September 23, 2004 – News at a glance

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Gubernatorial candidates debate in Barre
Governor Jim Douglas and his Democratic challenger Peter Clavelle met in a spirited debate at Barre’s Old Labor Hall last night. Several hundred people attended the debate which was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center. (VPR)

Mobile methadone may expand to more Kingdom towns
The Vermont Department of Heath is reaching out to Northeast Kingdom communities in an effort to bring a mobile methadone clinic to more locations. The effort comes after officials in Newport and St. Johnsbury told the department they don’t want to be the only communities to host the clinic. (VPR)

Middlebury carillon rings for High Holy Days
This Friday in Middlebury, the college carillon will ring out across the village to mark the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. VPR’s Steve Zind visited with the man who coaxes music from 11 tons of bells. (VPR)

Medicare changes may impact state
Lawmakers are concerned that a new Medicare prescription drug bill could cost the state millions of dollars. Members of an oversight committee heard on Wednesday that the new federal law is likely to erode the benefits that some Vermonters now receive. (VPR)

Bill would expand DNA testing in criminal cases
A key U.S. Senate committee has given its approval to legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy that expands the use of DNA testing in rape and death penalty cases. Leahy says the bill is needed to protect individuals who are wrongly accused of these crimes and to help convict people who are guilty of committing them. (VPR)

House passes Sanders’ amendment on pension changes
In Washington, the U.S. House has approved an amendment authored by a Vermont lawmaker that would protect workers from illegal changes to their pension plans. (VPR)

Gubernatorial endorsements
Vermont’s two candidates for governor have received several endorsements. The Vermont State Employees’ Association has endorsed Democrat Peter Clavelle for governor. The Vermont Professional Firefighters will formally endorse Governor James Douglas on Thursday. (AP)

Wind power expansion
The electric utility that runs Vermont’s only commercial wind energy project says changes to wind energy rules could doom a big expansion. Green Mountain Power is considering a major expansion of the 11-turbine, six megawatt operation in Searsburg. GMP officials say revising the law significantly could be difficult for them. (AP)

Disability access
Vermont’s Human Services Agency is holding a series of public hearings on how well people with disabilities are integrated into the state’s communities. The Olmstead Commission hearings are named for a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court said people with mental and physical disabilities need to be cared for in the least restrictive atmosphere that is reasonably possible. (AP)

Mental health system
Vermont’s struggling community mental health system will be the subject of two public hearings next week. A consultant hired by the state is looking for comments from people who work in and receive services from the community mental health centers. (AP)

Medical marijuana applications
The state of Vermont will begin taking applications next month from people who want to legally use marijuana to cope with serious medical ailments. A new law means Vermonters won’t face prosecution for using or possessing small amounts of marijuana if they are using it to treat life-threatening illness. (AP)

Dorset agrees to Forest Service land sale
The town of Dorset is backing a plan by the U.S. Forest Service to buy 52 acres of undeveloped land in the community. The Dorset Select Board unanimously supported the plan by the Forest Service to buy the land now owned by the Thornton Family Trust. (AP)

Vermont Composites Inc
A California investment group has bought a controlling interest in a Bennington manufacturer, and officials say the deal is likely to bring additional jobs to southwestern Vermont. Vermont Composites Incorporated, which makes carbon fiber products for the aerospace, defense, medical and automotive sectors, announced the deal on Wednesday. (AP)

Springfield recreation path
A four-year-old recreation path in Springfield may have to be moved to accommodate a new McDonald’s. A Massachusetts company, Rice Oil Company of Greenfield, wants to build a convenience store that would include a McDonald’s Restaurant with a drive-through in back and gas pumps in front. The recreation path would have to move about 25 feet closer to busy Route 11. (AP)

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