Tuesday March 19, 2013

Vt. House passes same-sex health coverage bill

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont House has voted to require out-of-state companies that offer health coverage to the spouses of opposite-sex married couples to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples.

Activists say the measure would go a long way toward extending the rights of gay and lesbian couples in Vermont.

Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/12WfdGG) Democratic Rep. Lippert of Hinesburg pointed out Friday that the vote would coincide with the 13th anniversary of the House’s first vote advancing the civil unions bill. Vermont legalized gay marriage in 2009.

The bill passed 139-to-5 after less than 15 minutes of debate. But some legislators ask though, whether the state could defend such a measure if challenged under the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Pedestrian hit; woman charged with DUI, assault

BARRE (AP) -- Police say a Vermont woman has been charged with aggravated assault and drunken driving for allegedly hitting a pedestrian with her car after an argument in Barre.

Barre City Police say 33-year-old Jennifer Caplin got into an argument with 26-year-old Adam Huot of Willliamstown at a Barre intersection on Saturday morning around 6 a.m.

Hout told police that a passenger in the vehicle grabbed onto his shirt as Caplin drove away. Huot says he was able to break free and ran into a driveway but police say Caplin followed him and hit him in the back with the vehicle, sending him into the air.


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He landed on the vehicle and then the driveway.

Huot called 911.

Police say he was taken the hospital with bumps, bruises and non-life-threatening injuries.

NY to probe light problems on lake bridge

WEST ADDISON (AP) -- The New York State Department of Transportation plans to investigate why some of the lights on the new Lake Champlain Bridge to Vermont aren’t working.

The $76 million bridge opened late in 2011 after its predecessor at the same location was found to be unsafe.

The bridge’s lighting system includes 66 LED floodlights, and 276 2-foot long LED pedestrian lights on the handrails. Many are not working.

New York DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani said the problem will be investigated this spring when it’s warmer so engineers can get onto the bridge and look at the wiring.

"It’s driver safety for one and visibility. Obviously these things are important lights. At some level it goes into the aesthetics of it as well," Viggiani said

Some people have complained on social media about problems with the new bridge, Vermont Public Radio reports.

The original bridge linking West Addison and Crown Point, N.Y., was demolished in December 2009. During the two years it took to build the new bridge, free ferry service was offered at the site.

The Transportation Department is committed to repairing the lighting problem, Viggiani said.

Vehicle hits school bus

RUTLAND (AP) -- Vermont State Police say no students were injured when a car rear-ended a school bus in Rutland Town.

Police say the school bus carrying 15 Fair Haven Union High School students was stopped at a railroad crossing on Monday morning when a vehicle traveling behind it failed to stop and hit the bus.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to the hospital.

The school bus driver was uninjured.