Thursday, January 23, 2014

WVTK Local & State News January 23, 2014

Health risk and behavior reports from the Vermont Health Department say almost 60 percent of high school seniors text or email while driving.  This was the first year that the Health Department is assessing texting and driving behavior in students.  More than one third of students reported texting or emailing while driving.  Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen says that ‘‘significantly fewer students’’ drink, smoke or abuse prescription drugs.  Chen also highlights weight as a problem for Vermont state residents.  The risk reports show that 30 percent of students and 60 percent of adults have an unhealthy weight.

The Hannaford Supermarket in Middlebury was temporally closed and evacuated this morning.  Middlebury Fire Chief Rick Cole said a refrigerant supply line had broken off within a mechanical room, producing a leak of a chemical cooling agent known as R-22.  The substance spilled onto the floor and then produced a gas as it evaporated and triggered a store alarm.  Vermont hazmat officials went into the store, isolated the incident, and took care of the leak.  A spokesman said four employees were taken to Porter Hospital, examined, treated, and released.  The store re-opened for the day at about 10:30 this morning. 

The Ferrisburgh selectboard will meet next Tuesday to finalize a budget to present to the voters on Town Meeting Day.  Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 5:30 PM.  The current working proposal calls for a 1-cent tax increase. 

Police in Rutland say a man and woman are facing charges in a string of knifepoint robberies of convenience stores in Rutland County.  Arabellla Babcock of Rutland and Patrick Blodgett, who police say recently moved to the area from Barre, were arrested last night after police say they robbed the Granger Street Market and Deli.  Police say they are being charged with four other armed robberies in Rutland and Wallingford this month.

A Rutland business on Route 7 was destroyed by a fire.  Pratico’s Landscaping and Fence went up in flames last night, bringing out firefighters from several different communities and shutting down the highway for hours.  The cold made the difficult job of fighting the flames even harder, with the hydrant frozen solid.  While the official cause has not been determined, it’s believed space heaters may be to blame.