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New KI pills ready for residents near Vermont Yankee

BURLINGTON — The Vermont Department of Health wants residents in the emergency planning zones around the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station to know that potassium iodide tablets, distributed since April 2002 are about to expire. New supplies of potassium iodide are expected to arrive in Vermont by mid-April.

A public meeting about potassium iodide is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the American Legion Hall in Brattleboro for people in the six emergency planning zone towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Marlboro and Vernon.

Staff from the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Emergency Management will explain plans for re-distribution. They will also discuss plans for the initial distribution of liquid potassium iodide.

Potassium iodide (also known as KI) is a drug that can block exposure to radioactive iodine if taken in an appropriate and timely dosage. Radioactive iodine is one of the contaminants that may be released in a nuclear accident or similar event. Exposure to radioactive iodine can increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

“There is no substitute for following emergency instructions, such as shelter-in-place or evacuation orders,” said Acting Health Commissioner Sharon Moffatt. “But potassium iodide is one protection we can distribute in advance and that’s why we began offering it five years ago. The Health Department will issue instructions if and when potassium iodide is to be taken, in the event of a nuclear emergency.”

Potassium iodide has been available to anyone who works or lives in the six towns, as part of Vermont’s emergency preparedness effort. The distribution program provides one dose per person, and participation is voluntary. Parents/guardians are also eligible to receive a free dose for each child in their family. Public schools, nursing homes, hospitals, some childcare providers and private schools also have KI distribution plans in place.

Between 2002 and 2004, approximately 14,000 tablets received from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission were distributed by the Health Department District Office in Brattleboro, and by several local pharmacies.

“If you participated in our distribution program, you will have potassium iodide tablets that are marked to expire at the end of March,” said Moffatt. “We have word from the federal Food & Drug Administration that the potassium iodide will still be effective up to two years beyond its marked expiration date, if it has been stored as directed on the package instructions — kept dry in its foil packet at room temperature.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a two-year extension of the expiration date for supplies of KI that have been properly stored by the state. These supplies are considered to be effective until 2009. By April, Vermont officials expect to get a new supply of KI in the form of 130 mg tablets (the full adult dose) and 65 mg tablets (the full child dose) that will not expire for seven more years.

In addition, the state now has a supply of liquid KI, which is easier to administer to children and others who may have difficulty taking tablets. Liquid KI will be distributed to childcare centers and schools.

More information about the Vermont KI distribution program can be located online.

UVM hockey co-captain signs pro contract

BURLINGTON —Junior co-captain Torrey Mitchell has signed a professional contract with the San Jose Sharks and will not return for his senior season at the University of Vermont.

Mitchell and San Jose made the announcement today.

Mitchell, of Greenfield Park, Quebec, will complete his junior year academically this spring, and plans to continue his education at UVM by taking summer and online courses to earn the remaining credits needed to finish his degree in the near future.

“This is an opportunity I could not pass up,” Mitchell said. “After consulting with my family, coaches and advisor this is the best decision for me. It was a dream of mine to play college hockey and I was able to develop, as a student-athlete here at Vermont and it’s something I’ll cherish forever.”

Hockey coach Kevin Sneddon said Mitchell would be missed.

"Torrey is the best two-way player I have coached to date,” said Sneddon. “His work ethic, competitiveness, and overall skill package makes him ready for the next level. We will certainly miss him next season, but we wish him the best of luck as he progresses toward playing in the National Hockey League. We are all very proud of him."

Sneddon said when he and Mitchell discussed the junior going pro, he made the player promise to finish his education from UVM.

Mitchell was named an Honorable Mention Hockey East All-Star this season and finished the year with 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points to lead Vermont in scoring. His 35 points ranked 14th best in Hockey East and his 23 assists were seventh best.

Mitchell finished his career with 35 goals and 70 assists for 105 points in 110 games to rank tied for 35th on UVM’s all-time scoring list.

As a sophomore during the 2005-06 season he was named an Honorable Mention Hockey East All-Star and as a freshman he was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team.

Mitchell was a fourth-round pick (126th overall) by the San Jose Sharks. He will report to San Jose’s AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks this week.

The Vermont men’s hockey team finished the 2006-07 season at 18-16-5 overall and 12-10-5 in Hockey East play.

Posted March 16, 2007

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