Bennington Banner from Bennington, Vermont on February 17, 1997 · 3
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Bennington Banner from Bennington, Vermont · 3

Bennington, Vermont
Issue Date:
Monday, February 17, 1997
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BENNINGTON BANNER LOCALSTATE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1997 Issues raised over return of mental health patients MONTPELIER (AP) - The state's efforts to move more people from locked psychiatric wards into the community has run into a legal thicket of questions about the terms under which they may be returned to closed custody. T'ie ,Yemon, Supreme Court has been asked to rule in the case of "M.L.", a 40-year-old mentally ill man with what is considered to be a dangerous obsession for a particular woman. His release last year from the Vermont State Hospital in Water-bury has become a test of the state's effort to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill - specifically those few who pose a public danger. M.L.'s case bears some similarity to that of Louis Hines, also 40, whose release from the state hospital was recently blocked by a family court judge. Hines has been a patient at the hospital since he killed a Burlington woman during a psychotic rage in 1980. In both cases, the state drafted plans to release the men on 24-hour supervision, with a key provision that they be returned to the hospital immediately if they violate the terms of their release. And in both cases', the legality of that "summary return" provision has been challenged. State mental health officials say summary return is essential to protect the public when the state is trying to phase out its only public psychiatric hospital. The hospital requires summary return in less than 3 percent of its discharges, or fewer than 10 cases a year. "We believe this is a very important tool for certain individuals," said Rodney Copeland, the state's mental health commissioner. "If we lost it, it would affect our ability to get some people out." But others, including M.L.'s lawyer and the judge who blocked Hines' release, say it is unconstitutional to return the patients without a prior judicial review. Family Court Judge Marilyn Skoglund ordered that Hines remain in the hospital. She said the summary return provision is unconstitutional, but to release him without giving some option for quick review would pose a danger. Arguments in the M.L. case were heard before the Supreme Court last November. The court has yet to render its decision. f L- 7' -- t Hcka Slock CAR WASH FEVER Mud, salt and sleet conditions during the winter months bring much business to area car washes, like the Bennington Car Wash, above, where cars Kneel up Saturday for a soap-and-water bath. Bill would add security to mobile park tenants RANDOLPH CENTER (AP) - A spate of mobile home park closings around Vermont has created heartache for residents and prompted legislation to offer them more protections. "People in the park are upset and angry. Some of them have lived there for years," Virginia Trampe said about the announced closing of the Quechee mobile home park where she lives. Eleven of Vermont's 226 mobile home parks have closed or announced plans to in the past two years, said Arthur Hamlin of the Cham-plain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. Trampe said the owner of her park, Margaret Izzo, met with residents Thursday told them she was closing the park because she wants to retire, is frustrated with increasing state regulations and has found park management a burden since her husband's death six years ago. Izzo, 70, told the Valley News: "I don't want to sell the park. I promised my husband, Alfonso, I'd keep that land for our children and I want to keep that promise." Trampe has been hunting -so far unsuccessfully - for land to buy so she can relocate her mobile home. She said some park tenants say they will just abandon their trailers at the park and move when school is out in June. "If tenants just walk out and leave their homes, they'll be in a big fight with the Eleven of Vermont's 226 mobile home parks have closed or announced plans to in the past two years. banks that hold the mortgages," said Hamlin. The value of a mobile home declines sharply when it loses its site, said Elaine Curry-Smithson of the Vermont Mobile Home Owners Association. "People whose mobile home is appraised at $19,000 or $20,000 when it's in a park find it's worth only $3,000 or $4,000 when they try to sell it because they have to move out of the park," she said. State Rep. Ginny Milkey, D-Brattleboro, said she and other legislators have introduced a bill now in committee, that would provide additional protection for park tenants. The bill would require five-year lease terms for park mobile home sites; prohibit closure of a park in which a tenant has filed a complaint or asked for mediation on rent issues in the previous 12 months; require 18 months' advance notice of a sale or closure of a park, instead of the present 12 months' notice; and provide that park owners buy the tenants' mobile homes "at a price that considers the value of the home as sited" or pay for the relocation cost. Stratton Mountain Resort hires watchdog for environmental issues STRATTON (AP) - The Stratton Mountain Resort has decided to get ahead of the curve on the environmental controversies it is often embroiled in, and has hired a consultant specializing in environmental issues. Michele Grenier, 39, who most recently was environmental affairs director for the city of Stoughton, Mass., will report directly to Stratton President Robert Fries. "She will really be a watchdog on ourselves," said Fries. "She will blow the whistle on us when there are problems with erosion control or water quality." The hire comes as Stratton awaits word on whether it will be fined by the state for water quality violations last summer, and as it launches a 20-year master plan that calls for 1,300 new housing units at the mountain. Fries said that in the snow-making pond case, Stratton probably won't be fined by the Agency of Natural Resources for run-off pollution that came from the new pond, just off the Win-hall River. Instead, Stratton will pay a lump sum that will be used on environmental awareness projects in the region. "I consider myself an environmentalist. We want to adhere to all the Act 250 criteria." Fries said. "We should. We don't want to drop any balls. It's not that our people are bad, it's that we're all going a million miles an hour." It was specifically because of water quality that Stratton hired Grenier, who has a doctorate in aquatic biology from Cornell University, he said. Grenier, who was born and brought up in Underbill Center, said she wanted to return to Vermont because of its environmental and political heritage. Former police chief cops plea BARRE (AP) - Police often complain about criminal charges reduced in plea agreements. On Friday, former Northfield Police Chief Michael O'Neill became a beneficiary of such a deal. O'Neill pleaded no contest in Vermont District Court to a misdemeanor charge of failing to perform official duties. He was ordered to perform ISO hours of community service. He could have faced a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped two other felony obstruction of justice charges as well as a misdemeanor count of being an accessory to unlawful mischief. Assistant Attorney General William Reynolds told Judge Edward Cashman that his office had decided to make a deal because a key witness, former Northfield Police officer Kenneth Falcone, faced serious credibility problems. "The state does not enter into this plea agreement lightly," Reynolds said. "The decision was reached after much discussion." O'Neill, Falcone, and two other officers - Timothy Trono and Brian Elwell - were arrested in March 1994 and charged with various offenses after a state police investigation, which followed a complaint that a prisoner had been mistreated in the police station. As a result of the state police investigation, Falcone was charged with unlawful mischief for shooting up a business belonging to a vocal police critic, William Oren, in September 1993; and O'Neill was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly telling another officer, Mark Heimall, not to cooperate with state police. The scandal rocked the town of Northfield. 1st Annual Tutorial Center ILTDBH El El mm sponsored by Hemmings Motor News Come watch teams from Hemmings Motor News, Southwest VT Medical Center, CAT-TV, Bennington College, Southwest VT Supervisory Union, the Bennington Banner, Morrison Sales and Service and others vie for the "Best Spellers" trophy TheSpell-Offwillbeheld Friday, February 21 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Paradise Restaurant Donation $3.00 per person Seating is limited. Tickets available at The Tutorial Center. 208 Pleasant St. and The Bennington Bookshop. Cash bar and light snacks available QTA SELECT GROUP OF SPORTSHIRTSfVi DRESS SHIRTS AND SWEATERS Regular Price $ 19.95 to $99.95 SALE PRICE TO 50 i MI Topcoats, Car Coats and woolricrr Winter Jackets REGULAR $79.95 TO $215.00 107 Ml Wool Sportcoats, and fleece Tops 40 OFF Ml i-,,-rI FOR Ml 302 1:30 PR SAT. t A.M.-S P.M. Slacks, Sportshirts, Sweaters 6f Gloves Excludes Hunting Pants OPEN MON.-FRI. A.M.-5:30 P.M. OFF L W E A R R E N T A I sfriill LiB nr!fi 1W 1 1 8 ! 1 1 11 Ml 1 ' TtTWTTbTTTI'"'!! Police probing Ludlow burglaries LUDLOW (AP) - Police are investigating a recent burglary spree that hit at least five businesses in the ski resort town. While police aren't saying much, owners or employees at the Hair 1 Salon, Bill and Sue's Ice Cream, the Sweet Surrender bakery and the Thistle Dew flower and pottery shop said they had reported thefts since late January. A real estate office, McEnaney and Ziemba, was broken into Jan. 29, but nothing was taken, Betty McEnaney said. Several of the businesses hit reported thefts of cash. Hair 1 Salon lost $200 in the first break-in and $S in quarters in the second, owner Susan Shangraw said. She said the first time burglars broke in through the door and the second time they entered through a window. Cheney, of Bill and Sue's Ice Cream, said he lost $18.50 in quarters on Feb. 9. He said he thought the burglar or burglars who broke into the salon got into his shop through a bathroom that connects the two businesses. "They only take quarters," Shangraw said. "They don't take dimes and nickels." On Jan. 29, a thief or thieves took $85 in change and a gram scale from Sweet Surrender and a small amount of cash from Thistle Dew, but only poked around the real estate agency. Employees at Sweet Surrender and Thistle Dew said they did - not want to talk about- the details of the break -ins. Town Manager Paul Hughes said he and other town officials are concerned about the thefts, which he said were unusual. "We've not had a spate of , break-ins like this (recently)," he said.. yzw iiWj, JliSn .w ,v ! 'tV 'ill U I.xLJVax LdiS j" TyTtY - 1 Jlrf. S,f 6 . i,3! I " 'f f - 1 S you can plan your retirement now! Y C$ yu can Pen an IRA w'tn a minimum deposit of $100! there are no fees! 0 5 we pay you the highest interest rate in the area! 1 we make it happenl 155 North Street Bennington - 602-442-8121 'Bennington 1 Historic Rte. 7A Manchester Village fl Toll Free Telephone: 1-800-286-4824 MFMBFR E-Mail: F D 1 C IN THE PUBLIC Vermont ETV's monthly look at an issue that matters to you. Vermont's electric power industry is about to change, and Vcrmonters will seon have to choose where to buy their electricity. This month's edition of IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST investigates the coming restructuring, and loolcs at what the changes could . mean for Vermont ratepayers. Join us Monday at 9 pm for an in- . depth report and a live, call-in discussion as Vermont's electric power industry goes the way of the phone company. Get the facts, before you have to choose! - Monday, February -1 7 9 to 10 pm Repeats Feb. 19 at 12:50 am Funded by a grant from the USDA, Rural Development Service. TT CHANNEL 51 - Bennington CHANNEL 36 - Manchtittr nnington Cablt 7 Manchtiter Cablt I Visit our website: Cloied-captloncd.

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