Friday, June 20, 2014

WVTK Local & State News June 20, 2014

The State of Vermont announced this afternoon that there will be "significant changes" at the Department for Children and Families. The moves come following the deaths of 2-year-old Dezirae Sheldon and 14-month-old Peighton Geraw. Now, state officials say an experienced field services director will take over as supervisor of the Rutland office on an interim basis. A nationally renowned child welfare foundation will also help DCF conduct a thorough review of its child safety practices. There will also be other changes still to be announced.

Vermont's unemployment rate has remained unchanged for May, registering at 3.3 percent and ending a streak of seven consecutive months of decreases. The seasonally-adjusted rate compared to a national average unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, which also held steady for May. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said the monthly data was unchanged despite some staff reductions by several companies. But some larger employers like GMCR/Keurig, and Cabot Cheese have been hiring.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced an agreement to legalize medical marijuana in New York State. The bill allows medical marijuana to be administered to patients via vaporization, oils, pills or other ways as research advances. The bill does not allow the medical marijuana to be smoked, as Gov. Cuomo and the Department of Health cited public health risk commonly associated with smoke. Doctors will have to take a course before they can prescribe the drug and will have to certify the patient should be considered for the use of medical marijuana. The drug can be considered for patients struggling from a range of issues including cancer, Parkinsons, Epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and many others.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice knows what it's like to be at the White House when tensions mount in the Middle East. She had plenty to say about the situation in Iraq Thursday when she came to Norwich University. While conceding to mistakes made during the Bush administration she focused her remarks instead on what needs to be done now to control the current terrorist threat. Hecklers interrupted her from time to time, calling her a war criminal for promoting the Iraq War, but Rice said she's glad to live in a country where dissent is tolerated.