Tuesday, October 15, 2013

WVTK Local & State News October 15, 2013

It’s one up and five to go in the case of six Castleton State College student athletes facing criminal charges.  19-year-old George Busharis was the first yesterday to go before a judge, pleading not guilty to theft charges.  Prosecutors say they were all part of a theft ring targeting Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland.  A spokesperson for the college says the four football players and two soccer players are all suspended from participating in sports but are still enrolled at Castleton, and, the college still stands by them.

State health officials are testing someone they say may be the second Vermonter this summer to have West Nile virus.  At this point, they are not saying who that person is or the hometown.  More West Nile has turned up in recent mosquito tests done in Colchester, as well as Whiting.  Epidemiologists say the danger of catching the mosquito-borne illness won’t go away until the first hard frost.    The previous Vermonter contracting West Nile was a Lamoille County resident, with lab tests confirming that diagnosis in August.

Even with most IRS workers on furlough because of the shutdown, today is a tax deadline.  This is if you applied for a 6-month extension back in April.  Even though your paperwork must be in, the IRS says there will not be any refunds issued until normal government operations resume.  There also won't be anyone available to take calls or help taxpayers in person.  More than 90% of the IRS staff is home without pay.

Officials at Vermont Health Connect say 631 people have signed up so far.  The website allows users to compare approved health care plans side-by-side.  From there, users can select and purchase the plan that will work best for them.  The state is expecting 100,000 people to enroll for the new insurance system that starts January 1st.

Two more Rutland Police officers accused of watching pornography on the job have been named.  A total of three officers have been investigated by the Rutland Police Department for downloading inappropriate images at work.  An investigation that began in 2004 initially focused on a detective who had downloaded 25,000 graphic images.  The investigation into the other officer says he emailed explicit images and videos at work back in 2010.  Both were suspended during the investigation.  The commissioner says the mistakes happened years ago and he doesn't believe they jeopardize the police department now.

A newly released survey finds Vermont has the highest rate of illicit drug use in the U.S.  More than 15% of respondents over the age of 12 say they've used illicit drugs in the past month.  That ranks Vermont highest in the country.  Right above Rhode Island.