Thu 26-MAR-2015 6 P.M. News Script

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Good evening I'm Kristin Kelly. And I'm Darren Perron. A plea deal in a murder case that's haunted the Northeast Kingdom for nearly five years. The victim's family calls the agreement a first step toward justice for Pat O'Hagan. Jennifer Costa was in the courtroom. She joins us now to explain. Jennifer? Kristin and Darren -- Three men were charged with kidnapping and killing the Sheffield grandmother. More than four years later -- one of the suspects is now turning on the other two. And prosecutors say the need his cooperation.

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Richard Fletcher -- shackled in a suit and tie -- entered a St. Johnsbury courtroom. The 28-year-old's presence is a game changer in the Pat O'Hagan murder case. ((Daniel Sedon/Fletcher's Lawyer 00:25:34 "We are resolving this case today. There's going to be a complete admission to Mr. Fletcher's role in this matter, complete acceptance of responsibility.")) Fletcher -- along with Keith Baird and Michael Norrie -- are accused of robbing, kidnapping and killing the 78-year-old grandmother for pills and cash in 20-10. All three suspects knew O'Hagan and she knew them. She had watched them grow up in Sheffield. Prosecutor Lisa Warren recounted some of the chilling details. ((Lisa Warren/Caledonia County State's Attorney 00:40:19 "Keith Baird and Michael Norrie entered her home. Norrie forced her into the kitchen area, made her kneel down and held her at gunpoint.")) Fletcher -- wore a mask -- and allegedly entered unarmed through the back door. He had done handy work for O'Hagan. Baird had lived next door. Prosecutors say Norrie pulled the trigger. ((Lisa Warren/Caledonia County State's Attorney 00:21:51 "Mr. Fletcher was not the shooter. It's not been the state's contention that he ever was the shooter that ultimately killed Mrs. O'Hagan.")) All three men were charged with first degree murder, kidnap and burglary. But Fletcher was the first to cut a deal with prosecutors -- in exchange for a shorter sentence. The state says his cooperation is vital to its case. ((Lisa Warren/Caledonia County State's Attorney 00:28:36 "There isn't a lot of physical evidence in this case and so this defendant's testimony is very important. It was important to get his cooperation to be able to prove the cases against the other co-defendants.")) ((Judge 00:42:55/44:26 "how do you plead?" RF: guilty your honor.")) Thursday Fletcher pleaded guilty to kidnapping and burglary. Under the deal -- the state dropped the murder charge -- and Fletcher has agreed to testify against his cousin ((Norrie)) and half-brother ((Baird)). O'Hagan's children call this plea deal a necessary evil -- and say the details of Fletcher's confession have not changed in four years. ((Mark O'Hagan/victim's son 00:03:48 "I think that's the hardest thing for us, is that we've known what's happened and this is the first time anyone is specifically being held somewhat responsible for it.")) He'll serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars. The family wanted stiffer punishment -- but say the deal is the first positive step toward closing their mother's Vermont nightmare. ((Shawn O'Hagan/victim's son 00:04:47 "That's the one reason we're here today is we're optimistic that it is going to help to bring the other two to justice."))

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Fletcher is already prison -- serving time for an unrelated aggravated assault. One of seven felony convictions on his record. Jennifer -- now that the deal is done, what happens next? Prosecutors told the judge -- Richard Fletcher is already making good on his promise -- providing police with a swore statement in the O'Hagan case -- just this morning. This plea agreement is completely contingent on Fletcher's continued cooperation leading up to and during the trials of Michael Norrie and Keith Baird. And that could take some time. Trial dates have not been set.

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Several law enforcement officers -- on the wrong side the law. Today -- two were arraigned on allegations of domestic assault. Alex Apple joins us with more. Alex. Darren, since November, five officers across Vermont have been arrested for crimes relating to domestic assault or driving under the influence -- and another is under investigation. Today -- one officer was arraigned after allegations surfaced he abused a family member; the other was back in court for contacting that person he allegedly abused as well.

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Three police officers from across the Green Mountains have found themselves on the wrong side of the law this week. Two more were arraigned Thursday -- bringing the number of cops in trouble with the law in the last five months -- to six. ((NAT Harvey attorney: 00:31 Enter pleas of not guilty in counts 1 & 2)) Burlington police officer Nathan Harvey pleaded not guilty to two counts of domestic assault. He allegedly knocked a family member unconscious after an argument over an iPod months after using a chokehold on the same relative. Another cop was arraigned Thursday -- accused of violating the conditions of his release. ((7:13 Judge: So you're entering a not guilty plea to the two counts of violations of conditions of release, is that correct? MARK MCCOMAS: Yes, your honor.)) Vermont State Police say former Woodstock police officer Mark McComas contacted a family member he allegedly assaulted earlier this month. ((08:37 NAT JUDGE This case will be tracked with your other case and your attorney will receive a notification. 08:43)) On Sunday -- South Burlington officer Jeffrey Martell -- crashed his car in Colchester. He's charged with DUI. ((SUNDAY 3-22-15 Sgt. Francis Gonyaw: "Officers conducted further investigation upon their arrival, determined that Mr. Martel had been drinking alcohol")) South Burlington put the 18 year veteran on administrative leave. And in Rutland -- Officer Justin Barrell -- who was hired as a probationary officer just four months -- was allegedly caught driving drunk. Also this month -- authorities began investigating State Trooper Eric Rademacher for DUI. ((MARCH 5 Col. Tom L'Esperance: "Regardless of whether a criminal case does develop or not we will hold the trooper accountable.")) These all come on the heels of a high profile case in Colchester. Back in November a 12 year veteran of the P-D, Tyler Kinney -- allegedly stole drugs and guns from the evidence locker. He was sent to rehab. ((nats: McCormas: I've reviewed the proposal by the attorney general and I'm in agreement with that)) Law enforcement experts we spoke with say such a high number of officer-involved cases is rare in Vermont. And isn't representative of most officers.

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The lawyers for both former Woodstock officer Mark McComas and Burlington officer Nathan Harvey -- who were in court today -- say they will fight the charges -- and hope to prove their clients' innocence.

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Governor Shumlin's Chief of Staff is leaving at the end of May. Liz Miller joined the Shumlin Administration in 2011 as Public Service Commissioner -- she had been an attorney. After she served as commissioner -- Miller was then promoted to Chief of Staff. Miller plans to step down at the end of the current legislative session.

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((Gov. Peter Shumlin: 2:30 I HAVE BEEN BLESSED. ...... TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.)) Replacing Miller as Chief of Staff -- is Darren Springer -- who is the current Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Service.

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The battle over closing a big budget hole - divided Democrats today - as the House spending plan hit the floor for a vote. Lawmakers are trying to close a 113-million dollar budget gap. The house plan calls for 53-million dollars in cuts -- 24-million in so-called one-time money -- and about 35-million in new taxes. And those taxes were part of the big debate today. Kyle Midura is in Montpelier tonight. Kyle. D+K, Democrats in the middle of the House's political spectrum supported a plan to raise 35 million dollars in new revenue -- mostly by closing deductions for Vermont's wealthiest 20 percent. But those on left felt it raises too little, while those on the right saw it as too much… temporarily creating political allies out of those with opposing views.

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Liberals and conservatives put their differences aside Thursday -- fighting the budget supported by those in the political middle. Those on left say adding $35-million in new taxes is too little. (00:55:32:00) ((Rep. Paul Poirier these cuts are going to affect folks in your community)) -- while those on the right argued for no new taxes. Together, the two groups had enough votes to shoot the tax package down. (1:29:09:00) ((Rep. Paul Poirier be a strange coalition, but that's what you do in this building, you form coalitions on different issues )) But neither group could stomach the other's alternative plan. Republicans helped vote down amendments to increase new taxes before ultimately throwing a few votes behind the original 35 million dollar plan they railed against. ( 01:30:48:00) ((Rep. Don Turner R-Milton strictly just as cooperation to make sure we don't see a bigger tax bill next week :55)) While another vote on the money bills will follow Friday -- the measures are not expected to face significant challenges again. But Gov. Peter Shumlin says he's not going to get drawn into the money debates until the Senate is done working as well. He says the state's finances won't allow lawmakers to make broadly-popular choices. (38:16) ((Gov. Peter Shumlin Every decision that we are going to make this year - and we're going to make a lot of them - are tough and are not going to be greeted with a tickertape parade of confetti and joy ))

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update on where the budget discussion stands. Left-leaning reps feel they sent a message today despite the close defeat -- however hopeful D/P Senate Finace Chair Tim Ashe may put some of their priorities in the Senate's tax plan. D or K

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The warm up has officials watching waterways - for any sign of possible flooding. Rose Spillman is live in Montpelier tonight. Rose, what are you hearing there? Montpelier officials say the ice that's here on the Winooski river is between 12 and 18 inches thick, which could be a concern as the river melts. The river levels are expected to rise by up to 3 feet tomorrow afternoon. Officials say the rapid rising could lead to ice build up.

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(00:01:15 8001) ((Chief Robert Gowans/Montpelier Fire Dept. "SO if the river comes up, and it comes up rapidly, it could break up that ice. And ice then could form dams in which the water backs behind flooding. Very similar to what happened to Montpelier in 1992." 00:01:27)) Officials say that ice is much thicker than it has been in previous years. In order to prevent this possible ice build up, the city has been discharging warmer water from a treatment plant which weakens the ice and increases water flow through the river. The city has an excavator waiting by the river that will help break up the ice. There will be an operator on call through the weekend if the equipment is needed.

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Sharon is here to tell us more about the flood potential.... This is the time of year when you have to keep an eye on the rivers and streams, but it's not a big concern at this time, ...Temperatures were warm enough today to melt some snow in the valleys, but it has been cold enough in the mountains to limit the snowmelt. That and we are only expecting between a quarter of an inch to an inch of rain means that the Winooski river is only expected to rise between 2 and 4 feet. Let's take a look at the river gage in Montpelier, and that is at 3.9' right now, and flood stage is 15'. There may possibly be enough of a rise in the rivers to cause some ice to break up, but in Montpelier, it is unlikely to bring the river up more than more than 11 feet. (**click**) Here's what's going on on the radar right now, ...

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Some scary moments in the sky. A cracked windshield forced an emergency landing at the Burlington Airport this morning. The U-S Airways Express jet was flying from Philadelphia to Montreal when the pilot reported a crack developing. To be safe, the pilot decided to land -- and Burlington was the closest airport. The airline says there were about 50 passengers on board.

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((Doug Wood, Airport Operations Foreman Burlington International 00:02:10:16 - 00:02:24:25 The crack was reportedly getting larger and working its way down the windshield, so the pilots elected to get the plane on the ground as soon as possible and have it inspected before they did lose the windshield)). The airline planned to bus passengers up to Montreal.

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Lawmakers may have come up with a plan to save emergency dispatch centers in Rutland and Derby - but Vermont's Public Safety Commissioner says he still plans to close them. The Shumlin administration says closing two public safety answering points will cut 30 jobs and save nearly two million dollars The House appropriations committee wants to find another solution that will keep the call centers open. But Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn says that will put a financial pinch on his department.

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((Keith Flynn/Vt. Public Safety Cmsr: " ... will be more expensive.")) The House is looking at charging towns who use state dispatching services - as a way to keep the centers open. Flynn doubts that move would work.

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Vermont towns are filled with historic buildings that tell the stories of our past. For the first time this year, teams of students have been challenged to turn those treasures into 3D images in a statewide competition. That's easier said than done, as Julie Kelley found out.

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(TC - 01:24:18:00) ((Kallie Hunton/St. Johnsbury Academy Student Brantview was built by Lambert Packard.)) St. Johnsbury Academy student Kallie Hunton knows a lot more about this dorm than she did a few months ago. (TC - 01:24:36:00) ((Kallie Hunton/St. Johnsbury Academy Student The tower style is chateau-esque, but the detailing on it and the roof is Queen Anne style.)) Architect Lambert Packard designed this home for William and Rebecca Fairbanks. The family known for their scale company -- also built and donated many of the architecturally significant buildings in St. Jay. (TC - 01:31:20:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher Started in 1883 and finished in 1885. It was a family home until the 1930's then donated to the school where it was a home for teachers before becoming a girls dormitory and now it's a boys dormitory.)) Denise Scavitto was born and raised in St. Johnsbury, but didn't know much about Brantview until she put a team together to compete in the town history in 3D competition. (TC - 01:46:16:00) ((Julie Kelley/Reporting The town history in 3d competition happens Friday at Vermont Technical College. The team from the Academy will be competing with about twenty other teams from across the state.)) (TC - 01:38:23:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher So this is Brantview and it looks really good and I'm very excited!)) We were with Denise as she got a look at the 3D model they'll be using at the competition. (TC - 01:38:43:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher To print this it took 14 hours, 48 minutes and 50 seconds.)) Tubes filled with colored plastic are fed through the printer. (TC - 01:37:12:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher It does one layer, and then it does some infill so the building doesn't collapse upon itself. It does another layer and another layer so this is probably about 500 layers of plastic that's been printed on top of each layer)) It has taken many printings to get it right ... Just ask Skyler Gilbert ... Who did the design work. (TC - 01:11:48:00) ((Skyler Gilbert/Senior So the whole time I'm perfecting things.)) This is his process in fast forward using the program Sketchup. (TC - 01:13:14:00) ((Skyler Gilbert/Senior It'll outline in red, like no, you can't do this and I'll have to go back and figure out another way.)) While he worked on that ... His teammates researched the history of the house. (TC - 01:29:57:00) ((NATS - Ooh ... )) In fact, Denise says, they're still hoping to find the blueprints hidden in a secret compartment ... Something the architect was known for doing. (TC - 01:22:28:00) ((Jackie O'Brien/Junior Now I look at the rooms and I look at that fireplace and I look at the details of the carvings and how much thought like Lambert Packard and Rebecca and everyone who was working on the house put into it.)) (TC - 1:44:39:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher You got it?)) They'll need two of these the day of the competition. (TC - 01:40:52:00) ((Denise Scavitto/Teacher Their plan is to have a big map of Vermont on the floor and we place our building on the map.)) Students building a history of Vermont one 3D model at a time. Julie Kelley, Channel 3 News St. Johnsbury.

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St. Johnsbury Academy is starting a renovation and restoration campaign for Brantview. School leaders say, they're hoping to raise 3-million-dollars to help update the building which is 130 years old.

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Spring is here, with a mix of rain showers in the valleys and snow showers in the mountains. Tonight, rain and snow showers will mainly be before midnight tonight. Rainfall amounts will be between 1/4" and 3/4" with limited snow melt in the mountains. That will cause the rivers and streams to rise a little bit and may be just enough to break up some ice, but water levels are low enough now that flooding is not expected. Friday, clouds will be persistent with the chance for some rain or snow showers. Temperatures will be cooler through the end of the week. Our weekend weather will be dry, but it will be chilly on Saturday. Sunday it will be a little milder but still colder than normal, with highs in the 30s. Another clipper will arrive early next week with a chance of rain or snow showers again on Monday and Tuesday. The first day of April will bring us some sunshine and more seasonable temperatures.

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Tonight: Cloudy skies. Rain and snow showers, mainly before midnight. Lows: 25/32 Winds: Light Friday: Cloudy skies. A few rain or snow showers. Highs: 33/40 Winds: N 5-10 mph Friday Night: Becoming partly cloudy. Lows: 8/15 Winds: N 5-10 mph Saturday: Partly sunny. Chilly. Highs: 23/30 Winds: N 5-10 mph Extended: Sunday through Thursday. Saturday night: Lows 8/15 Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs 30/37 Lows 20/27 Monday: Chance of rain or snow showers. Highs 35/42 Lows 20s Tuesday: Chance of lingering rain or snow showers. Highs 35/45 Lows 20s Wednesday: Partly sunny. Highs 35/45 Lows 20s Thursday: Partly cloudy, chance of rain or snow showers. Highs 40s

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A chance to warm your stomach -- and your heart. The ninth soup bowls for hunger event is this evening at Rutland High School. But it's more than enjoying a meal with your neighbor. Our Eliza Larson explains.

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The cafeteria at Rutland High School may look empty -- but Lynn Hier prepared to host hundreds here --Thursday night. (TC 07:49:51:10 Title 0748)((Lynn Hier/Soup Bowls for Hunger: "this year we're doing a hundred and seventy five at each sitting. So yeah that's like 500 people." 07:49:57:03)) Hier coordinates Soup Bowls for Hunger -- a charity event where for fifteen dollars -- you get a hand crafted bowl and a meal. The proceeds go to food shelves all over Rutland County. Hier says that every dollar raised -- multiplies ten fold for the food shelves. (TC 07:52:05:16 Title 0748)((Lynn Hier/Soup Bowls for Hunger: "they can buy so much more with their dollar then we can with our dollar." 07:52:09:28)) Community Cupboard will receive a majority of the money from Thursday's event. Susan Bassett runs the Rutland City-based food shelf. She says the need for healthy food in the county -- is greater than people think. (TC 07:26:00:24 Title 0724)((Susan Bassett/Community Cupboard: "we have about 21 hundred different families over the course of a year that come and use the Cupboard. That varies from year to year. In any given month -- our average is about 560 families a month." 07:26:15:02)) (TC 08:09:34:10 Title 0809)((Eliza Larson/Rutland: "according to the organization, Hunger Free Vermont, Rutland County has the second highest number of participants in Vermont's food stamps program. That number comes in just around 11,000." 08:09:45:12)) Hunger Free Vermont says hunger is on the rise for Vermont. The organization released news statistics showing 1 in 3 children in Rutland County are food insecure -- compared to 1 in 5 statewide. That means they don't always have access to nutritious food. The group also says that 70% of Rutland County students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Bassett says food shelves help those who can't afford groceries. (TC 07:26:45:19 Title 0724)((Susan Bassett/Community Cupboard: "we distribute about 250 thousand food items a year." 07:26:51:10)) Bassett says some of the food Community Cupboard distributes comes from donors -- while a large portion is purchased. She says the money raised Thursday night will help bring good food to people who need it. Eliza Larson. Channel 3 News. Rutland.

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The St. Johnsbury man accused of punching a soccer coach during a game -- says he's sorry. Donald Hjelm was accused of punching Todd Smith in the face -- during a game involving third- and fourth-graders last September -- at the St. Johnsbury School. Hjelm wrote to Smith saying his behavior was out of character that day. He had to the write the apology as part of a diversion program that allowed him to escape criminal charges.

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The woman accused of selling drugs near a Montpelier elementary school was arraigned today on 2 felony charges. 52 year old Karyn Mayhew of Montpelier was arrested earlier this month. Police say she was dealing heroin out of her home -- 1-hundred feet away from Union Elementary School. Court papers show she may have been selling to kids. Mayhew was arraigned in Washington Superior Court. And was released on conditions.

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More problems for the pumpkin fest in Keene. A City Council committee has once again rejected a permit request for the popular festival -- a fall tradition -- now overshadowed by last year's riots. The nonprofit group running the festival, Let It Shine, wants the city to develop a security plan, estimated to cost more than 300-thousand dollars. More than 100 people were arrested last fall after alcohol-fueled parties got out of hand, leading to property destruction and injuries. Police in riot gear used tear gas and pepper balls to control crowds.

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The town of Vernon closed its police department -- but it's having a hard time selling its police cruisers. Vernon disbanded the department as it faced a big tax revenue loss with the closing of Vermont Yankee. The town now contracts with the Windham County Sheriff's Department, which had no use for the cruisers. And so far Vernon has only been able to sell one of its 3 cruisers. That's news around the region.

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Starting Line Sports ...the UVM men's basketball team has reached the finish line to their season, but what a run it was. After the disappointment of falling at home in the semifinals of the America East tournament, the Hoopcats go out with some positive momentum after reaching the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational tournament. The Cats in the semis of a postseason tournament for the first time ever last night, visiting Louisiana-Monroe... --- It was a quick turnaround from Monday night's win over Radford at Patrick and UVM gets off to a slow start as Monroe opens the game on a 20-6 run ... --- but the Cats finally get their legs under them and start to hit some shots...Brendan Hatton and Trae Bell Haynes knock down threes. -- Then Cam Ward takes it in for 2. UVM down by 4. --- Hector Harold who was battling an illness, chips in as well... hitting back to back hoops to tie the game at 32. --- Dre Wills gives the Cats the lead with 2 and the foul. 11 for Wills. Vermont takes a 35-33 lead into the break. --- UVM stretches the lead to 7 to start the half, Kurt Steidel with 3 of his 11 points. --- But Monroe can play defense...and they turn up the heat...and erupt for a 17-2 run ...Justin Roberson with the steal. He takes it in for 2, cutting Vermont's lead to 2. --- Ethan O'Day answering inside...2 and the foul part of his team high 16 points. --- But the momentum was tilting toward the home team...Roberson with another steal. Nick Coppola then hits Tylor Ongwae for 2 and the foul. He had 22 points. --- Majok Deng also had 22 for the Warhawks including this and one with about 3:40 to go. ULM beats UVM, 71-65. The Cats season comes to an end with a record of 20-14. A great run, but that last loss always hurts.

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((TRT: 36 ... OC: NEXT YEAR))

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The future does look bright for the Cats. They will lose only seniors Harold and Ryan Pierson to graduation. After sitting out this season, 6-8 forward Darren Payen, a junior transfer from Hofstra, will join Vermont's front line. And freshman guard Ernie Duncan, who coming into the season was considered the most talented of what has turned out to be a very good group of rookie Cats, hopefully will return healthy next season after missing all but four games this season due to a back injury.

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((SCOTT FLEISHMAN: There are over 11.5 million brackets that were submitted to ESPN's NCAA tournament challenge. Of those brackets, 14 of them have the entire sweet 16 field. One of those is a teenager from South Burlington. You won't believe the preparation he had to go through to make these picks. We'll here from this college basketball guru coming up on the channel 3 news at 6. ))

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So called homeopathic health remedies are about the go under the microscope. The Food and Drug Administration announced that it will hold a two-day meeting next month on those medicines like Zicam and Cold-Eeze. Similar to dietary supplements, homeopathic products are not required to prove they are safe or effective before being sold on the market -- But unlike supplements, they can state that they're designed to treat specific medical conditions. The FDA plans to ask if there is data to "better assess the risks and benefits" of those medicines. That's health watch.

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A little rain, washing some more snow away. Another step closer to gardening season. And...wouldn't it be nice to be able to step outside into your own English cottage garden? If that is a dream of yours, Charlie Nardozzi is going to show us how to make it happen.

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Charlie, I think cottage style gardening might be my favorite kind of gardening. Yes, a lot of people love the English cottage gardens which are just a blend of all kinds of colors and textures. And when you are designing your own English cottage garden there are a few themes or a few techniques that you have to keep in mind. First of all, height. Remember, everything tall goes towards the back. You want to create a nice back wall. This goats beard and this loosestrife back here is a nice backdrop to a lot of the plants that are shorter that will be in the front. And you also want to mix and match plants. Put in some perennials with some annuals, we have some scaevola mixed in here, there are some canna lilies mixed in here. Even some shrubs sometimes you can get in here. They even threw in a few eucaluptus just for fun. They get a lot of different textures going which is one of the things that I like, colors and textures. Exactly. So there is always something interesting in the garden and when you look really closely, you realise that some of the plants that are in here were ones that flowered earlier in the season like the peonies for example. So that's what you always want to have, early, mid and late flowering plants. The cannas will come towards the fall, the peonies are in the spring. Mixing the colors too, a lot of that, people get very worked up about the colors in an English cottage garden but really it's more your personal taste. Some people like complimentarly colors, yellows with the blues, others like bold colors like oranges and really bright reds. Whatever suits you is really the best thing for your garden. But do it in big swaths or clumps of color, that way you will have a real nice impact. Beautiful. Runs: 1:23 CG :08-:14 Charlie Nardozzi CG :51-:55 Shelly credit

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Bob Smith says this is the coldest March he's ever seen. But that hasn't stopped the super senior from working in the woods. Joe Carroll has more.

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(00:37:39:21) ((Bob Smith/Super Senior, Well, I just going to look right here in the tank to see if it's dripping in the other end at all. )) It's been a frustrating month for Bob Smith. Cold weather has sapped the syrup season. (00:37:45:00) ((Bob Smith/Super Senior, No, no drips, there's an icicle hanging off the end of the pipe. )) On a good year, he'll make 50 to 60 gallons of syrup. But that's just a drop in the bucket for how he makes most of his money. It's under the soil. That part of the story - later. (00:02:13:22) ((nat sot of the log being cut down)) Machinery has been a big part of Bob's life. Cutting down trees for lumber and firewood keeps the 88 year old busy. He's lived on 400 acres overlooking Okemo Mountain for most of his life. (00:17:10:00) ((Bob Smith/Super Senior, I was born and brought up right here.)) His grandfather Fred Smith bought the land it in the 1890s to grow potatoes and strawberries. (00:03:38:00) ((Bob Smith/Super Senior, and I run this sawmill all alone. )) Now Bob's harvesting lumber. ((nat sot of cutting)) He saws logs into beams to order. It's his most recent job. Bob helped run a then-small Okemo Mountain ski area and then sold Tucker Snow Cats, the machines that go up and down the mountain. (00:17:42:00) (( So I built an airstrip, bought an airplane and then learned to fly it.)) The exclusive East Coast dealer of the machines impressed his customers with parts delivered that day. Leaving from his property and returning to his home at night. All that time, there was money just above the runway. (00:21:28:00) ((Bob Smith/Super Senior, That's a deal and a half. Talk about lucky, that's the luckiest thing that ever happen to me probably.)) In his banged up Jeep, he took me for a ride that has made his life comfortable. (00:00:47:04) ((Bob Smith The jeeps go anywhere. )) (00:00:16:00) (( Joe: Is it a big operation? Bob: the mine? Joe: Yeah. Bob: Pretty big operation.)) (00:41:38:00) ((Bob Smith/Super Seniors, now you can see the talc. )) (00:41:44:00) (( Joe: So how many of these mines are there in the country? Bob: Two. Joe: You're one of them! Bob: Yeah. )) Bob says when nearby neighbors were selling mineral rights to companies, Bob's grandfather held out. (00:21:56:00) ((Bob Smith Super Senior, He didn't need to sell the mineral rights might be something here you want.)) His grandfather was right, in the 1970s they discovered talc on the Smith property. (00:22:10:00) (( Joe: you get a little money from that? Bob: Oh yes, it pays for everything.)) A private company does the digging, the talc is used for everything from perfumes to plastics. Bob and his family get a percentage of ever ton mined out the the mountainside. (00:43:24:00) (( Joe: Now some people might look at this and say you've scarred Vermont, looks ugly, what do you say to that? Bob: Well you can't see from anywhere much, so it don't matter much.)) He thinks there's enough talc in the mountainside to last another 50 years. The fact is, Bob doesn't need to work. But he can't stay still. (00:13:25:00) ((Bob getting off loader, Yeah have to be quite able to get off this thing, it's like getting off a horse. )) (00:08:26:00) (( Joe: Do you enjoy doing this? Bob: Of course I do, I loved to do this. )) (00:39:56:00) (( Joe: This is your paradise. Bob: It sure is, that's exactly right, I like it.)) His grandfather Fred would be proud. Joe Carroll, Channel 3 News, Ludlow.

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Bob has two children and has been married to Jean for 45 years. He hope's to be boiling the sap this weekend.

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It appears fans have given the green light to Super Troopers Two. We told you how Broken Lizard -- the company behind the 2001 cult classic that spoofs Vermont state troopers -- was crowd funding for a sequel. Well, the group has already surpassed it's $2-million dollar goal -- raising more than $2-and-a-half million -- with a month left in the campaign. Those making a $4- thousand dollar donation get to name a character in the movie. And for 35 grand, you get to keep an actual patrol car used in the film.

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Just days after his time with the UVM men's hockey program to an end, former IceCats captain Mike Paliotta is set to take the next step in his career. Paliotta has signed a two year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was a third round draft pick of the team back in 2011 prior to arriving in Burlington. This past season, Paliotta led Vermont with 36 points, nine goals and 27 assists and was the sixth highest scoring defenseman in the NCAA. He was a second team all-Hockey East selection and was named the league's best defensive defenseman. Paliotta's agent, Jordan Neumann, told our Kane O'Neill late this afternoon that Mike is expected to join the Blackhawks as soon as this weekend, which would put the first year of his contract into effect, meaning he could become a free agent at the end of next season.

44} CADETS_THIEDA_VO


The season for the Norwich men's hockey team ended in heartbreak on Sunday night with an overtime loss at Amherst in the NCAA Division Three Quarterfinals. But Cadets captain Alec Thieda earned a top honor, being named a finalist for the Joe Concannon Award. The Concannon Award is given out each year to the best American-born college hockey player in New England playing at the Division II-III level. It's awarded by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. Thieda, who is from Rochester Hills, Michigan, was one of five finalists for the honor, which last night was given to Babson goalie Jamie Murray. Thieda, who was a first team, All ECAC-East selection, helped lead Norwich to a 25-4-1 overall record and its sixth straight NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal appearance.

45} MENEGHIN_ROY_W_VO


The Plattsburgh women's hockey team ended it's season Saturday by winning a second straight national title. One of the keys to the Cardinals run this season was first year forward Kayla Meneghin and today, the freshman was named the U-S College Hockey Online national rookie of the year. Meneghin was the leading scorer on the highest scoring offense in the nation, with 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points. Meneghin beat out a trio of other rookies, including Jessica Young of Middlebury for the award. It's the latest of several top honors for the native of Clifton, New Jersey. Meneghin was also named the ECAC West rookie of the year and was a second team All-American selection by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

46} ACT_AT_LEE_PPD_WHITE


The never ending winter in New England has forced the American-Canadian Tour to postpone it's season opening race at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Governor's Cup was set for Sunday, April 12th, but track manager Bill Callen says there are still snow drifts on the frontstretch that are over the grandstands and two weeks isn't enough time to get the track ready. The race has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 26th. The ACT Tour will now aim to open its 2015 season on Saturday, April 18th at Oxford Plains in Maine.

47} A_SWEET_16_SOT


The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tonight with the first four games of the Sweet 16. A handful of upsets over the first two rounds has left many a bracket in tatters, but Scott Fleishman met one young Vermonter whose bracket is very sweet indeed. ((("There it is, ESPN fantasy sports right there."))) (((11.57 million brackets in ESPN's Tournament challenge,))) ((("I probably make at least 10 a year."))) (((Only 14 have the correct sweet 16.))) ((("Oh my goodness, I did it. I'm one of those people."))) (((South Burlington senior Spencer Lieberman, a kid who loves hoops.))) ((("I don't even like basketball."))) (((And Studied all the match-ups))) ((("The first game I watched was at the start of the tournament."))) (((Not so much.))) ((("That's all I'll ever do is guess. Oh I like this team. I've heard of that team before."))) (((but he has his methods to this madness.))) (((Spencer Lieberman/"Kentucky, they're unbeatable. I actually visited NC State this fall, oh I liked them so I picked them over Villanova. UCLA over SMU? I didn't even know SMU was a college. Michigan State over Virginia right there. I used to be from Michigan so I thought I'll pick them. They happen to be good too."))) (((A perfect sweet 16.))) ((("It's just so surreal. It's just insane. You just never know."))) (((Earning Spencer Lieberman.))) ((("My phone has been blowing up. My principal is tweeting at me."))) (((15 minutes of fame.))) ((("I tweeted about it and it was my most favorited tweet of all time."))) (((In South Burlington, Scott Fleishman channel 3 sports.)))

48} SPORTS_OUT_DESK


Today at the U-S Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf another young skier with local ties shined... 17-year-old Nina O'Brien, who is from Colorado, but attends Bruke Mountain Academy, stunned the field to win the the women's giant slalom.

49} 4THWX_FORECAST


50} TEASE


Before we leave you tonight -- it's time for our Throwback Thursday credit roll. Tonight we leave you with some muddies from 1990 in Huntington. Enjoy. Good night.


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