November 22, 2004 – News at a glance

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Dairy price program set to expire
A key milk price support program expires next year and Vermont’s congressional delegation is struggling to renew it. But last week, Congress refused to include the measure in a major spending bill. That leaves the issue for the next Congress. And Vermont Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr says the national budget deficit will make it hard to find the votes. (VPR)

Underinsured hospital patients
Vermont’s largest hospital plans to expand discounts for low-income and uninsured patients. This week Fletcher Allen Health Care will provide free essential care to patients whose household income is up to three times the federal poverty line. The hospital also plans to give uninsured patients a 44 percent discount on their total bill. (AP)

Civil union custody ruling
A Vermont Family Court judge has ruled that both members of a same-sex civil union are the legal parents of a child. Judge William Cohen has ruled that Janet Miller-Jenkins of Fair Haven is a parent to a child born by artificial insemination to Lisa Miller-Jenkins. (AP)

Cheese maker vandalized
Police are investigating vandalism at a cheese operation in Monkton. Police say 237 wheels of cheese were punctured at the Orb Weaver Farm. The cheese can no longer be sold or eaten. Police say someone entered the production house sometime between Wednesday and Friday. The cheese makes up nearly a year’s production at the farm. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the State Police barracks in Middlebury at 388-4919. (AP)

Jonesville store closed during deployment
A store that has long been a stop for Long Trail hikers, meat buyers and commuters has closed while the owner does military service in the Middle East. Forty-five-year-old Stanley Buziak, who owns the Jonesville Country Store with his mother, is among the 130 Vermont National Guard soldiers preparing to deploy on Tuesday. It will be closed for 18 months to two years until Stanley returns. (AP)

Pittsfield fire department grant
The volunteer fire department in the small central Vermont town of Pittsfield has received a federal grant more than twice its annual budget. The grant was among seven announced last week by the Department of Homeland Security. Pittsfield Fire Chief David Colton says that department’s $22,500 grant will go to buy five new sets of self-contained breathing equipment for his crew of about 20 members. (AP)

Gasoline theft increases
Authorities in Vermont say they’re getting more reports of people driving off without paying for gasoline. Often, store workers catch scofflaws just as they’re preparing to drive away. But when it’s busy, some gas thieves get away without paying. Captain Tim Rich of the Hartford police says gas thefts have increased this year in his crossroads town, where many travelers gas up. (AP)

Small numbers for rifle season
This year’s rifle hunting season is likely to be the smallest in more than a decade. State wildlife officials don’t expect the number of hunting licenses sold for the season to exceed the 88,000 sold last year. (AP)

No leads in Maitland disappearance
It’s been eight months now since Brianna Maitland failed to make it home to East Franklin after she left her job at an area restaurant. And it’s been a time of false leads, dashed hopes and anguish for her parents, Bruce and Kellie Maitland. Vermont state police say they have no solid leads. (AP)

Ski resorts open for thanksgiving
Snowmaking has allowed two central Vermont ski areas to open for the season. Sugarbush and Stowe both opened this week. Many other ski areas plan be open next week for the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP)

Thanksgiving food donations needed
The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington needs Thanksgiving turkeys. About 1,375 turkeys were donated as of Saturday but the food shelf needs about 325 more. Donors can drop off turkeys at 228 North Winooski Avenue on Monday and Tuesday until 4 o’clock in afternoon, and on Wednesday until 6 p.m. For information call 658-7939. (AP)

Fatal car crash
Two people are dead following a car crash on Route 2 in East Montpelier. Sixty-two-year-old Judith Jones of Montpelier died at the scene Saturday afternoon. The driver of the other vehicle, 25-year-old Rory O’Connor of Burlington, was taken by helicopter to the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center where he later died of his injuries. (AP)

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