August 22, 2003 – News at a glance

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Ospreys make a comeback
The osprey could soon be removed from the state’s list of endangered species. As The bird’s comeback is a one-of-a-kind success story in Vermont. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Sunset provisions in Patriot Act
Senator Patrick Leahy says he will actively fight any effort by the Bush administration to maintain key provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire in about two years. Leahy says he’s concerned that Attorney General John Ashcroft is warning that allowing the provisions to be phased out could lead to more terrorist attacks in this country. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Douglas resumes effort for permit reform
Governor Jim Douglas says the recent job cuts at IBM underscore the need for Vermont to improve its business climate. The governor proposed on Thursday a six-point plan to improve the state’s economy. He also urged the Legislature to act quickly to overhaul the environmental permit process. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Pelham appointed tax commissioner
A state representative from Washington County will serve as Vermont’s new tax commissioner. Governor Jim Douglas announced today that he’s appointed Tom Pelham to the post. (AP)

Air quality in school
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started a mentoring program to improve air quality in public schools. (AP)

FAHC financial security
Serious, damaging and misleading is how Fletcher Allen Health Care describes a consultant’s financial report about the hospital. The report was commissioned by the state of Vermont. Fletcher Allen’s top lawyer wrote to Mercer, Risk, Finance and Insurance Thursday demanding an immediate retraction and correction of statements Mercer made in the report, issued last week. (AP)

Yankee uprate benefits
What’s in it for us? That’s Governor Jim Douglas’s question for the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, who want to boost the aging reactor’s power output. Douglas points to projections from Entergy Nuclear that the power boost would cause more outages at the Vernon reactor. He says that would leave Vermont utilities that currently get Vermont Yankee power shopping for more expensive replacement power on the spot market. (AP)

Dean on terrorism
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says President Bush is “covering for the Saudis” in their funding of international terrorism. Campaigning in New Hampshire Thursday, the Democratic presidential candidate said the president has not taken Iran, Syria and particularly Saudi Arabia to task enough for offering financial support to terrorists. (AP)

Missisquoi Bay cleanup
The state of Vermont is going to do its part to clean up Missisquoi Bay, the polluted northeastern arm of Lake Champlain. Governor James Douglas says he’s looking for ways the state can work with Quebec officials to reduce the volume of pollutants that run into the bay. (AP)

Renewable energy
A citizens’ group is calling for Vermont to get more aggressive about energy conservation and renewables. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group Thursday delivered petitions to Governor Jim Douglas’ office with 11,000 signatures supporting specific goals on efficiency and renewables. (AP)

Research buoy missing A Middlebury College scientist is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who finds a research buoy missing in Lake Champlain. The buoy that was drifting in the lake is a 7-foot pole that is eight inches in diameter. It is used to measure currents. (AP)

Essex police contract
A dispute over five words inserted into a tentative contract between Essex police and the town is headed to the state Labor Relations Board. The extra words would delay certain raises for police employees until the second year of the proposed three-year contract. (AP)

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