Friday, January 23, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 23, 2015

Governor Peter Shumlin has requested a federal disaster declaration for last month's winter storm. A press release says the request is to help 10 of Vermont's 14 counties pay for repairs to the power grid and other public infrastructure damaged in a severe winter storm last month. If a disaster declaration is granted, communities and public utilities will be reimbursed for 75% of the cost of eligible work. The request was sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA will then review and send a recommendation to President Barack Obama who will then approve or reject the request.

A boil water order has been sent out in Westport. The water system was contaminated after a rusty end cap broke off causing a leak. Officials expect the order to be lifted Sunday after two clear water tests.

MIlk production was up in Vermont last month. The USDA says production during December totaled 225 million pounds. That's up 3.2 percent from December 2013. Average per-cow production averaged just over 1,700 pounds for the month or 55 pounds more than December 2013. But the USDA reports that the price for that milk is also dropping.

Governor Peter Shumlin issued pardons to three women today, saying the women have atoned for their mistakes. According to the governor’s office, Aimee Sheehan, of Williston, Amber Thibault, of Charlotte, and Lori Morse, of Bennington, have been pardoned for various convictions. Shumlin said Friday he decided to pardon all three women because of the progress they have made since their convictions. Those seeking pardons must file an application. The Department of Corrections reviews the applications and conducts an investigation before they are forwarded to the governor.

Lawmakers in Montpelier are looking at changing the state constitution about how the governor is elected. Currently, when no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the 180 members of the Legislature to decide the race via secret ballot. That was the case in the most recent election between incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin and challenger Scott Milne. One proposed amendment would create a runoff election when no candidate secures a majority. The other would allow a candidate to take office by receiving the most votes and at least 45 percent of those casts.