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home : news : regional February 6, 2016

News Briefs

U Of Vt. To Offer Online Public Health Course

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The University of Vermont is launching an online certificate of graduate study in public health.

Beginning this summer, medical and nursing students, health practitioners, public health professionals, and health care researchers will be able to enroll in the 18-credit, online graduate course that navigates current public health and health policy issues.

The course is designed to give students will gain a strong foundation in population health sciences including epidemiology, biostatistics and environmental health.

The one-year online course includes five required courses and one elective and offers individualized academic advising.

Applications are now being accepted.

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Vt. Landfill Closes, State Down To 1

MORETOWN, Vt. (AP) -- A Vermont landfill that was ordered closed has shut its gates.

The Moretown landfill had until mid-April to close, but it shut down on Saturday, leaving only one operating landfill in Vermont.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources this month ordered the Moretown landfill to close, citing odor problems and groundwater pollution.

WPTZ-TV ( ) reported that landfill officials said they closed earlier than required to prepare an appeal of the agency's decision to the state's environmental court.

Vermont now has only one landfill left used for trash disposal, in the northern Vermont town of Coventry.

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Hundreds March In Protest Of Vermont Yankee Plant

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Hundreds of people who rallied in protest of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant say it's time for the 41-year-old reactor to shut down.

More than 500 people marched through downtown Brattleboro on Saturday carrying banners and chanting "shut it down." Organizers claim the plant, owned by Entergy Corp., has been operating illegally.

The march came five days after the Vermont Supreme Court denied a petition from the anti-nuclear New England Coalition to shut down the plant.

An Entergy Nuclear spokesman told the Rutland Herald ( ) before the march that the company was aware of Saturday's protest but didn't plan to watch.

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EEE Study Planned In Vermont

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont health officials are looking for volunteers for a study of Eastern equine encephalitis.

Matthew Thomas of the Vermont Department of Health says officials hope to learn more about how prevalent the mosquito-transmitted virus is in Vermont. Two men, one from Brandon and the other from Sudbury, died last year in Vermont's first human cases of EEE.

Thomas tells the Rutland Herald ( ) that the plan is to draw blood from 150 to 200 volunteers at clinics in Brandon, Whiting and Sudbury.

The first clinic is April 23 in Brandon, with the Sudbury and Whiting clinics set for May 14.

Blood specimens will be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control for testing, with the results coming back to Vermont for analysis.

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NH Senate Holding Hearings On ATV Weight, Size

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A New Hampshire Senate committee is holding hearings on a pair of House-passed bills to allow wider and heavier all-terrain vehicles in certain locations.

One bill authorizes the state's bureau of trails to develop trails for vehicles 65 inches wide and weighing up to 1,700 pounds at Jericho Mountain State Park. The bigger vehicles would be limited to specific trails to minimize the environmental impact.

The second bill increases the width from 50 inches to 62 inches and weight from 1,000 pounds to 1,700 pounds for utility off-highway recreational vehicles on state trails in Coos and Grafton counties.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearings are Wednesday morning.

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Vt. Police Investigate Convenience Store Robbery

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Police are looking for a suspect in a convenience store robbery in South Burlington.

Police say a man walked into a Champlain Farms store at about 8:20 p.m. Saturday, walked behind the counter and demanded cash before ordering the cashier into the bathroom and fleeing on foot with an undetermined amount of money.

The cashier told police the suspect was wearing a white bandanna over his face. He's described as being about 5 feet 6 inches tall with a slender built and blond hair.

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N.H. ID's Man Shot Dead By Police In Walpole

WALPOLE, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire law enforcement officials say the man shot dead by police in Walpole was hit in the head, chest and abdomen.

The attorney general's office and state police on Saturday released the results of the autopsy of the suspect shot after allegedly robbing a Bellows Falls, Vt., store Friday afternoon and then crossing into New Hampshire.

The man was identified as Larry Albert Bohannon, whose last known address was Grafton. Officials say Bohannon was born in 1961, but did not provide his current age.

Police did not release any additional details, such as whether Bohannon threatened or fired at officers, the names of the officers involved or say how many shots were fired.

Police say no additional information will be released until early next week.

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Vt 'Sleep-out' Raises $150k For Homeless Teens

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Efforts to keep help homeless teenagers are getting a big boost in Vermont's largest city thanks to the 90 people who slept outside in a church yard and raising $150,000 in the process.

The second annual Spectrum Youth & Family Services "Sleep Out" raised nearly $150,000, well above last year's total of about $95,000, to help fund programs that shelter homeless teensagers and move them toward productive lives.

The Burlington Free Press ( reported temperatures dipped below 40 degrees and many wore earplugs to avoid being kept awake by people passing by on nearby Pearl Street or by the snoring of others.

Participants felt the cold, heard the noise and experienced in a small way the vulnerability of being without a proper roof.

The event was held on the lawn of the First Universalist Society church, at the head of Church Street, but also across the street from Spectrum's teen shelter.

The event was symbolic, but it gave participants a chance to raise money for an organization that does good work, said Tuck Rainwater, director of government and community relations at Comcast.

"It's really powerful the way they reach into the kids' lives and help them transform their experience," Rainwater said.

Many of the teenagers on the streets are working to rebuild their lives after experiencing drug addiction, poverty, family dysfunction or disabling conditions.

Spectrum Executive Director Mark Redmond praised the generosity of participants, from Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger to teams from businesses including, Comcast, Ben & Jerry's and various community groups.

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Vt. Telecom Ends Grants With Broadband Provider

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Telecommunications Authority has terminated two grants to a Springfield company that were designed to help expand broadband computer services to 900 locations across the state.

Telecommunications Authority officials say the grants to VTel that totaled $3.4 million were terminated because the state and the company couldn't agree on a deadline for expanding the service.

The state is working to expand broadband services statewide by the end of the year.

Vermont Public Radio ( is reporting that VTel president Michel Guite (Gee-tay) doesn't like the state's characterization of the issues, but says the problem stems from having to build a separate project for 630 customers included in the 2011 state grant, rather than including them in a larger project the company is building with an $81 million federal grant.

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Vt. Irene Recovery Officer Leaving Post

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's Irene recovery officer is leaving his job next month to take a private sector job in Minnesota.

Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding said Friday that Dave Rapaport is stepping down on April 5.

Ben Rose, the head of the state's new recovery and mitigation division, will take over Rapaport's responsibilities.

Spaulding says the state remains committed to completing Vermont's recovery from Irene. He says moving the responsibilities of the Irene recovery office over to the recently reorganized Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security makes a lot of sense at this time.

Rapaport became the Irene recovery officer in January after Sue Minter returned to her post as deputy secretary of the Agency of Transportation.

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N.H. Officials Want Bird Feeders Down By April 1

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire Fish and Game officials want backyard birdfeeders to be taken down by Monday as bears begin getting active.

Officials say last year set a record for the number of conflicts between bears and people, in large part because weather conditions led to a poor natural food supply.

They say they fielded more than 1,100 complaints statewide, nearly 10 percent of them involving bears and birdfeeders and another 40 percent prompted by bears rummaging through household trash.

Game bear biologist Andrew Timmins says if homeowners can reduce complaints by half if they would take in bird feeders until Dec. 1 and secure their trash.

Officials also caution against leaving pet food out overnight.

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4 Charged In N.H. For Firing Weapons Near Interstate

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire police say four men are facing charges for target shooting near a heavily traveled interstate highway.

Police responded to a report of gunshots being fired in a wooded area in Manchester near Interstate 93 at about 4 p.m. Saturday and found four men shooting weapons while facing the interstate, less than 100 yards away.

Twenty-seven-year-old Adam Kelly of Tacoma, Wash., 31-year-old Sherif Hashem of Boston, 33-year-old Bryan Sola of Southington, Conn., and 20-year-old Sean Kelly of Windham, N.H., were charged with felony reckless conduct because of the proximity to I-93 and the danger to passing motorists.

Officials seized an assault rifle, two shotguns, three handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The men were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court in June.

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Tests Find Chemicals In Air Of Dartmouth Building

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) -- Dartmouth College officials say tests have found a chemical believed to cause cancer in the air of a vacant building owned by the college in the New Hampshire town of Hanover.

Dartmouth decided to test three residences after levels of the chemical known as TCE were found on the grounds of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.

College Spokesman Justin Anderson tells the Valley News ( ) results from one house found airborne TCE in amounts around the "regulatory screening levels," a level not high enough to trigger a clean-up

Earlier this week, officials at a middle school lab, announced low-levels of TCE had been detected, but the source of the contamination was unknown.

The lab used the chemical as a refrigerant from 1960 to 1987.

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2 Former NH Employees File Lawsuit Against State

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Two former longtime New Hampshire state employees are suing the state claiming they were bullied by a supervisor because they filed a complaint that she regularly took two-hour lunch breaks.

Carla Haase of Concord and Sandra Miner of Pittsfield say in a complaint in Merrimack County Superior Court that Lisa Derepentigny, their supervisor at the Department of Health and Human Services, harassed them to the point they suffered severe emotional distress and took early retirement last year.

The Concord Monitor ( ) reported Saturday that the lawsuit accuses the state of violating the Whistleblower Protection Act and of wrongful termination, saying officials did nothing to stop the abuse that ultimately forced the women to retire.

A department spokeswoman and Derepentigny declined to comment to the newspaper.

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