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State/Region Briefs: Vt. Senate endorses child care unionization bill

Vt. Senate endorses child care unionization bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Senate on Friday passed and sent to the House a bill that would allow child care workers in the state to unionize to negotiate rates and working conditions with the state.

The 20-7 vote came after more than four hours of debate over two days on a measure that has support among House members and Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Eligible to join a union would be operators of smaller, usually home-based day care centers serving children whose parents get state subsidies to put their children in day care. The union could negotiate with the state over the size of those subsidies and over training and other professional development opportunities for the child care providers.

“This bill is not about unions. It’s about having high-quality child care workers and good places for our children to be,” said Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, who said she had worked in a child care center years ago. “It’s a hard way to make a buck, I can tell you that.”

Vt. truck falls through ice on Lake Champlain

ST. ALBANS, Vt. — Police say two Vermont ice fishermen are safe after the truck they were in fell through the ice on Lake Champlain.

St. Albans police say 45-year-old Russell Hudson, Jr., and a passenger were able to escape through the windows of the truck after it went through the ice Wednesday morning.

Police were called to Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans shortly after 9 a.m.

A towing service pulled the truck from the lake.

Mountain lion sighting reported in suburban Boston

WINCHESTER — A Boston suburb resident reported seeing a mountain lion in town earlier this week, although the last confirmed sighting of this species in Massachusetts was 156 years ago.

The Winchester resident told police the animal was spotted in the Dunster Lane, Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood on Tuesday. Massachusetts Environmental Police responded and saw paw prints that strongly resembled those of a mountain lion — also called a cougar, puma or catamount. The sighting remains under investigation.

The last confirmed mountain lion sighting in Massachusetts was in 1858, in the western part of the state. Numerous sightings have been reported since then, but none has been confirmed. Still, experts with the National Wildlife Federation noted a precedent for such an animal to travel long distances and turn up in New England.

“The mountain lion that was killed on the road in Connecticut a few years back was a tagged animal that originated in South Dakota,” Hector Galbraith, a scientist.

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