Friday, December 19, 2014

WVTK Local & State News December 19, 2014

Vermont Gas is raising the projected cost of Phase I of the Natural Gas Pipeline again. The cost was projected at $86-million almost one year ago. Back in July the cost estimate was increased. And now officials at Vermont Gas say the project will cost an estimated $33-million more for a total of $154-million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has expanded their damage assessment to 12 Vermont counties for last week's winter storm. The added counties include Addison, Caledonia, Essex, Grand Isle, Orange, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor. The initial assessment included Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille, and Orleans counties. A press release says the agency will review the counties and see if they could qualify for federal disaster assistance following the response and recovery from the storm. In order to qualify for federal assistance, Vermont must show at least $1 million in damage.

Supporters of a single payer healthcare system in Vermont are upset that Governor Peter Shumlin has abandoned the concept. Shumlin announced this week that the plan is off the table because it's not affordable at this time. Supporters took to the lawn of the Statehouse yesterday to speak out against Shumlin for abandoning his signature issue. Republicans piled on as well, saying he waited until after the election to scrap the plan.

A judge is ruling that murder charges can be pursued by the state against Joshua Blow. The Shelburne man is accused of killing two-year-old Aiden Haskins earlier this year. Blow told police that the boy's injuries were accidental, but prosecutors argue that they were intentional. The defense had asked that the case be dismissed for a lack of evidence, but that motion was rejected.

2 Secret Santas payed for all the layaways at a Vermont Toy Store. On Wednesday, some customers received a call from the Toys R Us in Williston that their items on layaway were paid for and ready for pickup. Their bills were paid for by 2 Secret Santas. One, walked in the store and paid off 1 order for $94. Another paid for the 19 others over the phone. That totaled $4,150. The “Layaway Angels,” as some people call them, also regularly visit the Kmart in South Burlington. Already this year, between 10-20 people have come forward to make someone else's holidays, just a little bit better.