Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WVTK Local & State News October 9, 2013

While Vermont officials work out glitches in the new online health insurance exchange, officials are offering a low-tech way to get the information — on paper.  Commissioner Mark Larson of the Department of Vermont Health Access says employers can download forms before choosing their plans.  But he acknowledges that the online applications have more information than the paperwork does.  He says the state has made significant progress over the past week and continues to work to address the slow-to-respond website.  He says more than 3,400 Vermonters have started to create accounts so far.

A child was hit crossing the street at the intersection of Main Street and Church Street in Essex, Vermont this morning.  Police say the accident occurred in the mark crosswalk.  The child was on her way to school.  The child was transported to Fletcher Allen with non-life threatening injuries.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation.  Police say it appears there was no negligent operation by the driver.

Area residents will have an opportunity to properly dispose of unused prescription drugs as part of a county-wide “Take Back” initiative.  The Ticonderoga Community Coalition will partner with the town and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to host a “Take Back” event at the Ticonderoga Police Department on Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The Essex County Sheriff’s Department will also host “Take Back” events that day at the Schroon town hall and the public safety building in Lewis.  Essex County residents turned in almost 100 pounds of prescription drugs for disposal at a “Take-Back” event last spring.  Officials say the service is free and anonymous and there are no questions asked.

Vermont State troopers were warned that they might lose overtime if they did not write more tickets and summonses during a summer crackdown on drunk driving. A Burlington police officer was caught up in the drunk driving stops, and is trying to get his case dismissed. Deputy Chief Andi Higbee says he was off duty and the state troopers had no cause to pull him over.  Trooper Jay Riggen said that the grant allowed the department to allot overtime so that troopers on the impaired driver detail would not have to race off to deal with other issues.

A recent study determining how well the states are likely to fare during the government shutdown found that Vermont is somewhat in the middle of the road on the issue.  Vermont came in 21st, largely because it has a high percentage of seniors.  If the shutdown is compounded by the debt ceiling crisis, Social Security may become a major issue.

Vermont's health commissioner says that college students tend to drink less when their parents are aware of what they are doing, especially during the first six weeks students are away at college.  Dr. Harry Chen made the comments earlier today during a meeting at Castleton State College with representatives of 14 Vermont colleges and universities who are sharing methods they've developed to help reduce problem drinking by students.  One aim of the conference is to look at programs that are working on one campus that others might adopt.