Lake Champlain fish to be tested for pollution toxins

The Lake Champlain Basin Program has announced that it plans to start monitoring fish in the lake for mercury and toxins produced by cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae.

The basin program said it will test for microcystin, a liver toxin, and an anatoxin, a neurotoxin.

It is taking proposal for a $56,000 program to test water and fish samples from the lake for toxins with active cyanobacteria blooms. It also plans to test in the spring, when cyanobacteria are relatively rare.

The data will help guide public health and cleanup efforts stemming from water pollution, the basin program's technical director said in a release.

"Data generated from this project will help resource managers and health officials frame appropriate guidance around the health risks of handling and consuming fish exposed to certain cyanotoxins," the director said in the release.

Phosphorus-laden runoff of rain and snowmelt from farms, roads and parking lots, and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants feed toxic algae blooms in the lake.

The EPA this summer set new pollution reduction goals for the Vermont side of the lake, breaking them down by total maximum daily loads of phosphorus for different segments of the lake and from different sources.


State announces new Sharon-Pomfret fiber optic line

The Vermont Public Service Department has announced completion of a new fiber optic line from Sharon to Pomfret that is expected to expand high-speed Internet service in east-central Vermont.

The department's Division for Telecommunications and Connectivity says the 14-mile line will enable local service provider EC Fiber to bring high-speed Internet service to about 95 more homes and businesses in the area, with more expected in the future.

The state will retain some of the fiber, which will be open to commercial users interested in leasing fiber strands.

In 2015, the Division for Telecommunications and Connectivity was created for the purpose of promoting and expanding access to high speed Internet to underserved locations in Vermont. All state-owned fiber is open-access and available for lease.

Bernie Sanders makes 'SNL' appearance with Larry David

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made a cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live" with Larry David, the comic who has done a dead-on impersonation of him.

But "SNL" resisted the temptation to have the Vermont U.S. senator appear next to David as he was playing him. Sanders portrayed a passenger on an endangered ship who argued with David about who should be allowed on a lifeboat.

David said he should be on the lifeboat because he was richer than everybody else. Sanders appeared and said he was sick of the 1 percent getting all of the advantages.

David replied: "Sounds like socialism to me."

Senior falls 4 stories to death at Massachusetts university

Authorities say a student has fallen to his death from a fourth-floor window at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Senior James Tilley fell at about 2 a.m. Friday. He was from Windham, New Hampshire, and was majoring in physics and math.

Massachusetts State Police and the district attorney's office are investigating the death.

– The Associated Press