August 25, 2004 – News at a Glance

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Rating on Mercury Policy
A Vermont consumer advocacy group says the state is slipping in efforts to cut down on mercury contamination. In its annual report card, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group called on the state to adopt a comprehensive program to prevent mercury contamination. (VPR)

Leahy, Jeffords Concerned about Mercury Pollution
Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords are concerned about federal standards to regulate mercury pollution. The senators looked at the issue as part of a symposium sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee in Washington. (VPR)

Interview: Psychologists Track Trends in Civil Unions
Three years ago, when civil unions first became legal in Vermont, two University of Vermont psychologists conducted a demographic study of gay and lesbian couples joined by the ceremonies. More than 300 same-sex couples shared their views on monogamy, religion, childrearing and other topics, and now a follow-up study is being conducted to find out what’s changed since the couples exchanged vows. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Esther Rothblum, one of the psychologists conducting the studies. (VPR)

Certification for Youth Sports Coaches
Community youth sports organizations should require all of their coaches to take certification courses before allowing these individuals to participate in any local programs. That’s the opinion of Fred Engh who’s the founder of the National Alliance for Youth Sports. (VPR)

Douglas Won’t Attend Entire GOP Convention
Governor Jim Douglas says he’s not expecting to spend a lot of time at next week’s Republican National Convention in New York City. Democrats say that’s because Douglas doesn’t want to be associated with President Bush, but Douglas says it’s because he has more important things to do in Vermont. (VPR)

Amber Alert Network Expands to Lottery Terminals
State officials have a new weapon in their battle to apprehend individuals who are suspected of abducting young children. Beginning this week, hundreds of Vermont lottery terminals will be added to the state’s Amber Alert notification system. (VPR)

Phish Plans Gift for Turned-Away Fans
The band Phish is trying to make things right with thousands of fans who were turned away from the group’s farewell concert in Coventry earlier this month. (VPR)

Rockingham Electricity Distribution
The town of Rockingham and Green Mountain Power are close to an agreement on use of the community’s electric distribution system. The deal would enable Rockingham to transmit power from the Bellows Falls hydroelectric dam if it’s sold. (AP)

GOP Attorney General Candidate
An attorney from Bennington County wants to be the state’s top lawyer. Fifty-three-year-old Republican Marianne Kennedy kicked off her bid for attorney general Tuesday in Montpelier. She’s a former trail lawyer who now runs the Center for Restorative Justice in Bennington. (AP)

Border Identification Program
Foreigners entering the United States across the busiest land borders will be photographed and electronically fingerprinted starting next year. One of those borders is Derby Line, Vermont, which the Department of Homeland Security lists as one of the 50 busiest land borders in the country. The new program is aimed at flushing out potential terrorists. (AP)

Charlotte Large Farm Proposal
Despite strong objections by neighbors who fear it will pollute their valley, a 684-cow dairy operation proposed for Charlotte is likely to win state approval. Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr says he can’t see anything that would cause him to deny the large-farm permit application by dairy farmer Clark Hinsdale III. (AP)

Technical School Backers Miss Fundraising Deadline
Backers of a proposed technical academy to serve northwestern Vermont appear to have run afoul of the state’s campaign finance law. The Regional Technical Academy Friends Committee raised more than $500,000 before a March election in which residents in three counties voted to support the project. But the group was five months late in reporting its campaign expenditures and contributions to the state. (AP)

Burlington Apartment Fire
A 51-year-old woman was in critical condition after being pulled unconscious by firefighters from a burning apartment house in Burlington Tuesday. Pamela Ellis was listed in critical condition last night at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Six-Year Sentence in Drunk Boating Trial
The man convicted of boating while intoxicated after the boat he was sailing capsized on Lake Champlain and killed two children has been sentenced to serve six years in prison. Forty-eight-year-old George Dean Martin of Charlotte was sentenced Tuesday. He was ordered to start serving his sentence immediately after a two-hour hearing at the Vermont District Court in Middlebury. (AP)

Baird Seeks New Trial
Lawyers for Cynthia Baird, who was convicted in February of shooting her husband, say they need more time to find a witness they believe will say the death was a suicide. The defense has asked for a new trial for Baird, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Douglas Baird, at the couple’s home in Poultney nearly four years ago. (AP)

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