December 2, 2004 – News at a glance

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New regulations approved for deer hunting
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board has voted to approve several proposed changes to deer hunting regulations. The decision comes in the wake of hunter complaints that the recent deer season was one of the worst ever. (VPR)

Interview: Experience-based tourism
Tourism is serious business in Vermont, and new strategies to bring more visitors to the state will be discussed today at the 22nd annual Vermont Travel Industry Conference in Burlington. The theme of the conference this year is “Vermont: It’s about the Experience.” Mitch Wertlieb talks with keynote speaker Ted Lee Eubanks, Jr., president of a Texas-based firm that specializes in “experience-based” tourism. (VPR)

Campus observes World AIDS Day
Rain fell across the Saint Michael’s College campus in Colchester on Wednesday as the school observed World AIDS Day. (VPR)

Education surplus prompts proposed property tax cut
Governor Jim Douglas says a surplus in the state’s Education Fund will allow lawmakers to reduce the statewide property tax rate for education by eight cents. Douglas says the surplus is the result of escalating property values in many parts of the state. (VPR)

Medicare shortfall may impact other state programs
Governor Jim Douglas says an increase in the state’s projected Medicaid deficit will make it harder to properly fund other state programs in the coming fiscal year. (VPR)

Former governor reflects on Guard deployments
With more than a thousand Vermont soldiers activated to serve in the Middle East, peace groups want Governor Douglas to bring the troops home. The governor says those soldiers are now under the command of the Pentagon, and he doesn’t have the power to recall them. It’s a lesson that a previous Vermont governor learned during an earlier, unpopular military mission overseas. (VPR)

NRC reschedules Vermont Yankee meeting
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting December 16h to discuss plans to increase power at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. The meeting at Brattleboro High School will be in place of a session that was canceled because the meeting place couldn’t accommodate the expected crowd. (AP)

Police ask motorists to give emergency vehicles space
The Vermont State Police are warning motorists they need to change lanes when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the interstate. (AP)

Home health antitrust investigation
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation of Vermont’s 12 nonprofit home health agencies. Critics have charged that the agencies have made it difficult for other visiting nurse organizations to get a foothold in Vermont. The agencies’ umbrella group, the Vermont Assembly of Home Health Agencies, issued a statement on Wednesday saying it planned to cooperate fully in the investigation. (AP)

National Guard deployment
The head of the Vermont National Guard told her soldiers on Thursday they are the hope of democracy. Major General Martha Rainville spoke at deployment ceremonies in St. Albans for 130 guard members who are heading to training in Mississippi and Texas as part of 18-month mission in the Middle East. (AP)

Air Force personnel stationed in Burlington
The Air Force has announced it will experiment by stationing active duty personnel at the Vermont Air National Guard base. The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that it will add active duty Air Force personnel to the state’s 158th Fighter Wing located in Burlington. (AP)

Freight inspection program
New York Governor Pataki will announce a homeland security initiative that will involve the inspection of containerized freight shipments being moved between the U.S. and Canada. Homeland security and law enforcement officials from Vermont, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canada will meet on Thursday in Albany to discuss the initiative. (AP)

Energy plan hearings
For the second December in a row, the Douglas administration is coming under fire from critics who are questioning the schedule for hearings on a state energy plan. The Department of Public Service has scheduled two hearings on the plan; the first on December 15 at 7 p.m. at Burlington’s Contois Auditorium and on December 16 at 7 p.m. at Montpelier’s Pavilion Auditorium. (AP)

Kerry visit New Hampshire
John Kerry returns to New Hampshire this weekend to say “thank you.” State Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan says Kerry wants to thank New Hampshire residents who volunteered and contributed to his campaign and helped him carry the state in last month’s election. (AP)

Deer season numbers
This year’s deer hunting season may have been the worst in at least 50 years. As of Wednesday, the number of deer reported to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department was 3,397. Vermont wildlife officials had expected hunters to have an average season this November, taking more than 6,000 bucks. The department will continue to tally deer kills through the end of the year, but the numbers likely won’t reach 5,000. (AP)

Rockingham transportation center
Nearly $2 million in federal funding will allow the town of Rockingham to start building a multi-use transportation center. The center will link train, bus and other public transportation services. (AP)

Drunk driving activist
A Shoreham woman who was a passenger in a drunk driving accident six years ago that left her in a coma is being honored for her efforts to prevent drunk driving among teenagers. Twenty-one-year-old Sarah Jackson received the National Commission Against Drunk Driving’s annual Youth Initiative Award in Washington on Wednesday. (AP)

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