October 15, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Impact of VHAP changes
Mitch Wertlieb talks with Vermont health care ombudsman about changes to the Vermont Health Access Plan. Critics say the changes could mean some of 36,000 low income Vermonters in the plan could lose their health care insurance. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Edwards on Iraq spending bill
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says he’ll vote against President Bush’s plan to appropriate $7 billion for Iraq, when the measure comes before the full Senate in the near future. (VPR)

Fletcher Allen bond rating
A credit rating company has downgraded the bonds issued by the state’s largest hospital. Moody’s Investors Service lowered the credit rating for Fletcher Allen Health Care because the hospital will need to take on more debt to complete its $362 million expansion project. The downgrade means Fletcher Allen will pay more in interest to investors. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

VHAP changes
The Douglas administration is making some changes to its Medicaid reform plan that goes into effect on January 1. Critics of the proposal argue that thousands of low income Vermonters will lose their health care coverage when the new rules go into place. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Bus crash charges
A driver whose tour bus crashed on Interstate 91 last year, hurting 28 people, wants two of three charges against him to be dismissed. (AP)

Vermont team in Monopoly tournament
A father-and-son team from Vermont left for the National Monopoly Tournament late Tuesday afternoon. (AP)

Tire burn
Informational meetings and a protest rally are planned as International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill prepares to run a test burn of rubber tire chips as fuel. The Essex County Board of Supervisors is holding an informational meeting on the burn Wednesday morning in Elizabethtown. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group plans a forum on the issue Wednesday night. VPIRG members are meeting with Governor Jim Douglas on Thursday to try to dissuade him from tentative support of the test burn. (AP)

Diocese against assisted suicide
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Vermont is calling on the faithful to fight proposals that would allow Vermont doctors to aid in hastening death. In a letter to be read at weekend masses, Bishop Kenneth Angell is urging Catholics to support an effort by the Vermont Right to Life Committee to fight death with dignity legislation. (AP)

“Right to Farm” law
Some Vermont farmers want the Legislature to strengthen the state’s right to farm law following a recent Supreme Court decision. They say last week’s ruling leaves farmers more vulnerable to lawsuits by their neighbors. Justices ruled that the law did not protect an Orwell orchard because its operation changed after new neighbors moved in. (AP)

Genetic discrimination bill
Vermont U.S. Senator James Jeffords is hailing passage of legislation that he co-sponsored that will outlaw genetic discrimination in health care and employment. The bill is designed to address concerns about the potential for discrimination now that advances in genetic screening are making it possible to determine who might be prone to certain illnesses. (AP)

Barre school funding
School officials in Barre say they won’t be opting out of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Superintendent Dorothy Anderson says the district serving Barre City and Barre Town would lose about $500,000 in annual funding if it were to do so. (AP)

Motel closing leave families homeless
The owner of a White River Junction motel due to close next month says more than a dozen families could be left homeless. That estimate by motel landlord Dana Whitney is higher than one offered by Hartford town officials. (AP)

Wellness Day
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas plans to spend much of his day Wednesday promoting healthy habits. He’ll observe what’s been dubbed “Wellness Day” by getting his blood pressure and cholesterol checked. State government employees around Vermont will be invited to do the same at free wellness clinics. In addition, the governor will travel to Richmond to discuss results from the latest annual Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey. (AP)

Winooski police union vote
Police officers and dispatchers in Winooski have unanimously supported a no-confidence vote in their police chief. The union’s vote has no immediate effect on Police Chief Steve McQueen’s job. City officials decide whether to fire or hire city workers. (AP)

Brandon police
The town of Brandon has decided it will try to keep its local police force. The Select Board voted four-to-one on Monday to attempt to rebuild the police department rather than hire the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department. (AP)

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