September 16, 2004 – News at a Glance

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Loons recover in Vermont
For years Vermonters have listened for the haunting call of the loon on the state’s lakes and ponds. Because of its small numbers, the bird has come to symbolize the fragile relationship between human activity and the natural world. But state wildlife biologists say the number of loons in Vermont has increased in recent years and they’re recommending the bird be taken off the state’s list of endangered species. (VPR)

Wind energy debate
Opponents in the debate over commercial wind farms on Vermont’s ridgelines squared off in Chester Wednesday night. (VPR)

Voter turnout
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says she’s not discouraged that voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary was one of the lowest in many years. (VPR)

Clavelle says health care plan would end cost shift
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Clavelle wants to require all Vermonters to have health insurance. But he says the state will help pay for coverage for those who can’t afford it by capturing the money that’s now spent on health care for the uninsured. (VPR)

Distribution of homeland security funds
The state of Vermont has won an important victory over future funding for homeland security programs. The U.S. Senate has rejected an effort to deny small states like Vermont a minimum share of the Agency’s allocations. The decision means that Vermont will receive an additional $10 million in the new fiscal year for local emergency response efforts. (VPR)

Kentucky prison uprising
A team of officials from the Vermont Department of Corrections is heading to Kentucky in the wake of a prison uprising at a privately operated correctional facility in Kentucky. The Lee Adjustment Center houses 418 Vermont inmates. (VPR)

Hospital budgets approved
Vermont’s health care regulators have made slight reductions to the rate increases sought by some of the state’s hospitals. The Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration is responsible for setting annual hospital budgets. (VPR)

Vermont State Hospital
The Department of Justice is expected to issue a report critical of the care provided at the Vermont State Hospital. Human Services Secretary Charles Smith says findings by federal investigators will be harsh. One criticism is the way agitated patients are treated. Meanwhile, Smith says Fletcher Allen Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center will work with the state to help redefine standards for patient care at Vermotn State Hospital. (AP)

VSAC loan default rate
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation has the lowest default rate for education loans in the country, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Education. Vermont’s one percent default rate compares to a national rate of 5.2 percent, which is also an all-time low. (AP)

Busiest month at Burlington airport
The Burlington International Airport is continuing to fly high. Last month passenger traffic at the airport hit an all-time high, shattering a record set in July. Officials are now predicting more than 600,000 outbound passengers this year. (AP)

St. Johnsbury police chief resigns
The police chief in St. Johnsbury has agreed to resign. Chief Paul Devenger signed an agreement with the town select board Thursday in which he agreed to quit but acknowledged no wrongdoing. He had been the subject of a charge by the town of conduct unbecoming an officer. The details of what prompted that charge have not been disclosed. (AP)

Daley sentenced
The man who pleaded guilty to striking and killing a Vermont State Police trooper with his car has been sentenced to at least 26 years in prison. (AP)

Vermont Expos sign two-year contract
The Vermont Expos minor-league baseball team has signed a new two-year deal to remain affiliated with the Montreal Expos major league franchise. The Vermont Expos deal with the major league club is good for two years, guaranteeing a minor league team in Vermont’s largest city through 2006. (AP)

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