Monday, September 16, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 16, 2013

54-year-old driver accused of plowing into a group of bicyclists Sunday morning and injuring several will be in court today on charges of drunken driving.  Brian Miller of Shoreham is also charged with several other crimes and is now being held on 50-thousand dollars bail.  Martin Veit of Moretown is in critical condition after being thrown first into the windshield of Veit’s car and then into an apple tree when Miller’s car hit the group.  The bicyclists were taking part in the sixth annual Le Tour De Farms in Shoreham, a group ride promoting bicycling safety.

Price Chopper is recalling some of its half-gallon milk sold in paper cartons Monday morning. The milk has an expiration date of September 29.  Officials say there is a possible non-hazardous cleaning solution in the milk. The solution is used to clean the equipment during milk processing and is not harmful to animals or humans.  If you purchased this milk, you can bring it back to your local Price Chopper store for a full refund.

The Vermont Public Service Board has begun hearings on a plan by Vermont Gas Systems to extend natural gas service to Addison County.  The Canadian-owned company, which currently serves northwestern Vermont, hopes to extend their service to the International Paper mill as well as Addison and Rutland Counties.  Citizens' groups including the Vermont Public Interest Research Group and Rising Tide Vermont are protesting the project, saying the gas is produced by an environmentally destructive process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  They were planning a mock trial outside the hearing earlier today.  But supporters say natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other fossil fuels and say its low cost is a boon to economic development.

Backers of a new Vermont law setting up rules for growing hemp are coming back to the Statehouse for a celebration.  Rural Vermont is hosting a reception tomorrow, on Constitution Day, and will be flying a flag made from hemp outside the Statehouse.  Hemp is a crop that has many uses, from food to fabrics, but it contains a tiny amount of the active ingredient in marijuana and remains technically illegal under federal law.  Supporters of allowing hemp to be grown in Vermont say they hope a recent Justice Department policy announcement that the federal government won’t prosecute marijuana charges in states that have legalized the drug will also apply to hemp.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is set this week to help kick off a series of forums for small businesses to learn about the new health insurance exchange being created under the federal Affordable Care Act.  A program Wednesday from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Montpelier’s Capitol Plaza hotel and conference center will be geared to helping small businesses learn what they need to know as they prepare to shop in the Vermont Health Connect exchange for health insurance.  The exchange starts up Oct. 1 as the marketplace for individuals and businesses with up to 50 employees to shop for health insurance.  The Montpelier forum will be the first of a series held in each of Vermont’s 14 counties during the coming weeks.