Monday, December 5, 2016

Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents March on TD Bank in Montpelier

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 5:54 PM

Protestors urging divestment from TD Bank - RACHEL JONES
  • Rachel Jones
  • Protestors urging divestment from TD Bank
The Army Corps of Engineers announced on Sunday a decision that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allied opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline consider a major victory.  The corps said that it would deny pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners the easement necessary for pipeline construction under the Missouri River.

Despite that, more than 200 people marched in Montpelier Monday morning to show solidarity with DAPL opponents and to demand that TD Bank "withdraw its financial support from the DAPL." Organizers said that the action was a response to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's call for national and global shows of solidarity.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Harbor Place, Motel for the Homeless, Can Stay in Shelburne

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM

  • matthew thorsen
  • Harbor Place
Harbor Place, which provides temporary lodging for homeless people, can continue operating in Shelburne, the town's development review board ruled Wednesday.

Champlain Housing Trust, a nonprofit affordable housing organization that operates the facility, had been embroiled in a year-long dispute with Joe Colangelo, the town manager and zoning administrator. The spat began in October 2015 when Colangelo sent the organization a "notice of violation," claiming that Harbor Place was not a motel and therefore violated town zoning regulations. Residents living near the small complex on Shelburne Road had complained to the town.

On Wednesday, the town's development review board voted 4 to 2 in CHT's favor, concluding that Harbor Place is indeed a motel — though one that caters to homeless people.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Winooski Plans Push for ‘Sanctuary City’ Designation

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 1:23 PM

  • FIle: matthew thorsen
  • Winooski
City councilors are considering making Winooski a sanctuary city.

The Onion City would put on paper its practice of not asking residents about immigration status while “providing municipal services or in the course of law enforcement,” according to a city council resolution. The resolution describes the city as Vermont’s “most diverse community.”

Councilors on Monday evening will discuss and possibly vote on the resolution, which would set in motion the research and development of specific policy, Mayor Seth Leonard said.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Haunted by Shooting, State’s Attorney to Accept Heroism Award

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 11:25 AM

  • Scott WIlliams
Originally published at 9:53 a.m.

When Scott Williams steps up to accept a Carnegie Hero Fund Commission medal on Monday morning at the Statehouse in Montpelier, he will appreciate the gesture and be grateful for the acknowledgement. But make no mistake, the 52-year-old Navy veteran will be incredibly uneasy.

“I didn’t save Lara,” he said.

The Carnegie medal will recognize Williams for what he did do on a Friday afternoon in August 2015.

Jody Herring, a 40-year-old Barre woman who’d lost custody of her 9-year-old daughter, allegedly laid in wait in the parking lot of a Barre state office building and gunned down state social worker Lara Sobel, 48. Earlier, Herring allegedly killed three family members in Berlin.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Emergency Landing Practice Led to Lake Champlain Island Crash

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 5:32 PM

The crashed Piper PA-11 on the Savage Island runway - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • The crashed Piper PA-11 on the Savage Island runway
The small-plane crash on Savage Island involving two Vermont National Guard airmen in September happened as the pilot practiced an emergency landing, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

He idled the plane at an altitude of 450 feet to “simulate an engine failure,” but then experienced aerodynamic stall about 15 to 20 feet above the ground before hitting the private island “nose low and left wing down,” the NTSB’s “factual report” recounts. The pilot reported “that he misjudged the wind speed and did not realize he was completing the simulated training maneuver with a tailwind.”

The pilot and a passenger in the back seat were uninjured. The report indicates neither occupant was administered a toxicology test. The Piper PA-11 plane, built in 1947, had substantial damage.

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Leahy Takes Appropriations Post, Sanders Joins Dem Leadership

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy - FILE: CALEB KENNA
  • File: Caleb Kenna
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
An earlier version of this story was first posted at 9:50 a.m.

When president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, Vermont’s two U.S. senators will play new roles in the opposition.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday morning that he will vacate his position as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to serve as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Hours later, the Senate Democratic caucus named Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to a party leadership post — chair of outreach — and reappointed him ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Both developments were striking, but for different reasons.

Leahy has served as the top Democrat on Judiciary since 1997, when then-senator Joe Biden relinquished the role. He turned down an opportunity to chair Appropriations in December 2012 when the late Hawaiian senator Daniel Inouye’s death made him the most senior member of the Senate. The position went, instead, to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who is now retiring.

At the time, Leahy explained that with Democrats in the majority and President Barack Obama in the White House, he would be able to represent Vermonters best with the Judiciary gavel. In a statement Wednesday, the Vermont senator said that Trump’s election had changed that calculus.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Senate Democrats Nominate Tim Ashe for President Pro Tempore

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:11 PM

Sen. Tim Ashe, center, on Monday at a caucus of Senate Democrats - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Tim Ashe, center, on Monday at a caucus of Senate Democrats
Updated November 15, 2016, at 12:14 a.m.

Vermont’s Senate Democratic caucus unanimously nominated Sen. Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) to serve as president pro tempore Monday evening, all but ensuring his election in January as the next leader of the state Senate.

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Media Note: Four Reporters, Producers Leaving WCAX

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 4:20 PM

Gina Bullard, center, with Tyler Dumont and Gary Sadowsky - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Gina Bullard, center, with Tyler Dumont and Gary Sadowsky
WCAX-TV is losing some of its top talent, according to news director Anson Tebbetts.

The departures include morning show host Gina Bullard, reporter Alex Apple, reporter Eliza Larson and producer Kristen Tripodi. According to Tebbetts, all the departures are voluntary and all of the positions will be filled.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

A Week After Election, Scott to Travel to Florida for RGA Retreat

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 6:43 PM

Governor-elect Phil Scott - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Governor-elect Phil Scott
Through much of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott's gubernatorial campaign, Democrats tried to tag him as a tool of the Republican Governors Association.

The Washington, D.C., party organization, after all, spent more than $3 million on television advertisements selling his candidacy and knocking his Democratic rival, Sue Minter. Less than two weeks before the election, corporate lobbyists affiliated with the RGA held an $18,000 fundraiser for Scott's campaign in Washington.

Minter and the Vermont Democratic Party repeatedly noted that the RGA's top donor this year has been Koch Industries, owned by billionaire bogeymen Charles and David Koch.

The attacks clearly fell short (perhaps, in part, because Minter herself benefited from more than $1.4 million worth of Democratic Governors Association advertising). Scott defeated Minter on Tuesday by more than 8 percentage points.

Now, the governor-elect is preparing for his first out-of-state trip since winning the election: to an RGA conference in Orlando, Fla. According to Scott spokesman Ethan Latour, Scott will take part in a two-day retreat next Tuesday and Wednesday with fellow Republican governors at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resort.

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The Numbers: Scott Nabs Decisive Win, But Voters' Message Mixed

Posted By and on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 12:31 PM

  • Andrea Suozzo
Speaking Wednesday in the foyer of the Vermont Statehouse, Republican governor-elect Phil Scott called his 8.6 percentage point victory over Democrat Sue Minter a "mandate" for his agenda of fiscal moderation.

There can be no doubt that Scott won a mandate to govern. Unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office show that he defeated Minter by a resounding 27,555 votes — or 52 to 43.4 percent. A town-by-town analysis conducted by Seven Days demonstrates that his victory cut across nearly every corner of the state: He won 11 out of 14 counties and 193 of 246 towns and cities.

But the message from the electorate appears more nuanced than Scott would have it. The same voters who sent a moderate conservative to the governor's office also dispatched a liberal activist, Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden), to the lieutenant governor's office — and wholeheartedly embraced the rest of the Democratic slate. In the legislature, Democrats held on to their near-supermajority status in the Vermont House and picked up two additional seats in the Vermont Senate, leaving Republicans with just seven out of 30 positions in the upper chamber.

If anything, the results of the 2016 election demonstrate that Vermonters, as always, are perfectly willing to split their tickets.

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