October 25, 2004 – News at a glance

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Impact of students votes on election
College students are registering to vote in exceptionally high numbers this year. Because students rarely get polled, the impact of their vote is a big unknown in the 2004 election. How will they affect the outcome on November second? (VPR)

Interview: Gubernatorial race favors GOP
Vermont’s race for governor this year is one of 11 gubernatorial elections across the country. An analyst for the Cook Report says the Vermont race is shifting from the category of “leaning Republican” to “likely Republican.” (VPR)

Gubernatorial debate
Peter Clavelle says Vermont needs leadership. Jim Douglas says he has provided it. That, in a nutshell, sums up Sunday night’s debate between the two gubernatorial candidates on WCAX TV. Clavelle says that Douglas has been too quick to appoint study committees on tough issues as a way to avoid taking tough stands himself. But the governor says the study committees have helped build consensus and allowed real reform to take place. The debate was broadcast the campus of St. Michael’s College. (AP)

Newspaper endorsements
Newspapers in Burlington, Rutland, Barre and Montpelier have endorsed Governor Jim Douglas’ re-election. The Bennington Banner’s endorsement was published Saturday. The Burlington Free Press’ recommendation was printed Sunday, as were endorsements in the Sunday edition of The Rutland Herald and The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. (AP)

Stormwater guidelines
Vermont developers, officials and environmental activists all are trying to figure out how a recent ruling on stormwater permits will affect environmental regulation. The Water Resources Board ordered some Chittenden County developers to obtain federal rather than state stormwater discharge permits. The Department of Environmental Conservation says it’s been getting regular calls and it can’t answer many questions. (AP)

Catholic parishes
Officials in Vermont’s statewide Roman Catholic Diocese are reconsidering consolidating parishes and closing churches. They say they’ve decided to try a new approach to consolidation after there were so many protests in Massachusetts over the same topic. (AP)

Prescription fraud
There’s a new effort to combat prescription fraud in Rutland County. Police, doctors and pharmacists have joined together in a new program called the Narcotics Abuse Prevention Program. It was organized at the annual meeting of the Rutland Region Medical Center earlier this year. Participating physicians will write prescriptions only on special pads that contain papers with serial numbers and water marks to make them easier to track and harder to copy or alter. (AP)

VTel strike deadline
Unionized workers at the Vermont Telephone Company could walk off their jobs by Wednesday. That’s the latest deadline for reaching a new contract with the 45 unionized workers at the state’s largest independent telephone company. The big stumbling block between the small phone company and the union involves the cost of health insurance. (AP)

Montpelier co-op growth
The food cooperative in Montpelier is trying to figure out a way to accommodate its continued growth. Annual sales at the Hunger Mountain Co-op are nearing $10 million and are steadily increasing. Chairman Guido Mase says there is general consensus that the store needs to make way for more growth. (AP)

Protesters go to trial
Seven peace activists are scheduled to go to trial this week for refusing to leave a Vermont Army National Guard recruiting headquarters. The protesters were part of an anti-recruitment team called the Peace Guard when they staged their event in March 2003. (AP)

Sheriff’s car in crash
Bennington police are investigating the crash of a Bennington County sheriff’s department cruiser. The car failed to make it around a curve and the deputy driving it crashed into a field. Bennington County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Gaboury was not injured in the accident. (AP)

Cocaine seized
Police from three different departments seized more than two-and-a-half ounces of crack cocaine during a traffic stop in Berlin on Saturday. Acting on a tip, Vermont State Police, Barre and Berlin police stopped a car shortly before noon. It was driven by 19-year-old Molly Farr and was carrying 26-year-old Steven McFarland of New York City. (AP)

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