Friday February 8, 2013

Coordinating health records in Vermont said ‘wicked hard’

MONTPELIER (AP) -- An official leading Vermont’s push toward a single-payer health care system is calling efforts to coordinate electronic medical record between providers "wicked hard."

Anya Rader Wallack, chairwoman of the Green Mountain Care Board, briefed the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday on progress the board has been making to retool Vermont’s health care system.

She said staff at the board have been working hard with hospitals, physician groups and other providers toward a goal of making the various providers’ computer systems better able to communicate with one another. But she says the challenges are huge.

In one example, Rader Wallack said the two largest hospitals serving Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington and the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, use the same systems but have customized them, making communication difficult.

FEMA, Vermont expect to reach state office funding deal

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency says federal and state officials hope to complete funding arrangements for the rebuilding of the Waterbury state office complex by the end of the month.

The two sides are working to determine how much FEMA will contribute to the cost of reconstructing the Waterbury campus, most of which was flooded and made unusable by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

The state has designed a project that would demolish some of the existing structures in Waterbury, repair others and build new structures above the flood level.

The project is expected to cost $124.7 million. The state has been waiting to learn how much FEMA will pay. The state’s insurance company will also contribute.

New Hampshire officials push water, sewage, landfill projects

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Municipal officials want New Hampshire to start helping communities with water supply, wastewater and landfill projects.

The New Hampshire Municipal Association says the Legislature has deferred most of the funding for the environmental projects since October 2008.

The association says eligible municipal projects have not been funded for four years. The group says that has produced a backlog of 100 wastewater projects seeking $46 million in state aid commitments; 17 water supply projects totaling $7.5 million; and eight landfill closure projects totaling $805,000 in requests.

Municipal officials and lawmakers planned to testify Thursday in support of a House bill that would restore $8.8 million for the projects over the next two-year budget cycle.

Testimony resumes
in N.H. citizenship fraud case

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Jurors in the trial of a New Hampshire woman charged with lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain U.S. citizenship are seeing firsthand the grief that still resonates with survivors.

A man who lived in Rwanda and was 21 when the wholesale slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus began sobbed uncontrollably when talking of the day a woman told him the Hutu militia had just cut off his mother’s head.

In earlier testimony, Thierry (Terry) Sebaganwa said he twice saw Beatrice Munyenyezi in the uniform worn by leaders of the Hutu militia.

Prosecutors say Munyenyezi fraudulently entered the country and obtained citizenship by denying any role in the genocide or affiliation with any political party.

Testimony resumes Friday.

Connecticut home sales increase for
1st time in 7 years

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A real estate tracking firm says sales of single-family homes in Connecticut increased for the first time in seven years in 2012, but prices dipped slightly.

The Boston-based Warren Group issued a new report Wednesday showing that nearly 24,300 single-family homes in the state were sold last year, up nearly 14 percent from 2011 when sales hit record lows.

However, the median sales price dropped about 1 percent to $240,000 in 2012 compared with 2011.

The Warren Group’s chief executive officer, Timothy Warren, says improving employment and consumer confidence boosted the housing market and he believes prices will slowly follow suit.

Condominium sales also increased. More than 6,100 condos were sold in 2012, a 7 percent increase over 2011. The median condo price decreased 5 percent to $163,000.

Trawlers get more fishing days for Maine shrimp

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Fisheries regulators have further reduced shrimping restrictions on trawlers, doubling the number of days they can fish each week.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section voted Thursday to allow shrimp fishing on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays effective next week. Originally, fishing was limited to Mondays and Wednesdays.

The northern shrimp season got under way on Jan. 23 with a big quota reduction that lowered the limit to 1.4 million pounds from 5.3 million pounds last year.

The 2013 season began on Jan. 22 for trawlers. For fishermen who use traps, the season will start Feb. 5, with a daily limit of 800 pounds per boat.