Author: Sun staff

Support for House candidates

I was pleased that Jace Laquerre’s letter prompted a reply from three of the candidates running for representatives to the Statehouse. I applaud him for getting involved in politics, and I am really happy that he is a Republican. I would like to reply to Rep. Condon and to Mr. Taylor. Jim Condon is probably the bluest of the blue dog Democrats. He has supported businesses and knows our economy needs help, and his sales tax holiday has been a huge success to the business community. However, Jim is in an awkward spot serving on the Ways and Means...

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Mock disaster leaves town, state better prepared

By Jason Starr A few days after Colchester’s top administrators and emergency services personnel practiced their response to a major disaster — an earthquake and strong aftershock that collapsed a local school and major roadway, leaving thousands of residents without clean water — they evaluated their performance. The Vermont Department of Emergency Management hired a contractor to help in the evaluation, and he came away generally impressed. “They were prepared and worked as a team,” state evaluator Richard Weinhagen told town officials during an August debriefing. “When much of Malletts Bay was cut off from the rest of town...

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Details emerge on Lake Champlain cleanup plan

By Jason Starr A 20-year journey toward cleaner Lake Champlain water starts with a single document: the Lake Champlain Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan. The heads of three state agencies unveiled details at three public comment meetings this week, describing the tightened regulations and enforcement protocols they expect will result in the targeted 34 percent reduction in phosphorous entering the lake by 2035. Phosphorous reduction is seen as the only way to reverse the trend of toxic blooms of blue-green algae that plague parts of the lake. The total maximum daily load plan was developed in conjunction with...

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In son’s memory, father warns of swimming dangers

By MICHAELA HALNON When Dean Haller learned his 27-year-old son Benjamin drowned in shallow water off the Bahamas, his shock and sadness was mixed with confusion. “[I thought], my son is a certified SCUBA instructor with 1,500 logged dives,” Haller said. “He’s lived on and under the water since he was 11. I don’t get it.” It was 2014 and Benjamin, affectionately called Benjo, had sailed his boat, “Momma Dance,” from Malletts Bay to Harbor Island with help from friends along the way. He’d practiced spearfishing all day. The night he drowned, a friend says Benjo tried something called...

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Child porn suspect pleads not guilty

By COLIN FLANDERS A Colchester man pleaded not guilty to a federal child porn charge last week after police say he possessed more than 30,000 files, including images of children under age 4. A federal grand jury indicted Christopher Loomis, 26, on August 11. He faces up to 20 years in prison and up to lifetime supervised release if convicted. The investigation began in March after federal agents learned Loomis made an account in 2012 on a foreign website frequented by Americans looking to obtain and distribute child porn, court records show. Police say Loomis downloaded hundreds of files...

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