Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 4, 2013

Middlebury is working with state and federal representatives to identify potential funding sources to replace $1.5 million in federal taxpayer money needed to implement the tunnel option for the downtown Middlebury Bridge Replacements project.  As required by federal regulation, the town will also be warning a special Middlebury Select Board meeting, to be convened at the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association on Tuesday, October 1; then the board will formally consider the town’s selection of the tunnel option as the preferred alternative for the bridges project.

A popular Greek yogurt is being pulled from some store shelves over mold concerns.  Recently, Chobani received customer complaints about ‘swelling & bloating’ in certain cups.  The company said the cause was due to a common mold found in dairy products.  They add, the product came from its Idaho facility and represents less than 5 percent of its total product.  The company is working with retailers to remove and replace containers with the code 16-012 and expiration dates September 11 to October 7.  Chobani did not say how many of its cups or what varieties were affected.  Chobani says customers with the affected code dates should contact its customer service team at to get replacement products.

Governor Peter Shumlin got a lot of attention yesterday when he said the state should look at legalizing marijuana.  He says it’s the change in the feds deciding not to stand in the way of states like Colorado and Washington where it’s now legal.  Supporters say Shumlin’s take on legalizing pot pleases constituents who want to smoke it, and having regulation and taxation provide a possible revenue stream for Vermont.

Customers of Vermont’s lone natural gas company have some good news coming just as the heating system kicks into full gear, a rate cut.  Vermont Gas announced plans yesterday for an overall rate reduction of nearly 6 percent to take effect on November 1.  Vermont Gas says it and its customers are benefiting from price cuts offered by its suppliers.  Natural gas prices have been dropping around the country due to a boom in shale gas extraction.  The company says its Vermont prices will save customers more than 50 percent over the cost of heating oil or propane.

The start of flu season is still a month away, but pharmacies are already offering vaccines.  Rite Aid Pharmacy is taking walk-ins and appointments.  They offered the vaccine at the same time last year, but are expecting plenty of people to take advantage now.  Pharmacists say people are coming in slowly and they encourage more people to get it out of the way early.  The CDC says the flu can start picking up across the country as early as October.

Vermont schools are better prepared for emergencies this fall thanks to upgrades in their phone systems.  The state discovered earlier this year that many school's phone systems showed a central location, often miles away from the actual school.  That would make it difficult for first responders to find the source of a 911 call.  School districts across the state spent the summer making sure there's a telephone in every classroom with the physical location correctly recorded in the E-911 database.