Mon 15-DEC-2014 Noon News Script

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Good afternoon, I'm Roger Garrity. It's a seventh straight day without electricity for some Vermonters -- following last week's big winter storm. Here are the latest numbers of outages from around the state. Overall, about 25-hundred electric customers are without service at this hour. Green Mountain Power has 12-hundred-24 outages. Vermont Electric Co-op has 730 -- and Washington Electric Co-op 462. Hundreds of utility and tree crews have been working to repair downed lines since the storm hit last Tuesday. They have restored service to over 160-thousand customers who lost power at one point or another. The statewide nature of the storm -- the sheer number of people effected -- the extent of the damage -- and the cost of repairs may make this storm the worst in state history. And now Governor Peter Shumlin is requesting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess the damage to see if Vermont will qualify for disaster assistance.

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Five Windham County projects have been selected to receive 814-thousand dollars in grants meant to lessen the impact of Vermont Yankee's closing. The nuclear plant in Vernon is set to shut down in two weeks. Layoffs are schedule a few weeks later -- and eventually most of the plant's 600 high-paying jobs will be lost. The plant's owner -- Entergy Nuclear -- agreed to contribute 10-million dollars over five years for economic development in the county. Governor Shumlin has the final say on distributing the money -- but he says most of 24 proposals he reviewed failed to offer the "transformational new jobs and economic opportunity" hoped for. The governor has asked the Commerce agency to revamp the application process to encourage creative partnerships and attract new capital and ideas.

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Putting food on the table of needy Vermonters. That's the goal of a food drive today outside UVM's Davis Center. Volunteers are currently on the bus accepting donations -- The university hopes to fill a bus full of food items for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. After the 4th annual drive , faculty volunteers will drive the bus to the food shelf and stock their shelves.

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(55:13 Wendy Koenig/Faculty Volunteer)(("Anything that's a non-perishable food item is welcome and we're taking donations until about 5:30 this afternoon.......55:26 The last couple of years I've volunteered, we've filled the entire bus.")) The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf says they feed around 3500 Vermonters per month -- with that number rising during the holiday season.

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Starting this week, you won't be able to light up a cigarette in part of downtown Burlington. This Wednesday, the smoking ban on the Church Street Marketplace goes into effect. Officials say signs will be posted about the ordinance, and ashtrays will be moved to the edge of the marketplace.

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There's a new chief enforcement officer in the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Lt. Jason Batchelder takes over the job this week -- replacing Col. David LeCours who retied in October. Batchelder has been with the department for ten years -- first as a field warden and most recently as the lieutenant for the northeast district. Warden Greg Eckhardt had been the top choice for the job. But department officials say they could not reach a contract agreement with him. Eckhardt was involved in controversy this fall when both he and his wife shot a moose -- but only had a single tag. But the department says that violation was not a factor in the hiring process.

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Two men are facing charges following a fight in Royalton involving a loaded shot gun. Police say the fight happened when 31 year-old Travis French Dyer wouldn't leave 35 year-old Jeremy Colsons house. That's when police say Colson came out of the home and fired a shot gun at the ground near Dyer. Dyer then allegedly attacked Colson -- and beat him up using the gun. Dyer was arrested for Aggravated Assault and Trespassing. Colson was hospitalized with minor injuries. He face a Reckless Endangerment charge for firing the gun.

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Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says he's disappointed the House went home for the year without taking up his bill that would have updated the federal Freedom of Information Act. The bill came out of the Senate with bipartisan support. It calls for government agencies to respond to public requests for information with a presumption of openness.

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Election 2014 is barely in the rearview mirror -- but there are already predictions about who will win in 20-16. The advocacy group FairVote says Vermont Congressman Peter Welch is a shoe-in to win re-election in two years -- and even if he doesn't run, the seat is considered safe for Democrats. FairVote says its easy to project which party's candidate will win. The group says its projections for 2014 turned out to be 99.7 percent accurate. FairVote supports changes in the electoral process to get more people involved and reduce the power of incumbency.

10} FORECAST


Today: Mostly cloudy Highs: 28 to 35 Wind: Light & variable Tonight: Partly cloudy Lows: 12 to 22 Wind: Light Tuesday: Some AM sun Increasing clouds Highs: 33 to 40 Wind: SSE 5 to 15 mph Extended: Wednesday: Rain/snow showers Lows: 28 to 35 Highs: 35 to 42 Thursday: Snow showers Lows: 25 to 32 Highs: 30s Friday: Mostly cloudy Chance for a few snow showers Lows: 20s Highs: 28 to 38 Hyper-Extended: Saturday: Partly cloudy Lows: 15 to 25 Highs: 28 to 38 Sunday: Chance for snow showers Lows: 18 to 28 Highs: 28 to 38


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Last Update: Mon 15-DEC-2014
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