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February 06, 2014

This Week's Issue: A Neighborly Noise Feud in Burlington, 'Border' Security and Maple Saplings

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Find these news and politics stories in this week's Seven Days...

October 29, 2013

Green Mountain Police State? Vermont's Spy Guy to Speak at ACLU Event

F-journalists-arkinSouth Pomfret resident Bill Arkin isn't shocked by recent revelations about the worldwide and domestic spying operations of U.S. intelligence agencies.

That's because he and colleague Dana Priest reported extensively on privacy invasions by U.S. espionage agencies in an investigative series, "Top Secret America," published in the Washington Post more than three years ago.

Arkin and Priest showed how the national-security state had expanded exponentially in the years following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. They reported, for example, that more than 3000 government organizations and private companies are engaged in "homeland security" activities in 10,000 locations around the United States, six of them in Vermont.

Arkin will update and analyze his findings as they relate to Vermonters and millions of other Americans at a conference on Wednesday in Montpelier. He's the featured speaker at the free, day-long event in the Pavilion Auditorium sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Arkin's talk will focus on "the big national picture and how Vermont fits into it," he said in a telephone interview on Monday. He'll also be touting his newly published book, American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution.

Continue reading "Green Mountain Police State? Vermont's Spy Guy to Speak at ACLU Event " »

August 29, 2013

"Bloom Season" Is Upon Us

AlgaeFall is right around the corner. But until the leaves turn red and gold, people around Lake Champlain must contend with changing colors of a different sort: For the last two weeks, pea-green blooms of algae have been popping up in Missisquoi, St. Albans and Malletts bays.

“Mid-August through September is, unfortunately, what we in the business call ‘bloom season,’” says James Ehlers, executive director of the nonprofit Lake Champlain International.

Scientists have determined that early summer rain brings nutrients like phosphorus into the lake, and long stretches of sunlight facilitate photosynthesis, resulting in the pea-green film, Ehlers explains. 

“It’s not unlike April showers bring May flowers,” he says.

Continue reading ""Bloom Season" Is Upon Us" »

July 18, 2013

Big Dreams of Plattsburgh's Uppity Airport May Cause Nightmares at BTV

PBGPlattsburgh's "international" airport (PBG) remains much smaller than Burlington's, but economic-development officials on the New York side of Lake Champlain sure do dream big.

Direct flights from PBG to Caribbean vacation spots represent "the lowest-hanging fruit" potentially within the airport's reach, North County Chamber of Commerce chief Garry Douglas recently told the New York Times. And that might just be the first step in giving substantive meaning to the "international" part of the airport's title, Douglas added. 

The Times reported his suggestion that it might be feasible in the longer term to board flights from Plattsburgh to destinations such as London, Paris and Tel Aviv. That would be quite a leap from the handful of domestic destinations PBG currently serves.

But PBG clearly does expect to handle many more passengers in the coming years than the 150,000 or so who boarded flights there in 2012. A remote parking site with 1500 spaces — in addition to the 2000 already available — is scheduled to open in 2016, the Times said. That's the same year when Plattsburgh's terminal is due to complete an expansion that will triple its size.

PBG's ambitions hinge almost entirely on attracting additional traffic from Quebec. More than 80 percent of its passengers currently come from Canada — drawn in part perhaps by PBG's claim of being "Montreal's U.S. Airport."

Continue reading "Big Dreams of Plattsburgh's Uppity Airport May Cause Nightmares at BTV" »

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