Friday, November 14, 2014

WVTK Local & State News November 14, 2014

Some lawmakers in Montpelier are pushing for Vermont to be the first in the nation with a Carbon Tax. The tax would target big oil companies like Irving. Companies would pay based on the amount of fuel sold in Vermont, and the pollution from that. "Energy Independent Vermont," an environmental group, recently released a study saying such a tax would benefit the state. Those behind the legislation say if the tax started at 9 cents a gallon, and increased to 45 cents per gallon over ten years, over a thousand jobs would be created. That's because the tax would keep more money in Vermont. Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association says the tax will be passed on to consumers, driving business out of state, and hurting border towns.

There is a warning about a phone scam targeting Vermonters. The attorney general says some residents have been getting fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to represent a power company. The attorney general says the crooks then threaten to disconnect service if you don't pay up. Investigators warn the number that shows up on caller ID may be identical to a legitimate power company. If you do get ones of these calls the attorney general suggests hanging up and calling the utility's customer service to verify any claims.

The state of Vermont wants to reunite over 67-million-dollars in unclaimed property to its rightful owners. The state's annual list of unclaimed funds has added eight-million-dollars in new lost money over the last year. State Treasurer Beth Pierce says people should get into the habit of checking the list once a year. The state takes possession of abandoned security deposits, insurance policies, stocks and other financial instruments and publishes the list to help people get their cash back.

The owner of a Woodstock farm is facing animal cruelty charges after more than 20 horses were found malnourished in horrible conditions on the property. Officials say the horses were kept in darkness and isolation at Skyland Farm, and were ordered seized after a veterinarian's examination. The horses have been taken to a shelter, where they are expected to fully recover from the neglect. Farm owner Marjatta Lavin is due in court today to answer the animal cruelty charges.

A judge has ruled that a man convicted of luring a prep-school teacher out of her Vermont home and then killing her will return to St. Johnsbury for sentencing. Allen Prue of Waterford faces a possible life sentence after being convicted in Chittenden Superior Court last month of kidnapping, first-degree murder and conspiracy in the 2012 death of Melissa Jenkins. The date hasn't been scheduled yet. The trial was moved to Chittenden County due to concerns about fielding an impartial jury in Caledonia County. Prue has appealed to the state supreme court for a new trial. His wife, Patricia Prue, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder in Jenkins' death and faces trial in February.