Changing the way health care is delivered

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

by Joseph Gresser

On October 26 the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) gave its approval to a new way to pay for medical services, called the all-payer model. The next day Governor Peter Shumlin and Secretary Hal Cohen of the state Agency on Human Services followed suit, putting their names to an agreement that’s meant to reconfigure the state’s health care system.

Even before the election, Governor-elect Phil Scott said he thought the agreement was approved with too much haste. In interviews after voters picked him to succeed Governor Shumlin, Mr. Scott said he plans to look at the model more closely before deciding whether to continue on the path it sets out, or cancel the agreement.

The results of the national election may relieve him of that task. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare.

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Towns try for better roads

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

by Elizabeth Trail

There’s a new style of ditching along the roads around the Kingdom — and the rest of the state.

Traditional grassy road shoulders are disappearing, replaced by ditches. Not only are the ditches deeper and wider than what most people are used to, but they’re also often lined with rock to slow water movement and catch mud and sediment.

Some of the drop-offs can feel insecure to drive next to, especially where the road crown has also been arched up higher in the middle, and the last foot of road edge is soft because it hasn’t settled yet.

It seems intuitive that when the ditches are deeper and there’s no shoulder, drivers have fewer options when faced with a deer or a fast-moving hay truck.

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Incumbents returned to office  

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copyright the Chronicle November 9, 2016,

County votes for Scott, Trump

Despite some hard fought races, Orleans County returned all incumbents to office Tuesday.

The closest contest was the Orleans-Lamoille House race, where Republican Mark Higley fended off a challenge, for the second time, from Democrat Katherine Sims. The vote was 1080-914. Both candidates are from Lowell.

Shortly before midnight Ms. Sims sent out a graceful concession note. “We came up just short but that’s okay, we fought hard,” she said.

In the Orleans-Caledonia House race, Democrat Sam Young of Glover and Republican Vicki Strong of Albany were easily re-elected with vote totals nearly double that of newcomers Matt Eldridge, a Glover Democrat, and Frank Huard, a Republican from Craftsbury.

Republican incumbents Mike Marcotte and Gary Viens also easily won re-election in House district Orleans-2. Mr. Marcotte was the top vote getter with 1,955, a tad more than Mr. Viens’ 1,923. Democratic challengers Ron Holland and Judith Jackson received 1,279 and 903 votes, respectively.

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Coventry Select Board votes to move investments before election

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copyright the Chronicle November 9, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

The select board here voted Monday night to follow the recommendation of Louise Evans at Hunt Financial Services and move the town’s money into safer investments on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday is Election Day, and that played a part in Ms. Evans’ recommendation. The other part, she said, was her sense that the board isn’t sure which it values most: safety or a higher rate of return.

“Park it on the sidelines,” Ms. Evans said. “Be clear about what you want, and let the market settle.”

This year’s election, and the political drama surrounding it, is creating uncertainty in the market, she said, noting that the stock market dropped eight days in a row leading up to last Friday, something that hasn’t happened since the 1980s.

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At long last, Lake Region reigns

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copyright the Chronicle November 9, 2016

by Tena Starr and Brad Usatch

It’s been nearly 40 years since the Lake Region Union High School boys soccer team made it to a championship game. The last time was in 1978 when they lost to Milton. In the school’s 49 years of existence, the team has often been excellent — but never been a champion.

Until Saturday.

It was a big time payback at South Burlington High School Saturday afternoon when LR once again made it to the championship, and once again faced Milton.

This time, an undefeated Lake Region came home with the trophy and a decisive 4-0 win. Over the course of the season, they outscored their opponents 105-6.

The hard fought first half of Saturday’s game ended 1-0 with the goal by Matthew Lawlor, set up by Riley Urie, who scored three in the second half, pretty much assuring a Lake Region win well before the clock ran out.

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Coventry Fire District confronts arsenic in its water supply

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copyright the Chronicle November 9, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

Water customers in Coventry village and some surrounding areas have been warned that they should avoid drinking unfiltered tap water.

The Coventry Fire District #1 (CFD) operates the public water supply, which serves about 60 homes, Coventry Village School, and public buildings. It got word from the state in September that the arsenic level in its well had gone over the legal limit of ten parts per billion.

The CFD immediately posted notices around town, told the select board and the school, and sent mailings out to users.

On November 3, about 40 people, most of them CFD water users, came to the Coventry Community Center to ask questions, express their opinions, and hear from state officials about what’s going to happen next.

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Sanders rallies for Democratic candidates

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copyright the Chronicle November 2, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Senator Bernie Sanders has seen bigger crowds than the one that greeted him Friday afternoon at the Gateway Center here. But it’s doubtful that any gave him a more enthusiastic reception.

Musicians Tod Pronto, and Jonathan Edwards warmed up the 140 or so people who filled the room. Mr. Edwards performed “Sunshine,” his hit from the early 1970s, and the sixties’ standard “Come On People (Smile on Your Brother)” among other familiar songs. Probably no more than a third of those gathered for the rally were alive when they were first sung.

Unusual for such a rally, the crowd lacked any other Democratic office holders. Most Orleans County candidates have pledged their support to Republican Phil Scott’s gubernatorial campaign rather than that of Sue Minter, their party’s standard bearer.

The former presidential candidate seemed relaxed as he entered the room to an ovation. He was accompanied by the trio of candidates he was in Newport to support.

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Congressman Welch visits Orleans County

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copyright the Chronicle November 2, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BARTON — Peter Welch spent half of Monday in Orleans County. He dropped by the Chronicle for a morning conversation before heading up to Newport for a meeting with city officials and legislators.

The state’s lone Congressman is running for a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives on both the Democratic and Republican lines, although he is a longtime Democrat.

In response to questions about the state of Congress, Mr. Welch said he’s worried about the Republicans.

“There’s an existential split in the Republican Party between the shutdown wing, and what I call the governing wing of the party,” he said.

The governing wing, he explained, “are conservatives who understand, at the end of the day, we have to pass budgets, and you can’t have a legislative body without compromises on legislation.”

Newport.

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Cash tax payments definitely missing in Coventry

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copyright the Chronicle November 2, 2016

 

by Elizabeth Trail

COVENTRY — A Coventry resident who prides himself on being the first person to get his taxes paid every year also became the first person to prove he made cash tax payments that never made it to the bank, forensic accountant Jeff Graham told the select board at their meeting Monday night.

“He goes to the post office the day the tax bills come out every year,” Mr. Graham said. “He gets his bill, walks across the street, and pays his taxes. In cash.”

Letters sent out by the accounting firm Graham & Graham several weeks ago asked about 163 Coventry property owners to prove how they paid their taxes for 2013, 2014 and 2015 — when, how much, and whether they paid by check or cash.

The letters were mailed to everyone whose taxes are marked “paid” in the town office, if Mr. Graham couldn’t tie the payment to a deposit ticket, he explained before the letters went out.

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News from around the county

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copyright the Chronicle November 2, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

Coventry finds arsenic in water

Arsenic measured above the allowed level in the spring that provides water to about 60 Coventry Village residents and the school, said Jeanne Desrochers, who came to the October 25 select board meeting on behalf of the Coventry Fire District (CFD.)

The CFD will hold a forum on Thursday, November 3, at 6 p.m. at the community center to answer questions. Despite its name, the Coventry Fire District’s job is to supply water to the village, the school, and a few outlying areas.

Everyone who gets water through the fire district, including the Coventry Village School, has already been notified and given recommendations on how to protect themselves until a permanent fix can be found, Ms. Desrochers said. She invited the board to send a representative to the forum.

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