Thursday, September 19, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 19, 2013

A special panel studying the health of Vermont’s lakes and shore lands is hosting a public forum in Middlebury.  The Lake Shoreland Protection Commission will hold the meeting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.  The session is expected to include a presentation from the state Agency of Natural Resources about the current health of Vermont’s lakes and how that is affected by the way people use lands immediately surrounding them.  Vermont lawmakers have been considering new regulations governing the clearing of land and creation of impervious surfaces next to lakes.

Three Rutland County sisters are accused of hoarding cats.  Some 55 felines were rescued from deplorable conditions at their North Clarendon home after neighbors reported a possible cat hoarding situation.  Ten of the cats were in such bad health, they had to be put down immediately, and 20 cats have died since then.  Eileen, Caroline and Linda Generess were arrested on ten counts each of animal cruelty.  They are due back in court in mid-October.

The University of Vermont is the recipient of a $19.5 million, 5-year federal grant to bring science-based regulation to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco.  UVM officials announced this morning that the school is one of 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science, which are receiving a total of up to $53 million for tobacco-related research in fiscal 2013.  The money is coming from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.  The tobacco centers are designed to generate research to inform the regulation of tobacco products and protect public health. 

Rutland sheriff's deputies say they have caught a man accused of stealing copper in West Rutland.  Authorities say 26-year-old Greg Munukka jumped out the window of a vacant home on Smith Street in West Rutland.  Officers chased him to Marble Street near the swamp where they arrested him.  He is accused of stealing from seven different homes and doing significant damage. 

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Schumer introduced legislation to help the growing hard cider industry in Vermont and New York.   A press release says the CIDER Act (Cider Investment and Development Through Excise Tax Reduction Act) would update the federal definition of hard cider to meet current market expectations and manufacturing practices.  Under current federal law, the definition of hard cider only allows up to 7% of alcohol per volume before it is taxed at the higher rate of wine and only a certain level of carbonation before it is taxed at an even higher rate of sparkling wine.  Many producers say they rely on natural raw materials and have little ability to predict and control alcohol content or carbonation levels in their cider.