Wednesday April 3, 2013

Lynx sightings on the rise

BRUNSWICK (AP) -- Sightings of Canada lynx are on the rise in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Fish and Wildlife Department plans to do surveys to determine the extent and distribution of the animals in the state.

Between the late 1700s and the early 2000s, there were just four confirmed sightings of the carnivorous feline species in Vermont but sightings have been increasing every year since 2003, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said Tuesday.

Lynx, which are listed as threatened under the federal endangered species act and as endangered in Vermont, are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and secretive.

The most confirmed sighting have been on publicly owned lands in the Nulhegan Basin at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Essex County, said Chris Bernier, a state biologist.

"These large, unbroken tracts of mixed-conifer forest are perfect for this species and their primary prey, the snowshoe hare," he said. "We were all very excited when lynx sightings started popping up again in Vermont."

State Police say N.H. man saved by seat belt

HARTFORD (AP) -- A New Hampshire firefighter is being recognized by the Vermont State Police with its "Saved by the Belt" award after he survived a head-on crash in Interstate 89 that killed three people in the other vehicle.

Vermont State Police Traffic Safety Commander Lt. Michael Macarilla presented the award Monday in Hartford to John Hill, of the Hooksett, N.H., fire department.

Macarilla says that by properly wearing his seat belt, Hill avoided serious injury or death.

Hill was off duty during the May 7, 2012, crash. He was headed south when a northbound vehicle crossed the median and hit him.

Hill suffered a broken arm, chest and leg injuries, but he returned to full duty at the fire department within six month of the crash.

Man sentenced for role in fatal shooting

BURLINGTON (AP) -- A Winooski man has been sentenced to 6-15 years in prison for his part in a fatal shooting in a South Burlington parking lot last year.

Jason Beane had pleaded guilty to assault and robbery resulting in injury earlier this year.

Prosecutors say Beane and Robert Dougherty of Winooski planned to rob Abdul Clay, an acquaintance, of crack cocaine last April.

Prosecutors say Dougherty shot Clay in the abdomen during a scuffle at a South Burlington park.

The Burlington Free Press reports that Clay died later that day at the hospital.

Beane, who admitted earlier this year to grappling with Clay as Dougherty shot him, was sentenced on Friday.