October 5, 2004 – News at a glance

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The Fall Forest: Vermont Tree Society
Trees can stand out for many reasons: for their beauty or their size or even for their history. Today in our Fall Forest series Loona Brogan, president and founder of the Vermont Tree Society, talks with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb under one of Vermont’s largest trees. (VPR)

Word for word: Eric Schlosser
Writer Eric Schlosser gained national prominence with his bestselling book, “Fast Food Nation.” In it, he describes how the fast food industry has affected consumers, workers and food production. Recently, Eric Schlosser spoke at Champlain College in Burlington as part of the school’s Community Book Program. In his remarks, Schlosser argued that the growth of the fast food industry has led to a dangerous consolidation of the meat industry. (VPR)

Vermont ACLU sues over random searches on ferryboats
The Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop random searches of passengers on Lake Champlain ferryboats. The lawsuit alleges that the periodic searches violate the rights of individuals. (VPR)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield avoid political fray of health care debate
Vermont’s major health insurance company is opposed to a Republican plan to tax insurance premiums to cover health care for the uninsured. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont also wants to stay out of the debate over a Democratic plan to provide universal health coverage. (VPR)

Gubernatorial debate
The two major candidates for governor have different opinions about the economic state of Vermont. At a debate last night in Barre, Republican Governor Jim Douglas said the state is heading in the right direction and more jobs are being created. Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle says Vermonters are working harder than ever and the jobs being created pay less on average than the jobs that are being lost. (AP)

Douglas campaign staff
Governor Jim Douglas has hired his seven campaign staff workers, converting them from independent contractors. That also means he has begun withholding federal and state taxes from their pay after nearly a year. The campaign made the decision amid questions raised by several newspapers over its employment practices. (AP)

Circ Highway permits
The Vermont Water Resources Board has removed one of the roadblocks stopping construction of the long-planned Chittenden County Circumferential Highway. But the road will remain on hold for at least a year anyway. Monday’s ruling affects stormwater permits for segments A and B of the highway in Williston. (AP)

Rural hospital improvement
The Vermont Department of Health will get $280,000 from the federal government to help rural hospitals improve their financial and clinical operations. One goal of the grants will be to improve emergency medical services in rural areas. (AP)

‘Creative economy’
A new economic report recommends that Vermont move toward a “creative economy” that embraces the production of ideas. (VPR)

Bruegger’s to sell Green Mountain Coffee
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has won a market test will provide the Bruegger’s bagel chain with coffee at its bakery restaurants across the country. The Waterbury company beat out two other coffee makers for the deal. (AP)

Bennington nature conservatory
A 96-acre nature reserve has officially opened in Bennington. The New England Tropical Conservatory is planning an 18,000-square-foot conservatory with greenhouses and viewing areas. (AP)

Rockingham hydro dams
The town of Rockingham may have a new partner in its bid to buy a hydroelectric dam on the Connecticut River in Bellows Falls. Town officials have agreed to an exclusive three-week negotiating period with an unnamed company to buy the dam from the bankrupt U.S.-Gen New England. (AP)

Former Senator rescued after abduction
Burlington Police say a retired business executive and former Vermont state senator was rescued Monday in Florida after being abducted from a nursing home. Seventy-two-year-old Robert Boardman was reported missing from the Starr Farm Nursing Home Sunday evening and found Monday in Florida. (AP)

Missing girl found
Vermont State Police say they’ve found a 15-year-old Waterbury Center girl who disappeared on Friday, and that she’s safe and sound. Cassandra Damon was reported missing this weekend after she failed to take the school bus home from Harwood Union High School in Duxbury. Police say the found her Monday in a makeshift camp outside Moretown Village. (AP)

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