Vermont cell coverage to improve in rural areas

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Cellphone coverage should be improving along about 450 miles of rural Vermont roadways when a series of microcells are installed on utility poles.

The state agency in charge of expanding cell coverage says nearly 100 miles of the new transmitters and receivers for cell signals have already been installed on roadways in Caledonia, Orange and Windham.

Christopher Campbell of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority says the latest project will expand the service in almost 60 towns from the Canadian border to just north of Massachusetts.

Among the areas scheduled for service are Halifax, Hancock, Norton, Readsboro, Rochester, Roxbury, Stockbridge, Townshend and Whitingham.

Construction is due to be completed by the summer of 2015.

Youth turkey hunting weekend starts

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The youth turkey hunting weekend is underway in Vermont.

Young hunters must be age 15 or under to be eligible.

They also must be accompanied by an adult and have completed a hunter education course and have a hunting license, a turkey hunting license and a free youth hunting tag.

Regular spring turkey hunting season starts on May 1 and runs through May 31.

Last year hunters took a record 6,970 wild turkeys in Vermont, mostly during the spring season.

The state's wild turkey population was estimated at 45,000 to 50,000 last fall.

Billings, iconic Vt. politician and judge, dies at 91

WOODSTOCK, Vt. (AP) -- Franklin Billings Jr., an iconic political and judicial leader and the son of a former Vermont governor, has died at the Woodstock home where he was born. He was 91.

Billings became speaker of the state House in 1961 and then served on the state supreme court from 1975 to 1984, including one year as chief justice before he was nominated to the district court by President Ronald Reagan.

Billings is survived by four children and eight grandchildren. A private family service was planned.