MONTPELIER — The six New England governors are urging the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a powerful new painkiller, Zohydro.
In a letter dated Thursday, the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island tell Secretary Sylvia Burwell that the region is in the midst of an addiction crisis.
The drug Zohydro is an extended-release capsule that contains up to five times the amount of narcotic hydrocodone previously available in pills.
The letter says the drug’s maker is preparing to seek approval for an abuse-deterrent formulation.
The governors say the likelihood of abuse of the current drug and the anticipated availability of an alternative are grounds to rescind the approval.
They say the states don’t need another high-risk drug.
Doctor accused of
BURLINGTON — The former chairman of a panel overseeing the use of prescription drugs in Vermont is facing allegations he improperly dispensed medications to 14 patients.
Michael Scovner, who has a medical office in Poultney, was chairman of the Drug Utilization Board. He stepped down in August 2012.
The Burlington Free Press reported that the state Medical Practice Board made the allegations that he was dispensing the medications “for other than therapeutic purposes.”
Scovner also was accused of ordering bulk delivery of anti-anxiety pills in 2011 that he intended to give to a single patient.
Scovner’s lawyer, Eileen Elliott, denied her client did anything wrong. She said he intends to fight the allegations.
A hearing before the medical board is scheduled for Sept. 30.
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, is planning to launch his re-election campaign in Essex.
On Friday, Shumlin’s campaign announced that he has hired a former member of his communications staff, Scott Corriel, to be his campaign manager.
Shumlin was first elected in 2010. He’s planning to launch his campaign Sept. 9.
Shumlin says his campaign will focus on what he calls the challenges and opportunities facing Vermont in the years ahead.
He says the state has made progress, but he will not rest until “all Vermonters have the economic security and quality of life they deserve.”
Shumlin’s Republican challenger is Scott Milne, a Pomfret businessman.
option now offered
MONTPELIER — Vermont teachers now have the option of investing some of their retirement savings in fossil-free mutual funds.
State Treasurer Beth Pearce says the addition of the 403(b) option was approved by the Vermont State Teacher’s Retirement Board of Trustees at its August meeting.
Pearce says the option gives more choices to teachers who want to make socially responsible investments.
The plan is available to teachers in all Vermont supervisory unions.
In February the same option was made available to state employees.
History group buys
home for museum
ST. JOHNSBURY — A group working to build a museum and history center in St. Johnsbury has a home, and portions of the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center museum that will display local artifacts could be open by the end of the year, officials said.
“We’re over the moon,” said Peggy Pearl, director of the group that purchased a Victorian house on Summer Street for $185,000 on Friday. “We’ve finally reached it. We’re really ecstatic. It has been a long road.”
The Caledonian Record reported that the property’s carriage barn will be updated and a wheelchair ramp constructed leading to the house.
Some artifacts that are now being stored at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium may be installed this year. It’s expected the museum’s opening will be phased in. The first is planned for December.
“It will be bit by bit, piece by piece, when we get shelving and the right atmospheric conditions,” Pearl said.
The center raised about $250,000 with a fundraising campaign while future operating costs will be covered by donations.
The history center had been looking for a home for some time. It had been ready to use the town’s former armory on Main Street, but officials backed away from that because of concerns about the presence of toxic chemicals and a lack of grants to fix the problem.
State seeks bear
teeth from hunters
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is asking the state’s successful bear hunters to submit a tooth to biologists so they can collect information about the bear population.
Vermont’s early bear hunting season starts today.
Teeth are used to determine the age of the bear.
Biologists use age and sex data to get an estimate of the number of bears in the state and to determine the status and health of the bear population.
Instructions for removing the tooth can be found on the back of an envelope that will be provided by big-game check stations.
State bear project leader Forrest Hammond says conditions should be good this year for bear hunting.
Canada geese, duck seasons set
MONTPELIER— The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board has approved dates for the fall migratory bird hunting season.
The statewide open hunting season for Canada geese will take place Sept. 2-25, with a daily bag limit of five birds. Officials say the purpose of the September season is to help control Vermont’s Canada goose population before the arrival of migrating geese.
A second season will occur from Oct. 10 to Nov. 28 with the focus on both resident and migrating birds. The daily bag limit for that season is three birds in the Lake Champlain and interior Vermont zones.
Duck season opens Oct. 8 in the Lake Champlain and interior Vermont zones and Oct. 2 in the Connecticut River zone, which also will have a Canada goose season.
Teacher wins translation grant
PLAINFIELD — A faculty member at Goddard College in Plainfield has been given $12,500 by the National Endowment for the Arts to translate into English a collection of poetry by Mexican-Zapotec poet Irma Pineda.
Wendy Call, who works in the school’s creative writing program, was one of 20 people around the country to be given the grant as an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship. The poetry from Pineda was published in 2007 and is made up of 36 poems.
The poems come from two voices: a person who has emigrated to the United States to work without legal authorization, and that person’s partner, who has stayed behind.
Call has been a faculty member in the school’s writing program since April 2013. According to a news release from the school, she has been collaborating with Pineda since 2010, publishing translations of Pineda’s work in eight literary journals in the United States.
— Staff and wire reports