Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 30, 2014

Earlier today, the Vermont House gave final approval to a bill to protect children from the exposure to toxic chemicals. The House voted 120 to 22 to advance a bill that would give the commissioner of health the power to require products containing certain chemicals to be labeled, or to ban the chemicals. The bill starts with a list of chemicals of concern that is borrowed from Washington State, which has a similar law. Representative David Deen, says states are getting involved because the federal government hasn't done enough to protect people from exposure to toxic chemicals.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $100 million in capital improvements for International Paper. The funding is part of ReChargeNY, a program that supports business growth by providing low-cost power. A press release says the funding will help support 600 existing jobs at the facility and assist International Paper's ongoing investment in substantial energy reduction projects in the North Country.

Healthcare officials at Fletcher Allen Healthcare are concerned that there may be a dangerous batch of Heroin circulating in the Burlington area. Yesterday, the emergency room at FAHC saw 9 patients with Heroin Overdoses. Usually the hospital sees that many cases over a number of months. So far all of the patients have been treated and are OK.

Residents in the Rutland County now have a new option for getting rid of old or unwanted prescription drugs. The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department has installed a drop box in the lobby at 88 Grove Street.

A spokesman for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant says it experienced a small leak of radioactive steam last week, but that the leak was contained and the public was not in danger. Yankee spokesman Rob Williams said the leak was discovered by a worker doing maintenance on a pipe. He said the problem was corrected immediately and that air sampling monitoring confirmed extremely low radioactivity, well within the limits set in the plant's operating license.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 29, 2014

There is an informational meeting tonight on the Addison/Rutland Natural Gas Project. The meeting will take place at 7 PM at the Middlebury Municipal Gym. The focus of this meeting is to provide Middlebury landowners along the proposed route of the pipeline, as well as Middlebury residents, an opportunity to hear updated information, ask questions, express concerns and share any input they may have about the project with the Middlebury Selectboard.

Police investigating the shooting death of a man who served with the Vermont Army National Guard say a second person was involved. 44-year Kryn Miner of Essex Junction died Friday of a gunshot wound. No arrests have been made. Miner was with the guard during its 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.

The Vermont House is slated to take up one of the most talked-about bills of the current legislative session, one that would streamline the state's more than 270 school districts into 45 to 55 larger units. Even if the bill passes the House, it faces another challenge. With less than two weeks scheduled left in the legislative session, some lawmakers say there won't be time to get the measure through the Senate and then work out the differences between House and Senate versions.

Essex County is closer to approving alcohol at the state fair. Yesterday the County Board of Supervisors Ways & Means members approved its resolution to allow beer and wine sales. If approved next week, the beer tent will be build next to the grand stand.

Consider this a true sign of spring: State parks are beginning to open for the season. Wilgus State Park, located along the Connecticut River on Route 5 in Weathersfield opened for business yesterday. It's expected to be a busy season, despite a new fee increase. The director of Vermont State Parks says it's standard for the parks system to have a total of about 450-thousand overnight camper sites available over the summer each year. The next two parks to open up will be Jamaica and Grand Isle, available to the public starting May 9th.

Monday, April 28, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 28, 2014

There is an informational meeting tomorrow night on the Addison/Rutland Natural Gas Project. The meeting will take place at 7 PM at the Middlebury Municipal Gym. The focus of this meeting is to provide Middlebury landowners along the proposed route of the pipeline, as well as Middlebury residents, an opportunity to hear updated information, ask questions, express concerns and share any input they may have about the project with the Middlebury Selectboard.

Schools in Vergennes have picked up a new source of funding to continue and enhance the after school programs. The Vermont Department of Education has awarded Vergennes Union Elementary and High Schools a five-year, $767,426 grant. The afterschool program should begin this fall, while the VUHS efforts should remain on track. By 2015, the VUES after school programs will be offering a number of activities along with mentoring from VUHS middle school students.

Although it should be over, Flu Season continues here in the Northeast. According to the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu Season usually starts in December, peaks in January, and ends in the beginning of spring. Officials say it looks there is a second wave hitting our area right now. The flu strain responsible for the latest outbreak is influenza B. Health officials add that anyone who was vaccinated during the 2013-2014 season should be protected.

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority has announced plans to extend cellular phone service along hundreds of miles of Vermont roads. The plans include two projects. Both involve installing small units on utility poles to provide cell coverage along roadways. The projects are scheduled to be completed next year.

There's still two ski areas open for business in Vermont. Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes on Jay Peak or Killington. However, Sunday marked the end of the 2013-2014 ski season at Sugarbush, and Whiteface is now closed as well.

Friday, April 25, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 25, 2014

The 71-year-old man accused of attempted murder in a Hinesburg shooting incident last night appeared in court today. Kenneth Clark plead not guilty to the shooting charges that reportedly took place last night around 8 o’clock at a residence on Richmond Road in Hinesburg. The female victim is in stable condition and is still receiving medical treatment. The victim was shot in the hand and chest. Police say the victim and shooter knew each other. No one else was injured in the incident.

Vermont State Police are investigating a theft of a utility trailer from a residence located on Route 17 in Addison yesterday. If you have information regarding this incident, contact State Police at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted online at or text CRIMES (274637) to keyword VTIPS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data yesterday that reveal a dramatic rise in measles outbreaks in the U.S. More people have been infected in the U.S. over the first four months of 2014, than have been infected in the first four months of the past 18 years. Health officials say 13 outbreaks and 129 cases have been recorded so far this year. California is reporting the highest numbers, with 58 cases. The Vermont Department of Health says they haven't seen any cases, but they are monitoring the national situation.

Vermont Technical College announced layoffs today. The school says it cut six employees, who will be done as of June 30. School officials say the action is part of a financial strategy intended to improve the college's budget position by $1.3 million. Interim President Dan Smith said it was a tough decision.

Starting in May, the University of Vermont is going to be part of a trial to find a vaccine to prevent West Nile virus. UVM is joining the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health for the tests. The vaccine to prevent the potentially deadly disease spread by mosquitoes has already been tested in adults ages 18 to 50. Now, the question is how it does with people who are older. UVM is looking for healthy adults, ages 50 to 65, who want to participate. The vaccines will be given with a booster following in six months.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 24, 2014

Next Tuesday, the Middlebury Selectboard will be holding an informational meeting on the Phase II Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project. The meeting will focus on the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline from Middlebury through Cornwall and Shoreham and under Lake Champlain to the International Paper Co. in Ticonderoga. Selectboard members say the meeting is intended to give Middlebury landowners along the proposed pipeline route, as well as Middlebury residents in general, a chance to hear updated information about the project and ask questions and express concerns.

Governor Peter Shumlin says he will sign into law a bill requiring labels on food with Genetically Modified Organisms, or G-M-O's. Yesterday the House did what the Senate had already done by passing the bill likely to make Vermont the first state with a labeling requirement for G-M-O's. The bill includes setting up a legal defense fund as the attorney general expects the state to be slapped with a lawsuit or two by food manufacturers.

The Vermont House is slated to take a final vote on passage of a measure calling for a study of potential tax revenues and other impacts from legalizing marijuana. That provision was added to a bill yesterday calling for adjustments to an existing state law allowing some sick Vermonters to use marijuana for relief of their symptoms. Some lawmakers criticized the measure saying it would give the public a clear sign that Vermont was on the road to legalization. Supporters say it is just about gathering information.

Attention bird watchers. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department wants you to give nesting bald eagles some space. Nests are being found mostly along the Connecticut River and surrounding waterways after the magnificent birds have been absent from the state for decades. They're slowly making a comeback in Vermont, and this is considered a very crucial time of year with eggs incubating or some even hatching. So, people are the last things the birds want to find around their nests. Wildlife authorities say use a good spotting scope or binoculars to watch the eagles from about 300 feet away.

Vermont officials are advising motorists to avoid moose on the highway. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says drivers need to be alert and cautious because moose are on the move this time of year, especially after dark and early in the morning. Last year, motorists hit 75 moose on Vermont roadways.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 23, 2014

A bill signed by Governor Peter Shumlin will protect primarily older Vermonters from predatory lenders. The new legislation prevents companies from offering cash advances in exchange for all or part of a customer's pension. The new law is the first of its kind in the nation to be passed by a state legislature. Governor Shumlin says this is a growing problem not only in Vermont, but across the country.

There is a bridge replacement project underway on Route 125. Route 125 is closed at North Branch Road on the west side of the bridge to Upper Plains Road on the east side of the bridge. Also, the portion of the Middlebury River through the project area will be closed for swimming, boating and other recreational purposes for the duration of the project. The project is expected to be completed by June 2.

Police in Rutland are looking for the individuals responsible for damaging a number of parking meters downtown. According to reports, 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rutland City Police Department.

Vermont officials are asking FEMA to conduct a damage assessment in areas affected by flooding from April 15-18. A press release says the assessment will determine if counties in the state qualify for federal public assistance disaster funds. The funds would help repair damaged public infrastructure damaged in the floods. Vermont is estimating total damages from the flooding to be more than $1 million. The minimum for federal assistance is $1 million.

According to the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), there will be rolling road blocks on I-87 near exit 42 tomorrow. A press release says the rolling road blocks are for utility line relocations that are part of the U.S. Route 11 bridge replacement project. The rolling road block will begin at approximately 9 AM and should be completed by 2 PM/. Motorists should expect delays during the rolling road blocks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 22, 2014

The Addison Central Supervisory Union board and the three unions representing district teachers have signed off on a new, three-year deal. The contract calls for annual average raises of around 3.6-percent and by the third year of the deal, teachers will be paying 15-percent of their health care premiums. The contract covers approximately 200 employees, including teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, and other professional staff. The new pact goes into effect starting July 1st.

A Vermont House committee appears comfortable with Senate changes to a bill to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. The biggest Senate change would set up a $1.5 million fund to help provide legal defense for a GMO labeling law in the event of an expected lawsuit or suits by industry. Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he's likely to sign the bill, which would implement labeling by July 2016 and likely make Vermont the first state to have such a law.

New York State Police have arrest a Moriah man for sending pornographic photos of himself to a young girl. As a result of an investigation, authorities arrested 26-year-old James Pickering. They say the young girl was 15-years-old. Pickering was arrested and charged with Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors, a felony, and Endangering the Welfare of the Child, a misdemeanor.

Police say they found 146 bags of heroin and 20 grams of crack cocaine in a South Burlington hotel yesterday. The renter of the room, a man from Philadelphia, left the scene before the drugs were found. Police arrested another man in the hotel room, 22-year-old Ronald Harris, also of Philadelphia. Police say Harris initially gave a fake name. He was arrested and charged with heroin trafficking, giving false information to an officer and possession of cocaine.

The state of Vermont is planning informational sessions at a South Burlington hotel to help workers laid off from the state's IBM plant. Two sessions are planned for Thursday at the Doubletree hotel on Williston Road in South Burlington. The U.S. Department of Labor has determined that some of the workers laid-off by IBM and some of the company's contract workers are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance. The program helps workers who have lost their jobs because of foreign trade.

Monday, April 21, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 21, 2014

A Vermont State employee accused of embezzlement pleaded not guilty in court today. 51-year-old Lisa Peduzzi of Planfield was released on bail. Vermont State Police say Peduzzi is accused of using state checks to purchase items for personal use without prior authorization. So far, police say their investigation showed that the Peduzzi has done this 19 times. Peduzzi was an employee with the Agency of Administration Office of Risk Management. The investigation is ongoing. Peduzzi's next court appearance is in May.

The Vermont Medical Practice Board has issued new rules designed to prevent the abuse of prescription opiate-based painkillers. The rules for physicians who prescribe opiates are the first update in nine years. The new policy encourages doctors to screen patients needing pain medication for any history of mental health disorders and alcohol or drug abuse. It also advises doctors to use a system that tracks prescriptions for controlled substances, to make sure patients aren't seeking opiate medications from multiple sources.

A man was arrested yesterday on charges of attempted murder. Burlington police say 34-year-old David Godin kicked in the front door of his ex-girlfriend's home Saturday night, left, and later returned and choked her before leaving again. Police say he came back a third time when she wasn't there, broke in and damaged her belongings. He was arrested yesterday afternoon and is currently being held on bail of 25-thousand dollars.

Plan on giving yourself some extra travel time starting today if you use Interstate 89 in the evenings. Road crews will be resurfacing the highway between Exit 11 in Richmond and Exit 16 in Colchester. The work begins at 7 PM and goes until 6 AM. But, if you take Route 2 as an alternative, also be aware that road crews will be working in Waterbury and Bolton, and the road could be reduced to one lane in some spots.

Tonight at the East Middlebury United Methodist Church there is a Community Discussion on Economic Development in East Middlebury. The meeting starts at 6 PM. Some of the potential topics are: is Middlebury Airport an untapped resource, how do we define sustainable development and how do we achieve it? All are welcome to attend.

Friday, April 18, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 18, 2014

Lake Champlain is above flood stage, and forecasted to keep rising over the next several days. It's not as high as it was back in 2011 when the lake caused historic flooding in Vermont, but it definitely has a few people a bit anxious. Some homes in South Hero already have flood waters in their backyards, and along the King Street Dock in Burlington, water is overflowing onto the bike path and into parking lots.

The Leicester man accused of shooting his neighbor and two state troopers was in Addison County Superior Court yesterday. The public defender representing Timothy Foley entered a not guilty plea on Foley’s behalf two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated attempted murder. Foley was initially scheduled to be arraigned April 7 in Rutland County Superior Court, but he refused to appear. Doctors are currently trying to determine whether Foley is mentally fit to stand trial. Foley’s attorney says Foley has a “significant mental health history.” He is due back in court June 23.

A small plane crashed on I-89 near exit 21 early this afternoon. The crash happened near the Swanton exit on the interstate. Police says a single passenger plane, fully engulfed in flames crashed onto the interstate. Someone was able to parachute out prior to crashing. Officials are still investigating.

Once again, raw sewage has ended up in the Winooski River. An employee at the wastewater treatment facility in Essex says one of the pumps shut down. That's caused more than a million gallons of untreated water to flow into the Winooski. A similar incident involving a mechanical failure happened there last year.

Vermont's unemployment rate has dropped again for the sixth straight month. The Vermont Department of Labor reports the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for March was 3.4 percent. That's three-tenths lower than February. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged for March at 6.7 percent.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 16, 2014

Flood warnings are out for most our later listening area due to rivers spilling over their banks and the rising level of Lake Champlain. The National Weather Service is saying the lake is expected to reach flood stage by tomorrow. In the meantime, a number of state and local roads are closed, and more were anticipated overnight. Drivers are being told to stay on paved roads, and avoid back roads, at least for now.

Vermont is one step closer to requiring manufactures to label genetically modified foods. Yesterday the State Senate gave preliminary approval to the bill. The bill would require manufacturers, starting in July of 2016, to label products made with GMOs, only if the food is for human consumption. GMO corn used to feed cattle, for example, would not need to be labeled; nor would the milk or meat from those cows. If the bill makes it to the governor’s desk, Shumlin has indicated he’s likely to sign it, making Vermont the first state in the nation to pass such legislation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a flood state of emergency for six counties including Essex County. A press release says during state of emergencies, critical resources that are normally restricted to state use are mobilized to assist local governments. To receive emergency information in your area, sign up for free alerts and notifications at NY Alert’s website:

Vermont's largest hospital wants to construct a new building that would contain 128 private patient rooms. The Burlington Development Review Board looked at plans for the 160,000-square foot building that would be located above the entrance to the emergency department and a parking lot at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The new building would replace two floors in a separate building that dates to 1961.

Snowmobile Season has officially come to a close. Yesterday marked the end of the season in Vermont. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers reports a banner year with the best riding conditions in years. VAST says next year snowmobilers will be able to purchase trail passes online and the organization is also working on upgrades to its interactive maps and phone apps.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 15, 2014

The entire listening area is under a Flood Watch and the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for a number of river basins. A Flood Warning means flooding is already taking place or is imminent. A number of rivers are near their banks and are likely to flood areas tonight thru tomorrow night. The public is encouraged to monitor rivers and streams and get to high ground if water approaches. If you do evacuate your home, turn off the circuit breaker and have a professional inspect your electrical system before you return.

The Green Mountain Club is urging hikers to stay off muddy and high-elevation trails unless they have extensive snow or ice cover. Hiking on muddy trails can damage them. A press release says high elevation soil takes until around Memorial Day to try out, especially on north slopes and evergreen shaded trails. To find a list of suggested Mud Season hikes, visit

Residents in Brandon will vote on a new town budget for the next fiscal year on May 6th. The selectboard recently passed the over $3-million spending plan by a 4 to 1 vote. The new proposal has over $57,000 in cuts from the proposal presented on Town Meeting Day.

Governor Peter Shumlin unveiled two new proposals yesterday designed to keep and grow high-tech jobs in Vermont. The proposals depend on $5 million from a projected 2014 fiscal year budget surplus. The majority of the money would go toward a fund which would allow the state to offer incentives to attract or retain companies in Vermont. The rest of the money would be used to help Vermont entrepreneurs with loans to jump start their business. Shumlin said the state needs more resources to offer incentives to existing companies -- or attract new ones to Vermont.

Prices are once again on the rise at the grocery store. Federal Authorities say beef prices are at their highest level in two decades. The cost of ground beef has hit $3.55 a pound, that's up 56% since 2010. The cost of other staples, such as milk, butter, eggs, fruit and vegetables are also climbing. Experts say severe drought conditions across most of California are ravaging farms and that prices could continue to rise even more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 14, 2014

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns says the Lake Champlain cleanup plan is headed in the right direction, but members have concerns about how the plan will be paid for and how the state can permit municipal roads. Decades of runoff have contributed to polluting the lake causing excessive algae growth, hurting tourism, depressing property values and increasing water treatment costs. Vermont officials sent a hefty plan to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on March 31.

Vermont officials have released a new web resource that allows residents to explore connections between radon, smoking and lung cancer in their communities. Officials say one in eight Vermont homes has elevated levels of radon, a natural but radioactive gas that seeps into houses from soil and bedrock. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Vermonters who both smoke and live in a home with radon are at an extra high risk. About 380 Vermonters die annually from lung cancer, including 50 whose deaths are associated with radon. The resource is online at The health department also has free radon test kits available by calling 800-439-8550 or emailing

Police are once again warning you to be on the lookout for scammers. Earlier today, an elderly Richmond, Vermont man reported a fraud complaint. Police say the man was told that he had won a substantial cash prize from Publisher's Clearing House. The man was presented with a check for approximately $6,000 as an advance of his winnings. Police say the man was told to send $5,000 cash, the balance which was needed to claim his prize, to an address in Baltimore, Maryland. The man sent the money to the Baltimore address. When he tried to cash his winnings, the check bounced. Police are reminding the public that legitimate operations do not require payment to collect winnings.

Starting this November, tougher laws are headed to New York State to crack down on texting and driving among young and new drivers. For the first offense, their license will be suspended for 120 days. For the second offense, their license will be suspended for one full year. Experts say texting while driving takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. If you're traveling at a speed of 55 mph, that means you're not looking at the road for about the length of an entire football field, while sending that one text. Over the next few days you may notice more police on the roads. It's all part of a state-wide campaign called "Operation hang-up" that targets distracted drivers.

There is a delay in the construction project on Water Street in Middlebury. Work was scheduled to begin starting today but now the startup date has been pushed back 2 weeks. Weather permitting; construction should begin on Monday, April 28.

Friday, April 11, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 11, 2014

Police in Rutland arrested a School Street resident after allegedly finding 134 bags of heroin and smaller amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his apartment. Authorities were responding to a report of drug activity last night at 7:40 to 77 School Street. Upon arrival, investigators say they could smell burning marijuana. They asked the resident if they enter the apartment. Jerry Rogers refused and police then obtained a search warrant. Rogers was arrested and jailed on $150,000 bail. He is in Rutland criminal court today.

Remember the 2-year-old toddler that was hit by an SUV on Weybridge Street in Middlebury 2 weeks ago? There is some good news. Family members say Charlotte regained full consciousness for the first time this week. Charlotte McConnell suffered brain trauma and multiple broken bones when she ran out in front of the vehicle and was hit. She still needs extensive rehab and her parents hope to get her care at a specialized facility in Boston.

UVM is looking for volunteers to act as test subjects for a new West Nile virus vaccine. Last summer, two people in Vermont tested positive for the illness spread by infected mosquitoes. A vaccine developed by the National Institute of Health is showing promise, with the lab at the University of Vermont running trials on it. They're looking for 14 volunteers in the 50 to 65 age group. The vaccine has been tested before in 18 to 50 year-olds and done well, but the older group is the population at the greatest risk of the neurologic form of the disease. Anyone interested should contact the Vaccine Testing Center.

According to the Vermont Health Department, there have been four rabid animal cases reported in Chittenden County in the past 10 days. The animals, all raccoons, were trapped in Burlington and South Burlington and have tested positive for the disease. Officials say this is a good reminder to vaccinate your pets and not attract wild animals with food, compost, bird seed or exposed trash. The Health Department says there have been 11 cases of rabies so far this year among raccoons, skunks, and a bobcat in Clarendon. The public is urged to avoid contact with wild animals. Anyone who notices an animal acting strangely should contact the Vermont Rabies Hotline at 1-800-472-2437 (Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or (802)-223-8697.

Vermont’s spring trout fishing season kicks off this weekend. The season starts tomorrow for the fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout. Anglers who want to get fishing sooner rather than later can still practice catch-and-release fishing on nine stream sections across the state. Vermont’s catch-and-release bass fishing season in lakes also starts tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 10, 2014

The Addison County Regional Planning Commission voted last night to support phase two of the Vermont Gas pipeline expansion. The vote was 15 to 11 in favor of the expansion, which would take the natural gas pipeline from Middlebury, under Lake Champlain, and into Ticonderoga to the International Paper mill. Phase two of the expansion still needs to be approved by the Public Service Board. Phase one, expanding the pipeline into Middlebury, has already been approved by the PSB.

In 2012, they won the Vermont State Division II Championship, now; the Vergennes Union High School Varsity Baseball team is no more. School officials announced that there was not enough students interested in playing to field a team. Coach George Ringer said he had no seniors for the team; only first year and sophomore players were interested. He added, you can’t field a varsity team with those level players. Ringer also said it could take up to 3 years to rebuild the J.V. and Varsity Programs.

The District 9 Environmental Commission has issued an Act 250 permit to WhistlePig LLC to build a rye whiskey distillery and related infrastructure off Quiet Valley Road in Shoreham. WhistlePig currently imports whiskey from Canada and bottles it in Vermont. But the new permit allows them to make and bottle whiskey onsite and store up to 6,000 barrels. Some neighbors were concerned because fermenting whiskey can produce black mold. The commission says they are confident that black mold will not colonize on the neighbor's crops as long as WhistlePig stays within its 6,000 barrel limit.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $40 million in state funding to help local governments make necessary repairs to highways and bridges. A press release says local governments will be able to use the funding on capital projects to repair and improve infrastructure and to help with core construction programs. Essex will be receiving over $387,000.

The Middlebury selectboard has set a date for the revote on the town offices-recreation center project. On town meeting day, residents approved the $6.5 million dollar plan to build new town Offices and Municipal Gym. A petition was submitted with the correct number of signatures triggering a revote on the issue. On Monday, May 12 at 7 PM in the current municipal gym, there will be an informational meeting about the project. Then on Tuesday, May 13, residents will decide the fate of the project by Australian ballot.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 9, 2014

The Vermont House is taking final action on a bill to raise minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in January. final action on a bill that would make the state the first in the country to cross the $10 mark in its minimum wage. Both Connecticut and Maryland, plan to get to that level by 2017, and that's when Gov. Peter Shumlin wants Vermont to do so. Critics of jumping immediately to $10.10 an hour say small businesses need more time to adjust, and it would be better to phase the increase in. Shumlin now says he likes his plan better, but is willing to compromise. The bill still faces a tough fight in the Senate.

New York State Police will be conducting cell phone and texting while driving crackdown April 10 - 15. A press release says troopers participating crackdown, which is called "Operation Hang Up", will be stepping up patrols and checkpoints throughout the state. Current laws include strict penalties for distracted drivers: For a first offense: the minimum fine is $50 and maximum fine increases to $150. A press release says during New York's last "Operation Hang Up" from November 27 to December 1, 2013, police issued more than 875 tickets. More than 625 tickets were for talking on the phone without a hands free device and more than 250 for texting while driving.

Agency of Transportation Secretary Brian Searles says that every year people think the potholes are the worst, but this year, they are right. Potholes develop when water gets trapped in crevices in roads and then freezes. That process expands and cracks the asphalt. The state has already spent $1.6 million and used over 3,230 tons of patch material. Officials expect costs to increase as the spring goes on.

Two young men are facing criminal charges after thefts of a Cub Scout bottle drop station. Vermont State troopers say there were several times when the bottle drop in Jeffersonville was hit with a large amount of bottles stolen over time and then turned in for cash. State Police followed leads, which lead to the arrests of 21-year-old Dereck Bouchard of Jeffersonville, and 22-year-old Matthew Tilton of Waterville. Both are scheduled to appear in Lamoille County Superior Court next month.

The Neshobe School Board yesterday approved a $5.3-million budget to present to voters. The new budget is $35,000 less than the budget rejected on Town Meeting Day. The board found $25,000 in savings that will come from the retirement of teacher. The board also decided to put $10,000 less in the reserve fund. The new budget is up a modest 1.36 percent from the current budget and is 0.7% less than the budget rejected by voters last month.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 8, 2014

Vermont officials announced earlier today the date that Green Up Day Vermont will be happening this year. According to a press release, the 44th annual Green Up Day will be held on Saturday, May 3. Officials are asking Vermonters to join them and help them pick up trash to clean up the state. For more information on how to participate in Green Up Day on Saturday, May 3, please visit

A man accused of shooting his neighbor and two State Police officers is now being held without bail until his next court date. 47-year-old Timothy Foley refused to go to court yesterday for his arraignment on charges of aggravated attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder. He’s accused of walking into his neighbor’s house and shooting Mahlon McCoy, who is already paralyzed from a stroke. McCoy is recovering from the shooting, as are the two State Police officers hit with shotgun pellets when they first arrived on the scene.

Authorities are currently investigating the death of a 15-month old boy. Emergency services were called to the home on Malletts Bay Avenue in Winooski on a report of a baby who had stopped breathing. Detectives with the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations say the boy was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where he was soon pronounced dead. Police say the autopsy at this point is listing the toddler’s death as “pending” and no other information, including names, is being released.

Vermont does better than the national average when it comes to a wage gap between men and women. In Vermont, women are paid an average of 85 cents for every dollar paid to men, creating a yearly gap of more than 67-hundred dollars a year. This analysis of the latest census bureau data was compiled by the liberal National Partnership For Women & Families. It also found that nationally, women holding full-time jobs are paid on the average just 77 cents for every dollar paid men. More than 24-thousand Vermont families are headed by women, with about 27-percent of those having incomes below the poverty line.

Vermont spring turkey hunting season is starting soon. A press release says the spring turkey hunting season will run from May 1 to May 31. Hunters can shoot one half hour before sunrise to noon. Two bearded turkeys may be taken during the hunting season. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says the entire state is open to turkey hunting during youth turkey hunting weekend on April 26-27. A shotgun or bow and arrow may be used in the youth turkey or regular spring turkey hunting seasons. Shot size must be no larger than #2 and no smaller than #8.

Monday, April 7, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 7, 2014

A man accused of shooting and wounding two Vermont state troopers and a neighbor was a no-show in court. A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of 47-year-old Timothy Foley in Rutland today to charges stemming from the Sunday morning incident that wounded three in Leicester. Police say the incident began at about 3 AM yesterday morning when Foley allegedly went in to a neighbor’s home and shot a man in his bed. Authorities say 64-year-old Mahlon McCoy is at Fletcher Allen Medical Center receiving treatment and is in good condition. Two troopers investigating the incident were also shot when they tried to confront Foley. Both troopers from the New Haven Barracks were injured with non life threatening injuries.

A petition has been filed asking for Middlebury to revote on the Town Office Plan. With only a few hours to spare last week, resident Howard “Skip” Brush submitted a petition with 280 signatures to the town clerk’s office asking for a revote. Town Clerk Ann Webster today verified that the petition calling for a reconsideration of a $6.5 million bond has more than the 230 required signatures. The Select Board now has 60 days to schedule a vote.

Residents in Middlebury will be voting an ID-4 budget at Mary Hogan Elementary School this Wednesday. The new spending plan calls for over $6.6 million for the 2014-2015 school year and $225,000 for a new play structure that would replace Kidspace.

Water quality in the southern Lake Champlain basin will be the focus of upcoming public hearings in Pawlet and Orwell. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has drafted a water quality management plan for surface waters in the basin, including the Poultney and Mettowee rivers, East Creek and several other tributaries that drain into the southern part of the lake. Hearings have been set for 5:30 p.m. tomorrow night at the Pawlet Public Library and for 6:30 on April 15 at the Orwell Free Library. The sessions will include a presentation on the draft plan and time for public comments and suggestions.

Friday, April 4, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 4, 2014

Most of our listening area will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight until tomorrow morning. The National Weather Service says we could see a mix of rain, sleet, and snow … making roads and walkways slippery.

It’s not a done deal yet, but statewide property taxes could be going up. The House yesterday gave preliminary approval to the per-penny rate for primary homes, raising it from 94 to 98-cents per 100-dollars of assessed value while businesses and second-homeowners would pay eight cents more this year. The change would raise an additional 40-million dollars in revenue which would fund education. A proposal to repeal and replace the current education funding system was rejected.

A second Senate Committee has passed the GMO labeling bill, and they decided not to wait on other states to require genetically modified foods to be labeled. The Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-0 on the bill. They have been considering a so-called "trigger clause," which would require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before Vermont's goes into effect. Maine and Connecticut have passed their own laws with trigger clauses, but no other state has a law currently in effect. The first state to have a law will almost certainly be sued by some grocery corporations. If Vermont loses the lawsuit, Attorney General Bill Sorrell says it would cost taxpayers millions; though he says he will fight to win.

Chittenden County Transportation Authority is offering free bus rides now thru next Sunday. Today is the first day drivers are on the job after a nearly 3 week strike. The CCTA Board of Commissioners is offering the free service to help offset some of the economic hardship endured by its customers during the strike. Free rides on all CCTA Busses will end on Sunday, April 13th. Montpelier LINK customers will receive vouchers during this time. If you have a monthly pass that lost value during the strike, you will also be able to exchange it for a new one.

It’s later than usual, but the maple sugaring season is finally here! Governor Peter Shumlin performed the ceremonial first tap of a maple tree in Stowe yesterday. The intense cold we’ve had going into spring has delayed the sap running, but it’s finally getting underway. Vermont is the leading producer of maple goods, with only Canada rivaling the state on an international level.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 3, 2014

According to the CCTA drivers, they have approved the latest contract proposal. Drivers say buses will return to service tomorrow. The vote was 53 yes, 6 no. Under the new contract, drivers will only work 12.5 hours and there will be 15 part-time workers. Drivers say they hope to build a better relationship with CCTA.

Green Mountain Power is launching a streetlight pilot program in the Northwest section of Rutland. GMP says they are installing energy efficient streetlights with intelligent controls. The company is also installing 41 solar panels on utility poles. A press release says this new technology will alert Green Mountain Power when the lights fail or aren't working properly. The new lights will produce whiter lights and use 70% less energy. Once the project is complete, Green Mountain Power says they will meet with city officials to see if additional lights need to be installed to improve public safety.

Although Vermont primary elections have already been moved up, lawmakers are now thinking about making it even sooner, in order to comply with federal law. Primaries have been moved back from September to the last Friday in August. The consideration now, however, is to move it back to the first Tuesday in August instead, starting in 2016. Federal law requires absentee ballots be sent to members of the military 45 days before an election.

Although Burlington voters approved three ordinances on Town Meeting Day dealing with guns, state lawmakers will not do anything with it. State law requires legislative approval when a town or city wants to change its founding document, and those usually pass through, but not in this case. Testimony was heard Wednesday on the reforms, but lawmakers say there’s just not enough time to deal with the ordinances. Burlington voters overwhelmingly approved banning guns in bars, seizing firearms of those suspected of domestic abuse, and requiring guns to be locked up when stored inside homes.

Lake Champlain is still frozen over, and that’s causing some delay in spring high school and college sports. Last year at this time, northern Vermont high school and University of Vermont sailing teams had already been on the water for a month. For now, it means more workouts and indoor meetings while waiting for the lake to thaw. Sailboats at Burlington’s Community Sailing Center remain idle, and the UVM sailing team will get out on the lake as soon as ice clears from boat launches.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 2, 2014

Police in Middlebury say a 2 ½-year-old child has been hospitalized after being hit by a car. Authorities say the toddler suffered from potentially life-threatening injuries and was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center yesterday afternoon. Police say the child was standing with her mother across from the Otter Creek Child Center and ran across the street after seeing a teacher.

CCTA Management and Drivers will be meeting tonight. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has been talking to both the management and the drivers and says the two parties are ‘‘very, very close to an agreement.’’ The drivers have been on strike since March 17th. Tonight’s meting starts at 5 PM.

If you’re a subscriber to Netflix, the Better Business Bureau wants you to be aware of a scam masquerading as the popular web-streaming service. The scammers are sending emails asking the subscriber to click on a link, which leads the would-be victim to a phony web page that looks like the Netflix login page. Once you enter your account information, a message says your account has been suspended. The message then directs the person to call a fake number purporting to be Netflix Member Services. The person on the other end will try to convince the Netflix user to download “Support Software.” The download, however, will give scammers access to your computer. The scammers then have access to the victim’s personal information – including their bank account information.

The Town of Addison is fighting back against accusations of discrimination. Last month, a same sex couple sued after they said they were treated unfairly and illegally by the town and its selectboard chair. The suit claims that the women were targeted because they are lesbians. The women say they faced unfair zoning decisions, bogus citations, and a big increase in their property taxes. In a formal response to the suit, Jeff Kauffman, the selectboard chair, and the town’s attorney deny the allegations. No hearing date has been set.

The Vermont House committee debating a bill to raise the minimum wage has landed on a decision. The House General, Housing and Military Affairs committee voted 6-2 yesterday afternoon to pass a version of the bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10. It would go into effect on January 1st, 2015. Tipped employees would receive half of the minimum wage. The current minimum wage is $8.73 per hour. Governor Shumlin and President Obama both called on lawmakers to raise the wage to $10.10, but by 2017. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 1, 2014

A Brandon man has been arrested on a charge of arson in connection with a fire at his home. Firefighters responded to the fire on the first and second floors of the home yesterday. They said it was the second fire at the home in 24 hours; there had been a small fire in the basement on Sunday. Investigators determined the second fire was intentionally set and wasn’t related to the basement fire. They later arrested 33-year-old Ethan McArdle on charges of arson and reckless endangerment.

Vermont has its first confirmed case of Swine Disease. The positive diagnosis occurred at a swine operation in Rutland County on March 26. The disease only affects pigs and is similar to Transmissible Gastroenteritis. Officials say it does not make people sick and it does not affect other species of livestock. It also does not affect pork safety and the pork remains completely safe to eat. The first detection of this disease in the U.S. occurred approximately one year ago, and since then it has impacted over 4,000 premises in 27 states.

CCTA management is looking at hiring temporary drivers or going to court to end the strike. Yesterday, the board met to look at ways to restore service. They say they’d prefer both sides to end the strike through negotiation or binding arbitration. But they need to look at other options including hiring temporary workers or court action. Any legal action or hiring of temporary workers would still need the approval of the board.

Police in Bristol have arrested 5 people in connection with a burglary and an armed robbery at the Big Wheel Variety Store on Route 116. According to Vermont State Police, Bristol resident 28-year-old Joshua Martell walked into the store at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday with a “large knife” and demanded money from the owner. The owner chased Martell out of the store. He was pick-up a short time later in the woods. Martell was also found in possession of stolen goods from a burglary at a home a week earlier. An investigation of both incidents also lead to the arrest of 26-year-old Nathan Pecor, 29-year-old Chastity Pecor, 18-year-old Kimberly Jimmo, and 26-year-old Kyle Little.

Tuition is going up at Middlebury College. The Board of Trustees has approved raising the cost starting with next school year by 2.5-percent to $45,637. This is the fifth consecutive year that Middlebury College has limited the increase in tuition to 1 percentage point above inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).