Trump takes 8 of 13 delegates at GOP Vermont convention

SOUTH BURLINGTON >> Eight of 13 Vermont delegates elected during the Vermont Republican Convention to go to the national convention this summer are supporters of presumptive presidential GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Still ambivalence and unease about the New York real estate billionaire were readily apparent during Saturday's convention.

Party leaders called for unity and argued that at least Trump would appoint conservative cabinet members. They also stressed that Trump was highly preferable to Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump won about one-third of Vermont's primary vote March 1, followed closely by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has since dropped out of the race.

Some Vermont Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who is running for governor, have disavowed Trump. His primary opponent Bruce Lisman and others say it's better to have an open mind.

"People are pretty angry," Lisman said. "And so it's silly simply to say `I reject him.'"

Art Peterson, of Clarendon, is a strong supporter of Trump.

"He's a guy who doesn't follow the normal course, and it causes people to think out of the box and to have a different outlook," Clarendon told the Free Press. "We need that different outlook."

Elizabeth Niekrewicz, of Williston, had mixed feelings.


"I'm going to support Donald Trump in the election because I would much rather have him than Hillary," she said. "But overall, I don't know if he's really going to make the Republican Party look good."

Trump's candidacy has discouraged at least one young Republican.

Jason Maulucci, president of Vermont College Republicans, submitted his name to be a national delegate about a month ago, but stopped seeking a slot after Trump became the presumptive nominee.

"Almost half of being president is knowing when not to say something," Maulucci said. "I don't know if Mr. Trump possesses those skills."

Shumlin: 3.2 percent jobless rate 'continued good news'

MONTPELIER >> Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is calling a new announcement of a 3.2 percent unemployment rate for April "continued good news for Vermont."

The rate, a tenth-of-a-point decline from March, means Vermont had the seventh lowest jobless rate in the country. Shumlin says the state's employers have added 18,000 jobs since 2011, with the burgeoning renewable energy sector one of the leaders.

Chittenden County's economy continued to lead the state, with the Burlington-South Burlington area's rate of 2.6 percent the third lowest for any metro area in the country.

But there's a cloud to go with all that silver lining. Paul Cillo of the Montpelier-based Public Assets Institute says wages in Vermont have remained pretty much flat since the Great Recession ended.

New challenge for firefighters: Solar rooftops

PITTSFORD >> At the Vermont Fire Academy, fire safety instructors are getting some training to deal with a new challenge — battling blazes on rooftops adorned with solar panels.

A workshop at the academy this week focused on the special challenges rooftop solar systems present to firefighters — including electrical hazards and the need to de-energize the systems when fighting fires around them.

At the workshop fire safety instructors learned how to recognize the difference between solar photovoltaic modules and solar thermal panels, how solar PV modules work, and how to handle them during a fire.

Over the next several months, the newly trained instructors will deliver training on this topic to local fire departments across the state.

Most New Hampshire recreation trails open for riding

CONCORD, N.H. >> Most of New Hampshire's trails for off-highway recreational vehicles are opening for the season.

New Hampshire has more than 1,200 miles of trails throughout the state, with the largest network in the Great North Woods region. While trails in and around Pittsburg will remain closed until Friday, most of the other trails around the state will be open on Monday.

Dubbed "Ride the Wilds" by its many promoters, the trail network is touted as being one of the largest off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) networks in the country.

"Beyond the sheer size and breathtaking scenery, what makes this trail network a national destination for OHRV riders is that it affords easy and convenient access to restaurants, local shops, gas stations and other northern New Hampshire destinations by allowing riders to drive on many local roads," said Stephen Clorite, president of the North Country OHRV Coalition.

The Ride the Wilds network was developed by 11 nonprofit OHRV clubs, whose members maintain the trails on a volunteer basis. There is no fee for accessing the trail network and several businesses offer OHRV rentals and guided tours.

Bureau of Trails Chief Chris Gamache says the volunteer clubs have been working hard to prepare for the riding season. He reminds users to stay on established trails, pay attention to posted signs and ride responsibly.

Police: Bad night for moose accidents in the North Country

TWIN MOUNTAIN, N.H. >> New Hampshire state police say they were pretty busy Saturday night with moose accidents in the North Country.

Troopers say they responded to three separate accidents within a three-hour span involving cars hitting moose.

They say the first occurred on Route 2 in Randolph just after 7 p.m., when a man in a Toyota struck a moose. The next was at 9:32 p.m., when they say two cars struck a moose on Interstate 93 in the town of Sugar Hill. The third took place on Route 110 in Stark at 9:50 p.m., when police say a couple in a minivan hit a moose.

Police say all the vehicles involved were heavily damaged but the occupants suffered only minor injuries.

Drivers are reminded to be aware that moose and deer are on the move day and night.

– The Associated Press