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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lawsuit: Nectar's Negligence Caused 'Wild West'-Style Shooting

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 7:16 PM

  • File photo: Matthew Thorsen
  • Nectar's
Actions by employees of Nectar's led to the shooting of an innocent bystander outside the popular Burlington nightclub last February, attorneys for the victim claim in a civil lawsuit filed against the club Wednesday.

They contend that Nectar's employees acted in a "profoundly irresponsible" and "outrageous" manner when they returned a handgun they'd seized during a dispute between bar patrons and told Rashad Nashid to "take it outside."

He did, and, according to police, he and another man got into a fight, then drew guns. Nashid allegedly shot bystander Chelsi Parker, 27, who police said was nearly killed.

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Scott Proposes a Paid Family Leave Partnership With New Hampshire

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:19 PM

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, right, with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, right, with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
A proposal by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu would provide paid family leave for employees of both states through an insurance system that would also be open to private businesses and individuals who opt to join.

The Republican governors presented their plan Wednesday at the Schilling Beer Company in Littleton, N.H.

The proposal would allow covered employees to take up to six weeks of paid family leave while receiving 60 percent of their usual salaries. Businesses enrolling their entire staff would get a discount on premiums, Scott said, but the insurance would be available on an employee-by-employee basis as well. Workers at businesses that don’t opt in to the program could sign up individually, Scott said.

Last year, Scott vetoed a bill to create a family leave program because it was not optional, and it would have been funded by a payroll tax on Vermont businesses.

“I said last year ... that I share the goal of providing this type of benefit,” Scott said in a taproom overlooking the icy Ammonoosuc River. “I just thought we should be doing it on a volunteer basis, but I didn’t have a plan together at that point. Now we have a plan, and we have details as well.”

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Montpeculiar: Rep. Dylan Giambatista Spiffs Up Vermont's State Song

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Rep. Dylan Giambatista - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rep. Dylan Giambatista
Politics has long been a cornerstone of punk rock, from the Sex Pistols to Anti-Flag, the Clash to Minor Threat, Propagandhi to NOFX. Since practically the dawn of the genre, punk bands driven by idealism and power chords have raged against the machine. Rare, however, is to see a punk rocker rage within the machine. Enter Vermont State Rep. Dylan Giambatista (D-Essex).

Prior to becoming a politician, Giambatista was best known as an original member of the Vermont punk band Rough Francis. He was the group's lead guitarist from its 2008 formation until 2013. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2016.

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Welch Named to House Intel Committee, Will Take Part in Trump-Russia Probe

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 2:17 PM

Rep. Peter Welch - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Rep. Peter Welch
Updated at 5:15 p.m.

Vermont's sole delegate to the U.S. House is poised to play a significant role in a revived congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday named Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The panel oversees the nation's 17 intelligence entities, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is widely expected to reopen a shuttered probe of alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

Welch said Wednesday that he had asked Pelosi for the appointment because he was “extremely concerned about the breakdown of this committee from its traditional, vital function.” He criticized its last chair, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), for politicizing the panel and using it to defend the president against what Welch sees as legitimate inquiries.

“In the past two years, what we’ve seen is that the committee has lost its way,” Welch said. “It really became, under Mr. Nunes, basically a political arm of the Trump administration.”

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Turning Point Center Celebrates Its New Digs in Burlington

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 4:16 PM

Gary De Carolis and Mayor Miro Weinberger - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Gary De Carolis and Mayor Miro Weinberger
The Turning Point Center of Chittenden County unveiled its permanent new space Tuesday with plenty of fanfare during a celebratory open house.

The nonprofit organization provides support for those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. It's in the process of purchasing the building, at the intersection of King Street and South Winooski Avenue, from the Champlain Housing Trust for $850,000, according to the center's executive director, Gary De Carolis.

It's about 60 percent larger than the former location above Phoenix Books on Bank Street, De Carolis said. The center has already completed $350,000 worth of renovations, building an art studio, spaces for yoga and meetings, offices, and a kitchen. Turning Point's 14 staff and roughly 30 volunteers moved into the space last month.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Madelyn Linsenmeir to Cops in Booking Video: 'I'm Very Ill Right Now'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 7:46 PM

Madelyn Linsenmeir, center, on September 29, 2018 - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Madelyn Linsenmeir, center, on September 29, 2018
Video of the booking room at the Springfield, Mass., police department on September 29 captured a distressed Madelyn Linsenmeir asking for water and medical care as officers methodically went through the booking routine and ignored her requests.

Several days later, on October 7, the Vermont woman died at a Massachusetts hospital. She'd battled drug addiction for years.

A poignant obituary for Linsenmeir, written by her sister Kate O'Neill, went viral. O'Neill wrote that the family hoped her sister's story would help others let go of the stigma related to addiction. (After it ran, Seven Days hired O'Neill for a special reporting project on the ongoing opiate crisis.)

Linsenmeir's family members are also looking for answers about their loved one's final days. The family, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, sued the Springfield PD in November, seeking video and other information related to her arrest.

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White Nationalist Crashes Press Conference on Racial Harassment of Kiah Morris

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 3:52 PM

  • Derek Brouwer
  • Kiah Morris
Updated 8:14 p.m.

A self-proclaimed white nationalist accused of harassing former state representative Kiah Morris strode into the Congregation Beth El synagogue in Bennington during a press conference held Monday to announce the findings of a state probe into alleged racist acts against the ex-lawmaker.

Morris, a Bennington Democrat who is African American, cited years of racial harassment when she resigned from her position last fall before the end of her term.

The press conference went off the rails when Bennington resident Max Misch entered the room as Morris answered a television reporter's question about the AG's probe. Misch had been subject to a yearlong protective order in 2016 prohibiting him from contacting Morris over a series of racist tweets, messages and online comments he aimed at her.

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Hartnett Withdraws From Burlington City Council Race

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 11:24 AM

  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Dave Hartnett
Longtime Burlington City Councilor Dave Hartnett has withdrawn from the race for the North District seat he currently occupies.

The New North End Democrat said he made the decision last week due to a series of family obligations, which he refused to specify. The announcement comes as a surprise: The eight-year incumbent had already submitted his petition for reelection and earned the Democratic endorsement at the party caucus last month.

The native Burlingtonian said he notified Mayor Miro Weinberger and Democratic Party leadership on Friday. "I could run and win, but it was about whether I could serve with 110 percent," Hartnett said.

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bagpipes, Speeches and Drive-By Protesters Mark the Raising of New Trump Flag

Posted By on Sat, Jan 12, 2019 at 7:27 PM

Gus Klein raising Trump campaign flag - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Gus Klein raising Trump campaign flag
Gus Klein strode through the crowd assembled in his New North End front yard Saturday, followed by a bagpiper in a MAGA hat. Klein proudly carried a new Donald Trump sign to a flagpole that had duct tape around it.

The charred, tattered remains of Klein’s original “Trump 2020” flag were still hanging atop the pole. It had been burned one November night by two girls, ages 14 and 15.

Klein attached the desecrated flag’s still-creased replacement to the pole and hoisted it up. Several people who spoke Saturday at Klein's North Avenue home called that a courageous act of defiance. They said they regarded the vandalism as a demonstration of the intolerance and un-American impulses of Trump’s opponents.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

HOPE Works Director Resigns One Week After Entire Staff Quit

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 6:17 PM

  • Screenshot
Cathleen Barkley announced Friday that she'll resign as the executive director of HOPE Works, a Burlington nonprofit that supports victims of sexual violence. The decision came one week after Barkley's entire staff quit in protest of her leadership.

The organization, which announced the decision in a press release, said the board had hired four interim employees who will stay on for 90 days.

In mid-December, the organization's eight staff members issued a 39-page list of grievances and ultimately went on a three-week strike before resigning en masse on January 4. One of their demands was the removal of Barkley.

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