August 5, 2002 – News at a glance

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Sprawl poll
A new poll shows that Vermonters are worried that the state’s landscape is being consumed by suburban sprawl. The poll, conducted by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies, asked people to rate the issues that most concern them. (VPR)

Sounds of Vermont: the lake
Samuel de Champlain gave the lake his own name in 1609. It’s been a key player in the campaigns of war. Commerce once thrived over its waters. And there has even been an effort to declare Champlain one of the Great Lakes. In a segment of our series, Sounds of Vermont, listens in at the lake from morning to night. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

IBM layoffs come due
This is the last day many IBM workers in Essex Junction will be collecting a paycheck. The company announced in June it was laying off 988 workers, although it has rehired about 200 to lower paying jobs. Some of them already have left the company and found other jobs. Others have taken the manufacturing jobs that IBM offered. (AP)

Hunting licenses
Fewer Vermonters are taking to the woods to hunt. The number of Vermont resident hunters fell from 92,000 in 1991 to 80,000 in 2001. That’s a 13% decline during that period, compared to a 7% decline nationally. (AP)

Campground commute
Workers at some of the Vermont State Parks say they’re seeing a new phenomenon. People come to the parks for a camping vacation and commute back and forth to work from the campground. Experts say that’s part of a trend toward shorter vacations. (AP)

Rutland drug indictments
Eight men are facing indictments on federal drug charges in Rutland. The latest batch of federal indictments brings the total number to more than 50 since a grand jury started work in March. Officials say most of those have been for drug-related offenses. (AP)

IBM ageism accusation
A group of ex-IBM employees claims IBM’s recent layoffs at its Essex Junction plant fall too heavily upon older workers. Organizers say they’ve made contact with the attorney general’s office and will complain. IBM has said its layoff practices are free from illegal discrimination. It has said the cuts were to ”rebalance skills” to refocus staff resources to strengthen IBM’s competitive position. (Poughkeepsie Journal)

Electric rates
The two primary owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant say electric rates won’t be going down now that the plant has been sold. Green Mountain Power will use $7 million it collected to pay down debt. Central Vermont Public Service will use $14 million to hold rates steady and to pay stockholders. (AP)

Hunting fatality investigation
Rutland County’s prosecutor says he’s close to deciding whether to charge a man who fatally shot another hunter with a bow and arrow two years ago. Vermont State Police say the need for a lengthy investigation was partly because of the rarity of bow hunting accidents. (AP)

Huntington Gorge rescue
Officials are warning Vermonters again about the dangers of jumping at the Huntington Gorge. Rescue crews were called to the area Sunday to rescue a man who had jumped from a cliff and landed on rocks. Officials say the man fell about 20 feet. (AP)

Summer tourism
Vermont’s summer tourism industry is booming – sort of. Leaders of the state’s three billion dollar industry say travelers are coming to the state in big numbers, but they’re not spending as much as they usually do. (AP)

DISH Network sales rise
Satellite television dealers say dish sales are on the rise now that one provider is offering Vermont stations. DISH Network announced a few weeks ago that it’s offering five Burlington television channels to customers around the state. (AP)

Okemo turns 20
Diane and Tim Mueller are celebrating 20 years of owning and running southern Vermont’s Okemo Mountain Resort. They bought the resort in August 1982 for 478-thousand dollars. They assumed one-point-seven (M) million dollars in debt and learned the ski business from the basics.

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