Vt. revenues below target for June, above for year
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont finished its fiscal year in June with a slight lag in revenues, but still finished slightly ahead of its target for the year.
Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state exceeded its fiscal 2012 revenue target of about $1.2 billion by six-tenths of 1 percent.
Spaulding said Friday that the $7.2 million in unanticipated revenue the state took in during the past year will be used for reconstruction of the Waterbury state office complex and repairs to other facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
He notes that state revenues still have not climbed fully back to their record level of $1.199 billion, reached in the last pre-recession year of fiscal 2008. The just closed year’s revenues came in about $3 million short of that target.
Vt. official meets with communities about F-35s
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration says it’s working to answer questions about the Air Force’s proposal to base F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.
Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding met Thursday with representatives from the Vermont Air Guard, South Burlington, Winooski, Burlington and Williston. The meeting was closed to the public.
Spaulding told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/ShAcKO) Shumlin supports the plan, but he wants to be sure the state and communities are doing everything they can to get answers to environmental concerns.
Spaulding said there was discussion about having a website addressing frequently asked questions. There also was talk about bringing up one of the jets or sending a delegation from Vermont to compare the noise of the F-35s to the older F-16 jets.
Police: Kerry Kennedy, N.Y.gov’s ex-wife, arrested
NORTH CASTLE, N.Y. (AP) -- Police say New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, has been arrested for driving while impaired by drugs and striking a tractor-trailer.
State police say the 52-year-old sister of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was found Friday morning behind the wheel of her disabled vehicle on the side of a road in Westchester, just north of New York City. Authorities say the car was driving erratically on Interstate 684 and collided with a tractor-trailer in the town of North Castle.
Kennedy’s spokesman Ken Sunshine says she voluntarily took breathalyzer, blood and urine tests that showed no drugs or alcohol in her system. Sunshine says charges were filed before the test results were available.
Kennedy has been issued traffic tickets to be returned to the town of North Castle Court.
Ex-Mass. coach gets probation in sex abuse case
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- A former girls’ softball coach has been sentenced to five years’ probation in a deal with Massachusetts prosecutors to resolve a charge he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teenage player a decade ago.
Forty-eight-year-old Glenn Cooke, former coach at Hopkins Academy in Hadley, appeared Friday in Hampshire Superior Court. He admitted prosecutors had sufficient facts to convict him of unnatural and lascivious conduct. The judge continued the case without a finding for five years. He will have no criminal record if he complies with probation that incudes sex offender counseling and a coaching ban.
Cooke was indicted in 2010 on rape charges involving the same victim. A judge dismissed the indictment last year, saying the case was flawed.
The now-27-year-old woman told the court Cooke stole her virginity and her childhood.
Dry spell prompts warnings to N.Y.. boaters, campers
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- State officials on Friday warned campers and boaters about a high fire danger and low water levels because of hot weather and a lack of rain over the past 10 days.
With temperatures topping 90 degrees in parts of the state, Rochester designated libraries as cooling centers, opened fire hydrants and extended hours at city pools.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would institute a residential ban on burning for 90 days through emergency regulations and would suspend previously issued burning permits. A moratorium on new permits is also in effect through Oct. 10.
"These conditions should not be taken lightly," Cuomo said. "The potential for disastrous wildfires is present in all areas of the state."
The Department of Environmental Conservation said three brushfires in the Adirondacks have burned eight acres of wild lands. One was started by an unattended campfire. On Thursday, a fire scorched about two acres of state forest near Lake Placid.
The agency hasn’t banned campfires, but it’s advising extra care including thoroughly dousing a campfire with water before leaving it.
The agency also planned to issue a boating warning about hitting rocks because of low water levels in lakes and rivers.
Conditions have resulted partly from the mild winter with relatively little snowfall, while some areas have received about 25 percent of the normal spring and early summer rainfall, conservation officials said.
According to the governor’s office, the state Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation. In April, Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Suffolk County where brush fires threatened almost 1,200 acres of land. State police helicopters were used to drop water on hotspots on eastern Long Island.
Cuomo raises $5.8 million more in campaign funds
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign is reporting $5.8 million in additional donations during the first half of his second year in office, raising its total on hand to $19.3 million.
According to the 2014 campaign committee’s filing Friday, it spent more than $900,000 in the period.
Big donations include $50,000 from Ultimate Fighting Productions LLC of Las Vegas and $60,800 from Mason Tenders District Council of Greater NY PAC.
Others are $41,100 from Stephen L. Bing of Los Angeles; $50,000 each from Joseph Dimenna, James H. Simons, Howard Lutnick and Leonard Lauder, of Manhattan, Gary Barnett of Richmond Hill, N.Y., Frank Castagna of Manhasset, N.Y. and George Marcus of Palo Alto Calif.; and $60,000 from Richard A. Jackson of Manhattan.
Repairs on Vt. covered bridge to proceed
DUMMERSTON, Vt. (AP) -- Repairs to a historic covered bridge in Dummerston, Vt., are on track again after some delays.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports (http://bit.ly/Lem3ch) select board members gave preliminary approval Thursday to award a construction bid of nearly $235,000 to Renaud Brothers Inc. of Vernon.
The 140-year-old bridge is structurally sound. The project involves repairs to the span’s "wing walls," described as support walls for approaches.
Information from: Brattleboro Reformer, http://www.reformer.com/
Lawmakers call for national Lyme disease strategy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- A group of lawmakers is pushing for a national strategy to combat Lyme disease aimed at speeding advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the sometimes serious illness that infects tens of thousands of people every year.
The legislation would establish an advisory committee of researchers, patient advocates and agencies. It would also coordinate support for developing better diagnostic tests, surveillance, research and other efforts.
Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island says Lyme disease is a growing problem, and the bill would help funnel more money to researching how to best treat it and prevent it. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says it would pull together the best available science and then aggressively attack the disease.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says he hopes it will pass this year.
Signs warn about algae at Burlington, Vt, beaches
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Visitors to Lake Champlain beaches in Burlington are being warned about the possibility of toxic blue-green algae in the water.
Warning signs have been posted at city beaches as a precaution.
WCAX-TV (http://bit.ly/N2UYPa ) reports that the beaches are still open but people are advised to keep their dogs out of the water.
Algae blooms can irritate the skin and make people sick if ingested. They also can be lethal to pets.
The water is being tested and results are expected on Friday.