Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WVTK Local & State News February 26, 2014

Residents in the Addison Central Supervisory Union voted last night 306 to 118 to allow the UD-3 board to negotiate a lease with the town of Middlebury for a parcel of land on Creek Road that will host a new recreation facility. The vote, by paper ballot, is another step in the process toward a plan that calls for the town and Middlebury College to swap land. The current Municipal Building and Gym would be demolished and a new one would be built elsewhere. People in Middlebury would pay $2-million toward the project; and the rest, $5.5-million, would be picked up by the college. On Town Meeting Day, people in Middlebury will decide whether to build new town offices and a recreation facility.

A union group says layoffs are likely at the IBM plant in Essex Junction. A member of the group Alliance says they’re hearing that tomorrow is the day workers at facilities in Vermont will receive termination notices. Earlier this year, IBM indicated layoffs were likely because of declining profits. Last year 419 employees in Essex Junction were let go. There is no indication of how many people will lose their jobs.

Champlain Valley Solar Farm has proposed building a new 9,000 panel solar farm on a 13 acre parcel of land off Route 7 south in Middlebury. Officials say the solar farm will generate enough electricity to power 519 Vermont homes annually.

The Vermont Senate is poised to take up legislation designed to streamline the process for ordering involuntary treatment and medication of psychiatric patients. The hotly debated bill is an attempt to speed up a judicial review process that backers say leaves patients without needed treatment for too long, creating risks to themselves, fellow patients and caregivers. Opponents, including some people who say they have been subjected to involuntary treatment in the past, say forcing someone to take powerful psychiatric drugs against their will should always raise big concerns about liberty and autonomy.

New data suggests significant progress in the last decade in the fight against childhood obesity. A study focused on younger kids, when eating habits can be established, for better or worse. It's a promising sign as communities look to prevent trends that can lead to cancer and heart disease. A new study using federal data says obesity in children between the ages of 2 and 5 has dramatically decreased, more than 40% in a decade. While exact reasons are unclear, experts say it's a promising sign.