November 30, 2004 – News at a glance

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Mental health funding likely to increase
An independent review has concluded that Vermont’s community mental health system is one of the best in the country. The study was requested by the state earlier this year in the midst of a debate over the mental health system’s budget. State officials and mental health providers say they’ll use the report’s conclusions to find a way to fund the system at a more predictable and sustainable level. (VPR)

State may assist Rockingham in hydro-dam purchase
A state panel investigating whether to buy a series of hydro dams on the Connecticut River has delayed its decision on the project for another week. It’s possible that the state may try to help the town of Rockingham in its effort to purchase a dam in Bellows Falls. (VPR)

Guard families call for soldiers’ return
Several families of soldiers in the Vermont National Guard want Governor Jim Douglas to speak out against the war in Iraq. The family members held a news conference on Monday and called on the governor to do what he can to end the deployment of Vermont soldiers to the Middle East. (VPR)

Vermont soldier injured in Iraq
An Army combat engineer from Saint Johnsbury has been injured in Iraq. Twenty-three year old Jeremy Bradley was injured on Friday while on patrol in Iraq. (AP)

Vermont unemployment rate lowest in country
State officials say Vermont’s unemployment rate is now the lowest in the country. The Douglas administration says the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics puts seasonally adjusted unemployment in Vermont at 3.1 percent. (AP)

Banker Dudley Davis dies at 83
Dudley Davis, the long-time president of Merchant’s Bank, died on Monday. Davis was president of Merchants Bank from 1968 to 1994. He oversaw a long period of growth for the bank, which has 36 branches and $800 million in assets. (VPR)

‘One Matchless Time’: interview with Jay Parini
Between 1928 and 1942, William Faulkner wrote over a half-dozen of his greatest novels, including The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying and Light in August. Faulkner referred to this period as “one matchless time.” “One Matchless Time” is also the title of a new Faulkner biography, written by Vermont author Jay Parini. Neal Charnoff talks with Parini about his new book. (VPR)

Medicaid shortfall
A funding shortfall for the state’s Medicaid programs has grown to at least $60 million. That deepens the financial crisis in a health plan that insures more than one in five Vermonters. (AP)

New Haven continues to fight VELCO line
Voters in New Haven have authorized more money to continue their fight against a power transmission line upgrade. At a special town meeting last night, approval was given by voice vote to spending an additional $15,000 in legal fees. Attorneys representing New Haven have appeared before the Vermont Public Service Board to argue against Vermont Electric Power Company’s proposal to build a $130 million electric transmission line. (AP)

Ben & Jerry’s in Holland
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has combined a social mission with marketing since its founding in Vermont a quarter-century ago. Now the company is helping the homeless in Holland in exchange for some help with advertising. Homeless people are being offered winter jackets with the Ben & Jerry’s logo on them. (AP)

Town manager fired
Castletown Select Board members have taken over the day-to-day operation of town after firing their town manager. The board is beginning a search to replace Town Manager Beverly Davidson. She says she was fired by the board for what she describes as “incompetence.” (AP)

Three heroin arrests
A Burlington couple and an Essex Junction man have been arrested separately on charges of heroin trafficking and possession. Thirty-five-year-old Martin Liz of Essex Junction was arrested by Burlington police on Sunday in his apartment. He was charged with two felony counts of selling heroin. Following a separate investigation, 22-year-old Juan Rolon and 21-year-old Alicia Sherman, both of Burlington, were arrested on Sunday at the train station in Essex. (AP)

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