The Associated Press

Police are investigating a spate of burglaries in the Vermont communities of Morristown and Stowe and are looking for a pickup truck that they say may be connected to the crimes.

Authorities say seven houses in Morrisville and two in Stowe have been burglarized in the last month. The burglaries have taken place during the day and cash has been stolen.

Police are looking for a late model green Ford pickup truck with a yellow light displayed on the truck bed that is possibly mounted to a pole. They say the vehicle had been spotted in the area of some of the burglaries.

The city of Burlington is planning a nine-month trial project that will put financial information and other data from the Vermont city online.

The city signed a contract for the project last week.

Mayor Miro Weinberger says he expects that it will take a couple of months to get the website up and running.

He says organizations that understand their data are better able to allocate resources and make smart decisions.

A fundraising campaign at Vermont's Norwich University is getting a big boost thanks to a $2 million gift from a member of the class of 1973.

Norwich says graduate Phil Soucy and his wife Peg, of Alexandria, Va., announced their intention to make the donation on Saturday at a homecoming luncheon.

Soucy is a founder of Modern Technology Solutions, Inc., an aerospace engineering firm that provides technical expertise to the federal government.

Members of the surgery faculty at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Fletcher Allen Health Care are helping create new teaching positions at the university.

A donation totaling $4.5 million will contribute toward the establishment of 14 Green and Gold professorships in the Department of Surgery and add $1 million to the newly established Frank P. Ittleman Professorship in cardiothoracic surgery.

Members of the surgical faculty set aside their donations over a number of years.

A grateful patient started the Ittleman professorship earlier this year.

A top Massachusetts emergency official will discuss the response to the Boston Marathon bombings at Vermont's annual emergency preparedness conference.

The conference, held by the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, will take place Oct. 18 and 19 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being asked to restrict storage of highly radioactive nuclear waste in spent fuel pools like the one at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The commission heard recently from two authors of a 2003 report saying densely packed fuel pools create a heightened danger of fire and a catastrophic release of radioactivity. They urged fuel older than five years be stored in dry concrete casks.

A third author of the report was Allison Macfarlane, then a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now chairwoman of the NRC.

Vermont Gas Systems says it will seek regulatory approval of the second phase of its plan for a natural gas pipeline in Addison County, to extend it further across Lake Champlain to the International Paper mill in New York state.

The company has sent notices to communities in Rutland and Addison counties.

Vermont Gas says the second phase will establish the infrastructure to bring natural gas to Rutland sooner at no additional cost to Vermonters by leveraging revenues from International Paper.

The federal government shutdown means that federal lands in Vermont will be closed to hunters, anglers and other users during the foliage season.

In the Northeast Kingdom Nulhegan Basin Division and Putney Mountain Unit of the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge have closed to public.

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is Swanton also is closed.

A federal court jury in Rutland has found a 31-year-old man guilty of causing the death of a woman he believed had stolen drugs from him.

The jury returned the verdict Wednesday in the trial of Frank Caraballo, of Holyoke, Mass.

Vermont U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin says the jury found Caraballo guilty of murdering Melissa Barratt, but he was acquitted of firing the weapon that caused her death. Coffin says that in some drug cases suspects can be convicted of murder even if they did not directly cause the death.

The mayor of the Vermont city of Newport has pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving while intoxicated.

Fifty-three-year-old Paul Monette was sentenced on Tuesday to do 200 hours of community service.

The Caledonian Record reports that the sentence includes a suspended six-to-18-month term, with two years of probation, a $750 fine, substance abuse screening and possible counseling and treatment.

Monette suffered minor injuries when his vehicle rolled over on Interstate 91 in Barton on July 21.

Vermont's agriculture secretary has been named president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Chuck Ross was named to the post at the association's annual meeting in North Carolina in September.

NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the agriculture departments in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

A Vermont environmental group says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to protect a once-common species of bat through the Endangered Species Act.

The Richmond-based Center for Biological Diversity says the service has proposed granting Endangered Species Act protection to the northern long-eared bat, a species that has been devastated by the disease known as white-nose syndrome

But the service declined to recommend protection for the eastern small-footed bat.

Vermont State Police troopers are going to be participating in what's being described as a large training exercise in downtown Rutland and they don't want people to be alarmed.

The Friday exercise will be held from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Rutland in the area of Merchants Row and Evelyn Street.

These exercises will primarily take place inside the building located next to the Chamber of Commerce, as well as old Community College of Vermont building on Evelyn Street.

The Vermont Department of Labor says its workers are ready to assist any federal employees who may be eligible for unemployment benefits as a result of being furloughed from their jobs without pay.

The department has posted information on its website to guide Vermonters trying to determine their eligibility for benefits during the federal government shutdown.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the state's unemployment insurance program will continue without interruption and there will be no lapse of payments to unemployed workers during the shutdown.

The Vermont Transportation Board will hold six public hearings this fall to gather public comment about transportation-related issues that face the state.

Topics to be covered are transportation revenues and energy; bike pedestrian Issues; the future of freight and passenger rail services; park and ride expansion; roadway safety; and public transit, Intercity service and service for the elderly.

The town of Bethel, hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene two years ago, wants to be ready the next time disaster strikes.

So people are stepping up their emergency preparedness on several fronts, including public education, local self-help and strengthening the town's emergency management program.

The public education front includes visits by a town emergency management team to every home in Bethel to provide families with information and guidance regarding risk mitigation, personal preparation and the basic elements of Bethel's emergency management plan and structure.

Goddard College is going honor an Olympic gold medalist known for giving a black power salute while accepting his medal during the 1968 games in Mexico City.

Tommie Smith will be presented with the 2013 Presidential Award for Activism at Goddard's Oct. 6 commencement in Plainfield.

Some say Smith's salute with an upraised arm on the Olympic podium remains one of the most memorable moments of the American civil rights movement.

Smith received a master's degree in sociology from 1974 from Goddard. He has since worked as a coach, educator and activist.

The removal of a decades-old dam on the Batten Kill is expected to boost trout populations in the river, known for its trout fishing.

It's part of a larger movement to remove now-obsolete and risky dams that would cost more to repair and maintain than to remove.

The Dufresne Dam in Manchester was built in 1908 to power a sawmill, but the sawmill is long gone and the earthen dam has been leaking, creating a safety hazard.

The concrete wall and earthen dam were removed this month, and the river is being moved to its original spot in the middle of the channel.

Three 18-year-old men are facing arson charges in connection with a fire that destroyed most of a Hardwick log yard.

Police in Hardwick charged Randall Sayers of Woodbury, Hezekiah McCullough of Hardwick and Riley Reagan of Eden with arson, burglary and larceny for the July 29 fire at Buffalo Mountain Wood Storage and Transfer.

Police say Sayers, McCullough and a third young man from Hardwick also face petit larceny and burglary charged in connection with a July 5 burglary at the same business.

A former prison guard has pleaded guilty to having sex with an inmate in a case that came to light after she became pregnant with the inmate's child.

Thirty-year-old Leanne Salls received a one-year deferred sentence after pleading guilty last week to a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts.

The Valley News reported that the allegations came to light when prison guards confiscated a note the inmate sent to Salls asking about her pregnancy.

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