August 23, 2004 – News at a Glance

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Impact of Early Voting Option on Elections
The voting process for Vermont’s September primary election is now officially under way. Individuals may use the early ballot system to cast their vote anytime in the next three weeks and it’s expected that at least 20 percent of all voters will use this process for the November General Election. (AP)

Interview: Underground Railroad and the Rokeby Museum
Recent discoveries of documents and historic sites have generated a wealth of new information about the history of the nation’s Underground Railroad – a network of anti-slavery advocates who provided refuge for African-Americans who had escaped captivity in pre-civil war America. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Jane Williamson, director of the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, about Vermont’s role in helping slaves to freedom. (AP)

Corrections Mental Health Services
A top Corrections Department official says the company providing mental health care services at Vermont prisons is still engaging in improper billing practice. An official says say the company miscategorized which employees worked what hours. (AP)

Circ Highway Money
Hard feelings remain over how to spend money left over when a court suspended work on the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway. The court decision set off a scramble for money that was going to be spent this year and next on the highway. In the end, more than $33 million became available for use in other projects in Vermont. (AP)

Democrats for Douglas
There was something missing from the Democrats for Douglas fundraiser held at the home of former Democratic House Speaker Timothy O’Connor: Democrats. There were only a handful of Democrats at the Friday night fundraiser for Republican Governor Jim Douglas. (AP)

Connecticut River Hydro Dams
The town of Rockingham has spent another $300,000 on engineering and legal fees as part of its effort to buy a Connecticut River hydroelectric dam. The town has a short-term agreement with U.S.-Gen New England to buy the dam for $72 million. (AP)

Barre High-Speed Internet
A Barre company is set to begin offering high speed Internet service to parts of Plainfield and Marshfield that are beyond the limits of traditional service providers. Wireless Revolution is planning to use a wireless network that was set up after the company was approached by locals. (AP)

Vacancy Rates
For the first time in a decade, rental vacancy rates are inching upward in Chittenden County. The South Burlington real estate analysis firm Allen and Brooks found that vacancy rates climbed to three percent last year. Still, the county still lags far behind the nation’s average of about 10 percent. (AP)

Mount Sunapee, NH, Development
The public gets a chance this week to put its two cents in on whether New Hampshire should allow land around Mount Sunapee to be developed. Tom and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Resort in Vermont and Crested Butte in Colorado, hold the lease on operating the resort. (AP)

Maple Sugar Production
The University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center is going to recommend that sugarmakers increase production by fertilizing maple trees with calcium or other minerals. The recommendation grows out of work done by researchers at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Thornton, New Hampshire. (AP)

Bar’s Role in Drunk Driving Death
A New York bar is disputing a lawsuit charging it is responsible for the death of a Vermont man who crashed his car into a tree after leaving the bar. Attorneys for Finius T. Flubberbuster’s of Hampton, New York, responded to the lawsuit in Rutland Superior Court. It was filed by the estate of Charles Bruce of Leicester, who allegedly was drinking in the bar the night of the fatal crash. (AP)

Couple Arrested
A St. Johnsbury couple that had been on the run from police for three weeks is in custody. Robert Somers and Barbara Burrington, both 23, were taken into custody early Sunday afternoon without incident at the home of Burrington’s father. (AP)

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