Thursday, August 14, 2014

WVTK Local & State News August 14, 2014

State lawmakers have approved $31 million dollars in budget cuts, just one day after giving citizens a chance to sound off. Some of the cuts will come from surpluses, but some will target the neediest Vermonters. The Vermont State Police will leave seven positions vacant, while other departments will trim four-percent from their budgets. Also on the chopping block was some of the funding to the enterprise fund, which provides incentives to bring business to Vermont.

Keurig Green Mountain announced they are raising coffee prices nine percent in November. A press release says the price increase affects all portion packs sold by Keurig for use in its Keurig brewing systems, traditional bagged, fractional packs, and bulk coffee products. Green Mountain says the price increases are attributed to a number of factors including cost environment in the coffee and consumer packaged goods industries, prices of green coffee and cocoa, packaging materials, energy, and transportation costs. The price increase goes into effect on November 3.

Corrections officers and other prison staff in Vermont would be subject to search as they enter the facilities, under rules being drafted by the Department of Corrections. Officials from the department told the Legislature's Corrections Oversight Committee earlier today that the new rules are needed to crack down on drugs and other contraband being carried into the prisons. The draft rules say employees won't be physically forced to submit to a search, but could be fired for refusing to cooperate.

Some of Vermont's 10-thousand historic barns are getting a new lease on life -- as wedding venues. Farmers say that the wedding business is one way to preserve the old buildings. As the state moves into crop agriculture, there are many unused or abandoned barns in Vermont. Neighbors had noise and traffic complaints at first, but most see the wedding barn movement as a good thing. Towns are fast tracking re-zoning to allow farmers to use their barns for weddings, too.

Many children may not want to think about it, but it's back to school season. The Vermont Department of Health is taking this opportunity to urge parents to make sure their kids vaccinations are up to date. The department is joining with partners nationwide to recognize August as National Immunization Awareness Month. Most schools require current vaccinations before a child can be enrolled.