August 14, 2003 – News at a glance

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Methadone clinic expansion
Vermont’s lone methadone treatment center wants to expand its services to accommodate a long waiting list of patients seeking treatment for heroin addiction. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Vermont bargains for better drug prices
The auditor of accounts says Vermont should strike a better bargain with a pharmacy benefits company that serves state employees. But the state says it recently won important financial concessions from the company and that more savings are possible. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Judge Parker dies at 65
Judge Fred Parker, a Vermonter who served on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, has died. Parker was appointed to the federal bench in 1990. He was named to the 2nd Circuit in 1994. (VPR)

Dean recommends Dairy Compact model
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says the New England dairy compact could be a national model for agriculture policy. (AP)

Bush economic meeting
Democrats, including former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, say President Bush’s policies are hurting, not helping, the economy. The critics were reacting to the president’s meeting with top economic advisers at his Texas ranch Wednesday. (AP)

Verizon labor negotiations
Unions in a labor dispute with Verizon are raising the stakes. In states where Verizon is the only local carrier, customers are being asked to pledge to drop their premium services, such as voice mail, caller ID and call forwarding. (AP)

Algae bloom
A blue-green algae bloom has struck the Vermont side of Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Bay, raising concerns that the thick scum could contain toxins. Beaches on the Quebec side of the bay have been closed for weeks. No toxins have been found in tests on the Vermont side, so the beaches remain open for now. (AP)

Blueberry season
Vermont blueberry farmers say they’re seeing their worst season ever. They’re blaming a cold, wet spring – particularly a stretch in May – that kept bees from pollinating the bushes. (AP)

Eye doctor lawsuit
A Burlington eye doctor charged by the Vermont Medical Practice board with performing unneeded surgeries now faces a lawsuit by a couple who say they were victims of the alleged scam. Joseph and Judith Salatino of South Hero filed suit on July 29 against ophthalmologist Doctor David Chase in Chittenden Superior Court. The suit accuses Chase of malpractice, fraud and assault. (AP)

Milton teacher misconduct
School board members may decide on Thursday the professional future of a Milton drama teacher. Thirty-four-year-old Jamie Lee Rugg was arrested this week on charges he had a sexual relationship with a student. Rugg was released on a $2,500 bail bond. (AP)

Groton arson
Vermont State Police say a fire in Groton last week was purposely set. The blaze engulfed a car belonging to a woman whose husband will be released from prison tomorrow. Forty-four-year-old Robert Onorato was convicted of second-degree murder and sexual assault. (AP)

Shaftbury overtime
Lawyers are advising the Shaftsbury select board to audit payroll records for the town administrator. That’s after learning that Administrator Dennis McCarthy had accrued more than 2,300 hours of overtime over the last five years. (AP)

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