March 25, 2005 – News at a glance

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Bill would ease use of advanced directives
Backers of a new advanced medical directives bill say they’re optimistic that the measure will receive full legislative approval this year. Earlier this month the House Human Services Committee gave its unanimous support to the legislation. The measure is now being considered in the House Judiciary committee. (VPR)

Vermonters comment on planning for end of life care
The Vermont Ethics Network estimates that roughly 25 percent of all Vermonters have advanced directives in place, and it expects this number will grow significantly in the coming months. Producer Patti Daniels asked people in downtown Montpelier whether the Terri Schiavo case has them thinking about their own end of life care. (VPR)

House to vote on budget Friday
Thursday night, the Vermont House gave preliminary approval to next year’s state budget. The major battle over the bill was an unsuccessful effort by the Republicans to include Governor Jim Douglas’ Medicaid reform plan in the legislation. (VPR)

Senate ready to pass bill on prison overcrowding
The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill written to ease overcrowding of state prisons. But Governor Jim Douglas says he doesn’t like a provision that would give inmates time off for good behavior. (VPR)

Backstage with Dangerous Liaisons
A new Chittenden County theater company is hoping that intrigue, seduction and scandalous behavior will rekindle interest from area theater-goers. VPR’s Neal Charnoff goes “Backstage” with the Equinox Theater Company’s production of “Dangerous Liaisons.” (VPR)

Private nurse Medicare rules
A state panel has recommended that a private nursing organization be allowed to provide services to Medicare and Medicaid patients who have been exclusively served by the state’s visiting nurses’ associations. (AP)

Abenaki cultural education
A state contract about how the cultural needs of Abenaki children can be met when they are in state custody doesn’t include the name of the tribe. And that has upset some Vermont Abenakis. They say the state is trying to “erase” the Abenaki community. (AP)

Muslim funeral rites
The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would accommodate the Muslim funeral tradition of burying their dead without a casket. Some members of Vermont’s Muslim community are upset about current law that requires the dead to be buried in a casket, which is in turn sealed in an air-tight concrete vault. The bill would remove prohibitions on the burial of bodies without a casket. Muslims say tradition calls for the body to be washed and cleaned soon after death and never embalmed or adorned with makeup. The shroud-wrapped body should be placed directly into the grave, resting on its side and facing Mecca. (AP)

Junk food in schools
The New Hampshire Senate has voted down a proposal to ban the sale of junk food and sugary drinks in schools, saying local schools should make those decisions. The proposal had the support of the state’s first lady, Dr. Susan Lynch, who had testified in committee about the health dangers of childhood obesity. Opponents argued that many schools already exert control over junk food by locking their vending machines during the school day. (AP)

Bennington fraud trial
A key witness says a New York man was the power behind the Law Centers for Consumer Protection. Howard Sinnott testified in court this week. He was once listed as the owner of the Bennington firm, but he says Andrew Capoccia of Guilderland, New York, actually ran the business. (AP)

Teen murder plot
A teenage couple has been charged with plotting to kill the girl’s parents. Fifteen-year-old Brittany Woodward has been charged as an adult with attempted murder and 18-year-old Ian Quaderer has been charged with aiding in attempted murder. (AP)

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