Transportation bonds to benefit Bennington
MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Treasurer’s office says its most recent $10 million bond sale will help secure an additional $51 million in federal funds that will help pay for transportation projects, including repairs of damage from Tropical Storm Irene.
Treasurer Beth Pearce says the bond sale will allow the state to proceed with 18 infrastructure projects across the state.
Among the projects that will be funded with the bonds will be money for road and bridge improvements -- or replacement -- in Bennington, Cavendish, Hancock, Hubbardton, Jamaica and Woodford.
The bonds are paid for with taxes on motor fuels.
Officials reconsidering I-91 bridge design
BRATTLEBORO (AP) -- Vermont officials say they are looking to suggestions from the public on a new Interstate 91 bridge over Route 30 in Brattleboro.
But they say they face a September deadline to lock in their design or possibly lose federal funding for the project.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports some people have objected to an earlier concrete design. They said it was too plain.
Officials expect a multi-year effort to replace two structurally deficient spans cross the West River and Route 30. Costs could reach $50 million.
Ski town official proposes free tuition
KILLINGTON (AP) -- A select board member in Killington suggests giving free college tuition to families who move to the ski resort town.
Longtime businessman Bernie Rome made his proposal during a recent brainstorming session about how the board can secure the town’s financial future.
Rome tells Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/PoyO5c) more students in town would help secure more school funding and contribute to the tax base.
He says with Green Mountain College in town and increasing student debt, the ingredients for Killington offering free tuition are in place.
He points to the 3,000 second homeowners in Killington, saying they might elect to move so their children could get a college education there.
Select board members are encouraging Rome to develop his idea and explore how the town would pay for it.
Insulation destroyed in tractor-trailer fire
SHEFFIELD (AP) -- Firefighters say a Canadian tractor-trailer unit carrying Styrofoam insulation caught fire and burned on Interstate 91 in Sheffield, Vt.
Sheffield-Wheelock Fire Chief Marc Brown said a burning truck tire ignited the insulation.
No injuries were reported in Monday night’s fire.
The Caledonian-Record reports the trailer and its load were destroyed. The driver was able to detach the tractor from the burning trailer.
$2.8M grant to help low-income seniors
MONTPELIER (AP) -- A Vermont nonprofit that helps train and employ low-income residents has received a grant of over $2.8 million to assist residents age 55 and older.
The grant is going to Vermont Associates for Training and Development based in St. Albans.
The money, part of $260 million in nationwide awards, comes from the Older American Act’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, the only federal jobs program designed to assist low-income seniors.
Participants will be placed in community service activities at nonprofit and public facilities such as day-care centers, schools and hospitals.
Montpelier theater to provide hearing help
MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s United States Attorney says a Montpelier theater has agreed to make it easier for hearing impaired customers to go to the movies.
After a complaint that the Savoy Theater was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act because it lacked "assistive listening devices," theater owner Terrence Youk agreed to install the devices.
Attorneys with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department say Youk recognized his obligation to address the issues and they praised him for his cooperation.
Democratic AG primary candidates debate
SOUTH BURLINGTON (AP) -- Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell is taking some tough criticism from his challenger in the upcoming Democratic primary.
In a debate taped at television station WCAX, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan told Sorrell the U.S. Supreme Court is not a place to be dabbling as a lawyer.
The statement was directed at Sorrell’s performance before the court in 2006 in a campaign finance case in which Vermont ended up losing.
Sorrell replied that with the conservative court that later decided the landmark Citizens United campaign finance case, the best lawyer in the world would not have done any better defending Vermont’s law.
The exchange came during a taping of two-part "You Can Quote Me," show, which the station will broadcast the next two Sundays.
Police: Man found in N.Y. lake had drowned
SULLIVAN, N.Y. (AP) -- Authorities say the man found dead in a central New York lake accidentally drowned.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office tells local media they’ve identified the man as 61-year-old George Stampp of Bridgeport.
His body was found by two people heading out for a boat ride around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday about 100 feet from Oneida Lake’s southeastern shore in the town of Sullivan, 10 miles northeast of Syracuse.
They say relatives last reported seeing Stampp on Monday night.
An autopsy determined he drowned and there was no sign of foul play.
Spiny water flea invades Lake George
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) -- Researchers say they’ve found the invasive spiny water flea in Lake George, the latest New York waterway contaminated with the creature that competes with fish for food.
The state Department of Conservation says Wednesday an angler at the north end of the lake pulled in a batch of fleas last week and samples taken Tuesday confirmed it’s living off Mallory Island, near the northeast shore.
A task force of New York and Vermont authorities is working to stem the spread of the flea, which feeds on small crustaceans and plankton. Boaters and fisherman are being told to decontaminate their gear before entering area waters.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont called Monday for closing parts of the Champlain Canal to protect Lake Champlain, a move rejected by New York officials.
25-mile section of Erie Canal closed in N.Y.
ALBION, N.Y. (AP) -- A scenic 25-mile stretch of the Erie Canal in western New York is temporarily off limits to boaters following a partial collapse of the embankment in the Orleans County village of Albion, authorities said Wednesday.
Contractors, meanwhile, hauled in 200 tons of crushed stone to fill a 60-foot-wide sinkhole that developed Monday night on a road and trail running alongside the weakened rock-and-clay embankment.
Officials had yet to determine Wednesday whether the sinkhole caused the breach in the embankment or if the breach caused the sinkhole.
The New York State Canal Corp., which oversees the waterway, originally planned to drain a 10-mile stretch from Albion east to Holley to assess and repair the damage. On Wednesday, the shutdown was extended 15 miles west to Middleport in Niagara County. The Canal Corp. declined to speculate on how long the shutdown might last.
Farmers were urged to siphon water for their fields to bring the 12-foot water level down more quickly. Canal water is regularly used for irrigation.
"Our first priority is to stabilize the embankment so that life and property in the surrounding area are fully protected," Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton said.