August 4, 2003 – News at a glance

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Islands: Grand Isle history
The five towns of Grand Isle County have a unique place in the state’s natural and human history. The region is home to an ancient reef, and the state’s only sand dunes. It’s also where Samuel de Champlain first stepped ashore. In the first in our series “A View from the Islands,” VPR’s Steve Zind looks back at Grand Isle County’s past. (VPR)

Dean begins campaign in Washington state
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says his strong fundraising efforts in recent months will allow him to set up campaign organizations in a number of critical states after the New Hampshire primary. The Dean campaign is now focusing on the state of Washington. (VPR)

Tax “holiday”
Vermont will hold its first tax holiday this weekend. The state will lift the 5% sales tax on personal computers. Governor James Douglas says he hopes the tax break will encourage families and students to buy computers. (AP)

Verizon strike
Telecommunications giant Verizon has agreed to stop placing creosote-treated utility poles in Vermont. The move ends nearly three years of negotiations with local utilities and labor unions who claimed the poles posed serious health risks to workers. Meanwhile, talks between Verizon and two big unions resume Monday morning. The Communications Workers of America report “significant progress” toward a new contract, but the union says a few issues are still not resolved. (AP)

Dean campaign
An Iowa poll shows Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt in the lead. The poll looked at the competition for the state’s national leadoff precinct caucuses in January. It showed Dean, the former Vermont governor, had the support of 23% and Gephardt, a Missouri congressman, had 21%. Dean is about to have a big week in the media. The former governor will be on the cover of Newsweek and Time magazines. The magazines arrive at newsstands Monday. (AP)

Weekend flooding
Heavy rains caused streams to overflow and flood roads in Windham and Windsor counties Sunday. Police say Route 121 between Londonderry and Windham was washed out. The road is impassable and will remain closed until repairs are made. (AP)

Drug treatment center
The Vermont Department of Health is getting close to hiring a company to open a long-term drug treatment center in Vermont. Health officials are reviewing proposals from two companies but are not identifying the finalists. (AP)

Teacher misconduct
News of two teacher sex scandals has raised questions about the behavior of public school teachers and the public’s knowledge of teachers’ misconduct. A public records request made by The Burlington Free Press found 14 teachers and one principal were sanctioned by the Vermont Department of Education for a range of offenses over the last year and a half. (AP)

Exotic fish in Lake Champlain
Researchers are examining whether to install an electric barrier or boat lift in the Champlain Canal in eastern New York to block exotic species from entering Lake Champlain. Some of the 10 non-native fish in the lake, including white perch and gizzard shad, are believed to have arrived through the canal. (AP)

Hardwick fire
A fire marshal will investigate a fire that heavily damaged a three-story building in Hardwick on Friday night. No one was hurt in the fire. Heavy smoke and water damaged the three apartments and a video store. Hardwick’s fire chief says he believes the building is a total loss. (AP)

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