Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WVTK Local & State News July 24, 2013

Vermont is rebounding from the recession, and that comes as very encouraging news to  Governor Peter Shumlin and leading state lawmakers.  The Emergency Board, chaired by the governor, makes financial decisions when the Legislature is out of session.  After hearing an upbeat forecast from economists, the Emergency Board slightly raised the revenue forecast for the state’s three main funds by one-point-two percent for the next two fiscal years.

There is not enough being done to prevent workplace injuries at Vermont agencies, according to the state auditor.  He says there needs to be more attention paid to safety, adding tight budgets and a lack of communication could be part of the problem, but workplace injuries are simply too high.  From 2008 to 2012 there were 48-hundred worker’s comp claims with an estimated eight-million dollars in compensation paid per year.

If you're still struggling to rebuild after Tropical Storm Irene, you now have more time.  FEMA is extending the deadline to use up the last of the $2.8 million disaster grant. FEMA says this money is not going to individuals, but to case managers who are helping individuals find help from other government programs as well as non-profits and churches.  You now have until November 30th to get help.  This is about 3 months after the original deadline. FEMA says the disaster case management program is successfully helping Vermonters rebuild and extending the deadline just makes sense.  For more information call 211.

Burlington Police arrested a man accused of stealing a diamond from a jewelry store on Church Street yesterday.  Police say 26-year-old Steven J. Ploof, Jr., of Burlington, lead them to where the $2,570 diamond was hidden.  The diamond was found and returned to the jewelry store.  Police say initially Ploof gave them a false name.  He's been charged with grand larceny, false information to a police officer, and violations of conditions of release.  Ploof was lodged at the Chittenden County Correctional Facility on $5,000 bail.

For the final six months of the Catamount health insurance plan, rates will be 11.9 percent higher than they have been for the past two years.  The plan and the state’s premium assistance program will cease to exist on Jan. 1, 2014, because they do not fit into new federal laws under the Affordable Care Act.  The proposed increases was originally 24.4 percent but the Department of Financial Regulation cut that Catamount rate hike back to a 13.9 percent increase, and the Green Mountain Care Board cut another 2-percent from the increase.

Gas prices continue to climb nationwide with the national average is just shy of $3.70.  New York still has it the worst in our area as prices creep closer to $4.  Vermont is above average at $3.76.  New Hampshire still has the lowest prices of the 3 states, but is a penny higher than national numbers.