September 17, 2004 – News at a Glance

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Interview: Physician-activist to speak in Burlington
Dr. Charlie Clements is well-known in the peace activist community. A former president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, he’s led congressional fact-finding missions to Central America and is the recipient of several human rights awards. But Dr. Clements was also a combat pilot in Vietnam and what he saw there led him to write the book, “Witness to War.” Mitch Wertlieb talks with Clements about the speech he’ll be giving at the Unitarian-Universalist Society in Burlington this Sunday. (VPR)

Gubernatorial debate
The candidates for participated in their first debates of the General Election on Thursday. Republican incumbent Jim Douglas and Democratic candidate Peter Clavelle squared off on health care, permit reform and energy issues. (VPR)

Lt. governor’s debate
In Thursday’s debate for lieutenant governor, the three major party candidates stayed on the broad themes of their campaigns. (VPR)

Sanders on drug re-importation
With a sharp rise in Medicare premiums, Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders is renewing his call for action by the U.S. Senate on prescription drug re-importation. (VPR)

Eye doctor indicted on medical fraud
A federal grand jury has indicted a Burlington eye surgeon on 80 counts of federal health care fraud. Dr. David Chase is accused of recommending and performing unnecessary cataract surgeries. (VPR)

Senate information reporting bill
A U.S. Senate initiative would require federal agencies that collect personal and other information on American citizens to report annually to Congress. The initiative was written by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Wisconsin Senator Russell Feingold. The measure was offered as an amendment to the annual spending bill for the Homeland Security Department. (AP)

Unemployment rate
Vermont’s unemployment rate inched up slightly in August but remained one of the lowest rates in the country. The rate of 3.4 percent was up a tenth of a percentage point from July. The Department of Employment and Training says summer activities boosted jobs in Vermont last month. (AP)

Conditions may have contributed to inmate riot
Prison officials say the inmate riot Tuesday at a private Eastern Kentucky prison followed a dramatic increase in inmates and cutbacks in privileges such as free time outdoors. An inmate advocate says the riot also came after allegations of inmate abuse and mistreatment. (AP)

Vermont inmates to be charged
The Kentucky State Police are expected to file criminal charges this week against the four Vermont inmates believed to have started a prison disturbance. The Corrections Corporation of America that runs the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Kentucky, says it won’t release the names of the Vermonters and five Kentucky inmates who started the Tuesday night disturbance. But they will all be transferred to maximum security prisons. (AP)

Winooski considers school merger
The Winooski school board is beginning to look at whether it would be better to combine the city’s small school system with another district. There are just under 800 students in Winooski schools in kindergarten through Grade 12. (AP)

New place names
Vermont has two new official place names. A 2,000 hill in Hubbardton has been dubbed Griswold Peak and a line of hills between Hubbardton and Pittsford will henceforth be called Pittsford Ridge. The state Board of Libraries makes such designations and did so in this case after Hubbardton resident Don Sondergeld collected the required 25 signatures on petitions. (AP)

Circus after school program
The Circus Smirkus Academy is moving to a new home on the grounds of the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. Circus administrators says they will launch a full-service after-school program in the Modern Living Building at the fairgrounds. (AP)

Glass and pottery shop expands
Simon Pearce plans to expand its glassware and pottery operation into the former Goodyear plant in Windsor. The company says it plans to use space in the building for warehousing and shipping. The company is still in the process of negotiating a long-term lease with the building’s owner, the nonprofit Connecticut River Development Corporation. (AP)

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