September 25, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Vermont State Hospital
The Vermont State Hospital’s recent troubles have been well chronicled following an inspection report that listed a number of deficiencies in treatment and staffing, and two patient suicides in the last month alone. Micth Wertlieb talks with Mental Health Commissioner Susan Besio about the situation at the state’s psychiatric hospital. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Yankee hearings
A nuclear power watchdog group wants state regulators to halt hearings on Vermont Yankee’s plan to boost its power by 20%. Last week, the Vermont Public Service Board invited the opponents to recommend sanctions against Vermont Yankee because the company has failed to turn over documents in a timely manner. The opponents on Wednesday said they want the hearings halted for at least six months to give them time to prepare their case. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Federal control of power grid
Governor Jim Douglas says he opposes a Congressional plan to give the federal government the authority to site new power lines if individual states don’t support these projects. Douglas, who supports an upgrade of transmission lines in northwestern Vermont, wants the state to determine the future of that project not the federal government. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Brattleboro transportation center
Brattleboro drivers used to circling the downtown area repeatedly in search of parking should be getting some relief soon. A new, five-tier parking center is scheduled to open soon. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean campaign notes
Hundreds of voters from President Bush’s home state will be knocking on doors in Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend to talk up Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. As many as 475 Texans are boarding planes from Austin, Dallas and Houston. They are known as the “Texas Rangers for Dean.” Meanwhile, Dean hasn’t won the endorsement of any national unions, but he’s trying. The former Vermont governor will be in Michigan today to address the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO’s 18th constitutional convention. (AP)

Farm runoff
Vermont farmers will receive an additional one million dollars in federal funding to help control farm runoff. The USDA funding will be used by farmers to install buffers along waterways and change their farming practices to reduce the amount phosphorus that runs into Lake Champlain. (AP)

Stormwater rules
Participants in a new series of forums on Vermont’s stormwater discharge rules are hoping the talks will reduce the rancor the issue has stirred recently. The Water Resources Board began an investigation of the issue with a public hearing Wednesday in Burlington. (AP)

Privatized immigration jobs
Ninety-eight immigration officers in Vermont could lose their jobs because the Department of Homeland Security is allowing private companies to bid on the work they do. The government is advertising for bids and will decide who gets the jobs by the middle of next year. (AP)

National Guard deployment
Fifty more members of the Vermont Army National Guard have shipped out for an overseas assignment in Afghanistan. It’s the eighth time this year a group of soldiers from Vermont has been called up to active duty. (AP)

Nursing home fraud
A former official at the Sager Nursing Home has pleaded guilty to federal charges of health care fraud. Dea Waterhouse of Fair Haven faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. (AP)

Missing man found dead
A missing New York man has been found dead in Otter Creek in Panton. State police dive teams found the body of 42-year-old James Rowe of Crown Point Wednesday afternoon. Police say the death does not appear to be suspicious. (AP)

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