August 11, 2004 – News at a Glance

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Coventry Residents Take Part in Phish Preparations
When the long-awaited Phish concert gets underway in Coventry this weekend, all eyes will be on the band and on the 70,000 fans who have tickets to the two-day festival. But for months, the host of the big event – a small, remote community in the Northeast Kingdom – has been grappling with what it will be like to become a Vermont metropolis for one weekend.

Bypass Construction Might Hurt Bennington Businesses
Business owners in Bennington plan to rent a billboard in New York State urging visitors not to bypass the town center. The sign is a response to final construction on phase one of the Bennington Bypass, which is scheduled to open this fall. (VPR)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Rate Increase
Although hospital budgets are on the rise again, the state’s major health insurance company says it won’t have to raise rates as much as it has in recent years. Blue Cross and Blue Shield says hospital costs are a major factor in setting health insurance premiums. But the company says it’s managed to control cost pressures in other areas. (VPR)

State to Sue Over Federal Ban on Drug Re-importation
The state of Vermont will go to court to challenge a federal ban on drug imports from Canada. Vermont had sought a waiver from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow a pilot re-importation plan. But the FDA rejected the proposal. (VPR)

Douglas Launches Radio Ads for Gubernatorial Campaign
A series of radio ads touting Governor Jim Douglas’ record are beginning to air around the state. Douglas’ campaign is timing the commercials to coincide with a statewide political tour the governor started Monday. (AP)

New Doctors’ Offices Open at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center are in Lebanon, New Hampshire are visiting doctors in a brand-new building Tuesday. The center’s new Doctors’ Office Building has 17 clinics and opened Monday. Doctors have twice the space they did before with this new building. (AP)

NEK Businesses Close for Phish
Several Northeast Kingdom businesses are heeding the warning about traffic from this weekend’s Phish concert. The Ethan Allen furniture plant in Orleans and the Columbia Forest Products plant will be closed on Friday. (AP)

Prison Oversight Committee
A panel of legislators is hearing first-hand from inmates at prisons in southern Vermont. The Corrections Oversight Committee met Tuesday with prisoners and staff from facilities in Springfield and Windsor. (AP)

Military Armor Contract
A Lyndonville firm has won another $2.4 million contract to make armor sets for the Bradley fighting vehicle. That brings to nearly $15 million the money Vermont Fabrication Incorporated has earned from the Department of Defense since 1999. (AP)

Dorset Considers Seceding to NH
The town of Dorset may become the next in Vermont to consider seceding to New Hampshire as a means of dealing with high taxes. Officials from Killington, which in March voted to secede to the Granite State, are scheduled to meet with Dorset selectmen next week to discuss the tactic. (AP)

Rabid Bat
The town of Brattleboro now has an unusual distinction. It’s home to a brown bat that’s become the only one in Vermont to test positive for rabies this year. (AP)

Social Security Fraud
A 51-year-old former Essex Junction, Vermont, man has could face up to ten years in federal prison when he is sentenced for fraudulently receiving social security disability payments. Federal authorities say John Tighe received more than $70,000 in such payments during five years ended in 2000, even though he was working. (AP)

Funeral for Speedway Worker
A funeral is being held Wednesday for a safety worker killed at the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, New Hampshire. Forty-six-year-old Michael Bliss of Calais was clearing debris from the track Friday when he was hit during a practice run. (AP)

Ducharme Pleads Innocent to Murder
A 38-year-old Burlington woman has pleaded innocent to first-degree murder in a case in which police say she confessed to killing her drug dealer with a baseball bat. Police said in court papers that Ellen Ducharme confessed to killing Ligia Rae Collins in Ducharme’s apartment on July 4. (AP)

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