December 30, 2003 – News at a glance

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Successes and disappointments in Douglas’ first year
Governor Jim Douglas says he’s pleased by the progress his administration has made on a number of issues during his first year in office. But the governor says he’s disappointed that some parts of agenda have not been enacted. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Vermont officials say meningitis outbreak unlikely here
Vermont health officials say they are watching the outbreak of bacterial meningitis in New Hampshire. But because the disease isn’t easily spread, there are no plans to take additional precautions. In the past week, there have been five reported cases of bacterial meningitis in New Hampshire, with one fatality. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Cattle tracking system proposed by Brattleboro group
A case of mad cow disease in Washington state has focused attention on the difficulty that investigators face in tracing cattle across the country. A Vermont organization has one solution: a national cattle identification system that allows researchers to accurately follow an animal its entire life. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Snowmobilers undaunted by insurance requirement
Snowmobilers who head out onto Vermont trails this season need insurance for the first time. (AP)

Dean fundraising
Howard Dean’s campaign says he’s raised more than $14 million toward his presidential campaign in the past three months. That pushes his total for the year to nearly $40 million. Thousands of Dean supporters will ring in the New Year a day early by listening in on a telephone conference call with Dean and Al Gore and his wife, Tipper. Gore, a former vice president and the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed Dean earlier this month. (AP)

Dean campaign
Howard Dean’s lead in New Hampshire has slipped, but his opponents in the Democratic presidential primary still have a lot of ground to cover. Dean has the backing of 37 percent, 19 percent for John Kerry, and 12 percent for Wesley Clark. Dean was in Detroit on Monday to unveil his plan to strengthen U.S. cities. The former Vermont governor says improvement will come through job creation, a federal minimum wage hike and credits for urban businesses. (AP)

Proctor town meeting vote
Voters in the town of Proctor will cast ballots next week on a proposal to conduct all town and school district business by secret ballot. Select Board Chairman Richard Horner says the vote is timed so that if it passes, it would apply to Town Meeting Day in March. (AP)

New Pittsford town manager
Brandon Town Manager Michael Balch will be leaving his post to take a similar position in the town of Pittsford. Select Board Chairwoman Lynn Saunders says the board will begin the search for an interim town manager immediately. (AP)

Intermittent stream protection
The town of Hartford is trying to decide whether streams that run less than nine months of the year should be protected. The Hartford Planning Commission is debating whether to include intermittent streams in town zoning regulations. (AP)

Holiday police patrols
Police around Vermont are reminding drivers that they’ll be out in force for this week’s holiday. Police cruisers are likely to be patrolling heavily on Wednesday, which is New Year’s Eve. Police spokesmen say they’ll be particularly watching out for drunken driving. (AP)

Baska malpractice suit
A state-created insurance company will defend a former Morrisville surgeon against malpractice lawsuits filed by six former patients. The Vermont Insurance Guaranty Fund will defend Doctor Robert Baska because his original insurance company went out of business. (AP)

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