Tuesday May 7, 2013

Vt. teacher denies student sex charge

BURLINGTON (AP) -- A Burlington High School Spanish teacher pleaded not guilty on Monday to four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Giovanna Yaranga, 44, was arrested Saturday and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or with children under 18 except for her family.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said the investigation started after police found Yaranga and a teenage boy in the back seat of a car behind a building at about 8 p.m. on April 29. Yaranga told police she was a teacher and the boy was a student and they were in the back seat because they needed more leg room, Detective Pete Chapman said in a court affidavit.

The case was referred to the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, which handles sex-crime investigations, the Burlington Free Press reports.

Superintendent Jeanne Collins issued a statement saying Yaranga, who has been a Spanish teacher at the school since August 1998, has been placed on administrative leave pending the criminal investigation.

School officials learned from police that Yaranga was being charged "stemming from allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student," Collins wrote.

An internal investigation will also be done, Collins wrote.

"This deeply upsetting news affects our entire community. Please be assured that the safety of our students is the District’s priority.


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The district had no evidence of physical improprieties or sexual misconduct by Ms. Yaranga," Collins said the statement.

Town gets grocery store 2 years after flooding

JOHNSON (AP) -- The Vermont town of Johnson has been without a grocery store for two years after spring flooding inundated the downtown Grand Union.

Now the town will be getting a new store this summer.

The owner of the Richmond Market and Beverage and Village Market of Waterbury is leasing the space and expects to open a new store in August.

The store will employ 40 workers, 15 of them full-time.

Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke at an event on Monday morning celebrating the announcement.

Wildfire closes road

COLCHESTER (AP) -- U.S. Route 7 in Colchester has reopened after a wildfire over several acres prompted officials to close the road.

Fire officials told WPTZ-TV that the fire was brought under control Monday afternoon.

A driver reported the fire. The road was closed between between Severance Road and Poor Farm Road.

3 hurt in explosion and fire in home and gallery

MORRISVILLE (AP) -- Police say three Vermont firefighters were injured when a tank of welding gas exploded during a fire that destroyed a home and art gallery in Morrisville.

The fire was reported late Friday evening and when firefighters arrived the Foundry Street building was engulfed in flames.

The Morrisville Fire Department called for assistance from departments in Hyde Park, North Hyde Park and Elmore.

The firefighters injured by the explosion of the acetylene tank were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.

The building was considered a total loss.

Investigators concluded that the fire originated on the back side of the residence where tools and other items were stored. The exact cause of the fire is undetermined.