Vermont in brief

US Forest Service planning fires in Vermont forests

U.S. Forest Service officials are planning to burn 200 acres to 300 acres in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest to reduce heavy accumulations of grass and brush as a way to restore wildlife habitat and improve other conditions in the forest.

The fires are not likely to affect nearby residents, but people near the fires could smell smoke.

The timing of the burns will depend on weather and conditions on the ground.

The Green Mountain National Forest is made up of more than 400,000 acres, most in southern Vermont.

The Forest Service says prescribed fires restores declining wildlife habitat and improves watershed conditions.

The areas planned for burning are now overgrown with thick brush, with plants coarse, dense, and overcrowded.

Each burn site will be closed to the public.

Vermont's 2 US senators call for boosting senior programs

Vermont U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy are among the signers on a letter calling for a significant funding increase for Older Americans Act programs such as Meals on Wheels in order to keep up with the needs of a growing population of seniors.

They've joined about 30 other senators saying that funding should increase by at least 12 percent to meet existing demand. And they say that demand is growing. There are now about 65 million Americans over age 60, and that number is projected to grow to 92 million by 2030, as about 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day.

The letter says funding for Older American Act programs has declined 7 percent since 2009.

Bristol pair charged with allowing apartment drug use

A man and woman from Bristol are facing federal charges they made their apartment available as a place to store and distribute heroin.

Vermont State Police troopers became aware of the case involving 24-year-old Justin Stone and 22-year-old Corrin Laraway Saturday when someone who had been staying at their apartment was found injured by the side of the road in Lincoln. The man was hospitalized.

Troopers went to the Bristol apartment and found several thousand dollars in cash and heroin.

Stone and Laraway were later arrested at a Colchester hotel. They were charged Monday in federal court.

Court documents say investigators are working to determine what role Stone and Laraway "played in the condition" of the man found in Lincoln.

Attorneys for Stone and Laraway didn't return calls seeking comment.

Gas prices still climbing in northern New England

Gas prices are still climbing in northern New England.

The price-tracking website says the price has gone up 4.6 cents last week in Maine, averaging $1.95 a gallon.

New Hampshire has risen 4.4 cent per gallon, to $1.85 a gallon. In Vermont, the price is up 2.4 cents per gallon from last week, to $1.95.

The national average is $1.98, which increased nearly 5 cents per gallon in the last week. The national average has increased 27.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 44 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

– The Associated Press


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