Monday, March 25, 2013

WVTK Local & State News March 25, 2013

Federal court records show that a former Vermont town clerk and treasurer has agreed to forfeit $400,000 in a plea agreement with prosecutors.  Karen Brisson is scheduled to plead guilty to embezzlement charges today in U.S. District Court in Rutland.  Brisson served for about 28 years in Weybridge.  Officials say Brisson stole money from 2006 to 2012, with a forensic audit putting the town's loss at $476,000.  Brisson's attorney says Brisson's home is for sale and she has signed the mortgage over to the town.  The town says it has a $500,000 insurance plan through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

An Essex Junction man is being charged with embezzling more than $5,000 from a store in Bristol.  On Friday, the Bristol Police Department received information from the Vermont Department of Liquor Control concerning suspicious activity related to sales transactions on the Liquor store cash register at Champlain Farms.  It was determined a large amount of liquor inventory exceeding $5,000 was unaccounted for.  Bristol Police continued the investigation and have sited 42-year-old Jeffery Wallace to Appear in Addison Superior Court at the end of next month. 

Lawmakers had until 5 PM last Friday to put together a tax package, and several increases are likely if approved in the House and Senate.  The House Ways and Means Committee came up with a 50-cent tax on cigarettes, increasing the room and meals tax by half a percent, and imposing a six-percent tax on soda, bottled water, candy, and also on clothing sales of more than 110-dollars.  The governor has already said he disagrees with some of those, and plans to work with other lawmakers to adjust the budget before it's passed later this session.

The maple sugaring season is in full swing, and sugar houses across Vermont opened their doors over the weekend to show the public just how maple syrup is made.  More than 70 sugarhouses participated in the special event.  Vermont is the top maple state not only in New England but also the nation, and as of last year, produced 39-percent of the maple syrup in the country.

Vermont lawmakers are set to begin taking testimony this week on whether to decriminalize marijuana.  As currently proposed, House bill 200 would replace criminal penalties with a $100 fine for those over 21 caught carrying less than two ounces of pot.  The bill would also decriminalize growing a small number of marijuana plants.  Sponsors of the bill say the measure would not change the penalties for being under the influence while driving.  A proposal in the Senate to go a step further and fully legalize marijuana is not expected to draw serious consideration.

Scenes for the new Ninja Turtles' movie is being shot in Tupper Lake.  According to village clerk filming began today.  Paramount Pictures is filming part of the movie at the dormant Big Tupper Ski Area.  The movie is mainly being shot in New York City.  Crews will be filming scenes for the movie for most of the week.

A local chef in Rutland is being honored as one of the country’s top culinary talents in the inaugural edition of "Best Chefs America".  Chef Stephen Sawyer of Table 24 Restaurant in downtown Rutland has been showcased in a 386-page coffee table book that was released on March 1.  "Best Chefs America" is the first-ever industry peer review guide of chefs.  Honorees were chosen based on the outcome of more than 5,000 telephone interviews between chefs from across the country and "Best Chefs America" analysts.