Mon 27-JUL-2015 Noon News Script

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Good afternoon, I'm Roger Garrity. The Shumlin administration expects continued slow growth in Vermont's economy over the next year -- but there remain questions about whether expected tax revenues will keep pace with state budget demands. New estimates released today by state economists show the state is expected to take in one-point-43 billion dollars in the general fund in the current fiscal year. That's a slight upgrade in the last forecast made in January, when economists made their second straight downgrade. The governor and the legislature spent much of the last legislative session patching a 100-million dollar hole in the budget. A variety of spending cuts and tax increases did the job. But the trajectory of growth in state programs was expected to outpace new revenues again in 20-16 -- what officials describe as a structural budget deficit. Of specific concern is the continued weakness of personal income tax collections -- meaning Vermonters are not earning more money. And declines in sales tax collections as Vermont retailers lose business to online sellers -- and competitors in sales-tax-free New Hampshire.

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New York's wage board is expected to finalize a report endorsing a fiftteen dollar an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers. The three-member board is meeting today in Albany. It is recommending the increase to the state labor commissioner. A public comment period will be required before the commissioner makes the final decision. The wage hike applies to fast-food workers in restaurants with 30 or more locations. It would be gradually phased in over six years. Franchise owners have argued the hike is unfair because it targets only fast-food workers. Thousands of workers in other low-wage industries will have a minimum of eight-75 an hour.

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Vermont state police are investigating a strange case involving shots fired at businesses -- a car abandoned in the middle of the interstate -- and a woman undergoing a mental health evaluation. It started just before midnight Friday when they got calls about a car with bullet holes in it on Interstate 91 in Barnet. When police got there, they found a woman standing in the median. They say she gave them conflicting statements about what happened. She was taken to the hospital for a mental exam. In the car -- police found a high-powered rifle and several spent shell casings. Police also learned that several businesses in Bradford had been vandalized by a high-powered rifle. Police say it appears the incidents are linked. But right now -- no charges have been filed.

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A St. Johnsbury family is mourning a man who drowned this weekend. 24-year-old Scott Way was last seen in the water Saturday near Pine Island Picnic Area in Littleton, New Hampshire -- before he disappeared. Sunday -- divers pulled his body from the Connecticut River.

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Police are investigating a crash involving an ambulance and car in Weathersfield. Police say it happened Saturday afternoon when a crew with Golden Cross Ambulance was on a call to Reading Vermont around 4pm. The collision happened around Exit 8 off Interstate 91. Weathersfield Police say one person in the car sustained injuries. -3-

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New York Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing for new technology to combat drunk driving. The Democrat says his ROADS SAFE Act would help the U-S develop high-tech sensors that would disable a car's ignition if the driver's alcohol level is above the legal limit. Schumer says the new sensors would be easier than the existing ignition interlocks and could one day be a regular option in cars.

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It's known by many different names -- doctor-assisted suicide, right to die, death with dignity, end of life choices. For two years -- Vermont has had a law on the books allowing terminally-ill patients to take prescribed doses of medicine to end their lives. Barb Bardin decided she wanted to use the End of Life Choices Act -- to end her suffering from ovarian cancer. And she invited Kristin Kelly to follow her thru the final weeks of her life. In the two years since the law was passed -- 11 people have filled out the paperwork to invoke Act 39. The state doesn't keep records on how many have followed thru. But advocates believe four people have taken the lethal dose of medication. That surprises Barb Bardin's cancer doctor.

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((tile 081_5660_01, 001617, Dr. Cheung Wong/UVM Med Ctr Gynecologic Oncology: It does surprise me because I think there are a lot of patients who think about it. And a lot of patients who will actually make comments like 'if im going to go I'll just use x or y ' 001630 um I think that this story and barb's story will actually bring this to light and maybe this topic will be less tabooed ** 001638,)) Kristin Kelly explores this sensitive and divisive topic in a two-part special report called "Barb's Story" -- beginning tonight on the Channel 3 News at 6:00.

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A commercial wind project could be on the horizon in Vermont -- for the first time in several years. A Vermont family is seeking permission to build seven turbines on a ridge in Swanton. The details of the proposal by the Belisle family, including the final number of turbines, are still being finalized. They hope to be able to apply for state permission before the end of the year -- with the goal of beginning construction before the end of 2016. Vermont is committed to expanding the amount of renewable energy available in the state, but large-scale wind projects have faced fierce opposition. None have been built since 20-12 when the Lowell Mountain and Georgia Mountain wind farms went online. Many planned projects stalled because of uncertainty over federal tax incentives.

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Today: Partly cloudy Chance for a few isolated t-storms Highs: 82 to 88 Wind: SSW 5 to 10 mph Tonight: Partly cloudy Slight chance for an isolated t-storm Lows: 60 to 67 Wind: Light Tuesday: Partly sunny A few, scattered showers, t-storms Highs: 82 to 88 Wind: Light & variable Extended: Wednesday: Partly cloudy Hot Lows: 60s Highs: 85 to 92 Thursday: Partly sunny Showers, t-storms, some possibly strong Lows: 62 to 72 Highs: 80s Friday: Mostly sunny Lows: 55 to 65 Highs: 75 to 85 Hyper-Extended: Saturday: Partly cloudy Slight chance for a t-storm Lows: 55 to 65 Highs: 78 to 85 Sunday: Partly cloudy Slight chance for a t-storm Lows: 55 to 65 Highs: 78 to 85


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Last Update: Mon 27-JUL-2015
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