Saturday December 1, 2012

Official: Optical scanners pass
election audit easily

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s top election official says the optical scan voting machines used by many Vermont cities and towns performed well this past Election Day.

Secretary of state Jim Condos says his office led a random audit of the machines by handing counting the votes they tabulated in Barre Town, Brandon, Essex and Newfane.

Condos says a deviation between the machine and hand counts of 1 to 2 percent is considered acceptable, and the Vermont results deviated by well less than 1 percent.

Condos says the audit shows the machines are an accurate method of counting ballots.

Vt. town bracing for high health cost spike

ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- Officials in the Vermont town of St. Johnsbury are bracing for a spike in health care costs, expected to be between 20 percent and 24 percent next year.

The increase translates to an increase in health care premiums of between $88,000 and $108,000, although the costs are somewhat offset by employee contributions. Selectman Jim Rust says the increase is due to state and federal mandates. He said officials are considering other insurance policies, but that would require union support.

Regulator closes Border Lodge
Credit Union

DERBY LINE (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation has closed a Derby Line-based credit union and appointed the National Credit Union Administration to oversee its liquidation.

In a statement issued Friday, the Vermont’s top financial regulator, Stephen Kimbell, says the seizure was done in cooperation with federal authorities and came after "examiners discovered issues that raised serious concerns."

He did not say what those concerns were. He says the credit union’s customers will be protected. A recent report said the Border Lodge Credit Union had 1,097 members and assets of approximately $3.1 million.

Accounts at the credit union are insured by the federal government for up to $250,000.

Vt. Supreme Court: UVM doctor not liable

BURLINGTON (AP) -- The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that the director of the University of Vermont’s student health center was not legally liable for the actions of a physician assistant who improperly prescribed opiate medications to 12 students.

The court’s decision affirms a ruling by the state Medical Practice Board that cleared Dr. Jon Porter in his oversight of a long-time physician’s assistant.

Porter was accused of failing to supervise Peter Nobes who refilled opiate prescriptions supposedly lost or stolen, and prescribed opiate medications to students without evidence that a physical exam or an in-person visit had occurred. The board rejected a recommendation that Porter be found guilty of unprofessional conduct but not face any disciplinary action. The attorney general’s office appealed the decision.

Vt. teenager charged with hiding runaway

RUTLAND (AP) -- Vermont State Police say a 17-year-old Rutland youth is facing charges that he helped hide a 15-year-old Chittenden girl who had run away from home.

Cory Munger was charged with second degree unlawful restraint and giving false information to a police officer.

Police say they don’t know what the relationship was between Munger and the girl who ran away from home on Tuesday. She was found Wednesday at a Rutland home.

Man cited for buying stolen gold, jewelry

SOUTH BURLINGTON (AP) -- A Vermont man who works at a gold-buying store in the University Mall in South Burlington is facing charges he has been buying stolen gold and jewelry.

State Police say the charges against 38-year-old Prasad Durga Dhakal, of Winooski, followed an investigation that began after suspects in other thefts told police they were selling the stolen items at the "Cash for Gold" store in the mall.

Police say that on Thursday Durga Dhakal was seen buying an item known to be stolen.