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Local & Regional Briefs for Thursday, April 3

White River Junction Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges

White River Junction — A 21-year-old White River Junction man has pleaded guilty to numerous charges of possessing heroin and cocaine and will serve a year in prison.

Jesse J. LaFlam, Jr., pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Windsor Superior Court to a felony charge of possession of two grams or more of heroin, and misdemeanor counts of cocaine possession and heroin possession. He also pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors for violation of his conditions of release.

The court also ordered that the Hartford Police Department should release $3,864 that was seized from LaFlam to be given to the court for fines and surcharges for LaFlam’s case. Two possession of marijuana charges were also dropped.

“The state believes that a felony conviction, a year in prison and forfeiture of all of his drug sale proceeds was an appropriate response to Mr. LaFlam’s conduct,” Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said. “He is still a young man, and we hope he will learn from this experience that he is better off earning an honest living in the future.”

On Dec. 16, Hartford Police executed a search warrant at LaFlam’s White River Junction Apartment on South Main Street, in which police found heroin 91 bags of heroin, 88 grams of marijuana and 1.1 grams of cocaine. LaFlam was arrested and arraigned in Windsor Superior Court on Dec. 17 and released under conditions that he could not be charged with a new offense while his current case is pending, that he could not buy, have or use regulated drugs and could only have contact with family members.

Then, on Dec. 27, Hartford Police once again executed a search warrant of LaFlam’s house and found he was in possession of Suboxone. Police charged him with selling heroin to one of his neighbors.

UVM to Offer Public Health Degree Program Online

Burlington — The University of Vermont has announced a new Master of Public Health online program, in which students will explore current public health and health policy issues “while gaining a strong foundation in population health sciences,” according to a news release from the university.

The 42-credit program — a collaborative effort among UVM’s College of Medicine, the Graduate College at UVM, and Continuing and Distance Education — is the first online public health graduate program in Vermont, according to the release, and is now open for fall 2014 admission. It can be completed by full-time students within two years and by part-time students within five years.

According to the release, the study of public health includes “the implementation of prevention measures, the promotion of healthy behaviors, and research into global and community health” and spans “a variety of academic disciplines and professions, from epidemiology and biostatistics to environmental public health and health policy.”

The program is designed for medical and graduate students, health professionals in all disciplines, public health professionals, researchers, and “others who wish to increase their knowledge in public health,” according to the release, which said the program “also prepares graduates for advanced study at the doctoral level.”

“UVM’s leadership in interdisciplinary and health care education, along with our close affiliation with Fletcher Allen Health Care, make the university a strong choice for public health students,” Jan K. Carney, associate dean for public health at the College of Medicine and program director for public health graduate programs, said in a statement.

Cynthia Belliveau, dean of Continuing and Distance Education, said offering the degree in an online format “will appeal to prospective students who are seeking an academically rigorous program that is also flexible.”

For more information, visit www.uvm.edu/medicine/publichealthmph.

— Staff reports