Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 17, 2013

Mosquito pools in Cornwall, Brandon, and Milton have tested positive this week for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).  The detection of EEE in Milton is the first ever in Chittenden County.

A driver and two of the three bicyclists his vehicle plowed into Sunday are still in the hospital.  Court papers say 54-year-old Brian Miller of Shoreham was drunk and passed out at the wheel shortly before hitting the group of bikes late Sunday morning.  Miller, whose driver’s license was suspended in 1978 pleaded not guilty via phone from his hospital bed to seven charges, and if convicted faces up to 60 years in prison.  A 15-year-old girl was seriously hurt and a man from Moretown remains in critical condition.

There’s now an agreement between Vermont Gas Systems and the state Agency of Natural Resources on minimizing the impact of a proposed pipeline.  However, environmentalists are still concerned about greenhouse gas emissions from the pipeline, and protested Monday outside of a hotel in Montpelier where the Public Service Board held hearings on the project.  The new line would run 43 miles through southern Chittenden County and several Addison County towns, as well as crossing seven natural and ecologically significant areas.

Just after midnight, Vermont State Police responded to a one-vehicle collision on Townline Road in Bridport.  Statements from the operator and a passenger reported that, due to wildlife crossing the road, vehicle operator 31-year-old Robert Stoddard of Starksboro overcorrected and slid into wire guard rails.  Stoddard admitted to having consumed alcohol prior to operation and was transported to the VSP New Haven Barracks and charged with DUI 1.  No injury was reported, Stoddard was released with a citation to appear in Addison County Superior Court in October.

Vermont State College workers demand a fair contract and what they call a livable wage.  Right now there’s an impasse in contract negotiations, and college employees rallied outside the statehouse Monday.   They claim 60-percent of the college workers are either on public assistance or qualify for it, while Vermont State College officials say they will not negotiate through the media.  Mediation between the union and Chancellor’s office continues September 30th.

Despite a search by air, there’s still no sign of a missing Townshend woman.  September 6th is the last time anyone saw or heard from 59-year-old Helen Holmes.  The air search Monday was conducted by the Customs and Border Protection, but with no results.  State Police continue to investigate, and say while there’s no indication of foul play, they’re concerned for the woman’s safety since she has not reached out to any family or friends in more than ten days.

The Vermont Health CO-OP is closing.  The co-op has lost its loan from the federal government.  In a statement, CEO Christine Oliver  said the Board of Directors voted to dissolve the co-op.  This comes after Vermont's Department of Financial Regulation decided not to issue it a permit to operate.  Vermont Health CO-OP expects to close by the end of the month.