Radio Free Vermont: Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Taxing Tourists

"The scenes are bucolic; cows grazing on Vermont's hillsides. They are picture perfect images for tourists. But are visitors willing to pay more taxes for the experience? The chair of the Agriculture Committee says yes."

Vermont couples big Colorado ski plan

Tim and Diane Mueller feel lucky. The Vermont couple acquired the well-known yet struggling Crested Butte resort for a song.

At the beginning of this season - their first - the mountain was hit by one of the snowiest storms in recent memory. And now the traditionally guarded community seems to be embracing their plan for a massive new village, though some worry it isn’t right for this little Colorado mountain town.

(Editor's Opinion: The Muellers are nice folk. They carry Vermont sensibility with them. They've done a great job with Okemo.)

Toy's Message of Affection Draws Anger and Publicity

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company believed it had a winner of a Valentine gift: its "Crazy for You" teddy bear, a cuddly bundle of fur - with paws restrained by a straitjacket and the outfit accompanied by commitment papers.

But when the company, a nationally known retailer and tourist attraction much loved in Vermont, started selling the teddy bear this month, it created an uproar.

(Editor's Opinion: It's a friggin teddy bear folks. Get over yourselves. There are far larger problems in today's world than this. Get on with your lives.)

Judge: Vermont Yankee Must Document Safety Resolution

"A judge has ordered Entergy Nuclear to show that it has resolved a safety issue discovered during a recent engineering inspection at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant."

Vermont Wins Season-Opening Bates Ski Carnival

"A strong second day by its women's alpine and both nordic teams gave Vermont the championship of the Bates Ski Carnival. The carnival win was the first for the Catamounts since the 2003 season and the victory was the first for second year UVM Director of Skiing Bill Reichelt."

Lake Champlain bridge closed

"The bridge across Lake Champlain between Crown Point and Chimney Point, Vermont, has been closed while officials investigate a structural problem."

Andy Warhol lives on in small Vermont town

"Brattleboro, a city of 8,200 in southern Vermont, has fashioned itself as Andy Warhol central since a private collection, owned by his last live-in partner, Jon Gould, went on display at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in September."

Vermont's Catholic Church At Crossroads

"In April, Bishop Kenneth Angell will decide how Roman Catholic churches in Vermont will handle the worsening shortage of priests."

Teddy bear maker to meet with mental health advocates

"The company that makes a controversial teddy bear wearing a straitjacket announced Thursday that it plans to meet with mental health advocates early next month.

The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., based in Shelburne, has been the subject of a protest by mental health advocates who say the company's 'Crazy for You Bear' is offensive and in poor taste."

(Note to Elisabeth Robert, CEo, Vermont Teddy Bear: The controversy is almost over, cancel your appointment and tell them 'You're crazy if you think I'm going to meet with you.' Just a thought. Your mileage may vary.)

AOT looks to eliminate 40 jobs

"The state Agency of Transportation plans to eliminate 40 jobs in an effort to save money for bridge maintenance and road paving.

The projected job losses account for about 3 percent of the agency's 1,300-member work force and will save about $2.5 million, said Agency Secretary Dawn Terrill."

Judiciary Committee considers Reiber's confirmation

"Chief Justice Paul Reiber told senators Friday that he believes that, although the state's court system faces challenges, it is doing a good job of meting out justice.

Reiber, recently elevated to the top judicial position in the state, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on whether he should be confirmed for the job."

Winhall voters to be asked whether to join New Hampshire

Officials in another community want their town to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire.

The Winhall Selectboard plans to ask voters about the secession idea on Town Meeting Day on March 1.

Town officials believe property taxes in Vermont are too high and the education funding system is flawed.

Farmer's Neighbors Fund Manure Bunker

Neighbors of a dairy farm are raising money to keep manure pollution out of the state's waterways.

Until autumn, there was no barrier between a manure pile at Bob Compagna's dairy farm and the North Branch of the Winooski River, 75 feet away.

Manure run-off trickled into the river each spring for years. Solving the problem by building a concrete-walled storage bunker would cost $65,000 to $70,000 — too big an investment for a small farm in a time of erratic milk prices, Compagna told his neighbors.

Judge Orders House In Swamp Demolished

A judge has ordered a Jericho man to tear down a large, 10-year-old house to restore a natural bird habitat in a Class II wetland.

Larry Westall built the three-story, 30-foot-high house a decade ago off Browns Trace Road in wetlands deemed important for migratory birds. Superior Court Judge Richard Norton recently upheld a state order that the house come down by June 1 because it doesn't comply with state wetland rules.

(Editor's Note: For those of you outside of Vermont or those of you who live in Vermont and do not believe in political correctness, the word wetland should read "swamp".)