Tuesday, August 6, 2013

WVTK Local & State News August 6, 2013

Middlebury College has suspended its study abroad program in Alexandria, Egypt, for the fall semester.  Officials say the well-being and security of our students is our top priority and we will not send students to Egypt while the situation there remains unstable and unsafe.  The college notified students today that the program, where 25 students were enrolled for the fall, has been suspended and offered them the opportunity to attend the Middlebury School Abroad in Jordan instead.

There are more cutbacks at IBM in Essex Junction.  Less than two months after 419 employees lost their jobs, more workers are losing some of their pay.  IBM says it is furloughing all employees across the country who work in the Systems and Technology Group.  That includes the chip plant in Vermont.  Employees will be required to take one week off at one-third pay.  Managers will get no pay.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce today announced that the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees has approved a recommendation to implement an Employer Group Waiver Plan for retirees on Medicare.  The move is expected to save the state up to $2.3 million annually in Medicare retiree prescription drug costs.  The plan will provide prescription drug benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees that match the current plan, but at a lower cost to the state.  The cost savings come from leveraging pharmaceutical discounts and government subsidies.

Two weeks after residents approved a new fire station, town officials have taken the first steps towards construction.  In a short special meeting last night, the Castleton Select Board authorized the town manager and the town's attorney to begin deed work for the purchase and to present the project plans to the Development Review Board for the subdivision permits on the property.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department wants your input about dealing with the state's deer population.  A two year review is now underway including online surveys and working groups to get public opinion.  Wildlife officials will continue to hold public hearings through next year before any recommendations about hunting and regulations are sent to the Governor.  Four more public hearings will be held before the end of 2014.

In a rare off-session meeting of a full standing committee, the House Health Care Committee will convene this week in Winooski for an update on a host of high-level reforms being instituted by the Shumlin administration this summer and fall.  Wednesday’s meeting is purely informational; no votes are scheduled, and committee members say the panel won’t seek to influence the administration’s execution of plans approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

For the fourth consecutive year, Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union (TFCU) will host its Back to School Supply Drive for area students.  Now through Sept. 3, the credit union will collect school supply donations at each of the Credit Union’s three branches and two ATM locations.  Collected supplies will be given to ten area schools to distribute to students as they see fit.  Suggested items include: No. 2 pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, pocket folders, pens, washable glue sticks, boxes of tissue, anti-bacterial wipes or hand-sanitizer.  For a complete list and for more details on the program, just visit their website at www.tfcunow.com or contact any branch.