Vermont in brief

Vermont Yankee's 37 sirens may sound for last time

All 37 emergency sirens surrounding the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant are scheduled to sound together next weekend for what may be their last time.

The plant's emergency preparedness team has tested the sirens in the plant's emergency evacuation zone annually, but the facility closed at the end of last year.

Vermont Yankee spokesman Martin Cohn says the plant has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to stand down its emergency planning activities in April.

The NRC has yet to issue a decision on that request. Cohn says tests on individual sirens will continue at least until April.

On Saturday at noon, the 37 sirens will sound for three minutes at noon. They're located in the Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns located within 10 miles of Vermont Yankee.

KKK posters left at 2 homes prompts anti-racism rally

About 100 people gathered in Burlington for a rally against racism following reports that Ku Klux Klan fliers were left on the doors of at least two Burlington residents' homes, including that of a Black Lives Matter activist.

Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said he had not determined if a crime was committed but said his department is investigating.

Twenty-four-year-old Jocelyn Harvey said it seemed like a really bad joke when she received the flier in her apartment mailbox on Thursday but later determined that it was a targeted act because she is black.

James Haslam, executive director of nonprofit Rights and Democracy, who organized the gathering, called the fliers "a disturbing act of hate."

Vermont State Colleges system to retain its name for now

A majority of staff and faculty members at Vermont's five public colleges say they don't want to change the name of the Vermont State Colleges system.

Vermont State Colleges officials distributed a survey to approximately half of its faculty and staff members to gather input on the possibility of a rebranding, but the winning vote was to keep the status quo.

The survey featured three new names for the higher education system — the Vermont Higher Education System, the Vermont State Higher Education System and the Vermont State College and University System.

Other choices included keeping the current name, as well as a write-in option.

Officials say many of the responses expressed concern about the cost associated with renaming the system.

Many called the initiative a distraction from more important issues, including that Vermont regularly ranks near last nationally for public higher education funding.

The system includes public five colleges and universities — Castleton University, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, the Community College of Vermont and Vermont Technical College.

The survey drew more than 650 responses.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife ask hunters for deer data

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking successful deer hunters to help collect information about the state's deer herd by providing a tooth from their deer to biologists.

Hunters who get a deer during Vermont's Nov. 14-29 rifle season are asked to provide an incisor tooth from their deer when they go to a reporting station.

Biologists will use the teeth evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics of bucks as well as to help estimate population size, health and growth and mortality rates.

Each tooth will be examined to determine the deer's age.

Deer biologist Nick Fortin says information about the ages of deer is critical and more information allows biologists to make better management decisions.

Vermont Senate committee plans hearings on pot legalization

A Vermont Senate committee plans to take testimony next week on proposals to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

A hearing set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Statehouse Room 10 is expected to elicit answers to a list of questions about how legalization would work.

Senator Jeanette White, a Windham County Democrat who chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee, says the panel is looking for suggestions on setting limits on the number of retail outlets for marijuana, as well as number of growers and other questions.

She says she's hoping to establish how legalization would work before lawmakers decide whether or not to go that route.

Fire destroys community center's barn

Fire officials in Vermont say a community center's vacant barn has burned to the ground.

The Castleton Community Center's barn, located across the road from the center, burned down Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials say the barn was empty, so they focused on putting out brush and grass fires before extinguishing the bar fire.

Fire Chief Heath Goyette said the barn was fully engulfed in flames and near collapse when firefighters arrived.

Goyette said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire.

– The Associated Press


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