Vermont News Briefs

VTDigger’s beat reporters cover health care, politics, education, energy, the environment, business and state finances. We offer brief Vermont news stories on issues are are keeping tabs on.

Bennington man faces new child pornography charges in federal court

BENNINGTON — A Bennington man free under supervised release conditions related to a prior conviction for possession of child pornography has been arrested again on similar charges following an investigation by federal and state authorities. James Coyne, 34, of Rutter Road, was taken into custody at his parents’ residence on Dec. 2 after officials armed […]

Student brought gun to school as ‘precaution,’ police say

COLCHESTER — A Colchester High School student brought a gun to school Tuesday that he was carrying “as a precaution” and did not intend to use, according to police. School administrators heard about the gun and searched the student, finding a loaded small-caliber handgun, according to a news release from the Colchester Police Department. Police […]

Sorrell to teach in Vermont Law School’s overseas program

Outgoing Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell is set to join the faculty of Vermont Law School in January as a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law. “I am most grateful to Vermont Law School for providing me this opportunity for an extraordinary overseas experience shortly after I complete my time as attorney […]

Drug-related infection is found to have killed prisoner

A bacterial infection related to intravenous drug use caused the death of a prisoner last month, according to his death certificate. David Bissonnette, 38, died Nov. 22 at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He was being held at Northwest State Correctional Facility when medical staff determined he needed to be taken to the hospital. […]

UVM offers fee break, other programs to lower-income students

BURLINGTON — In the future, Vermonters with Pell grants will not have to pay several thousand dollars in annual fees to attend the University of Vermont, school officials announced Tuesday. The change will start with the class that enters UVM in fall 2017. To receive a federal Pell grant, students must demonstrate financial need. Pell-eligible […]

Chen won’t seek reappointment as health chief

Dr. Harry Chen will not seek to be reappointed as commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. Chen told his staff in an email Tuesday that he decided over the Thanksgiving holiday not to apply to continue under Gov.-elect Phil Scott’s new administration. “In the short run, I will finish out my appointed term through […]

Two found dead in Newbury

Vermont State Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide in Newbury. Police found the bodies of Kenneth Welch, 80, and Barbara Welch, 76, dead of apparent gunshot wounds at their home Monday night, according to a statement from Cpt. JP Sinclair of the major crimes unit. A relative of the couple’s contacted police after getting a […]

Former resident leaves $100,000 to Vermont Veterans Home for pavilion

Editor’s note: This article by Derek Carson was published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 6, 2016. BENNINGTON — The Vermont Veterans Home will be getting a new pavilion in the coming months, and it will be named after the man who made it possible. Alan Gibney, who lived at the home and died in 2014 […]

New Hampshire man sentenced for bath salts distribution ring

A New Hampshire man convicted of a scheme to distribute a synthetic drug obtained from China was sentenced to six years in federal prison last week. Michael DePalma, 57, was facing charges related to a conspiracy with four others to sell bath salts, a synthetic designer drug, in the Springfield area. Court papers say DePalma […]

Dean drops out of race for chair of Democratic National Committee

Howard Dean said on Friday he will not seek the Democratic National Committee’s top post. The former Vermont governor made the announcement by video. Dean said the DNC needs a fresh face at the helm and he would be willing to “coach the next chair,” according to The Hill, an online news organization based in […]

Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium tenants moving out, final concert at 242 Main Saturday

BURLINGTON — The city’s premiere all-ages venue, 242 Main, will host its last concert Saturday as tenants must vacate Memorial Auditorium on Main Street because of structural deficiencies. The concert will feature 21 bands and 11 hours of music stretching from noon to 11 p.m. The show will be free and open to the public, […]

Burwell will get trial date in 2017

Editor’s note: This article by Jordan Cuddemi was first published in the Valley News on Nov. 30, 2016. HARTFORD — An Upper Valley man who is suing two Hartford police officers alleging they used excessive force against him in his own home may get his day in court next year, almost seven years after the […]

U.S. attorney’s office adds civil rights lawyer

The U.S. attorney’s office has hired a new lawyer in its Civil Division to enforce the nation’s civil rights laws in Vermont. Julia Torti, who grew up in Vermont and has been working for a civil rights law firm in New York, is one of 34 civil rights attorneys the U.S. Department of Justice is […]

Burlington to explore pay increase for city councilors

BURLINGTON — City councilors are exploring increasing their compensation, currently an annual stipend of approximately $3,000. City Councilor Dave Hartnett, I-North District, introduced a resolution that called for a $2,000 increase, but he stripped the dollar amount from his proposal, saying he was mostly interested in starting a conversation. The resolution was passed at Monday […]