Saturday March 2, 2013

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Agriculture Committee in the Vermont House has approved a bill calling for genetically modified foods to be specially labeled.

The bill lays out technical definitions for what constitutes genetic modification, and says food that has been subject to those techniques must bear a label saying so.

The legislation faces an uncertain future, and is expected to go next to the House Judiciary Committee, before being debated by the full House.

Supporters of the House bill say consumers want information about what’s in their food.

The bill has drawn warnings from the attorney general’s office that it’s likely to be challenged in a lawsuit brought by industry.

Adjutant Gen. sworn in

COLCHESTER (AP) -- The Vermont National Guard has a new adjutant general.

Brigadier Gen. Steven Cray was sworn in on Friday at the Guard’s headquarters in Colchester. He was elected adjutant general by the Legislature last week.

Cray succeeds Maj. Gen. Thomas Drew, who assumed the job last summer after Michael Dubie resigned to take a Homeland Security job.

Cray has said that budget uncertainty is the biggest challenge he faces as he assumes command of the 4,000 men and women of the Vermont.

Barre man accused of sexually abusing minors

BARRE (AP) -- A Barre man is accused of building a gang of teenagers and sexually abusing them, Barre police said.

Three boys and a girl, all under the age of 16, allege James Manning, 21, coerced them into having sex with him so they could join his group, called Brotherhood Mafia, Barre police said.

Manning is accused of giving his 14- and 15-year-old victims a list mischievous acts to complete in Barre, including setting a fire at Central Vermont Catholic School and slashing tires at Eastman’s Auto, WPTZ-TV reports. Some of the alleged victims told police they were threatened if they didn’t perform sexual acts on him, police said.

Manning told police Brotherhood Mafia is more of a "family" than it is a gang and has ties to Burlington and Rutland.

He was arrested on six counts of sexual assault on a minor and was jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail. Prosecutors so far have charged him with two counts. It’s unclear if he was being represented by a lawyer.

He is expected to appear in court next week.