Vermont Archives:

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Two unrelated incidents have shut down two Entergy nuclear power plants in Vermont and New York on Sunday, officials said, but there is no threat to public health.

The first incident happened at around 6.39 p.m. EST at Entergy-owned Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of New York City. It supplies around 30 percent of the electricity used by New York City and Westchester County, where it is located.

According to plant officials, a transformer explosion and fire hit Indian Point Unit 2, which was built in 1974. Although few details were released, the transformer is located outside and not near the nuclear reactor itself.

According to The Journal News, a local newspaper, the Verplanck Fire Department responded to the incident at 7.15 p.m. EST but was not allowed onto the grounds and had to wait outside the gates. Only Verplanck Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Curry was later allowed to enter, but did not release details about the incident.

“All I know is we were not needed, and that our department had no hand in any firefighting,” Curry told the newspaper. “We were not needed, we were turned away.”

The plant has shut down Indian Point 2 until the transformer is fixed, and agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have been notified about the incident.

At around the same time on Sunday, at around 7 p.m. EST, an unrelated radioactive water leak forced the closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont. It is the state’s only nuclear power plant and is also owned by Entergy.

The water leak at the plant was discovered in the system pipe section in the turbine building, a problem which cannot be repaired while the plant is in operation.

“A conservative decision was made to take the plant out of service to perform the repair,” said Entergy spokesman Larry Smith.

It is unclear how long the shutdown will last, but it is expected to take at least one day as it takes 13 hours for the plant to cool down. Meanwhile, officials say there is no threat to public health.

Last week, Entergy announced it is in a process to explore the potential sale of the 605-megawatt Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The company released few details, but said it expects interest from multiple parties.

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BOSTON (BNO NEWS) – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited on Wednesday multiple units from the army Reserves and the Massachusetts National Guard currently deployed in Afghanistan.

During the third day of the Department of Defense’s sponsored high security trip, Patrick along Governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jay Nixon of Missouri, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Jim Douglas of Vermont traveled from Kuwait to Afghanistan to thank U.S. soldiers for their service and sacrifice.

The group of Governors arrives at Camp Phoenix in Afghanistan where they met with members of the 1/101 Field artillery Brigade from Brockton, Danvers, Fall River and Quincy. After that, they met with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Commanding General David Petraeus at the ISAF Headquarters.

The governors flew to Bagram Air Base in order to visit injured soldiers at Bagram Hospital. They concluded the day having dinner with troops at Bagram.

Patrick and his fellow governors previously visited Iraq and Kuwait as part of the Defense Department-sponsored trip.

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BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BNO NEWS) – Governor Deval Patrick visited on Wednesday the Massachusetts servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, in a show of gratitude and appreciation for their courageous service.

Patrick was joined by Governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jay Nixon of Missouri, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Jim Douglas of Vermont. The high-security trip was sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD) and aimed at survey conditions of the troops as they prepare to leave Iraq next year.

The governors had lunch with soldiers at Camp Victory before participating in a conference call with LTG Kenneth Hunzeker, Deputy Commander US Forces-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq. The group then had dinner with troops at Al Faw Palace.

There are currently over 1,100 Massachusetts National Guard troops deployed in Iraq. Patrick, who serves as Commander in Chief of the Massachusetts National Guard, felt it was important to check on the troops in order to be briefed on the progress of their mission.

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BROOKLINE, VERMONT (BNO NEWS) — Two people were injured when a helicopter crashed near a town in Windham County, Vermont on Wednesday, a federal official said.

The McDonnell Douglas helicopter crashed around 11.15 a.m. local time near the town of Brookline, according to Jim Peters, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Peters said two people were on board, and one sustained minor injuries, and the other life-threatening injuries.

The accident occurred when they were conducting electrical line work in the area.

The FAA will investigate the cause of the crash.

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BURLINGTON, VERMONT (BNO NEWS) – A Bronx, New York resident was sentenced on Thursday to ten years in federal prison and five years on probation for conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and heroin in Vermont, prosecutors said.

Aaron Pendergrass, 29, was the leader of a drug trafficking ring that operated in Vermont from 2007 to 2008. Pendergrass formed a trafficking ring where he sent the crack with Bronx drug couriers to middlemen in Vermont. The resulting proceeds were wired to Pendergrass in the Bronx.

In this period, Pendergrass received approximately $46,000 wired through Western Union or Money Gram to the Bronx.

Pendergrass was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty on July 22, 2009 to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine as well as heroin.

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BURLINGTON, VERMONT (BNO NEWS) – A Burlington, Vermont man on Tuesday was arraigned for a sex offender registry violation, prosecutors said.

Michael E. Fisher, 31, was arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty to one count of failing to maintain current registration information with the Vermont Sex Offender Registry. Court documents show that Fisher has a Vermont 2003 sex offender felony, requiring him to maintain a current address with a Sex Offender Registry (“SOR”). The government alleges that in late 2009 he left Vermont without informing the Vermont SOR.

His whereabouts were unknown until December 2009, when local police officers responding to a situation in Louisiana found him near Shreveport. He had not registered with Louisiana’s SOR. As Louisiana officials began Fisher’s registration process in that State, he again disappeared.

Local officials located him in Burlington in late January, and arrest him on a State warrant for failing to keep his SOR registration current. He has been detained in Vermont custody since that time.

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