Friday, March 14, 2014

WVTK Local & State News March 14, 2014

Vermonter dairy farmers are now getting record high prices for their milk. Officials say the demand for dairy products has risen, particularly overseas; and with drought conditions in the West and Midwest, prices paid to farmers is going up. The USDA says farmers are receiving a minimum of $23.57 per hundred pounds of milk. In 2009, prices dropped to less than $12 per hundred pounds of milk, which was far lower than the production costs. Vermont has lost 40 dairy farms in the first three months of this year and now has 889.

If you or your children use the Chittenden County Transportation Authority buses, plan on finding another way to work or school on Monday. Yesterday, the union representing the bus drivers rejected an offer from management to go into third party negotiations. A strike is planned for Monday, with no further talks scheduled. Mayor Miro Weinberger is asking both sides to go back to negotiations and avoid an interruption of service. CCTA is asking the union to reconsider its offer for binding arbitration to avoid a strike. The company says about 97-hundred passengers use the buses daily, including more than 700 students who depend on the buses for school transportation.

Plans are underway to raise money for amphibian tunnels to help salamanders and frogs cross Monkton Road safely. The Town of Monkton, the Charlotte-based Lewis Creek Association and other groups are banding together for the Save Our Salamanders, or S-O-S campaign. The goal is to raise 45-thousand dollars to build the two tunnels for the spring migration from the critters’ winter home in the woods to their swampy spring breeding grounds. Organizers say half the salamanders attempting to cross Monkton Road every spring are killed by vehicles, and the hope is the tunnels will save a lot of them.

Vermont police are warning the public about a person phoning residents in Essex and Montpelier, calling himself ‘Chief Mike’ or the ‘Police Chief’ and soliciting money. The Barre City Police Department says the phone calls are a scam and they are asking residents to write down the phone number if they receive a similar call and contact police. Earlier this week, the Vermont State Police in Rutland say a man calling himself ‘‘Lieutenant Bryant from the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department’’ phoned two residents in the Poultney area and said they missed a jury duty appearance. Police say the caller then threatened the victims with either an arrest warrant or a fine of over $400 to be paid through a prepaid credit card. Police said those calls were also not legitimate.