Friday, September 20, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 20, 2013

The City of Vergennes has broken ground on the new Police Department located on north Main Street.  The construction phase of the $1.45 million project will continue into the spring.  The project was designed, and is being constructed, by Bread Loaf Corporation. 

A new invasive fly is wreaking havoc on Vermont’s raspberry crops.  The culprit is a type of Asian fruit fly that feeds on soft fruits.  Last year, farmer Bob Douglas in Shoreham wasn’t prepared for the infestation, which totaled his crop.  This year, the damage was about 80-percent of the crop.  The flies lay eggs in the fruit.  When the larva hatch, they turn the insides to mush. 

Vermont State Police are conducting another online Tweet-Along on Twitter to give the public a glimpse into what takes place during a typical shift of a state trooper.  All day today, several state troopers around the state are tweeting about their activities.  A state police spokeswoman says the agency hopes its participation positively influences the growing use and acceptance of social media by public safety agencies.

Some Vermont social activists want the Legislature to pass a law to require employers to provide paid sick time for their employees.  Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin joined dozens of activists yesterday at a Middlesex bakery that provides paid sick time to its employees and said paid sick time is good for families and businesses.  Red Hen owner Randy George said he offered sick days to his employees three years ago.  It reduced turnover and made for a healthier workforce.  It’s unclear what the prospects are for passage.  The proposal is likely to be opposed by business groups.

Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced his choice to fill a spot on the Vermont Supreme Court.  Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford will move to the high court, replacing Justice Brian Burgess who retired earlier this year.  Judge Crawford has served as a trial court judge since 2002, when he was appointed by Gov. Howard Dean.  He was previously in private practice as a partner at O'Neill Crawford & Green.

Vermont’s unemployment rate in August stayed at the 4.6 percent mark it had hit a month earlier, while the national rate dropped a 10 of a percentage point to 7.3 percent.  Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says there was an uptick in construction jobs, though that industry remains at near recessionary lows.  Transportation and utilities also showed signs of life, while there were job losses in leisure and hospitality and in manufacturing.