Archive - Mar 10, 2008
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — Federal authorities charged with protecting the U.S. blood supply make a person who is ill or who has used illicit drugs wait a period of time before they are allowed to give blood. Only three behaviors, when disclosed, can result in a lifetime ban on blood donation: taking medication for HIV, taking money for sex and, if you are a man, having sex even once with another man.
When it comes to giving blood in the United States, gay and bisexual men, even those using condoms or in long-term monogamous relationships, need not apply.
Despite the fact that HIV testing has grown considerably more precise over the past 20 years, that the virus infects far more than just gay men, and that blood banks around the country have criticized the policy as outdated and discriminatory, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been enforcing the ban since 1983.
At Middlebury College last week, in the days leading up to an American Red Cross blood drive, the college’s non-discrimination policy — which requires that organizations with discriminatory policies, other than the military, hold an open forum at which community members can hold them accountable for those policies — was tested.
In lieu of banning the organization from collecting blood on campus, like San Jose State University in California did last month, the Middlebury Open Queer Alliance (MOQA) invited Red Cross officials to discuss the policy at a community forum.
More than 70 people attended last Monday’s event, which was the first of its kind for the Red Cross, to confront four representatives from the Northern Vermont Chapter about the FDA policy and what they’re doing to change it.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — A shorthanded Middlebury Police Department is working overtime — and a lot of it — in its efforts to locate missing Middlebury College student Nick Garza while continuing to meet the law enforcement needs of the community.
Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said the his department will probably exceed by a substantial margin the $27,000 that had been budgeted for special investigations, including overtime, in the fiscal year ending June 30. The department had run through $15,000 of that budget through the end of January — a week before Garza, 19, disappeared from the Middlebury College campus.
Since then, several Middlebury patrolmen — along with officers from other agencies — have been putting in 16-hour days following up on the scant leads that have emerged since Garza was last seen on campus at 11:05 p.m. on Feb. 5.
Local officers worked a combined total of more than 400 hours on the case during the first week Garza was missing, according to Hanley. That number of hours has tapered off only slightly during ensuing weeks as a result of weather factors and thanks to other agencies pitching in.
Local officials pledged to keep up the search at all costs. It’s a search that at the same time is taking a toll on a weary, short-staffed Middlebury Police Department with limited resources.
“It’s going to be fairly extraordinary,” Hanley said of the looming deficit in the department’s overtime budget.
The financial impact would not have been lighter had Middlebury police been at full staff. But the 14-member force is currently light three officers, as a result of two vacancies and one officer now serving with the Vermont Air National Guard.
By JOHN S. McCRIGHT
WEYBRIDGE — The University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge last week announced it had received a $1 million gift from the Amy E. Tarrant Foundation — 10 times the amount of the next closest single gift from any individual.
“Through her incredible generosity, Amy Tarrant is helping to ensure the legacy of the UVM Morgans and the one-of-a-kind home of our state animal,” said horse farm director Stephen Davis.
The money will not be used to expand the facility, but maintain its breeding and other operations. Davis said the young stock housing area, on-farm residences and pump house all could receive some attention with the funds, but the money is really to meet the usual needs of the farm. Like many UVM departments, the Morgan Horse Farm supports itself.
“This gift will allow us a little more leeway in planning for operations … and long-term financial planning,” Davis said. “Operationally we are stand alone. Hopefully this will help us maintain the status quo.”
The $1 million will be paid out in equal installments over four years. Of the $250,000 payments, $200,000 will go into an endowment and $50,000 will be used for immediate operating expenses. Once the $800,000 endowment is fully funded the farm will be able to draw down an estimated $36,000 a year in perpetuity.
The farm budgeted $362,584 for operating expenses in 2008, according to a UVM spokesman. Most of the revenues come from a hose breeding operation, plus admissions fees for tours.
Tarrant, the former wife of businessman and 2006 U.S. Senate candidate Rich Tarrant, has a long-time interest in the Morgan Horse Farm. Davis said she remembers visiting the farm as a young child with her family.