Friday, August 30, 2013

WVTK Local & State News August 30, 2013

The Vermont Health Department announced today that Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been detected in more mosquitoes from the swampy areas of Whiting, nearby Leicester, and Brandon.  The Health Department Laboratory just confirmed EEE in five mosquito batches collected by the Agency of Agriculture this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  EEE was also recently detected in mosquitoes in Sudbury, from the opposite side of the swamp from where the Brandon mosquitoes were collected.  To date this year, one person and one horse in Lamoille County have been confirmed to have West Nile virus. There have been no reports of human or animal cases of EEE this year.

Vermont State Police have arrested three people in connection with an armed robbery at a pharmacy in Cambridge.  Police say a man and two women entered Kinney Drugs yesterday afternoon.  The man pulled out a handgun and demanded opiates and stimulant drugs from the pharmacist.  The pharmacist handed over some drugs, and the three left.  No one was hurt.  The three were tracked down by police about an hour later.  Police said 38-year-old Russell John Thaxton of Starksboro was arrested on assault and robbery charges.  They said 31-year-old Amanda Tetrault of Eden and 30-year-old Jennifer Stancliff of Morrisville were charged with accessory aiding in the commission of a felony.

Demolition began on the State Office Complex in Waterbury.  As you might remember, it was heavily damaged by flood waters during Tropical Storm Irene 2 years ago.  Work was delayed as the state and federal government hashed out how the project would be paid for.  Yesterday, it was announced the feds will cover $53-million of the $125-million reconstruction cost.  The plan calls for demolishing 19 buildings, fixing 13, and building a new one.  The new complex should be open in about two years.

A former Rutland police officer will not face criminal charges for his use of workers’ compensation benefits.  Ten months after Joseph “Michael” Warfle was placed on administrative leave and nine months after Vermont State Police began an investigation into unspecified issues related to his receipt of benefits.  Officials say prosecutors decided they didn’t have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge. 

A Vermont state senator plans to propose pay-it-forward college when the Legislature reconvenes in January.  The proposal is based off a pilot program in Oregon.  Sen. Anthony Pollina says he wants Vermont students to be able to attend state colleges and pay only room and board while there. Following graduation, students would then pay a small percentage of their yearly income back to the state for at least a decade.  Pollina says the model can combat skyrocketing tuition costs and the state's shrinking contribution to state colleges.