December 4, 2002 – News at a glance

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Route 7 transportation award
Vermont officials say their chances of getting critical federal funding for several large-scale transportation projects in the western part of the state are looking up. A proposal to improve road and rail traffic along Route 7 has been recognized in a national competition to promote smart growth. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Sanders blames FAHC board
Congressman Bernie Sanders says he’ll ask the Legislature to make substantial changes to the Board of Trustees of Fletcher Allen Health Care if the current Board does not implement these changes on its own. (VPR)

Interview: Saxton’s River village center
Steve Delaney talks with Greg Brown of the Commerce and Community Development Agency about designing village center to prevent sprawl. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Testing drivers on drugs
State highway safety officials are working to secure new federal funds to help crack down on drivers who are operating their cars under the influence of illegal drugs. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Clean air rules
Governor-elect Jim Douglas disagrees with the Bush administration over a plan to relax air pollution rules. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Mine clearing robotics
The Vermont branch of an international engineering firm has been awarded a $3.5 million federal grant. Applied Research Associates in South Royalton will develop remote-controlled equipment used to clear anti-personnel mines. (VPR)

Clarke concedes Richmond race
Democrat Virginia Clarke says she will not ask for a revote in the election for the Vermont House seat from Richmond. A recount of the votes showed that Republican Curran “Spike” Robinson won by just two votes. (AP)

Dean in Israel
Governor Howard Dean says peace is not possible in the Mideast as long as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat remains in power. Dean met with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem yesterday. (AP)

Judge retires
Vermont Judge Paul Hudson is planning to retire after 23 years on the bench. The 60-year-old judge has been on the job since his appointment in December 1979. When Hudson retires next month, he’ll create the first vacancy that Governor-elect Jim Douglas will get to fill. (AP)

Utility sues four towns
The Vermont League of Cities and Towns wants the state to help four Orange County towns that are being sued over the property values they’ve assigned to the Washington Electric Cooperative. The league says town revenues around Vermont and the state education fund could be hurt if the utility prevails in its suit. (AP)

Property values challenged
Ludlow has agreed to appeal the state’s estimate of property values in the town. A Superior Court judge this year ruled that the state’s valuation of property in the town of Killington was overestimated. Now Ludlow is joining in the Coalition of Municipalities in the hopes of forcing the law to be changed. (AP)

Christmas tree sales
It’s the season of selling Christmas trees. Vermont has up to 250 Christmas tree growers that produce about a million trees a year. Agriculture officials estimate the state’s Christmas tree crop is worth between $12-15 million a year. (AP)

Tubbs layoffs
A maker of upscale furniture based in Brandon is laying off 50 workers. Vermont Tubbs President Lee Houston says sluggish demand for its products has forced the company to reduce its work force from about 230 workers to about 180. (AP)

Ski season starts strongly
The new ski season got off to a strong start with the long Thanksgiving weekend. The Vermont Ski Areas Association’s president says it was one of the strongest for this early in the season in recent memory. Consistently cool weather and a storm the day after the holiday made for favorable conditions. (AP)

Rinaldi denied plea bargain
A judge has denied a plea agreement for a former Newbury pastor accused of child molestation. Reverend Joseph Rinaldi may go to trial or receive a stiffer sentence on the lewd and lascivious charges. (AP)

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