This Saturday is the eighth annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The program was started by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in response to the problem of unused prescriptions getting into the wrong the hands.
Rather than throwing them in the trash or flushing them into the wastewater stream, people can take unwanted prescription drugs to designated drop-off centers where authorities will dispose of them. This program is particularly aimed at getting addictive narcotics out of medicine cabinets and bathroom drawers where they can be easily stolen.
First, bright blue and green signs cropped up in neighborhood yards atop winter snowbanks. I passed them daily without giving them much thought except to register the message: Label GMOs Now! Without thinking much beyond the surface, I gave it an internal nod of approval since I generally don’t support genetically engineered foods and I want to know where my food comes from and what’s in it. Then, I visited with a neighbor who owns a small specialty food business and began thinking more about how the GMO labeling law may affect her livelihood.
Vermont is poised to pass a GMO labeling bill before the end of the session. The labeling issue is framed as a right to know what's in our food. But that's not the only thing people talk about when they argue about GMOs. There's also a controversy about whether GMOs might be bad for our health, or whether enough research has even been done on the health effects. And there's an argument over whether GMOs lead to an overuse of herbicides, which in turn may create species of super-weeds. Or whether GMOs help farmers use fewer insecticides and till the soil less often.
Four raccoons in the Burlington area have tested positive for rabies recently, and health officials say the disease has been detected in 11 animals this year, including in a bobcat in Clarendon.
“This is a good reminder to vaccinate your pets and not attract wild animals with food, compost, bird seed or exposed trash,” said Robert Johnson, DVM, state public health veterinarian in a press release.
For many Vermonters, the worry about running out of food is a monthly problem. Most families living on food stamps (now called the supplemental nutrition assistance program or SNAP) run out of food by the third or fourth week of every month. There are food shelves and other places they can turn to, but their anxiety about getting enough food takes a heavy toll.
I recently found myself where I never dreamed of being at age 43: in an orthodontist’s chair getting my retainers adjusted.
This almost didn’t come to pass. Sometime after graduating from college, I decided that I had also graduated from wearing the two retainers that I had popped into my mouth every night for a decade. I unceremoniously shoved them to the back of my dresser and declared that I was the boss of my teeth now.
As we plowed our way into April this year, it seemed like everyone I met at the grocery store – whether a millennial or an octogenarian - was saying essentially the same thing: “Wow. This winter was like the ones we had when I was a kid - with amazing snow and cold.” And I was perfectly happy to have it so, largely because I enjoy skiing, but also because I believe it will reduce the number of pests in the garden this summer.
Gone are the days of children, of just about any age, climbing in a car and just using a seat belt. Now, child car seats and booster seats are recommended for children even up to age 15. That makes the recent recalls of two different brands of car seats of particular concern.
Chris Bell is the Director of EMS and Injury Prevention for the Vermont Department of Health. He spoke with Vermont Edition about what parents need to do in the wake of the recalls and discusses other car safety issues for children.