Thursday, April 18, 2013

WVTK Local & State News April 18, 2013

The trial date is now in place for a young man accused of killing a 78-year-old woman nearly three years ago.  Jury selection begins June 17th in the case of 22-year-old Michael Norrie.  Police say he's confessed to killing Pat O'Hagan of Sheffield in September, 2010.  A prison psychologist says Norrie is competent to stand trial, despite being diagnosed with mild mental retardation, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems.

As jittery as New Englanders are, a few days after the Boston Marathon bomb blasts, imagine the nerves rattled Wednesday by the sight of the Vermont State Police Bomb Squad in full gear at a gravel pit in Hinesburg.  It turned out to all be training, with the bomb squad and tactical meeting at the gravel pit off of Route 116 for a training exercise planned well before the blasts ever happened.  The units train separately each month, but twice a year they get together to practice joint responses, like this one.

There's broad support for a new hike in Vermont tobacco taxes, according to a new poll taken earlier this morning.  The Mellman Group surveyed 500 Vermont voters picked at random, and 75-percent are in favor of a buck-25 increase in state cigarette taxes.  That support is there so long as the money raised is used for anti-smoking programs and to help Vermonters pay for health coverage.  The poll was commissioned by a coalition of health groups, a separate group called the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont.  The Senate Finance Committee will vote on a tax bill next week, and Governor Shumlin has already voiced opposition to any tobacco tax hike this year.

The New York/Vermont 5K Champlain Bridge Run was supposed to be a one-time affair last year to celebrate the opening of the new span between the two states.  But the race was such a hit that it will be returning this year.  The second annual The New York/Vermont 5K Champlain Bridge Run will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 10 AM.  For more information you can go online at  The 3.1-mile race is being sponsored by the Crown Point Chamber of Commerce and the Ticonderoga-based LaChute Road Runners Club.

A public hearing is being held at the Vermont State House to discuss the Earned Paid Sick Days Bill.  According the bill, anyone working in the state of Vermont would be eligible for paid leave. Employees would earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to seven sick days per year.  The bill also allows an employee to take care of a sick loved one and obtain diagnostic, routine, preventative or therapeutic health care.  The hearing is scheduled to run from 6 to 8 this evening in Room 11 at the state house.

The Vermont Department of Health has created a new public information campaign on child immunization called It's Okay to Ask.  A press release says the campaign, which is focused on the web, will provide resources for parents to make informed decisions about immunization.  The Health Department says the website offers research-based medical information, video discussions and an interactive timeline tracing the history of vaccines back to the 1700s.