Wednesday January 23, 2013

Lawmakers get earful on NW Vermont gas prices

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The months-long battle between Sen. Bernie Sanders and gas dealer Skip Vallee over gasoline prices in northwestern Vermont has come to the Statehouse in Montpelier.

Three House committees on Tuesday heard from those two, Attorney General William Sorrell and others on a question lawmakers say they’re hearing from voters every day: Why are gas prices in Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties higher than elsewhere in Vermont as well as most other places in the country?

Sanders says the problem is too much concentration in ownership of gas stations in northwestern Vermont and not enough competition.

Vallee tells lawmakers he has higher labor, health care, insurance and utility costs, among others.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Pat Brennan says he has no specific legislation in mind yet, but wanted information.

Semi hits train in Lyndonville, Vt.

LYNDONVILLE (AP) -- Vermont State Police say no injuries were reported after a tractor trailer collided with train in Lyndonville.

The operator of the truck told police that was traveling north on Route 5 on Tuesday afternoon when he was distracted by a car. He said that when he looked up, the train was in front of him.

Police say a video from a nearby store shows that the Freightliner truck did not slow down for the flashing red lights at the train crossing.


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The collision caused a broken air line on the Vermont Railway train, which was repaired before the train could be moved. The truck’s trailer, carrying baled paper, split in half.

Red Village Road was closed while crews cleaned up the trailer and debris from the crash.

R.I. man arrested in Vt. bank robbery

HARTFORD -- A man accused of robbing two banks in Rhode Island has been arrested in connection with a bank robbery and an attempted bank robbery in Hartford, Vt.

Police say 46-year-old Joseph G. Petracca of Providence, R.I., robbed the People’s United Bank on Thursday.

Officials believe Petracca was wearing a red hat, a taped-on mustache and a wig with long blond hair when he robbed the bank. After fleeing the robber was seen getting into a pickup truck driven by another man. Police arrested a second suspect -- John Fenley Jr. of Hartford --on Friday.

Police say earlier that day, Petracca went into a Mascoma Savings Bank branch wearing a disguise, but left without incident.

Petracca is being held on charges of holding up two banks in Cranston, R.I.