Thursday November 29, 2012

Ex interim UVM president to lead relevance push

BURLINGTON (AP) -- The former interim president of the University of Vermont is returning to campus to head up efforts to retool the school for the 21st century, in keeping with the recommendations of a report he led calling for a sharper focus on technical innovation and a stronger relationship between the university and the state.

"It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of the job openings in this decade will require some form of post-secondary education. And Vermont, frankly, is ill-prepared to meet that challenge," John Bramley said Wednesday at the announcement of his appointment.

Bramley said he’ll focus on better integration of the state’s public schools with its flagship university, and between the university and businesses, to address the problem as he works to implement 11 key recommendations in the June report, "New Ideas for Changing Times: Strengthening the Partnership Between the State of Vermont and the University of Vermont."

One way that relationship won’t be strengthened much, at least right away, is through increased financial support from state government, said Gov. Peter Shumlin. The school, known as UVM, the initials for its Latin name, Universitas Viridis Montis, currently gets about $40 million a year from the state budget -- among the lowest in the country. Shumlin said other budget pressures will keep that from going up in the near future.

Shumlin, Bramley and UVM’s new president, Thomas Sullivan, were not specific when asked whether or how the dollars the school gets from the state should be reallocated. Currently, Bramley said, about a quarter of the money goes to UVM’s agriculture and engineering schools, about a quarter to its medical school and about half goes to financial aid for Vermont students.

The report calls in several instances for spending new money; among the recommendations that do so is one saying the engineering school should be doubled in size.

4 juveniles charged with bomb threats in Barre school

BARRE (AP) -- Police in Barre say four juveniles are facing charges stemming from two false bomb threats at the Vermont city’s Spaulding High School.

Police say there have been three bomb threats at Spaulding since Nov. 20, the most recent Tuesday.

In each case the threat was reported after a note was found in a common area of the school. In each case the school was searched but nothing unusual was found.

On Tuesday police and school officials identified the four juveniles and cited them into court on charges of "causing false public alarm" stemming from the first two threats. The origin of the Tuesday threat remains under investigation.

Vt. man charged after theft from N.H. grandmother

ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- A Vermont man is facing charges stemming from the theft of three laptop computers and a muzzle-loading firearm from his grandmother’s New Hampshire home on Thanksgiving Day.

St. Johnsbury police say 18-year-old Richard Kendall and his 22-year-old half-brother, Claude Caron Jr., stole the items from Kendell’s grandmother’s house in Center Barnstead, N.H.

The two men pleaded not guilty in a St. Johnsbury court to felony charges of possession of stolen property. They were released.

Court documents say Kendall told police he and Caron went to his grandmother’s home on Thanksgiving night looking for gas money and found everyone asleep.

The Caledonian Record says Kendall told police the laptops were in view and the muzzleloader was in an unlocked vehicle in the driveway.

Copper mine site nearly fixed after cleanup in Strafford

STRAFFORD (AP) -- A decade-long effort to clean up a 206-year-old copper mine in the Vermont town of Strafford is nearing an end and community members now have to decide what to do with the area that was once the Elizabeth Mine.

Where there was once an area that was colored a sickly orange there is now a grassy expanse

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Ed Hathaway, who has overseen the Superfund cleanup of the property, says workers have finished sealing 45-acres of metallic tailings beneath a plastic cap that has been covered with topsoil.

The Valley News reports the plastic prevents water and oxygen from reaching the metals. Federal officials will continue to monitor the site for several more years. After that, the state will assume responsibility.

Cop: Man has wild history of stories

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont State Police’s top criminal investigator says the man in a New Mexico prison for killing a Vermont girl in 2000 has a history of making wild claims as part of a long-running goal of being incarcerated in the federal prison system.

Major Ed Ledo is the investigator who arrested Dana Martin in 2000 on charges Martin had killed a 15-year-old girl in Barre.

Ledo says he doesn’t know what allegedly motivated Martin to send two New Mexico men to kill two Vermonters by strangling them with neck ties and then mutilating their bodies.

The scheme was derailed when the two men got lost and ended up at a U.S. border post with Canada.

Ledo says the two New Mexico men appeared ready to carry out the killings.