February 15, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports


State getting $18.25 million to repair damage from Irene

Vermont's congressional delegation says the state is going to get another $18.25 million to continue repairing roads damaged by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene and spring flooding in 2011.

The funding is part of $1.1 billion in new emergency relief funding approved by Congress. To get the federal funds Vermont will have to contribute about $4.26 million as a state match.

The flooding in the spring of 2011 and Tropical Storm Irene damaged hundreds of miles of Vermont roadways and damaged or destroyed dozens of bridges.

State officials have said many of the repairs done in the immediate aftermath of the storm were considered temporary fixes that would have to be revisited.


On lawmakers' plate: New way of grading maple syrup

Vermont lawmakers are once again considering whether the state should adopt a new international grading system designed to help consumers when they buy maple syrup.

The grades were designed by the International Maple Syrup Institute.

All syrup sold at retail would carry a Grade A label, followed by a color and flavor descriptor. From lightest to darkest these new grades would be: golden color and delicate taste; amber color and rich taste; dark color and robust taste; very dark color and strong taste.

The state Agriculture Agency and the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association back the changes. The Burlington Free Press reports the agency is seeking support from the Vermont Legislature in the form of a resolution endorsing the changes


Bill would forbid landlords to require cats be declawed

Rhode Island landlords would no longer be able to require their tenants to declaw their cats under legislation pending in the state's General Assembly.

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio announced his proposal Thursday. Ruggerio's proposal would also prohibit landlords from demanding that their tenants remove the vocal cords of dogs as a condition of occupancy.

The North Providence Democrats says landlords shouldn't be allowed to demand that tenants subject their pets to what he calls inhumane acts.

The proposal is similar to a law in California, which was the first state to make it illegal for landlords to demand that tenants declaw a cat.

Under Ruggerio's proposal landlords could still decline to rent to tenants with pets.

The bill has not been scheduled for a hearing or vote.


University's public health program to become school

Brown University is launching a School of Public Health this summer.

The university says its governing board on Wednesday approved the creation of the school. Brown already has a public health program with 261 undergraduate and graduate students, but the move will elevate its status to a full school.

Terrie "Fox" Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health, will serve as the new school's dean. Her first task is to get the school nationally accredited, which is expected to take about two years.

The university says it will be able to compete for more funding and attract more student talent with a full public health school.

The Public Health School will become Brown's third professional school, along with the Alpert Medical School and the School of Engineering.


Eagle found at landfill undergoing treatment

Veterinarians in North Kingstown are nursing a young bald eagle back to health after it was found ailing at the Central Landfill in Johnston.

The 2-year-old eagle is being treated at Veterinarian Services of Wickford. Animal doctors told WJAR-TV that someone brought the bird to them Tuesday after finding it at the landfill. They believe it's a female.

Veterinarian Meredith Bird says the eagle was found at the landfill lying flat with its head down. Bird says the eagle may have been cold, underfed and stressed after the blizzard.

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