Tuesday, July 2, 2013

WVTK Local & State News July 2, 2013

An elite crew of wildland firefighters in Vermont is ready to answer the call to head west.  The U-S Forest Service puts out calls across the nation every summer to work wildfires, like the one in Arizona which Sunday killed 19 firefighters.  The 20-person crew in Vermont has been out West on similar fires before, and currently two Vermonters are out there.  They say they’ve been through the physical and mental training, and know that if something similar happened here, other national crews are ready to come and help.

New texting laws in New York state will crack down on new and young drivers.  People with a probationary or junior license will have it suspended for 60 days, if you're caught.  For subsequent convictions, you could get your license revoked for up to 6 months.  This goes into effect immediately. 

Lake Champlain has had enough, literally!  The lake is now just inches away from being at flood stage.  It’s currently at 99-point-2 feet, with flood stage at 100 feet.  Water is already pouring over the edge and slowly taking over the King Street Dock.  Meteorologists says the lake is currently about three feet over what it should be this time of year. The timing could not be worse, because it could impact the tourism season, the time when the lake is used the most.

A proposed increase to DMV fees in New York has been defeated by the Essex County Board of Supervisors.  The extra fees would have helped with the up-keep of the county's roads.  But now, the supervisors are back to the drawing board to find ways to increase revenues to offset property taxes.  The 2014 shortfall is estimated at between $6 to 8 million for Essex County.

Furloughs from federal cuts will mean less pay for Vermont National Guard members starting next week.  The Guard's 500 full-time members lose one day of work a week from July 8 to the end of September, effectively cutting their pay by 20 percent.  Vermont's adjutant general says the cuts won't effect the Guard's ability to respond to an emergency.

Rutland City Police are warning residents to keep a close eye on their vehicles after close to a dozen tires were slashed in the city’s southwest neighborhood Sunday night.  Police say that starting at about 9 p.m. Sunday and continuing into Monday, police received complaints from residents on Forest Street and Porter Place.  In the majority of cases, the vandalized vehicles were parked on the curb but a handful were parked in their owners’ driveways.  Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call city police department.

Vermont’s artisanal cheeses will be on display later this month at the 5th annual Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival in Shelburne.  Over 40 cheesemakers plan to attend the festival, scheduled for July 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shelburne Farms.  The event features three workshops and cooking and cheesemaker demonstrations. Organizers say over 200 cheeses, wines and specialty foods will be available for sampling and to buy.