Thursday, November 14, 2013

WVTK Local & State News November 14, 2013

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation is warning Vermonters to be aware of potential scams regarding Vermont Health Connect.  The department says they received reports of fraudulent phone calls made to Vermonters by people pretending to sell health insurance in order to obtain personal information.  The scams are efforts to trick consumers into revealing Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information under the guise of enrolling them in a health insurance plan on Vermont Health Connect.  The state says the federal government and other states have alerted consumers to watch out for people impersonating people helping consumers obtain health insurance policies.  The helpers, called navigators, are state-approved personnel who have been trained to guide people through the enrollment process.

The Gold Star Feed and Grain mill in Brandon has closed, but its feed will be manufactured by another supplier.  The mill closed last week and had six employees.  Andrew Dugan, Gold Star general manager, said several factors went into the decision to close, but declined to offer specifics. 

Vermont should have 99-percent broadband Internet coverage by the end of the year.  Governor Peter Shumlin had hoped everyone in the state would have access to broadband by then, but it won’t quite make it.  He says they’ve found solutions for all the addresses in the state, except for three, which he says is pretty extraordinary.  The governor maintains Vermont is going to be the most connected rural state in the country when they get done.

New recycling symbols debuted in Montpelier this week, showing recycling, food scraps, and just plain trash.  Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz says half of what we’re throwing out today can be recycled or composted, and Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law addresses that.  By July of 2015, recyclables are banned from landfills and so are food scraps by 2020.  The new logos will help educate the public on the new program, while companies start working on how they’ll actually be collecting the extra product.

Vermont’s Attorney General wants to see menthol cigarettes banned.  The Food and Drug Administration has already banned all flavored cigarettes, but A-G Bill Sorrell is joining 25 other attorneys general to add menthol to the group.  He sees it as a way of cutting down on younger smokers.  Sorrell expects the FDA to make a decision on the demand within six months.

A South Burlington methadone clinic can stay right where it is, according to a court ruling Wednesday.  The state environmental court ruled the HowardCenter clinic off of Dorset Street can remain open, saying it complies with community zoning rules.  The South Burlington School District had appealed for the clinic’s shutdown because it’s about 500 feet away from the city’s middle and high schools.  The lawyer for the district says the school board could appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.