Archive - Nov 21, 2007
VERGENNES UNION HIGH School students Joe Chugg, front left, Erin Conway and Chris Griffin, back left, are among the 15 students who are working with teacher Meg Coffey and pharmacist Larry Renaud to learn how to help senior citizens navigate the Medicare.gov Web site to find the prescription drug plan that best fits their needs.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
November 22, 2007
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Like many of her friends, Vergennes Union High School senior Erin Conway spends more than an hour a day using a computer.
For Conway, a task like logging onto the medicare.gov Web site and comparing 51 different private prescription drug insurance plans is not that difficult, even though it’s a multi-step, multi-screen process with thousands of possible results depending on the drugs entered.
But ask the senior citizens for whom the Web site was created and you’ll likely find many of them struggling to make sense of the process.
That’s why 15 VUHS students, along with Kinney Drug supervising pharmacist Larry Renaud and two pharmacy technicians, have volunteered to help senior citizens navigate the medicare.gov maze at the VUHS library on Dec. 2. The goal is to help older Americans take advantage of the annual six-week enrollment period in which they are allowed to change their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in order to save hundreds or, potentially, thousands of dollars.
The last six weeks of each year senior citizens enrolled in Medicare have the opportunity to change their Medicare Part D drug plans. Pharmacists recommend that all seniors who have such a plan evaluate it each year because the number of plans available changes and what is covered in existing plans changes.
November 22, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — A standing-room crowd packed the Ilsley Public Library meeting room on Monday to urge the Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB) to reject proposed Staples and Starbucks stores that would be sited in, and adjacent to, The Centre shopping plaza off Route 7 South.
Some of the more than 60 residents, one of whom presented the DRB with a petition bearing more than 1,000 names, told DRB members the new stores would be out of character with Middlebury and could substantially weaken already established family-owned stores in the downtown.
The developer Myron Hunt Inc. — which owns The Centre — is proposing both stores. The 14,600-square-foot Staples would be built next to the Hannaford Supermarket in The Centre. The 1,700-square-foot Starbucks would be erected on an adjacent parcel now occupied by the former Middlebury Car Wash.
Chris Hunt, a principal of Myron Hunt Inc., represented the company at Monday’s hearing. He said he believes neither of the two stores would put a dent in Middlebury’s current retail scene.
“We realize that without a healthy, vibrant downtown economy, we can’t exist,” Hunt said. “It is purely a question of striking the right balance and we do not want to cause an imbalance.”
Hunt pointed to the proposed Staples as an example of a store that could help bring a better balance of stores to Middlebury, thereby giving shoppers less incentive to shop in the commercial hubs of Rutland and Chittenden counties.
“The Staples is a store that has been designed for the smaller town,” Hunt said. “It is roughly 10,000 square feet smaller than their average store. It’s in fact smaller than many of the drugstores we’ve seen.”
Staples, according to Hunt, has been looking to establish a store in Middlebury for “the past several years.”
November 22, 2007
By MEGAN JAMES
ADDISON COUNTY — Deep in the New Haven woods, the whirly-gig wheels on Dave Winborn’s ambulance-shaped lawn ornament spin around in the wind. This is how visitors know they’ve taken the right path to his tent, Winborn said, and how he knows he’s home.
Winborn doesn’t consider himself homeless, and he doesn’t consider himself poor. He has a job, a truck and his beautiful tent, complete with a woodstove and writing desk, which he has inhabited since this summer when he pitched it on a friend’s land.
The 55-year-old is an EMT on three different area rescue squads: he has volunteered with the Bristol squad for more than 25 years, with New Haven First Response for about 15 years and five months ago he started a paid position with Valley Rescue Squad in Hancock.
Next spring Winborn will earn his associate’s degree in human services from the Community College of Vermont.
“If I don’t blow it,” he said with a smile. “It’ll be the first time in my life I’ve ever worn a cap and gown. I never finished high school. I went right from public school to the streets.”
But, even though he is a contributing member of society with a paying job, Winborn is one of many people in Addison County who cannot find an affordable apartment.
This month the United Way of Addison County released the results of its 2007 Community Needs Assessment, in which about 750 area residents responded to a survey asking them to identify the most pressing needs they face today. Affordable housing ranked among the top four problems, along with financial stability, health and transportation.