Tuesday, May 20, 2014

WVTK Local & State News May 20, 2014

The Randolph man accused of kidnapping and murdering his 12-year-old niece in 2008 was in court yesterday were he pled guilty to the charges. The last time Brook Bennett was seen alive was at a convenience store. After that police say Michael Jacques brought her back to his home, where he drugged, sexually assaulted her and killed her. He then buried her body and tried to throw investigators off his track. District Judge Williams Sessions asked Jacques if everything was true. His response was, "I'm afraid it is." Today Jacques was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 70 years. The judge ordered Jacques to never be released for any reason.

Law enforcement will hit the roads this week with a special emphasis on making sure you buckle up. The nationwide "click it or ticket" campaign kicked off last night for the summer. State police in both New York and Vermont are working together to drive home the issue. Nationwide, more than half of drivers and passengers killed in crashes are not wearing seat belts. For that reason, leaders will not only be targeting drivers.

Vermont's Secretary of Transportation has asked her staff to re-evaluate whether the state could impose interstate tolls. Under federal law, Vermont, which has used a lot of federal money to build its roads, isn't allowed to charge tolls. But a plan is being considered that would allow all states to charge an interstate toll if they want to. Officials say it's important to study the tolling options because gas-tax revenues are no longer keeping pace with financing needs.

TDI New England has formally asked the U.S. Department of Energy for approval to build a 1,000-megawatt, underwater and underground power line to bring Canadian power through Vermont to New England. Their plan is to run the line 154 miles from the Canadian border under Lake Champlain and then east to Ludlow. In Ludlow, developers plan to hook into the Vermont Electric Power Co. high-voltage transmission network, which will enable the power to be sent to southern New England. The project also needs approval from the Vermont Public Service Board and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A New York Senator has introduced legislation banning powdered alcohol. Powdered alcohol is a concentrated alcoholic beverage also known as "Palcohol." A press release says the legislation would ban the product in New York should the FDA decide to allow the product to be manufactured again in the United States. Alaska outlawed powdered alcohol, and legislation to ban it is pending in Minnesota and Vermont.