August 15, 2002 – News at a glance

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Interview: teddy bear stamps
Steve Delaney talks with Nicole L’Huilliere from the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. The U.S. Postal Service is unveiling new teddy bear stamps at the Shelburne on Thursday. (Listen to the interview online and view one of the stamps.) (VPR)

Heat wave
Around the state, near record temperatures were recorded Wednesday as the heat wave continued. It’s not often we see such a long string of 90-degree plus days in Vermont. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

State police budget
Some legislators and state police officials are concerned that new budget cuts could make a shortage of troopers even worse. But the governor’s office says the cuts won’t affect the workforce, and that the Public Safety Department needs to manage its money better. The governor’s staff say other factors are to blame for the trooper shortage. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Strained power grid
Electricity demand is skyrocketing across New England today. As people escaped the heat in air-conditioned buildings, the operators of the New England power grid issued a plea for the public to conserve energy. (VPR)

FAHC psychiatry
A deal has been reached that will keep the psychiatric ward on the main campus of Fletcher Allen Health Care. Two floors of an existing building at Fletcher Allen’s medical center campus will be converted to an inpatient psychiatric ward. (AP)

Rutland courthouse
The size of the planned courthouse in Rutland has been cut by a third. The state is committing just $10 million to the project, instead of $12 million. (AP)

Ames bankruptcy
Officials for Ames Discount Store chain announced this morning they are closing all 327 stores, including twelve stores in Vermont. (AP)

Domestic abuse grant
Vermont programs that help victims of domestic abuse and prevent malnutrition in children will be getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services and the KidSafe Collaborative of Chittenden County will receive more than a million dollars in federal funds. (AP)

Candidates comment on budget
This year’s gubernatorial candidates are taking a keen interest in the debate about $39 million in budget cuts. All three of the leading candidates have largely endorsed Governor Howard Dean’s recommendations for bringing state spending back into line. (AP)

Randolph rest areas
The Interstate 89 rest areas in Randolph are slated to close. If they are shut down in the next 60 days as the governor’s administration has proposed, the state would save an estimated $200,000. The proposal is part of a plan to cut $39 million from the state budget. (AP)

Legionnaire’s Disease
The state health commissioner says more cases of Legionnaire’s Disease may be reported up until early next week. Doctor Jan Carney says at least 16 people have contracted the disease since late last month. Two of the 16 cases, including one announced yesterday, are not connected to the outbreak in Waterbury. (AP)

Air quality
Officials say the poor air quality is expected to continue today with the hot and humid weather. The Environmental Protection Agency says elevated levels of ozone are predicted in southern Vermont and other parts of New England. (AP)

Ames layoffs
The closing of the twelve Ames department stores in Vermont will cost 744 workers their jobs. The cuts are part of a national shut-down of the retail chain will eliminate about 22,000 jobs. Of the Vermont jobs, 346 are full time and 398 part-time. (AP)

No retrial for Marallo
One of the men convicted of the 1997 killing of a Wallingford tattoo shop owner won’t be getting a new trial. Attorneys for 23-year-old Eric Marallo say the state withheld information about a possible death threat against a witness. Marallo is serving a 45-year-to life sentence. (AP)

NH bridge fire
New Hampshire’s oldest covered bridge is safe. But officials want to know how a fire started yesterday on the 173-year-old Haverhill-Bath bridge Number 27. It took crews four hours to make sure the smoky fire was out. They said it caused little serious damage. (AP)

Phish returns
The Vermont-based band Phish that attracted legions of touring neo-hippie fans in the 1990s is returning to the stage after a two-year hiatus. The group play for Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve. (AP)

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