Monday April 29, 2013

Vermont utility expanding ‘cow power’ program statewide

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Customers of Vermont’s largest electric utility can now take advantage of the "Cow Power" program that generates power by using methane produced from cow manure to run generators.

GMP says the Vermont Public Service Board recently approved expanding the GMP Cow Power Program to the utility’s entire service territory.

Cow Power was first offered to customers in 2004.

The GMP Cow Power program currently includes 12 farms, and generates 16 million kilowatt-hours of power a year -- enough to completely power 2,200 average Vermont homes.

Customers who choose to be a part of the Cow Power program pay an extra 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Vt. walleye fishing season starts May 4

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says walleye fishing season is getting ready to start in much of the state.

The walleye season on most Vermont waters begins May 4 and will last through March 15, 2014.

In all waters of Vermont except Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, walleye and sauger have an 18-inch minimum length requirement and three-fish daily limit.

Anglers should check state regulations for Lake Carmi and Chittenden Reservoir. Connecticut River regulations are set by the state of New Hampshire.

Biologists say good walleye fishing opportunities occur each spring in Lake Champlain and its tributaries: the Missisquoi River, Lamoille River, Winooski River and Otter Creek.

Vermont police investigate maple syrup theft

MOUNT HOLLY (AP) -- Police are investigating the theft of maple syrup from a sugarhouse in Vermont.

State police said Sunday that someone stole about $500 worth of syrup from Papa John’s Sugar Shack in Mount Holly either Friday or Saturday.

Police say this is this second theft report at the sugarhouse since December.

Vt. to sell state buildings in St. Albans

ST. ALBANS (AP) -- The state of Vermont is planning to sell a state office building in St. Albans to a pharmaceutical company as part of broader plan to help revitalize the community’s downtown.

The 200 state workers in the city would be moved into leased space that would become part of the downtown redevelopment project.

Vermont lawmakers passed the bill authorizing the sale in hopes it will help trigger a two-fold bonus for St. Albans: allowing valuable employer Mylan Technologies to expand and helping the city to redevelop the downtown.

St. Albans City Manager Dominic Cloud said the plan is critical for the city and the region.

A study done for the city estimates pharmaceutical company Mylan Technologies would create an additional 100 manufacturing jobs.

Homemade bombs leave campus on edge at Keene State College

KEENE, N.H. (AP) -- A pair of homemade explosives that were found at Keene State College left the campus on edge, but police say they had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon attacks.

The remnants of bottle explosives were found on different days on campus this week, prompting two campus-wide alerts. Police say similar homemade chemical bombs were also found in March, but no arrests have been made.

Student Brett Lyskawa says the bomb remnants were found in a parking lot.

35 tons of fishing gear cleared from N.H. beaches

RYE, N.H. (AP) -- Nearly 35 tons of lobster traps and fishing gear have been cleared from New Hampshire beaches.

More than 75 fishermen were joined by a dozen volunteers Saturday to clean up fishing gear from beaches in Rye and Hampton.

New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen’s Association President Eric Anderson said the annual cleanup usually nets about 10 tons of traps and gear. He said this year’s event resulted in a lot more debris because there were a lot of storms during the winter months.

The cleanup is now in its 20th year. 

Spring thaw warnings on Mt Washington

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. (AP) -- Forest officials are strongly advising visitors to Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine to plan ahead and be prepared for the spring thaw.

The officials say conditions can change rapidly and having up-to-date information is vital to a safe and enjoyable outing. It’s recommended that visitors check avalanche advisories first.

Ice fall is an annual hazard that has injured and killed many visitors. Each fall and winter, large ice cliffs form in Tuckerman ravine. They come down in the spring, often in pieces larger than a car.

U.S. Forest Service snow rangers are on the job daily to determine avalanche hazards, promote safety, and assist visitors.

Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

BOSTON (AP) -- The candidates in the Massachusetts special election to replace U.S. Sen. John Kerry have been forced to walk a delicate balance as they court voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections.

They suspended campaign activities for roughly a week after the Boston Marathon bombings, which took place 15 days before the Republican and Democratic primaries. After resuming campaigning, they have largely avoided the site of the attack out of sensitivity for victims.

At least one candidate tweaked his campaign advertising to address the violence. Others are highlighting their national security credentials. And some are using the sudden focus on terrorism to shift the direction of the race.

It’s unclear how many voters are paying attention. State officials were already predicting a low turnout even before the attack.

UMass seeking $300M in ambitious campaign

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is seeking to raise $300 million in its most ambitious campaign in the school’s 150 years.

The campaign has raised more than $183 million, which includes $13 million for athletic facilities.

The campaign started Jan. 1, 2010 and is due to end on June 30, 2016.

A previous UMass campaign raised $130 million, ending in 2001.

The campaign is intended to raise $55 million for scholarships, $54 million for faculty recruitment and increase endowed chairs and professorships and $97 million to underwrite centers and institutes, research initiatives and technology programs.

Money also would be spent to renovate buildings and support current programs.

Environmentalists fight for $100 million Maine wind farm

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Professional guides and sporting camp owners are opposing a proposed $100 million wind farm in eastern Maine they say will forever spoil the region’s wilderness character. Environmental groups say the project will cut pollution, create jobs and bring clean energy to the state.

The sides will square off when the Department of Environmental Protection holds two days of hearings this week on First Wind’s application to build a 16-turbine wind farm known as the Bowers Wind project.

Project supporters include the Conservation Law Foundation, the Sierra Club, Maine Audubon, Environment Maine and the American Lung Association.

Opponents include the Maine Sporting Camp Association, the Maine Professional Guides Association, the Grand Lake Stream Guides Association, the Maine Wilderness Guides Association and the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed.