MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont officials are issuing their biennial reminder cautioning political campaigns about not posting signs in state highway rights-of-way.
Transportation Secretary Brian Searles says Vermont law bans signs within about 50 feet of the road's center line that aren't connected to an adjacent business.
He says many candidates and their supporters, often unknowingly, post campaign signs within the restricted areas.
Searles says district transportation crews will be removing such signs wherever they're spotted.
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Efficiency Vermont touts solar hot water heating
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's statewide energy-saving group Efficiency Vermont is launching a new effort to get homeowners to install solar hot water heaters.
The Burlington-based group is joining with the Shelburne-based firm Sunward Systems to promote installations that they say can save homeowners up to 80 percent of the cost of conventional hot water heating.
Efficiency Vermont, which often offers subsidy programs for efficiency installations around Vermont, says it will reduce the upfront cost of solar water heating systems by $1,600 for systems installed before November 30.
The Canadian-made systems collect heat from the sun and transmit it to hot water tanks inside the home.
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Student assistance group to help with books
WINOOSKI, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont Student Assistance Corp. has announced a new $50,000 program to help low-income high school students cover the costs of books, fees and travel associated with dual enrollment courses.
Dual enrollment allows some students to take two college classes while still in high school, reducing the costs of college.
Last year, more than 1,600 Vermont students took the classes on college campuses, online or on-site at a participating high school.
The new incentive allows low-income students up to $150 in assistance for books, fees and travel to and from the classes.
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Woodstock, Chelsea courthouses get upgrades
WOODSTOCK, Vt. (AP) -- Two of Vermont's 19th-century courthouses are nearing completion of renovations designed to make them more accessible to people with disabilities.
The Windsor County Superior Court in Woodstock and the Orange County Superior Courthouse in Chelsea both have scheduled events to mark the completion of the work.
Both have been fixed up in time to begin the new court terms on Sept. 2.
In Woodstock, the Superior and Probate courts will move from their current, temporary quarters back to the courthouse at 12 The Green on Aug. 27, and an open house is planned for the public on Friday, Aug. 26, from 4 to 6 p.m.
The Chelsea courthouse is expected to hold an event to mark the changes on Sept. 2.
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Battery factory shooter seeks move
BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A woman who shot and killed her boss at the former Eveready Battery factory in Bennington in 1991 wants to be moved to another psychiatric facility.
Elizabeth Teague, 52, told a judge Friday that she wants to move from the Brattleboro Retreat to a state psychiatric facility in Middlesex with the hope that she could eventually be placed in a group home.
Teague, an engineer, was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic after she killed plant manager Jonathan K. Perryman, wounded two co-workers and tried to set the Eveready factory on fire. She was taken into custody in New Hampshire near the Canadian border.
She was found incompetent to stand trial and has been in state psychiatric custody ever since. She lived at the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, until it was flooding during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and now resides at the Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric hospital and addiction treatment center.
The Vermont Department of Mental Health wants to move Teague to the Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence to free up acute care beds.
"The fact is we have a shortage of in-hospital acute care beds right now for psychiatric patients," said attorney Caroline S. Earle, of Montpelier, for the Department of Mental Health. "This is somewhere where Ms. Teague can receive the treatments she needs and perhaps improve."
Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage is opposing the transfer, saying the Middlesex facility is not secure enough for Teague.
Teague also testified Friday, denying that she allegedly assaulted someone with a cord at the state hospital.
Dr. Joseph Smith, who treated Teague at the Brattleboro Retreat for about a year starting in April 2013, said the Middlesex facility is as secure but residents are allowed more freedom within it.
He said she is high-functioning in terms of being able to care for herself, compared to other patients at the Retreat, which might make it hard for her to form connections with people and could affect her willingness to be treated, the Bennington Banner reported (http://bit.ly/YNKGdy) .
Vermont Democrats seek input on party platform
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Democratic Party has been looking for public input on party platform revisions, and Sunday is the deadline for filling out a survey about it.
The questionnaire asks a range of questions about state fiscal, environmental and workers' rights issues.
It asks people to rank in importance issues like childcare, health care, education, Vermont's aging population, crime prevention and housing.
Party officials say they'll use the answers to help shape possible revisions to be put before a platform convention in September.
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Meeting on hunting plan for lakefront land
NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) -- A public meeting will be held next week on a proposal to open up a lakefront wildlife management area along the U.S. Canadian border to hunting.
The 457-acre Eagle Point Wildlife Management Area along Lake Memphremagog in Derby is part of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the North Country Union High School auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Officials will present the hunt plan and draft environmental assessment and get public input.
The late owner Michael Dunn left the Eagle Point resort to the federal government when he died in 2007 for use as a haven for hikers and campers.
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2 men facing credit card fraud in Vermont
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Police in South Burlington, Vermont, say two men have been arrested on charges of using stolen credit cards to make thousands of dollars worth of purchases.
Authorities say ShaoQing Chen and Dewang Lin, both of Brooklyn, New York, are accused of receiving at least $1,000 in stolen credit card money.
Police say the two men tried to pass at least 11 different credit cards over a two day period at Hannaford grocery store encompassing nearly $7,000 in fraudulent transfers. Police say additional charges took place at businesses in Essex and Williston.
They are accused of using the stolen card numbers to buy gift cards, such as for iTunes.
The two men were being held on $25,000 bail each. It was not immediately known if they were being represented by lawyers.
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Foreign students enroll at UVM in record numbers
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The University of Vermont is welcoming a record nearly 120 international students this fall.
Officials at the school say the new students, combined with those returning, will bring the total of international students on campus to 280. That's also a record, and nearly double what the number was two years ago.
Some 150 of the students are coming to Vermont via UVM's Global Gateway program, which was set up a year ago to encourage foreign students to apply to the school.
The class of 2018 includes an estimated 2,330 students, who come from 22 countries, 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
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Stowe man tries to break mountain run record
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A Stowe man is trying to break the speed record for running Vermont's 273-mile Long Trail.
Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/1q2M4C6 ) that RJ Thompson started the mountain run on Tuesday morning on the Canadian border.
He's trying to break the unsupported speed record of 6 days and 17 hours.
The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont from the Canadian border to Massachusetts across the state's high peaks.
Donations to the Long Trail Run's website are going to an organization that aims to connect children with nature, called the Children & Nature Network.