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Monday, September 24, 2018

GOP County Chair Deletes Tweet That Said Kavanaugh Accuser 'Was Having a Sexual Fantasy'

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 1:42 PM

The tweet - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The tweet
Orleans County Republican Party chair Chet Greenwood denied writing a tweet posted to his account that suggested one of the women accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault was instead recalling a “sexual fantasy.”

Greenwood said he doesn’t know how the tweet appeared on his account but confirmed that he deleted it.

“I don’t think I did that,” Greenwood said Monday. “I don’t know how that got there. And I saw that and I deleted it. I don’t know. I can’t say how it got there. I deleted it.”

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Vermont Lawmakers Question Untreated Inmates and Unspent Money

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 5:54 PM

  • File: James Buck
Vermont legislators are questioning why so few inmates receive hepatitis C treatment, and they're demanding to know what happened to $2.2 million of state money that was designated for prison health care.

The state’s chief health care advocate, Michael Fisher, told the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee on Thursday that the Department of Corrections had only treated one inmate for hepatitis C in 2017.

Antiviral drugs can cure hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can lead to liver cancer and other potentially fatal complications. The virus, transmitted by blood, is more common among prisoners than the general population.

Fisher also directed lawmakers' attention to a significant amount of unspent money. In 2017, the Department of Corrections paid about $4.8 million to its private health care contractor, Centurion, for pharmaceutical drugs and off-site medical expenses, according to information Fisher provided the committee. Centurion only spent about $2.6 million, however.

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Walters: Scott Appears to Snub Addison Republican Senate Candidate

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 5:36 PM

  • File: Oliver Parini; Courtesy of Marie Audet
  • Paul Ralston and Marie Audet
Republican Gov. Phil Scott will attend an October 2 fundraiser for two state Senate candidates from Addison County.

Two independent candidates, Marie Audet and Paul Ralston.

Conspicuous by his absence from the invitation: Peter Briggs, a 28-year-old selectboard member from Addison and the Republican candidate in the Senate race.

Audet and Ralston's joint campaign committee organized the event. The independents announced their candidacies together in late July.

Ralston, a former Democratic state representative, has said that he supports Scott. He explained in July that he and Audet teamed up because they would be "running against a party establishment and that party has a lot of resources."

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Burlington Officials Unveil $30 Million Fix for Wastewater Problems

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 4:07 PM

Mayor Miro Weinberger - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger
After wastewater discharges plagued the City of Burlington all summer, officials on Thursday unveiled a plan intended to stanch the flow of dirty water into Lake Champlain.

It's not without a cost — $30 million. On Monday, the Burlington City Council will consider whether to put a related bond vote on the November ballot.

If Burlingtonians approve it, they can expect to pay $64 more annually for water by the time all the improvements are implemented within the next four or five years, Mayor Miro Weinberger said at a press conference in front of the city's main wastewater treatment plant.

“This is an opportunity for Burlington to take strong, decisive action to keep the lake the economic, cultural and recreational driver of our city and state that it has been since our founding,” said Weinberger, surrounded by city councilors, city workers and advocates for Lake Champlain.
Officials initially planned to come forward with a plan by December 1, in time to get a bond on the March Town Meeting Day ballot, but accelerated the timeline after repeated overflow problems.

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Few Vermont Inmates Receive Hepatitis C Treatment

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 11:32 AM

  • Matt Morris
In August, 250 inmates in Vermont prisons had hepatitis C, but just eight of them received treatment for the infectious, potentially deadly virus that can damage the liver. The number of those treated is actually an increase over 2017, when the Vermont Department of Corrections appears to have provided hepatitis C medication to just one inmate, according to its own data.

The state’s chief health care advocate, Michael Fisher called the statistics “very, very concerning.”

Fisher was part of a coalition of organizations that successfully pushed the state’s Medicaid health insurance program to start paying this year for hepatitis C medication for patients who don’t yet have liver damage.

Now advocates are turning their attention to Vermont’s prisons, where alarmingly few inmates are receiving the antiviral drugs that can cure hepatitis C, according to Fisher.

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UVM Medical Center, Nurses Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 7:38 AM

Nurses and supporters rallying this summer - FILE: SARA TABIN
  • File: Sara Tabin
  • Nurses and supporters rallying this summer
The University of Vermont Medical Center and its nurses' union have reached a tentative contract agreement after months of failed negotiations, the parties announced late Wednesday.

UVM Medical Center said the agreement with the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals is a three-year contract that includes a 16 percent average base salary increase. The union, in turn, agreed to eliminate proposed increases to certain shift differentials. Pay increases for ambulatory nurses will be retroactive to the first full pay period in September, the hospital said.

"We believe this agreement provides meaningful wage increases and allows us to maintain our commitment to all employees and be responsible stewards of limited health care dollars," hospital spokesman Michael Carrese said.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Vermont Inmates Moving to CoreCivic Prison in Mississippi

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:04 AM

Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, where CoreCivic (then called Corrections Corporation of America) housed Vermont inmates until 2015. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, where CoreCivic (then called Corrections Corporation of America) housed Vermont inmates until 2015.
Vermont’s out-of-state inmate population is moving to a private prison in Mississippi, the Department of Corrections announced Wednesday morning.

The Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility is operated by CoreCivic, the corporate prison contractor formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.

Vermont will pay CoreCivic $71 per day for each of the state’s roughly 200 inmates who are housed out of state, according to a Vermont DOC press release. There is room for up to 350 Vermont inmates in the 2,600-person facility in Tutwiler, Miss. The per diem amount will increase annually; the contract runs for a minimum of two years with an option for two more.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

'Jim Douglas for Governor' Account Still Doling Out Campaign Cash

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 7:45 PM

Former governor Jim Douglas and his official portrait, painted by Kate Gridley - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Former governor Jim Douglas and his official portrait, painted by Kate Gridley
Jim Douglas hasn’t been on a statewide ballot since 2008 but “Jim Douglas for Governor” is still appearing on campaign finance filings with the Vermont Secretary of State.

According to those filings, the account bestowed $500 upon House Minority Leader Don Turner Jr. (R-Milton) in his run for lieutenant governor. It also doled out $500 to Gov. Phil Scott, while Chittenden County Republican Alex Farrell’s campaign for state Senate got $250. Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) received $100.

But the four-term Republican governor says he isn’t seeking a political comeback.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Vermont Delegation Calls for Delay in Kavanaugh Vote

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders
Updated at 5:48 p.m.

After a California professor alleged Sunday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they both were teenagers, Vermont's congressional delegation urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to halt its consideration of his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All three members — Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) — said the committee's planned Thursday vote on the nomination should be postponed until authorities could fully investigate the claims. In an interview with Seven Days on Monday afternoon, Leahy said that Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, should both testify before the committee, on which Leahy serves.

“She’s willing to testify under oath,” the senator said. “Let her!”

Details of the allegations have trickled out since the committee's ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), briefed fellow Democrats last Wednesday, but Blasey Ford’s identity was not known until Sunday, when she shared her story with the Washington Post. She said that at a party in suburban Maryland in the early 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes.

“I find her allegations worth looking into professionally,” Leahy said in the interview. “I mean, she’s shown some very incredible courage even coming in here and we’re dealing with a nominee whose veracity is already an issue.”

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Burlington Town Hall Featuring Bernie Sanders Draws New American Crowd

Posted By on Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 8:13 PM

From left: Omar Bulle, Stefan Boley, Aden Haji, Mohamed Jafar, Ahmed Noor - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • From left: Omar Bulle, Stefan Boley, Aden Haji, Mohamed Jafar, Ahmed Noor
I am a change maker. That was what Aden Haji, 23, hoped each attendee would feel about themselves after attending a town hall event Sunday in Burlington that featured Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as the headliner.

Haji, a University of Vermont senior, was one of the speakers at the event and called for greater civic engagement from members of New American communities.

The gathering at the Old North End Community Center specifically targeted New Americans and was intended to teach them the nuts and bolts of voting, to inspire them to become politically engaged, and to give them an opportunity to make their concerns known to Sanders. It attracted a crowd of about 150 people, most of whom were members of the Burmese, Bhutanese, Iraqi, Somali and Sudanese communities.

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