December 16, 2002 – News at a glance

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Interview: Democratic presidential race
VPR’s Steve Delaney talks with political science professor Eric Davis about former Vice President Al Gore’s decision not to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the implication that decision has on Governor Howard Dean’s campaign. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Act 60 petition drive
A new citizens’ group wants towns to challenge the Act 60 school funding law in court. The group calls itself “ReAct 60,” and it’s begun a petition drive to ask town boards to file suit. The group hopes to build on a successful case brought by the town of Killington. (VPR)

State budget
Governor-elect Jim Douglas continues his work on a budget plan this week. He plans two hearings this week to hear from the people who have been running state government in recent years. Douglas will be taking comments from current agency heads today and tomorrow at the Statehouse. (AP)

Instate Runoff Voting
Advocates of changing the way Vermont elects officeholders will be outlining their goals today. A variety of groups believe that the state should adopt what’s known as Instant Runoff Voting. That’s a concept where voters mark their first and second choices for a particular office. If none gets an outright majority of first-place votes, second- and third-place votes would get counted to determine the favorite. (AP)

Dean reacts to Gore’s decision
Governor Howard Dean says he was surprised by Al Gore’s decision not to seek the presidency. Dean is the only announced candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He says he had expected Gore to run. (AP)

NH primary
New Hampshire Democrats who supported Al Gore are shopping around for a new presidential candidate. Gore’s announcement last night that he will not run for president next year has opened up the field in the New Hampshire primary, which is just more than a year away. (AP)

Diocese lawsuit
A man suing a Vermont priest for allegedly sexually abusing him wants the Roman Catholic diocese to turn over all the records it has about abuse. Lawyer Jerome O’Neill will formally argue for such a release during a hearing tomorrow in Chittenden Superior Court. (AP)

State college funding
The Vermont State Colleges plan to ask the state to boost funding by one million dollars. That would amount to about a 3% increase in their current level of support from the state. (AP)

Barre teachers
School directors in the city and town of Barre are considering cutting staff. A finance committee of the Spaulding High School Board is considering cutting three teachers. School board members say part of the problem is the likelihood that there will be less state aid in the coming year. They’re also facing growing costs for such things as health insurance and workers’ compensation. (AP)

Burlington mayor’s race
Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle says it’s time the city’s Progressives and Democrats started to work together. And if Clavelle gets his way, the two parties’ first joint project may be trying to elect him to a seventh two-year term as mayor in March. Clavelle announced last week he will attend both parties’ caucuses Tuesday and ask for the endorsements of both. (AP)

Paramount Theater
A big piece of the revival of downtown Rutland is running into some shaky finances. Three years after it was restored to its early-20th-century glory, the Paramount Theater is reporting it lost $100,000 last year. (AP)

Farmland preserved
A developer is proposing to help preserve one of the last dairy farms in South Burlington in exchange for the right to build 300 homes nearby. Gerald Milot says his company has an option to buy the development rights to about 250 acres owned by farmers Ernest and Mildred Auclair of South Burlington. (AP)

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