Vermont in Brief
Liberty Union Party major status
MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s Liberty Union Party has again joined the ranks of the state’s major political parties.
To be recognized as a major party in Vermont, a statewide political candidate must receive at least 5 percent of the votes in a statewide election.
On Tuesday, Liberty Union candidate Mary Alice Herbert won 13 percent in her race against Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos. The party lost its major party status in 2008.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders once belonged to the Liberty Union party.
In 2014 Vermont will have four major parties: Democrat, Republican, Progressive and Liberty Union.
Major party status raises the profile of candidates, but it also means the party must also hold a primary if it has more than one candidate for offices.
closing in St. Albans
ST. ALBANS (AP) -- Company officials at the Energizer plant in St. Albans say the battery and flashlight plant is closing by next September.
The closing would leave about 165 people jobless.
Company spokesman Ken Fields says people these days need fewer of the lithium batteries that St. Albans has making since 1989.
He says more people are using smartphones with rechargeable batteries. And they’re not using multiple devices like a pager and a camera.
The company said the flashlight production will be moved to other Energizer plants or sourced from its global supplier network.
The St. Louis-based company announced Thursday it plans to cut roughly 10 percent of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting overhaul that would eliminate about 1,500 jobs.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION (AP) -- A woman has admitted to a dognapping from a Vermont Humane Society office.
Police said Cynthia Poitras of Hoosick, N.Y., was sentenced to a day in jail.
The Springfield humane society said a woman in September expressed an interest in adopting a hound-lab mix named "Gibbs." She was allowed to take him on a walk. A dog walker saw her stuffing Gibbs in her car.
Police put out a bulletin. An officer in Charlestown, N.H., spotted Gibbs the next day. The society said Gibbs was in excellent health and would be listed for adoption again.
Poitras told a woman she had been staying with the dog was a stray. The woman checked the humane society’s Facebook page and saw Gibbs was missing.
4 in N.H. charged
Vt. power line
CONCORD (AP) -- Two adults and two juveniles from New Hampshire have been charged with gunshot damage to Vermont insulators on a major electric transmission line that runs from Quebec to Massachusetts.
Vermont Electric Power company, which owns the state’s transmission grid, said it cost New England ratepayers about $1 million for replacement power. The company said it cost about $250,000 to replace the shot-out insulators.
A police investigation led to Littleton, N.H., where a search warrant at a residence turned up evidence.
The four were charged with felony unlawful mischief and reckless endangerment. The adults are 19-year-old Patrick Bummer of Bethlehem, N.H., and 18-year-old Jordan Hamel of Littleton. All are scheduled to be in Caledonia Superior Court on Dec. 13.
The damage was discovered last week.
Vt. man gets 18 years for killing wife
ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- A 51-year-old Vermont man is going to prison for 18 years for killing his wife in the parking lot of a St. Johnsbury mall after she threatened to leave him.
Benjamin Berwick, of Lyndon, pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder in the December 2009 stabbing death of his estranged wife Anna outside the Green Mountain Mall.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing in St. Johnsbury, Anna Berwick’s relatives called Benjamin Berwick a "monster" and an "evil man." They said they did not believe the sentence was harsh enough.
Benjamin Berwick was taken into custody shortly after his wife’s killing. He was suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police: Woman tried
to get drugs
into Vt. prison
NEWPORT (AP) -- A 46-year-old Vermont woman faces a January court date in a case in which she’s accused of trying to smuggle drugs into the state prison in Newport.
The charge against Sheryl Vuley of Colchester stems from an incident June 23, when correctional officers reported discovering a small package that had been smuggled during visiting hours into the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.
Authorities say Vuley turned the package over after being spotted trying to hand it to an inmate, 45-year-old Kenneth Bailey. Investigators say they found the synthetic opiate buprenorphine and tobacco in the package.
Corrections officers started an investigation into the incident and then turned it over to the Vermont State Police.
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