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POSTED May 13, 2013 9:47 p.m.

VERMONT HOUSE PASSES AID-IN-DYING BILL: MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont House has approved a bill that would make it state the first in the country to legislate allowing physicians to provide lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it.

By a 75-65 roll call vote Monday night, the House concurred with a Senate version of the bill that largely copies a law passed by Oregon voters in 1997. The bill mirrors that law for three years and then shifts to a system with less government monitoring.

Some lawmakers likened the Vermont approach to using training wheels in the early years of the law.

The bill now goes before Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has expressed support for the measure.

Washington state also passed its own law by referendum and a Montana court decision made it legal in that state.

REMAINS IN COLO. CAR TIED TO MAN MISSING SINCE '87: GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Authorities in western Colorado say a human skeleton found in a partially buried car belongs to a man who was reported missing 26 years ago.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports the Mesa County Coroner's Office identified the man on Monday as 65-year-old Ronald Vasey. He went missing in 1987.

The sheriff's department says someone hiking near John Brown Canyon Road, near Gateway, called 911 at about 6 p.m. Thursday to report a crashed vehicle below a cliff. The old station wagon was roughly 100 feet off the roadway, and it was partially obscured by rocks and sediment that presumably washed down over the years.

Deputies found personal items in the car, including clothing and credit cards.

The coroner's office says it appears Vasey committed suicide.

RECORDS: CLEVELAND SUSPECT FACED PRIOR COMPLAINTS: CLEVELAND (AP) — A man charged with holding three women captive for about a decade had been accused of threatening his neighbors, attacking his common-law wife and committing violations during his career as a school bus driver, according to records released Monday.

The Cleveland police reports correspond with accounts provided by relatives of suspect Ariel Castro last week that portrayed a man prone to violent outbursts, especially when it came to the mother of his children and incursions onto his property.

Castro, 52, is charged with kidnapping and rape, but prosecutors expect to file more charges. The three women whom he is accused of holding captive disappeared between August 2002 and April 2004. They were rescued last week when one of them escaped the home.

The records released Monday were produced by police officers investigating complaints against Castro. They do not track what happened to the complaints after they were taken.

Several of Castro's relatives and acquaintances have said allegations of violence are at odds with the man they knew, whom they described as polite, a "cool" bass player and a "sweet, happy person."

UTAH BANS TEEN DRIVERS FROM USING CELLPHONES: SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Before she pulls out of the driveway, Stefhany Robles switches her phone on silent or turns it off.

The 16-year-old junior at Salt Lake City's West High School says the distraction isn't worth shooting off a text or answering a call.

Utah lawmakers are hoping more teen drivers will fall into a similar routine with a new law that takes effect Tuesday. The rule bars 16- and 17-year-olds from talking on the phone while driving.

"I think it would be pretty cool," Robles said of the law. Drivers who text and call as they navigate traffic are "way distracted, and they're not paying attention," she said.

Under the new state law, teens who talk on the cellphone while driving could be ticketed and fined $25. The rule is a primary offense. That means officers don't need a second reason to pull a teen over and issue a citation for cellphone use. But the tickets won't add points to teen's driving records.

DUI CHARGES FILED AGAINST LIMO DRIVER AFTER PROM: GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a limousine driver who erratically drove more than 20 suburban Chicago teenagers to a prom had an alcohol level nearly three-times the legal limit.

Richard L. Madison says he wasn't intoxicated and that mechanical problems caused his erratic driving Saturday as he took the teenagers from Oswego East High School to their prom at a banquet hall near Glen Ellyn.

But a DuPage County sheriff's report says a Breathalyzer test indicated Madison's blood-alcohol level was 0.22 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

The 54-year-old Palos Hills resident was charged with drunken driving and reckless conduct.

A spokesman for Limos Alive spokesman says there were no mechanical problems with the bus that Madison was driving, and that Madison has been fired.

FEDS: BUDGET CUTS TO MAKE WILDFIRE SEASON TOUGHER: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — After another dry winter across much of the West, fire officials are poised for a tough wildfire season that will be even more challenging because federal budget cuts mean fewer firefighters on the ground, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Monday.

Jewell, who is just five weeks into her new job, said automatic budget cuts mandated by Congress will force fire managers to make choices as they prioritize resources.

They also will have fewer resources to use on strategies designed to reduce future fire potential, such as prescribed burns and reseeding.

"We will fight the fires and we will do them safely," Jewell said. "But the resources will go to suppression, which is not ideal. What you're not doing is putting the resources in place to thoughtfully manage the landscape for the future."

Jewell spent the past two days touring the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, the government's national wildfire nerve center. She was joined by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who said the U.S. Forest Service alone will hire 500 fewer firefighters and deploy 50 fewer engines this season.

 

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