Author: Michelle Monroe

5 Franklin County candidates vie for Senate seat

With additional reporting by ABBY LEDOUX Five candidates have so far joined the race for Franklin County’s two state Senate seats, while a sixth is contemplating a run. On the Republican side, incumbent Dustin Degree is running, as is Georgia Rep. Carolyn Branagan. Three other women, all Democrats, are gathering signatures on election petitions: former state senator Sara Kittell, Denise Smith and Caroline Bright. Smith, of St. Albans, was the only candidate to specifically cite the sexual assault case of suspended Franklin County Republican Sen. Norm McAllister as a reason for joining the race. “I feel very strongly the...

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Garage fire threatens Georgia home

A detached garage and truck in Georgia were destroyed by fire late on New Year’s Day. The garage at 450 Bronson Rd. was fully engulfed when firefighters from Georgia and St. Albans Town arrived on the scene around 11:30 p.m., Georgia Fire Chief Keith Baker said. The fire spread to a truck parked in front of the garage and to a corner of the home, melting away siding and damaging a window. The home is closer to the St. Albans Town station than to Georgia’s, explained Baker, so they asked for mutual aid, and town firefighters arrived slightly ahead...

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Distracted driving persists

With additional reporting by COURTNEY LAMDIN The state’s law prohibiting driving while using a cell phone has been in place for a year, but law enforcement officers are still seeing and stopping drivers for distracted driving. “A substantial number of drivers have either chosen to ignore the law or plead naiveté,” St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor said. “I have stopped half a dozen personally in the last month for just flagrant violations.” Since January 1, SAPD officers have stopped 101 drivers for distracted driving, issuing 76 tickets and 25 warnings. In Milton, the number is much fewer: Officers...

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Pressure grows on McAllister

ST. ALBANS — Two Franklin County Republican lawmakers have joined state leaders in calling on state Sen. Norm McAllister to resign after sexual assault allegations surfaced last week. Rep. Brian Savage (R-Swanton) and Sen. Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) agreed it would be in McAllister’s best interest to step down, while behind the scenes, area Republicans are discussing possible replacements, including former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock. McAllister was charged with three counts each of sexual assault and prohibited acts for allegedly coercing two female employees into unwanted sexual acts. The situation came to light when a third victim...

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School taxes: How did we get here?

with additional reporting by COURTNEY LAMDIN SO. BURLINGTON – There was a lot of information about one of the state’s most vexing issues – education taxes – but no solutions at a gathering of roughly 100 municipal and school officials here last Thursday. The conference, organized by Chittenden County municipal officials, was held at South Burlington High School, explored Vermont’s education funding system and its history. Keynote speaker Steve Jeffrey, director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, said rising education costs close out other opportunities by consuming more of the available tax base. Increases in the state’s...

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