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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Burlington City Council Removes Safe Injection Site From Opiate Measure

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 9:31 AM

  • Sean Metcalf
The Burlington City Council decided to move forward with a resolution promoting opiate treatment, but removed a key part of the measure that supported safe injection sites.

The council voted 9-3 to endorse buprenorphine treatment and appoint two councilors to the CommStat opiate study committee but will not take concrete steps toward establishing a safe injection facility "until the city council affirmatively votes to do so" in a separate vote.

It took two hours of debate and nine proposed amendments Monday night before the council issued its "yes" vote to the altered measure.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Burlington City Council Urges Nurses, Hospital to Settle Their Differences

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 11:06 PM

Nurses on strike - FILE: SARA TABIN
  • File: Sara Tabin
  • Nurses on strike
Figure it out.

That was the Burlington City Council's message to the University of Vermont Medical Center administrators and nurses who are divided on wages and working conditions.

The council unanimously passed a resolution Monday urging the two sides to find common ground after the nurses' union went on strike for two days last week. The nurses returned to work on Saturday without a contract, but have not yet returned to the bargaining table, much less come to an agreement with the hospital.

The nurses' union could strike again, though it would need to provide a 10-day notice to the hospital.

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Burlington Council Allocates Funding to City Childcare Centers

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 8:48 PM

  • Matt Mignanelli
The Burlington City Council has dished out its first full round of grants to daycares and preschools, approving $455,000 in spending as part of the city’s Early Learning Initiative, an effort to help make early childhood education more accessible and affordable.

The Sara Holbrook Community Center and Greater Burlington YMCA got $150,000 and $130,000, respectively, for capital campaigns as the YMCA buys a new building and Sara Holbrook prepares for a renovation. Those two programs will create at least 58 new preschool slots, according to the proposal approved by the council.

The Burlington Children’s Space, the Janet S. Munt Family Room, Pine Forest Children’s Center, Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, and Ohavi Zedek Full Circle Preschool also got awards, ranging from $5,000 for Full Circle, to $75,000 that the Children's Space will use to purchase its building.

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Burlington City Council to Weigh In on Safe Injection Sites

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 11:30 AM

  • Sean Metcalf
The Burlington City Council on Monday will begin discussing the possibility of establishing a safe injection site in the city.

A "yes" vote on a resolution before the council would endorse a menu of opiate treatment options for the Queen City, including distribution of buprenorphine in emergency rooms, supporting opiate treatment for inmates across the state, and offering low-cost or free Narcan to reverse overdoses.

The most controversial item would be a safe injection site, which the resolution refers to as an overdose prevention site. It would provide a place for addicts to consume drugs and would also provide access to medical service, treatment options and clean needles — without legal repercussion.

The resolution does not create a safe injection site. It only encourages the city to move forward with discussions about such a facility. Creating one would involve a lengthy process, "possibly years," before it came to fruition, the resolution acknowledges, and would require a "full community vetting."

The council doesn't actually have authority to enact some of the proposed policies around buprenorphine and Narcan. Still, the resolution is a step in the right direction, said Councilor Karen Paul (D-Ward 6), who's been working on the measure since March.

"The council being on the record supporting and endorsing an overdose prevention site is meaningful," Paul said.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

UVM Medical Center Seeks to Hire Hundreds in Advance of Strike

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 6:19 PM

Hotel Vermont
  • Hotel Vermont
University of Vermont Medical Center is making plans to fly hundreds of out-of-town nurses to Burlington to fill in if its nurses strike for two days next week. A staffing agency is recruiting nurses online and reserving local hotel rooms.

Hotel Vermont general manager Joseph Carton said Tuesday morning that an agency tried to reserve 600 rooms in Burlington. Hotel Vermont, which has 125 rooms, could not accommodate the entire request. But the agency ultimately reserved 32 rooms between Hotel Vermont and the Courtyard Burlington Harbor next door, which is owned by the same company, Carton said.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Colchester Causeway Reopens After Storm Damage Repairs

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 6:24 PM

The Colchester causeway in April 2018 - FILE: SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • The Colchester causeway in April 2018
Bikers will be able to cross Lake Champlain from Colchester to the islands this Fourth of July weekend. The Island Line Trail is back open following a May storm that caused severe damage.

Gov. Phil Scott helped reopen the causeway at a press conference on Friday where he praised the "can-do attitude" of the workers who helped get the trail back up and running.

The bike ferry, which is operated by cycling organization Local Motion, will also start running, transporting bikers across the 200-foot cut to South Hero.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Burlington Officials Lay Out Vision for Memorial Auditorium Process

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 9:06 PM

Memorial Auditorium - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Memorial Auditorium
The city of Burlington will move forward with a public process to determine the future of Memorial Auditorium. It could result in a bond vote to pay for renovations to the dilapidated auditorium as early as November, according to acting Community and Economic Development Office director Neale Lunderville.

CEDO has hired a consulting firm to send out a postcard to every Burlington resident this month, urging them to take an online survey to weigh in on the purpose and design of the building at the corner of South Union and Main streets.

"We want to see what the public thinks is the highest and best use for the building," Lunderville said Monday during an interview with Seven Days.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Magnolia Bistro Owner's Facebook Post Sparks Calls for Boycott

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 3:24 PM

Magnolia Bistro - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Magnolia Bistro
Updated on June 19, 2018.

A Burlington restaurant owner has come under fire after he posted on Facebook that "junkies should detox or die," leading to a flurry of calls to boycott his business.

Magnolia Bistro owner Shannon Reilly wrote the inflammatory comment on Friday in response to a post by Mayor Miro Weinberger, who shared a Seven Days article about the city's efforts to more quickly provide buprenorphine to drug users seeking treatment. Buprenorphine, also referred to as bupe or its commercial name, Suboxone, is an opioid that mitigates heroin withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

"The junkies should detox or die," Reilly wrote. "Sorry. So fuckin pathetic employing people spaced out on bupe. Fuckin useless. Let them die."

Reilly also took a shot at Weinberger: "F U Wondeboy. Stop trying to act like you are doing anything good for this town! You deserved to be buried under that mall you douchbag," he wrote, apparently referring to the redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center, which has been rechristened CityPlace Burlington.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Burlington Police Chief del Pozo Hospitalized After Serious Bike Crash in Adirondacks

Posted By on Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 8:07 PM

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo
Updated on June 18, 2018.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo could remain hospitalized "for a sustained period" after a serious bicycle crash Saturday in the Adirondacks, the city said in a press release.

The chief suffered a concussion, a broken collarbone, a broken right shoulder and road rash when he crashed on "a hill he has ridden many times" on Route 73 in Keene, N.Y., according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for Mayor Miro Weinberger.

Del Pozo was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Saranac Lake, N.Y., before he was airlifted to the University of Vermont Medical Center. He remained in the intensive care unit, and doctors were "optimistic about a full recovery," the release said. Deputy Police Chief Jan Wright will serve as acting chief while del Pozo is sidelined.

Weinberger has twice visited del Pozo in the hospital and has been in touch with his wife, Vane said on Monday.

"The mayor reported that he had a great conversation with the chief in his visit Sunday night, and left very optimistic that the chief was on the mend," Vane said in a written message. "The chief is still in the ICU, although he is expected to be moved to a different section of the hospital relatively soon. We are not sure yet when he will be released from the hospital."

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Entrepreneurship Community Planned for Cambrian Rise

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 4:50 PM

  • Courtesy of Lincoln Brown Illustration
  • Rendering of Cambrian Rise
Vermont's first co-living and coworking business accelerator will find a home at Burlington's Cambrian Rise.

Local investors will help pay for and design one of 12 buildings that will make up the development. The "innovation hub" will allow entrepreneurs to work and learn together, get access to startup funds for business, and live in a place that facilitates "the intense collision of ideas and mentoring," according to a description of the project provided by its creators.

The project, called the Vermont Innovation Commons, will "bring talent and capital and business growth and, ultimately, jobs to a place that really needs it," said Mark Naud, who's heading up the effort. "There's ... nothing like that in the state of Vermont or in Burlington, certainly."

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