Vermont News Briefs For April 21 - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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Vermont News Briefs For April 21

Vermont officials remind boaters to stay safe

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont officials are reminding boaters and anglers to stay safe on the water and wear flotation vests.

New York law requires people aboard motorboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats less than 21 feet in length to wear a personal flotation device while on New York waters from November 1 to May 1, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. That law applies to Lake Champlain.

The law was enacted in 2009 after several deaths of those not wearing life jackets while boating during spring and fall cold water temperatures.

Additionally, children under the age of 12 must wear flotation vests at all time while boating on Vermont waters.

Even for experienced swimmers, sudden immersion in water can be life-threatening, said officials. Cold temperatures are especially dangerous.

"After a long winter, the sight of open water and the feeling of warm sunshine can give boaters a false sense of security," Vermont State Fisheries Biologist Shawn Good said. "The reality is, the ice has just gone out, and water temperatures are still extremely cold. We encourage anglers and boaters to be cautious and safe while on any watercraft in the early spring."

Regardless of season, officials say the best way boaters can protect themselves is with a life jacket.

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15th Herrick's Cove Wildlife Festival coming up

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. (AP) -- The 15th annual Herrick's Cove Wildlife Festival in the Vermont town of Rockingham is going to include nature walks, and live animals including birds, mammals and reptiles.

The May 4 event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last year more than 2,000 people attended the event.

Herrick's Cove is just off U.S. Route 5, less than three miles north of Bellows Falls.

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Vermont man sought for attempted murder

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont police are looking for a man accused of trying to strangle a woman in Burlington.

Police say 34-year-old David Godin is being charged with attempted homicide, burglary, criminal mischief and interfering with access to emergency services. He was last seen early Saturday morning, when neighbors say he forced his way into the victim's apartment.

She wasn't home at the time, but police say Godin was at the apartment twice the night before. They say he kicked in the door the first time, and during the second incident, tried to strangle the woman and took her phone so she couldn't call for help.

Police say Godin is considered a danger to the victim but not to the general public.

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18 northern New England colleges get green ranking

Northern New England has made a strong showing in the Princeton Review's 2014 guide to "green colleges," with 18 colleges and universities receiving recognition.

Vermont has six colleges that received the green ranking. Two of them, Middlebury College and Green Mountain College, earned the highest possible score. Maine has seven green colleges, including the College of the Atlantic, which also received the highest score. New Hampshire has five green colleges.

As a region, the three states have the highest number of green campuses per capita in the country, according to the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

The annual guide, based on surveys of four-year colleges, was produced by the Princeton Review in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. Schools can receive a green ranking if they demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus buildings, activities and career preparation, according to the Princeton Review guide.

The survey found that what's good for the environment is also good for recruitment.

All told, 61 percent of high school students surveyed said information about an institution's green commitment would influence their decision on whether to attend, according to the guide.

"It's not just that the students were asking for it, but the prospective students were demanding it," said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC in Washington, D.C. She said green certifications are being used to "enhance a college's profile and attract more support and better students."

The northern New England colleges making the list were Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, College of the Atlantic, Unity College, University of Maine and University of Maine at Farmington, all in Maine; Dartmouth College, Keene State College, Southern New Hampshire University and the University of New Hampshire, all in New Hampshire; and Bennington College, Champlain College, Green Mountain College, Middlebury College, Saint Michael's College and the University of Vermont, all in Vermont.


Stepfather charged in 2-year-old's death released

POULTNEY, Vt. (AP) -- A Poultney man charged in the death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter has been released on bail.

WCAX-TV reports ( ) that 31-year-old Dennis Duby was released on Friday. He's charged in the death of Dezirae Sheldon, who died in February after suffering severe head trauma.

Duby has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

In response to the toddler's death, the state has set up an independent panel to investigate the state's role leading up to the death. Vermont lawmakers also have been reviewing child protection issues.


UN ambassador, swimmer among Vermont speakers


Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A long-distance swimmer, an oceanographer and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations are among this spring's commencement speakers at Vermont colleges and universities.

Endurance athlete Diana Nyad, who last year at age 64 swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida, will speak at Middlebury College's graduation May 25.

"Diana Nyad is a bold and fearless athlete whose determination is truly inspiring," Middlebury College President Ron Liebowitz said. "Her mental strength and her belief in never giving up on her goals make her a role model for others who wish to pursue their dreams, no matter how daunting."

Nyad's 53-hour journey, her fifth attempt, included no shark cage or flippers. She had tried three times in 2011 and 2012, with her first attempt being in 1978.

University of Vermont graduates will hear from Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, at their May 18 commencement. Power, a member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, won a Pulitzer for "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2002)." She also has served as special assistant to the president and senior director of multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security staff at the White House.

Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, will speak at Saint Michael's College on May 11. Earle did her first scuba dive in 1953, has spent some 7,000 hours underwater since and holds the record for solo diving to a 1000-meter depth, according to Saint Michael's.

"I know that she will deliver a tremendous message to our community and to our students," said Karen Talentino, Saint Michael's vice president of academic affairs. "She speaks about trying to mobilize people to action and is particularly interested in giving messages to young women and men that there is a lot of work to do to preserve and restore the ocean. It's just what our students need to hear."

In other graduations, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy will deliver the commencement address at Green Mountain College in Poultney on May 17 and Gen. Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency, will speak at Norwich University on May 10.

Bennington College graduates will hear from Johnnetta Cole, the director of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American female president of Spelman College. She will speak May 30, with degrees to be conferred the next morning.

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37 Vermont buildings to receive preservation money

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Thirty-seven Vermont buildings in 11 counties are going to be sharing $540,000 in state preservation grants.

The structures include historic meeting houses, churches, barns and libraries.

Officials say the historic architecture provides a visual record of life in Vermont over the past 200 years and represents the state's heritage to current and future generations.

The preservation of the buildings also generates jobs, supports independent businesses, increases civic participation and contributes to a community's sense of place.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the grants earlier this month.

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