Monday, December 16, 2013

WVTK Local & State News December 16, 2013

This latest storm brought plenty of white powder to the ski slopes, just what the resorts were hoping for.  Bolton Valley opened for the season on Friday, and skiers could not be happier.  Sunday was their Santa Ski Day, with anyone dressing as Santa getting a free lift ticket and about sixty Santas taking advantage of the offer.  Burke Mountain Resort and Pico Mountain also officially opened for the season this weekend.

It may be winter, but the Vermont National Guard is already thinking of summer, and a deployment coming up in June.  About 19-hundred Vermonters will be heading south to Louisiana to take part in a three-week massive multi-state training operation.  They’ll join soldiers from four other states at the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk with some of the training including a full-scale simulated battle.  The exercises, which focus on the guard’s combat abilities are expected to cost about 40-million dollars.

The freezing temperatures mean ice fishing season has come early.  Normally the season doesn’t start until late December or mid-January.  But people are already out on the lake.  The owner of Martin's General Store says the ice on Lake Champlain is 6 or 7 inches thick.  But people still need to be careful about where they go on the lake.  

The fresh coating of snow is a big boost for snowmobilers.  VAST, The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, is set to open its network of trails today.  The non-profit group maintains more than 5,000 miles of trails around the state through a network of 130 clubs.  The organization is asking riders to stay off the trails until grooming equipment has passed through.

Firefighters in Burlington are remembering a colleague who passed away unexpectedly on Friday.  The body of David Gale was found on Law Island in Colchester.  He was there hunting and died of an apparent heart attack.  Gale had been a firefighter in Burlington since 1988 and had reached the rank of Captain.  Those who knew him say his dedication to public service will live on forever.  Funeral services for Gale will be held this Wednesday.  The Burlington Fire Department Captain was 49.

Colchester Police say a man robbed the Champlain Farms on Roosevelt Highway armed with a baseball bat. Police were called to the store shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday. Police say the clerk reported a man had a baseball bat and demanded money. The clerk complied and the man took off in the director of Juniors Pizza. Police say the clerk described the man as a white male, wearing a dark jacked, a green hooded sweatshirt, dark- colored pants, and a black face mask.

State officials are recommending steps to improve mobile home parks and protect them from future floods.  The recommendations are included in a report that details many of the difficulties faced by mobile home park residents in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Park residents comprise one-third of mobile home occupants in Vermont.  Among the two dozen recommendations are some that are low cost and relatively easy to implement. For example, the study finds that few towns have provisions for mobile homes in their emergency plans.