April 19, 2004 – News at a glance

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Wilderness debate
A plan to more than double the federally designated wilderness in Vermont’s national forest has tempers flaring in some towns. Wilderness can only be designated by Congress. Hunters, campers, hikers and skiers are allowed in Wilderness Areas. Mechanized vehicles and logging are not. In towns where generations have worked and played in what are now public lands, that cuts pretty close to home. (VPR)

Word for Word: Michael Ignatieff
Last week, students and community members gathered at Middlebury College for an address delivered by human rights scholar Michael Ignatieff. In his speech, Ignatieff argued that the United States has an obligation to uphold the human rights of terrorists, and that doing so demonstrates the morality of a free society. (VPR)

Interview: Sugar on snow
This year’s sugaring season is drawing to a close and with it comes the annual Sugar-on-Snow party at the University of Vermont’s Baily-Howe Library. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Brian Stowe of UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Center, about the event. (VPR)

Young smokers
The Vermont Department of Health is launching a new anti-smoking campaign on Monday that’s aimed at reaching a very specific group: people who are 18 to 24 years old

Capital construction bill
Committees of Vermont House and Senate members are expected to begin talks over capital spending this week. One committee is scheduled to deal with the annual capital construction bill, through which the state issues bonds to raise about $40 million for long-term capital improvements. (AP)

Health care legislation
The Vermont House is expected to take up competing proposals for providing health coverage to more of the state’s uninsured this week. Governor Jim Douglas and House Democrats have their own health insurance plans. (AP)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield chair
A Weston woman has been elected as the new chair of the board of directors of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. Deborah Granquist is an attorney active in civic affairs. (AP)

Parish consolidation
Leaders of Vermont’s 131 Catholic parishes will begin meeting this week to decide how to consolidate buildings to accommodate a declining number of clergy. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington says the number of active priests will drop to 55 in the next decade – down from over 150 a half-century ago. (AP)

Inhalant drug use
Studies are showing middle-school aged children in New England are turning to common household products to get high. A Risk Assessment Survey for 2003 says 15 percent of the middle-school kids in New Hampshire have abused inhalants, such as glue and hair spray. The survey showed a 13 percent abuse rate in Vermont and Maine. (AP)

VTC layoffs
Officials at Vermont Technical College say the school will lay off eight to 12 full-time employees in July. The layoffs are intended to prevent a budget deficit next school year. (AP)

Seasonal employment
Some Vermont businesses are beginning to think about hiring for the summer. Employers say people – especially students – looking for summer jobs should start applying now. (AP)

Hardwick landslide
Traffic is flowing on Vermont Route 15 through Hardwick again on Monday after a landslide was cleaned up off the highway. Town police say the road was blocked when an embankment let loose and slid onto it. No one was hurt and no cars or trucks were damaged. (AP)

Burlington pedestrian mall
Downtown Burlington’s pedestrian mall will be growing by a block over the summer. By August 20, the Church Street Marketplace will stretch “seamlessly” from Pearl to Main streets. Work is scheduled to begin on Monday on a summer-long project to extend the pedestrian-only mall. (AP)

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