July 11, 2003 – News at a glance

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Rutland emergency department
On Sunday, the Rutland Regional Medical Center will celebrate the completion of its new emergency department and power plant. It’s all part of a multi-year, $21 million expansion and renovation project going on at the hospital. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

IBM rejects Circ proposal
Vermont’s largest private employer has rejected an offer to negotiate a scaled down version of a controversial highway project. IBM has long supported construction of the Circumferential Highway in Chittenden County. An IBM lobbyist says the company isn’t interested in a compromise plan floated recently by environmentalists. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean says Bush misled public
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says there’s no doubt that the Bush administration has misled the American public about the threat that Iraq posed to this country before the recent war. Dean says a special independent commission is needed to determine if the president deliberately manipulated intelligence information to boost public support for the war. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Government efficiency commission
Governor Jim Douglas has created a special seven-person commission that will conduct a top to bottom review of state government with the goal of making recommendations to help make government more efficient. (VPR)

Writing test scores
Vermont’s children write better than most of their peers around the country. The results are from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress writing test. (AP)

State budget surplus
There’s some good news about the Vermont economy. Vermont finished the budget year with a roughly $10 million surplus. Governor Jim Douglas says the final revenue report will be released Friday. The extra money will be funneled into the so-called rainy day fund. (AP)

FAHC nurses’ contract
Nurses at Vermont’s largest hospital signed their first union contract Thursday. The Fletcher Allen Health Care nurses bargained for six months before signing a contract that guarantees pay increases for the next two years, banishes mandatory overtime, and sets firm nurse-to-patient ratios. (AP)

Dean on medical malpractice
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says he doesn’t believe Congress should set limits on the size of medical malpractice awards. Dean, a physician who is running for president, says states should decide for themselves whether to set limits. (AP)

Welfare access
Vermont is one of ten states in the country where it’s easy to get welfare. And so people from other states are willing to move to Vermont to collect the benefits. That’s the result of a study done by researchers at Penn State University. (AP)

Doll company postpones move
A New York-based doll company has put off its plan to move to Bennington. R. John Wright Dolls Incorporated had planned to move into the former Hemmings Motor News publishing office. The company employs 32 people. It makes limited edition dolls and stuffed animals. (AP)

Sexual abuse hotline
A modern office building in the Taft Corners industrial park in Williston is helping root out sexual predators across the country. Officials at the federal Law Enforcement Support Center are answering a national toll free telephone number used to report sexual abuse. (AP)

Tennessee police accident
The state of Tennessee is mourning the death of two law enforcement officers killed during a high speed chase. The Wednesday crash killed officers who laid a spike strip across the road. It was similar to the crash that killed a Vermont State Police trooper last month. (AP)

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