Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vermont Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Would-Be Fair Haven School Shooter

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 5:49 PM

Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court - POOL PHOTO: GLENN RUSSELL / BURLINGTON FREE PRESS
  • Pool Photo: Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press
  • Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court
The Vermont Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a teenager accused of planning a massacre at Fair Haven Union High School, saying there is not enough evidence to justify holding him without bail.

The ruling could lead to Jack Sawyer, 18, being released from prison while he awaits trial. Further, it may indicate that prosecutors will struggle to prove their high-profile case against him.

The ruling was handed down even as Gov. Phil Scott signed historic gun-control legislation that was largely inspired by Sawyer's February arrest.

Defense attorneys representing Sawyer, who authorities say planned a Parkland, Fla.-style shooting, have argued that there is not enough evidence to charge him with attempted murder. There is a big difference, they contend, between planning a crime and attempting to carry it out.

Prosecutors charged Sawyer with three counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted aggravated assault with a weapon.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan Testifies About Fentanyl to U.S. Senate Committee

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 5:17 PM

  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Christina Nolan
Vermont's top federal prosecutor appeared in front of a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Capitol Hill Wednesday to advocate for tougher penalties for people who deal fentanyl.

U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan told lawmakers that the state recorded a record 107 opiate-related overdoses in 2017, and two-thirds of the deaths were linked to fentanyl.

"We desperately want all 107 of those people back and, unfortunately, my colleagues across the country are experiencing similar tragedies," Nolan said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Call to ‘Make Vermont Great Again’ Dismays Some GOP Lawmakers

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 5:00 PM

  • Screenshot from Vermont GOP email
Some Republican Vermont lawmakers are distancing themselves from their own party's messaging.

The state GOP urged supporters in an email Wednesday to “MAKE VERMONT GREAT AGAIN!" — a riff on President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. Sent several hours before Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a package of gun reform bills, the email evoked the language of gun rights supporters, many of whom are furious with Scott. The message also used a color scheme associated with the pro-gun contingent — hunter orange and green.

“In recent years,” the email read, “our state has been co-opted by the liberal elite. Out-of-touch politicians have been hell bent on stripping away every right and freedom that Vermonters hold dear.”

But, it continued, "Now is not the time to surrender ... 2018 is a critical year for conservatism in Vermont. If we are ever going to return Vermont back to its former glory, we need to band together to toss out every last liberal elitist politician in Montpelier."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

As Scott Signs Historic Vermont Gun Laws, Protesters Call Him a ‘Traitor’

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 2:37 PM

Gov. Phil Scott, joined by his wife Diana McTeague Scott, signs the bills into law amid a mixture of applause and jeers. - JOSH KUCKENS
  • Josh Kuckens
  • Gov. Phil Scott, joined by his wife Diana McTeague Scott, signs the bills into law amid a mixture of applause and jeers.
Updated at 8:30 p.m.

Gun rights supporters shouted down Vermont’s Republican governor Wednesday as he signed a trio of gun-control bills into law, transforming the state from one of the most gun-friendly in the nation to one of the least.

Standing on the steps of the Statehouse, Gov. Phil Scott told a crowd of hundreds that it was incumbent upon the state to combat the epidemic of mass shootings that has swept the country in recent years.

“That’s why today we choose action over inaction — doing something over doing nothing — knowing there will always be more work to do,” he said. “But today we choose to try.”

Scott assured his audience that the legislation would not infringe upon Vermonters’ right to bear arms. “What it does not do is take away your guns,” he said. “Period.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Request to Halt F-35s Goes Forward Without Weinberger's Support

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 10:38 AM

An F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • An F-35
Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto "would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely," Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger's six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bike Share Launches in Burlington, Winooski and South Burlington

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 4:00 AM

The Cherry Street bike share hub - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • The Cherry Street bike share hub
Approximately 85 people have signed up as members of Vermont's first public bike-share system, which launched last week in Burlington, Winooski and South Burlington.

Those members, who bought either month- or yearlong passes, have access to about 80 green and blue bikes spread out at 15 hubs in the three towns, according to Katie Martin, the program and marketing manager for the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association, which helps oversee the bike program.

Riders racked up about 100 miles across 125 trips aboard the seven-speed bikes in the program's first five days, Martin said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2019 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation