Monday, July 8, 2013

WVTK Local & State News July 8, 2013

The record rainfall has caused near flood stage on waterways statewide; causing fast moving and dangerous swimming conditions.  Officials with the Vermont Department of Health, urge everyone who plans to swim in a river or stream to use extreme caution.  Officials say the dangerous waters also present safety issues for the rescue workers.  During the past few days, they have been called out more than five times.  And with more rain possibly on the way, officials say to be safe, just don't go swimming in the streams or rivers.

Rivers and streams are not the only concern right now; Lake Champlain is approaching flood stage too.  Water levels usually are highest in April and recede throughout the summer until the end of the year and then increase during March.  This year, Lake Champlain water levels have been steadily going up.  The National Weather Service says lake shore properties should keep an eye on the water levels over the next few weeks and watch out for any flood warnings.

Danilo Lopez was supposed to be deported from the United States on Friday, July 5.  He's still here.  Lopez was given the chance to apply to stay in the U.S. on the very day he was supposed to voluntarily deport to Mexico.  He's been in the U.S. for 6 years, and has a lot of supporters from Vermont senators to other undocumented workers.  He's well known after he fought to get legal driver's licenses for undocumented farm workers in Vermont.  His legal status was discovered after a traffic stop in 2011, and he's been fighting to stay in the country ever since.  It will take 10 to 14 days for Lopez to find out if he can stay in the U.S.

Vermont Gas is taking issue with a recent study that its proposed Addison County pipeline would increase greenhouse gases.  The company was responding to allegations raised by the Conservation Law Foundation that they failed to account for methane emissions leaked during the lifecycle of natural gas.  The Company, in a filing to the Public Service Board, said CLF's report failed to take into account the emissions of greenhouse gases from the production, refinement and transportation of oil.  Despite concerns from some activists, State officials continue to support the effort.  The Public Service Board is expected to begin hearings on the project in September.

A South Burlington man is jail after leading police on a high speed chase.  According to reports, 22-year-old Michael Brooks was not wearing a helmet and sped through several red lights and drove on sidewalks from Airport Drive to the roundabout in Winooski before he was captured when his bike stalled out.  Brooks now faces a slew of charges, including possession of a stolen motorcycle.

A Bristol man drowned on Thursday.  A 26-year-old Bristol man was swept away while swimming in the New Haven River between the twin bridges on Route 116 north of Bristol village.  Members of Middlebury Technical went out into the water Thursday afternoon in an attempt to locate the victim, but according to a VSP statement, a violent rainstorm forced them to suspend operations due to dangerous conditions.  Officials recovered the body at 10:15 Friday morning.  The victim was identified as 26-year-old Steven Orvis of Bristol.

Officials with Vermont’s health and agriculture agencies are planning to discuss a new plan to react to the threat of mosquito-borne viruses.  State officials plan to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services office to track and respond to cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus.  Officials will share the details of the plan with the public on Wednesday in a meeting at the Brandon Town Hall.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be in Vermont this week to assess damage from recent flooding in various parts of the state.  The FEMA team will be making stops in Chittenden, Washington and Windsor counties tomorrow and may add Lamoille and other counties to the list, depending on what the weather does between now and then.  State and local road crews have been scrambling to repair numerous road wash-outs during the storms of recent weeks.

The Town of Plattsburgh plans to use a $690,000 bond to move two pending projects forward.  Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said $290,000 would be used to purchase over 93 acres of property that includes the Cadyville Recreation Park and surrounding lands from Clinton County.  The remaining $400,000 would be used to acquire the street lights and associated equipment in the town from New York State Electric and Gas.

Winooski residents will have their say on the F-35 tonight.  The City Council is holding a public forum on the Air National Guard's bid for a new fleet at 6:30 p.m.  The meeting is in the Claire Burke Chamber at City Hall.

Rutland Regional Medical Center is cutting jobs to save money.  The hospital hopes to lose about 100 jobs through attrition. About 12 workers could be offered reassignment.  It blames $4 million in federal cuts to Medicare reimbursements.  Rutland Regional is also outsourcing its IT department.

A man in Pittsford will be in court today to answer to charges of second-degree murder.  Christopher Sharrow is accused of killing his girlfriend early Friday morning, with the couple’s three children home at the time.  Neighbors called 911 after hearing loud screams from what they thought was a family fight, and troopers forced their way in, finding the body of Kristen Parker.  The three children, all younger than eight, are now under the care of other relatives.