Public Policy

Old mistakes, new problems haunt Vermont Health Connect

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Lawrence Miller, chief of the state's heath care reform effort, attend a news conference Thursday in Barre to announce a grant to repair flood damage in the city. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

In order to relieve stress on the incomplete website, previously insured users are being asked to avoid it and, unless they have a problem, the call center, too. Snail mail is the recommended option. Additional costs to make the exchange functional could deepen the state’s budget gap. The project has a “current shortfall” of $11 million in requested federal grants and could need as much as $8.5 million beyond that, according to the internal memos.

Five counties see contests for state’s attorney

Republican Tom Kelly (left) and Democrat Scott Williams. Stowe Reporter composite photo

Campaigns for state’s attorneys are usually low-profile affairs, but this year, there are lively campaigns in five Vermont counties. A state’s attorney is a county’s chief prosecutor, and has broad discretion in prosecutions, charges, and plea agreements.

Milne outlines Lake Champlain cleanup plan

Scott Milne. Photo by Anne Galloway

Scott Milne wants to shift $7 million per year from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to pay for cleanup of Lake Champlain. Administration officials say much of that money is spent on projects that improve the Lake’s quality by reducing nutrient runoff from farms.

Dan Smith named VTC’s permanent president

Dan Smith was named president of Vermont Technical College, removing the interim adjective he has carried for the past seven months. The Vermont State Colleges board of trustees approved the appointment Thursday. Smith will formally assume the title Nov. 19. Smith was VSC’s director of community relations and public policy before assuming the interim role […]

SCOV Law Blog: The ‘effect on the listener’ phenomenon

Creative Commons photo by walknboston via Flickr

The Vermont Supreme Court says that the truth of what happened during a traffic stop is less important than what happened as a result.

Nurse describes trip to intercept Peter Italia at JFK Airport

Joanne Calvi, Rutland District director for the Vermont Health Department, accompanied Peter Italia as he was returned to Vermont after spending about a month in West Africa. Italia is in voluntary quarantine so health officials can make certain that he did not contract the Ebola virus. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

Joanne Calvi, a public health nurse and state health department official, was dispatched on Monday with the Rutland County sheriff to retrieve Peter Italia upon his return from West Africa. Calvi describes how Italia was handed over to them by federal officials, and her conversation with him during the five-hour drive to Rutland.

Rutland mayor exchanged emails with quarantine subject Italia

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras (center) endorsed Democrat Rose Kennedy in her race against Republican incumbent Marc Brierre. Photo by Wade Goodenough.

Chris Louras was in email contact with Peter Italia during the latter’s trip to Africa. The Mayor said he wanted to track Italia’s activities and learn when he planned to come home. The last email, from Oct. 26, indicated that Italia was returning to the U.S. He was met by state officials at the airport and put into voluntary quarantine to ensure he is not infected with the Ebola virus.

Italia’s Africa trip was discovered by Deputy State’s Attorney

Peter Italia outside Conakry airport in Guinea with his friend and guide Francis, who is from Sierra Leone. Peter Italia Facebook photo

The first official discovery of Peter Italia’s visit to West Africa came from a county prosecutor, who was seeking him as a witness in an unrelated case. She noticed Italia’s postings on Facebook, and triggered a series of events that led to Italia’s voluntary confinement upon his return to America.

Vermont Health Connect customers encouraged to renew offline

Vermont Health Connect feature

Existing Vermont Health Connect customers looking to renew coverage during the open enrollment period that starts Nov. 15 will be asked to avoid the exchange’s web portal, a state official said. Chief of Health Care Reform Lawrence Miller said the VHC web portal is expected to relaunch before Nov. 15, but those seeking changes will […]

Experts, advocates say early childhood development is crucial

Children sang and played at the launch event for Let's Grow Kids, a statewide public education campaign about the importance of early childhood experiences. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Neuromedical research on brain development shows that early childhood is crucial. A new film exploring the subject was screened Tuesday in Montpelier, and experts made the case that quality care in a child’s first years can have a lifetime of positive impact.

Rutland man being monitored for Ebola is identified

Peter Italia outside Conakry airport in Guinea with his friend and guide Francis, who is from Sierra Leone. Peter Italia Facebook photo

Peter Italia penned a Facebook trail describing his attempts to help Ebola victims and his frustration with not being taken seriously as a medical professional. Italia has written about time travel and claims to have a medical degree from the Dominican Republic.

UVM students raise awareness of sexual assault on campus

UVM students participate in a national Carry That Weight Day march to honor victims of sexual and domestic violence. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

Several dozen students marched across the UVM campus Wednesday to raise awareness of campus sexual assault. They carried mattresses, and paused for five minutes of silence in honor of assault survivors.

State prepares to help people with Affordable Care Act tax changes

Creative Commons

Some Vermonters will see changes in tax-filing requirements because of the Affordable Care Act. State officials are preparing to offer information to those affected.

Graniteville landowners oppose two Rock of Ages plants

Rock crushing operations near Rock of Ages in Barre Town. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Two relatively new facilities at Rock of Ages have sparked complaints about noise, dust, and odors. A company attorney says there’s no evidence of medical harm; but some neighbors are pursuing appeals of the plant’s operating permits.

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