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home : news : regional December 17, 2014

Vermont Briefs

Vt. gets $10m substance abuse grant aimed at young

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Health Department is getting a $10 million grant to help combat substance abuse among young people.

The five-year federal grant will be used to help identify, reduce and prevent alcohol and illicit drug dependence and abuse through early screening and intervention.

The project is focused on people between 18 and 25, who have lower incomes, less formal education, who are less likely to access behavioral health services, and have a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse.

Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen says that acting on early warning signs of addiction, before it becomes a life-long problem, is a core mission of public health.

He says the grant will enable the Health Department to help 18,000 people a year who might not otherwise have received help.

Released Vt. sex offender can't find place to live


BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A sex offender who had planned to move to California after being released from prison is back in Vermont, and officials are repeating their warning the ex-con could target young blond-haired boys.

A Vermont multi-agency law enforcement team that investigates abuse and advocates for victims of sexual offenses says in a statement that Timothy Szad's out-of-state housing placement "had not come to fruition." The group says he returned to Vermont late Sunday.

The Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations did not say where Szad is now, but say he is working voluntarily with officials to find "suitable and safe housing."

The 53-year-old Szad was sentenced in 2001 for aggravated sexual assault against a 13-year-old boy. After his July 26 release, officials said he was headed to California.

Vt. agency approves development financing

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The King Arthur Flour Company and the Vermont Granite Museum are among the latest entities to have significant financing projects approved by the Vermont Economic Development Authority.

The development authority on Monday said it has approved more than $25 million in financing to support commercial and non-profit development projects, as well as agricultural, small business and technology projects.

King Arthur Flour in Hartford was granted final approval for up to $3 million in revenue bond financing to help pay for its expansion. The company expects to increase its workforce from 229 to 274 within three years of building a new facility to house its food manufacturing operation.

The Vermont Granite Museum of Barre received approval for the reissuance of $553,000 in tax-exempt revenue bond financing.

16-year-old Vt. driver cited after car hits house

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Montpelier police say a 16-year-old boy is facing a driving under the influence charge after he was found passed out behind the wheel of a running car that had backed into a house in the Vermont capital.

Police say they were called to the Vine Street house at about 2:25 a.m. Sunday.

The name of the driver was not released.

A preliminary test showed the driver had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit for an adult driver.

There were no injuries.

The driver was cited to appear in court later this month.

Decade after founding, Vt. youth group finds home

WINDSOR, Vt. (AP) -- A Vermont youth organization created a decade ago finally has a permanent home.

The Youth Managed Cafe was started in 2003 in White River Junction by a school clinician and a clothing store owner. It started out by getting kids ages 12 to 21 to music shows and art workshops, and evolved to focus on giving young people a place to hang out, free of drugs and alcohol, and give back to their community.

But it never had a permanent location until now. The Valley News ( reports that the organization's "802 Lounge" will open Friday in Windsor, in a building that has housed a grocery store, bank and beauty salon over the years.

Fletcher Allen seeks 4.9 percent budget increase

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's largest hospital is seeking approval to increase its budget by nearly 5 percent.

The Burlington Free Press ( that Fletcher Allen Health Care wants to raise an additional $44 million next year to cover operating expenses and new health reform initiatives, add 282 full-time positions and begin planning for a new building.

The proposals have been submitted to the Green Mountain Care Board, which has set a 3 percent cap on the budget growth it allows for hospitals. Hearings are set for Aug. 27-29.

Dr. John Brumsted, the hospital's president and CEO, says the hospital is financing some changes that benefit the whole state.

Vt. seeks to smooth traffic at I-89 repair site

RICHMOND, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Agency of Transportation hopes to ease traffic congestion at a construction site in the southbound lane of Interstate 89 in Richmond where crews are repairing flood damage.

Starting Monday, the agency will use the "zipper taper" method of merging traffic.

Officials hope it will reduce traffic delays during peak hours.

Project Manager Dick Hosking says it's going to require a change in the way motorists think about merging and a higher level of cooperation between motorists.

The state will install new message boards that encourage motorists to use both lanes of the highway until the merge point at the edge of the work zone. Motorists will be encouraged to take turns moving into the single lane when traffic is congested.

Vt. Rep. Welch plans series of appearances

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont Congressman Peter Welch is planning a series of appearances in Brattleboro on Monday.

At 10:30 a.m., Welch is to participate in a small business roundtable at the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.

At 11:45, Welch will be holding one of his Congress in Your Community sessions at the River Garden with any member of the public who wishes to share concerns with the congressman or inquire about assistance from federal agencies.

And at 1 p.m., Welch is set to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's newly renovated emergency services department.

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