Vermont law enforcement agencies to see new bias-free policy

COLCHESTER >> Starting July 1, Vermont law enforcement agencies are going to be operating under a new bias-free policing policy designed to consolidate existing sets of guidelines into a single policy.

The creation of the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy was mandated by the Legislature.

The policy was established by a number of social justice groups whose members worked with the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. It was motivated in part by the 2015 detention of a Mexican citizen who was a passenger in a car pulled over for a routine traffic stop.

"What we ended up with is a policy that was a little bit clearer on when officers could and couldn't make inquiries about immigration status and there is a little bit of clarity offered in regards to when officers can participate in federal programs," said Council Executive Director Rick Gauthier.

Will Lambek, of the group Migrant Justice, said the policy should prevent cases like the Mexican citizen who was detained in 2015.

"The role of Vermont law enforcement is to administer Vermont justice," Lambek said.

Hinesburg Democratic Rep. Bill Lippert was a lead sponsor of the legislation that created the impartial policing policy.

"I frankly felt like they arrived at a pretty good compromise at this point, with a commitment to continue to look at the issues," he said.


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Lippert said the policy is part of a broader effort to address police bias.

"There's a lot more that needs to happen and I think at the same time it's fair to recognize that there are steps being taken in Vermont law enforcement, particularly state police, I would say, and some local," he said.

Vermont sets June 23 as Ethan Allen Day

BURLINGTON >> Gov. Peter Shumlin has proclaimed June 23 Ethan Allen Day in Vermont, in honor of one of the state's founding fathers.

On June 23, 1775, the Continental Congress recognized Allen for leading the Green Mountain Boys in capturing Fort Ticonderoga from the British.

The Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington will be hosting activities from Thursday through Sunday, June 26, including a lecture, a picnic, and military reenactments.

Vermont-based customs sector seizes most pot on north border

SWANTON >> The sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection based in Swanton, Vermont, seized five times more marijuana than any other sector covering the Canadian border in the last fiscal year.

Swanton — which operates four border crossing stations in Vermont and four in New York — seized 502 pounds of marijuana in the federal fiscal year running from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015.

The only other sector approaching that amount is based in Blaine, Washington, which seized just under 100 pounds of pot. The other sectors combined, including Blaine, seized 152 pounds.

Customs does not publish statistics on heroin seizures, but agency spokesman Steve Sapp said Swanton sector seized 30 pounds in 2014 and one pound in 2015.

EPA sets Lake Champlain final phosphorous reduction figures

MONTPELIER >> The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released the final phosphorus reduction goals to help clean up Lake Champlain.

The mandates call for the amount of phosphorous to be reduced by 33.7 percent in the lake and 64.3 percent in Missisquoi Bay.

The reductions for 12 segments of the lake range from a low of 11.6 percent in Shelburne Bay to the Missisquoi Bay requirement.

A similar draft proposal was released last summer.

The phosphorous reduction requirement is part of a broader effort to clean up Lake Champlain. The report said 82.8 percent of the pollution that reaches Missisquoi Bay is from agricultural sources.

The primary concern is runoff that carries pollutants such as phosphorus. Since 1990, phosphorus concentrations in several segments of the lake have continued to increase, causing problems that include toxic algae blooms.

The EPA had previously rejected a cleanup plan that Vermont had drafted. Last year, Vermont passed a clean water act in an effort to clean up the lake and in part to avoid the possibility the EPA would impose a solution that many felt would have been more expensive and less effective.

The Conservation Law Foundation said it was pleased with the EPA limits.

"We will now be turning our attention to making sure that the state puts in place pollution controls to achieve these limits and clean up the lake," said staff attorney Elena Mihaly, who said the state has three months to revise its implementation plan.

The state has 20 years to implement the plan.

Wildlife officials: Leave fawns alone, don't take them in

CONCORD, N.H. >>If you see a fawn alone in the coming weeks, keep your distance.

That's what New Hampshire wildlife officials are reminding people.

Deer will start giving birth around the state in the next few weeks. Each spring, many residents see fawns by themselves and worry if they are abandoned. Authorities say in most cases, the answer is no.

Adult deer can be easily detected by predators, they say, due to their scent and large size. Because of this, does will spend long periods of time away from their fawns to disassociate their scent from the fawn and keep them safe from predators.

Authorities say for the first month of life, the doe will only visit the fawn a few times a day to nurse quickly before leaving again, although usually not going too far.

Those who see a fawn or any other young wildlife and suspect it has been abandoned should contact the Fish and Game Department and make a report.

Residents should never take in wildlife, which can lead to their sickness and death. For example, deer fawns that have been fed cow's milk will develop severe diarrhea.

It's illegal to take in wildlife in New Hampshire unless you have rehabilitator credentials.

Officials ask public's help in reporting wild turkey broods

CONCORD, N.H. >> New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are asking the public to report sightings of wild turkey hens and their young turkeys.

The annual survey continues through Aug. 31.

Wildlife biologists say participants in 2015 reported a record 2,202 broods. The average hatch date last year was June 19.

Officials say they are particularly interested in getting reports from the northernmost counties of Coos, Carroll and Grafton.

Biologists say young turkeys are particularly sensitive to wool weather and rain. Those factors impact their health and the supply of insects the young turkeys feed on.

Fish and Game wildlife programs supervisor Kent Gustafson says the survey helps biologists gather information on turkey productivity, distribution, brood survival and nesting and hatching times.

Sightings can be reported online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016—Brood—Survey .

– The Associated Press