Wednesday November 16, 2011

Vt. state revenues continue above target

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont state revenues continue to come in at a slightly brisker pace than had been forecast.

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said Tuesday that October general fund revenues were about 4 percent higher than the state’s consulting economists had forecast in July.

So far this fiscal year that fund, which supports most functions of state government, has pulled in about $10 million more than the $384 million that had been expected.

Spaulding says it’s good news that the general fund is holding its own, but he says the margins by which it has been exceeding its monthly forecast are narrowing, and that it could dip into negative territory.

He says impacts from Tropical Storm Irene and the global economic slowdown continue to be a worry.

Vt. woman wards off intruder with weapon

RUTLAND (AP) -- Rutland police say a woman warded off an intruder with gun shots.

The homeowner -- 49-year-old Patricia Billings -- was uninjured. Police say the suspect had entered the home through a bedroom window on Tuesday morning. Billings, who was home at the time, fired three shots at him. It’s unknown if the suspect was injured.

Police say a small red vehicle was seen driving away.

Authorities are reminding Vermonters to call 911 if they think their home is being burglarized. They also recommend securing homes with high-security locks and quality doors and window hardware and to never open doors to strangers.

Ammo left on heater goes off in Vermont

FAIR HAVEN (AP) -- Police in the Vermont town of Fair Haven say no one was injured when ammunition being stored on a radiator got hot enough to go off.

Police say a possible fire was reported at a home on River Street on Friday and when authorities went to investigate, they found no fire.

Instead, they found that someone had left ammunition on top of a heater and that the heat had caused the ammo to go off.

Ammunition contains explosive charges which can fire when heated, and police say that’s what happened in this instance.

Police are urging people to store their guns and ammo safely -- preferably someplace cool.

Landlord charged with trespassing on property

BENNINGTON (AP) -- A Vermont landlord has pleaded not guilty to trespassing on her tenant’s property in which he was struck and threatened with a gun.

Fifty-year-old Rowena Bartmikionis of Pownal says she drove another man to Peter Palmer’s apartment in Bennington last month. She said the man, identified as Daniel Miller, wanted to speak to Palmer about money Palmer allegedly owed them.

Bartmikionis did not anticipate violence, even though she saw Miller assembling a gun.

She also pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence. She was released on conditions she not have contact with Miller or Palmer.

Miller has pleaded not guilty to a number of felony charges and is being held without bail.

Obama to talk jobs
in N.H. next week

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is making his first trip to New Hampshire in more than a year and a half.

The White House says Obama will be in Manchester next Tuesday to discuss his jobs bill, which remains largely stalled in Congress. No other details of the trip have been released.

Obama was last in the state in February 2010. Vice President Joe Biden has made several appearances, most recently last week when he stopped in Manchester and Concord.

UNH starts Nordic Ski Team scholarship fund

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) -- The University of New Hampshire has started up a Nordic Ski Team Scholarship Fund.

The fund was established by Peter Chudy, class of 1987. It will provide scholarships for UNH’s Nordic ski team.

The director of Intercollegiate Athletics, in consultation with the ski coordinator and head coach of the Nordic ski team, are responsible for the selection of scholarship recipients and for administering all expenditures from the fund.

The UNH ski season starts at the Bates Winter Carnival on Jan. 20, 2012, with alpine races originating from Sunday River and Nordic racing taking place at Black Mountain.

N.H. town interested in getting commuter rail

PLAISTOW, N.H. (AP) -- A southern New Hampshire community is working on building a commuter rail station by 2013 for travel to Massachusetts.

Timothy Moore, chairman of Plaistow’s Planning Board, has created a plan to complete the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority project. The Massachusetts Legislature would have to allow the MBTA to operate in New Hampshire.

The town is working on a letter of interest to send to consulting firms to do environmental analysis and updated ridership surveys.

Meeting to discuss N.H., Maine bridges

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is holding a public informational meeting to discuss the planned replacement of the U.S. Route 1 bridges between the state and Maine.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Eileen Dondero Foley Council Chambers in the Portsmouth Municipal Complex.

Included in the discussion will be the Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River jointly owned by New Hampshire and Maine; the Scott Avenue Bridge owned by Portsmouth; and the Kittery Approach Bridge over the Piscataqua River owned by Maine.

The U.S. Route 1 reconstruction begins approximately 400 feet west of the river crossing in Portsmouth near Memorial Park, and extends easterly over the bridges to approximately 150 feet onto the approach on Badger Island in Kittery, Maine.

Showdown may be brewing over Maine food ordinance

BLUE HILL, Maine (AP) -- A showdown is looming in Maine over several communities’ adoption of local food ordinances aimed at making small-scale farmers exempt from state and federal regulations if they sell foods they process directly to consumers.

Last week, the owner of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill received a civil notice for selling food and milk without state licenses. Supporters of Dan Brown say he was doing nothing wrong because Blue Hill is one of five towns that have adopted the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.

A demonstration is planned Friday outside the Blue Hill Town Hall. Brown’s supporters want the town to stand up to the state Department of Agriculture.

Portland, Maine, oil spill claims 2 birds

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- An oil spill at the Portland International Jetport has claimed two birds, the first wildlife deaths due to oiling in Maine in a decade.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says the rescued birds were taken to the Center for Wildlife in York, where they died over the weekend.

The DEP is considering whether to bring sanctions against the city of Portland. About 600 gallons of oil spilled Thursday after a valve malfunctioned in the airport’s terminal building.

Much of the oil went into the Fore River. The last time wildlife died in Maine because of oil was in 2001 in Brooks.