Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WVTK Local & State News March 11, 2014

Vermont law enforcement are being warned about a new threat on the roads … drugged drivers. According to data presented at a summit yesterday, driving under the influence of drugs is increasing but the impairment is more difficult to identify. Speakers recommended more training to identify drug impairment, developing new field tests for drugs and educating the public about the dangers of driving on drugs.

Vermont State Police are searching the Otter Creek for a Proctor woman who has been missing for two weeks. Police say there’s no indication that 59-year-old MaryAnn Foster planned to leave the area. Foster was reported missing by her boyfriend on February 26. He told police he had not seen her or heard from her since the night of February 24. Authorities say she disappeared without taking her jacket or keys. Anyone with any information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the Vermont State Police.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders announced that laid-off employees at IBM's plant in Essex Junction will be eligible for help through the federal training and reemployment program. A press release says the U.S. Department of Labor already approved benefits for 115 IBM laid off last June. Tuesday's announcement extends the benefits to more than 300 IBM workers who lost their jobs in June and last month. The federal training and reemployment program helps workers who lost jobs to foreign competition.

A proposal to raise the age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products has been rejected. Two bills aimed at raising the purchase age from 18 to 21 got the thumbs-down from the House Human Services Committee earlier today. Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen testified saying people aged 18-20 are adults and should be able to decide for themselves.

The Vermont House has given preliminary approval to giving doctors more flexibility in treating Lyme disease. The bill would allow doctors to prescribe long-term antibiotics to patients diagnosed with the tick-borne illness; a practice that is currently not universally accepted. Many doctors have feared that prescribing long-term antibiotics could get them brought before the state Medical Practice Board on professional conduct charges. The measure got preliminary approval in the House today on a vote of 140-0.