Gov. Phil Scott has appointed Chris Winters, of Berlin, as the new commissioner of the Department for Children and Families (DCF). Winters will replace Interim Commissioner Harry Chen, M.D., who has served since October.
Additionally, the current deputy commissioner of the Child Development Division (CDD), Miranda Gray, will become deputy commissioner of the Economic Services Division (ESD), and Janet McLaughlin will join the Department as deputy commissioner of CDD.
Winters most recently served as deputy secretary of state, overseeing all aspects of the office responsible for elections, business registration, corporations, and the state records and archives. He served as deputy secretary for the past eight years. He was a candidate for Secretary of State in the 2022 Democratic primary.
Winters is also a native of Williamstown, a town on the western side of Orange County. On the eastern side is Newbury, where the locals are fighting hard to stop a planned secure treatment facility (AKA juvenile jail) to replace the closed Woodside facility in Essex Junction. Finding a home for the state’s most problematic youth will be near the top of Winters’ to-do list.
NEK moose calf mortality over 50% due to ticks, hunting permits issued – Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has proposed issuing 180 moose hunting permits in the northeastern corner of the state to reduce the impact of winter ticks on moose in that area. No permits are recommended for the rest of the state.
A F&W and UVM study in which 126 moose (36 cows, 90 calves) were fitted with GPS tracking collars showed that chronic high winter tick loads caused the health of moose in that part of the state to be very poor. Survival of adult moose remained relatively good, but birth rates were very low and less than half of the calves survived their first winter.
VT Dems elect new chair – Saturday, February 18, David Glidden was unanimously elected as the new chair of the Vermont Democratic Party. He succeeds Anne Lezak, who announced she was stepping down earlier this month.
Glidden began his political career as a field organizer in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties in 2016 for the Democratic Coordinated campaign. In 2017 he was elected State Party Assistant Treasurer, and in 2021 he was elected to his former position of Vice Chair of the VDP. According to a VDP statement, he is one of the youngest chairs in the country, and a member of the LGBTQ community,
Vermont Congress delegation buttonholes Post Office on slow service – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) on Thursday sent two letters to the leadership of the United States Postal Service (USPS) demanding answers and accountability regarding postal issues affecting workers and service in communities across Vermont.
“In the last month alone, we have received a particularly high volume of calls from the Chittenden County town of Hinesburg about insufficient staffing that has resulted in poor customer service. We have heard similar reports from post offices in Williston, South Burlington, and Windham County. These issues are unacceptable; our constituents deserve better,” the letter urged.
The delegation requested answers by no later than March 1, 2023.
Newport prison warden demoted – the Vermont Department of Corrections recently announced Northern State Correctional Facility Interim Superintendent Lori Madden returned to her role as Assistant Superintendent at Northwest State Correctional Facility in St Albans on February 10.
Effective February 20, Amy Jacobs, Interim Assistant Superintendent at NWSCF, will assume the role of Interim Superintendent at NSCF in Newport. This transition took place following a January 25 letter from Vermont State Employees’ Association Inc. (VSEA) expressing a “vote of no confidence” in Madden. The Department conducted an immediate and thorough review of the concerns outlined in the letter.
Madden informed the Department of her plan to return to NWSCF during this process. Jacobs joined DOC in 2008, beginning her career at Northern State Correctional Facility after serving in the US Marine Corps. Since joining DOC, Jacobs held multiple positions including temporary correctional officer at NSCF. (Republished from Newport Dispatch)
Mayorkas visits 101st Airborne in Poland – The U.S. Army’s most elite infantry division is in Poland – right next door to embattled Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas visited them last week, Brzezinski tweeted: “American soldiers are fulfilling President Biden’s promise and are ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. I’m glad to be with @SecMayorkas I could visit the soldiers @101stAASLTDIV @USArmy In Rzeszow. Thank you for your service!” [Twitter, 2/16/2023].