Wed 25-FEB-2015 6 P.M. News Script

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Weekdays on WCAX around 12:10 -- just after the noon news -- Across the Fence comes on - as it has for the past 60 years. It's the longest running daily farm and home television program in the country. It's shot here -- but it's produced by the University of Vermont Extension. Tony Adams hosted Across the Fence for more than 25-years. He reflects on the show and its significance to Vermont. ((Outque: ... Otherwise, it would have been gone. TRT :43)) Tony Adams retired from Across the Fence in 2004. Our Judy Simpson took over as host. Will Mikell is the show's producer. ((judy -- what gets covered?)) ((both -- tell us more about the research you highlight)) ((both -- Favorite programs?)) ((will -- history, the show used to be live))

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FAVORITES: Anytime I get to talk to kids involved in 4-H Like the "Feathered Friends" chicken club. These kids really knew their stuff! Touring gardens around the world with Horticulturist Leonard Perry, just gorgeous! RESEARCH: Learning how to grow Shiitake mushrooms,,,it starts with soaking logs that have been spiked with spoors,,,then stacking the logs just so,., Maple, from traditional boiling to ,,research being done on tapping birch trees and birch sap. ANd then there was the program on Plantation planting of maple saplings in a concentrated area. Could be a good solution for a farmer who doesnt have much land, but wants to makes syrup.

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Research projects,, Like growing Shiitake Mushrooms Maple Research, from traditional methods to research into tapping birch trees, and what birch sap might be used for. Or Plantation method of planting many saplings close together. A good way to have a maple bush on a small plot of land. FAVORITES: Hard to pick just one show, but I had alot of fun chatting with the 4-H Chicken club called "Feathered Friends" These kids knew their stuff,, and their chickens!

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Tomorrow on the Thirty -- tax time for retirees. Taxes are a fact of life when you have a full time job but your tax liability changes after you retire. Financial Planner Christine Moriarty will walk us through four aspects of retirement where you can manage how much you owe in taxes. That's tomorrow in Money Talks on the thirty at 5:30 on the thirty.

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Good evening. I'm Kristin Kelly. And I'm Darren Perron. An animal abuse investigation in Eden - has troopers on scene - seizing dozens of dogs tonight. Authorities are still trying to figure out whether criminal charges will be filed. Alex Apple is in Eden tonight with the latest on the investigation. Alex. Darren and Kristin -- Police have been at this residence behind me since 9:30 this morning -- what they found were dozen of dogs needing immediate medical attention and now -- state police are on hour 10 of removing the animals.

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Dog after dog -- nearly 100 of them in all is what the police and animal control encountered this morning when conducting a search warrant at this residence in Eden. (Lt. James Whitcomb 02:37)(("We were advised of some conditions in the home that warranted our ability to actually do a search warrant of the residence.")) With the help of the Central Vermont Humane Society -- police spent much of the day pulling the dogs from the home. They were in a variety of conditions. (Lt. James Whitcomb 04:03)(("Its a mixture of both roaming the residence and having kennels in the residence.")) Some needing serious medical attention -- others with matted fur covered in dirt and feces. (03:29 Lt. James Whitcomb)(("Right now its an ongoing investigation. We'll get reports from veterinary services that are contracted to assist.")) Police will use those reports to decide if criminal charges will be forthcoming for the homeowners. Anne Ward of the Central Vermont Humane Society paints a picture of homeowners -- looking to help the animals -- and simply getting overwhelmed. (12:48 Anne Ward/Central VT Humane Society)(("They were taking in animals hoping to find new homes for them, and ended up with more than they expected to .........13:53 Some have been signed over to us voluntarily which is fantastic. ")) The animals are now going to an undisclosed location in Chittenden County where they'll be cared for. From there -- they'll be placed up for adoption. (14:12 Anne Ward/Central VT Humane Society)(("The cost of caring for so many animals is going to be astronomical, and the private humane societies around here aren't prepared to do that without the community's support.")) Police say the homeowners have cooperated -- but this is a residence the state police have responded to before. (12:21 Anne Ward/CEntral VT Humane)(("This particular family didn't know who to reach out to and in a lot of ways, really relieved we're here to help."))

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A developing story -- in Danby. Fire crews -- at the scene of a barn fire. Our reporter on the scene -- confirms there were animals in the barn. We're trying to figure out if any are still trapped. Crews are pumping water up a hill to the blaze -- and have the road blocked -- because it's so icy. We'll bring you more information as we get it.

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and a massive car fire has shutdown one lane of I-89 south in Middlesex. No word yet of injuries or a cause. We'll have more information as it becomes available.

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Frigid cold temperatures -- leave homes across Vermont with frozen water pipes. And dozens of communities with water main breaks. Logan Crawford is in the newsroom with the state's response. Logan? Darren, Vermont Emergency Management officials say towns from Derby to Bennington are experiencing problems with freezing pipes. Private homeowners are having troubles too.

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(TC 00:04:13:12 Tile 9376) ((Sheryl White/Hinesburg "Lived at the house for over 20 years and this is the worst year so far." 00:04:19:26)) Vermonters aren't the only ones having to endure the frigid cold this winter. Water pipes across the state are freezing. Sheryl White of Hinesburg has had her pipes freeze and burst repeatedly. (TC 00 :01:23:14 Tile 9376) ((Sheryl White/Hinesburg "It burst all the pipes under the sink actually so I had to replace all of those, and once I replaced them I was able to feed hot water down to the frozen section." 00:01:34:15)) The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security says more than 25 Vermont towns have experienced some issue. Either water main breaks or freezing pipes. Boil water orders have been in effect for towns like Saint Albans -- where multiple water mains have broken. (TC 00:06:38:27 Tile 9382) ((Robert Schell/Emergency Management and Homeland Security "The town of Lyndonville reported a frost line of 5 and a half feet which is not typical for what we see in Vermont and that's really due to the cold." 00:06:47:02)) Emergency Management Deputy Director Robert Schnell says they're communicating with local municipalities around the state. The state is posting info to the website Vermont dot gov to let Vermonters know when there's a water main break in their town -- or if there's a do not drink or boil water notice. (TC 00:09:19:27 Tile 9382) ((Robert Schell/Emergency Management and Homeland Security "The important part is to reach out to your water provider or your town who have people who are specialized in the water systems, who could really provide you exact details about what to do." 00:09:30:29)) Schnell says the state is in the process of gathering information from communities to add up repair costs. They're also researching to see if towns and cities can qualify for any insurance to help with the financial burden of fixing breaks. But still -- homeowners like White wish more could be done. (TC 00:02:54:03 Tile 9376) ((Sheryl White/Hinesburg "Some state help would definitely be nice. If there were any way to put a system in that would prevent this from occuring over and over it would be nice." 00:03:06:26))

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Emergency Management officials say people can sign up for text alerts from the state -- to get a heads up if any pipes freeze or a water main break happens in their town. To learn more visit our info center at WCAX dot com. Darren?

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A sad end to the search for a missing man in Plattsburgh. State Police say they found a body in a wooded area off Rugar Street - and they believe it is 36 year old Cherokee Styles. He was last seen leaving a bar in Plattsburgh on Valentines Day. His family told police he has cognitive disabilities. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow - but police say so far there are no signs of foul play.

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One person was tossed from a car following a crash in Enosburgh. The crash happened on Boston Post Road near the intersection of Sand Hill Road earlier today. Police say there were four people in the car. The person that was ejected was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. Police are still on the scene and the crash is still under investigation.

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A Woodstock police officer faces domestic assault charges. State Police say 45-year old Mark McComas of Quechee .... .... assaulted someone at his home twice in the last month. McComas was arraigned this afternoon. Prior to working in Woodstock -- McComas served on the force in Hartford. The officer is charged with 1 count of domestic assault.

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(TC 00:14:03:03 Tile 9384) ((Capt. JP Sinclair/VSP "Looked into a number of the allegations by this complainant. At this time we have probable cause to charge on this one particular incident." 00:14:14:02)) Captain Sinclair says it's up to the State's Attorney to decide whether more charges will be filed against McComas.

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A bill requiring background checks for gun owners - is stalling at the statehouse. The building has been inundated in recent weeks by gun advocates against the background check bill. But some provisions in the bill, including giving authority to police and prosecutors to go after owners of firearms convicted of certain violent crimes -- still has momentum -- and may show up as a committee bill.

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(Tile 8324 03:40)(( Sen. Dick Sears/ D-Bennington County "People who have comitted very violent crimes and been convicted of those crimes and as well as people who have been convicted of drug traffcking type crimes -- Should they -- Should we have a Vermont law like the other 49 states that allows local prosecutors to prosecute those folks? )) Another provision -- would require those found by a court to be a threat to themselves or others -- to have their names submitted to a national instant background check. Vermont law enforcement groups support going forward with the committee's modified gun bill.

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Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law today - closing a loophole in Vermont's sex offender registry. The measure -- introduced by Rep. Maxine Grad -- requires sex offenders contact the sex offender registry before they are released from prision -- rather than up to three days after. The change is effective immediately applies to those currently behind bars.

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A bill that would overhaul the state's child protection rules is one step closer to passage. The bill unanimously cleared a key vote in the Senate -- with only minor amendments. It was prompted by the deaths of 2 Vermont children last year -- who had been in DCF custody. Under the bill, failure to protect a child by someone who knew or should have known the child was in danger -- can face felony charges. And Instead of reunification of children with family members, the bill shifts the decision to the best interest of the child.

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((Tile 8371 00:27:05 Sen. Ginny Lyons/D-Chittenden County "We wanted to be assured that reasonable efforts are made for reunification with families, but when that cant happen. When there are aggravating circumstances, when abuse and neglect takes place, that there are opportunities for children to be place effectively with adoptive parents.)) ((00:10:24 Sen. Dick Sears/D-Bennington County "To say that this is an important bill would be a tremendous understatement. It may be one of the most important bills we deal with this year.)) Senators will take final action on the bill tomorrow.

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With a budget hole more than a million dollars deep - lawmakers are looking for any way to fill it. But plans to consolidate emergency dispatch centers are pitting cost savings against concerns for public safety. State House Reporter Kyle Midura was with lawmakers today as they visited a dispatch center. And he has more from Montpelier, Kyle - Kristin, it's believed the plan could save a couple of million dollars. With a gap estimated to be at least 112-million in the budget, lawmakers are exploring every option to balance the budget.

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When you're in trouble, these are the people who pick up the phone. ((dispatcher nats - Vermont 911, where's your emergency?)) For lawmakers, the emergency is in the budget set to begin this July -- presently short at least 112-million dollars. The Governor proposed consolidating Vermont's four Public Safety Answering Points like this one into two, to help patch the hole. (nats - lawmakers) Wednesday lawmakers toured the dispatch center at the Williston State Police Barracks to get a feel for operations. (00:18:15:00) ((Rep. Donna Sweaney - D-Windsor I think it was re-assuring to come here and see what they're doing and what the plans are and how they're testing to make sure when the consolidation takes place that it will work out and Vermonters will be safe and be able to get their calls through)) Employees and local communities are pushing back against the proposed change -- which would cut jobs and close facilities in Rutland and Derby. The proposed consolidation is projected to save the state about two million dollars, paltry by state budget standards. (00:01:59:00) ((Rep. Peter Fagan - R-Rutland We will balance the budget, that I can tell you for sure. Just how we get there, we're still exploring )) Rep. Peter Fagan of Rutland is the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He says the budget crunch is tougher than during the Great recession, because federal recovery funds are spent. Fagan says they'll need to find plenty of cuts, most relatively small but likely all painful. Worthwhile causes will not be immune. (00:01:54:00) ((Rep. Peter Fagan - R-Rutland the money is not out there to be able to do the best we can for all Vermonters)) Fagan would not say what cuts he supports or does not - including PSAP consolidation in his home district - but did say Rutland's struggling economy should be spared as much as possible. (00:01:30:00) ((Rep. Peter Fagan - R-Rutland every idea we have is going to impact somebody, personally, and this is not an easy decision )) Fagan and his committee-mates are working longer weeks than most of their peers. They heard from more than 50 witnesses since January, and in less than a week, they're likely to hear plenty about state finances.... when tax-payers speak up on Town Meeting Day.

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Governor Peter Shumlin pledged a balanced budget proposal as the new session began. He put forth a 95-million dollar plan to do so in January, but shortly after he put it out, lowered revenue projections unbalanced it. The Governor says he will not be releasing another plan to make up the difference, but will work with the legislature to cover it. - Kristin

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College campuses across the country are celebrating the first ever Adjunct Action day. Rose Spillman takes us to SUNY Plattsburgh -- where adjuncts say they deserve higher wages.

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Richard Aberle is an adjunct English professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. On Wednesday, he and other faculty members spoke about the harsh realities adjuncts face. (01:21:46 8536) ((Richard Aberle/Adjunct English Professor "We're paid what is essentially poverty wages." 01:21:49)) On average SUNY adjuncts are paid $2,520 per class. Aberle says that at this rate, a professor would barely make over $15,000 per year if they taught a full load of six courses. Both adjunct and full time professors expressed their concern with these wages. (01:05:14 8504) ((RIchard Robbins/Full-Time Anthropology Professor "the direct insult to full time faculty that the pay that adjuncts represent. Because essentially they are getting a fraction, of what we and I get." 01:05:26)) At these wages, many adjuncts say they are forced to work other jobs to pay bills, leaving them with less and less time to help students and work on their courses. (01:13:00 8517) ((Andrew Black/Adjunct Anthropology Professor "And As much as I'd like to contribute more to students' learning experiences, I physically can't, because I'm already working 60, 70 hours a week between two places." )) University officials say the institution does, however, provide adjunct faculty with benefits that other schools do not. (00:55:34 8481) ((James "Jake Liszka/Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs "Another benefit that we offer adjuncts that you don't see in a lot of places is health benefits. If they're working two or more courses, then they do receive health benefits here." 00:55:44)) Adjuncts have a large presence on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. Last fall, 40 percent of the instructors were adjuncts. (01:26:39 8536) ((Richard Aberle/Adjunct English Professor "You know we would like to see our job valued the way teaching ought to be, considering that we are the face of the university for most all of the freshmen and sophomores at the college." 01:26:50)) Aberle says he would like to see adjuncts working full time, but until then, he hopes they could get a pay raise to around 5,000 dollars per course. Rose Spillman, Channel 3 News, Plattsburgh.

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Nationwide, adjuncts make up over 60 percent of higher education faculty.

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Colder temperatures will return to the area tonight. Lows will fall between 2/-12 by Thursday morning. A storm system will stay to our south on Thursday, but it will be just close enough to give us mostly cloudy skies. There could also be an isolated flurry to the south. Highs on Thursday will only reach 5/15. High pressure will move in on Friday, giving us partly cloudy skies. Highs will remain well below normal. We'll hold on to partly cloudy skies on Saturday. Temps will start to moderate a little bit, eventually making it to around 20. Sunday looks even milder, with highs in the 20s. We'll see increasing clouds through the day. It looks like a frontal system will catch up to us on Sunday night into Monday with some light snow or snow showers. High pressure will briefly return on Tuesday, with more sunshine. Then another frontal system could bring us more snow next Wednesday...but the exact storm track is still not clear.

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Colder temperatures will return to the area tonight. Lows will fall between 2/-12 by Thursday morning. A storm system will stay to our south on Thursday, but it will be just close enough to give us mostly cloudy skies. There could also be an isolated flurry to the south. Highs on Thursday will only reach 5/15. High pressure will move in on Friday, giving us partly cloudy skies. Highs will remain well below normal. We'll hold on to partly cloudy skies on Saturday. Temps will start to moderate a little bit, eventually making it to around 20. Sunday looks even milder, with highs in the 20s. We'll see increasing clouds through the day. It looks like a frontal system will catch up to us on Sunday night into Monday with some light snow or snow showers. High pressure will briefly return on Tuesday, with more sunshine. Then another frontal system could bring us more snow next Wednesday...but the exact storm track is still not clear.

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State environmental officials are against a bill to allow the City of Montpelier to manage its drinking water supply at Berlin pond. A State Supreme Court decision four years ago ruled that Montpelier does not have the authority to restrict public access at the pond. In a follow-up last year, The D-E-C rejected petitions by the city and a citizen's group -- to reconsider fishing, swimming and other non-motorized uses. DEC officials say the new bill by Montpelier lawmakers -- interferes with the Department's water management responsibilities. And that current protections for the pond are adequate.

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A plea deal for a Woodstock woman accused of animal cruelty. Marjatta Lavin has agreed to forfeit ownership of her 23 Arabian horses. In exchange, all cruelty charges against her will be dropped. The horses were seized last November after they were found to be malnourished -- and in troubling conditions -- kept in the dark -- in feet of manure. The animals now belong to the Lucy MacKenzie humane society -- which is trying to find permanent homes for the horses.

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A woman who hit a man with her car in Weathersfield will not face charges. It happened last night on Route 131. The 48-year-old Thetford man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Vermont State Police say the driver told them she was unable to brake or avoid the man -- who was standing in the road.

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Not the kind of drive-through you want -- at the McDonald's in Hartford. Police say 51-year old Kimberly Dyke of Orford crashed into it. And they say -- that's where her wild ride -- ended. It started last night in Lebanon. Police say she hit a pedestrian -- and took off. Then crossed into Vermont -- where she crashed. Dyke is charged with drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident and gross negligent operation of a vehicle.

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Traffic troubles on Interstate-189 in South Burlington. A car accident forced crews to close the west bound route to one lane at about 4:30. Traffic was snarled. The road reopened about an hour later. No word yet on injuries -- or a cause. That's news around the region.

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In starting line sports, a home game in the america east semifinals is on the line tonight when UVM hosts UNH at Patrick Gym. With a victory the Cats lock up the number 2 seed in the conference tournament. Tonight is the final home game of the regular season which means it is senior night. Two players will be honored before the game, Hector Harold and Ryan Pierson. Pierson, a transfer from Northeastern, broke his ankle in the Summer of 2013 which impacted his role with the team, but over the last few weeks he has been progressing and can still make an impact moving forward. Harold, a transfer from Pepperdine, made his claim to fame in last season's near win at Duke putting up 24 points. This season, Harold has assumed a leadership role is third on the team in scoring. Tonight's ceremony will certainly be a contrast from last year when the Cats said goodbye to 6 seniors, 5 of them playing their entire collegiate careers at UVM.

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(((John Becker/"In that sense it takes on a little bit of a different feel, but these guys are Catamounts and they always will be and for that it will feel the same. But it's sad to see those guys go."))) (((Hector Harold/"I know the guys all support me, so they'll all go out with the equal amount of intensity as I'm bringing on Wednesday and we'll go to battle just like another other conference game, of course it will be a little more emotional on senior night, but we'll come out ready to compete.")))

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We'll have all the highlights and reaction from Patrick Gym tonight at 11pm.

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Burlington voters have four candidates to choose from in the race for Mayor. Tonight - we continue our look at the Queen City candidates. Alex Apple profiles Independent Greg Guma.

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((06 Guma commercial: On March 3rd, Burlington has a choice -- give into developers or reclaim the city and work together for a sustainable future.)) Greg Guma says Burlington is facing a turning point and its prompted him to run as an independent for mayor. (03:18 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("I see myself as a community builder and a progressive manager.)) He says he's committed to building a strong Queen City -- but has a vision quite different from incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger who Guma says is rushing development. (29:43 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("Let's deliberate more about these these things. Let's protect the city. Let's use the offices of the city to protect the city from gentrification.")) Guma's been working in Burlington for decades. His activism started in the 70s -- and since he's twice ran unsuccessfully for city council. Now he's asking voters to hand him the keys to the city. (02:50 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("i decided to run because I became very concerned about the pace and direction of where we're going.")) His campaign slogan -- "Preservation and Change" was based around his ideas about development. (30:04 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("Preserve traditions, preserve resources, preserve the things that we know work, and make this city the magnet and attractive place that it is, but change certain aspects of the way we make decisions and do business.")) (GFX) He says he'll achieve that motto by focusing on improving affordability -- BY raising the minimum wage. He also plans to fund Neighborhood Planning Associations to empower residents across the city. And he wants to preserve open spaces by building a coalition of environmental groups to protect them. (end GFX) He says Weinberger -- on the other hand -- is handing the city over to tourists. (23:39 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("In terms of his overall vision, it really has more to do with attracting tourists and making Burlington a four seasons resort.")) The last candidate to enter the race -- Guma is using popular social media spots like Reddit and Blogspot to get that message across. (24:34 Greg Guma/Independent for Mayor)(("You can do many things, you can build many things, but because you can, doesn't mean you should.")) That's a statement that Guma's opponents say is anti-development. An allegation HE DENIES -- saying he's best equipped to lead the Queen City to a more prosperous future -- built on preserving rich tradition -- and changing the status quo in city hall. Alex Apple. Ch3N. BTV.

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Tomorrow night Alex continues his profiles -- he catches up with the Libertarian in the race -- Loyal Ploof.

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February will be coming to a close in just a few days. But skiers know that the best conditions of the season often occur this time of the year. This week were going slopeside across the Lake to Whiteface Mountain.

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Whiteface from a distance-- It's a striking view that shows off all of those Olympic trails. This time of year those trails are filled with the sounds of skiers. ((Nats: Skiing)) Skiers like Bill Schoch. (00:10:41:00-00:10:44: 00) ((Bill Schoch/Raybrook, NY: It's just great terrain. A lot of steep stuff)) Snow surfaces are grippy but firm-- no complaints. (00:11:40:00-00:11:46: 00) ((BS: A little on the hard side but a ground up surface with the grooming)) With a 34 hundred plus foot drop, Whiteface offers the most vertical in the east. Bill says this gives him time to find his groove. (00:11:19:00-00:11:27: 00) ((BS: When I ski at a smaller mountain, it's like you just get started and you're at the bottom. Up here you can just keep going and really get into a rhythm.)) Racers appreciate the extra vertical too. ((Nats: Ski racing)) (00:09:29:00-00:09:40: 00) ((Forest Ledger/Lake Placid: Well you just get so much more training. And a lot of mountains you can't train as long of a course and the race courses are so long you're ready for pretty much anything)) But if *you're* not quite ready for "pretty much anything"-- Whiteface is offering a special 3 lesson program this year-- for first time skiers. (*2 part stand-up*) (00:28:25:00-00:28:32: 00) ((Nick Borelli/Reporter: Students in the Parallel From The Start program Start at lower Whiteface on the bunny hill their very first day.)) (00:07:12:00-00:07:22: 00) ((NB: By the third lesson the goal of these new skiers is to reach the summit of Little Whiteface. When they do, it's kind of a right of passage-- They get to ring (NATS Bell) this bell.)) Part of the reason that this program works so efficiently is the skis-- They're short. Really short. This means first timers are much less likely to get their tips caught up in each other. And they can focus on learning the right technique. ((Nats Ken: 21:58-21:59 It's not my first rodeo.)) On this day, seasoned instructor Ken Carre, is teaching Evelyna Ranta how to ski. (00:25:52:00-00:26:02: 00) ((Ken Carre/Whiteface: Slide your toe inside the binding there, center your heel in the back and then push down)) She goes through a few different exercises, giving her the basic feel of a ski. Soon, Evelyna slides down a shallow pitch for the first time. She can't wait for her third day-- so she can ring that bell and start skiing with her family. (00:30:10:00-00:30:17: 00) ((Evelyna Ranta/New York, NY: I'm so excited about it. I really want to be skiing with my kids and my husband to have fun here.)) After all, that's what it's all about.

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And for more information on the program, you can visit our website, that's wcax.com ((*Please include link on web story: http://www.whiteface.c om/mountain/snowsports -school/adults))

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Colder temps will be returning tonight, with many of us getting below zero. So if you're planning on skiing or hiking tomorrow, prepare for unusually cold temps. We'll see a moderating trend by this weekend, with highs eventually back in the 20s by Sunday.

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Lambs are one of those signs of Spring that are sure to make you smile even when its still freezing outside. And one, in particular, is becoming a social media sensation in Vermont and beyond. As Julie Kelley found out.

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Nats- calling sheep Just as these sheep follow John Churchman here on his land in Essex ... Fans on Facebook are lining up to follow a member of this flock. (TC - 00:07:28:00) ((John Churchman/Photographer I've seen images that people really like, but this has sort of become a story.)) Stories are something he's used to telling - through the lens of his camera. His work can be seen in Vermont Life. ((00270100, This is what I really consider a picture farm. I use them all for models for the work I do.)) Which brings us to the story of Sweet Pea, an orphaned lamb, who was injured last month. Churchman brought her here, to a greenhouse off his living room, to recover. Eventually, Prim joined her to keep her company. (TC - 00:04:59:00) ((John Churchman/Photographer Then after sweet pea was feeling a lot better and her leg was working right we had what we called a sheep over and so we brought the other two bottle lambs up for a party.)) Violet, Sunny and the two newest members, Speckles and Freckles round out what Churchman calls, "the knitting club". But it is one of them in particular ... (TC - 00:14:41:00) ((Nats- Come here Sweet Pea)) ... That has a face fans on social media just can't seem to resist! (TC - 00:10:43:00) ((John Churchman/Photographer When you look at it and you get to a certain angle, she smiles!)) About two weeks ago, Sweet Pea and Friends got a Facebook page. She has more than a thousand likes and with every photo posted the fan club grows... Like this one that sort of looks like a selfie! (TC - 00:21:32:00) ((John Churchman/Photographer That was a beautiful one. They were lined up over here and the sunlight and you just kind of get this sensation where they lined up and the sunlight comes in and they illuminates them, it's a lot of fun.)) (TC - 00:37:52:00) ((Julie Kelley/Reporting This face is not only inspiring social media fans, she's also inspiring other artists.)) They share their paintings of Sweet Pea on Facebook and also their feelings about this little lamb from Vermont. (nats-reading comment) All this love has inspired Churchman to create his first book ... sweet pea and friends, the sheep over. (nats- explaining page of book ) If her fan base is any indication, this book may make a star out of her. Dexter Randall says ... She's Hollywood bound for sure! And Marylin Gilks said ... Why... Ms. Sweetpea is ready for the Oscar's..! Let's just roll out the red carpet!! You might say - Vermont's version of Meryl Sheep! (TC - 00:08:11:00) ((John Churchman/Photographer She is my muse. (Laughs) yes it's true.)) And while she may be getting lots of attention, everyone on this farm is in the group! Nats- Julie Kelley, Channel 3 News, Essex.

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Sweet Pea will celebrate her first birthday next month and a shearing party is planned for late Spring.

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We return to the Barre Auditorium this evening for night two of the girls basketball state semifinals. Already underway, the team from Whitcomb/Rochester is facing Proctor in a D-4 semi. That will be followed by Mill River and Fair Haven in Division Two. We'll have highlights at 11pm.

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A busy night in the high school playoffs ....We start with a Division One boys hoop playdown...fourth seed Rutland taking on number 13 Mount Anthony... --------- Rutland up eleven in the third quarter and add to their lead... Nathaniel Kingsley in the corner...burying the three... ---- Mt Anthony trying to hang in this one... Marques Vaval-Paris the floater in the lane.. ---- But too much from the Raiders...Bailey Plante sinking the three in the final seconds of the quarter ... Rutland downs it's southern rival 62-44.

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just south on Route Seven to Mill River... an 8-9 matchup with Milton in Division Two ... ----------- Yellowjackets on the board first...Joe Beaupre picking up the loose ball...his lay in attempt too strong but Kyle Apgar there for the put back.. --- But the Minutemen come out firing from that point on...Mike Morgan driving to the rack, somehow hooks it in.. the bucket and the foul.. --- Then this ball tipped back to Ben Smith... The big man buries the three ball.. Mill River tops Milton 62-55.

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to Division Three... number six Winooski hosting the eleventh seed, Oxbow... ---- the Olympians with a nice play of the inbounds...Matthew Thomson to Anthony Gieising for the finger roll... ---- Spartans answer on the break...Jibril Abdullahi to Sean Callahan...two and the foul... --- more from Winooski after the break... Eddie Lamson to Hunter Robare for three... as the Spartans win 62-47...

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from hoops to hockey ...boys Division One quarterfinal.. number seven Colchester visiting second seed Spaulding. --- First period, Tide on the power play, Dylan DiLena deflects home the shot. 1-0 Spaulding after 1. --- Colchester ties it in the 2nd, on a 4 on 4, Tate Hamblett in front backhands it home. It's 1-1 after 2. --- Colchester strikes for 2 more in the third, Mark Gauthier scores off the faceoff. Colchester knocks off the second seed Spaulding 3-1.

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to Kreitzberg Arena for a girls D-1 quarter...third seed Northfield taking on number six Spaulding ... ------ Late first period, Northfield's Kristen Dukette with a rocket from center ice. It deflects off the goalie's glove and in 1-0 Maurauders after one. --- Spaulding Goalie Morgan Gosselin makes up for it in the second with this save from point blank range. --- Later in the second Spaulding on the power play, but it's Northfield's Dukette that breaks free and puts in the nifty shorthanded goal. Northfield advances with a 2-0 win. The hockey quarterfinals continue tonight, and we'll have highlights at 11pm.

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The UVM men's hockey team wraps up the regular season this weekend at Lowell. The Cats are coming off their first scoreless tie in program history on Saturday against Merrimack, but the team says the lack of goals won't affect its approach this weekend. (((Kevin Sneddon/"It wasn't like we were stymied or didn't have chances, we just struggled to put it by a goaltender, so I think we still have confidence even though we only scored a couple of goals on the weekend, we still have confidence."))) (((Brady Shaw/"If you work hard for 60 minutes, that's going to come. It's hard to believe that could happen two days in a row. We're going to have the same mindset this weeknd and hopefully have a little more puck luck.")))

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staying at Norwich, the Cadets women's basketball team... seeded second, hosting Anna Maria in the GNAC quarterfinals... ------ Late first half, Norwich's Kelsey Lotti buries three of her 10 points as the Cadets go up 7. --- Later in the half, Lotti's shot is no good, but there's Arianna Harrison with one of her 10 rebounds, putting it back for 2. --- Then Aliah Curry starts to heat up from long range. She had a game high 22 Norwich runs away to a 68-51 win. They will host a GNAC semifinal tomorrow night.

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To Castleton...the Spartans men facing Thomas in the NAC quarterfinals...former Rochester star Pavin Parrish back after missing four games with an injury... including a loss to Thomas eleven days ago ... --- Parrish had seven points in 29 minutes ...but it was another Vermonter, Twinfield standout Chad Copeland, that led the Spartans...the junior with 19 points and a game high 18 rebounds ...five assists and four blocks... Fair Haven's Rob Coloutti chipped in ten as Castleton wins 70-60. They'll face top seed Colby-Sawyer in the semifinals Friday night.

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In other college basketball playoff action last night... the Plattsburgh women fell by one in the SUNYAC quarterfinals. The Southern Vermont women earned the program's first playoff win in the first round of the NECC tournament...and the Lyndon State men upset New England College in the NAC quarterfinals.

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it was also the final night of the regular season at St. Michael's...both the SMC men and women hosting Merrimack at the Ross Sports Center ... -------------- Matt Bonds had a double double for the Knights...13 points, 10 rebounds, one of four Knights in double figures... --- but St. Mike's couldn't stop the duo of J-T Strickland and Troy Hammel who combined for 61 points ... the Knights fall 84-78...they'll host St. Rose a first round NE-10 playoff game Friday night.

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the women still in the mix for the postseason, but it was out of their hands, needing a loss by St. Anselm to get in... --- Mackenzie Burud had a game high 15 on a bad shooting night for the Knights...just 32 percent...and 2 for 11 from three point range ... --- Aria Johnson led a balanced Merrimack attack with 14 points and 12 rebounds... St. Mike's falls 63-50...but, St. Anselm lost as well... which means the Knights qualify for the Northeast-10 playoffs. They'll travel to AIC for the first round on Friday.

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An update now -- on that traffic jam on Interstate 89 near Middlesex -- southbound. A vehicle fire snarled traffic -- during the busy commute. And drivers tell us -- they're still not moving. And some have been at a standstill for an hour. So, avoid that area. And tonight -- at 11. Bernie Sanders is so excited to see the Pope -- coming to the U-S -- he talked about it on the Senate floor. That's tonight -- on the Channel 3 News at 11. Take care. Have a good night. Good night.


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