervisors the State SAFE Act needs to be repealed.  And the Board of Supervisors decided they also want it gone.  Out of the 13 people who spoke at the meeting, 10 wanted the act repealed and three advocated amending it instead. 

A driver is in fair condition after her car slammed into the back of a stopped school bus.  The accident happened Monday in Rutland Town, as the bus had stopped at a train crossing on U.S. Route 4 where the railroad signs were flashing.  The driver of the car, Paulette Sheldon of Granville, New York was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center.  Neither the bus driver nor any of the 15 Fair Haven Union High School students on the bus were hurt.

The Vermont Public Service Board plans to hold a public hearing Thursday about the Addison Natural Gas Project. It will take place at 7 p.m. in the Champlain Valley Union High School auditorium.  Vermont Gas Systems is proposing to extend a 12-inch pipeline from its existing mainline in Colchester to Exchange Street in Middlebury, add five miles of 6-inch distribution pipeline and install three new gate stations on the route.  The proposal has provoked strong feelings in several communities in Chittenden and Addison counties and resulted in protests to the board and to Vermont Gas. Opponents of the project plan to host a rally before the meeting Thursday, too.

Crown Point Telephone officials are hopeful that a local problem will be closer to being solved.  For more than a year phone patrons have reported problems receiving long distance calls, but the issue isn’t a local one.  The issue is known as “failure to complete.”  Problems include incoming long distance calls not connecting or, if they do connect, poor voice quality.  Last month, as part of an FCC investigation, Level 3 Communications agreed to a voluntary contribution of $1 million to the U.S. Treasury and to cease using poorly-performing intermediate providers.