Thursday, February 13, 2014

WVTK Local & State News February 13, 2014

The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is encouraging Vermonters to clear all vents from snow to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) from entering their home. A press release says CO is a colorless and odorless and can cause injury or death. All home owners are advised to have working carbon monoxide detectors in the home. If the detector sounds, home owners should call for help. Symptoms of Co poisoning include lethargy and nausea.

State Police have arrested a Hubbardton on two counts of second-degree murder. Investigators say 70-year-old Sylvester Labartino killed Shane and Chris Plummer of West Haven, in Labartino's residence yesterday afternoon. The investigation began yesterday after a 911 call reported a possible shooting. Troppers arrived on the scene to find the 2 men dead outside the residence. Labartino was later arrested driving on Route 30 in Castleton. Vermont State Police are asking for anyone who observed a white Ford Bronco II yesterday afternoon in the areas of Hubbardton, Castleton, or Fair Haven, to please contact the state police at 802-773-9101 or you may also submit an anonymous tip to or send a text to "CRIMES" (274637) with keyword: VTIPS.

The state of Vermont is making an investment that will allow up to $6.5 million in loans to make homes in the state more energy efficient and promote clean heating technologies. It’s expected that with an average home loan of $5,000 for energy efficiency improvements, up to 1,300 homes can be served through the program. Shumlin says investments in energy efficiency save Vermont families money on their fuel bills as well as support local jobs, strengthen the economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Officials say thermal efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways for Vermonters to reduce their energy bills.

The Shumlin administration has notified lawmakers of seven privacy lapses related to the Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange. In two cases invoices were sent to the wrong people; scanned checks also were posted to the wrong accounts; and a health insurance card was mailed to the wrong address. The errors occurred between December 16 and January 24 and were the result of mistakes by Health Connect staff. They follow two similar breaches in the fall.

The Vermont House is set to take up a bill that would ban the use of all but hands-free cell phones while driving. Backers say drivers could continue using hands-free devices while operating a motor vehicle. And it makes an exception for making an emergency call to 911. The bill passed the House Transportation Committee on a 10-0 vote and is up for a preliminary vote in the full House today. Its fate is uncertain in the Senate, and Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration opposes the bill.