February 1, 2005 – News at a glance

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Judge sworn in to new Environment Court
Vermont’s new Environmental Court officially opened for business on Tuesday. The court’s two judges will hear appeals of land-use decisions under Act 250. One of those judges, Thomas Durkin of Brattleboro, was sworn in on Monday. (VPR)

State party chairs back Dean for DNC chair
Howard Dean’s campaign to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee got a big boost on Monday afternoon. State party chairs from around the country strongly endorsed Dean’s candidacy, making him the front-runner for the post. (VPR)

Improvements recommended for end of life care
Attorney General William Sorrell says significant improvements need to be made in end of life care for Vermonters. Sorrell’s office issued a report on Monday that contains a number of recommendations. (VPR)

Hearing planned on consolidation of transportation districts
A public hearing at the Statehouse on Tuesday night could determine how fast a plan to consolidate some district transportation offices moves forward. The Douglas administration wants to reduce the number of administrative districts from nine to six – a move that would save roughly $750,000 and eliminate about a dozen jobs. It’s the first step of a larger proposal to consolidate operations at the agency. (VPR)

Circ Highway critics say roundabouts are viable alternative
Critics of Chittenden County’s Circumferential Highway say there are cheaper, more efficient ways to move traffic. They want their proposals considered when the state is preparing the environmental impact statement for the project. (VPR)

Cabot Creamery lays off 31 production workers
A slump in sales has prompted Cabot Creamery to lay off 31 of its production workers. Cabot hopes to rehire the employees in its cheese and wrap production line in three to four weeks. Officials say this is traditionally a slow time for sales. (AP)

Claremont man gives away downtown business
A Claremont, New Hampshire, man is giving the video game arcade he opened in downtown Claremont two months ago. Koloski says the giveaway is part of an overall plan to fill up empty storefronts in downtown Claremont. (AP)

‘Reef Madness’: interview with David Dobbs
The controversy over Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution versus what is now called the theory of “intelligent design” continues to play out in contemporary society. The debate echoed another nineteenth century conflict over the origin and geology of coral reefs. How these arguments dominated and split the nineteenth century scientific world is the subject of a new book, “Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz and the Meaning of Coral,” written by Montpelier author David Dobbs. (AP)

Carbon monoxide poisoning
Two people remained in critical condition Monday night from carbon dioxide poisoning that occurred in an apartment building near the University of Vermont. Twenty-two-year old Ginger Aldrich of Waterford was hospitalized in Montreal and 20-year-old Kerry Anne McCarthy of Montpelier was being treated in Boston. McCarthy’s grandmother says she has regained consciousness and relatives are optimistic that she’ll will make a complete recovery. (AP)

UVM to install carbon monoxide detectors
The University of Vermont is ordering that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all residence halls. The order comes as the university works to ensure the safety of students after one person died on Sunday of carbon monoxide poisoning and seven others were injured, two critically. (AP)

Home heating assistance
Vermont will receive more than one million dollars in emergency federal funds to help low-income families pay their heating bills. Officials say with the cold spells this winter continued assistance is a top priority. (AP)

Judicial retention hearings
Four Vermont Supreme Court justices and eight other judges will be the focus of two public hearings this week at the Vermont Statehouse. Tonight at seven, comments will be invited from the public on the performance of eight trial court judges. (AP)

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