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January 14, 2014

Wife of Man Fatally Shot by Police says Burlington Must Do More for Mentally Ill

DSC_0869Barbara Brunette, the wife of a man fatally shot by police in November, implored the Burlington City Council Monday night to invest resources into taking better care of the mentally ill.

A police officer shot Wayne Brunette on Nov. 6 after receiving a call from his parents who said their son was acting irrationally. Police say that Brunette, a 49-year-old who struggled with schizophrenia, threatened two officers with a shovel before he was shot. 

 The Vermont State Police and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office have both cleared the two officers involved of any criminal wrongdoing.

The city council meeting was part eulogy and part plea for more resources.

“My husband was a very caring, poetic, loving, romantic man. He was a fantastic father,” Brunette, pictured above, told the council.  “Policies have to be changed.”

Continue reading "Wife of Man Fatally Shot by Police says Burlington Must Do More for Mentally Ill" »

January 04, 2014

Protestors Renew Opposition to Vermont Gas Pipeline, Despite PSB Approval

Photo 1 (1)Two days before Christmas came the news environmental activists and landowners in Addison County were dreading: The Public Service Board approved Vermont Gas’s plan to build a 43-mile, $86.6 million natural gas pipeline from Chittenden County south to Middlebury.

But neither the stamp of approval, nor frigid temperatures and biting wind in downtown Burlington, deterred protestors from turning out for a rally Saturday against that decision. Altogether, around 75 people met up outside One Main Street, waving placards and banners and stamping their feet to keep warm.

The proposed pipeline has fueled opposition throughout Vermont. Environmentalists decry the additional construction of fossil fuel infrastructure instead of renewable energy resources, and they oppose the technology used to obtain the Canadian natural gas. A portion of the gas the pipeline would carry is obtained in Canada using hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.”

Continue reading "Protestors Renew Opposition to Vermont Gas Pipeline, Despite PSB Approval" »

December 11, 2013

This Week's Issue: F-35 Aftermath, Myers-Briggs for Farmers and Marijuana Testing


We're in the home stretch of 2013, people. As we at Seven Days plot our year-end coverage, enjoy this week's news and politics stories:

Pick this week's Seven Days up in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover photo by Sarah Priestap

December 09, 2013

Four Intoxicated Women Land in ER While "Pregaming" for UVM Sorority Event

602568_537445739660873_1306012350_n’Tis the season for raising holiday spirits, but evidently, a few University of Vermont students raised them a bit too often this weekend — even before the party officially started.

The Vermont State Police reported that at about 7:30 Saturday night, three female UVM students headed to a sorority function at the Old Lantern in Charlotte had to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington due to overintoxication. According to police, the women, who were all headed to the winter formal sponsored by UVM's Delta Delta Delta sorority chapter, arrived by bus and hadn't even entered the party before they got sick. 

Continue reading "Four Intoxicated Women Land in ER While "Pregaming" for UVM Sorority Event" »

December 05, 2013

Demonstrators Tell SoBu McDonald's 'We're Not Lovin' Poverty Pay'

Mcd 001

On top of the customary musical accompaniment to their Happy Meals, customers at the McDonald's on Williston Road in South Burlington were serenaded on Thursday with a noontime chant of "Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersize!"

About two dozen protesters brought their demand for livable wages into the busy fast-food eatery as McDonald's workers looked on silently — and seemingly stunned. It was unclear how much those workers make; local managers also declined to comment on the local manifestation of a nationwide day of walkouts and solidarity demonstrations at fast-food restaurants in support of a $15-an-hour wage.

The demonstrators weren't at all reticent. One of them led several others in the "mic check" call-and-response popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"On this day ..." the leader shouted.

Her fellow protesters joined in with this chant: " ...Workers in 100 cities/are going on strike/and people like us/are standing with them/to demand McDonald's respect the right/ to work with dignity."

A South Burlington police officer rushed into the restaurant at that point and told the protestors they had to leave. They filed out a couple of minutes later, resuming their chant and sign-waving on the sidewalk for half an hour as several passing motorists honked in response. 

Continue reading "Demonstrators Tell SoBu McDonald's 'We're Not Lovin' Poverty Pay'" »

December 04, 2013

This Week's Issue: COTS Stations, Mobile Meals and 2014 Election News


Cover-120413Boy, how about those F-35s, huh? When you're done reading about the planes on this here blog, check out the stories on other newsy topics in this week's Seven Days.

Read all about it in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover photo of folk singer Rik Palieri by Matthew Thorsen.

'It's Not Over,' F-35 Foes Insist as They Carry Fight to the Courts


The mood among F-35 opponents gathered in an Old North End conference room Tuesday evening contrasted starkly with the triumphalist atmosphere inside a Vermont Air Guard hangar earlier in the day.

About a dozen members of the Stop the F-35 Coalition sat glumly around a table a few hours after the state's political leaders and hundreds of uniformed Air Guard members cheered the decision to base 18 of the stealth fighter-bombers in Vermont beginning in 2020.

The activists who have fought the local basing option for more than four years were reluctant to discuss their next steps with a reporter. However, they agreed to offer responses to Tuesday's announcement prior to conducting a private strategy discussion.

Continue reading "'It's Not Over,' F-35 Foes Insist as They Carry Fight to the Courts" »

December 03, 2013

Air Force F-35s Coming to Vermont [UPDATED]

DSC_0040Updated at 4:27 p.m.

Despite fierce opposition from many in the community, the F-35 fighter plane will be based at Burlington International Airport starting in 2020, authorities announced today.

The much-anticipated decision by the U.S. Air Force was announced during a raucous ceremony attended by Sen. Patrick Leahy, Gov. Peter Shumlin, and Vermont Air National Guard Adjutant General Steven Cray inside a Air National Guard hangar.

“Today is a historic day for the Vermont National Guard. This is a milestone event for the Air Force in its next steps in securing the citizens of the United States,” Cray said.

Leahy and Shumlin both hailed what they called a major “grassroots” campaign in support of the planes.

“I’ve never seen such a grassroots effort in this state,” Leahy said.

But it wasn't a universal one. Today's announcement came in the wake of protracted opposition from residents who worry that the jets and their noise will disrupt neighborhoods and threaten public health.  Opponents of the Burlington basing said they aren’t giving up their fight.

Continue reading "Air Force F-35s Coming to Vermont [UPDATED]" »

November 05, 2013

Waterfront Development Inches Ahead as City Council Gets Briefed on Nine Plans

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An expanded marina, a Cherry Street "promenade" and a Moran Plant transformed into an aquatics center or, alternately, a space for food, galleries and "makers" were among nine infrastructure-improvement proposals outlined at a Burlington City Council session on Monday. 

It was another step in a waterfront development process that began early this year and will culminate in a vote on Town Meeting Day in March. A five-member Public Investment Team of planners, architects and developers winnowed 50 proposals submitted to the city last April to the current crop of nine, which Burlington residents can review at a series of five open houses starting next week. 

Continue reading "Waterfront Development Inches Ahead as City Council Gets Briefed on Nine Plans" »

November 01, 2013

Shelburne Police Receive National Distinction, One Driver's Beef Not Withstanding


Might the Shelburne Police Department be one of the finest five-0s in the land? The results are in for the 2013 National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC), and Shelburne's force finds itself near the top of the pack. In the category of municipal law enforcement agencies with 11-25 officers, the department is ranked second nationally for the quality of its highway safety initiatives.

According to a press release by the Vermont Department of Public Safety about the national award:

Chief Warden and Sgt. Al Fortin along with the entire uniform and civilian staff have worked tirelessly to develop a strong relationship with the Shelburne community including local students and parents. In addition, the Shelburne Police Department has coordinated special high visibility enforcement campaigns with all of the law enforcement agencies in Chittenden County and elsewhere. These efforts have helped to make the roadways in Chittenden County some of the safest in the state.

One driver might disagree. Rod MacIver, a Monkton artist (pictured above) who has been waging a legal battle with the Shelburne police department since last December, would be hard-pressed to describe his relationship with the force as strong.

Continue reading "Shelburne Police Receive National Distinction, One Driver's Beef Not Withstanding" »

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