October 13, 2003 – News at a glance

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Lead testing for young children
The Vermont Health Department is urging physicians and parents to step up testing of young children for lead poisoning. Officials say only a small percentage of children who are at a critical age for lead exposure are being tested. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Anachronistic town jobs
For more than 200 years, Vermont towns have depended on volunteers to staff the public service jobs that keep a community running. Some of those jobs have been on the books for most of those 200 years. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Connecticut River dams
More than a dozen public and private power companies are interested in working with Vermont to buy the hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers. U.S. Gen New England put the dams up for sale last year. Last year, lawmakers set up a body to study buying the hydroelectric dams to reduce Vermont’s reliance on non-renewable energy and to cut electric rates. (AP)

Churches discuss assisted suicide
A group of Vermont churches will hold forums in coming weeks on the issue of assisted suicide. The Vermont Ecumenical Council includes Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. The Reverend Frederick Neu of Hinesburg is the president of the council. He says the events will not advocate one point of view because the churches don’t have one point of view about assisted suicide. (AP)

Marijuana advocacy project
A Washington D.C. group that wants to legalize marijuana will set up shop in Vermont in the next legislative session. The Marijuana Policy Project seeks to legalize pot for medicinal and recreational purposes. It’s advertising for a state-wide political coordinator in Vermont. (AP)

Husky hiring
Husky Injection Molding Systems is looking for qualified workers. The Milton company visited a job fair last week in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Meghan Fay, a human resources manager at Husky, says Husky needs ten or 15 skilled workers – and they’re hard to find right now. (AP)

Prescription drug prices
Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle and City Councilor Phil Fiermonte are due to ask their City Council today to explore whether Burlington’s 600 employees can participate in a drug re-importation program. Many people have been buying their prescription drugs in Canada to save money. (AP)

Bennington Bypass bias
Bennington officials say a state-ordered study of the Bennington bypass is going to be biased against their town. The $135 million bypass is aimed at providing a limited-access highway around Bennington to reduce traffic congestion. The Vermont Legislature authorized a consulting firm to study traffic flows in several areas of the state including Bennington, Rutland, Woodstock, Winooski and Essex Junction. (AP)

Political Web site parodies
A group of political science professors in Ohio says so-called “parody” Web sites are becoming a major concern to political candidates. Parody sites aren’t sanctioned by a candidate but appear to be linked to that person. One targeted former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (AP)

Malpractice awards
Vermonters who sued Morrisville surgeon Robert Baska for malpractice might have some trouble collecting any award. Doctor Robert Baska’s lawyer says Baska has moved out of state and left instructions not to reveal his address. And Baska’s malpractice insurer has gone into liquidation, so there is no company to pay patients if any of their lawsuits lead to financial awards. (AP)

Vernon police chief prosecution
The Vermont Attorney General’s office has taken over the prosecution of former Vernon police chief Randy Wheelock. Wheelock, who is 36, was fired by the Vernon Select Board after he was charged last November with assaulting one of his officers and threatening to kill her. He has pleaded innocent to a criminal charge of simple assault. (AP)

Dog complaint settled
Two Siberian huskies from Pittsford have avoided a death sentence, but have been exiled from the town for life. The male and female one-year-old dogs were owned by Pittsford resident Cheryl Gecha. The Select Board voted for a death sentence on the dogs after neighbors complained the dogs were killing livestock. (AP)

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