Saturday October 13, 2012

About 200 protest large-scale wind projects

MONTPELIER (AP) -- About 200 people gathered in Vermont's state capital to protest large-scale wind development.

The crowd held signs on the Statehouse lawn on Friday with a symbolic "certificate of public harm" to present to the Vermont Public Service Board.

The board has approved wind projects in Sheffield, Lowell, Georgia and Deerfield.

Charles Johnson from East Montpelier told Vermont Public Radio that he's concerned about the environmental impacts of building roads and placing wind turbines in fragile mountain ecosystems.

State opposes wind testing towers

WINDHAM (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Public Service is opposing construction of wind testing towers in Windham as contrary to town regulations.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the agency's objection does not end the process. The state's Public Service Board must rule on the Atlantic Wind LLC's proposal.

Atlantic Wind requested a certificate of public good from the state to erect three meteorological testing towers -- two in Windham and one in Grafton. The towers could be the precursor to Windham County's first commercial wind turbine site.

Grafton officials have not taken a position request, but Windham officials have argued that the town plan prohibits wind development. Atlantic Wind argues the plan is advisory only.

Hannaford warns about label error

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) -- Hannaford Supermarkets is warning customers that two of its bakery items may have contained unlisted allergens.

The Scarborough, Maine-based company says its Red Velvet Cake Truffle and Chocolate Cake Truffle may have had an error on the label.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to egg, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy and tree nuts should not eat these products.

The products were distributed in New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont and have been removed from store shelves.

Hannaford says no illnesses have been reported in connection the products.

Carbon Harvest furloughs workers

BRATTLEBORO (AP) -- Burlington-based Carbon Harvest has furloughed six of its 11 workers in Brattleboro but denies rumors it is closing.

President Don McCormick told the Brattleboro Reformer Thursday he is searching for financing to keep the company operating. He said rumors the company will close are "greatly exaggerated."

The company is billed as the country's first integrated renewable energy-to-agriculture and algae biodiesel project.

The company harvests landfill gas and uses it to generate power. Heat captured from the power plant is provided to a greenhouse where food can be grown year-round.

McCormick said the company already is selling basil and lettuce to several grocery stores.

None of the three staffers in Burlington were affected by the cutback.

N.Y. probes case of hantavirus in Adirondacks

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) -- A New York professor is suspected of contracting the potentially deadly hantavirus during a hiking trip in the Adirondacks.

Michael Vaughan, a research associate professor in mineral physics at Stony Brook University on Long Island, has since recovered from symptoms including shortness of breath and headaches after being bitten by a rodent while camping in a wooden lean-to.

near Mount Marcy in northern New York on Aug. 24. He didn't start feeling symptoms until late September, and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit for several days before recovering.

This summer, the hantavirus disease killed three visitors to Yosemite National Park in California. It is fatal in about 35 percent of affected patients. The virus is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents, and carried on airborne particles and dust. People can be infected by inhaling the virus or by handling infected rodents.

An infectious disease specialist at Stony Brook University Hospital, where the 72-year-old Vaughan was treated, said at a press conference Friday that Vaughan also attended that it is likely the professor did not contract the virus from the actual bite, but from agents in the air inside the lean-to. The lean-tos, generally placed along park trails for anyone to use, are notorious for being overrun with rodents.

Dr. Roy Steigbigel said there are no known cases of contracting the disease from a rodent bite, although he said as a scientist, he remains open to the possibility that this was a new way of transmitting hantavirus.

Vaughan said he likely would not have visited a doctor but for the fact that he had recently changed physicians and had a physical examination already scheduled in late September. When blood tests from that exam came back, he was sent directly to the emergency room. "I probably wouldn't have done anything and I might not have made it," he told reporters.

He said he has since taken another hiking trip to the Adirondacks, although he said he is reconsidering whether he will continue to camp in lean-tos. "Many avoid them because of the high mouse population," he said.

Steigbigel said if test results from the state and CDC confirm hantavirus, experts will likely be sent to the area where Vaughan camped, as well as to his Stony Brook home, to take samples for further review.

Nine people who visited Yosemite National Park this summer became infected with hantavirus. Three of them later died.

People infected with the virus usually develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, shortness of breath, chills and muscle and body aches. The illness can take six weeks to incubate before rapid acute respiratory and organ failure.