April 23, 2004 – News at a glance

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Douglas reacts to lost fuel rods
Governor Jim Douglas says a proposed expansion of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant could be affected by the disclosure that two segments of a fuel rod are missing at the facility. Douglas says the incident has caused him to lose some confidence in the owners of the plant and he says it’s critical for the federal government to support an independent reliability study of the facility before the power upgrade takes place. (VPR)

Public meetings on farm legislation
The Agency of Agriculture concluded a series of meetings with farmers Wednesday night to get their feedback on two key pieces of legislation before lawmakers this session. The farmers were generally supportive of proposed new rules that would govern how they operate. (VPR)

Permit reform compromise
The Vermont Senate has approval to legislation that makes the first substantial changes to Act 250 in over 30 years. The vote on the bill was 25 to 4. A House-and-Senate conference committee has been working on this compromise plan for almost a year. (VPR)

Clavelle calls for more renewable energy
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Clavelle has called for an increased emphasis on renewable energy in Vermont. (VPR)

Vermont guard members stationed in Iraq
Most of the 200 Vermont National Guard members sent to Iraq last month are escorting military convoys in the Baghdad area. (AP)

Fuel rod search
A remote controlled television camera has been dropped into the spent fuel pool at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The camera is the first step in the effort to find two pieces of missing nuclear fuel rods that have not been seen since 1979. (AP)

Prescription drug pool
Federal health officials have approved a program that has saved Vermont and other states millions of dollars by allowing them to negotiate together for lower prescription prices from drug companies. Yesterday’s agreement could allow other states to join. (AP)

Prison overcrowding
Vermont’s prison system needs to be overhauled as a way to reduce overcrowding. That was the message a panel investigating prison overcrowding was given on Friday in a Montpelier hearing. Witnesses say the Corrections Department needs to do more for inmates. (AP)

Sex offenders registry
A bill that would put the names and photographs of sex offenders on the Internet is losing favor in the Vermont House. That’s prompted Governor Jim Douglas to try to put the measure back on track. (AP)

Credit unions bill
Vermont lawmakers are stopping testimony on a bill aimed at updating old statutes governing state-chartered credit unions. Lawmakers say there isn’t enough time left in the session to get the bill ready for a vote in the Legislature. (AP)

Dubie on Cuban trade
Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie is just back from Cuba and says he’s planning his next trip with 100 Vermont heifers. Dubie traveled to Cuba earlier this month as part of a trade mission to promote U.S. agricultural products. (AP)

McMahon to head Democracy for America
Howard Dean’s former deputy campaign manager is going to head up Dean’s new political action committee. Dean has named Tom McMahon to be executive director of Democracy for America, a group designed to harness the enthusiasm of Dean’s presidential bid. (AP)

Fundraising policy in Rutland
Rutland officials are considering limiting the number of coin drops organizations can hold in the city every year. Two local nonprofits have asked officials for permission to hold six coin drops this spring and summer – prompting the city to consider the policy change. (AP)

Lash Furniture closes
A Barre furniture store is closing after more than 50 years in business. Owners of the Lash Furniture Store say business has been bad ever since a fire damaged much of the store’s inventory last year. (AP)

Burlington man found dead
Police are investigating the death of a Burlington man who was found pinned beneath his motorized wheelchair near the city’s bike path. Police say they suspect no foul play in the death of 52-year-old Bruce Hardy, whose body was discovered by a passer-by yesterday morning. (AP)

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