Friday, June 12, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 12, 2015

Authorities believe 34-year-old David Sweat and 48-year-old Richard Matt, two inmates who escaped Clinton Correctional Facility on Saturday, June 6, are still together. A perimeter has been set up off of Route 374 in Cadyville since Wednesday. Police have been following the latest lead, in hopes it brings them closer to Sweat and Matt. This morning, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie confirmed that bloodhounds picked up the scents of Matt and Sweat near Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, and followed it east to Cadyville. The Mobil gas station also has a Subway restaurant, and DA Wylie says there is a chance the inmates were looking for food. Officers are looking at surveillance video to see if they can confirm the inmates were in that area. Both are considered to be a danger to the public. Anyone with information is asked to contact New York State Police at (518)-563-3761.

On Tuesday, voters in Bristol will go to the polls again, this time to vote on a speeding plan for Bristol Elementary School. This will be the third try for a budget for the next school year. The proposed spending plan of $4,918,334 represents a 2.48-percent increase compared to the current budget, which runs through June 30. The polls will be open from 7 am to 9 pm at Holley on Tuesday.

The comprehensive energy bill passed by the state legislature this week is now law. Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill yesterday, saying it will create over one-thousand jobs and save residents 390-million-dollars on energy costs. The measure also creates a new program where state utilities will help customers to reduce fossil fuel use and cut their energy costs. It establishes new renewable electricity requirements of 55-percent by 2017.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to help more workers with families get paid leave and vacation. He's co-sponsoring a package of bills that would provide employees with 10 days of paid vacation after working for a year, and guaranteeing workers get at least seven sick days a year. Sanders also called for paid leave if an employee has a baby, or is diagnosed with a serious medical condition.

The Vermont Ski Areas Association says the 2014-2015 skiing and riding season was the best on record. The nearly 4.7 million skier visits topped the previous record set in 2001. Vermont Ski Areas Association President Parker Riehle says "a near-perfect winter" allowed the resorts to open early end keep operating until late in the season.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 11, 2015

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch says he plans to make a decision soon on whether he will give up his seat in Congress to run for governor. Welch, now in his fifth term as Vermont’s sole congressman, emerged as a potential candidate following Gov. Peter Shumlin’s surprise announcement Monday that he will not seek a fourth term in 2016. Welch this morning said he continues to enjoy serving in Congress. Despite the Democrats’ minority status, Welch said he has recently managed to push legislation into law, including energy efficiency requirements and funding for the National Institute of Health.

Governor Peter Shumlin has confirmed that homicide suspect Jason Kendall is dead. Authorities say they received a call from the Kansas Highway Patrol that police attempted to pull over a silver Honda Accord with stolen Massachusetts license plates. Police say a high-speed chase ensued, and the car eventually crashed. After the crash, the man was found dead in the car, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators say Kendall shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Molly Helland in Windsor on Monday. Shumlin said Kendall was an opiate user, and called this case a drug-related tragedy.

The New York State Senate passed a bill to create a terrorist registry. A press release says the bill would do the following: create a registry, based on the state's highly successful Sex Offender Registration Act and require individuals convicted of terrorism to be added to the registry. This bill is currently in the Senate and Assembly, where it is hoped that immediate action will be taken to approve this legislation before the end of session.

Governor Peter Shumlin says they are working tirelessly to get escaped inmates 34-year-old David Sweat and 48-year-old Richard Matt back behind bars. Shumlin is urging Vermonters not to panic, but use common sense and stay vigilant. At a press conference this morning, Gov. Shumlin says Vermonters can expect to see more law enforcement, especially along Lake Champlain and remote areas where there are hunting camps. Shumlin says they have no new information regarding the escaped inmates plans to head to Vermont. Officials in Vermont are working closely with police and officials in New York to locate the escaped inmates.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 10, 2015

It's day five of the manhunt for two escaped prison inmates from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Governor Peter Shumlin and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a joint press conference this afternoon. During the press conference they announced that both Vermont State Police and New York State Police are working together along with other state agencies on both sides of the lake. It was also discussed that Vermont was a possible destination of the escaped convicts. Earlier today, authorities were once again going door to door in the Dannemora area. Yesterday, officials followed a lead in Willsboro and have not found anything yet. Both governors reiterated the fact that these two escaped convicts are dangerous, if you see them or have any information, call police immediately.

It took three times but residents from Addison Northeast and Northwest Supervisor Unions passed budgets for their high schools. The Vergennes Union High School spending plan of $10,258,933 passed by a vote of 814-645. And the Mount Abe budget passed 852 to 597.

The Vermont Air National Guard announced 150 members are deploying to the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan by the end of the month. The National Guard says the deployment, in support of the Pacific Command Theater Security Package, will provide forces capable of a variety of operations, including disaster relief, global situational awareness, combating piracy, active defense and power projection. About 10 F-16 Fighting Falcons will also be sent to Japan for the deployment. The National Guard says throughout the week, communities may see transient military aircraft in the area.

The annual count of homeless people conducted by the federal government shows a drop of more than two-percent in Vermont's homeless count this year. The report shows that at the end of January, there were a little over 15-hundred homeless people in Vermont. Those findings are supported by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance.

Officials say changes to the Vermont Health Connect Insurance Exchange say they have sped up the process for changing personal details of the people who use the system. The old system took more than 30 minutes to process while the new system takes took about five minutes. Officials say they expect to have a current backlog of more than 10,000 backorders cleared up by fall.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 9, 2015

The speculation is beginning over who will be running for governor of Vermont now that Peter Shumlin is not seeking re-election next year. Congressman Peter Welch and state House Speaker Shap Smith are among the Democrats now believed to be interested in running. Republicans Phil Scott, Scott Milne and Randy Brock are also expected to launch campaigns for governor. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says he will not be a candidate for governor next year.

Residents in both the Addison Northeast and Northwest Supervisory Unions will go to the polls today to decide the fate of budgets for VUHS and Mount Abe. The VUHS board has proposed a $10,258,933 budget for the 2015-2016 school year that is $211,000 lower than the plan defeated on Town Meeting Day. Voters in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Unions are looking at a $13,947,738 spending plan that offers lower tax rates and a 1.02-percent decrease from the current spending plan.

Police say an arrest warrant has been issued for a man wanted in connection with the killing of his former girlfriend. Vermont State Police are looking for 27-year-old Jason Kendall of Windsor, on a second-degree homicide charge. Police say they received a 911 call Monday morning from a person who heard screams and gunshots near Main Street. When police arrived at the scene, they found a woman, identified as 22-year-old Molly Helland dead. Police say Kendall fled the area after the shooting in a silver 1996 Honda Accord, which they now believe has Massachusetts license plate 842YM3.

The Winooski Police Department is investigating an armed robbery at Chuck's Mobil on East Allen Street in Winooski last night. Police say a man, displaying a weapon, ordered the clerk to give him all the cash just after 11:15 last night. The man left with an undisclosed amount of money. Police say no one was injured during the armed robbery. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Winooski Police Department at (802)-655-0221.

Monday, June 8, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 8, 2015

Governor Peter Shumlin announced this afternoon that he will not seek re-election at the end of this term in 2016. During a press conference this afternoon he announced that he wants take the next 18 months in office to complete the goals he has laid-out for his administration.

For the third time this year, voters in the five Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns will head to the polls tomorrow to try and pass a budget for Vergennes Union High School. The VUHS board has proposed a $10,258,933 budget for the upcoming school year that is $211,000 lower than the plan defeated on Town Meeting Day and $55,000 less than the proposal that lost on May 5. If the budget is defeated again, state law says VUHS will operate at an assumed budget of 87 percent of the current spending until voters approve a new plan.

Also heading to the polls tomorrow are voters in Bristol, Monkton, Starksboro, Lincoln and New Haven as they too will be trying for a third time to pass a school spending plan for Mount Abe. The current proposal is $13,947,738, which is a 1.02-percent decrease compared to the current spending plan.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is offering a $100 thousand reward as the search expands for Richard Matt and David Sweat, the 2 convicted murders that escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora early Saturday morning. It is the first escape ever from the Up-State New York Prison. Police say both prisoners are considered to be a danger to the public. They say if located, do not approach them. Contact 911 or the New York State Police immediately.

The American Federation of Teachers says that a tentative agreement reached for full-time faculty at Vermont State Colleges. According to the union, after months of negotiation, terms of the 2015-2018 deal include: compensation increases of up to four percent, three point five percent, and three point five percent over the next three years, preservation of faculty job security, intellectual property, and academic freedom, and additional compensation for developing and teaching master's courses. The Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation will hold a ratification vote in the fall.

Governor Peter Shumlin is promoting an upcoming job fair with 35 employers looking to fill more than 600 positions. The Vermont Career Connections Job Fair runs from noon to 6 p.m. at the Sheraton in South Burlington on Friday. Shumlin says it's encouraging that so many jobs are available.

Friday, June 5, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 5, 2015

Hinesburg's police chief stands by his assertion that Joseph Marshall would have been charged with second degree murder for a recent crash that killed a bicyclist. A forum was held last night, where Chief Frank Koss said Marshall driving 83 miles per hour in the village on a Sunday morning was a deliberate and deadly act. Marshall also died in the crash, and his mother says that the charge would have been involuntary manslaughter, not murder. Koss says this case shows teenagers that they must be responsible while driving.

Police responded to a three car crash on Route 7 this morning just before 11 a.m. Police say 28-year-old Michael Lapore-Capek of New Haven, was traveling southbound when he struck a Casella tractor trailer traveling northbound. After colliding with the tractor trailer, Lapore-Capek's van spun and then struck a second northbound vehicle. No one was injured in the crash. Police arrested Lapore-Capek for driving with a suspended license. Police say when they arrived all three vehicles had significant damage. The crash is still under investigation.

13 pink slips have been handed out to Vermont state employees, and a second round of layoffs is possible. Vermont's new Secretary of Administration made his first layoffs this week. The number, 13, revised down yesterday from 14 earlier this week, is much smaller than the 300 to 400 thrown out there earlier this year. 51 open positions will also not be filled, with a total of 64 job cuts this round. The cuts are not a surprise; during the Legislative session, the administration tried to convince the state employees' union, the VSEA, to open their contracts and give up pay increases. The union fought back with rallies, marches and news conferences, calling for higher taxes on the rich to fill the budget gap instead of cuts to state employees.

A federal report says a proposal to move Canadian electricity to southern New England via two power lines buried beneath Lake Champlain and then across Vermont to Ludlow would have little impact on the lake or surrounding areas. The U.S. Department of Energy issued the draft environmental impact statement as part of a proposal for the $1.2 billion New England Clean Power Link, which would carry 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 4, 2015

Vermont is officially laying off 14 state workers next month. The state has notified the affected employees that they will be losing their jobs on July eleventh. The layoffs include four employees in the Department of Taxes, and two each at the departments of Mental Health and Financial Regulation. Governor Peter Shumlin is also planning to eliminate around 50 vacant positions as he seeks to achieve ten-million-dollars in labor savings.

A public forum is being held tonight in Hinesburg to discuss an April crash that killed a teenage driver and a bicyclist. The family of 17-year-old Joseph Marshall asked for a forum to discuss allegations made against him after his death. The town police chief says Marshall likely would have been charged with murder if he survived because of his negligence. Bicyclist Richard Tom died after being struck by Marshall's out of control car.

The new Shorewell Community Health Center on Route 22A in Shoreham is officially open. The new home of Dr. Allan Curtiss’s Practice is now in it’s new home, one that has plans for expansion. The new $1.8-million facility will eventually become a base of operations for a second physician, dental practice and a bevy of other services that will be offered to citizens regardless of their income and health insurance status. A grand opening for the Shorewell Community Health Center is planned for Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) announced they are lowering rates on new student loans. VSAC says they offer rates as low as 5.50 percent APR for both graduate and undergraduate students who need additional financing for postsecondary education or training. Vermont students attending college in the U.S. or abroad or students from out-of-state attending a Vermont institution are eligible.

The principal at Mount Abraham Union High School will be leaving at the end of the school year. Principal Gaynell Lyman confirmed earlier this week that she will be leaving the position she has held for just one year in order to pursue another career opportunity. Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent David Adams has a proposed itinerary that will see a new principal hired by July 21.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WVTK Local & State News June 3, 2015

A Vergennes woman was killed in a car accident in Ferrisburgh last night. The Vermont State Police and Vergennes Police Department responded to the scene along with Ferrisburgh and Vergennes Fire and Rescue personnel. Shortly after first responders arrived on scene, the operator the vehicle motor vehicle, 55-year-old Dana Philips of Vergennes was pronounced dead at the scene. 37-year-old Joseph Mischik of Monkton was a passenger in the motor vehicle and was transported to UVM Medical Center with a minor leg injury. Investigators say the vehicle was traveling northbound on Route 7 when it traveled off the roadway. The motor vehicle struck several culverts before coming to a stop. Police say that the case is still under investigation and no criminal charges are pending at this time.

A Killington woman is admitting that she stole over ten-million-dollars worth of insurance premiums. Prosecutors say Bonney Hebert brokered contracts between colleges and universities and health insurance providers. She allegedly collected over ten-million dollars in premiums from Rutgers University in New Jersey and never turned the money over to Aetna. Hebert will be sentenced in August, and she still owes close to eight-million dollars in restitution to Connecticut based Aetna.

The education reform bill approved by the Vermont legislature is now law. Governor Peter Shumlin visited a Bolton elementary school yesterday to sign the bill into law seeking to address declining enrollment and soaring education costs through consolidation. There are 277 school districts in Vermont, and the goal is to merge them into larger school systems. Shumlin says this is a game changer for Vermont, allowing local communities to right size their infrastructure and focus on delivering high-quality education.

The Main Street & Merchants Row Railroad Overpass Bridge Replacements Project Public Information Meeting will take place tonight starting at 6 PM at the Municipal Gym. During the meeting, local Project Manager Bill Finger will provide a brief summary of the status of the project, anticipated to begin in the spring of 2016. Town officials will also outline plans for the development of a marketing strategy for the downtown before, during and after construction.

Friday, May 29, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 29, 2015

Vermont State Police are investigating a burglary at a home on Lime Kiln Road in New Haven that happened sometime between May 26 and May 29. Police say items were taken from the residence, including prescription medication. Entry was made through the front door. Anyone with information is asked to contact Vermont State Police at (802)-388-4919.

The plan passed by the legislature to spend over 600-million-dollars on transportation improvements is now law. Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill near a bridge that is being replaced in Colchester yesterday. He says in order for Vermont's economy to flourish, it needs a strong transportation system, and these investments position the state for success. The governor also says the state is working to save costs on some projects in order to add more to the list.

Vermont Health Connect is currently off-line while the site undergoes some major upgrades. During the system update, customer service staff will have limited access to back-end systems and will be unable to help with many basic requests. Customers with non-urgent questions and requests are encouraged to wait to call when the system is back online next week.

A new report highlights the high cost of renting a home in Vermont. The National Low Income Housing Coalition says Vermont is the 13th most expensive in the country for renters. It says that people have to earn more than 20-dollars an hour in order to afford the rent for a two bedroom home. It also shows that someone earning the minimum wage of nine-dollars and 15-cents an hour would have to work 70-hours a week to afford a one bedroom home.

For those of you who love the outdoors, you may want to check out a new app that’s designed to help you fight tick dangers. It’s a free app for apple and android users called TickClick. The idea behind the app is to help you determine if you or your pet has been bitten by a tick. The creators say, TickClick will allow you to identify what tick has bitten you, the life stage it's in, the diseases the tick may carry, and links to the CDC website.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 28, 2015

Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union will go to the polls to decide the fate of the Vergennes Union High School budget on June 9th. School Board members cut $55,000 from the proposal that was defeated on May 5th. The new spending plan for the 2015-2016 school year is just over $10-million. Despite the $55,000 cut, the latest VUHS budget is still seeking an increase of $845,000 from the current VUHS budget. Also on Tuesday, June 9th, voters in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union will try for a third time to approve a budget for Mount Abraham Union High School. The proposed version up for a vote is $75,000 less than the previous version defeated on April 14th.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin today signed a bill that repeals the philosophical exemption to Vermont's vaccine law. Shumlin said, "Vaccines work and parents should get their kids vaccinated. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue. I hope this legislation will have the effect of increasing vaccination rates." The changes go into effective in July 2016.

More than one million dollars in federal assistance has been sent to Vermont to help cover the costs of the winter storm from December 9-12, 2014. The storm wreaked havoc on Vermont's infrastructure, downing power lines and trees. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the aid includes about $670,000 for emergency protective measures, and about $384,000 in permanent repair work. Another two million dollars in FEMA aid is expected, most of which will be for the Vermont Electric Cooperative.

Two decades and counting. An expansion project at Middlebury's State Airport still will not begin for at least another two fiscal years. The airport is home to a 2,500 foot runway, one of the smallest in Vermont. Deputy Secretary for Vermont's Agency of Transportation, Chris Cole says the project is not budgeted for until 2017. Despite the wait, Cole says upgrades to the airport are essential to improve safety.

Vermont State Police were kept busy over the Memorial Day weekend. State troopers investigated 33 crashes on Vermont roads over the long weekend, with three involving deaths. Police also made 12 DUI arrests, wrote close to 400 speeding tickets and helped 42 disabled drivers. There have been 14 traffic deaths since the beginning of the year, with almost half of them involving people who were not properly restrained.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 27, 2015

Longtime Vermont Journalist Marselis Parsons passed away earlier today due to cancer. According to WCAX, Parsons began his career at Channel 3 in 1967. He was 70-years-old. Parsons retired from WCAX six years ago. During his 43 years at Channel 3, he was the news director, he was also a reporter, and an anchor.

The IRS says hackers gained access to taxpayer information in a series of attacks that began in February. Using information stolen during other hacks, the data thieves used the agency's online tax transcript service to gain access to Social Security numbers, dates of birth and street addresses. The IRS says an additional 100-thousand attempts to gain information were turned back. The agency reaching out to victims and offering to pay for credit protection services.

The Railroad Overpass Bridge Replacements Project Public Information Meeting scheduled for tonight has been postponed. The meeting has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, June 3rd, at 6 PM in the Municipal Gymnasium. During the meeting next week, Local Project Manager Bill Finger will provide a brief summary of the status of the project, which is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2016. Town Officials will also outline plans for developing a marketing strategy for the downtown before, during and after construction.

Vermont's unemployment rate dropped two tenths of 1 percent to 3.6-percent in April, which tied for the fourth lowest in the country. Governor Peter Shumlin says the numbers point to continued economic growth and recovery from the last recession. Vermont's April unemployment rate was a third lower than the national average of 5.4 percent. Vermont added 1,800 jobs in April, continuing a trend and outpacing population growth.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has a new program to help conserve open spaces and wildlife habitat in the state. The department's new "All In" Habitat Stamp is fashioned on the federal duck stamp. The stamp is available for purchase on the department's website and is available on 2015 hunting or fishing licenses when purchased online.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 26, 2015

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is launching his Presidential Campaign today in Burlington. In 1981 Sanders started his political career in Burlington being elected Mayor. During the celebration at the Burlington Waterfront, Sanders laid-out an "Agenda for America" to address the major crises we face and a vision of government that "works for all our people." Sanders started by vowing to start a “political revolution” to address core economic issues, massive student debt and the role of big money in politics. Sanders will travel to New Hampshire tomorrow and then head to Iowa on Thursday.

The 58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research is underway at the University of Vermont. Hundreds of scientists from around the world are attending presentations on various topics. Organizers are trying to expand the event beyond the Great Lakes of North America to include large bodies of lakes worldwide.

Power has been restored to more than 3,000 customers in the city of Rutland. A Green Mountain Power representative said the power was knocked out before 2 o’clock this afternoon. Crews said there was an issue with a substation. Power was restored by about 3 p.m.

A new inpatient building is being added to the UVM Medical Center. The 187-million-dollar project hopes to start construction this summer. The facility will offer 128 single-bed rooms on four floors. Spokesman Dawn LeBaron said the new addition will not raise rates for patients.

A new study is out revealing the best places for veterans to retire. WalletHub's 2015 ranking shows Vermont is ranked 29th among the 50 states. The survey considered cost-of-living, amount of affordable housing, access to healthcare and other factors. Vermont is in second place for job opportunities, and third for most veteran-owned businesses.

Friday, May 22, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 22, 2015

Vermont State Police are still trying to locate Denise Hart, a Connecticut woman who has been missing since the end of January. Hart borrowed an acquaintance's car on January 25th in Sudbury and that was the last time she was seen or heard from. The car was found several hours later engulfed in flames in Cornwall, and police say there's a strong possibility of foul play. Police yesterday conducted searches for Hart in Sudbury, Orwell, Whiting and Cornwall and did not locate any evidence in the case.

Vermont State Police arrested man accused of leaving the scene of an accident on Vermont Route 22A yesterday afternoon. Police say they located the vehicle that fled the scene abandoned in a nearby sand pit. A K9 was able to track the operator, 26-year-old James Turner of Shoreham, to a nearby residence. Turner is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and providing false information to a police officer. He was released on a citation to appear in court at the end of July.

According to the Fire Facility Committee the cost of the new Bristol Fire Department is estimated at $2.8-million. The new firehouse would replace the current 128-year-old firehouse at 32 North Street. The proposed 11,000-square foot building would include a 3 bay garage and a kitchen, training and community room and a space for storage and exercise equipment. Not included in the estimate was the cost of the land on which the firehouse would be built. A second meeting for public input on the estimated cost will be held next Tuesday at the Bristol Town Office in Holley Hall at 7 p.m.

Police arrested a man they say tried to lure a child during a sting operation. On April 21, police conducted an undercover underage prostitution operation at a local motel. Officers posed as 14-year-old girls for the sting. Police say one of the men, 39-year-old David Bowen of Florence, Vermont., was unable to meet the night of the operation, but kept in contact with one of the undercover officers whom he believed was a 14-year-old prostitute. Bowen is accused of arranging a time to meet for sex with the undercover officer. Police arrested Bowen at the arranged location without incident. He is charged with prohibited acts and attempting to lure a child.

Be careful on the roadways this weekend … not only will there be construction delays on many of the roads and highways but police will be out in force as part of the nationwide campaign, Click It or Ticket It. Law enforcement agencies across the state will be enforcing seatbelt, child restraint, and other motor vehicle laws during sobriety and vehicle safety checkpoints. Officials hope to reduce crashes and address poor driving behavior. Impaired and Distracted driving along with the lack of seatbelt use continue to be the major contributing factors into deaths on our roadways.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 21, 2015

A series of protections inserted into Vermont's assisted suicide law are now permanent. Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill yesterday that makes protections in the law permanent. They include a mandatory 48 hour waiting period for a doctor to issue the deadly prescription to a terminally ill person. Shumlin signed the bill yesterday at a South Burlington natural food store owned by the sister of Maggie Lake, who requested a lethal prescription after suffering with cancer for close to a decade.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is officially launching his Presidential campaign next week in Burlington. Details of the event were released yesterday, with Sanders announcing that the launch will occur next Tuesday along Lake Champlain in Waterfront Park. Also yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin posted to his Twitter account that he's endorsing Hillary Clinton for President, not Sanders.

The Winooski Police Department is investigating a robbery at the Champlain Farms located on East Allen Street. INvestigators say a man entered the store around 9 o’clock last night and took off with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect was last seen on foot heading toward East Allen Street. He is described as being white, 5'11 tall, wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and possibly a gray t-shirt. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Winooski Police Department at (802) 655-0221.

Nearly $90,000 in state grants will go to three Essex County farms, to help encourage young farmers to stick with the profession. The grants come from the New Farmers Grant Fund. The goal of the program is to continue growing New York's agricultural sector. The grant recipients are: Blue Pepper Farm in Jay: $34,000, Full and By Farm in Essex: $18,576, Fledgling Crow Vegetables in Keeseville: $37,248. The money will help the farms use innovative agricultural techniques, and encourage young farmers to consider the job as a career. $610,000 in total will go to 19 farms across the Empire State.

A new report from the United Health Foundation says Vermont’s seniors are the healthiest in the nation. The report looked at such factors as behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes. Some of the strength that the Green Mountain State has includes low intensive care unit use and ready availability of home-delivered meals. New Hampshire was ranked second healthiest for seniors in the country while New York was ranked 21st.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 20, 2015

A former Rutland city attorney who was convicted of a fatal hit-and-run crash has been denied a new trial. 55-year-old Christopher Sullivan had pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of the crash in 2013 and driving under the influence with death resulting. The crash killed 71-year-old Mary Jane Outslay. A jury convicted Sullivan back in March. Sullivan's lawyer said he didn't get a fair trial. Judge Theresa DiMauro ruled against a new trial yesterday. Sullivan, who is out on bail, awaits sentencing.

A Randolph woman is being held on ten-thousand-dollars bail after being arrested twice in the same day for heroin. Tara Bent was first arrested Monday morning in Randolph for possession of 70 bags of heroin. After being released from custody, Bent was again arrested in the afternoon in possession of 50 bags of heroin. She will remain at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield until she is able to post bail.

A Rutland man accused of holding his estranged wife hostage for over four years is being held without bail. Michael Jokinen allegedly kept his wife locked in a bedroom with boards over the window until she was able to make her escape in December. Officials say the woman has been in a secure location where Jokinen cannot locate her, which allowed prosecutors to carefully build their case against him.

Vermont is relocating their out of state prison inmates from Arizona and Kentucky to a correctional facility in Michigan. The transfers are expected to take place in the second quarter of this year. Vermont currently houses more than 300 inmates in prisons out of state, and says the transfer will save the state over 600-thousand dollars. The Michigan prison is owned by the GEO Group, a private company which operates more than 100 correctional institutions around the country.

This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, marks the re-opening of Vermont’s legendary state parks. Vermont’s 52 state parks offer a wide variety of activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking and hiking and camping experiences, including drive-in campsites, lean-to’s, cabins, cottages, remote campsites, group camping areas, and an inn-style lodge. Every park and site is surrounded by Vermont’s beautiful mountains, lakes, forests and fields. For more information on what each park has to offer, visit

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 19, 2015

Police this afternoon are investigating an armed robbery at the Citizen's Bank on Shelburne Road in South Burlington. Details are limited at this point but police say the suspect had a gun and that no one was injured during the robbery. The suspect left the bank, apparently on foot.

The New York Senate has passed a bill to create a registry of violent offenders. A press release says the the bill, the Domestic Violence Protection Act, also known as Brittany's Law, would create a publicly accessible registry of all the individuals convicted of a violent felony and allow local law enforcement to keep track of their location. The bill now heads to the New York Assembly.

Ground has broken on a new transit center at Cherry and St. Paul streets in Burlington. Mayor Miro Weinberger says the $7-million station will serve as a hub for the Chittenden County Transit Authority. It will feature a 26-hundred square foot terminal, with an upper level for passengers and a lower level for bus drivers. The station is expected to be open next year.

Former Colchester police officer Tyler Kinney is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal gun and drug charges. Kinney admits that he stole heroin and firearms from the Colchester Police evidence locker. The stolen items were used to feed Kinney's heroin addiction and that of a friend and fellow addict. Kinney remains free on bail and will be formally sentenced in October.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Department of Public Safety will conduct a full scale test of the Amber Alert System. The test will be used to assess and evaluate changes in technology used to alert Vermonters when the Amber Alert System is activated. The test will include a mass emailing to a variety of organizations, activation of the Vermont Lottery Notification System, coordination with Vermont Agency of Transportation messaging signs, and dissemination of information to Vermont broadcasters. The Emergency Broadcast System may be activated, as well. All communication associated with this test will be preceded with the following notice: “THIS IS A TEST OF THE AMBER ALERT SYSTEM”

Monday, May 18, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 18, 2015

The Rutland Police Department is investigating an armed robbery at Mac's Convenience Store located on South Main Street last night. Police say a man entered the store just before 11 PM, with a knife, and demanded money from the cash register. When the clerk didn't comply, police say there was a brief scuffle. The man left the store without any money. Police say they recovered the knife used during the robbery after tracking the man to a parking lot.

The Vermont legislative session is over. The 2015 session adjourned on Saturday, with a budget bill having been passed several hours before work wrapped up for the year. Lawmakers also approved a health care reform bill that will save the state more than three-million-dollars in the upcoming fiscal year. Governor Peter Shumlin addressed lawmakers at the end of the session, thanking them for their work on water quality, education and other key issues.

Senator Bernie Sanders plans to introduce legislation to make all public colleges free and decrease interest rates for college loans. He says the free tuition program would cost $70 billion, and include a grant program where the Federal government puts in 2 dollars for every 1 dollar by the states. The bill he's introducing tomorrow will include a transaction fee on large stock transfers. He will be holding a news conference tomorrow on Capitol Hill.

The Green Mountain Care Board is now reviewing the Vermont Health Connect plan rates for next year. For next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has requested an average annual rate increase of 8.4 percent, while MVP Health Care has requested an annual rate increase of 3.0 percent over this year’s rates. Health insurers say the rise in costs are attributed to increasing medical and pharmacy prices and federal and state requirements. The Green Mountain Care Board has 90 days to review the filings and approve, modify, or disapprove the proposed rates. Decisions on proposed rates will be available no later than August 13.

There are some changes coming in how you can use your mobile device while behind the wheel of a car. Currently, the law allows you to text while you are stopped at stop sign or while stuck in traffic. But starting July 1st, you will not be able to use your mobile device unless your vehicle is off the road or highway.

Friday, May 15, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 15, 2015

Franklin County state Senator Norm McAllister says he's not resigning, despite sexual assault charges filed against him. Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott says McAllister doesn't feel he's guilty and is not stepping aside. However, Scott says McAllister has been stripped of all his committee assignments, and he has no standing. McAllister is facing charges so serious that they carry a possible life sentence.

FairPoint Communications will be closing the South Burlington Call Center and cutting about 60 jobs. The Vermont layoffs are part of a package of about 260 FairPoint jobs that will be cut in the 17 states. Union leaders say they are disappointed in the news and say the cuts will further erode already severely compromised service quality for the region's telecommunications customers. The work done at the South Burlington call center will be done at two other FairPoint call centers.

The active search for a Burlington man who went missing on Lake Champlain is officially suspended. Sean Hawley was last seen taking an inflatable kayak onto the lake Saturday, and the craft was found Monday. Hawley is also a person of interest in a burglary that occurred at a home on Stave Island. Anyone with information about Hawley's whereabouts it urged to contact Colchester Police.

University of Vermont students are likely to see a tuition increase of more than three-percent in the upcoming school year. For in state students, tuition would rise by around 500-dollars to 14-thousand, 600-dollars a year. Out of state students will see their tuition rise by over a thousand-dollars to more than 37-thousand-dollars a year. For the first time, school officials expect the total cost for tuition, room and board for out of state students to exceed 50-thousand-dollars a year.

The U.S. Forest Service is waiving the day use and camping fees on June 13 for National Get Outdoors Day. Forest Supervisor John Sinclair says, “National Get Outdoors Day encourages visitors to enjoy the vast recreation opportunities available on public lands. Providing fee-free days is our way of thanking our visitors while encouraging more people to enjoy their national forests.” The Forest Service plans to waive fees at most of its day-use recreation sites several times in 2015.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 14, 2015

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife is asking the public to avoid tempting bears by removing food sources. Fish & Wildlife say they are receiving reports of hungry bears getting into trash containers and raiding bird feeders, bee hives, and chicken houses. In Vermont, it's illegal to feed a bear. Homeowners must also take reasonable measures to protect their property from bears before lethal force can be taken.

The VUHS School Board is working on a new budget that they say will lower the tax impact in the Addison Northwest Supervisory towns by several cents. The board will unveil the third proposal during a meeting on May 28. Board members are looking to make some cuts but since teachers already have contracts, cutting more than $55,000 from the previous proposal could be tricky. One board member said cuts past $55,000 could mean cutting some extra curricular activities, including teams. The next budget vote is scheduled for June 9.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the state's ban on residential brush burning until May 21 due to dry conditions across the state that have heightened the risk of wildfires. The burn ban also prohibits outdoor fires such as campfires and recreational fires, and open fires used for cooking. The eastern, central, southern and far northern regions of the state are rated as having a high risk of fire. The Southern Tier, Lake Ontario, and Adirondack regions are rated as having a moderate fire danger. This year, 110 wildfires have burned nearly 3,600 acres.

The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. The USDA's move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Certification would be voluntary and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a "USDA Process Verified" label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.

Vermont Lottery officials say a winning Tri-State Megabucks ticket was sold in Vermont. A press release says last night’s winning numbers were 02, 04, 10, 21, 27; and the Megaball number of 1. The winning ticket matched all five numbers, plus the Megaball number. The winning ticket is worth $3,450,000. The Tri-State Megabucks game is played and sold in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 12, 2015

The state of Vermont was left unable to pay its bills yesterday because of a computer glitch. State Treasurer Beth Pearce says close to six-million-dollars in state bills went unpaid because of the glitch. More than a million-dollars of the unpaid bills were supposed to be paid to subsidized day care providers. An investigation is underway to determine what caused the problem.

Embattled state Senator Norm McAllister says he has not made a decision on whether or not to resign. Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott said yesterday that McAllister is resigning following his arrest on sexual assault charges. McAllister was arrested outside the Statehouse last Thursday, accused of seeking sex in exchange for rent payments from female tenants. McAllister commented briefly yesterday, saying he has made no decision on whether to step down.

The Vermont House passed a bill yesterday to allow election day voting registrations. According to the Vermont Secretary of State's Office, the bill allows all eligible Vermonters the opportunity to register to vote on Election Day. Under the current law, the registration deadline to vote is the Wednesday before the election. The Vermont Senate passed the bill in April. The legislation now heads to Governor Shumlin's desk.

Health officials say tick season is currently underway. A press release says 13 different species have been identified in Vermont, but only four are known to carry pathogens that cause disease in humans. Symptoms of Lyme disease include an expanding red skin rash, swollen joints and flu-like symptoms. The Health Department is advising everyone to take the following actions this spring and summer: avoid areas that are good tick habitat such as tall grass, or areas with a lot of brush and leaf litter, and along forest edges, before you go outside, remember to use insect repellant with up to 30% DEET, do daily tick checks on yourself, children and pets, and remove and ticks promptly. The Vermont Health Department is encouraging everyone to report ticks. To report a tick, visit the tick tracker at

A company here in Addison County is seeking approval from the state to build a different kind of natural gas power plant. Lincoln Renewable Natural Gas want to build a plant at the Goodrich Farm in Salisbury would take manure and other bio matter from several nearby farms. Most of the Natural Gas produced would be sent to Middlebury College by a pipeline. The rest would be sold to Vermont Gas and it’s customers. An application was submitted to the Public Service Board yesterday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 11, 2015

Governor Peter Shumlin is asking a state senator to resign amid allegations of sexual assault. Franklin County Senator 63-year-old Norman McAllister pleaded not guilty Friday to several charges of prohibited acts and sexual assault. Court documents say he tried to get sexual favors in exchange for rent. The documents outline three victims in the case. House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell have also called for McAllister’s resignation. McAllister did not show up to the Statehouse today. Lt Governor Phil Scott says McAllister is expected to resign from the Senate by tomorrow morning.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the establishment of a multi-agency task force to tackle abuse in the nail salon industry. According to the governor's office, the task force will try to prevent unlawful practices and unsafe working conditions, recover unpaid wages, and shut down unlicensed businesses and businesses out of compliance with state law. A New York Times Investigation found nail salon workers were forced to toil long hours amid toxic chemicals performing manicures and pedicures for little wages. The Times also reported many workers suffered serious health problems and there was little, if any, protection for them.

A man is dead after being struck by an Amtrak train in the town of Braintree. Police say 25-year-old Kevin Kenyon of Braintree was walking on the tracks running along Route-12A when he was struck. Kenyon was walking with his back to the train, and officials say he made no effort to get out of the way. No injuries were reported aboard the train, and the death remains under investigation.

A Burlington man is being held on charges accusing him of attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl into sex. Police say 63-year-old Kenneth Atwood posted a message on Craigslist leading detectives to believe he was trying to lure a young girl for sexual relations. An officer posed as a 13-year-old girl and responded to Atwood, agreeing to meet him for sex. Atwood was arrested when he arrived at the meeting location Saturday.

The Northern New England Red Cross says warmer weather means fewer people are donating blood. Locally, the Red Cross relies on young people for donations but with graduations and the end of the school year for college students heading away for the summer, the Red Cross says they will see about a 20 percent drop in blood donations. You can help out, tomorrow there is a Blood Drive taking place at the Middlebury American Legion from 10 am to 4 pm.

Friday, May 8, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 8, 2015

The Vermont Senate is granting preliminary approval to a wide ranging education reform bill. After several hours of debate, the Senate voted to accept the current version of the bill. It includes incentives for smaller school districts to consolidate for cost savings and to increase educational opportunities for students. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on the bill today.

Vermont Dairy Farmers are getting paid a lot less than last year for their milk. According to the Department of Agriculture, dairy farmers around the state were paid about $23 per 100 pounds. But now, they are getting just about $16 for the same amount of milk. Ag officials say it's because milk prices are dependent on global activity and in an instant, international demand can change. There is some hopeful news on the horizon. There is usually a higher demand for dairy products like butter and cheese in the summer.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin appoints Attorney Tom Little as independent counsel to look into a campaign finance related complaint against Attorney General Bill Sorrell. The Governor's Office says Little will work with and report findings to an eight member, bipartisan group of States Attorneys that make up a Campaign Finance Review Committee. Last month, Republican party vice-chair Brady Toensing accused Sorrell of violating campaign finance laws.

A Vermont Senator accused of sexual assault and solicitation, in what prosecutors called a sex-for-rent scheme, pleaded not guilty in court today. Prosecutors are no longer charging 63-year-old Norm McAllister, a Republican State Senator for Franklin County, with human trafficking. According to the affidavit, prosecutors allege McAllister traded sex for rent. And on one occasion, when a woman couldn't afford to keep her son in a trailer owned by McAllister, he then traded sex for the payment of that rent. There are also two other alleged victims. McAllister was arrested last night. McAllister serves on the Agriculture and Institutions committees in the Senate.

The Fort Ti Ferry is reopening for the season. The Fort Ti Ferry crosses Lake Champlain seasonally between Ticonderoga and Shoreham. The ferry reopens for the summer tomorrow morning and will run daily between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 7, 2015

Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union have defeated the VUHS multiple choice budget. On Tuesday residents said no to Article One, a $10.31 million proposal to fund the high school, and which cut $156,000 from the budget defeated on Town Meeting Day. The also said no to Article Two, which would have added that $156,000 back into VUHS spending proposal. Voters in Ferrisburgh and Waltham approved Article One while residents in Vergennes, Addison, and Panton said no. Residents in Waltham was the only town to approve Article Two.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is not expecting a bill repealing the vaccine philosophical exemption to reach his desk this year. Shumlin's comments came yesterday as a legislative committee continued to receive testimony on the measure. The House and Senate both approved the underlying bill, but the Senate tacked on an amendment repealing the exemption. House Speaker Shep Smith is not sure if the bill will see a vote before the session adjourns May 15th.

Food industry groups are appealing a recent ruling that allows a Vermont law requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. The groups want an appeals court to block the law from taking effect as their full legal challenge continues. Governor Peter Shumlin signed the law into effect about a year ago, and the labeling rules were finalized last month. The law will take effect on July first of next year if it withstands the legal challenges.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Empire State will provide law enforcement agencies with devices to track children with autism and other disorders to assist in missing child searches. A press release says 50 agencies statewide will receive these transmitters. The transmitters, which are worn on the wrist or ankle, will emit a tracking signal that allows a child to be located quickly after going missing. A total of 596 transmitters will be sent to law enforcement agencies throughout the state including Essex County.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for the breakup of some of the country's biggest banks. Sanders says no single financial institution should be so large that their failure could destabilize the economy without government assistance. The independent senator says he's concerned that taxpayers will need to make an even larger bailout if the big banks fail again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 6, 2015

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is inserting himself into Vermont's debate over mandatory vaccinations. Kennedy is urging Vermont lawmakers not to revoke the rights of parents to refuse vaccines. Kennedy says he is a strong supporter of vaccines, but he just doesn't trust the pharmaceutical industry. He says some mandatory vaccines are not scrutinized enough, and he doesn't want big drug companies making health decisions that should be made by parents.

For the second time in a week, police are investigating a bank robbery at a Northfield Savings Bank in Waitsfield. Police say a man armed with a gun held up the bank and escaped in a waiting vehicle with an undisclosed amount of money. The same bank was robbed in similar fashion April 28th, and police are trying to determine if the two crimes are related. State Police have released photos of the suspect on their web site, and anyone who recognizes the suspect is urged to contact them immediately.

The state of Vermont is a step closer toward meeting the goal of ensuring that everyone in the state has access to high-speed, broadband Internet service. Gov. Peter Shumlin and other state and local officials announced today that $900,000 would be spent on grants to bring service to 175 hard-to-serve addresses in eight Vermont communities. The grants are the first round of funding by the state's Connectivity Initiative, which is designed to spur investment in rural broadband networks.

Vermont is issuing a statewide ban on outdoor burning until further notice. The ban is being imposed because of the extremely dry conditions creating a severe brush fire risk. Fire crews battled over two dozen brush fires on Monday, including one that charred 50 acres in West Brattleboro. The fire danger is expected to continue at least through the week, with no significant rain expected.

Thirty-five people from 23 countries became U.S. citizens during a special ceremony in Brandon. The naturalization ceremony took place earlier today at the Neshobe School. The new citizens come from countries around the globe including Bhutan, Brazil, China, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia and Venezuela.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 5, 2015

A statewide burn ban has been ordered in Vermont. A press release says the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) will stop issuing burning permits until May 19. State law requires people to get a local permit before burning and fire wardens can restrict burning in dry, windy weather. But state officials say the conditions are now so severe that all burning is off limits for the next two weeks. This is the first statewide burn ban in Vermont since 2005. New York has an annual burn ban in effect until next week. Officials say if significant rain falls anywhere in the state, the order can be revoked by county.

The last of five former Milton High School football players accused of hazing other players is set to plead guilty next week. Brandon Beliveau pleaded not guilty to a felony count of attempted sexual assault in January. Beliveau and four other former players were charged after allegations surfaced that older players sexually hazed younger teammates in 2011 and 2012. One of those players who was hazed later took his own life.

A brush fire yesterday spread to the Old Lantern Inn. The fire started as a controlled burn by a resident on Greenbush Road and quickly spread. Responding fire crews realized that the blaze had spread to the Old Lantern Inn, causing minor damage to an outside wall. The inn has been operating for more than 50 years, and repairs are already being made to ensure that a wedding this weekend at the facility goes forward as scheduled.

Few Vermont state workers are investing their retirement dollars in a mutual fund that is free of fossil fuel investments. State Treasurer Beth Pearce says around 170 workers have chosen to invest in the program, totaling just over a half-million-dollars. That's a fraction of the 48-thousand active or retired state workers who could choose the investment. The funds have earned lower returns than traditional energy funds, but only invests in energy companies that do not utilize fossil fuels in any way.

And it’s another sign that Spring is here, Fort Ticonderoga's opening for the 2015 season this Saturday. There are four new exhibits this year, a 60 foot cruise boat, new gardens and more all in the works for the year. For more information on what they have going on this year, visit their website,

Monday, May 4, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 4, 2015

Residents in Starksboro have approved a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. On Saturday, more than 200 residents attended a special meeting at Mount Abraham Union High School to reconsider the Robinson Elementary School budget that was approved back in February. A petition promoted the re-vote on the school spending plan. After an hour of debate, an even larger budget, that is almost $3-million, was approved. The original budget approved in February was $2.8-million.

Champlain Valley Union High School became a place of unity and remembrance Sunday. Nearly 400 cyclists gathered there for 47-year-old Richard Tom, the cyclist who died in last Sunday's crash on Route 116 in Hinesburg. Sunday's memorial ride also remembered the young driver who died in the crash. CVU student Joseph Marshall was 17 years old. Local Motion's Executive Director Emily Boedecker says the deadly accident has led to numerous conversations about sharing Vermont's roads safely.

The Mount Abraham Union High School Board is hoping a third time is the charm. They are asking Addison Northeast Supervisory Union voters to return to the polls on June 9, to vote on the third proposed spending plan for the school. The proposed $14.06-million budget on Town Meeting Day was defeated. On April 14, voters also said no to a $14.02-million spending plan. The Mount Abe School Board will meet again on May 12, at 7 PM to go over the next steps of drafting a new proposal. The school plans to warn the new budget on May 26, two weeks before June 9.

State police across New England are launching the region's first coordinated crackdown on speeding. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says in 2013, there were 276 car crash deaths in Connecticut, 145 in Maine, 326 in Massachusetts, 135 in New Hampshire, 65 in Rhode Island and 69 in Vermont. Vermont had the highest car crash death rate at 11 deaths per 100,000 residents, followed by Maine at 10.9 per 100,000.

The American Cancer Society is inviting dogs and their owners to participate in Bark for Life. This Friday from 6-8pm dress up your canine and head to Technology Park in South Burlington to participate in a feeder event to raise money for Relay for Life and cancer research. There is still time to sign a team up online or you can show up! For more information on activities and to register you can visit the links on our website at

Friday, April 24, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 24, 2015

Governor Peter Shumlin says he will sign the gun bill that has passed both the House and Senate. The bill awaiting the governor’s signature makes it a crime at the state level for some convicts to possess a firearm. It also requires that the state report to a federal database the names of people found by a court to be mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others. Shumlin said the bill was scaled back enough for him to drop his own objections.

The tax-writing committee of the Vermont House has approved a series of new tax levies targeting soda, candy and vending machine sales. The round of tax increases is expected to raise nearly $9 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1 and nearly $12 million the year after that. Taxes would also go up for cigarettes and other tobacco products. The House Ways and Means Committee voted earlier today to apply Vermont's 6 percent sales tax to soda and candy for the first time. Sales from vending machines would be subject to the state's 9 percent meals tax.

The Brandon Selectboard will be asking voters to approve a 1-percent local option tax. They want to use the money raised from the new tax for infrastructure work. If approved by voters and the Legislature, a new charter will enable the selectboard to levy a 1 percent local tax on sales, a 1 percent local tax on hotel rooms, and a 1 percent local tax on meals and alcoholic beverages. Officials say the tax would bring in around $130,000 a year for Brandon to spend on sidewalks, road and bridge repair, and vehicle maintenance and replacement.

A bill that would boost incentives for Vermont's smaller school districts that merged into larger ones is advancing. It was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee. The vote followed a public hearing on the bill at the Statehouse that was attended by nearly 100 people. The House passed a significantly different version earlier this month.

The Vermont House has passed legislation that would require employers to give workers paid time off. The bill, which passed on a 72-63 vote, would require that employees be given up to three paid days off a year starting in January and five days beginning in 2018. It would apply to employees who are sick, those who need to care for a sick family member and those who need to be absent for safety reasons, for instance in a domestic violence situation.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 23, 2015

The Vermont House voted 76-66 to support mandatory paid sick. The scaled-down bill would require employers to provide three days of earned sick time per year for the next two years, then five days after that. Full-time and part-time workers would need to earn the time, at a rate of one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Earlier versions of the bill and those from previous years required more sick days, and didn't have a waiting period. The House will take a final vote tomorrow before sending the bill to the Senate.

A man wanted for murder in Springfield has been arrested. Earlier today, police arrested 30-year-old Gregory Allen Smith of Springfield, at a campground in Londonderry. Investigators say Smith shot and killed 37-year-old Wesley Wing on Saturday Night. Smith was taken into custody this morning along with his girlfriend, 25-year-old Wendy Morris. It's not yet clear when Smith or Morris will appear in court.

Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that would crack down on online dating scams. The legislation requires dating sites to notify a member if there's suspicious activity on their account or if another member has been banned for suspected fraud. The House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development is expected to vote on the measure today.

There has been a steep drop in milk prices paid to farmers. According to the USDA, in February, Vermont farmers received on average $18.30 per hundredweight. That's $7.50 less than February the previous year. Over the same time period, Vermont farmers added about 1,000 cows, but the overall milk production in the state stayed the same.

Google is getting the go-ahead to bring its newly announced cell service to Vermont. The technology giant unveiled Project Fi yesterday. The wireless plan will cost 20-dollars per month, plus ten-dollars per gigabit of data, and will use existing T-Mobile and Sprint networks. In the short-term, service will only be available on the Google Nexus Six.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 22, 2015

The Vermont Gas pipeline project is going to take longer than originally planned. In their latest filing with state regulators, the company indicates that it'll take a year longer than estimated, but won't change the price tag. A spokesman says the decision was made to do construction in 2015 and 2016 summers when costs are less expensive. The natural gas pipeline will run from Chittenden County to Addison County.

Vermont State Police are looking to identify two people they say are forging bank checks in the Rutland area. Police say the forged checks are in the name of First National Bank of Orwell and were used at Rutland's Tops Market, Victoria's Secret, and Agway. The two individuals, ages unknown, are accused of forging at least five bank checks totaling around $1,300. Police say the suspects, a man and a woman, are believed to be in the Rutland/Addison County area. Anyone with information is asked to contact Vermont State Police at (802)-388-4919.

International Paper in Ticonderoga will still be switching to natural gas as a way to save money and cut down on pollution. NG Advantage in Colchester announced earlier today that they have signed an agreement with IP to deliver compressed natural gas to the paper mill by truck. Deliveries by fuel truck are scheduled to start in May.

Police in Essex Junction are looking for the suspects in a violent robbery. Investigators say say two men tied up the store owner of New World Coin and Jewelry on Center Road, beat him, and ransacked the store. The owner eventually got free and went to a neighbor for help. Essex police say the robbers made off with a few thousand dollars. Police advise business owners to be on alert as they search for the suspects. Essex police describe the suspects as men in their mid-twenties. One is about 5' 7" with a crew cut, possibly wearing a grey hoodie. The other man is described as heavy set, wearing a black hoodie and mask. Police say a grey sedan with a roof rack may also have been involved.

Vermont is joining the growing list of states that have decided to "ban the box." Yesterday, Governor Shumlin signed an executive order that scraps the criminal record question on state job applications. Shumlin says the change will help get job-seekers in the door for an interview rather than rejecting them from the outset.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 21, 2015

Green Mountain Power is warning customers about a phone scam. The caller claims to be representing Green Mountain Power from the billing and disconnect division and demands payment. This is definitely a phone scam. Green Mountain Power follows very clear state rules when working with customers about paying past due bills. Green Mountain Power advises customers that it does not demand credit card information or alternate payment mechanisms from a customer for any purpose. Any customer receiving such a call should not provide the caller with any personal information, including account and credit card numbers. If you have any doubt about the source of the call, you should hang up and call Green Mountain Power’s toll free customer service line at 1-888-835-4672 to verify the caller’s identity.

The Vermont Health Department unveiled a new WIC Card in Rutland. A press release says Vermont is first in the nation to deliver supplemental food to young families through the Health Department's WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. Starting in July, WIC families will choose their foods at major supermarkets and smaller grocery stores using a new, gold WIC debit card. The Health Department says families will be able to select from a broader variety of foods, such as yogurt, whole wheat pasta, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and tortillas. Between October and March of next year, the new WIC card will roll out to families statewide.

As temperatures go up, so does your risk of tick exposure. Vermont has seen a rise in confirmed Lyme disease cases in the last decade. Health experts advise Vermonters to do tick checks every day until the temperatures drop again in the fall. That goes for you, and your pets. Ticks live in woodsy, high grass areas. To protect yourself when in their habitats, wear long pants, long sleeves, stick to the center of a trail and wear repellent.

The city of Winooski, Vermont, is joining a lawsuit seeking to overturn a decision allowing the U.S. Air Force's F-35 fighter jets in South Burlington, saying that not enough was done to analyze noise levels. The city plans to retain its own lawyer in the 2014 suit, which says the Air Force underestimated the jets' level of noise as well as health and property value concerns. The city joins the Stop the F-35 Coalition and six Chittenden County residents as plaintiffs.

Developers of a proposed 330-mile transmission line to bring lower-cost Canadian hydroelectric power to New York City say they have secured all the needed state and federal siting permits. The 1,000-megawatt transmission line from Quebec to Queens will run under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River for much of its route. The line will also follow railroad rights-of-way. They hope to start construction early next year.

Monday, April 20, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 20, 2015

The Vermont Attorney General's Office has announced the formal adoption of regulations requiring the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. A press release says the new rule is called Consumer Protection Rule CP 121. Attorney General Bill Sorrell said. "We are pleased at the amount of public input we received during the rulemaking process, from the industry and consumers, and are glad that, with formal adoption of this rule, we are giving ample time for food manufacturers and retailers to prepare for the law to take effect in just over fourteen months."

The Vermont House is slated this week to take up legislation that would require employers to give workers paid time off. The bill would require that employees be given up to three paid days off a year starting in January and up to five days beginning in 2018.

The front entrance way for Porter Medical Center is about to get a face-lift. The $140,000 project will add an access ramp for mobility-impaired people and a spruced-up lobby. Officials say the work is long over-due. The work is being funded by the Porter Medical Center Auxiliary and from donations. Work on the lobby will include new paint, flooring, furniture and other pleasing features.

Some states are more efficient than others at spending tax dollars, and Vermont is in the top 20. WalletHub reports a new study ranks states for the return on investment they give to taxpayers. Vermont is ranked 13th. Alaska had the highest taxpayer return-on-investment. The worst state at spending tax dollars efficiently was Arkansas.

The Addison Central Supervisory Union is organizing a bike ride in honor of the Middlebury Resident who was hit and killed last week while on a bike ride with his wife. The “Kelly Boe Memorial Bike Ride” will take place on Monday, May 4, at 4 p.m., to provide seed money for a scholarship fund in honor of Kelly Boe. The ride is being spearheaded by ACSU Superintendent Peter Burrows, an avid cyclist. The Kelly Boe Memorial Ride will include a police escort, leaving MUHS at 4 p.m. Participants will ride out to Weybridge, taking a right on Hamilton Road, and then another right onto Morgan Horse Farm Road back into Middlebury.

Friday, April 17, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 17, 2015

A gun possession bill has cleared the Vermont Legislature. S.141 passed the House 80-62 earlier today. IIt got preliminary approval yesterday after more than four hours of debate on the House floor. It previously passed the Senate 20-8. The bill would ban certain violent felons and drug traffickers from possessing a gun in Vermont. These people are already banned from having a gun under federal law. A Vermont law would allow local law enforcement and prosecutors to file charges. 49 other states have a law of this type. The bill also requires the state to report names of people deemed dangerous to themselves or others by a court to the Federal background check database, called NICS. Those people are also prohibited from having a gun under federal law, but Vermont does not currently report their names to the database.

Vermont State Police make another arrest in connection to Tuesday's fatal crash. Police say 52-year-old Tracy Yandow was arrested for violating the conditions of his release. He was previously arrested for DUI and was not supposed to be drinking alcohol. Yandow was a passenger in the car that hit and killed Kelly Boe, 55, on Tuesday. Boe later died at Porter Medical Center.

The teacher believed responsible for spreading tuberculosis in Charlotte is headed back to school. Laura Hall, a Spanish teacher at Charlotte Central School, was diagnosed with TB back in January. She had the active form of the respiratory illness and is believed to have spread the bacteria to others at the school. At last report, the state health department reported that 19 children and two adults had tested positive for TB, but none of them have actually gotten sick with the disease. The school says Hall has completed her treatment and has been cleared by the health department to return to work. They say she poses no further risk of infecting other people.

Vermont State Police say they will be patrolling the parks this year. It's an effort to discourage people from breaking into vehicles and stealing valuables. Last year, thefts were widespread. So this season, police are reminding hikers to take extra steps to secure valuables left behind in vehicles. Police also say they will have a greater presence this season by routinely patrolling the parking lots.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 16, 2015

A Whiting man says he's not guilty of charges related to the death of a bicyclist Tuesday in Middlebury. Police say Nathan Dearing's blood alcohol level was over the legal limit when he struck and killed 55-year-old Kelly Boe. The victim was the manager of the biomass heating plant at Middlebury College. Dearing is being held on 75-thousand-dollars bond.

An audit released earlier today details shortcomings in the state's health exchange, including 70 "moderate-risk" security problems and an uncertain future for non-functioning processes. State Auditor Doug Hoffer conducted the audit in response to the shaky rollout of Vermont Health Connect in October 2013. In the report, Hoffer details hardships that have resulted from operational shortcomings and the millions of dollars that have been spent and are due to be spent to fix the system.

The Vermont state trooper accused of drunk driving while on duty is resigning his position. Eric Rademacher submitted his resignation yesterday, two days after pleading not guilty to driving under the influence. His resignation has been accepted by State Police brass. Rademacher was suspended during his shift in early March when his supervisors determined that he was under the influence. He allegedly responded to a pair of emergencies before being taken off the road.

Hannaford Supermarkets is recalling packages of pine nuts it says might be contaminated with salmonella. The pine nuts are packaged by Superior Nuts & Candy of Chicago and are sold in store produce departments in packages with a clear front and a tan label on the back. The label says pine nuts are the only ingredients and lists "best by" dates from Oct. 22, 2015, through Dec. 27, 2015. Hannaford says the product is now removed from its shelves and anyone who bought them there can get a refund.

The American Red Cross launched a new emergency app. The Red Cross says the app gives people instant access to weather alerts, life-saving information and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for mobile devices. The app will be available, for free, on smartphones, tablets, and on the new Apple Watch. To download the app search American Red Cross in the app store for your device.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 15, 2015

A Middlebury man, who was bicycling with his wife last night, was struck and killed by a driver now charged with DUI. Police identified the victim this morning as 55-year-old Kelly Boe of Weybridge. Boe was transported to Porter Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Investigators say 27-year-old Nathan Dearing of Whiting was driving on Hamilton Road in Weybridge when he hit the bicycler. A preliminary breath test showed that Dearing's blood alcohol content was 0.111 percent; the legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent. Vermont State Police Arrested Dearing and have charged him with driving under the influence with death resulting and for driving with a criminally suspended license, fifth offense. Dearing was due to be arraigned today.

2 of the 3 Addison Northeast Supervisory Union budgets up for re-vote yesterday were defeated. Residents rejected spending plans for Mount Abraham Union High School and Bristol Elementary School while passing the proposed budget for Monkton Central School.

A compromise gun bill is heading to the Vermont House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee yesterday approved the bill, which bans people in need of mental health treatment from possessing a gun. The measure requires the courts to report names of people in need of treatment, and creates a system where people can have gun rights restored. The full House could begin debate on the measure tomorrow.

Residents in the Brandon Fire District No. 1 can turn off their faucets now. According to Ray Counter, Water Superintendent, the advisory to customers to run water to prevent water line freeze-ups is lifted. The fire district serves about 3,400 residences. And this year’s freezing has taken a toll with 45 calls for freezing lines.

A Vermont House committee is considering legislation allowing police to use a roadside saliva test to check for the presence of marijuana and other drugs in a driver's system. A saliva test being used in Europe, Australia and 14 other states can find traces of marijuana, opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs. State police say the test checks for the active ingredient in marijuana that makes a driver stoned - not the byproducts than can stay in the bloodstream for up to 30 days. But the measure is drawing fire from civil liberties and some marijuana legalization supporters.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 14, 2015

One store will be holding a Grand Re-Opening while another is going out of business. The Sears Hometown and Outlet Center on Exchange Street will hold it’s Grand Re-Opening Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25th. The Grand Re-Opening will be celebrating a new owner and a new layout in the store. According to new owner, the store’s “refresh” will include a new product assortment, redesigned merchandising, new fixtures, signage, and comprehensive employee training, among other changes. While Creative Habitat on Shelburne Road is going out of business. The store in South Burlington is opening tomorrow first, to member shoppers then to the public, for its final closing sale. Creative Habitat emerged from what had been the former Ben Franklin store on Shelburne Road. One their website, the owners say that after 30 years, they are ready to move on to new challenges.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife officials are reminding you to be on the lookout for moose. The department says moose are more likely to be crossing roadways at this time of year, especially after dark. Moose are moving from wintering areas to spring feed locations. If you see a moose ahead, slow down or stop. Trying to speed past them "before they can move" can be a serious mistake. Last year, motorists hit 64 moose on Vermont Roadways.

Governor Peter Shumlin says he now supports a bill requiring employers to allow workers to take paid sick days. That's a change from his opposition to a similar measure, but Shumlin says the legislation has undergone enough changes to win his support. The governor's comments came during a news conference where he highlighted National Equal Pay Day and announced a new voluntary effort to get Vermont businesses to pledge to pay women equally to men.

A Vermont state trooper says he's not guilty of driving drunk while on duty. Trooper Eric Rademacher pleaded not guilty to DUI in a Rutland courtroom yesterday. Rademacher allegedly was under the influence when he responded to a crash call in Killington early in the morning of March 7th. He was suspended several hours into his shift after police say alcohol breath tests revealed that he was intoxicated.

Vermont had the snowiest winter in the continental U.S. this year. Jay Peak reports receiving 357 inches of snowfall this year, which trailed only a location in Alaska for the most in the country. Vermont ski resorts have seen an average of 240 inches of snow this year, with much of it still on the slopes. Killington has predicted that they may be able to stay open until June because of all the snow.

Monday, April 13, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 13, 2015

With the warmer weather here, snowmobile season is coming to a close, in fact, officials are reminding the public that snowmobile season in the Green Mountain National Forest officially ends this Wednesday. Weather permitting, snowmobile use is allowed on designated trails within the GMNF for four months beginning on December 16. The GMNF and Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) work together to maintain 472 miles of national forest system trails that are part of the statewide snowmobile trail system.

Ferry Service between Charlotte and Essex is set to resume starting tomorrow. For much of the winter and spring, the southern ferry crossing on Lake Champlain has been closed due to the large amount ice. The ferry departs from the Vermont side each hour from 6 am to 8 pm and on the New York side from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm. More information on their schedules can be found at the website,

A new report says the Green Mountain State has the second worst economic outlook in nation. New York did even worse coming in dead last. According to the eighth annual Rich States, Poor States, Vermont is 49th out of 50 states on economic outlook due to the state’s ratings on 15 different variables, including tax rates, labor policies and overall regulatory burden. The Green Mountain State has ranked among “poor states” every year since the report first published in 2008.

A small plane that landed on a melting Lake Champlain this weekend may not be removed from the water until the end of the week. The two men aboard were practicing landing and taking off from the ice on Saturday. During a landing near Milton, the plane started to sink and couldn't take off again. The men weren't hurt and were able to walk to shore. Officials say the fuel tanks are sealed and not leaking and ice is prevented crews from getting the plane close enough to shore.

The Vermont Health Department is calling for public health volunteers. A press release says the program, On Call For Vermont, will help volunteers prepare and respond to community health threats, to gain clinical experience, and for professional development. For more information on how to join On Call for Vermont visit

According to a spokesman, Senator Bernie Sanders will make his decision to run for president by the end of the month. Sanders has been "testing the waters" on running for president over the past few months. If Sanders decides to run for president, he can do so without giving up his Senate seat.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 9, 2015

A bill that would have banned teachers from going on strike is no longer under consideration. The Vermont House yesterday reduced the bill from a ban to a task force that will study the issue. The task force must report their recommendations to the legislature this fall. The failure came after a heavy effort by the state teachers union, and also opposition from House leadership.

A lottery ticket worth $100,000 was sold at Middlebury Beef. The ticket was for the Gimme 5 Game’s yesterday drawing. The drawings for the Gimme 5 game are every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 pm and the top prize for that game is $100,000. The winning number from last night were 02-13-14-17-27. Vermont Lottery games are sold at 700 agents and instant ticket vending machines locations throughout the state. Profits from Vermont Lottery support the Vermont Education Fund.

The Mary Hogan Elementary School Budget passed last night at the annual ID-4 School District Meeting. During last night’s meeting the roughly 150 residents that showed up also to change the date for future ID-4 annual meetings to the first Tuesday in March, and decided to vote on future Mary Hogan Elementary spending plans by Australian ballot, instead of from the floor of the annual meeting.

Ben and Jerry's is leading a group of Vermont businesses supporting a state carbon pollution tax. The measure would allow the state to levy a tax of 50-dollars per metric ton of carbon pollution. Chris Miller of Ben and Jerry's testified before the House Committee on Natural resources and Energy yesterday. Miller testified that there's an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions.

Residents in the Bristol School District will go to the polls next Tuesday to try once again at approving a school spending plan for the next school year. Voters back in March turned down a $4.9-million proposed budget. Since then, school board members have cut $2,700 from the original proposal and restored some instructional positions targeted to be cut by reducing spending in other areas. There will be an informational session Monday Night at 7 pm at Holley Hall to go over the changes to the proposed spending plan. The polls will be open from 9 am to 7 pm at Holley Hall Tuesday, April 14th.

Moriah town leaders are hoping a proposed multi-million dollar hydroplant can bring the town full circle. The proposed hydoplant will be built at the site of the Abandoned Mines in the hamlet of Mineville. When the mines closed in 1971, Moriah lost 60% of its tax base. There is a proposal now in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project would cost $264 million to build across from the Town Highway Garage in Mineville. Officials say it would employ 100 people during construction and between 6-10 people permanently and is all privately-funded by Moriah Hydro, Corporation, based out of Albany.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 8, 2015

According to the National Weather Service, January to March was the coldest on record for Vermont & New York in 121 years. While Vermont and New York had record cold temperatures, the rest of the country was well above normal. The report found near-record warmth spanned the Great Plains to the West Coast and parts of the Southeast.

Supporters of a Vermont carbon tax say they've signed up the owners of more than 200 mostly small business owners who are advocating for the change. At a news conference on Wednesday, officials from businesses ranging from Ben & Jerry's to Champlain Orchards to Seventh Generation spoke of the benefits of imposing a tax on carbon emissions and using the money for energy efficiency and for tax cuts elsewhere. Prospects for a carbon tax look slim this year as the Legislature enters the final six weeks of its 2015 session. But supporters say they're hoping to build momentum for a push next year.

Police in Colchester are investigating a home invasion. Police say two or three males forced their way into a home on Shannon Road yesterday. The men demanded money from the 21-year-old woman inside the home with her baby daughter. The suspect fled the scene in a silver sedan, and the victims were not injured during the incident.

Burlington Police say the Department of Corrections notified them that Richard Laws plans to come to Burlington after being released tomorrow. While incarcerated, Laws was not compliant with sex offender treatment and will no longer be supervised by the Department of Corrections as he maxed out his sentence. Laws' prior offenses, including convictions for aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, and kidnapping against adult women. Police say he sometimes makes initial contact with victims at bars. Burlington Police plan on contacting local shelters and downtown establishments door to door Wednesday evening.

A man accused of killing his two-year-old stepdaughter last year is facing new charges. Dennis Duby is back in prison for violating his 24 hour curfew after being charged in the death of the toddler. Duby is ordered to stay away from the toddler's mother, but officials say she's now pregnant and Duby is likely the father. Duby is charged with second degree murder and is awaiting trial.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 7, 2015

Vermont Gas Systems is looking to use eminent domain to obtain properties needed for their major pipeline project. The company says they have been unable to reach two landowners along the pipeline route to try and reach right of way agreements. Officials say they have made a good faith effort to reach the landowners, but they just cannot be reached. The 154-million-dollar pipeline will pass through more than 200 properties between Colchester and Middlebury.

Police in South Burlington are investigating an early morning burglary at the Jiffy Mart on Kennedy Drive. According to reports, someone broke into the store and stole several items. Police arrived on the scene around 4:15 this morning and front glass was broken. Anyone with information is asked to contact South Burlington Police at (802)-846-4111.

Two University of Vermont students remain critically injured following a crash that claimed the life of their friend. Driver Jacob Dahreddine and passenger Julia Rickner survived the crash Sunday on Interstate-89 in Colchester. Eighteen-year-old Christina Menke died in the crash, which occurred as the students were returning to school after a day of skiing at Jay Peak. Police say it's possible that Dahreddine fell asleep at the wheel and caused the crash.

The order not to release the results of a state trooper's alcohol breath test last month came from the state attorney general's office. Trooper Eric Rademacher is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol while on duty last month. Rademacher is due in Rutland Superior Court to answer the charge next week.

The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to pared-down economic development legislation, but its principal backer says he'll continue fighting to restore some of its initial provisions. The bill won preliminary approval earlier today without a hotly debated provision that would have lowered the wages companies could pay and still be eligible for state job-creation tax credits. It also removed provisions that would have rolled back changes to Vermont's Act 250 land-use law that were designed to limit strip development. The bill is up for final Senate action tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 6, 2015

There are more TB cases at Charlotte Central School. Three more students have has positive skin tests for TB. A positive skin test result does not mean that a person is sick with TB disease (active TB), or that they can pass the bacteria on to anyone else. A positive skin test result means that the person has been exposed to TB, and has the bacteria in his or her body. A total of 19 children and two adults have tested positive out of 349 students and 84 adults who have been tested and evaluated at Charlotte Central School.

The Monkton Central School has new budget to put before voters. Last Thursday they warned a new spending plan that cuts $200,000 from the proposal defeated on Town Meeting Day. The new budget proposal also shifts some resources around. Residents will decide the fate of the new spending proposal next Tuesday, April 14.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a campaign to fight obesity across the state. A press release says Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will lead a tour throughout the state visiting organizations working on community-wide initiatives that address obesity and lack of physical activity. Dr. Zucker will also be providing health tips on social media under the hashtag #GetFitNYS.

If you’re itching to hit the trails and do some hiking you will have to wait just a bit longer. Officials say most trails are closed till around Memorial Day Weekend. The trails are usually closed this time of year due to ice and mud. Officials want to make sure the trials are ready for use before they open them for the season. To help get you ready for the season, the Green Mountain Club is holding a number of workshops about hiking and how to be prepared for just about anything on the trails. For more information, head to

While most lakes and streams are still frozen, many anglers are gearing up for the start of trout season this upcoming weekend. The traditional trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 11. Vermont fisheries Director Eric Palmer says many of the biggest brown and rainbow trout caught in Vermont rivers each year are taken during the spring season. Fish and Wildlife plans to stock 18,000 trophy trout throughout Vermont this year

Friday, April 3, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 3, 2015

The Vermont legislature's House Ways and Means Committee is moving forward with a plan to tax sugary beverages. The plan approved yesterday would place a half-cent tax on sweetened beverages that include regular and diet sodas, juices with added sugar and some syrups and powders. The proposal would generate an estimated 17-million-dollars a year for the state.

Police investigating the death of a Middlebury College Student say there are no signs of foul play or third party involvement in the untimely death. Just before 10 am, yesterday morning Middlebury Police and EMTs were called to the dorms for a report of an unresponsive male student. EMT’s arrived on the scene and were unable to revive 20-year-old Nathan Alexander. The body of the sophomore from Colorado has been transferred to the Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Crews from 5 towns responded to a fire at the A. Johnson Lumber Company in Bristol. Many times a fire in a lumber yard can be very costly but firefighters yesterday fought the flames and quickly got the blaze under control before it had a chance to spread. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it is not considered suspicious.

Vermont has its first solicitor general to oversee state and federal court appeals handled by the attorney general's office. Attorney General William Sorrell has appointed Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay to the position. The attorney general's office said that Assay will have supervisory authority for the roughly 100 appeals handled by the office each year. The office says she will be responsible for the professional development of attorneys who handle appeals and will play a big role in the state's participation in friend of court briefs, mostly before federal appeals courts.

The Vermont Lottery has launched a new scratch off. A press release says the $5 scratch ticket called Dollars 'N Dirt is available starting today. The game features 12 instant wins of a 2015 Polaris Sportsman 570 SP and $4,444. All taxes, title and registration is included in the vehicle prizes. The ticket also includes a second chance drawing for the opportunity to win a 4-seat, 2015 Polaris RZR XP 4 100.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 2, 2015

Police are investigating the death of a Middlebury College Student. Middlebury police and emergency responders were called to the campus around this morning on a report of an “unresponsive student in a dorm at the college”. Authorities arrived on the scene to find the student had already passed on. Although there is an investigation, authorities do not suspect foul play. The name of the student has not been released.

The Vermont Senate is giving its approval to a bill that would allow people to register and vote on Election Day. The measure would change current law that requires anyone who wants to vote on Election Day to be registered by the previous Wednesday. Before the vote, the Senate rejected an amendment that sought to require that a photo ID be shown in order to register and vote on Election Day. The bill moves to the House.

Plans for a new firehouse in Bristol will be revealed at a meeting next Wednesday Night. A committee of volunteers has been working on a plan to replace the aging firehouse. The new building will be built on a 2.7-acre plot on the south side of West Street, across from the Bristol Recreation Club property. The meeting will be held at Holley Hall starting at 7 pm next Wednesday Night.

A solar array will not be built just off Route 7 in New Haven. SunCommon was planning on building a 150-kilowatt community solar array just south of Town Hill Road but has since cancelled the project due to opposition. Residents and business owners complained that the Solar Array would be an eye soar and would hurt local business. SunCommon has built seven Community Solar Arrays in Addison County to date, and plans to build two more in the near future.

Some Vermont high school students will have the chance to take the SAT college entrance exam for free. The registration fee for the SAT is 50-dollars, but students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch can have the test fee waived. Governor Peter Shumlin says the SAT is the first step towards college, and the state wants people to know help is available. The test is administered next month but the deadline to register is this coming Monday.