Mon 28-JUL-2014 Noon News Script

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Good afternoon, I'm Roger Garrity. Vermont Senior Senator Patrick Leahy said today he hopes a bill approved by Congress will help victims of domestic violence get cell phones -- -- phones that can serve as 9-1-1 lifelines in case of emergency. The bill sponsored by Leahy and approved last week -- gives consumers the chance to switch cell phone carriers regardless without changing phones. Organizations like Women Helping Battered Women hope that change leads to more donations of used phones so they can give them out to victims of abuse.

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(06:50)((Emily Fredette/Women Helping Battered Women "Denying access to cell phones and other telecom devices is a tactic used by abusive partners to keep victims of abuse isolated and afraid.)) (04:16)((Sen Leahy "for many women who are gonna get it, cell phones can be a lifeline.)) The bill extends to all cellphone customers. President Obama says he will sign the bill into law.

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A tentative agreement has been reached on a bill meant to fix problems in the Veterans Affairs system. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Jeff Miller -- chairmen of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees -- say they made significant progress over the weekend on how to repair the systemic problems within the veterans' health program -- that left many without access to care. They've planned a press conference this afternoon to unveil their plan. It's expected to authorize billions in emergency spending to lease 27 new clinics -- hire more doctors and nurses -- and make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care.

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The mother of a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl reunited with her family nine months after she vanished -- says rumors that the girl was pregnant aren't true. Investigators have been trying to find out how and why Abigail Hernandez disappeared from North Conway last Fall -- and then suddenly returned home last week. Her mother -- Zenya Hernandez -- said this morning that many people think her daughter was pregnant, but she was not. She also says she believes Abigail did not run away and didn't know the man believed to have driven off with her. Police want to know who that person was. This weekend they released a sketch of based on Abigail's description.

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New details are expected to come today -- from an apparent murder-suicide in New York. The bodies of Pamela Williamson and Larry Williamson were found inside of a home in Ellenburg Saturday night. State police were called to the scene after a relative requested a welfare check. An autopsy is scheduled for today -- the incident is still under investigation.

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Burlington Police believe drugs and alcohol may have been the cause of an accident Sunday afternoon that left one man injured. It happened at the intersection of North Ave and North Street. An SUV hit a motorcycle that was stopped at a red light from behind. When police arrived, they found the motorcycle driver -- John Poro on the ground. He was taken to Fletcher Allen Healthcare. The driver of the SUV -- Nathanial Cummings, was uninjured. Police are still investigating the accident.

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Investigators say oily rags were to blame for a fire that destroyed a garage at a South Burlington condo complex. The spectacular fire early Sunday morning -- caused about 150-thousand dollars in damage at the Meadowbrook development on Joy Drive. Fire crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to the condo units. Investigators returned to the scene yesterday to look for the cause. The fire marshall traced it to improperly disposed of rags that had been used for re-finishing furniture.

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Unions representing FairPoint Communications workers in northern New England say the sides remain far apart in contract negotiations. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents about 1,800 FairPoint employees in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Mike Spillane, a Vermont member of the negotiating team says he has little hope of progress when talks resume on Tuesday. Health and retirement benefits are among the issues yet to be resolved. Members voted overwhelmingly earlier this month to authorize a strike if necessary.

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The state airport in Rutland has won an eight million dollar federal grant to make safety improvements. The money will be used to extend the runway and additional 300 feet -- which will provide a larger margin of safety -- and also allow departing aircraft to carry more fuel. They'll also clear an area at the end of the runway in case planes over-shoot their landings. State officials say Vermont's congressional delegation helped secure the grant from the U-S Department of Transportation.

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The town of Hartford is once again looking to hire a poice chief. The town received applications from 28 candidates by Monday's deadline. Officials say most of them are from outside of New England. The town is seeking to fill the newly re-established police chief position after the select board restored funding -- following an experiment with having one person overseeing both the police and fire departments.

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Green Mountain Power is expanding its heat pump pilot program to Montpelier -- to help the capital city move to 100-percent renewable energy. GMP has been running a heat pump rental program in the Rutland area -- to demonstrate that people can heat and cool their homes with the air-exchanging technology. Now Montpelier residents will be offered that opportunity. GMP estmates participants can cut their energy costs by 25 to 50-percent. Montpelier officials announced earlier this year their Netzero program -- a goal of meeting all of the city's power needs through renewable energy sources and efficiency by 2030.

12} FORECAST


Today: Rain, heavy at times, a few t-storms Highs: 68 to 75 Wind: N 5 to 10 mph Tonight: Rain, a few t-storms Lows: 52 to 58 Wind: NW 5 to 15 mph Tuesday: Chance for AM showers Then partly sunny Highs: 68 to 75 Wind: WNW 5 to 15 mph Extended: Wednesday: Partly sunny Chance for an isolated t-storm Lows: 45 to 55 Highs: 70s Thursday: Partly sunny Chance for a few showers Lows: 50s Highs: 70s Friday: Partly sunny Chance for a few showers Lows: 50s Highs: 70s Hyper-Extended: Saturday: Partly sunny Chance for showers Lows: 55 to 65 Highs: 75 to 82 Sunday: Partly sunny Chance for showers Lows: 55 to 65 Highs: 75 to 82


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Last Update: Mon 28-JUL-2014
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