Thursday, January 8, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 8, 2015

The Vermont Legislature has elected Peter Shumlin to a third term as Governor of Vermont. Of the 179 lawmakers, Scott Milne received 69 votes, incumbent Peter Shumlin got 110, and Dan Feliciano received zero. Yesterday the Legislature was gaveled into session. Shap Smith was re-elected by his colleagues as House Speaker while Senator John Campbell was re-elected as Senate President. Milne says he's not sure if he'll run again, but says it's important to be engaged in the election process.

Protestors supporting single payer were standing at the entrance of the House Chamber prior to Governor Peter Shumlin's Inaugural Address earlier today. When Speaker Shap Smith gaveled in, asking the House to come to order, the protesters kept singing and chanting. The protesters were escorted out, but came back, interrupting the inaugural address. Protesters were singing and shouting at Governor Shumlin to continue with single payer health care. Last month, Governor Shumlin announced that he is abandoning single payer as it is too expensive to consider right now.

A man accused of killing a 2-year-old boy has been sent back to jail after a judge ruled prosecutors may continue of pursuing a case against him. 27-year-old Joshua Blow of Shelburne is once again being held without bail, accused in the July death of Aiden Haskins. Last month, Judge James Crucitti denied a request by lawyers for Blow to dismiss the case for lack of evidence. Blow pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Firefighters in Vergennes were busy this morning battling an apartment fire on White Street. According to officials, the flames broke out around 1 am at the multifamily apartment complex. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find the building completely engulfed in flames. Crews not only had to battle the fire but also had to deal with issues from the cold. The cause is still unknown officials say there were no injuries.

The initial budget for Vergennes Union High School for next year is an 11-percent increase of the current year’s budget. Superintendent JoAn Canning says the proposed budget is a financially responsible plan that sets the school on the right track for the future. The spending plan calls for cutting 4 full time teaching positions or the equivalent. Canning said this would not mean that classes would be cut, but rather offered less frequently. Last year, a majority of voters in each of the supervisory union’s five towns rejected the original budget proposal of $9.73 million. Voters in May approved a pared-down budget of $9.4 million, which called for the elimination of the equivalent of 3.9 teaching positions.