Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WVTK Local & State News May 14, 2014

Residents in Middlebury, once again, said yes to a proposal to build a new town office and a new public recreation facility. This was the second time the $6.5 million project was approved; the first time being on Town Meeting Day. A petition since then triggered a revote. Yesterday’s vote tally was 880 'yes' to 714 'no'. Since the majority voted yes, a new town office building will be built on the site of the Osborne House downtown, and a public recreation and athletic facility will be constructed on Creek Road. The town's portion of the construction cost, with some financial help from Middlebury College, is estimated at $2 million.

Governor Peter Shumlin is now calling for an investigation of the state Department for Children and Families after a second child in three months has died under the watchful eye of state. The latest death was a 15-month-old boy from Winooski who died of head and neck trauma last month. Just one hour before his death a case worker from DCF visited the home and saw the boy sleeping in his crib with bruises on his neck. The first one, back in February, was 2-year-old Dezirae Sheldon, who was returned to the custody of her mother and stepfather despite concerns about violence in the home.

L.L. Bean is thinking about opening up a store in Burlington. A spokesperson for the company says they have been taking a hard look at the Burlington area, but nothing is set in stone. They added, I hope to share more information in the near-future. L.L. Bean currently operates 19 retail stores outside of Maine.

Governor Peter Shumlin today signed into law legislation protecting the identities of ‘whistleblowers,’ those who step forward to report suspected violations of law, waste, fraud or abuse of authority by public officials or employees. The legislation was proposed by State Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer, who was concerned that under current law he could be legally compelled to disclose the identities of whistleblowers if requested.

Federal regulators say Vermont's plan for cleaning up Lake Champlain needs improvement. The state is working to reduce phosphorus buildup in the lake by reducing runoff from farms and developed areas, and discharges from sewage plants. But the Environmental Protection Agency says the state's plan needs to be strengthened in several areas. One big concern is the state has not identified how to pay for the plan. The EPA wants to see a revised plan by the end of the month.