The Associated Press

Mike Groll / AP

Authorities say the inmate who was shot and captured after three weeks on the run was not armed when he was taken into custody.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Vermont Senate has voted to end the philosophical exemption some parents use to decline to have their children vaccinated.

The legislation, which passed the Senate Wednesday in an 18-11 vote, would require the full range of required vaccinations as a pre-condition to enrolling in school.

VPR

Vermont Public Radio says tests of mugs distributed to some listeners over the past 11 years found a high level of lead in just one mug, produced in the fall of 2005.

Thirty-three other VPR Artist Mugs produced between the fall of 2002 and this fall have been subjected to a three-part testing regimen. All were found to meet applicable federal regulations for lead content in ceramic materials.

The mug that was produced in the fall of 2005 does not meet FDA guidelines and its use should be discontinued.

The nation's largest retail propane gas dealer and the state of Vermont have settled a case that alleged the company violated the state's consumer protection laws.

The attorney general's office says that AmeriGas Propane, LP, has agreed to pay almost $255,000 to Vermont consumers, $190,000 to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and $100,000 in civil penalties to the state.

Authorities are warning the public of drugs that may be tainted after responding to several heroin overdoses in South Burlington.

Police said Sunday the victims all displayed the same symptoms and had to be taken to the hospital. The drugs are believed to be heroin but authorities say they also are testing positive for amphetamines. Police did not say how many people became ill, but said there were "multiple" overdoses.

The drugs are in unmarked wax glassine bags closed with tape.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos is launching what he's calling his second "Got Transparency" tour to talk about changes in the state's open meeting and public records law.

The first of the meetings will be held Monday in Hartford. In all, there will be meeting in 10 towns.

The meetings are to discuss Vermont's public records and open meeting laws with municipal and state employees, citizens serving on local government boards and the general public.

The Vermont Department of Public Safety has conditionally approved the fourth and final medical marijuana dispensary in the state.

The approval is for Southern Vermont Wellness, which is to be located in Brattleboro.

The department says once the dispensary satisfies the stipulations set forth in the law, a registration certificate for operation will be issued. The dispensary should open within six months of approval.

The state legalized medical marijuana in 2004. Certificates for dispensaries have been issued in Burlington, Montpelier and Brandon.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles says a school bus driver is facing a charge of negligent operation accusing him of drinking alcoholic beverages while transporting school children.

Fifty-nine-year-old Kent Quilia of Hartford has been cited to appear in court on Nov. 5.

A national security author says the war on terrorism and the growth of digital technology are combining to increase the reach of government surveillance programs, even in Vermont.

Author William Arkin made the comments Wednesday during a conference on government surveillance hosted by the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in Montpelier.

Vermont construction contractors and do-it-yourselfers are getting a new way to dispose of their construction debris.

Officials will inaugurate today Vermont's first mixed construction and demolition materials recycling center in Colchester.

The Myers Recycling Center will accept mixed loads of construction and demolition debris, sort out what is recyclable and reusable, and send a much smaller amount of material to landfills.

Green Mountain Power is warning customers about a phone scam.

The utility said Tuesday there have been several reports this week of callers claiming to be representing GMP and demanding credit card or money card information from customers to pay their account balance or face disconnection.

GMP says it follows state rules when working with customers on past due bills and would not demand credit card information or other payment mechanisms. Anyone receiving such a call, should not give out any personal or card information, and should contact police.

The Brattleboro Police Department says its officers are going to be out in force to prevent vandalism in the southeastern Vermont community on Halloween and the night before Halloween, known to some as cabbage night.

Halloween is Thursday.

Police are reminding parents that allowing teenagers to wander freely on the two nights is a recipe for trouble.

Peer pressure, the excitement of being out and youthful exuberance can lead to vandalism.

Officers patrolling Brattleboro may confiscate items commonly associated with Halloween vandalism.

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is going to be hosting a daylong conference on government surveillance.

The Wednesday meeting is going to be held at the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier.

Last month the Vermont ACLU released a report about how many modern day conveniences, such as cell phones, make it possible for people to be tracked.

Many of the tools and systems used to watch people have been purchased with grants from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

A Shelburne hotel is poised to be converted into a new type of short-term housing that Vermont officials are touting as a way to help potentially homeless clients regain their footing.

The Champlain Housing Trust is buying the Econo Lodge that will cease operating as a motel within days and will become Harbor Place.

The Health Services director for the Vermont Corrections Department says there were some problems during the early years of a health care contract for prison inmates, but those have since been overcome.

Dr. Delores Burroughs-Biron made the comments after Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer released a report Monday that found spending on health care for in-state prisoners was $4 million over budget for the past three years.

The Department of Corrections contracts with Correct Care solutions to operate a health care program for in-state inmates.

The state of Vermont and the state of Upper Austria are going to work together to promote biomass heating fuels as an alternative energy source.

Vermont Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller announced the agreement Monday at a meeting of the group Renewable Energy Vermont.

Miller says both Vermont and Upper Austria are recognized leaders in the development and promotion of biomass heat as a local and renewable heating source.

Nearly half of Upper Austria's heating demand is currently met through renewable sources, with a goal of 100 percent renewable heat by 2030.

Two Vermont House committees have made a special trip to the state's southeast corner to hear about the impact of the impending closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

On Monday, the lawmakers traveled to Vernon Elementary School to hear from business and other local leaders from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and from the general public from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

House Speaker Shap Smith said he hopes lawmakers will gather information that will help them minimize the impact of the plant's closing, which is scheduled late next year. Vermont Yankee employs more than 600 people.

Farmers across the country are relying on new cyber tools to help them monitor the weather and their irrigation systems and even map crops.

Longtime dairy farmers in Vermont are now keeping records on their smartphones of their fields and crops — from manure and fertilizer applications to corn and hay harvests, thanks to a savvy University of Vermont researcher.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's close to introducing legislation aimed at curbing electronic surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies and has been lining up bipartisan support for the measure.

He says that aside from being bipartisan, the effort is bicameral, with Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin preparing to file companion legislation in the House.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Dean Heller of Nevada also are supporting Leahy's bill.

A panel of Vermont lawmakers is planning to hear from a Connecticut counterpart as they continue to delve into how to boost government accountability.

The Government Accountability Committee is scheduled to hear from Connecticut Rep. Diana Urban on Tuesday on her state's efforts to measure the results of government programs.

Urban is an expert in a technique called "results-based accountability," in which government programs are reviewed in light of questions including: How much are we doing, how well we are doing it and is anyone better off?

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