• Vt. law, calendar delay Legislature
     | December 31,2012

    MONTPELIER — Vermont lawmakers usually gather to open their yearly session in the first week of January, but that won’t happen this year.

    State law says a new biennium — or two-year session of the Legislature — begins on the first Wednesday after the first Monday of the year.

    Because New Year’s Day is a Tuesday, the need for preparation days will push the Legislature’s opening day to Wednesday, Jan. 9.

    Lost skiers keep

    rescue crews busy

    KILLINGTON — By Sunday night, search and rescue crews in town had been called to assist 13 skiers who went out of bounds at the resort over the weekend.

    Starting Friday afternoon, when five skiers from New York and Massachusetts skied into the woods off the Glades trail and ending Sunday evening when two skiers were being guided out of the woods at 5 p.m., State police and local crews devoted long hours and dozens of staff to search and rescue operations.

    “This has taken up an extensive amount of resources,” state police Sgt. Thomas Mozzer said. In addition to the efforts of the state police, members of the Killington ski patrol, Killington Volunteer Fire Department, Vermont Fish and Game wardens and a local volunteer search and rescue team were called out for at least six different search missions. The good news is that all of the skiers and snowboarders found their way out within hours of calling for help and no injuries were reported. Like every other ski area, Killington marks the boundaries of its trail with ropes and signs that warn skiers against skiing out of bounds. But when skiers decide not to heed those warnings they are almost always rescued with no repercussions to themselves. That’s because a law requiring skiers to pay for their rescue expenses is rarely used. Passed in 1996, the law allows state and municipal agencies, resorts and rescue organizations to recoup their expenses from a skier who “uses the facilities of a ski area to access terrain outside the open and designated ski trails.” State police billed skiers earlier in the decade but have abandoned the practice in the interest of safety, according to a state police official who said police don’t want to discourage lost skiers from calling for help.

    Vt. fuel dealers

    offer safety tips

    MONTPELIER — Companies that sell heating fuels in Vermont are urging customers to take extra precautions following this week’s heavy snow.

    Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association says people should make sure the vents from their heating systems are clear of ice and snow. Vent blockages can lead to dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.

    Cota also asks that customers make sure there’s a path open to fuel tank feed pipes and that there’s access to tanks located in backyards to speed deliveries.

    — Staff and wire reports

    Hawk Mt. closing

    inn and restaurant

    PLYMOUTH — The Hawk Mountain Inn and Mountain Resort in Vermont is shutting down its 50-room inn and award-winning restaurant.

    The Plymouth vacation destination says the Hawk Inn and The River Tavern restaurant will close by Thursday. But the business will continue renting its mountainside villas and operating its pool and spa, cross-county ski facilities and other amenities on its 1,200 acres.

    Hawk Mountain Vice President Jim Nielsen said the combination of a tough economy, Tropical Storm Irene and the poor circumstances last winter have created difficult financial circumstances.

    He said the resort will focus on summer weddings and fall foliage tours.

    — Staff, wire reports

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