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.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WVTK Local & State News April 1, 2015

Rumors have been circulating for some time now but it is official, Greg’s Meat Market in Middlebury is closing. They are closing their doors for good at the end of business today. A store official said revenues were unable to service the business's debt, thus forcing a transaction. However, there is a potential sale under negotiation. Mac's of Rutland is rumored to be interested in the Middlebury store, but that information is unconfirmed.

Vermont state employees are officially banned from taking state funded trips to Indiana. Governor Peter Shumlin yesterday issued an executive order imposing the immediate ban on non-essential trips to Indiana. The move is over Indiana's recent enactment of a religious freedom law Shumlin says promotes anti-gay discrimination. Indiana's governor says he's working with legislative leaders to fix the law.

The Republican Governors Association is being fined 40-thousand-dollars for violations of Vermont campaign finance laws. Officials say the RGA failed to report around 290-thousand dollars spent supporting Brian Dube in the 2010 governor's race. Dube ended up losing to Governor Peter Shumlin. The governors organization also failed to register as a political action committee and accepted contributions over the legal limit.

A new report out entitled “When is Small Too Small? Efficiency, Equity & the Organization of Vermont Public Schools” says the state’s smaller school districts are expensive. The new report found that Vermont's very small school districts experience a combination of higher spending and higher taxes and less comprehensive academic program than could be provided at scale. The report was released yesterday, today, legislators in Montpelier are debating school district consolidation.

Now that a busted water pipe in Rutland is repaired, the issue is, who should pay for it. The broken pipe leaked out around 600,000 gallons of water before being repaired this past weekend. The pipe broke between a Kia Dealership and the Main Water Valve. The City says anything beyond the Valve is the property owners responsibility. The owner of the dealership acknowledges that but says the pipe comes off the main valve, then passes under a state right of way and has a fire hydrant on it before it reaches his property.