December 16, 2003 – News at a glance

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Home-State Record: Al Sharpton
Today, as we continue our series on the home-state records of the Democratic presidential candidates, we look at the Reverend Al Sharpton. The Reverend Sharpton has never held elected office and trails in the polls. But as Jim Colgan from WNYC in New York reports, Sharpton has a history as a man who gets heard. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean says Saddam’s capture doesn’t make U.S. safer
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made the United States safer from terrorism. Dean made his comments during a major foreign policy speech on Tuesday in Los Angeles. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Scientists question administration’s mercury policy
The Bush administration on Monday backed away from mandatory controls on toxic mercury pollution in favor of a market based approach. Forty-eight tons of mercury are released each year by coal and oil-fired power plants. And new research shows that the heavy metal has contaminated many lakes in Vermont and New Hampshire. The scientists who conducted the research say they’re leery of the administration’s new mercury plan. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Iraqi professor praises Saddam Hussein’s capture
An Iraqi-born Vermonter says he is elated that Saddam Hussein has been apprehended. Abbas Alnasrawi is professor emeritus at the University of Vermont. (VPR)

Snowstorms impacts holiday shopping
Two recent snowstorms are a mixed blessing for Vermont retailers hoping for strong holiday sales. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Storm drops 2-3 feet of snow
Between two and three feet of snow fell on northern Vermont on Monday in a storm that is one of the biggest on record. (AP)

State Hospital recommended closed
A legislative committee has concluded that Vermont’s state hospital in Waterbury should be closed. The chairman of the Health Access Oversight Committee, Senator Jim Leddy, says the panel will make that recommendation to the Legislature in a report next month. (AP)

Dean widens lead over Kerry in New Hampshire
A poll of likely voters in New Hampshire shows growing support for Howard Dean in the Democratic presidential race. (AP)

NEK wind projects
A Northeast Kingdom lawmaker is urging people who attended a weekend forum on wind power in Vermont to share their thoughts on the issue with legislators during the upcoming session. Senator Vincent Illuzzi says the issues for and against wind power were well described during the four-hour forum Saturday at Lakes Region High School in Barton. About 175 people attended the session. (AP)

Del Monte buys Agway
Agway Incorporated has been sold to the Del Monte Fresh Produce Company of Coral Gables, Florida. Agway is owned by 69,000 farmer-members in the Northeast. It provides fuel, equipment and services to more than half a million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. It filed for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection in October 2002. (AP)

IBM national job cuts
The next nationwide round of job cuts at IBM could miss the company’s plant in Vermont. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue’s Application Management Services Group could move as many as 4,700 jobs to China and India in 2004. But the list of plants expected to be affected doesn’t included IBM’s plant in Essex, which has already seen more than 500 jobs lost this year. (AP)

Iowa civil unions divorce
A conservative advocacy group and six lawmakers want the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn a divorce that ended a Vermont civil union. A judge granted the divorce last month to two women in an Iowa court. The women had obtained their civil union in Vermont. (AP)

Curfew for minors
Young people in the village of Bellows Falls have a new town-wide curfew. Village Trustees voted to approve the curfew in October. It prohibits young people under the age of 17 from being out in public without a parent or guardian between 10:00 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. during the week. On Friday and Saturday nights, the curfew is between 11:00 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. (AP)

Bennington microtechnology center
A published report says a new microtechnology center in Bennington will be announced this week that could generate hundreds of jobs. Tuesday’s Rutland Herald quotes unnamed sources as saying the project will be funded through a $3.5 million military contract. (AP)

Hartford school reorganization
School officials in Hartford are likely to decide on Tuesday whether they should shift students among the town’s three elementary schools. The school district has been struggling with declining enrollment. Officials have been looking at the restructuring as a way to make class sizes more similar. (AP)

Newport church reconsiders cellular antennae
Vermont’s Catholic Diocese and a church in Newport are reconsidering a decision to put cellular telephone antennae in the church’s bell towers. (AP)

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