Thursday December 27, 2012

Leftist mag puts Sanders, Shumlin on honor roll

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Two Vermont elected officials have been named to The Nation magazine’s 2012 progressive honor roll.

Sen. Bernie Sanders was chosen by the left-leaning weekly as its most-valuable progressive. The magazine cites Sanders for his defense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid against cut being talked about in Washington.

Gov. Peter Shumlin gets The Nation’s nod as the most valuable governor in the country. It cites Shumlin’s work on budget issues, and his support for a single-payer health care system in Vermont.

Vermont farmers travel to El Salvador

RICHMOND (AP) -- Several Vermont farmers are planning to travel to El Salvador in the coming months to share their knowledge with farmers in that Central American country.

A partnership between the Northeast Organic Farming Association and Winrock International is hosting the trips. Their purpose is to help Salvadoran farmers learn about organic farming and marketing and improved agricultural practices.

The first three volunteers --Charles Mitchell, Tom Honigford, and Patrick Sullivan-- will arrive in San Salvador in mid-January. The Vermonters say they hope to both teach and learn during their trip.


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Funding for the program comes from the United States Agency for International Development through the Food for Peace program under the US Farm Bill.

Vt. bridge destroyed by Irene is reopened

QUECHEE (AP) -- The covered bridge that forms a key link in and out of the Vermont village of Quechee is being reopened, 16 months after it was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene.

Motorists are expected to begin being able to use the Quechee Covered Bridge by this Saturday.

There’s still some more work to do on it, though, so it will remain a construction site. Included in what remains is replacing the cedar shake roof of the covered bridge.

The span was swept away when the normally placid Ottauquechee River became a raging torrent during the storm that swept Vermont on Aug. 28, 2011.

N.H.’s winter turkey survey starts Jan. 1

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking for the public’s help tracking turkeys this winter.

Wild turkeys disappeared from the state in the mid-1800s due to overhunting and extensive land clearing, but since Fish and Game reintroduced them starting with 25 turkeys in 1975, the population has grown to about 45,000.

The department is asking anyone who spots a turkey flock from Jan. 1 through March 31 to fill out a survey on the department’s website.

Officials say they’re particularly interested in hearing from people in the north country, along the Connecticut River and throughout Cheshire County -- areas where fewer than 25 flocks were reported last winter.

Last winter, survey respondents reported 1,180 flocks totaling nearly 20,300 turkeys from every corner of the state.

Curious George goes skiing at N.H. festival

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. (AP) -- A winter family festival featuring Curious George on the slopes will be held at the Waterville Valley Ski Resort.

The event on Saturday, Jan. 19, will include a banana pancake breakfast at T-Bars Restaurant, followed by a courtyard procession with George, The Man with the Yellow Hat and their new friend, Bruce the Moose, Waterville Valley’s newest mascot.

George plans to go skiing later in the day.

Bill would make
New Hampshire follow local building rules

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A proposed bill in the New Hampshire Legislature would require state and local governments to follow the same rules as private developers of new buildings.

When a private business wants to build something, it must follow rules on things ranging from building heights to the size of the parking lot. But the state, cities, towns and school districts currently are exempt from such rules.

Rep. Katherine Rogers, a Concord Democrat, says she’s pushing the bill because she doesn’t think it’s fair to impose rules on private parties that don’t also apply to government agencies.

But not everyone sees an urgent need. Todd Selig, town administrator in Durham, says the town and University of New Hampshire have generally worked well together when reviewing projects.

N.H. scandal has schools checking practices

WILTON, N.H. (AP) -- In the months following this year’s scandal over allegedly abusive spending practices in one New Hampshire school district, other schools have been reviewing their own auditing practices.

Superintendent Trevor Ebel of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District resigned after an audit found he had used a district credit card to pay for thousands of dollars’ worth of restaurant meals, alcohol, limo rides and expensive hotel rooms at out of state education conferences.

Since then, other southern New Hampshire districts have been reviewing their audit practices to make sure no similar activities are being missed.

Robert Hallowell, chairman of the Nashua Board of Education, says the best school boards can do is try to hire smart, honest people who will catch and report any improper spending.