Saturday May 4, 2013

Homeowner tackles suspected burglar

BENNINGTON -- After a Robinson Avenue man chased and tackled a woman he found in his house early Friday morning, police say numerous burglaries may now be solved.

According to Bennington Police Lt. Lloyd Dean, the unnamed homeowner called 911 at 1 a.m. after seeing a woman later identified as Nikki Lixx, 42, in his home. Lixx fled and the homeowner gave chase, eventually capturing her with the help of other neighbors. Police then arrived and arrested her.

Dean wrote that Lixx, who lives on Robinson Avenue, confessed to burglarizing the man's home as well as two other burglaries. Dean said she gave police permission to search her home where they found numerous items they believe to be stolen, such as laptops, cash, jewelry, and small electronic devices. He said Lixx is suspected of being involved in more thefts in that area.

"We will be clearing up numerous burglaries in the Clarks Woods section," Dean said, adding that police have identified a number of alleged victims through the items they found at Lixx's home and will be contacting more as the investigation continues.

Lixx was transported to the Rutland jail for lack of $5,000 bail but is being held on a furlough revocation in addition to that. Dean wrote in an email that Lixx was on furlough from a sentence given for unlawful trespassing and credit card fraud.

Lixx is scheduled to be arraigned in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on Monday. According to Dean she will be charged with three counts of burglary and one count of possession of stolen property but there may be more charges. He said prescription medication was found in Lixx's home as well, but Lixx does not have a prescription for it.

-- Keith Whitcomb

Interim dog officer resigns in Pownal

POWNAL -- The town is once more without an animal control officer.

The resignation of interim Animal Control Officer Steve Zelman was accepted Thursday by the Select Board, which voted to advertise for the position and explore options for boarding animals at the transfer station.

Chairman Stephen Kauppi said the town's ACOs have to hold animals they pick up on their own property, which is not only a burden on them but might also limit the number of people who apply for the job.

Zelman did not state his reasons for resigning in his letter to the board, but in a letter to the Banner Zelman indicated that the boarding of animals was key.

"As an (alternative) to a formal boarding facility my yard might be adequate but as the sole repository for the dogs of Pownal it's absurd," Zelman wrote.

Zelman first resigned from the position in August 2011. The board appointed Dominick Yarnal as the new ACO but he resigned a year later and the board reappointed Zelman to an interim position.

In his letter to the Banner, Zelman said he was able to place three dogs that had been held by Yarnal into a shelter. He wrote that he urged the board to sign a contract with Great Fields Kennel in North Bennington so he could manage the five-day holding period on all dogs and the 10-day quarantines required in some cases when animals are ill.

He wrote that his facility consisted of an igloo-style doghouse which was donated the week he was appointed as an interim ACO. Zelman wrote that on April 7 he picked up a dog suffering from severe mange. The dog was too young and good tempered to be euthanized so he sought medical care for it. According to Zelman, he estimated he would have to keep the dog for three to six weeks before he could get it to a facility and informed Kauppi he needed the contract with the North Bennington kennel.

Zelman wrote that he was not able to get what he needed from the board but was able to get the dog with mange into a shelter in Windham County before resigning.

-- Keith Whitcomb

Lawmakers get good revenue news

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont lawmakers grappling with how much new revenue they need to raise in the coming fiscal year just got some welcome news.

Revenues for April -- mainly due to very strong performance in the personal income tax -- appear to have come in about $27 million ahead of what was expected.

That equals the amount of new taxes the House was calling for in the coming year.

House Speaker Shap Smith and other members are voicing caution, saying they don't know whether the strong revenue collections will continue.

But Rep. Jim Masland, a member of the tax-raising House Ways and Means Committee, says the news may make it easy for the House and Senate to resolve their differences this year over new taxes.