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Senate hears Abenaki testimony
A Senate committee continued to take testimony today on a bill that would officially recognize the Abenaki in Vermont. Supporters say state status would make the Abenaki eligible for federal education grants and allow them to label and sell their crafts as Native American.

Critics, including the Attorney General’s office, fear state recognition could lead to federal recognition, and possible land claims and bids for casino gambling.

Jeff Benay, chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs, told the committee today that state recognition would not lead to federal recognition.

But Assistant Attorney General, William Griffin, says the bill is being used as proof in the Abenaki’s federal case.

House considers infection-tracking bill
A committee of the Vermont House is considering a bill that would require the state’s hospitals to track the number of infections that patients pick up while they’re being treated. The bill also would require hospitals to make the information public.

The House Human Services Committee is hearing from a number of advocates of the bill, who say it’s important to highlight a large problem that they believe hospitals aren’t dealing with.

They point out that an estimated ninety-thousand people across the country die each year from infections they acquired while in hospitals.

But some hospitals and doctors say infections are a fact of life in a medical setting. They worry that highlighting the issue will cause too much alarm among the public.

Caledonian Record moves to morning news
Coming this summer, The Caledonian-Record will become a morning newspaper. The Saint Johnsbury-based paper has been an afternoon paper, but has been gradually moving its press time to earlier in the morning.

Publisher Mark Smith says the paper will make the switch with its July Fourth edition. The decision is part of a long-running trend in the newspaper industry.

In 1980, Vermont was served by two morning papers and nine afternoon dailies — including three just across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.

With the Caledonian’s switch, Vermont will have just one afternoon paper left – the Saint Albans Messenger.

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