April 26, 2004 – News at a glance

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Brattleboro rallies around family of slain soldier
The escalating violence in Iraq means escalating worry for many Vermont families. Members of a community may have different politics regarding the war, but when it comes to friends and neighbors overseas, folks come together. (VPR)

Interview: NEC annual meeting
Mitch Wertlieb talks with Peter Alexander of the New England Coalition about hte nuclear watchdog group’s annual meeting, held last weekend. (VPR)

State budget
The Vermont Senate is scheduled to take up the state budget this week. Senators will discuss the spending plan on Tuesday and Wednesday. After Senate passage, the spending plan will go to a committee of House and Senate negotiators who will work out differences between the two versions. That process generally takes three weeks. (AP)

Early adjournment possible
With the Senate scheduled to take up the state budget on Tuesday, lawmakers could be headed for their earliest adjournment in four years. Not since 1998 has the budget come to the Senate floor in April. That year was the last in which the Legislature ended its session in April. Two of the last three sessions lingered into June. (AP)

Permit reform
A package of changes to development regulation in Vermont is expected to win final approval in the House on Tuesday. That action would end a long legislative journey for the permit reform bill, which had been wrangled over by House and Senate negotiators for about 11 months. (AP)

Sex offenders registry
A Vermont House panel weighing the posting of photos of convicted sex offenders on the Internet appears cool to the idea. But the two grandmothers of murdered Barre teenager Tara Stratton say they’re hoping they can persuade the House Judiciary Committee to leave that provision in the bill. (AP)

Anthrax vaccine research
The University of Vermont’s College of Medicine has been selected as one of 12 U.S. medical centers to study an anthrax vaccine. UVM’s infectious disease unit will spend the next year injecting as many as 50 paid volunteers with a new vaccine. Beth Kirkpatrick, the principal investigator of the study, says researchers aren’t injecting anybody with anthrax. (AP)

Demand for free health clinics
Directors of free health clinics in Vermont say demand for their services is growing. Vermont has ten free clinics. Nine of them belong to a group called the Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured. Sonja Olson, the coordinator of that coalition, says patient numbers at the clinics grew by about 25 percent from 2002 to 2003. (AP)

Police seek diversity
The police department is Vermont’s largest city is trying hard to recruit minorities. Burlington has about 40,000 residents. According to the 2000 Census, about a thousand Asians live there, and about 700 black people. And about a thousand Bosnian immigrants have moved to Burlington and nearby in recent years. (AP)

Scrap metal prices
Scrap metal dealers are being swamped this spring as scrap prices rise. The price of scrap metal has been at record levels for most of the year. It peaked at about $100 a ton around six weeks ago, but many scrap yards are still paying $70 a ton. That’s nearly twice what it was just a year ago. (AP)

Farm equipment auction
A 40-year-old farm equipment auction in Swanton Saturday drew a record crowd. About 3,000 people showed up for Fournier Farm Equipment’s spring auction. The auction every year includes acres of gear and draws farmers from all over the Northeast and Canada. Buyers register to compete for items that are worth just a few bucks – or worth tens of thousands of dollars. (AP)

Phish in Coventry
Residents of the northern Vermont town of Coventry say they’re ready to host as many as 70,000 people this August if a planned Phish concert wins state and federal approvals. The Vermont state airport in Coventry – just south of Newport – is one of three finalists to be the site of a two-day festival headlined by the Burlington-born jam band. (AP)

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