Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WVTK Local & State News January 28, 2014

Vermont State Police say a 12-year-old boy was found alive and well after an AMBER Alert was issued for him.  Zachary Lee was dropped off at the driveway of his foster home in Sunderland yesterday afternoon, but never made it inside.  Investigators immediately suspected his mother had abducted him since she has in the past.  Lee was located at a hotel in Lyme, New Hampshire at about 11:30 pm.  Police say he was in the company of his mother, 49-year-old Patricia Kane, and his sister, 17-year-old Martha Lee.  Police say both children were placed in protective custody and turned over to Vermont social workers.  This was the second time an AMBER Alert was issued in the state of Vermont.

Legislators have finally reached a deal on a new farm bill.  The old farm bill expired last year and negotiations have been extremely volatile.  The new bill does set a wide range of agricultural and food policies for the next 5 years but does not include a price stabilization program that daily farmers have been hoping for.  Senator Patrick Leahy was part of the negotiating team.  He says he was disappointed the stabilization program was rejected, but was able to strike a deal to make sure the insurance program mainly benefits smaller farms.  The full House and Senate still need to sign off on the overall bill.

Three new gun control measures will be presented to voters in Burlington on Town Meeting Day.  The measures would allow police to seize guns in cases of suspected domestic abuse, ban firearms in bars and require gun owners to keep their weapons locked up at home.  Few spoke out in favor of the measures.  During last night’s meeting, many questioned how these changes will be enforced and what it could mean for everyday safety.  If voters accept the measures, they would have to be approved by the state Legislature.

Governor Peter Shumlin has announced grants to install 13 publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations in six Vermont downtowns.  A press release says this will be an important step to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implement the Comprehensive Energy Plan, and promote more electric vehicle purchases and support local economies.  Middlebury is on the list and will be getting two publicly-available charging stations.  Also on the list were Barre, Bennington, Burlington, Morristown, and St. Albans.  Construction of the charging stations will begin this spring.

A report by Politico has found the best states in the Union.  According to Politico they averaged 14 rankings from the Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the FBI. They also factored in graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate.  New Hampshire topped the list, Vermont came in 3rd, and New York came in 27th.