Thursday, January 9, 2014

WVTK Local & State News January 9, 2014

Due to the presence of ice jams on the Middlebury River, in both East Middlebury and easterly up the mountain, the potential exists for flooding as a result of the warmer weather and heavy rain currently forecast for this coming weekend.  East Middlebury residents whose properties are prone to flooding should initiate the appropriate precautions.  Both Route 125 and Route 7 in the area of the river may also be impacted by flooding.  The Middlebury Police Department  will continue to monitor conditions closely over the next several days. The Public Works Department and Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) have also been alerted.

Ticonderoga is getting a second opinion on the Water Project. New Supervisor Bill Grinnell, who made the water project a central part of his campaign for office, asked the town board to reconsider the project in his first meeting. The key issue in the water project debate is whether the town should continue to use its present surface water sources — Gooseneck Pond and Lake George — or convert to groundwater wells. New York State has ordered upgrades and/or new water sources be in place by 2016.  Grinnell agrees Ti needs a water project, but it may not need new sources of water.

The administration of Governor Peter Shumlin wants to almost quadruple the amount of electricity that small renewable energy projects can send on to the grid while receiving credit on electric bills for that power.  Currently, net metering is capped at 4 percent at a utility’s peak capacity, but most of the state’s utilities have reached that limit. Officials want to raise the cap to 15 percent of peak demand for three years while a more permanent solution is found.

Vermont lawmakers are looking into whether the use of salt brine on the roads is causing unintended consequences.  For the past couple of years, VTrans has been pre-coating highways with the liquid salt mixture to get ahead of storms. But some truckers and mechanics have complained the brine is accelerating corrosion on the underside of vehicles.  VTrans maintains that brine has the exact same chemical makeup of regular salt and that by using the brine the total amount of salt on the roads has actually been reduced.

The Legislative Breakfast Series is starting back up soon.  Staring in February area residents will have the chance to sit down with lawmakers and ask questions about what is happening in Montpelier.  The first one for 2014 will take place on February 3 at the Grange Hall in Bridport.  All of the breakfasts start at 7 a.m., with the program beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 8:45 a.m. The series this year will also feature two lunches, both beginning at noon and ending at 1:45 p.m. In addition to the March 24 Governor’s Luncheon at the American Legion in Middlebury, the series will feature an Ag Lunch on March 31 at the Community Hall in Bridport. Purchase of breakfast or lunch is not required to attend but helps the hosts to defray the cost of opening their hall. The legislative breakfast series will finish on June 2 with a post-session wrap-up at the Bridport Grange Hall.