Thursday, January 29, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 29, 2015

The Vermont Public Service Board has ordered Vermont Gas Systems to submit an update on its Phase 2 cost estimate by February 17. The state’s utility regulatory board wrote in an order issued January 23 that Vermont Gas must submit a new cost estimate update for the project planned to run from Middlebury to Ticonderoga. If a cost estimate is not available, the board wrote, the company must submit a status report. The board’s order comes after a Dec. 30 decision to postpone hearings on the project.

On Town Meeting Day, voters in Middlebury will be asked to approve an almost $10-million budget for the next fiscal year. The proposed 2015-2016 municipal budget represents a 6.7 percent increase over the budgeted 2014-2015 spending plan. The selectboard held a public hearing on the proposed budget last week and earlier this week, they approved the warning for Town Meeting Day, March 2.

Vermont state police are asking the public's help in identifying two men who attempted to steal goods from a warehouse at Crescent Orchards in Orwell. Police say workers at the orchard confronted two men who had piled up goods both inside and outside the apple warehouse. The men took off on foot when the workers confronted them. A state police K-9 was brought in to track the men, but police say they were picked up by a vehicle that had been seen circling the area. Police ask that anyone with information about the incident contact them at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted online at or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.

Authorities are warning people not to let their Super Bowl celebrations go too far this weekend. State Police plan to have additional patrols on roads and highways on Sunday to crack down on drunk drivers. People are being advised to designate a sober driver, or make plans to get home safely after the big game. People hosting Super Bowl parties are being encouraged to make sure all of their guests have safe rides home, and make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are served.

Senator Bernie Sanders has lost in his bid to add a big solar energy provision to legislation in the Senate pushing the Keystone XL pipeline. Sanders' office says his proposal would have helped home and business owners install up to 10 million solar power systems around the country in the next decade. It got 40 of 100 votes in the Senate. Sanders' amendment called for a 15 percent rebate for people who install solar power. He says the new solar power could have replaced a fifth of that from coal-fired power plants in the U.S.