Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WVTK Local & State News August 12, 2014

The head of Vermont’s Agency of Human Services will be stepping down. According to a release from the governor’s office, Harry Chen, commissioner of the Department of Health, will step in as interim secretary when Doug Racine leaves. Racine has been secretary of AHS for the last three and a half years, and his leave comes at a time when the agency faces criticism. The state’s health care exchange has problems, and the Department of Children and Families is under fire for the recent deaths of two children. Chen is expected to remain as interim secretary of AHS through the end of the year.

An accident during the Addison County Fair and Field Days could have been a lot worse than it was. During a tractor pull, one of the 700-pound tractor tires came off and hit a concrete barricade. It flew into the air and landed on a group of spectators. One man in his 70s from Georgia suffered a broken leg. Addison County Sheriff Don Keeler said that if the tire had not hit the barricade, many more would have been injured.

To prevent the spread of rabies in Vermont., the 18th Annual Bait Drop is underway. This will happen in 8 counties. Vaccine in the form of sweet-scented bait will be dropped from planes in rural areas. Pilots know to stay away from homes, roads, and people. In more populated areas, a team of two people will hand-place the bait. The health department says there are no harmful health effects for people or pets, but don't touch the bait. If you have to remove it, use gloves and wash your hands afterwards.

More than 200 people, including a small marching band, converged on the Vermont Statehouse to protest the Vermont Natural Gas pipeline being built to serve the western part of the state. The rally organized by the group Rising Tide Vermont featured 10-foot-tall puppets and many banners saying "System Change, Not Climate Change." The group said it also wanted to protest budget cuts requested by the Shumlin administration, which they said would hurt human services for low-income Vermonters.

Washington is sending Vermont more than one-point-five million dollars to help homeless vets. The money is a grant to the University of Vermont to help Support Services for Veteran Families. Senator Bernie Sanders says that the VA is giving 300 million to help low-income veterans and their families across the country.