Vermont in Brief

Wednesday December 26, 2012

More foreign items seized at border during holiday

ST. ALBANS (AP) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it seizes higher quantities of foreign fruits, vegetables, meats and animal and plant products coming into United States during the holiday season.

Officials are warning travelers in the northeast that certain items from foreign countries are restricted or prohibited and may carry foreign pests and diseases that could damage American crops, livestock and the environment.

Travelers are asked to contact a CBP office about the items before crossing the border.

They also may check the border wait times on the CBP web site at and are advised to pick less congested routes. Officials say for example travelers may want to use the less heavily traveled Beecher Falls border station during the holiday instead of crossing the Derby Line border. .

Vermont health chief: Drink responsibly or not at all

BURLINGTON (AP) -- Vermont’s health commissioner is urging people to drink in moderation this holiday season -- or not at all.

Dr. Harry Chen notes the state recently was ranked again by the United Health Foundation as the healthiest in the country, but lost points for the frequency of binge drinking among its residents.

Chen urges that when planning holiday parties, include non-alcoholic offerings. He says people taking medications should not drink, and that anyone who has had anything to drink should not drive.

Chen worked as an emergency room physician for 30 years, and says nothing’s sadder than having to tell a family a loved one has died in a preventable accident.

Vermont band to march in Obama’s inaugural parade

NORTHFIELD (AP) -- The Norwich University Regimental Band will march in President Barack Obama’s inaugural parade next month in Washington.

The 55-member unit is among 40 groups that so far have accepted an invitation to march down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House on Jan. 21.

The Regimental Band was founded in 1823 and has performed at the swearing-ins of several presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

The parade takes place after Obama is sworn in at the U.S. Capitol.

The parade was established for George Washington’s inauguration in 1789 and will be the 57th in history.

Nulhegan Abenaki own first Vermont land in 200 years

BARTON (AP) -- It took 15 years, but a trustee of the Nulhegan Abenaki in Vermont says he’s finally accomplished his goals, and it feels like a dream come true.

Luke Willard said that his two goals were gaining recognition for the tribe and having it own a piece of land for the first time in 200 years. The former happened in April of last year; the latter happened earlier this month when, with help from a Vermont Land Trust, the tribe officially took ownership of a 65-acre parcel of forest.

The tribe plans to conserve the land and continue an existing maple sugaring operation on the property, using the revenue for youth education programs. They also plan a gardening program and small cultural center.

Students learn TV while elders pray

SOUTH BURLINGTON (AP) -- Lorraine Carpentier of Colchester uses a wheelchair, and it’s tough for the 84-year-old to get to mass at her church, St. Francis Xavier in Winooski.

Students at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington are helping her solve the problem. A class in TV production at the Roman Catholic school is producing a weekly mass.

Christmas Mass was shown Tuesday morning on WCAX and 18 local broadcast stations.

Students are finding they need to produce the worship services well ahead of time, so they’ll be filming next Easter’s mass in January.


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