Wednesday January 30, 2013

Bennington looking for sales tax approval

BENNINGTON (AP) -- Town officials in Bennington, Vt., are supporting a measure that would allow the town to raise about $1 million annually through a local 1 percent sales tax.

Legislation to allow the tax has been introduced in the state Senate.

Town Manager Stuart Hurd said the town could benefit from the sales tax, which is currently limited to a small portion of municipalities.

He said the additional revenue could help reduce the local property tax burden and help complete additional infrastructure work.

Hurd said $136 million was collected by the state in sales tax in Bennington alone. A 1 percent local option sales tax would generate an additional $1.36 million in revenue, of which $952,000 would go to the town.

Vermont wardens
say trophy buck
taken out of season

STAMFORD (AP) -- Vermont game wardens say the biggest buck shot in the state in more than 20 years was shot a day after the close of the November rifle hunting season.

Wardens say they received a tip that 47-year-old Jim Smith, of Stamford, was seen removing the 10-point buck from the woods on Nov. 26. The 2012 rifle deer hunting season ended Nov. 25.

Last month Smith told wardens he’d taken the deer believing the season was still open.

Smith was charged with taking deer in closed season.

Curtis Smiley of the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club says the buck was one of the largest deer killed in the state in more than 20 years. It had a score of more than 165 on the Boone and Crockett antler scoring system.

Northeast Kingdom gets scenic byway

EAST BURKE (AP) -- Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom now has a designated scenic byway.

State officials have approved the 51-mile Northeast Kingdom Byway Main Corridor.

It starts in St. Johnsbury and extends north through Lyndonville, East Burke, Westmore, West Charleston, Derby, and ends in Newport.

David Snedeker, the planning manager for the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, says the new byway designation is an excellent way to promote the area and build on tourism.

Vt. adjutant general candidate withdraws

MONTPELIER (AP) -- One of three candidates vying to become Vermont’s next adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard has withdrawn from the race.

Former Army Guard Brig. Gen. Jonathan Farnham says an anonymous letter being circulated has become a significant distraction to the Legislature and Guard.

Air Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Cray, of Essex Junction and Col. Darryl Ducharme are still in the race.

Farnham wrote to legislative leaders on Monday saying the untrue allegations in the letter raised concerns about how he and other Guard officers handled a personnel-related complaint. Because of Guard privacy rules he can’t discuss the concerns.

The Legislature will choose the next adjutant general on Feb. 21 to succeed Maj. Gen. Thomas Drew, who is not seeking re-election.

Delta to restart direct Burlington-Atlanta flights

BURLINGTON (AP) -- Delta Air Lines is planning to restart direct flights between Vermont’s Burlington International Airport and Atlanta after a nearly four-year absence.

Starting in June, a flight will leave Burlington at 7:15 a.m. and arrive in Atlanta at about 9:45 a.m. The flight from Atlanta will leave at 8:30 p.m. and land in Burlington at about 11 p.m.

The first flight is scheduled for the evening of June 6.

Mayor Miro Weinberger said the airport received a grant last year to help provide service and minimize its risk for the first year of the connection.

A Delta spokeswoman said the previous route was stopped in October 2009 because there wasn’t enough demand in the market. She said that has since changed.

Vt. man denies horse cruelty charge

SHELBURNE (AP) -- A Shelburne man has pleaded not guilty to one count of animal cruelty after three horses were seized from his home.

Sixty-three-year-old George Wilson, a former newsman at WCAX-TV in South Burlington, says authorities overreacted and he plans to contest the charge.

A stallion and two mares are being cared for at Spring Hill Horse Rescue in Clarendon after officials said the horses were found in small, dark stalls, standing in manure and surrounded by the remains of deceased horses.

A judge on Tuesday dropped a charge against Wilson’s wife, 64-four-year-old Ann Gilbreth, saying he could not find probable cause because the police affidavit did not show that she also owned the horses.