December 30, 2004 – News at glance

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I-91 checkpoint may become permanent
The Border Patrol wants to install a permanent checkpoint on Interstate 91 south of White River Junction. Authorities say a temporary checkpoint there has led to the arrest of hundreds of people who were in the country illegally. (VPR)

Police hold hoax letter sent to newspaper
A local newspaper is in a dispute with police over a threatening letter it received as part of an anthrax hoax. The Times Argus newspaper in Barre was shutdown for several hours on Monday after an editor opened the letter and white powder spilled out. The powder was later determined to be a sodium substance. Police kept the letter as evidence. But now the paper is taking legal action to learn its contents. (VPR)

Auditor’s report focuses on maintenance
Auditor Elizabeth Ready says that for the first time the state has a full accounting of its fixed assets, such as buildings, roads and bridges. (VPR)

Leahy calls for increased aid to south Asia
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy is calling on the Bush administration to dramatically increase disaster relief to south Asia. Leahy says he’s concerned that the administration will dip into important foreign aid programs to fund the relief — or fail to provide enough money to stricken countries. (VPR)

Judge rules for TV station
A judge says WCAX television does not have to give University of Vermont police broadcast video tape recorded, but not broadcast, during an October riot. Judge Linda Levitt quashed a subpoena by UVM police on Wednesday. The station gave police videotape that it broadcast on its news program. (AP)

Universal health care
Advocates for universal health care are hoping to take statewide a Town Meeting day resolution that won overwhelming support in Windham County last March. But Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health might not have enough money to do that. (AP)

US Airways luggage backup
Luggage that had piled up in the terminal of Burlington International Airport is being cleared out. US Airways is beginning to catch up with weekend snarls that separated travelers from their bags. On Tuesday, the beleaguered airline staff at Burlington International Airport had their hands full with a growing mountain of luggage that had been accumulating since operational problems forced flight cancellations over the holiday. (AP)

CVPS union contract ratified
Vermont’s largest electric utility has reached a new contract with its unionized workers. The members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 ratified the new contract with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation yesterday. Of the company’s 540 workers, the new contract covers 221 unionized employees and takes effect at midnight on Friday. (AP)

Online camping reservations
The Vermont Department of Forest and Parks is now taking online reservations for its campgrounds. The new online reservation service can be used for any of the state’s 35 parks that offer overnight camping. (AP)

Farmhouse fire
Fire has damaged a farmhouse in Franklin County. The fire broke out at a home in Swanton shortly after midnight in an upstairs bedroom. One person was home at the time of the fire and made it out safely. The cause of the fire is under investigation. (AP)

Weapon brought to Essex High School
An Essex High School sophomore accused of taking a handgun to school allegedly did the same thing several times before he was caught earlier this month. That’s according to Essex police. The Burlington Free Press also reports that the discovery of the unloaded gun was the first time a gun had been found at the high school. But it was the fourth report of a weapon in the school since September. (AP)

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