Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WVTK Local & State News September 3, 2013

The Town of Middlebury has prepared a grant application seeking to fund the creation of a Park-and-Ride facility in the Frog Hollow Parking Lot under the VTrans 2014 Municipal Park-and-Ride Grant Program.  The proposed $72,000 budget includes the installation of historic streetlight fixtures along the eastern edge of the lot, a walkway connecting the end of the sidewalk at The Storm CafĂ© to the parking lot and directional signage. Green Mountain Power has also been contacted regarding the possibility of installing a charging station for electric vehicles.  The Board voted to approve the application to seek funding for the Frog Hollow parking lot improvements and signed a letter to Vermont Local Transportation Facilities Project Supervisor Wayne Davis in support of the project.

A weapons training expert at the Moriah Shock facility in Mineville accidently shot himself in the hand earlier today.  Michael Miron was cleaning his service weapon while off duty at home when the gun discharged at about 8:50 a.m.  His injuries were not life threatening.  Ironically, Miron is a weapons training officer at Moriah Shock.

Vermont Health Connect, the health care marketplace, or exchange, being set up under the federal Affordable Care Act, has a new toll-free number where people can call to get their questions answered.  The customer support hotline is available nearly a month in advance of the startup date for enrollments in the new health insurance offerings. Vermont Health Connect will formally begin signing people up on Oct. 1 for coverage to take effect on Jan. 1.  The help line, which can be reached at 1-855-899-9600, is designed to help both individuals buying health insurance for themselves and their families, and to provide guidance to small businesses and their employees who want to sign up for employer-sponsored insurance.

Vermont schools are expanding a program that works to ensure all students have enough to eat.  A new law taking effect with the new school year ensures that students who had been eligible for reduced priced meals will now get those meals for free.  Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the launch of the program Tuesday at the Barre Town Elementary school.  The program will cost the state about $400,000 a year.  It’s anticipated about 6,000 students will take advantage of the new program.

A group is challenging a proposal by the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association to have longer two-week breaks in the school year while at the same time taking ten days away from summer vacation.  The association wants the plan called “Calendar two-point-o," saying today’s youth and educators need more flexibility in their schedules.  The group opposed, mostly parents, says it would have a negative impact on camps and summer jobs for teenagers depending on the long summer break.  The superintendents association will be having public forums for both sides to air questions and concerns.

People in Vermont now can go online to find out where ticks are being discovered across the state.  Anyone can contribute to the Tick Tracker map by going to the Vermont Health Department website, healthvermont.gov, which also has information about tick-borne diseases and how to prevent tick bites.