Monday, August 12, 2013

WVTK Local & State News August 12, 2013

The potentially deadly mosquito virus Triple-E has been detected in Vermont for the first time this year.  West Nile Virus has been detected as well.  Experts say there are several common sense ways you can protect yourself from mosquitoes. One way is wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants.  Also, wearing a bug spray that contains DEET can help.  The EEE infected mosquito was detected in a pool of water in Whiting.  West Nile has been detected in Addison, Rutland, and Franklin Counties.

A Middlebury church is teaming up with local police on a rather unusual cause this month.  The Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society is offering an incentive to people to get rid of unwanted or unused guns.  Everyone who turns in a gun to the Middlebury Police Department gets a voucher for 50 dollars.  The church usually takes in up to two-thousand dollars each month in collections, designating half of the money to its cause-of-the-month, with this month’s focus being the gun program.

Vermont State Police in conjunction with local and county law enforcement will be conducting increased patrols as well as Sobriety & Safety checkpoints during the Labor Day 2013 Mobilization & CARE Weekend, which runs from this Friday thru September 2nd.  Last year there were a total of seventy-seven (77) fatal crashes in Vermont.  In over 30% of those crashes the driver and or passenger were not buckled up.  As of today, there have been 38 fatalities on our roadways in Vermont.  The scheduled increased patrols and checkpoints are an opportunity to use high visibility enforcement to turn the tide in the number of traffic fatalities.

The death penalty is now off the table for Michael Jacques of East Randolph, the man accused of killing his 12-year-old niece Brooke Bennett five years ago.  The U-S Attorney’s Office announced Friday Jacques will instead plead guilty, and will be sentenced to life without parole.  Jacques, who is currently in federal custody in an out-of-state prison, will soon appear in court to plead guilty and be sentenced.

State officials in Vermont are taking a closer look at employees’ travel budgets.  The Shumlin administration last week sent state agency and department heads notice that travel budgets are being cut by $170,000 overall for the year.  Legislators this year also inserted wording in the 2014 budget bill requiring any employee driving more than 11,400 miles a year to use a state-owned or leased car, unless granted an exemption by a department head. Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said he hopes state agencies will make better use of technology instead of having employees traveling to attend meetings.

Officials with the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union are looking for a new principal at Beeman Elementary School.  The former principal, Steve Flint, resigned last month to take a job in Middlebury at Mary Hogan Elementary School.  So far 17 applications have been received, and an interview committee was formed.  The district hopes to invite candidates for interviews this week and hire within two weeks.