April 30, 2004 – News at a glance

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Online sex offender registry
Crime victims advocates are calling on the Legislature to pass a bill this session to create an online registry for serious sex crime offenders. The registry would include names, photographs and other information. (VPR)

Agriculture secretary provokes angry Senate response
Vermont’s Agriculture Secretary called on the Senate Thursday to pass a key farm bill. The secretary says the Senate isn’t holding up its end of an agreement to pass legislation this session dealing with genetically engineered seeds, amending Vermont’s Right to Farm Law and enforcement of water quality standards for farms. The comments drew an immediate and angry response from the Democratic leader of the Senate. (VPR)

Vermont Yankee refueling
Governor Jim Douglas says Vermont Yankee should stay open despite an ongoing search for two spent fuel rods missing from the nuclear plant. (VPR)

Book interview: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’
There has been much debate about the ethical implications of genetic planning, stem cell research and “designer babies.” Author Jodi Picoult gives the topic a dramatic human perspective in her new novel, “My Sisters’s Keeper.” Neal Charnoff talks with author about her book. (VPR)

NH gay marriage recognition
After an emotional and often personal debate, New Hampshire’s House has voted to block recognition of gay marriages. The vote was 213-to-140 for the bill. (AP)

Circ Highway appeal
Lawyers are scheduled to give their arguments Friday on an appeal of part of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway. Several environmental groups have filed the appeal. On Thursday, Governor Jim Douglas said he was confident a judge would rule that construction can move ahead on the next part of the project. (AP)

Stormwater rules
A House committee has approved changes to Vermont’s stormwater discharge laws that backers say will remove a stumbling block from many projects and real estate transactions. The Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources voted Thursday on a bill aimed at clearing the title of properties with expired stormwater discharge permits. (AP)

Lawmakers’ reunion
Dozens of former legislators got together on Thursday at the Vermont Statehouse to talk about their days representing Vermonters. The event was a special lawmakers’ reunion organized by a group called Friends of the Vermont Statehouse. The group restored the capitol building to its 19th century splendor. (AP)

Camera search spent fuel pool
A tiny underwater camera mounted on crawler treads is searching the spent fuel pool at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for two missing pieces of a spent fuel rod. Technicians are looking under the spent fuel storage racks for the missing rod pieces. (AP)

Military contractors in Iraq
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy wants congressional auditors to investigate the use and activities of private military contractors in Iraq. Leahy is one of five senators who wrote to the auditors Thursday with questions about the private firms. The firms employ as many as 20,000 people in Iraq. They’re increasingly being used for security work, and they are not regulated by the federal government. (AP)

McMullen’s Senate bid
Vermont’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign is gearing up. Republican businessman Jack McMullen of Burlington has hired Greg Hahn, a New Hampshire native and Navy veteran to run his campaign to oust Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy. Hahn says his biggest priority will be raising money. (AP)

Waterbury motel sold
A burned out Waterbury motel that was once home to one of Vermont’s Civil War heroes has been sold at auction. But the man who bought the Gateway Motel on Thursday wouldn’t identify himself to town officials or tell them his plans for the property. (AP)

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