Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WVTK Local & State News June 3, 2014

Health officials say an outbreak of salmonella connected to baby chicks has sickened five people in Vermont. The Vermont Department of Health says out of the five cases, four were children. Health officials say the birds were traced back to Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio. Vermont health officials are working with other state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture to investigate the outbreak.

The two health insurance companies offering coverage through the state health exchange want to raise their rates for people and small businesses. The state's largest insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, has requested an average 9.8 percent increase and MVP Health Care is seeking a 15.4 percent increase. Blue Cross says the increase in premiums was due to changes in the federal and state health care reforms, an increase in the federal fee that is included in exchange pricing, reduction in federal subsidies of premiums, and expansion of dental benefits for children. The Green Mountain Care Board is expected to issue a final decision on the rates in early September. If approved, the new rates would go into effect starting on January 2, 2015.

Police in South Burlington are seeking to identify three men involved in a protest at Vermont Gas where authorities say an employee was injured. A group that opposes a natural gas pipeline to extend service to Addison and Rutland counties protested outside of the company's headquarters on May 27. Police say two men went to the rooftop of the building to display a banner. Police say another man injured a worker while trying to chain another protester to the door. The female employee was struck in the arm by the large chain. Police say trespassing as well as simple assault and disorderly conduct complaints could be filed.

A pretty unusual sight on Lake Dunmore Sunday, as Vermonters in Brandon saw a pelican out on the lake. It's only the second time a sighting of a brown pelican has ever been reported in Vermont, with the last and only other one in October 2003 on Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh. A park ranger at Branbury State Park says the bird ended up landing between two buoys, and basically spent the rest of the day just hanging out there on the freshwater lake.

Police are warning folks particularly the elderly about a scam circulating in Vermont. Authorities have gotten several complaints about scammers claiming to be “police officers” with the IRS. The calls originate from 202-864-1220 but police believe they're actually coming from overseas. The crooks try to convince elderly victims they owe the IRS money and threaten them with jail time property and assets seizures. Police say do not give these scammers money and report the calls to the State's Consumer Assistance Program.