Monday, July 18, 2016

McAllister’s Son Speaks Out in His Defense as Date for Second Trial Is Set

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 4:45 PM


Sen. Norm McAllister (left) walks through the Franklin County court building in St. Albans with his attorney, Brooks McArthur, on Monday. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Sen. Norm McAllister (left) walks through the Franklin County court building in St. Albans with his attorney, Brooks McArthur, on Monday.
As a judge set dates Monday for the second sexual assault trial for Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Franklin), the lawmaker’s son defended him in an interview on the courthouse steps.

At a brief status conference in the St. Albans courthouse, Superior Court Judge Robert Mello scheduled the trial for August 10-12. Jury selection will be held August 9 — the same day as the primary election in which Franklin County Republican voters will determine whether to nominate McAllister for reelection in November.

After the hearing, McAllister and his attorney, Brooks McArthur, departed. But McAllister’s son, Heath McAllister, lingered, expressing frustration over the charges against his father. In an interview with Seven Days on the courthouse steps, Heath McAllister said he wanted the truth told. 

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Lisman Gives Own Campaign for Governor $1.6 Million

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 6:38 PM

Five gubernatorial candidates appeared at a forum last month in Burlington. From left-right: Matt Dunne, Peter Galbraith, Bruce Lisman, Sue Minter and Phil Scott. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Five gubernatorial candidates appeared at a forum last month in Burlington. From left-right: Matt Dunne, Peter Galbraith, Bruce Lisman, Sue Minter and Phil Scott.
Updated July 18, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. with information from the campaign finance reports of candidates Kesha Ram and H. Brooke Paige.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman has sunk $1.6 million of his own money into his campaign, providing nearly all of its funding, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday.

Lisman, 69, of Shelburne, a retired Wall Street executive, has raised $286,561 from other contributors, he reported.

He has spent nearly all of the money, racking up $1,660,564 in expenses, leaving his campaign account with $189,493, the report shows. Lisman has been running television ads regularly since early spring.

An underdog in the Republican primary, Lisman has far outspent his opponent, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.

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Why Are Burlington Residents Sending Tax Payments to New York?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Burlington City Hall - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • Burlington City Hall
Burlington residents have been noticing something peculiar on their tax bills this year. The notices instruct them to send their money to New York — specifically, to a post office box in Albany. 

Lest conspiracy theories start to percolate, the clerk/treasurer's office has posted an explanation on its website. 

Until this year, Burlington has processed its tax payments in-house. But according to the announcement, city staff struggled to deposit the sudden influx of checks in a timely manner. 

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We Want to Hear Your Bernie Sanders Stories!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:30 PM

bernie-thoughts-1.jpg
The past 15 months have been a wild ride for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — and for his many passionate supporters. Thousands of Vermonters donated to his presidential campaign, attended his rallies and went door-to-door to persuade others to join his political revolution.

As the Democrats prepare for their nominating convention in Philadelphia on July 25 to 28, Seven Days is looking back at what Bernie has accomplished, and we need your help. Please take a few minutes to answer our (very short!) survey below by Sunday, July 17. We'll publish a collection of your responses in the paper and online.

[UPDATE: You really came through with your responses! Thanks for your participation — the form is now closed.]

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vermont’s GMO Law Doomed as House Passes Federal Bill

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 6:25 PM

JOHN JAMES
  • John James
Vermont’s GMO labeling law appears to be doomed to a short life. The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly Thursday for a federal bill that would preempt Vermont’s first-in-the-nation labeling law.

Gov. Peter Shumlin indicated Thursday that he expects President Barack Obama to sign the less-stringent federal bill into law.

Vermont’s law passed in 2014 but just took effect July 1. It requires that many products containing genetically modified organisms be labeled as such. Large food manufacturers opposed Vermont’s law and turned their support to a federal measure that gives them more leeway.

Under the federal bill, manufacturers will be able to use a QR code, which people scan with smartphones, to label products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has two years to determine rules surrounding what has to be labeled.

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'Incoherent' Rifle-Wielding Man Posed Dilemma for Police

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 6:25 PM

A cyclist identified as Malcolm Tanner at North Winooski and Riverside Avenues in May. - COURTESY: DAN BARNES
  • Courtesy: Dan Barnes
  • A cyclist identified as Malcolm Tanner at North Winooski and Riverside Avenues in May.
Burlington residents flooded police with phone calls in recent weeks to report a man was bicycling with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Officers who tried to talk to him found him to be "incoherent," and he insisted that laws do not apply to him, according to court documents.

"A man with mental health issues riding around the city on a bike with an unconcealed rifle and ammunition makes people nervous, because it should," Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said.

For weeks, Burlington police say, they were forced to leave Malcolm Tanner, 52, alone, because he did not seem to be breaking any laws. Wednesday, with the help of federal authorities, he was finally arrested.

Police had repeatedly approached Tanner, who was living in a homeless encampment in woods in the Old North End but does not appear to have any significant local ties.

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Moulton to Leave Commerce Agency for Vermont Technical College

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Patricia Moulton speaks to the Senate Finance Committee in April. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Patricia Moulton speaks to the Senate Finance Committee in April.
Patricia Moulton, secretary of the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development, is leaving that job in September to become the interim president of Vermont Technical College.

Moulton will be the second of two administration officials who oversaw the controversial EB-5 economic development program to leave their jobs. Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, announced in March she would resign in June. Donegan has been replaced by deputy commissioner Michael Pieciak.

The two state departments oversee Vermont’s EB-5 Regional Center. The center has been at the center of controversy since allegations made in April by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Jay Peak developers Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger misused money invested for EB-5 projects.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is not seeking reelection, will have a replacement for Moulton before she leaves, spokesman Scott Coriell said. 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rally Will Promote Universal Background Checks on Gun Sales

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM

DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
A group of Vermont politicians is setting the stage to push anew for legislation that would mandate universal background checks on gun purchases.

They’re planning to rally August 4 on the steps of the Statehouse, said Senate Majority Leader Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden). He said that if he’s reelected this fall, he will introduce a bill next year to require universal background checks.

Democratic candidates for governor — Sue Minter, Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith — have said they’ll attend, Baruth said. So have the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor: Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden), Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) and House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown), according to Baruth.

The rally is an indication that the debate over gun control — long considered off-limits in hunting-friendly Vermont — is shifting after a run of mass shootings across the country. Any legislation will likely face heavy opposition, however, and the issue is likely to come up in this year’s elections.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sanders Supporters Grieving After Clinton Endorsement

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 7:27 PM

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaign together Tuesday morning in Portsmouth, N.H. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaign together Tuesday morning in Portsmouth, N.H.
Shyla Nelson stood near the stage Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H., as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) used the words she hoped never to hear: He was endorsing rival Hillary Clinton for president.

“I’m grieving,” Nelson said hours later after returning home to Norwich. “It’s fair to say it’s not what we, Bernie supporters, wanted.”

As a strident Sanders supporter and Vermont delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Nelson had held out hope against all odds that Sanders would continue to pursue the nomination at the convention later this month in Philadelphia.

“We could have headed to Philadelphia with a contested convention,” Nelson said. “Neither candidate has the official threshold of pledged delegates.”

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Kim Fountain to Leave Pride Center of Vermont

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 3:16 PM

Kim Fountain - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Kim Fountain
Pride Center of Vermont executive director Kim Fountain will step down in September after five years on the job.

Fountain, the subject of a recent profile in Seven Days, announced in an email Tuesday that she’s taken a new job as chief operating officer at the Center on Halsted in Chicago.

According to its website, the center is the “Midwest’s most comprehensive community center” serving LGBTQ people.

In Vermont, many credit the 48-year-old Fountain with revitalizing the Pride Center, which was struggling financially at the time of her arrival. In recent months, after several tragic local and national events involving LGBTQ people, Fountain became a de facto spokesperson for the community.

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