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.