Thursday, December 26, 2013

WVTK Local & State News December 26, 2013

The Public Service Board has given the green light to Vermont Gas’s Plan to expand natural gas service into Addison County.  Vermont Gas still needs a few permits before construction starts in 2014. Since the permits aren't in hand yet, an exact start date isn't yet known.  Steve Wark of Vermont Gas said, "Our goal is in 2014 to be able to service Cabot, and Middlebury College, and Porter Hospital, also we would really like to help the schools in Vergennes."  Most homeowners hoping to save with natural gas will likely have to wait until 2015 or 2016 to be hooked up.  Plans for phase two, which would expand the pipeline to Ticonderoga, have been submitted to the PSB. Phase three would extend the pipeline to Rutland.

Work crews made progress on Christmas Day, restoring outages from the weekend ice storm.  By Wednesday night, the numbers were down to about 800 still in the dark, about half the numbers of those without power the day before.  All shelters have now closed, but remain on standby due to the intense cold.

A new grading system for maple syrup goes into effect next Wednesday.  Terms like Fancy and Grade B are gradually going away, and according to supporters of the news system it will make buying the right syrup easier for the consumer.  It will be talking about not only the color, but also the taste, such as golden color/delicate taste, and amber color/rich taste.  Not all producers will be adopting the new grading system, however, and can use the old one until January first of 2015.

Monday was the deadline for Vermonters to sign up for health care through Vermont Health Connect.  But, if you didn’t sign up, you still have more time.  Mark Larson, commissioner of Vermont Health Access, said that isn’t a hard deadline.  Larson said that although the deadline wasn’t ‘officially’ extended, the state will try to accommodate those who sign up and pay their first premium by the end of the year.  If you don’t sign up before the end of the year, you can still do it in 2014. The deadline will be the 15th of every month to have your coverage by the first of the next month.

One of Vermont's smallest K-12 schools is trying to transform itself to attract more students as townspeople prepare to discuss its future.  Residents will discuss the Rochester School on January 13 and then vote the next day on a non-binding referendum on whether to continue to operate a high school or cut back to grades K-8.  The school currently has 147 students, with only 55 in high school. 

Vermont State Police are still reminding drivers to clear the rest of the ice from the top of your vehicles.  Police say there have been several incidents of ice chunks flying off of cars on the interstate and highways.  In one case, a flying chunk of ice smashed through the windshield of another car.  Luckily nobody was hurt.  Police say there is a fine if ice flies off your car and hits another car or person.  They compare it to an unsecured heavy load falling off your car while you’re driving.