The Frequency

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange is running over budget, according to a document obtained by Vermont Public Radio.

In a “situation summary” issued on Oct. 23, key officials at Vermont Health Connect indicate that the project could run nearly $20 million over budget. The document says “there is a current shortfall of $11 million compared to what was requested in (federal) grants.” The document goes on to say that the state may incur an additional $8.5 million in expenses for which there is not yet an identified funding source.

Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Tim Donovan has announced that Dan Smith has been appointed president of Vermont Technical College. 

Smith became interim president seven months ago. He took the post after then-President Philip Conroy agreed to retire. The change came in the midst of growing deficits at the Randolph Center school.  

The Vermont Agency of Transportation has reversed a decision to close the Morrisville Bypass to non-motorized uses, at least until the agency's Traffic Committee meets in December to discuss the issue.

The two-mile bypass, also known as the Alternative Truck Route, opens to traffic at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. And now "traffic" will mean cars and trucks and bicycles and pedestrians. 

The Shumlin administration wants to talk about weed.

Administration officials announced a public hearing this week as part of their continuing look at marijuana legalization. A hearing on Nov. 12 will “provide Vermonters with the ability to contribute comments for a legislatively-mandated study on the issues involved with possible legalization of marijuana production, distribution and possession in the State of Vermont.”

Time To Button Up

Oct 29, 2014

This Saturday is Button Up Vermont's Day of Action. It's the second annual event intended to inspire Vermonters to weatherize their homes. Organizers are hoping Vermonters will embrace the fall Button Up Vermont event in the same way they take part in Green Up Day each spring.

Here's what the Button Up Vermont website has to say about the Nov. 1 event:

The Button Up Vermont Day of Action is an annual tradition aimed at inspiring more Vermonters to “Button Up” each fall, just like we “Green Up” every spring!

What would happen if an entire city practiced mindfulness? The Vermont Community Foundation has set out to answer that question by awarding the Center for Mindful Learning an Innovations and Collaborations Grant "to teach and integrate mindfulness into the core city institutions of Winooski."

Dan Feliciano, the Libertarian candidate for governor who’s using an anti-single-payer message to draw conservative votes, will hit the television airwaves for the first time this election cycle.

Late Monday afternoon, about 50 protesters with the groups 350VT,  Rising Tide Vermont, Just Power and the Vermont Workers Center staged  a sit-in at Gov. Peter Shumlin’s office in Montpelier.

Organizers said they plan to stay until the governor meets their demands to renounce his support for the Vermont Gas Systems natural gas pipeline expansion – and back a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure.

At similar demonstrations in the past, protesters refusing to leave an area have been arrested.

Authorities in the Upper Valley confirmed today that a recent surge in drug overdoses is linked to heroin mixed with Fentanyl.

According to Hartford Police Deputy Chief Braedon Vail, there have been nine known overdoses in the Upper Valley this month, two of which were fatal.

Test results announced today showed that “a sample of heroin that was sent to the lab regarding the many overdoses in our area” were found to be mixed with Fentanyl.

Traveling Vermont 116 in Bristol is about to get a whole lot easier. This afternoon, local and state officials will be on hand for the grand opening of a new 368-foot span over the New Haven River.

"Travelers have been dealing with delays in the area for years with a one-lane temporary bridge," a Vermont Agency of Transportation media alert states. And although work on the bridge won't be finished until the spring, it will be open to traffic after the ceremony at 1 p.m. today.

VTrans has posted a YouTube video about the project. Check it out: