Local & Regional Briefs for Thursday, Feb. 13
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, a sewer cover is seen along the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vt. In a hearing Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, Vermont Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears outlined a proposal where the state would enhance water quality rules to limit non-wastewater runoff into Lake Champlain. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Man Charged in Claremont Robbery Still in Mass. Jail
Claremont — James Oberfeldt, the Claremont man indicted in December by a Sullivan County grand jury on two armed robbery charges, has been indicted and arraigned in Massachusetts on felony drug charges.
Oberfeldt remains held on $5,000 cash bail in the Hampden (Mass.) County House of Corrections and has a pretrial conference scheduled for March 27, a Superior Court clerk in Springfield, Mass., said Wednesday.
Oberfeldt was arrested on several charges, including cocaine and heroin possession, in Holyoke, Mass., on Dec. 7, and police there learned that he was wanted in New Hampshire on a probation violation and contacted Sullivan County authorities.
Shortly after his arrest, Claremont police charged him with robbing the One Credit Union in Claremont on Oct. 11 and the Claremont Savings Bank on Nov. 26. He is also suspected in an armed robbery of a bank in Lebanon on Nov 20.
Police have not said what evidence led them to believe Oberfeldt robbed the banks. The assailant did not use a real gun in the robberies, but showed a BB gun made to look like a pistol, police said.
Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway said his office cannot proceed with the charges against Oberfeldt until his Massachusetts charges are resolved.
EPA Sets Deadlines For Lake Champlain Cleanup Plan
Montpelier (ap) — Vermont officials are being asked to get serious and specific about cleaning up Lake Champlain as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced deadlines Wednesday for the state to send finalized policy plans for reducing non-wastewater runoff into the lake.
Storm water runoff containing phosphorous and other pollutants is causing excessive plant and algae growth in some areas of the lake, turning the water murky shades of green, brown, or blue. Officials and advocates say the pollution hurts tourism and recreation businesses dependent on clean water, depresses property values and increases drinking water and wastewater treatment costs.
“That body of water is a different body of water today than what it was when I was a young lad fishing on its shores and catching frogs along its banks,” Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross said at the hearing this week.
The EPA requires a 36 percent reduction in total maximum daily load, or TMDL. TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards. For Lake Champlain, this means cutting down on non-wastewater runoff full of sediment and other materials.
Vermont will be “leading the pack” with the state’s proposed goals, but specifics from the state by the end of March and a commitment letter from Gov. Peter Shumlin by the end of April will be required to move forward, according to the EPA’s Stephen Perkins. If the deadlines are met, the EPA says it will have a finalized limit on runoff by the end of the summer.
Allegations of Sex Motive In Vt. Teacher Killing
St. Johnsbury, Vt. (ap) — Prosecutors plan to present evidence that the killing of a popular teacher by a couple two years ago was sexually motivated.
The Caledonia County State’s Attorney has filed new allegations against Patricia and Allen Prue, the Waterford couple charged with murder in the killing of 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins, of St. Johnsbury, in March 2012.
Among the new allegations filed Jan. 31, the state says evidence shows that Patricia Prue’s computer was used to conduct online searches for “how to get kids to get into your car,” “how to get kids,” “how to kidnap a girl” and “how to rape a girl and not get caught,” The Caledonian Record reported.
The state also says Allen Prue used Facebook to contact young women, including one who was pregnant, even though she asked him to stop because she didn’t know him.
The state has alleged that the Prues felt snubbed after Jenkins declined Allen Prue’s request for a date.
The Prues have pleaded not guilty. They will be tried separately.
Allen Prue’s lawyer said Tuesday that he had not discussed the allegations with his client but said he believes the filings related to allegations of prior bad conduct by his client likely would not be allowed at trial. Patricia Prue’s attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment. — Staff and wire reports