Thursday, December 5, 2013

WVTK Local & State News December 5, 2013

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed Vermont’s new five-year emergency plan, molded by the state’s experiences in responding to and recovering from 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene.  Speaking today at the headquarters of Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Shumlin said Irene taught that government needs to work together.  He says the new plan meets the needs of Vermonters before, during and after a catastrophic event.

An internal memo of the Vermont State Police seems to suggest that they are supposed to meet quotas when it comes to issuing tickets.  The memo surfaced during the investigation into Deputy Andi Higbee’s DUI charge.  In it, officers on a special detail called "Sober Summer" was instructed to stop two cars per hour.  Vermont gets three-million dollars for programs like "Sober Summer" or "Click It or Ticket."

The fight over a methadone clinic in South Burlington is heating up again. Wednesday night the school board voted to approve an appeal to the zoning board to keep the clinic from the town’s schools.  The Howard Center opened on Dorset to meet the needs of the many addicts who live in the district.  However, the school district says that the clinic is too close to the schools.

Vermont biologists will be testing more than 700 blood samples taken from deer and moose across the state this fall as part of an effort to track the virus that causes Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  Biologists say that mapping where the virus is found will help broaden the state’s understanding of the spread of the virus — which killed two people in Vermont in 2012 and two horses this year.  EEE antibodies detected in deer and moose have been found in every Vermont country.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is down in Vermont so far this year.  A press release says with fewer days to collect from its street corners and shopping mall locations, Salvation Army leaders are hoping for a surge in public response to reach the Red Kettle Campaign goal.  They say they are about $25,000 behind compared to last year’s income at this time.  This year's goal in Vermont is to raise $245,700.

Vermont state employees will see 2.5 percent pay increases in each of the next two Julys, as well as improved dental coverage under terms of a tentative contract deal.  Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding and Vermont State Employees' Association President Shelley Martin announced the agreements with three VSEA bargaining units this afternoon.  Those units cover corrections, supervisory and non-management workers throughout state government.  The agreement must still be ratified by the union rank and file.