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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Vermont Legislators Wary After Trump Signs Pipeline Orders

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 9:09 PM

Luke Martland, director of the Office of Legislative Council, testifies before the House Energy and Technology Committee Tuesday. - KEVIN MCCALLUM
  • Kevin McCallum
  • Luke Martland, director of the Office of Legislative Council, testifies before the House Energy and Technology Committee Tuesday.
President Donald Trump’s two recent executive orders aimed at speeding up the construction of oil and gas pipelines have raised concerns among Vermont legislators who are considering a ban on such projects.

The orders, signed April 10, will make it easier for companies to build oil and gas pipeline projects, and harder for states to use the federal Clean Water Act to block them.

Meanwhile, local environmental groups want to see Vermont take bolder action to address climate change, including by restricting the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.

The House Energy and Technology Committee is considering three bills that would do just that. H.51 would outright ban new fossil fuel infrastructure; H.175 would limit the use of eminent domain for pipeline projects; and H.214 would require the Public Utility Commission to consider potential fuel leaks in groundwater when approving new natural gas facilities.

A public hearing on the three bills is scheduled for April 23.

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One Dead After Shootout in Burlington's Old North End

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 7:37 PM

Police interview witnesses on North Willard Street. - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Police interview witnesses on North Willard Street.
A 23-year-old man was killed and another man was injured during a Tuesday afternoon shootout in Burlington's Old North End.

The two men shot each other in the driveway of a North Willard Street home, police said in a press release. Benzel Hampton was shot in the head and died. The other man, whom Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo did not identify, was also shot but is expected to survive.

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Middlebury College Bristles Over Planned Forum Featuring Polish Conservative

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 5:38 PM

McCardell Bicentennial Hall - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • McCardell Bicentennial Hall
Update: On Wednesday morning, Middlebury College canceled Legutko's talk.

More than 300 students and faculty at Middlebury College have signed a letter protesting a lecture scheduled for Wednesday by conservative Polish politician, philosopher and writer Ryszard Legutko.

Legutko's writings suggest that contemporary liberalism shares a trait with the communist leadership under which he grew up: a tendency to stifle free speech.

It's been two years since angry protestors shut down a lecture on campus by ultraconservative author Charles Murray. A Middlebury professor, Allison Stanger, was injured by protesters as she helped Murray flee to a waiting car.
  • Middlebury College
  • Ryszard Legutko
This week's dustup has similar themes. 

An online protest letter brands Legutko a racist and a homophobe and asks the Middlebury Political Science Department and Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs not to sponsor the talk, set for 4:30 p.m. at the McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Bernie Sanders
Sanders Releases 10 Years of Income Tax Returns

Posted By on Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 8:31 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders - FILE: SOPHIE MACMILLAN
  • File: Sophie MacMillan
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders

Railing against income inequality has made Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a wealthy man.

Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, released 10 years of federal income tax returns Monday showing that their financial fortunes have soared along with the senator's political aspirations.

The returns show that the couple earned nearly $2.8 million in the three years since Sanders’ first presidential campaign catapulted him to national political prominence.

After years of earning less than $300,000, Sanders’ income shot up to $1,073,333 in 2016, mostly on the sale of his best-selling book Our Revolution.
The book was released in November 2016, after his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, lost the presidential election to Donald Trump.

The following year, Sanders earned slightly more, $1,131,925, again largely on royalties from the book’s publisher, Macmillan.

The income from royalties dropped off sharply last year, however, falling from $855,000 to $391,000. That figure could very well bounce back, given that Sanders’ followup book, Where We Go From Here, was released by Macmillan in November.

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Weinberger: Migrants Welcome in Burlington if Trump Carries Out Plan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 7:37 PM

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking Monday - COURTNEY LAMDIN
  • Courtney Lamdin
  • Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking Monday
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the city would welcome migrants apprehended at the southern border if President Donald Trump makes good on his plan to send them to sanctuary cities.

Weinberger first announced his position Saturday afternoon following the president’s tweet Friday that he is "giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities," or municipalities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Weinberger has vowed to buck the Trump administration's immigration policies before, and on Monday, the mayor called the president's latest proposal “un-American.”

“Here in Burlington, we do not buy into, we do not support [Trump’s] very dark vision of immigrants that are attempting to come to this country to seek asylum,” Weinberger said at an afternoon news conference.

He said immigrants are often “fleeing very difficult situations” and have enriched Burlington’s community.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bernie Sanders
Sanders Takes On General Motors Near Shuttered Chevy Plant in Ohio

Posted By on Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 9:47 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at Lordstown High School on Sunday in Warren, Ohio - AP PHOTO/DAVID DERMER
  • AP Photo/David Dermer
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at Lordstown High School on Sunday in Warren, Ohio
In the shadow of an idled General Motors plant, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said that, as president, he would tear up the company’s federal contracts if it continued to outsource jobs.

“If entities like General Motors think that they can throw workers out on the street while they’re making millions in profits and then move to Mexico and pay people there starvation wages and then line up to get federal government contracts, well, they got another thing coming,” the senator said during a forum at Lordstown High School in Warren, Ohio.

Sanders issued the threat just miles from a GM facility that, until last month, employed more than 1,400 people assembling Chevy Cruze sedans. After the Lordstown plant powered down, President Donald Trump lashed out at GM, the United Automobile Workers and the union’s local president — setting off a fierce national debate over labor, trade, outsourcing and automation.

When Sanders came to town, he focused his ire squarely on the company, noting that it had taken tens of billions of dollars in government bailouts during the 2008 recession.

“Our job now is to tell them, whether they like it or not, they will be good corporate citizens,” he said.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bernie Sanders
Campaigning in Indiana, Sanders Rips Trump's 'Cheap' Rhetoric

Posted By on Sat, Apr 13, 2019 at 5:44 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning Saturday in Gary, Indiana - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning Saturday in Gary, Indiana
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn’t think much of George W. Bush. “His views were pretty different from mine,” Sanders said Saturday morning in Gary, Indiana. But during a campaign stop in this Upper Midwest city, the senator sounded a wistful note about the 43rd president.

“Do you remember what he did after 9/11? Does anyone remember?” he asked a few dozen community leaders at a downtown Gary convention center. “He went to a mosque. Do you remember that? He walked into a mosque to say that criminals, terrorists attacked the United States — not the Muslim community.”

But now, Sanders continued, “We have a president who, for cheap political gain, is trying to divide us up by the color of our skin, by where we were born, by our religion. My God.”

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Vermont Senate to Vote on Amending Slavery Clause in State Constitution

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 7:07 PM

The Senate Government Operations Committee - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • The Senate Government Operations Committee
The Vermont Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to clarify a ban on slavery and officially prohibit indentured servitude in the state.

The proposed change would replace a portion of Article 1, Chapter 1 of the constitution. The section banned slavery in 1777, but it has an exception allowing minors to be indentured servants for the payment of debts.

“Although the original constitution did prohibit slavery, it did not prohibit indentured servitude,” Vermont Law School professor and constitutional scholar Peter Teachout told the Senate Government Operations Committee on Friday.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Saint-Gobain to Pay Millions for Water Lines in Bennington

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 4:32 PM

Gov. Phil Scott with (from left) Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke and Bennington County Senators Dick Sears and Brian Campion. - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Gov. Phil Scott with (from left) Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke and Bennington County Senators Dick Sears and Brian Campion.
Vermont officials announced a deal Wednesday that will bring clean water to hundreds of Bennington-area homes that have had their wells poisoned by perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA.

The toxins in the groundwater were discovered in early 2016 in private drinking wells near a defunct manufacturing plant once operated by the company Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday that the company has agreed to pay millions of dollars to extend municipal water lines to 245 homes on the east side of Bennington.

State taxpayers will pay about $4.7 million to extend municipal water lines up sparsely populated roads on the outskirts of town, officials said, but Saint-Gobain’s contribution could be as much as $20 million.

Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke said the company has also agreed to pay for ongoing PFOA monitoring in Bennington-area drinking water and to pay for treatment systems and new wells for about 20 residences where municipal water lines won’t reach.

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Man's Death Following Fight With Burlington Cop Ruled Homicide

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 2:59 PM

Burlington police officer Cory Campbell - BURLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Burlington Police Department
  • Burlington police officer Cory Campbell
Updated at 4:48 p.m.

The March death of a 54-year-old man who'd been in a fistfight with a Burlington cop was a homicide, officials said Wednesday.

Vermont State Police are still investigating the encounter between Douglas Kilburn and Burlington police officer Cory Campbell, but a death certificate released Wednesday lists "skull fractures due to blunt impact" as a contributor to Kilburn's death.

Details about the March 11 altercation are limited to what various police groups have asserted in press releases and a description Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo gave at a Wednesday press conference.

According to state police, Kilburn assaulted Campbell in the parking lot outside of the University of Vermont Medical Center "before the officer was able to gain control of the suspect." Kilburn was treated at UVM Medical Center for injuries and released on March 12.

He was found dead at his New North End apartment two days later.

While the death was classified as a homicide, Vermont Chief Medical Examiner Steven Shapiro was unable to determine how, precisely, Kilburn died. He instead listed multiple "contributing causes" including cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity and the skull fractures.

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