Friday, October 31, 2014

WVTK Local & State News October 31, 2014

State workers are being asked to volunteer to help with Vermont's health care website. The site is down for maintenance, but officials say it will be open for enrollment, which begins November 15. Seventy-five extra workers are needed to handle the renewals. The workers who help out would receive overtime pay in addition to their regular pay.

A bookkeeper for a company in Williston has pleaded guilty to stealing about $84,000 through its payroll and electronic payment systems. Police said 41-year-old Billie Preston of Monkton pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court in Burlington. She is scheduled to be sentenced at the end of February next year. Police said the company, Endyne Inc., an environmental testing laboratory, contacted police to report the money loss. Preston was employed there from November 2011 through late April.

FairPoint will no longer provide health coverage for striking workers after today. FairPoint says most benefits, including healthcare, require a minimum number of scheduled work hours to maintain eligibility. When union members went on strike, they became ineligible. The union says a proposed contract by FairPoint takes away health care benefits and significantly increase healthcare costs for workers. Under the proposed FairPoint contract, FairPoint would pay 79 percent of their healthcare coverage. Under the previous contract that expired on August 2, FairPoint paid 100 percent of union members' healthcare and pensions. FairPoint says they sent information packets to union workers about COBRA earlier this week.

Castleton now has a new town manager. The town Select Board voted unanimously this week to hire Mark Shea, the town administrator for the last three years in Readsboro, to replace Charles Jacien who was scheduled to depart the position in January with $10,900 in severance pay, a year's worth of health care and a pledge that the Select Board would speak no ill of him. Jacien announced in July he would depart to pursue further education after serving seven years as manager with the town.

It's Halloween and that means the trick or treaters will be out in droves tonight. Authorities are reminding motorists to keep an eye out for the little ghosts and goblins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of deaths among young pedestrians is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. While drivers are urged to take extra care, safety official say parents need to be proactive reminding children about safety rules, like crossing the street at marked intersections, making sure kids are carrying lights and reflective materials and try to have kids trick or treat in groups, with adult supervision.