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home : news : regional July 22, 2014

Vermont briefs

Delegation: Obama's statement on NSA not enough

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- All three members of Vermont's congressional delegation say they do not believe changes in the federal government's surveillance activities announced by President Barack Obama go far enough.

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch were reacting to Friday's announcement by Obama that he wants some curbs on the gathering and use of phone calls and other private information by the National Security Agency.

In one change, Obama says he'd like to see the vast trove of phone records maintained by an entity outside the government.

Sanders says he remains convinced that the collection of data on every phone call made in the United States violates constitutional privacy protections. He, Leahy and Welch all say stronger reforms are needed.

Vt. trail group acquires long-awaited land

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) -- A Vermont trail group has closed on a long-awaited deal on a 23-acre parcel to help build a public and accessible trail along the West River in Brattleboro.

The Friends of the West River Trail has acquired the Riverstone Preserve, a half mile north of the Interstate 91 bridge in Brattleboro. It's the only public piece of land between the river and the trail, which is along the historic former West River Railroad.

"It's so great to see this reach fruition," said Alex Wilson, a member of The Friends of the West River Trail who has been interesting in setting up the trail for years. "It's a beautiful and important parcel and we think there is a lot of potential there to develop that we would not otherwise have."

The Brattleboro Reformer reports ( the group acquired the parcel by working with the Vermont Land Trust. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board awarded a $65,050 grant for the purchase. About $32,000 was raised through donations.

The group has been working on a trail system that starts at the Marina Restaurant and runs along the river to an old quarry in Dummerston.

Vt. fire officials find dead woman at fire scene

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of a woman whose body was discovered at a fire scene.

South Burlington police and fire officials responded to a residential fire on Cedar Glen North just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities say they were able to contain the fire and located the deceased occupant during a search of the building.

They are not releasing the identity of the 53-year-old female victim pending notification of next of kin.

They say the cause of death does not appear to be suspicious, but have called in the Vermont State Police arson squad to investigate.

An autopsy will be performed early this week.

NY snowboarder dies after striking tree in Vt.

KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Authorities say a snowboarder from western New York hit a tree after swerving to miss a friend who fell on a trail at the Killington Ski Resort in Vermont and later died.

The Burlington Free Press reports ( ) that 23-year-old Skylar Ormond, of Canandaigua, N.Y., was snowboarding on Mouse Trap Trail with two friends around 3:15 p.m. Friday. Vermont State Police say one of the friends fell and Ormond swerved to miss him. He went into the woods and tumbled before hitting a tree.

His friends contacted the ski patrol and Ormond was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center. Police say he died there from internal injuries.

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