State’s Attorney to launch drug diversion program


copyright the Chronicle February 8, 2017


by Joseph Gresser


NEWPORT — Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett says her office is ready to start a new diversion type program for people with substance abuse problems who have committed minor offenses.

The only thing keeping it from getting off the ground is the lack of the right case, Ms. Barrett said in an interview Monday. She said she needs to find someone who has been charged with a misdemeanor case and is willing to admit to having a substance abuse problem.

When such a case comes across her desk, Ms. Barrett said, she will offer the defendant a chance to expunge the charge through a process that she hopes will lead him or her to combat the addiction.

Her office, like those of other state’s attorneys around Vermont, has received money for efforts to deal with problems connected to the state’s opioid epidemic. Ms. Barrett said state’s attorneys have been given wide latitude to design programs that will respond to the needs of their counties.

She said she designed her program based on a model established by state Attorney General T.J. Donovan when he was Chittenden County State’s Attorney.

To help her in the effort, she has hired Robert Booth to supervise program participants and help guide them toward recovery.

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Starr, Rodgers, Johnson prevail in Primary election

by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 8-29-2012

State Senate candidates Bob Starr and John Rodgers and Representative Bill Johnson came out on top in local Primary elections Tuesday.

Mr. Starr and Mr. Rodgers survived a three-way contest for two nominations on the Democratic ballot with James Guyette of Derby Line.  Mr. Starr, of North Troy, is the one incumbent.  Mr. Rodgers of Glover has served in the House but not in the Senate before.

Mr. Johnson of Canaan, the incumbent, defeated challenger Maurice Connary of Brighton to claim the single Republican nomination in his Essex-Caledonia-Orleans District.  There were no Democratic or Progressive candidates on the ballot in the district.

Voter turnout for Orleans and parts of Essex counties was extremely low, about 9 to 10 percent.

Every vote counted.  In fact, in Bloomfield, Mr. Johnson got one vote, and his opponent had none.

With all towns in the Essex-Caledonia-Orleans district reporting except Lemington, the votes were 72 for Mr. Johnson and 25 for Mr. Connary.

“I’ve always thought it’s been an honor to serve my constituents,” said Mr. Johnson.  He has recently retired from dairy farming and has served in the House for 17 years.

He said he looks forward to going back to the Legislature, especially if he is reappointed to the Ways and Means Committee which handles taxes.

“One of the things that the Legislature has got to figure out is how to pay for the new health care,” he said.

“It’s going to take all of the resources that we can muster,” he said, mentioning that health care is one-fifth of Vermont’s total economy.  “It will probably be a payroll tax.”

Mr. Johnson said he had been afraid voter turnout would be very low.  In his home town of Canaan, he and his wife voted two hours after the polls had opened and were the first to vote.

The state Senate

 Not all the towns reported in as of press time Tuesday evening, but with all but a handful of results, it seemed clear that Mr. Starr and Mr. Rodgers would prevail.  Mr. Starr, who has 33 years of experience serving the voters in Montpelier, was top vote-getter with 947, and Mr. Rodgers had 816 to Mr. Guyette’s 476.

“If I win I’d just like to thank my supporters,” said Mr. Rodgers.  He said he looks forward to debates and forums and any chance he can get to get out there and make sure the voters know who he is.

Mr. Starr and Mr. Rodgers, the Democrats, will square off against Republicans Bob Lewis of Derby, who stepped down a representative for Orleans-1 in order to run for Senate, and Jay Dudley of Barton.

In the tightest statewide race of the day, at press time with 95 percent of precincts reporting, the incumbent attorney general, William Sorrell, was ahead with 20,614 votes compared to 20,000 votes for his challenger, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, according to WCAX’s website.

In Orleans County and nine Essex County towns, Mr. Sorrell had 612 votes and Mr. Donovan had 523.

contact Bethany M. Dunbar at:  [email protected]

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