Regional News Roundup: Draft Report Finds Complaints About N.H. VA Were ‘Unfounded’

  • Jesse Pacht demonstrates a pie iron that can be used for campfire cooking. Pacht was honored Sept. 8 at Thetford’s Camp Farnsworth with the Torchbearer Award in recognition of his dedication to Girl Scouts. He has taught outdoor cooking skills to Girl Scouts for years, as well as doing plumbing repair, wood chopping and more.

Monday, September 24, 2018
Draft Report Finds Complaints About N.H. VA Were ‘Unfounded’

Manchester (ap) — An internal Veterans Affairs draft report finds that nearly all of the complaints lodged by whistleblowers about the Manchester VA were unfounded.

New Hampshire Public Radio reports that the VA’s Office of Medical Inspector’s draft report didn’t substantiate allegations published in the Boston Globe last year.

Whistleblowers complained about a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren’t always sterilized and patients with a spine condition who weren’t treated properly.

Several top officials have been removed. A federal agency concluded in January the Manchester facility failed to take whistleblowers’ complaints seriously.

The draft report found issues with a private company running the Veterans Choice Program.

Whistleblower and doctor Ed Kois said the VA can’t fairly investigate itself, and said VA should have better treated veterans with the spine condition cervical myelopathy.

People’s Choice Awards Announced for Quilt Exhibition

Woodstock — Billings Farm & Museum has announced the winners of the “People’s Choice” awards for the 32nd Annual Quilt Exhibition. More than 1,000 visitors voted for their favorite quilts during the exhibition, which began in July and ran through Sept. 16.

Among the full sized quilts, Colorado Sunset by Ruth Ann Glick, of Hartford, won first place; Susan Hall, of Hartland, took second place for her quilt All Through the Vermont Woods; and third place was given to We All Fall Down by Dona McKenzie, of Ludlow. Norma Ippolito took first place among small and medium quilts for her work Doodle Dandy; second place was awarded to Lynne Croswell, of Ludlow, for 100 Days; and third place was given to Linda Ramrath, of Barnard, for Almost Midnight at the Oasis.

At the exhibition opening, the Jurors’ Choice Awards were given to Emily Schanck, of Hartland, for her quilt, Luck of the Irish; to Crosswell for 100 Days; and to Ramrath for Almost Midnight at the Oasis, which also received the Billings Farm and Museum Staff Choice Award.

Thetford Academy Hosts Free 5K To Celebrate Bicentennial

Thetford — Thetford Academy will host a free 5K walk and run on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. as part of the school’s year-long bicentennial celebration.

The race, called the Asa Burton Bicentennial Blast, will take place on the school’s Woods Trail. Along the course, there will be placards displaying interesting facts about the academy. When participants get to the end of the race they will be quizzed.

“Correct answers will result in deductions to the runner’s time, and incorrect answers will add time,” said Charlie Buttrey, who is helping to organize the run. “The race will not necessarily go to the swiftest.”

Prizes will be awarded and all participants will receive Thetford Academy bicentennial t-shirts. No pre-registration is required and participation is free. Walkers and strollers are welcome. For more information contact Buttrey at 802-785-4005 or at charliebuttrey@yahoo.com.

Thetford Man Honored by Girl Scouts

Thetford — Jesse Pacht, of Thetford, was honored by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains with the Torchbearer Award in a ceremony earlier this month at Camp Farnsworth in Thetford.

The Torchbearer Award honors leadership and service in many areas. In particular, it is given to recognize individuals who have had a significant impact on girls’ outdoor experiences. Pacht was given the white pine torch, which symbolizes someone who is creative, active, trustworthy, practical and patient.

Pacht is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, and well known for his dedication to the organization.

He has been teaching outdoor cooking since 2013 at Farnsworth Weekend and educating Girl Scouts and volunteers on outdoor cooking methods. He and his wife, Tara, have done plumbing repairs and helped erect canvas tents at Camp Farnsworth. Pacht has volunteered during camp work weekends and whenever there is a need for help, parking cars and chopping wood for camp. Because of Pacht’s efforts, girls who attended Camp Farnsworth were able to cook outdoors, go hiking, learn to ride horseback, climb the alpine tower, gain archery skills and more.

Pacht’s wife, Tara, and daughter, Gabrielle, have both received the Torchbearer Award in the past.

Hartford Football Team to Honor Vets During ‘Patriot Game’

White River Junction — The Hartford Hurricanes football team will honor veterans and service members during the third annual “Patriot Game,” taking place against Brattleboro on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at Hartford High School, 37 Highland Ave., in White River Junction.

During the game, seniors on the football team will wear special jerseys with the names of service members. At the end of the game the jerseys will be presented to honorees from the military.

Special guests including members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association will be in attendance and volunteers will help collect donations for Vermont’s Veterans Place, a Northfield organization that supports homeless veterans. Attendees are asked to donate cash or new items including pillows and pillowcases, towels, washcloths, boxers, t-shirts, socks and twin-sized sheets and blankets.

“Our football family feels it is important to recognize these individuals and their families for their commitment, sacrifice and service to our country,” the team said in an announcement.

— Staff and wire reports