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RABID RACCOON ATTACKS DOGS, BITES WOMAN ON THE LEG

A rabid raccoon attacked two dogs and their owners, biting one woman on the leg, health department officials said.

"There's no question in my mind after that animal attacked two dogs that it is in the clinical stage of rabies," said Peter Mack, supervisor of environmental health services for the Dutchess County Health Department.

The attacks happened at different times, but Mack assumes the same raccoon is to blame.

Both owners said the raccoon began fighting with their dogs, and both women came into contact with the rabid animal while trying to break up the fight. One woman was bitten in the leg, Mack said.

"She, in her own words, had to shake her leg to get it off," he said.

Both women, whose names were not released, are being treated. Postexposure treatment usually prevents the disease, Mack said. About 100 to 120 Dutchess residents undergo treatment for rabies exposure each year, Mack said.

High-speed train passes 125-mph mark in test run

ALBANY (AP) -- The first of seven high-speed trains scheduled to operate soon in New York has cracked the 125-mph mark.

Gov. George E. Pataki on Friday announced the results from the test run done late one night a week ago between Albany and New York City.

The high-speed rail program beginning in the spring will cut the trip between New York City and Albany to two hours -- 20 minutes less than a conventional train. The trains will cut the trip between New York City and Buffalo by an hour.

The rebuilt Turboliner was tested the night of Feb. 15 into the early morning hours of Feb. 16 with a federal waiver. Crossing guards were posted at crossings, and no rail traffic was allowed on adjacent tracks.

The train was returned to the SuperSteel company in Schenectady for final upgrades before it is put into commercial use in the spring.

Nurse charged with taking dying patient's pain patches

TROY (AP) -- A 38-year-old nurse has been charged with stealing narcotic pain patches from three elderly patients at a Troy nursing home.

Victoria M. Glaser of Rensselaer, who was a registered nurse at the Van Rensselaer Manor Skilled Nursing Facility, was charged in a 24-count indictment handed up by a Rensselaer County grand jury. At her arraignment Thursday, Glaser pleaded innocent. If convicted, she could face up to four years in state prison.

Prosecutors said Glaser, on three occasions between Nov. 3 and Nov. 19, entered the room of a 75-year-old patient suffering from end-stage cancer and removed the prescribed patch containing the painkiller Fentanyl.

An employee was walking by the patient's room after one incident and heard the patient say her patch had been taken off. When the employee went into the room, Glaser walked out.

The patient told the employee Glaser had taken her patch, according to Kevin Ryan, spokesman for the attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Control unit.

Glaser was also charged with removing Fentanyl patches from two other patients.

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