Wed 13-DEC-2017 6 P.M. News Script

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Thanks for joining us at 6. Temps -- are plunging. And with highs in the teens today -- there's concern for the homeless. Ike Bendavid is in front of the COTS Shelter In Burlington ((Scene setter if people going in and out or in line?)) The freezing temperatures are a concern for those who don't have a place to go - so shelters like one are ready to help people who need to get out of the cold.

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Zoe Hart joined dozens of people braving the cold to have her lunch outside on Church street Wednesday . ((18.49.06 Zoe Hart - Shelburne We did this last year - it wasn't as nearly as cold 18.50.27)) All the money went to supporting COTS -- the Committee on Temporary Shelter -- and their services for the homeless. ((18.52.00 Hart It does make you think of people who dont have a place to go tonight -dont have a place to sleep 18.56.17)) ((NAT)) Just down the street-- Susan Schill was also braving the cold while handing out meals to those in need. ((1.12.00 Schill We love them first - we feed them second - and we never judge them 1.14.29)) Schill and a couple friends help feed the hungry out of the back of her car. (( Schill 3.10.00 We are out here on a miserable day -- with them --- because they gotta eat. 3.16.10)) And with these freezing temperatures Schill is concerned about what happens to these people who call her mom. NATS Chad Richards has a home now -- but tells me for 22 years he lived on the streets. He says cold nights can be scary. ((13.19.29Chad Richards-Used to be Homeless -Not a lot of people know how to survive out here they dont know how to get off the ground or get away from the cold 13.24.25)) COTS says the shelters are full year-round - but they work extra hard in the winter so people have a warm place to go. ((22.57.15 Becky Holt - COTS When the weather gets really cold we extend our staffing and hours so that so there is no gap between services. 23.05.00)) Normally COTS' shelter is dry -- meaning people must be sober to stay there. But when it's really cold - the rules are relaxed. GRAPHIC: People under the influence are allowed to stay -- if Temperatures OR wind chill are less than 20 degrees. OR if temperatures are less than 32 degrees with a higher than 50% chance of precipitation. The thought of no shelter on a freezing night makes people appreciate what they have. ((7.02.02 Schill It changes you whole perspective of crawling into bed at night 7.05.05)) ((19.22.09 Hart I try to think about it every day through the winter 19.24.15))

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You may remember xxxx weeks ago - the city of Burlington shut down two homeless camps. I talked with a homeless man today who told me there are still homeless camps around town - but on cold nights like this - he said he's going to opt for a shelter instead.

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Snowfall amounts: Ranged from about 6-12" across our region, with a foot to 2 feet in the mountains. Temperatures are cold, and that is only half of the story, wind chills are below zero. This is dangerously cold, so make sure you have all of your skin covered if you are going to be outside to protect yourself from frostbite, and make sure pets are inside and farm animals have adequate shelter.

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Allegations of sex abuse -- and now a Northeast Kingdom daycare -- is shut down. DCF confirmed a St. Johnsbury home-based business run by Sheila Claffey is shut down. The closure comes after Claffey's 77-year-old husband, Thomas, was arrested Sunday for allegedly exposing himself to a 6-year-old. DCF says since his arrest, Sheila Claffey gave up her license and closed her program. The state agency is still investigating -- and Sheila Claffey could face permanent penalties.

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The state is looking into possible chemical contaminants at child care facilities from nearby dry cleaners. Officials are testing seven locations that you see here on your screen. They are in Chittenden, Lamoille, Bennington, Windham, and Franklin counties. They're all within 200 feet of current or former dry cleaning businesses. Investigators say no illnesses have been linked to this issue, and that the work is precautionary. Trisha Scharf has been at C-U-2 ChildCare in Williston for more than 30 years.

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((SOT Trisha Scharf, CU2 ChildCare 6977 4:37-47 "There's been a little bit of concern but I think people kind of trust that we're doing what we need to do to make sure all the kids and staff are safe.")) Tonight at 11pm - Channel 3's Priscilla Liguori has reaction from parents who send their kids to these centers.

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Vermon'ts U-S Attorney opposes safe injection facilities. In a statement today -- the U.S. Attorney's Office called the sites QUOTE "counterproductive and dangerous". They said SIFs would encourage and normalize heroin use -- and undermine years of work by law enforcement to curb drug use. They also said the sites would violate federal law. Supporters of the sites say they would help keep drug addicts from using in public spaces -- and provide resources for treatment.

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New at 6 -- Republican leaders are tying a bow on the final version of tax reform - but keeping details under wraps. Washington correspondent Kyle Midura joins us live tonight from the nation's capitol. Darren and Kristin, opponents say the promised Christmas present -- amounts to coal.

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This group of 29 lawmakers is responsible for drafting the final version of tax reform. Before meeting for the first time, the 17 republicans reached a handshake agreement amongst themselves. ((Rep. Diane Black - R-Tennessee what I want to see at the end of the day is that we give relief to the middle-income earner, I am fighting for the middle-income earner)) Rep. Diane Black - who holds a position on the House ways and means committee -- told us the Senate and House plans had one common aim and few differences. The final plan will face up or down votes in both chambers. The Republican majority only has a couple votes to spare in the Senate and Black says that limits how strongly the House can push ITS positions. ((Rep. Diane Black - R-Tennessee we're working very hard to make sure that the product that comes out will be acceptable in both the House and the Senate :31)) STUP: The details of the plan are not expected to be released for a couple of days -- but republicans continue to say it promises tax breaks and a booming economy, while democrats call it a gift to the wealthy at everyone else's expense. ((Sen. Patrick Leahy D-Vermont I'm very anxious to see how it comes out.)) Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont has concerns beyond what he considers bad tax policy - adding he and his colleagues writing the budget need to know how much cash the government will have to determine what it will spend. ((Sen. Patrick Leahy D-Vermont we're kind of stymied until we know how much to put in )) President Trump promised tax reform would be wrapped up and signed into law by Christmas. Wednesday's agreement keeps that timeline intact.

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Doug Jones -- the recently-elected Senator from Alabama -- will NOT be here in time to help Democrats with their opposition. Darren & Kristin? Kyle -- North Country Representative Elise Stefanik voted AGAINST the House tax plan. Where does the Republican stand on current tax reform? She's still pushing to keep SALT -- the state and local tax deduction that benefits states like New York. Today -- she and other colleagues sent a letter to the tax reform committee -- pushing a new plan that keeps that deduction intact. Kyle Midura live in Washington D-C... thank you.

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Destruction -- in downtown Burlington. We were there as crews began tearing down part of the Burlington Town Center Mall this morning. They're making way for the big new City Center project. Portions of Bank Street and Pine Street were closed briefly -- and will close again at times in the coming weeks. Once the walls are down -- there will be site work to prepare for the 14-story tower going up there. Pine Street and St. Paul Street will eventually become through-streets again. Macy's at one end -- and the part of the Mall from LL Bean to Church Street -- are staying open through all the construction.

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In other development news -- Burlington's City Council has approved the sale of a city-owned parking lot -- as part of plans for a new 76-room hotel. The former Bove's Restaurant would be torn down to make way for the project. Three councilors opposed the 500-thousand dollar sale -- saying housing issues in the city could have been solved without selling the lot... and that other options should have been considered. Construction is expected to start next spring.

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A warning tonight -- about an uptick in a secret shopper scam circulating the state. Three reported cases so far this month -- but consumer advocates -- say thousands of Vermonters may have received a letter like this ... an opportunity to be a mystery shopper. All you have to do is test Walmart's money transfer service. The survey company appears to pay you in advance. You just deposit the check in your bank account -- wire a specific amount back to the company -- in an alleged test of the service -- and you keep the rest as payment for your work. The problem is the company -- and checks are fake. This Colchester dad -- came to us -- after scammers targeted his college-aged son.

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((John Doherty/intercepted scam 00:39:57:24 "This would have been a $700 payday for them and it would have come out of my son's bank account.")) ((Jason Duquette-Hoffman/Vt. Consumer Assistance Program 00:03:40:24 "And that money is gone. When the bank comes back and says that check was counterfeit, they take all the money from that check out of your account and you are out however much money you spent or sent.")) Scam experts say this scheme is particularly tricky -- because people believe they're doing real work. If this happens to you -- report it to Vermont's Consumer Assistance Program.

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Net Neutrality rules -- implemented during the Obama administration -- are on the chopping block tomorrow. Channel 3 political reporter Neal Goswami spent the day investigating what this could mean for Vermont. Neal? Kristin and Darren -- Vermont officials told me they're worried customers rural states like ours -- could see price hikes -- if net neutrality disappears.

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The five-member Federal Communications Commission will vote on scrapping regulations that govern internet service providers. ((BOB_2604 15:27:11 John Quinn/Secretary Agency of Digital Services "They absolutely could play favorites if they wanted to." 15:31:05)) FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai -- part of the commission's Republican-appointed majority -- says repealing the regulations will restore freedom to the internet. ((Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, 0:12-0:21 "The Internet shouldn't be governed like a water company, or an electric company, or a slow-moving subway system. It should be free to innovate. And that's what we are going to do moving forward.")) But critics say it will harm consumers and businesses -- particularly in rural areas. ((BOB_2595 27:20 Matt Dunne "National cable companies have not been known for their investment in rural areas, and there's a reason for that -- it's because it doesn't make them as much money." 38:05)) Matt Dunne, a former lawmaker, gubernatorial candidate, and head of Google's community engagement, has launched the Center on Rural Innovation. He says ending net neutrality will encourage even less investment in rural areas. ((BOB_2596 6:08;14 Matt Dunne "What this would do is set folks back because it would be another way that it costs more for a rural consumer or a rural small business person to be able to participate in the global marketplace." 6:23;24)) Dunne says without net neutrality protections, internet providers could charge companies to ensure faster internet speeds to their sites. Small start-ups may not have the cash available for that like larger, established companies. The Scott administration say it worries the repeal of net neutrality rules will harm Vermont residents and businesses. ((BOB_2604 14:22:18 John Quinn/Secretary of the Agency of Digital Services "The administration's position is against the changes tomorrow. We are for net neutrality and we are for open and unrestricted access to the internet for all Vermonters." 14:32:29)) Secretary of Digital Services John Quinn says you could internet traffic to your favorite sites slowed by internet service providers if net neutrality rules are scrapped. ((BOB_2604 15:08:15 John Quinn "The large telecom providers will be able to say which sites you can go to quickly and which sites you can go to slowly." 15:14:16)) Another concern for consumers -- providers could decide to charge you more for streaming content at home -- like Netflix or Hulu. Or, they could boost a particular streaming service by charging its competitors more for fast connections. Quinn says the state is concerned -- but can't do much other than advocate against the changes. ((BOB_2606 17:42:00 if it's passed it really limits the amount that states can intervene." 17:46:19))

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Republican Gov. Phil Scott's office says they are monitoring the rule changes closely. They'll decide later what, if any action the state can take, to help ensure Vermonters continue to access lawful content on the web quickly and for a reasonable cost. Live in Montpelier, Neal Goswami, Channel 3 News.

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Whatever the outcome of tomorrow's vote -- Burlington Telecom is pledging to remain net neutral. And it says future owner Schurz Communications will ALSO continue to follow net neutrality principles once the sale is official. As part of that -- BT says it won't sell consumer data to third parties -- won't discriminate against websites or streaming services -- and won't block access to lawful internet content.

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An autopsy shows a 2-year-old New Hampshire boy's death is a homicide. Authorities say Jacob Pelletier died under suspicious circumstances. The cause of death -- blunt force trauma to the abdomen. It happened at a home in Manchester Monday. Police responded to a report of an unconscious toddler. Pelletier was taken to a hospital -- but was pronounced dead a short time later. An investigation into the death is ongoing.

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They are typically a place with open doors for worship, but instead multiple Barre churches say they're battling a string of break-ins. Pastors say 8 different churches in the city have been burglarized since Thanksgiving. That includes Barre Congregational Church... who says they have been targeted twice. Last weekend, somebody broke into their business office and tried to get into their safe -- but was unsuccessful.

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((TILE 9247 20:59:22--21:06:23 TYLER DUMONT "You have a sign out front that says, among things, "we trust". Has this impacted your trust?")) ((TILE 9247 21:16:12--21:32:05 David Vanderlinde-Abernathy/ Barre Congregational Church: "Ironically, this Advent and Christmas - our worship theme is 'be not afraid'. And so, it's of course challenging that, but as we look deep into our faith - we know that we can find a place of trust.")) Police believe the motivation behind the break-ins could be drug related. An investigation is underway, but so far no suspects have been identified.

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Current temps are only in the teens and temps are on the way down. There is another clipper waiting in the wings, but this one is going to swing down to our south and not bring anything our way. We will just have cold air settling in for the next couple of days. Believe it or not, this is still fall according the the calendar. Winter Solstice still a week a way, but this weather is a good example of why meteorological winter includes the entire month of December as well as January and February. RPM: Here's what we are expecting for the next 24 to 48 hours, fairly quiet weather, but cold, our next chance for some snow will come on Friday night. Tonight: Variable cloudiness. Areas of blowing snow. Cold Lows: 0/10 Winds: W 10-20 mph G 35 Thursday: Partly cloudy. Breezy and chilly. Highs: 13/20 Winds: W 10-15 mph Thursday Night: Mostly clear. Lows: -5/5 Winds: W 10-15 mph Friday: Partly sunny. Highs: 15/25 Winds: S 5-15 mph Extended: Saturday through Wednesday. Friday Night: Chance of snow showers. Lows 5/15 Saturday: Mostly cloudy, chance of snow showers. Highs 20s Lows 5/15 Sunday: Partly sunny. Chance of snow showers, Sunday night. Highs 22/32 Lows 20s Monday: Chance of snow or rain showers. Highs 30s Lows 20s Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain or snow showers. Highs 30s Lows 15/25 Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers. Highs 25/35

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For the first time in 25 years -- a democrat will represent Alabama in the U-S Senate. In a shocking upset -- Doug Jones narrowly beat Republican Roy Moore. Moore was expected to win -- despite being plagued by decades-old accusations of sexual misconduct with teenaged girls. Republicans on capitol hill expressed relief at the outcome of the special election - despite the loss of the seat.

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((SOT Sen. Bob Corker/R-TN)) "strange to say I guess from my side of the aisle but I thought it was a great night for America." ((SOT Sen. Cory Booker/D-NJ )) "you saw an incredible surge in the African American vote. So I think you're seeing an energized party." Alabama's secretary of state says he'll certify the election results by January third.

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In his acceptance speech - Doug Jones gave a shout out to someone you might remember. ((RQ-504WE Doug Jones: I have the greatest political consultant in the world in Joe Trippi. I know you're tired of seeing my ads, but they were all Joe's work and he showed me the way.)) Joe Trippi was Howard Dean's campaign manager during his 2004 presidential run. Trippi was credited then with modernizing campaigns by using the internet to reach supporters and raise money -- something revolutionary at the time. Dean demoted Trippi after he came in second in the New Hampshire Primary. Trippi quit shortly after that.

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Lawmakers have new questions about Robert Mueller's impartiality. That's after text messages surfaced from two former members of his team. Weijia Jiang is on Capitol Hill.

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MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PRESSED DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN ... ABOUT WHETHER SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER SHOULD CONTINUE LEADING THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION. (SOT Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC--JIANG 1:30 UPDATE) "The reason we have special counsel is because of a conflict of interest. // "And then, lo and behold, those who are supposed to make sure there are no conflicts of interest... seem to have a few of their own." (TRACK 2) REPUBLICANS ARE QUESTIONING MUELLER'S POLITICAL LEANINGS AFTER HUNDREDS OF TEXT MESSAGES SURFACED TUESDAY BETWEEN TWO FORMER MEMBERS OF HIS TEAM--FBI AGENT PETER STRZOK AND FBI LAWYER LISA PAGE. (GFX IN--JIANG 11:30 PKG)) IN A TEXT FROM 2015, STRZOK CALLS BERNIE SANDERS "AN IDIOT LIKE TRUMP". (GFX OUT) (GFX IN--REID CTM PKG) IN MARCH 20-16 PAGE WROTE-- "God Trump is a loathsome human." STRZOK RESPONDED, "Yet he may win." (GFX OUT) STRZOK WAS REMOVED FROM THE RUSSIA PROBE WHEN THE TEXTS WERE FIRST DISCOVERED OVER THE SUMMER. BY THAT TIME, PAGE HAD ALREADY LEFT. ROSENSTEIN SAYS THERE'S NO REASON TO FIRE MUELLER. (SOT @ 10:39:31--Rosenstein vs. Nadler) (Rosenstein:) As I've explained previously, I would follow the regulation if there was good cause I would act, if there was no good cause I would not. (Nadler:) And you've seen no good cause so far? (Rosenstein:) Correct (SOT--STAND UP BRIDGE--Weijia Jiang/CBS News/Capitol Hill) "DEMOCRATS QUESTIONED ROSENSTEIN ABOUT *PRESIDENT TRUMP'S* ROLE IN THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION... INCLUDING HIS FIRING OF FORMER F-B-I DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY ...AND THE PRESIDENT'S CHARACTERIZING THE CASE AS A "WITCH HUNT". (SOT--Rod Rosenstein--Deputy U.S. Attorney General) "The special counsel's investigation is not a witch hunt. The independence and integrity of the investigation are not going to be affected by anything that anyone says." (TRACK 3) THE FBI HAS LAUNCHED AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ANTI-TRUMP TEXT MESSAGES. WEIJIA JIANG, CBS NEWS, CAPITOL HILL.

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Getting guns -- out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence. That's the idea behind a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The weapons would be immediately removed -- even if the convictions are misdemeanors. And he says the legislation would add measures to keep offenders from getting firearms.

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This just in to Channel 3 -- A plea deal has been rejected for the New York prison worker accused of sexual misconduct. New York State Police say Denise Prell developed a relationship with an inmate at Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Prell was back in court today - where prosecutors offered a plea deal -- dropping all misdemeanor counts in exchange for a guilty plea on the felony charge of promoting contraband. That deal was rejected. She is back in court in January.

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Over-the-counter medications -- could help with the opiate crisis. We told you last week that UVM Medical Center has reduced opiate prescriptions by 30 percent since 20-15. And as Melissa Sheketoff found out -- a new policy may reduce the number -- even more.

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((Dr. Stephen Leffler/UVM: 00:31:13 understand that there's many conditions people don't need opiates for.)) And national studies agree. A recent article out of New York -- shows some patients get opiates for pain, when really -- over the counter medications would work with fewer risks for addiction. ((Dr. Stephen Leffler/UVM: 00:28:03 I did read that article.)) ((Dr. Stephen Leffler/UVM: 00:28:48 this is really people who walk in to a clinic for care.)) Dr. Stephen Leffler is an ER doctor at UVM Medical Center. He says opiates aren't the answer for minor injuries -- ((Dr. Leffler/UVM: 00:28:30 an ankle sprain, a bruise on your leg, a slip and fall but not a significant broken bone.)) but ARE often needed following larger injuries. ((But they didn't look at significant trauma.)) And while that makes sense -- it still doesn't ignore the fact that researchers found patients have been given opiates unnecessarily in the past. ((Dr. Leffler/UVM: 00:29:41 MS: do you think urgent care doctors may have played a role, in those conversations maybe they did recommend opioids over over the counter medications that would have worked just as well. Dr: I think all providers have had some role in the current crisis we are in.)) So how do we improve the system? Dr. Leffler says the next time you walk into a clinic -- the medical professionals should have an extensive conversation with you about using over-the-counter meds -- before recommending opiates to relieve your pain. ((Dr. Leffler/UVM: 00:34:29 MS: doesn't that usually happen? DR: I think it always happened before but now with the new law in Vermont it's required to happen.)) A law -- local doctors hope will fight the opiate crisis plaguing the state. ((Dr. Leffler/UVM: 00:31:31 we have to not be defensive of the literature coming out but accepting of it and alter our practice going forward. 38)) He thinks recent changes -- like the new law -- will bring providers closer to how they were prescribing 15 years ago. Over-the-counter meds -- is a part of that. In Burlington, Melissa Sheketoff, Channel 3 News.

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Tonight: Variable cloudiness. Areas of blowing snow. Cold Lows: 0/10 Winds: W 10-20 mph G 35 Thursday: Partly cloudy. Breezy and chilly. Highs: 13/20 Winds: W 10-15 mph Thursday Night: Mostly clear. Lows: -5/5 Winds: W 10-15 mph Friday: Partly sunny. Highs: 15/25 Winds: S 5-15 mph Extended: Saturday through Wednesday. Friday Night: Chance of snow showers. Lows 5/15 Saturday: Mostly cloudy, chance of snow showers. Highs 20s Lows 5/15 Sunday: Partly sunny. Chance of snow showers, Sunday night. Highs 22/32 Lows 20s Monday: Chance of snow or rain showers. Highs 30s Lows 20s Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain or snow showers. Highs 30s Lows 15/25 Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers. Highs 25/35

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Thirty seven years ago 14 year old Suzanne Bombardier was abducted, raped and murdered. It was a case that rocked her California community but it went cold. Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons -- now a graduate student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts -- caught wind of it years later and couldn't stop writing about the girl. Monday -- an arrest in the case. Police say 63-year-old Mitchell Lynn Bacom is responsible for the brutal murder. I caught up with Gibbons today at V-C-F-A to learn more about her role in reviving interest in the murder mystery.

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Gibbons is now looking for a literary agent to expand her past blog entries about this case into a book. She will return to visit her family in Fresno in a few days.

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A backpack program in the North Country keeps 100 bellies full over the weekend. Kelly O'Brien shows us how it works.

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Every week -- You can find volunteers in this room giving back ((Megan Tedford/ JCEO Developement Specialist 05:56 "We send a backpack full of food home with the students on Friday afternoon so they have food for the weekend.")) For four years -- the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity has made sure children in Plattsburgh have not gone hungry. ((Megan Tedford/ JCEO Developement Specialist 07:13 It's a huge problem we had teachers come in and say that their students were asking for food that they didn't have enough on the weekend.")) They're able to fill 100 backpacks each week for students. The backpacks consist of six - easy-to-make meals -- like soup or pasta. The Northeast Regional Food Bank -- supplies the food. Teachers recommend the students. That's the only requirement of the program. ((Claudine Clark/ Principal of Bailey Avenue Elementary 06:01 "obviously being hungry they won't be able to come in and learn when all they're thinking about is where am I going to get my next meal?")) Bailey Avenue Elementary receives backpacks. ((Claudine Clark/ Principal of Bailey Avenue Elementry 00:46 "Many of our students come in hungry we feed them breakfast and lunch but then on the weekends theres always a concern.")) The school says they'll go out of their way to make sure the kids are fed. ((Claudine Clark/ Principal of Bailey Avenue Elementry 05:29 "in the past we've even made home deliveries to make sure the kids have their backpacks.")) ((Megan Tedford/ JCEO Developement Specialist 07:27 "we've gotten some really great feedback that it's helped a lot of students and families in the area.")) ((Kelly O'Brien/Plattsburgh The program is funded by donations. You can help by sponsoring a student. $183 guarantees one student will have food on the weekends for an entire school year. In Plattsburgh. Kelly O'Brien. Channel 3 news."))

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A fun award -- for a Channel 3 team member! Eva -- tell us what happened. I learned I won a hilarious award for "best hair." It's called the Hairry awards -- a fun blog that recognizes local news anchors and reporters for their hair. I've had such a complicated hair journey this year as I continue to experiment with styles and embrace looks I feel celebrate and acknowledge my identity as a black woman whether it is through braids or my natural hair -- faced a little backlash at times so it was extra sweet to get a little love. Except now I can have no off days -- my hair always has to look on point.

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UVM women's hockey standout Eve-Audrey Picard has been selected to play for Team Canada at the upcoming 2018 Nations Cup tournament in Germany. The sophomore forward from Quebec is one of 21 players selected to the National Development Team roster for the tournament, representing Canada's top talent under the age of 22. The 2018 Nations Cup will be held the first week of January in Fussen, Germany. Picard led Vermont in scoring last season as a freshman, with 16 goals and 15 assists in 38 games. This year, through twenty games, she's tied for the team scoring lead with junior Alyssa Gorecki with five goals and eight assists. Picard's selection to Team Canada means she will miss a homecoming trip to Canada when the UVM women take part in the Concordia Tournament at the end of December and she will also likely miss a two game Hockey East home series with Providence the first weekend in January.

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With the win over Siena and the emotion of the Tom Brennan dedication ceremony now behind them, the UVM men's basketball team turns its attention ahead to another tough road test against another top mid-major program when the Cats face St. Bonaventure this Saturday afternoon in Rochester, New York. The Cats will go into that game, and likely go into the rest of the season, without freshman guard Skyler Nash. Nash suffered a knee injury in practice last week and today coach John Becker said the team was awaiting the results of an MRI, but it looks like he will be done for the year. If that's the case, Nash can put in for a medical redshirt for this season and not lose a year of eligibility. Nash had averaged just under eight minutes a game over the first nine games of the season, scoring a total of 15 points. But Nash, at 6-6, offered the combination of size and athleticism on the wing that Kurt Steidl provided last season. It's a roll sophomore Everett Duncan is working to fill this season. Becker said he is considering whether another freshman, 6-5 Vermont Academy grad Bailey Patella, who currently is redshirting this season, may be called on to suit up now that Nash's season appears to be over.

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If you attending Monday night's UVM men's basketball game, or any Hoopcats home game you know the drill prior to tipoff. The starting five for Vermont is announced, then the team gathers in a circle out on the court...then, this happens. ((TRT: 20 ... OC: 'LET'S BRING IT IN')) It's certainly unique, and the team loves it...but to explain to the rest of us just what the heck is going on here, we went to the source... the man in the middle. Anthony Lamb.

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((TRT: 31 ... OC: HELPS US A LOT)) ((Lamb/ "So it really started with Dre Wills last year. He would get in the circle and start hitting people and finish off with hitting Cam (Ward). So that was funny and I thought I would try to bring that into it. It kind of developed into me just trying to take out different people in different ways and try to be more inventive, and people like it. So I was like, 'If you guys like it, I like doing it', so I just try to come up with more creative ways to decapitate people in the huddle. But other than that, it's just something fun. It brings us together and gives up energy going into the game, so I think it helps us a lot."))

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