Friday, May 31, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 31, 2013

Winooski schools were on a brief lockdown this morning after a woman reported being chased by a male with a gun from Motel 6 in Colchester.  Police say 21-year-old Megan Russell of Winooski, told them she ran to the school to get away from the man.  Police learned that the incident happened on Thursday night and not this morning when she reported it.  The children and staff were safe and they were not in any danger from the incident.  Police say the lockdown was based on information they received from Russell.

A new report says Vermont remains a top choice for the new F-35 fighter jets, but it is not the preferred site from an environmental perspective.  The Air Force Friday released its revised environmental impact study -- some 3,000 pages -- detailing the siting process for the next generation planes.  The Air Force determined that the Vermont Air Guard base and Hill Air Force Base in Utah are the two preferred sites for the initial basing of the jets.  Vermont National Guard officials as well as opponents and supporters of the F-35, have all indicated they will need time to read and analyze the report before offering comments.

Repair work on an Adirondack road that was postponed earlier this month will begin next week, with lane closures scheduled and full closures expected during some periods.
The state Department of Transportation say the slope repairs and drainage improvement work along Route 73 in Essex County will begin on Monday in the area of Cascade Lake between Lake Placid and Keene. The project was originally scheduled to begin in early May but was delayed after crews discovered a fiber-optic cable line in an unexpected location.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is coming out on the losing end of a bitter lawsuit with a California competitor.  Green Mountain claimed Rogers Family Coffee produced coffee pods which are too similar to the Keurig single-cup pods created by the Vermont business.  The lawsuit put production by Rogers on hold for a year, but now the judge is siding with the California company, saying it did not violate Keurig's patents.  Rogers will now go back to making the one-cup pods and plans to expand that to teas as well.

New unemployment claims fell in Vermont, for the most part continuing a trend seen since the middle of spring. For the week of May 25, 2013, there were 683 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 166 from the previous week's total, and 37 fewer than they were a year ago.  Vermont's unemployment rate fell one-tenths to 4.0 percent in April, the third lowest rate in the nation and lowest in New England.

Ticonderoga’s Best Fourth in the North Committee needs help now so it can put on the community’s celebration this year.  Committee Chair Debbie Barber said local businesses, organizations and community members are needed to sponsor the $30,000 event, which will be held July 1, 2, 3 and 4.  She said any sponsorships must be received quickly to be included on T-shirts, banners and schedules.  A $500 donation gets listed on parade banners, schedules, press releases, advertising and T-shirts; other sponsorships are for $250, $100 and $50 and have varying degrees of recognition at the event.  The celebration will include fireworks, a parade, live music, food, vendors, rides, games and more.   

Thursday, May 30, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 30, 2013

With temperatures expected to be in the 80's the next few days, a lot of folks will be headed to their favorite swimming holes.  Rescue crews, however, are cautioning people who are considering a dip in a river, pond, or other natural water areas.  Currents right now are strong and as tempting as the water looks, there's danger just below the surface.  Rescue crews say if you get swept into a current, try to hold onto something, and if you see someone needing help, don't go in yourself but instead throw something that person can hang onto.

Tomorrow the revised report is due on the impact of the F-35 jet fighters on the Burlington/South Burlington area if based there.  Burlington and the Air National Guard is the preferred site for newest fighter in the Air Force, but there's a lot of people in South Burlington who are not so enamored with the F-35.  An attorney representing the neighborhood near the airport says studies indicate the loud volume from the jets can lead to permanent hearing damage and lower achievement levels in young students.  However, on the economic side, there's a lot of people who see the jets as one way to retain 11-hundred Air Guard jobs.

A second man has been found guilty in the fatal beating of another man in northern New York last summer.  An Essex County jury earlier this week found 37-year-old Michael Rivers guilty of first-degree manslaughter and felony gang assault in the death of 45-year-old Robert Rennie.  Earlier this month, 20-year-old Scott Denno was convicted of the same charges.  Authorities say the leader of the attack was 40-year-old Paul Taylor, who's charged with second-degree murder.  His trial is pending.  Rivers and Denno will be sentenced Aug. 8.

Supporters of labeling genetically modified food are gearing up for a busy summer.  The team at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group announced plans earlier today for a door-to-door campaign across the state to get Vermonters behind the effort.  The push is designed to let people know what may be in their food and encourage them to contact lawmakers to support legislation that would require the labels.  The team hopes to knock on 70,000 doors.  Legislation requiring the labels passed in the Vermont House this year but did not get taken up by the Senate.

Two organizations are competing to represent up to 7,000 home-care workers in Vermont after legislation was passed allowing workers caring for the elderly and disabled to unionize.  An election is expected in the fall between two labor groups that specialize in organizing public employees and health care workers.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union are competing to represent the workers, who offer care to people at home.

The new federal health care reform law has saved young adults millions of dollars in medical bills.  A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine says in the first year that the Affordable Care Act went into effect, young adults who are now allowed to stay on their parents insurance saved nearly $147 million dollars in emergency room bills.  Without the new law, young adults and their families would have had to pay that amount, or hospitals would have had to write it off. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 29, 2013

The last of three Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) research study clinics is being held this afternoon until 7 o’clock at the Whiting Town Hall.  The first two clinics, held in April and early May at the Brandon Senior Center and Sudbury Town Hall, were well attended.  A total of 316 volunteers have donated blood samples that will be tested for antibodies to EEE.

Governor Shumlin signed the 2014-2015 Capital Budget into law earlier today.  A press release says the budget amounting to more than $173 million for projects across the state.  Governor Shumlin says "Not only is this the largest Capital Bill appropriation in the history of the state, but these projects will create jobs for Vermonters in the coming years."

Police in Rutland are investigating suspicious fires in the city.  The fires were just before 8 PM and 9 PM Tuesday in swampy areas off Spruce Street and behind the old Hannaford building on South Main Street.  Both were put out before anything was damaged.  Police say a witness spotted a man running from the second fire. He's described as being in his mid-20s, clean-shaven, with short brown hair, wearing a long-sleeve gray shirt with a red logo and brown shorts.  Please call Rutland City Police if you have any information.

The board that oversees Vermont's enhanced 911 emergency phone system says the wireless provider Sprint Nextel is ending a six-month test that allowed people to report emergencies with text messages.  The E911 board says the trial that began in December is scheduled to end May 31.  While no emergency messages were transmitted during the test period, officials with Vermont E911 and Spring both say the test was a success.  E911 Executive Director David Tucker says Sprint is ending the test as it prepares to make text-to-911 service available nationwide by May 2014.

Three former Grand Union stores in Vermont and another 6 in New York are now under new management.  Tops Markets have taken over.  The locations in Vermont are Northfield, Rutland, and Hardwick.  The company says shoppers can expect to see changes in amenities and more variety on the shelves.  Tops Markets now operates close to 160 supermarkets and employs more than 15,000 people.

Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Vermont this week, assessing damage from the flooding late last week triggered by heavy rain.  The FEMA teams are concentrating on Chittenden and Lamoille counties, and will be working with V-Trans and town officials to see if the state met a one-million-dollar threshold.  That determines if a public assistance disaster declaration is made.    Any disaster assistance request has to also have the approval of FEMA, as well as President Obama.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 28, 2013

Smokers in Vergennes could soon have fewer places to light up.  The city council today is considering a measure to ban smoking on the city green and at the city pool.  Alderman Mike Ouellette argues that smoking is a personal choice and that residents should not be subjected to second-hand smoke.  Earlier this year Vergennes students pushed the council to make the move.  The proposal would also ban smoking at city-sponsored events.

The last of three Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) research study clinics will be held tomorrow from noon to 7 PM at the Whiting Town Hall.  The first two clinics, held in April and early May at the Brandon Senior Center and Sudbury Town Hall, were well attended.  A total of 316 volunteers have donated blood samples that will be tested for antibodies to EEE.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board is holding three public hearings on proposed changes to trout and bass fishing regulations.  The board proposes reducing the daily creel limit for brook trout by half and opening 11 new river sections to catch and release trout fishing with artificial flies or lures outside of the normal season.  The first public meeting was today at the St. Johnsbury Elementary School, the second one will take place tomorrow at the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier and the third one will be held on Thursday at the Kehoe Education Center in Castleton.

Vermont Gas Services Inc. on Friday unveiled a natural gas pipeline route through Cornwall that it believes will comply with the community’s town plan and setback requirements while creating taxable infrastructure. Company officials said the pipeline would pour an estimated $240,000 into the municipal coffers during its first year of operation while allowing a limited number of local tie-ins.  Vermont Gas officials will present further details of their plans at a community meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School. The Cornwall selectboard is also expected to hold an informational meeting on the topic within the next few weeks.

Moriah Central School eighth-grader Nicholas Manfred is a North Country “spellebrity.”  After all, beginning today, the 13-year-old will compete for the second consecutive year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Nicholas earned his spot in the national competition in March, when he outlasted 51 other area students to become the champion of the Champlain Valley Educational Services Regional Spelling Bee.  The young spellebrity won the Regional Bee last year, as well, and spelled his way through the first three rounds of the 2012 national competition’s preliminaries before being eliminated.

Killington can now go on record as not only being the largest ski resort in Vermont, but staying open the longest in the Northeast.  A few more inches of fresh snow Sunday morning added to the three-foot base already there, and the skiers rushed in for one more day.  The lift tickets were free, with only one open and one trail below.  This wasn't the latest the ski area was open, because in 1997, the season didn't officially end until June 22nd.

For thousands, the annual Memorial Day parade in Vergennes is a tradition not to be missed.  Vergennes may be considered Vermont's smallest city, but every year it's the site of the state's largest Memorial Day parade.  It has all the traditional parade elements: student bands, shiny fire trucks and special guests.  But, the parade watchers and participants say it's much more than that, calling it a way to share pride, and say thank you to those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

Friday, May 24, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 24, 2013

Believe it or not, Vermont's economy is on the road to recovery.  Vermont economist and member of the New England Economic Partnership, Jeff Carr, says the state's recovery is only behind Massachusetts, which restored all of the jobs it lost.  While the construction sector is ranked one of the lowest for performance, the highest performance rates are in the trade, transportation, utilities and government sectors.  Carr says pre-recession employment rates should return in the next six to twelve months.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says state officials are adding up the damage from overnight flash flooding to determine if it meets the $1 million threshold that could bring federal disaster assistance.  Shumlin made the comments earlier today while surveying the damage along Route 15 and 117 in Essex.  There was also a number of roads closed in Underhill, Jericho, Johnson, and Cambridge

Salisbury residents will have an extra reason to honor their local veterans this Memorial Day thanks to a successful effort by the local historical society to install a monument on town-owned land off of Maple Street.  The society, led by Barry Whitney Jr., spent the last seven years raising money to create the first designated veterans’ park for honoring all local servicemen and women who’ve served during every major conflict dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Vermont is getting $6.3 million in federal Homeland Security grants to help the state develop prevention and preparedness programs to respond to acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.  U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said the grants will come from two Homeland Security programs.  A $3.4 million homeland security grant will help support the implementation of strategies to plan, organize, train and equip first-responder agencies who would be called upon in the event of an act of terrorism or other disasters.  A second grant of just under $3 million will help Vermont and local governments prepare for disasters and hazards.

With Rain in the forecast all weekend long, officials want to remind you about the potential dangers of flooded basements.  First, shut off power to all basement appliances.  Don't touch circuit breakers, fuses or operation switches while standing in water.  Fishing waders, rubber boots and rubber gloves will not protect you from electrical shock.  If any appliances or electrical equipment are wet, have an electrician inspect them before using them.  And do not turn the power back on until the basement is dry.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 23, 2013

The state of Vermont is telling the newly formed Health Care Cooperative it cannot have a license to offer insurance policies because of serious financial problems.  The Vermont Health Co-Op was formed last year, under the Affordable Care Act to sell health insurance policies on an exchange starting next year.  State regulators say they don't think the co-op can meet basic financial commitments, and they want to make sure there's enough money to pay health insurance medical claims.  The C-E-O for Health Care Co-Op says they're disappointed, but will find a way to move forward.

Remains from dozens of graves which washed away in Tropical Storm Irene are finally at peace once again.  28 bodies swept away when Nason Brook in Rochester flooded Woodlawn Cemetery in August 2011 are finally being reburied this week.  More than 450-thousand dollars from FEMA along with state and local funds helped pay to shore up the cemetery land and fix the infrastructure.  The bodies of 24 others, however have never been found.  A rededication is planned for next month.

Crown Point Central School District voters have approved a school budget for next year that mirrors the current spending plan.  The budget, approved 97-10, maintains all existing programs and staff.  There are no cuts.  The 2013-14 budget totals over $6-million and is a 2-percent increase.  Crown Point Central School has 274 students kindergarten through 12th grade.

The U.S. Senate today rejected by a vote of 71 to 27 an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to let states require labels on food or beverages made with genetically modified ingredients.  The issue is of special interest to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  An overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling but virtually all of the major biotech and food corporations in the country oppose it.”  The Vermont House on May 10 voted 99-42 for legislation calling for labeling food products that contain genetically modified organisms.  Sanders’ proposal was designed to make it clear that states have the authority to require the labeling of foods produced using genetically modified organisms.

Crews responded to a garbage truck that caught fire off Shelburne Road in Shelburne. According to the Shelburne Fire Department, something in the back of a Casella Waste truck caught fire.  The contents in the truck were hosed down.  At this time, they do not think it was suspicious.  No one was injured from the fire.

The South Burlington City Council has OK'd a new building at the University Mall, which is expected to settle a lawsuit.  The UMall wants to tear down a two-story building on Dorset Street and replace it with a 6,000-square-foot building that would house a bank and retail space. But under the city's interim zoning rules, the City Council rejected the proposal, prompting the mall owners to sue.  This week, the City Council reversed course, voting unanimously in favor of the project.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 22, 2013

With gas prices rising rapidly, Senator Bernie Sanders wants to see federal regulators follow the lead of Europeans and investigate oil and fuel price manipulation.  Sanders also proposed a 30 day deadline for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which he says would help curb excessive speculation in crude oil markets.  This speculation can significantly increase oil and gas prices.  Sanders says these price hikes are coming at a time when U.S. inventories have reached a 3 decade high, while demand is lower.

Voters in Ticonderoga have approved a school budget for next year that included employee and academic cuts.  The 2013-14 budget totals over $18-million.  That’s an increase of almost 4-percent from the current spending plan.  The spending plan calls for the elimination of 11.6 full-time equivalent jobs and cuts in academic programs.  In all, 25 employees are being cut to some degree.  Also eliminated is a librarian position. That person is retiring and will not be replaced.

Vermont State Police are currently investigating a car break-in at the hiking access on Mountain Road in Addison.  According to reports, an unlocked vehicle was parked at the access and approximately $2,200 in personal property was stolen from inside the vehicle.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks.  Information can also be submitted anonymously online at or text CRIMES (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.

A pair of siblings pleaded innocent to a string of burglaries in Rutland that police say funded their heroin addiction.  28-year-old Todd Miller and his sister 30-year-old Amanda Miller pleaded not guilty.  The pair is charged with multiple counts of felony burglary.  Police say starting in October, the siblings stole and then pawned jewelry and assorted silverware from at least five homes around the city.  Police estimate from one house alone on Church Street the Millers stole up to $12,000 worth of goods.  The siblings were released on conditions.  If convicted, Todd Miller could face up to 100 years in prison; his sister could spend up to 45 years behind bars.

The Agency of Agriculture is tracking down hay producers who used an herbicide now being blamed for poisoning compost.  Contaminated hay believed to have been sold to a stable in Colchester up to two years ago, was fed to horses and manure from them was used in making the compost.  A specific chemical that ruined hundreds of gardens last year was found in material produced by Green Mountain Compost.  There's new rules for using the herbicide, and the hay producers the Agency of Agriculture is looking for could face fines up to ten-thousand dollars.

Lake Bomoseen is getting some additional help, with more police at the state park.  Officials there say an increased police presence is needed due to an increase in nighttime noise.  In previous summers, Castleton police would only drive through the park, but this year there will be an officer on foot patrol, once a contract now in the works is agreed upon.  Bomoseen State Park opens up for the season on Memorial Day Weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 21, 2013

A man arrested in connection with a fire set at a car dealership in Pittsford in July 2011 has pleaded not guilty to a federal arson charge.  29-year-old Steven Browne of Middlebury was arrested after a fire was set at Curtis Auto Sales.  He was initially charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he allegedly tried to escape from police custody.  Police said they found Browne behind the wheel of a stolen car taken from the Curtis Auto Sales lot.  They said he was at a Rutland bank attempting to cash checks taken from the dealership.

Rutland is getting a Forbes 500 company and a new solar project.  N-R-G, the largest solar developer in the country now has a partnership with Green Mountain Power to start up a pilot program for community solar leases.  The two companies will build a new solar array in the town, and from that 50 customers can lease the power generated.  A consultant says those customers may be people renting apartments or others who cannot do solar on their own.  While it's not known what the savings will be, G-M-P officials say the customers are likely to pay less for solar than they are currently paying for electricity.

As Governor Peter Shumlin put his name onto a bill known as the End-of-Life Choices legislation yesterday, he was creating history.  The new law allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients and is the first ever such law in the nation passed by state lawmakers.  A handful of other states have similar laws on the books, but those all came into being by referendum.  Supporters say now that the law is in place, the number of patients who follow through with taking the prescription will be small, but opponents say there's no oversight, and they will set up a hotline for reports of abuse.

Area residents will have an opportunity to comment on proposed Lake George boating regulations aimed at preventing the spread of invasive species.  #The Lake George Park Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed plan Wednesday, June 12, at 6 PM at the Best Western in Ticonderoga.  The Lake George Park Commission adopted a Draft Invasive Species Prevention Plan and Environmental Impact Statement April 23.  Before the draft can become final the public will have 60 days to comment.

Vermont State Parks are set to open this weekend.  A press release says the Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial start of summer, marks the beginning of the prime season for all 52 Vermont State Parks.  Officials are hopeful that this year's park visitation will at least match last year's 20 year record.  Vermont State Parks saw more than 915,000 visits last summer.

This Sunday is the Vermont City Marathon, the first marathon in Burlington since the bombings last month in Boston.  That means the security will be tightened, and Burlington Police have plenty of safety recommendations for runners and spectators alike.  People are being asked to bring their belongings in clear plastic bags instead of coolers, back packs and boxes.  They're also being told to expect random searches and to carry out their own trash, because fewer trash barrels will be available.

Monday, May 20, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 20, 2013

Vermont is joining the national "Click it or Ticket" campaign which gets underway today and runs through June 2nd.  State, local and county law enforcement officers are conducting high-visibility enforcement of Vermont's seatbelt law.  There were 77 fatalities last year on Vermont roads, and state police report nearly half of those deaths were people not properly wearing their seatbelts.

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved a Farm Bill last week on a bipartisan vote of 36-10. The bill is expected to be debated by the full House of Representatives this summer.  Representative Peter Welch said, “This is a good bill for Vermont’s agriculture sector which is vital to the economic health of our state.”  The bill is designed to stabilize milk prices for dairy farmers, provide disaster insurance for vegetable growers, promote local fruits and vegetables in school lunches, and help grow Vermont’s maple industry.

It's a battle between two companies who both have the word "woodchuck" in their business and on their logo.  Woodchuck Hard Cider of Middlebury has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Woodchuck Coffee Roasters in South Burlington.  The hard cider company says the coffee roasters' logo is very similar to its own, adding it's worked hard to build brand awareness for the past 22 years.  The coffee company, which was founded two years ago, say they never intended for their logo to imitate the one from Middlebury.

A hearing date for the legal battle between Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and the state is now set for June 4th.  The hearing will be in federal court in Burlington involving the latest legal challenge by Entergy, the plant's owner, who is accusing state regulators of delaying approval for a back-up emergency diesel generator.  The plant is under orders from the feds to put in a back-up power source by September, and the Public Service Board has not yet given permit approval for the project.

Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances and don't know what to do with your old ones?  Starting Thursday, "Efficiency Vermont" will haul-away your working refrigerator or freezer and you'll get 50 dollars for it.  They're hoping to collect more than 2,000 of them by the end of the year.  The group says people may not realize how much energy those older appliances use.  To find if you're eligible visit

The annual Middlebury Memorial Day Parade will be held next starting at 9 AM.  The parade route travels north on Main Street and concludes with a ceremony at the Soldiers Monument on Merchants Row immediately following the parade.  The Middlebury Fire Department will also hold an open house at the new Station 1 on Seymour Street next Monday.  The station will be open to the public for two hours immediately following the Memorial Day Parade and ceremony at the Soldiers Monument.

Friday, May 17, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 17, 2013

A tractor trailer accident in Vergennes closed Main Street earlier today.  According to the Vergennes Deputy Fire Chief, the tractor trailer went off the road near an animal hospital and crashed into a small structure that contains the city's sewage pump system.  Crews worked to keep the sewer system functioning, while also working to contain a diesel spill.  The driver in the accident was not injured.  It is unknown what caused the accident.

Vergennes voters on Tuesday backed the city council’s proposed $1.45 million bond to fund a new 4,611-square-foot police station on a North Main Street site between the railroad crossing and Kennedy Brothers.  The small lot once was home to Vergennes Auto Sales.  City officials said they expect work to begin on the project in September, with a target completion date early next year. 

Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union approved the Vergennes Union High School board’s proposal to seek a five-year, $600,000 loan to fund new roofing on the school’s leaky classroom wing and auditorium.  Residents in all five ANwSU towns backed the proposal by wide margins. 

Residents of New Haven will meet at a special town meeting next Monday and then vote on Tuesday by Australian ballot on a nearly quarter-million-dollar supplement to the General Fund budget for this coming fiscal year due to a budgeting error. They will also discuss and vote on whether to switch back to voice voting on the town budget at future town meetings.  The Monday meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Voting is Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. by Australian ballot, also at the town hall.

Vermont's unemployment rate continues to decline. The seasonally adjusted rate dropped a 10th of a percentage point in April to 4 percent.  That's the third lowest in the country. The national average was 7.5 percent, also down a 10th of a percentage point from March.  In the state's 17 local labor market areas, the non-seasonally adjusted rates for April ranged from 2.9 percent in the Hartford area to 7.3 percent in Newport.

The Ticonderoga Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to its annual dinner and auction.  The 11th annual event will be Friday, June 14, at the Silver Bay YMCA’s Gullen Lounge.  Appetizers will be served at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. The silent auction, live auction and dancing will follow.  Reservations can be made by calling the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce office at 585-6619 or Emailing  Tickets are $50 a person and include appetizers, buffet, beer, wine, dessert and gratuity.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 16, 2013

There's a big lighting problem on the new Lake Champlain Bridge, which connects Chimney Point, Vermont with Crown Point, New York.  Many of the lights are out, and according to the New York State Department of Transportation, water is getting into the electrical pole boxes on the bridge, damaging the wiring.  Crews are now working to find out how it happened and keep it from happening again.  The original lighting on the 76-million-dollar bridge which opened just a few years ago cost one-point-two million.  Estimates to fix the problem are set at another half-million dollars.

Voters are saying "no" to the third school budget proposal for the 2014 school year in Rutland Town.  It was defeated by a very slim margin of just 12 votes.  The proposed budget of seven-point-nine million dollars is about 300-thousand more than the current budget, but the cost to tax-payers is actually a one-and-a-half percent decrease from the 2013 fiscal year.  The budget deadline is June 30th.

If you're a teen looking for a summer job in New York, you're in luck!  Governor Cuomo says more than 18,000 jobs will be made available.  It's all thanks to New York State's Summer Youth Employment Program.  $25 million in funding will be distributed to all 57 counties in New York to help bring youth into the workforce.  There are requirements to the program, if you meet them you're asked to contact your local department of social services.

Police in Essex Junction are looking for a man who brandished a handgun during a robbery at a convenience store.  Police responded to Champlain Farms shortly before 11 p.m. after a report of an armed robbery.  They said the man took some cash and fled. No injuries were reported.  Police released video surveillance photos.  They described the man as white, 5-foot-8, 135 pounds wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black cap and gloves.

The Vermont National Guard says the number of furlough days for about 500 of its federal technicians is being reduced from 14 to 11.  The Vermont guard's technicians work within the Army and Air National Guard in numerous positions to include administration, maintenance, and operations.  Vermont officials say they are acting on a decision made by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.  The furloughs are due to federal budget cuts.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says 10 cliffs and hiking trails across the state are closed to protect peregrine falcon nesting areas.  Biologist John Buck says peregrine nesting season is well underway and falcons are sensitive to the presence of humans.  Buck says the areas that are closed include the portions of the cliffs where the birds are nesting and the trails leading to the cliff tops or overlooks.  In many cases the lower portions of the trails are still open.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 15, 2013

The State Legislature ended their session late last night.  President Pro Tem Senator John Campbell says Vermonters have won, adding lawmakers worked together across party lines to improve the lives of the state's citizens.  The House worked very late, eventually passing a $1.4-billion dollar budget and enacting dozens of miscellaneous taxes.  The next session starts in January 2014, when some supporters vow to bring back campaign finance reform.

A detective in the city of Barre has been assigned to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct by current and former leaders of the Rutland Police Department.  The attorney general's office had received a request for an investigation from the Rutland police officers' union.  That was sparked by a lawsuit this year by Andrew Todd, a former Rutland officer, against former and current department officials, including Chief Jim Baker.  Todd alleges he was subjected to racial discrimination.  Todd now works for the Vermont State Police.  The union complained Baker and other current officials were remaining on the job, despite a department policy that requires individuals go on paid leave while criminal claims against them are investigated.

Gun owners in New York will need to file forms with the state if they don’t want their information to made public.  Starting today, the records of anyone who has requested an exemption from the state Freedom of Information Law will be kept secret.  But if gun owners haven't filed the form with local authorities, the information will be available.  This is part of New York's new gun laws requiring registration of military-style weapons.

The office of the Vermont Attorney General's Office is warning businesses about a false advertising scam.  The state has received multiple recent reports of a scam company that hires sales people to sell ads to area businesses based on the fraudulent claim that the ad cost will support the local school's drug prevention program or other programs.  The attorney general's office says the school has not authorized this ad, the sales person may not be paid, and the profits from the ad sales go right to the scammers.  Businesses in the Morrisville area, Middlebury and Montpelier have recently been targeted.

I-B-M workers are bracing for possible layoffs, with those at the plant in Essex saying significant cuts are imminent.  The company would not confirm, but did indicate in April cost-cutting measures would take effect after missing their earnings targets in the first quarter.  The last major job cuts in Essex was in 2009, when about 300 workers were let go.

There is a warning out about a financial scam targeting Vermonters by text message.  The attorney general’s office says it has received a number of reports of fraudulent text messages from the number 400999, saying there is a problem with the recipient's debit or credit card.  The text provides a phone number to call to "unfreeze" the account.  Like other so-called phishing scams, the message seeks personal information.  Anyone who has responded to the text message should contact their financial institution immediately to protect their accounts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 14, 2013

The Vermont Health Department is holding the second of 3 clinics to test people for the mosquito-borne disease, eastern equine encephalitis, today.  EEE killed two Vermonters last year.  The clinic will be held from Noon to 7 PM at the Sudbury Town Hall.  The study of volunteers is to determine how many people have been exposed to the virus, but have not gotten seriously ill.  A clinic was held last month in Brandon and another will be held on May 29 in Whiting.

Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union will head to the polls today to decide whether to support a proposal put forth by the Vergennes Union High School board for a five-year, $600,000 loan to put a new roof on the school’s leaky classroom wing and auditorium.  If voters back the $600,000 loan, payments would add about $10 of annual taxes per $100,000 of assessed home value.  Those who are eligible for prebates would not pay the full amount of that increase.

Police in Bristol have arrested a 17-year-old on charges of selling drugs on school property.  Saturday night, they were called to the recreation fields for a report of a 13-year-old girl in need of medical attention.  The girl was treated and transported from the school by the Bristol Rescue Squad.  On Sunday, 17-year-old Zachariah Matthew Rusk was arrested.  Police say additional evidence obtained during a search warrant of his home may link him to other drug activities.

Vermont lawmakers are expected to give final approval to a nearly $1.4 billion general fund budget for the next fiscal year and wrap up their work for 2013.  Lawmakers yesterday took final action on several bills, including one decriminalizing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.  House and Senate leaders also gave up their effort to retool Vermont's income tax to make it more progressive.  Lawmakers are expected to work into this evening to give final approval to the budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.

Polls will be open until 7 o’clock tonight for residents to vote for a third time on a proposed budget for the Rutland Town School District.  On Town Meeting Day, voters defeated a proposed budget of over $8-million by a 22-vote margin.  That margin was even wider on March 26, when voters defeated a second proposed budget of $7,999,000 by a vote of 255 to 229.  Residents who live east of Route 7 can vote at the school. Residents living west of Route 7 can vote at the Town Hall.

According to a news announcement released by the Vermont State Police Rutland Barracks, they are still investigating the reports of a possible endangered juvenile female on the West Proctor Road in Rutland Town.  They say at this point in the investigation no more information has been obtained then the original report of the caller regarding a possible endangered juvenile female.  No juvenile female was located in the area as a result of search efforts and there still is no reports of a missing six-or seven-year-old female, from within Vermont or surrounding states. 

After more than a year without first response service, Monkton is poised to get its rescue squad back.  Four Monkton EMTs, led by assistant fire chief Kevin Alexander, are applying for licensure from the Vermont Department of Health and hope to be up and running in June.

Monday, May 13, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 13, 2013

As part of the contract negotiations between Rutland City and labor unions city pension plans are on the chopping block.  The Rutland Pension Board is considering eliminating pension participation for future city employees because of a shortfall in funding it, and new hires will instead go in the state Municipal Employees Retirement System.  New contracts call for current members to be able to stay in the program.  The fire department was the first union to agree to end city pension plans for new hires, and the Department of Public Works is now talking about it.

Vermont lawmakers say they're giving up their effort this year to make the state's income tax more progressive.  The move came after Gov. Peter Shumlin insisted he wanted no changes.  Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell says lawmakers had been pushing for capping the home mortgage interest deduction and making other changes designed to get more revenue from high-income taxpayers and less from middle- and lower-income Vermonters.  Campbell says lawmakers will take up the issue when they come back in January.  Meanwhile, he says he's still hopeful they can wrap up their business for 2013 by tomorrow night.

The Vermont Health Department is holding the second of 3 clinics to test people for the mosquito-borne disease eastern equine encephalitis that killed two Vermonters last year.  The clinic will be held tomorrow from Noon to 7 PM at the Sudbury Town Hall.  The study of volunteers is to determine how many people have been exposed to the virus, but have not gotten seriously ill.  A clinic was held last month in Brandon and another will be held May 29 in Whiting.

Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union tomorrow will decide whether to support a proposal put forth by the Vergennes Union High School board for a five-year, $600,000 loan to put a new roof on the school’s leaky classroom wing and auditorium.  If voters back the $600,000 loan, payments would add about $10 of annual taxes per $100,000 of assessed home value.  Those who are eligible for prebates would not pay the full amount of that increase.

Police in Bristol have arrested a 17-year-old on charges of selling drugs on school property.  Saturday night, they were called to the recreation fields for a report of a 13-year-old girl in need of medical attention.  The girl was treated and transported from the school by the Bristol Rescue Squad.  Yesterday, 17-year-old Zachariah Matthew Rusk was arrested.  Police say additional evidence obtained during a search warrant of his home may link him to other drug activities.

Vermont State Police in New Haven said they received two reports of catalytic converter stolen from cars parked at the Larabee Point State Fishing Access on Hanson Road in Shoreham.  The first came up missing on Friday.  Then on Sunday a catalytic converter was taken from a car between 1 and 5 PM.  Anyone with information is asked to call Vermont State Police.

Friday, May 10, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 10, 2013

Vermont State Police say they are continuing a comprehensive search and neighborhood canvas for a reported missing 6-year-old in Proctor.  Last night a woman reported that a woman told police that she was approached by the girl who said she had been hurt and displayed signs of injury.  The child then reportedly ran into the woods on the west side of the road.  The girl said her name was "Angel" or "Angela."  Police say she is a white female, with dark brown, straight, shoulder-length hair, and she was missing her left front tooth.  She was last seen wearing a red skirt, white T-Shirt, white flip-flops and a mood ring.  Anyone with any information should call the Rutland Barracks at 802-773-9101 or submit an anonymous tip to  If you come into contact with a child matching this description, please call 911 immediately.

When a suspicious envelope addressed to the I-R-S arrived at the building in Burlington yesterday, police say it felt like it had powder inside and had a grainy substance, and no one was taking any chances.  Hundreds of people were evacuated and the entire office complex was shut down for hours.  Turns out the grainy substance was just dirt, dried mud actually, which covered a check mailed to the I-R-S.  Lots of state, city and federal agencies were tied up for hours, but they say despite the inconvenience, safety comes first.

Addison Northwest Supervisory Union voters next Tuesday will decide whether to support a proposal put forth by the Vergennes Union High School board for a five-year, $600,000 loan to put a new roof on the school’s leaky classroom wing and auditorium.  If voters back the $600,000 loan, payments would add about $10 of annual taxes per $100,000 of assessed home value.  Those who are eligible for prebates would not pay the full amount of that increase.

Child care workers in Vermont will not be able to form a union, at least this year.  The legislation allowing that to happen was an amendment included in a bill dealing with several education issues.  Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott said it had nothing to do with the education bill, and removed it.  An effort then to have the Senate vote on it failed because it did not have a three-quarters majority.  Lawmakers are racing to clean up legislation as they aim for the session to be adjourned sometime on Saturday.

The Vermont Health Department will host its second of three Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) research study clinics on Tuesday, May 14, from noon to 7 PM at the Sudbury Town Hall
At the first clinic, held at the Brandon Senior Center on April 23, more than 220 volunteers donated blood samples that will be tested for antibodies to EEE.  All information collected during the study will be confidential.  The final clinic will be held at Whiting Town Hall on May 29 from noon to 7 PM.

The Internal Revenue Service is warning Vermonters about an email scam with the subject line “Notice of Tax Return for Year 2012.”  The IRS warns the email is a phishing attempt and recipients should not respond to it or click on any links in the email.  IRS receives thousands of reports every year from taxpayers who receive emails out-of-the-blue claiming to be from the IRS.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 9, 2013

A suspicious piece of mail has forced an evacuation at the Innovation Building in BurlingtonBurlington police say the package was discovered in the mailroom at the IRS.  No word on why the piece of mail is being deemed suspicious.  Police, fire and HAZZMAT crews are conducting an investigation. 

The Vermont Lottery has unveiled a new tri-state game called Gimmie 5!  A press release says the first drawing held on Wednesday, May 15.  The game will cost $1 to play with a top prize of $100,000.  Players will be able to purchase Gimme 5 tickets starting Sunday, May 12, at their favorite lottery agent or at one of the hundred WinStation's located throughout Vermont.

Gun opponents in Vermont say they'll be back for next year's legislative session and they'll be stronger.  No gun laws were passed this session, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.  The group called "Gun Sense Vermont" met at the Statehouse Wednesday, saying it's collected three-thousand signatures from people who want tougher laws.  Governor Peter Shumlin, who says the issue should be dealt with by the feds and not the state, says he'll meet with the group later this month.

More New Yorkers are taking to the web and filing their taxes online.  According to the tax department, e-filing was at an all time high this year.  At the end of April, nearly 90 percent of taxpayers e-filed their personal returns.   That's nearly 8 million by this year's deadline, a 200,000 increase more than last year!

Health organizations across the state are praising the Senate Finance Committee for passing an 80 cent tax increase on tobacco.  According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 20 percent of high school seniors smoke.  Experts say raising the tax is an effective way to prevent kids from smoking.  They say it also motivates others to quit.

The Vermont House of Representatives passed the nation’s strongest bill against chemical flame retardants (S.81, vote:141-0). The bill, if passed by the Senate, will ban the use of these chemicals in children’s products and home furniture.  Flame retardant chemicals targeted in this bill, migrate out of these products into air and dust, and from there enter our bodies.  The bill now heads back to the Senate, were it is expected to pass with the House-passed amendments.

The Vermont attorney general’s office says it has settled complaints that a Los Angeles company sent mailings to Vermont companies that appeared to be bills.  The state says Trademark Monitoring Services, Inc., mailed solicitations to Vermont businesses that misrepresented that the businesses owed it money for trademark-related services.  Attorney General William Sorrell says billing people for things they didn’t agree to buy is a violation of state law.  Under the settlement, the company must comply with Vermont and federal law and pay full refunds and $10,000 to the state of Vermont in penalties and costs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 8, 2013

A bill creating a sort of driver's license and identification for illegal immigrants passes in the House, and Governor Peter Shumlin says he'll sign it. Yesterday, the legislation passed creating drivers' privilege cards which will also be I-D's but will look different from regular drivers' licenses. It's estimated about 15-hundred immigrant workers live in Vermont, and are considered vital to the state's dairy industry.

After rejecting the House version of the doctor-assisted suicide bill yesterday, the state Senate agreed to debate it again this morning.  The vote came late yesterday on whether to allow Vermonters who have less than six months to live to ask their doctors for a prescription for a lethal dose of medication.  The sticking point between the House and Senate is government safeguards, something the House wants and the Senate does not.  Supports of the bill hope a common ground is reached before the Legislature adjourns this weekend.

The Vermont State Police arrested a man for aggravated sexual assault.  Police say 48-year-old Brandon Shackett Jr. of Brandon is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl during a sleep over last month.  If convicted, Shackett faces a maximum term of life in prison and may be fined no more than $50,000.  Shackett is due in court next month. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given Vermont verbal approval to begin demolition of flood-damaged buildings at the Waterbury Office Complex.  Governor Peter Shumlin Shumlin says that work should begin this summer.  Vermont is still waiting to find out how much money it is getting from FEMA.  The state is expecting $40 million-$50 million and is confident it will get it.

New York State Police arrested two people on meth charges in Mooers.  Police say they arrested 54-year-old Warren Inman and 41-year-old Donald Labarge Jr. of Champlain, for unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine.  Police initially went to a residence located on Bashaw Road to investigate a petit larceny complaint when they discovered remnants of a meth lab.  Both suspects were arraigned and were committed to the Clinton County Jail on $15,000 cash bail.  Additional charges are pending. 

A plea deal involving a fatality and a drunk driving charge fell apart in court Tuesday.  17-year-old James Companion is charged with D-U-I with death resulting from an accident nearly a year ago in Colchester.  His passenger, 25-year-old Tasha Maring died when the car ran into a utility pole and caught on fire.  The plea bargain anticipated Tuesday didn't happen because defense attorneys want more time, including having a pre-sentence investigation done beforehand.  Both sides hope to have a deal in place later this month.

Students and community members have petitioned Middlebury College to rethink its support of the natural gas pipeline expansion project proposed for Addison County.  At a small demonstration held outside the Old Chapel building on the Middlebury campus yesterday afternoon, about 20 students and community members presented a petition with more than 1,400 signatures to college officials.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 7, 2013

The Health Department has issued two reports about Asthma today.  They both show Vermont has the highest asthma rate in the nation with 1 in 10 children and approximately 11% of adults having asthma in 2010.  The Health Department says asthma is a respiratory disease that, if not treated, can cause permanent lung damage, disability and sometimes death.  May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

Although they're considered in the country illegally, immigrant farm workers may soon have valid proof of identity and residence in Vermont.  The House gave preliminary approval yesterday afternoon to a plan allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue "driver privilege cards."  The Senate passed its immigrant driving bill in April while the House could vote on it again as soon as today.

Bars in Essex County could stop selling alcohol an hour earlier than they're currently allowed.  The Essex Board of Supervisors voted 15 to 1 to change the time from 4 to 3 AM.  The 3 o'clock time was a compromise reached between some bar owners and board supervisors.  The change isn't official until the New York State Liquor Board reviews the vote in a public hearing.

A Rutland man pled innocent to embezzlement charges yesterday morning.  Prosecutors say 27-year-old Mitchell Gioffi allegedly took nearly 100 high-priced items from Sears at the mall over a two-month period.  In a statement to police, Gioffi said he was stealing and selling the items because of his heroin addiction.  The monetary value of the stolen items was over $17,247.  Gioffi was released on conditions.  If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Crews are investigating a brush fire in St. George on Sunday.  A press release says approximately 1 acre of land caught fire a few hundred feet from homes on Hemlock Road. Witnesses told police that several juveniles were seen exiting the woods in that area.  Police say this was the second fire at the same location involving the same juveniles.  Those juvenile suspects have been identified.  Police are still investigating the fire.

The Vermont House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill requiring labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms.  But the measure isn’t expected to pass into law this year, because there isn’t enough time before the end of the session.  If it passes the House, as expected, the Senate will likely take it up in January.

If you like buying online to avoid a sales tax, you're not alone, but that luxury could soon change.  The Senate has passed the Marketplace Fairness Act.  It requires all online retailers to collect sales taxes for the state where the goods are shipped.  Shoppers who live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon won't be charged on goods they have shipped to their home state.  That's because these 5 states don't have a state-wide sales tax.  The bill now moves to the House.

Friday, May 3, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 3, 2013

Governor Peter Shumlin held a Green Up Day press conference today.  The governor joined agency of transportation workers who picked up trash on I-89 South to promote Green Up Day.  Green Up Day occurs across the state of Vermont all day on Saturday.

Tomorrow morning there will be two short-term road closures to make the Middlebury Maple Run foot race safe for participants and drivers:  From 8:55 - 9:15 AM: South Street from Porter Hospital to Main Street and the intersections of Route 30/Academy Street/College Street/Weybridge Street. Once all the runners have cleared the College Street/Weybridge Street intersection the road will be reopened.  And then from 9:45 - 11:30 AM: South Street and South Street Extension from Porter Field Road to the intersection of Morse Road. Residents and emergency vehicles will be permitted to pass.

A head-on crash closed part of Route 7 in Middlebury yesterday.  Police say a car crossed the center line and hit an agricultural truck.  A woman in the car was taken to the hospital.  The southbound lane was closed for about an hour.  No word on what caused the car to lose control.

Police responded to Hazen Union School today for a report of a student on a bus arriving to the school with a gun.  According to police, the school was immediately placed on lockdown.  Through their investigation, police determined that a gun wasn't on the school bus.  Police say the incident was the result of miscommunication resulting from shotgun shells being found on the school bus earlier in the week.

Last week's drug take back day was a success.  Vermonters helped keep more than 2,300 pounds of prescription pills off the streets.  New Hampshire dropped more than 5,600.  Of the six New England states, Maine led the charge. In total, New England contributed around 30 tons of drugs.  A press release says the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

There have been a lot of wild brush fires around our region of late, but one burning in Colchester earlier today was started intentionally by firefighters.  A 15-acre section of the Vermont National Guard's Camp Johnson is being torched as part of an effort to restore a rare species of pine tree that needs fire to release the seeds from the pinecone.  The Oak-Pine Sandplain at the camp is one of the last of its kind in Vermont.

State transportation officials say they've postponed a project to repair the slopes along one of the main roads in the Adirondack Mountains.  Department of Transportation officials announced last night that the work scheduled for Route 73 in Essex County has been put on hold after the discovery of a fiber-optic cable line in an unexpected location.  The work hasn't been rescheduled yet. Lane closures were originally scheduled to begin earlier this week and the project was to be finished by Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 2, 2013

Former city attorney Christopher Sullivan pleaded innocent today to a pair of felony charges that could put him in jail for up to 30 years in the hit-and-run death of 71-year-old Jane Outslay.  53-year-old Sullivan stared straight ahead as his attorney entered innocent pleas on his behalf.  No bail was set, but an unsecured appearance bond of $10,000 was imposed by the Judge.  The judge also set conditions that prohibit Sullivan from consuming alcohol and a special condition was imposed for Sullivan to comply with alcohol tests that police will administer during random visits to his Rutland home.

Governor Cuomo announced today additional reform measures to strengthen New York's Shared Work program.  In the North Country, a press release says, 25 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 295 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 75 jobs were saved.  The shared work program allows employers to reduce worker's hours and enable the worker to collect partial unemployment insurance benefits to make up for lost wages. Workers are still able to keep health insurance, retirement, vacation pay, and other benefits.

A former Hickok & Boardman Realty employee was arrested for embezzlement on Monday.  Police say 34-year-old Heidi Green of Shelburne, embezzled money from the company and from five different individuals who were seeking housing services from Hickok & Boardman.  Green is accused of embezzling more than $10,000.  Green was arraigned on Monday on 5 counts of embezzlement.  She was released on pre-trial conditions.  If convicted, Green faces 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Police have identified the child who was run over in a driveway in Georgia yesterday afternoon.  1 and ½ year old Dawson Mosher died at the hospital.  Investigators say the driver of the vehicle was the boy's grandmother, 59-year-old Dorene Mosher of Milton.  The incident happened in a private driveway off Goodrich Hill Road.  Police say the case is still under investigation.

The moose that has been on the loose in the South Burlington area was spotted again this morning in the Red Rocks Park.  Officials say the moose looks like a baby!  As for why the calf was without its mama, it turns out that young moose are usually on their own within the first year!

The Vermont Department of Health is joining Green Up Vermont to spread a simple message about how to prevent tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease.  On Saturday, May 4, over 15,000 volunteers across the state will be picking up trash.  More than 40,000 green garbage bags will be filled with the litter that volunteers find lodged along roadsides and in tall grass or brushy areas, which is right where the ticks live.  Be Tick Smart on Green Up Day, and follow three easy steps to keep yourself, children and pets safe.  #1. Wear long pants and tuck them into socks.  #2. Check yourself for ticks from head to toe.  #3. Remove ticks as soon as possible.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 1, 2013

Prepare to start spending more the next time you go to the gasoline pumps.  Vermont’s new gasoline tax goes into effect today.  The average is just six cents per gallon, but every bit counts.  Governor Peter Shumlin says the tax is needed to pay for transportation costs, and is expected to bring in 25-million dollars every year.  It’s also going up on diesel by two cents, as of this July.  The governor signed it into law earlier this week in a private ceremony.

Work will begin next week on the lighting issues on the Lake Champlain Bridge.  A spokesperson for the N.Y. Department of Transportation says, water got into the pole boxes on the bridge and impacted the wiring, causing the lights not to work.  Crews will fix the wiring and make sure the pole boxes are water tight.  Work is expected to be completed by June.

Residents in Brandon defeated the latest municipal budget.   The budget had been approved in March by an 8-vote margin, 428-420.  It prompted a successful petition campaign to put it on a special ballot.  Yesterday, the proposed budget was defeated by 282 votes.  The Select Board will now work on reducing the budget before it goes before voters again.

A New York man is dead after an ATV accident in the Adirondacks.  State police say 49-year-old Tyler Middleton of Ballston Spa, was riding alone on a logging road in Westport late Monday night when he rolled off the trail and down a small embankment.  He was trapped under the overturned ATV and suffocated.  Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident.

House lawmakers gave preliminary approval yesterday to legislation that would require every school district in the state to provide publicly funded preschool to children as young as 3.  In a 97-43 vote that split mostly along party lines, advocates for early education won a victory they say will expand opportunities for kids during a critical period in their lives. For lower-income children especially, supporters of the legislation say, the bill would provide the head start needed to promote academic success later in life.

Essex County lawmakers are just one vote cast away from making bar closing times an hour earlier.  The final vote is at 10 AM next Monday in the Old County Courthouse in Elizabethtown.  The change from 4 AM was proposed by Mac MacDevitt of the Essex County Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Ticonderoga.  MacDevitt had asked for a reduction to 2 AM, but supervisors compromised on 3 AM after some tavern owners objected.

May is Stroke Awareness Month and the American Heart Association is urging everyone to take control and learn the warning signs.  They say stroke warning signs can come suddenly and fast. 
There's an easy acronym to help your remember these common signs called FAST.  F- Face drooping / A- Arm weakness / S - Speech difficulty / T - Time to call 911  Often times, people miss the warning signs and go hours, sometimes days before getting medical attention.  The quicker stroke is recognized, there's less of a chance for long term damage.  Health experts say it's important to call 911 as soon as possible.