August 18, 2003 – News at a glance

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IBM lays off 500 employees
The state’s largest private employer is preparing to reduce its costs, apparently with hundreds of layoffs. (AP)

Marketplace visitors hail the Hot Dog Lady
Vendors selling wares from carts are a common sight on Church Street in downtown Burlington. But tourists and Vermonters alike take special notice of one vendor who’s been a fixture there for more than 30 years. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

College enrollment increases
Enrollment at colleges across Vermont this fall has surged. Officials say there are a variety of reasons that students have become so interested in the state’s colleges. They include a perception that Vermont is a safe destination for urban students still cautious after the September 11 attacks. (AP)

VELCO says new power lines needed
An executive with the Vermont Electric Power Company says it was pretty close to a miracle that most of Vermont didn’t lose electricity last week when two major power lines feeding the state crashed. Gary Parker says hydropower and relatively low demand kept the situation stable. But he says the state still needs to upgrade transmission lines between Rutland and Burlington. Critics say last week’s events prove the new lines aren’t needed. (AP)

Missisquoi Bay
Quebec has unveiled a plan for cleaning up Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain, but Vermont’s state government is lagging behind. Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair announced his province’s plans on Friday. Provincial officials say a bloom of toxic blue-green algae is dangerous to human health, so they’ve essentially closed parts of the bay to swimming. (AP)

Disaster declaration
Officials say they expect to decide Monday or Tuesday whether to request a federal disaster declaration for areas of Vermont hit with flooding. The request would ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to consider the past several weeks a single weather event. Many counties are being included in the assessment of weather damage over the past several weeks. (AP)

“Free State” movement
New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson has endorsed the Free State Project, a national group that is trying to get 20,000 advocates of limited government to move to a single state. The group is currently voting on a target state. The idea is to get enough people to move to that state so they can influence public policy. Vermont is one of the target states. (AP)

Route 7 construction delayed
Busy U.S. Route 7 isn’t under construction in the Burlington area Monday morning. A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments Monday afternoon on whether the project should be held up while a legal case is pending. Work on the long-delayed project was supposed to get under way Monday morning. (AP)

Roxbury Mountain easement
A group of neighbors in Vermont’s Mad River Valley have banded together to protect a swath of Roxbury Mountain. Ten families who live on the Warren side of the mountain were concerned about a proposal for additional homes higher up on the mountain. So they banded together and bought the 64-acre parcel for $42,500. (AP)

“One World One Heart” cancelled
Vermont-based ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has canceled its annual summer music festival. The concert was supposed to be staged next weekend in Bethel, New York. It was to be the first year that Ben-and-Jerry’s was going to hold its ‘One World One Heart Festival” outside Vermont. (AP)

Pittsford covered bridge
A historic covered bridge in Pittsford is unsafe even for pedestrian traffic. Historic preservation officials say they’ve been trying to get money to restore the Hammond Covered Bridge. But it’s deteriorated to the point now that any load could be enough for it to collapse into Otter Creek. (AP)

Gunfire at Burlington restaurant
Burlington police are investigating gunshots fired inside a downtown restaurant over the weekend. No one was injured in the incident that happened early Sunday morning at Parima Restaurant. Two men have been arrested for simple assault, but neither was the man who fired the shots. (AP)

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