Monday, February 3, 2014

WVTK Local & State News February 3, 2014

Snowmobiles now have to go slower in the Green Mountain National Forest.  U-S Forest Service officials in Vermont say sleds are now required to keep speeds under 35 miles per hour while on national forest trails.  Those trails cover more than 400-thousand acres of forestland which is also used by hikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers.  Forest Service personnel say there’s direct links between high speeds and severe and deadly snowmobile accidents.

A Hancock man has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to make and distribute methamphetamine.  Court documents say the 46-year-old Michael Wood made and distributed meth at his home during the fall of 2012.  That November, the Vermont Drug Task Force made controlled purchases of meth from Wood and eventually executed a search warrant.  Wood was sentenced earlier today in federal court in Rutland.

Apparently a lot of Vermonters feel strongly about the surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency.  Senator Bernie Sanders held a town meeting Saturday with the topic being constitutional rights and privacy, focusing his talk on the N-S-A’s surveillance of phone calls and e-mails.  That created a packed house at the Montpelier City Hall, with Congressman Peter Welch, the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and a Georgetown law professor as additional speakers.  Sanders say he’s going to continue to support legislation which protects Americans without undermining constitutional rights.

If all goes according to plan, the Vergennes Police Department should be able to move into their new headquarters by the end of the month.  Last week, City Manager Mel Hawley announced that construction has been on schedule.  Which means it should be completed during the last week of the month.  That’s when the Police Department will start transitioning over to the new $1.7-million dollar facility.   

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is going to be able to continue to service education loans for Vermonters.  U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch visited VSAC headquarters in Winooski today where they highlighted the role the nonprofit student lender plays in providing Vermonters the resources they need to pursue higher education.  The appropriations bill, signed into law last month will increase funding levels for some VSAC programs while also increasing the maximum award for Pell Grants.