WVTK Local & State News – May 11, 2018

The Middlebury Police Department has issued a Bear Alert.  Officials say there is a bear with 3 cubs with a den in the Chipman Hill area.  The bear and cubs roam about the entire area, along the TAM through DM Means Woods and Battell Woods and adjacent fields.  Do not go near the bear, if seen. A sow tending cubs can be very aggressive and may cause injuries, while cubs have no fear and can appear playful.  The bears will generally avoid human contact. Do not try to approach the bears or try to get close for a photograph. If encountered leave the area immediately.


Vermont will soon require that all single occupancy restrooms in public buildings be marked as gender neutral.  Governor Phil Scott signed the bill this morning. The new law takes effect July 1. The bill passed with a large majority in the House and unanimous support in the Senate.  The few no votes came from lawmakers who wanted an exemption for religious buildings.


Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region has joined the tobacco-free movement.  Beginning July 4, all CHCRR facilities will be free of tobacco, and tobacco use of any kind will not be permitted anywhere on CHCRR properties including sidewalks, parking lots and in parked vehicles on the premises.  CHCRR is prepared to help employees and volunteers kick the habit if they are currently smokers by providing information and referrals to treatment alternatives and professional support.


New York state officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for an invasive insect called the spotted lanternfly.  State environmental and agricultural officials said the spotted lanternfly has the potential to harm New York’s forests and farms.  The invasive pest from Asia feeds on more than 70 plant species, including maples, apple trees, grapevine and hops. Adults resemble colorful moths and begin to appear in July.  The insect was found in Pennsylvania in 2014. State officials are asking people who see the pest to send pictures and note the location of the sighting.


The temperatures are rising, and Vermont State Police are urging people planning to go out for a spring hike to use caution.  Police say that it may be getting warmer, but as hikers head into higher elevations they can encounter snow and ice. In addition, melting snow and rain can cause rapidly rising streams, and the wet ground can make following trails difficult.  Hikers are also reminded that trails on state land above 25 hundred square feet are closed until Memorial Day.