Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WVTK Local & State News October 1, 2013

Today is the day you should be able to go to a new online marketplace to shop for your health insurance.  Vermont Health Connect is designed to make sure all Vermonters have access to health insurance, and through the marketplace can compare the plans, side-by-side, according to Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson.  It has its critics, though, with one group, Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom pointing out the I-T company which set up the website is now getting paid twice the original contract for a system the group says doesn’t work.

Ticonderoga’s town budget will include a dedicated fund for building maintenance and repair next year.  An 18-month review of town-owned buildings has been completed and has identified areas in need of repair.  One of the biggest issues is the crumbling police station.  Some of the other structures looked at include the historic Community Building, the 1888 Building, the armory, and the highway garage.  Supervisor Deb Malaney says, “Our first step is to create a capital reserve account in the next (2014) budget for repairs and maintenance.”

The Vermont National Guard says 450 of its employees are being furloughed as part of the federal government shutdown.  The shutdown is also affecting national parks services, such as those at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock.  Despite the furlough, Adjutant Gen. Steven Cray says the guard will be ‘‘as ready as possible’’ to respond in the event of a crisis.

The Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) announced earlier today that 3SquaresVT benefits will be lower for most recipients starting November 1.  A press release says the lower benefits result comes from the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  That act was passed in 2009 to help stimulate the economy during the recession.  DCF says those who are affected should visit http://mybenefits.vt.gov to find out about other DCF programs that may be able to help pay for child care, fuel, phone service, and utilities.  You can also dial 211 from anywhere in Vermont to find out about state and local resources. 

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding wildlife enthusiasts about the upcoming Dead Creek Wildlife Day.  The event, scheduled for Saturday at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, has been listed as one of Vermont’s Top 10 fall events.  Activities are geared for people who enjoy hunting, fishing, bird watching or learning about Vermont wildlife.  The day will begin with bird-banding demonstrations at 7:00 a.m. There will also be wildlife-related exhibits and kids’ craft activities such as decoy carving, face painting and building bluebird boxes.  The day’s main activities will include nature walks, illustrated talks, live wildlife presentations, hunting dog demonstrations, fishing and hunting tips.  All the events are free.