New England briefs

Well testing in North Bennington shows PFOA contamination

State officials say the results from the first round of water testing in North Bennington has shown widespread contamination among residences near the former Chemfab plant.

The state received lab results from 34 private wells on Friday.

Department of Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren says 29 of the tested wells showed levels of the carcinogen PFOA that were above the standard considered acceptable by the state.

The PFOA levels in the samples ranged from 38 parts per trillion, to 2,270 parts per trillion. The Vermont Department of Health considers 20 parts per trillion to be an acceptable amount of PFOA in drinking water.

Schuren says more tests are expected to come in this week and the state will begin soil testing in the affected areas soon.

Vermont unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent in January

The Vermont Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent in January, down one tenth of a percentage point over December.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says there was job growth across the state's employment sectors, including health care, social services, construction, professional and business services and other areas.

She says the state's employers have job openings that range from people with a high school diploma to advanced degrees.

The January rate of 3.4 percent was compared to 3.8 percent in January 2015.

Unemployment in Vermont's 17 labor market areas ranged from 3 percent in White River Junction to 7.6 percent in Derby.

Officials: Small plane flipped over on airport runway

Airport officials say a small plane flipped over as it tried to take off from Burlington International Airport.

Director of Aviation Gene Richards says the incident happened just before 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Richard says it appears the plane may have had issues as it was getting ready to take off. He says there were strong crosswinds on the runway, but it's unclear whether that contributed to the flipping.

The pilot was taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center with injuries that aren't considered life-threatening. The passenger was picked up by a family member and taken to the hospital. Authorities didn't immediately identify the occupants.

Crews cleared the airport runway at around 8 p.m.

Richards says he believes the Cessna Skylane 180 plane is privately owned.

Vermont holds annual meetings on possible spring flooding

The Vermont Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security is holding meetings this week to help communities prepare for possible spring flooding.

The National Weather Service will review the spring flood outlook and the emergency management division will discuss applying for federal aid when Vermont qualities for a disaster declaration.

The Vermont Transportation Agency will also talk about preparations for potential flooding and its flood response.

The forums take place Monday at the state Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury, Tuesday at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Albans, Wednesday at the Johnson municipal offices, Thursday at the Brattleboro Retreat and Friday at the Vermont State Police barracks in New Haven.

The meetings will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Vermont Law School holds talk on law of outdoor recreation

The law of outdoor recreation, such as taking a dip in a swimming hole or competing in an obstacle course, is the topic of a panel discussion at Vermont Law School this week.

The event, "Old Swimming Holes and Tough Mudders: The Law of Outdoor Recreation" takes place Thursday at 12:45 p.m. in the Chase Community Center. It's free and open to the public.

The school's Sports Law Institute is presenting the panel discussion, which will be moderated by VLS professor Brian Porto. He says, "Legal issues abound in outdoor recreation— risk and liability, negligence, waivers and releases, insurance, contracts, and more."

Gas prices climbing in northern New England

Gas prices are on the rise again in northern New England.

The price-tracking website says the price has gone up nearly a dime in the last week in New Hampshire, averaging $1.80 a gallon. Maine has risen 9.6 cents per gallon, to $1.90. In Vermont, the price is up 8.1 cents per gallon from last week, to $1.92.

The national average is $1.93 which increased nearly 12 cents per gallon in the last week. The national average has increased nearly 24 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 50.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

Removal of Epsom's Trojan horse statue sparks controversy

The owner of a 12-foot-tall Trojan horse that greeted residents and visitors of a small New Hampshire town has moved her work, prompting a backlash from the community.

Sandy Boulanger relocated the wooden horse from Epsom, where the piece and its predecessor sat along U.S. Route 4 for nearly four decades, to her Chichester home about two weeks ago.

Boulanger says she was worried that the decaying statue would be demolished.

Some residents are upset over the departure. Don Harty, the chairman of Epsom's board of selectmen, says he offered to help with repairs in an attempt to bring it back to Epsom, although some dispute that and say he told her it had to come back to town. Harty denied that account.

– The Associated Press


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