August 26, 2002 – News at a glance

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Sounds of Vermont: Montpelier
A Statehouse debate in Montpelier may be a familiar sound, but it’s only part of the character of Vermont’s capital. The city, with a population just over 8,000 people, has developed a distinctly independent personality. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Hospital budget increases
Vermont’s hospital budgets are on the rise. And the rates that the 14 hospitals charge next year are also expected to jump by approximately 5.4%. This week, a state commission begins its review of what’s driving the higher budgets – and whether the rate increases are justified. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Needle exchange
Steve Delaney talks with Steve Watson of the St. Johnsbury Community Justice Center. CJC is sponsoring a public forum for St. Johnsbury residents to discuss the city’s needle exchange program. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Waitsfield murder suspect arraigned
Vermont State Police say they’ve made an arrest in the killing of a 24-year-old Montpelier man. Eighteen-year-old Isaac Turnbaugh of Moretown is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his co-worker, Declan Lyons last April. Lyons was killed while at work at American Flatbread in Waitsfield. (AP)

Ryegate paper plant
State officials say the closed paper plant in Ryegate could be in business again by the new year. About 80 people lost their jobs when Kimberly-Clark Corporation closed its paper plant last December. Last week, state officials said Kimberly-Clark is negotiating with a buyer for the plant. (AP)

Barre granite museum
The future site of a museum that was recently valued at just over $475,000 has been taken off Barre’s tax rolls. The board of civil authority in Barre agreed to give the Vermont Granite Museum of Barre an exemption last week, even though the museum is not yet up and running. That will save the museum about $13,000 a year in taxes. (AP)

Hotel worker helps police
Police say mid-priced and upper-range hotels in the Burlington area are playing a role in helping them arrest drug dealers. Earlier this month, a housekeeper at the Day’s Inn in Colchester found three men passed out on the floor next to drug items. (AP)

Crash victim’s case thrown out
The Vermont Supreme Court has turned down a car crash victim’s bid to sue the state for damages, saying the state is protected by statute from his claims. Roger Lane suffered a severe spinal injury when the car he was riding in crashed on Interstate 89 north of Waterbury in December 1995. Lane sued the state for negligence. (AP)

Counterfeit bills
Police in Bennington are warning people to look out for fake 100-dollar bills after one was used at a Wal-Mart late last week. The fake bill was used to buy two rain jackets and some fishing line. Store workers noticed after the customer left that the bill was fake. (AP)

Nude swimming hole
Voters in Wilmington will get the chance tomorrow to decide if the Harriman reservoir should remain a favorite of skinny dippers from across the Northeast. The selectboard asked townspeople to vote on the public nudity ordinance it passed in June. (AP)

Middletown school debate
A plan in Middletown Springs to restore the historic village school to an historic color has raised objections from some residents. The town’s elementary school is an imposing, century-old wooden building that has been painted white for 75 years. Recently, the School Board approved a plan to restore the school to the original two shades of brown that the school was painted when it was built in 1904. (AP)

Heavy-weight pumpkin
A pumpkin weighing more than 950 pounds has crushed the previous record at the Champlain Valley Exposition by almost 200 pounds. The giant pumpkin has taken first place at the fair in Essex Junction. It was grown by Kevin Companion of Huntington, who grew last year’s 759-pound champion pumpkin too. (AP)

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