February 2, 2005 – News at a glance

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Transportation districts hearing
Tuesday night the Senate and House Transportation Committees held a public hearing on a proposal to cut the number of highway districts in Vermont. The Agency of Transportation says the reduction would save money without hurting highway maintenance, some disagreed. (VPR)

Medicaid reform plan
The chair of the Progressive caucus at the Statehouse says he believes Governor Jim Douglas’s plan to reform Medicaid will increase the number of uninsured people in Vermont. (VPR)

Radiological response plan
Legislators from Windham County are asking the governor to reconsider approving the current radiological emergency response plan. The plan covers details for evacuating in case of a radioactive release at Vermont Yankee. (VPR)

Interview: Tsunami-devastation in Sumatra
One of the owners of a Brattleboro-based coffee company that does business in Indonesia has just returned from Sumatra, one of the areas hit hard by the tsunamis that devastated much of Southeast Asia. Thomas Fricke and his wife Sylvia Blanchet are the founders of ForesTrade, which markets fair-trade coffee and spices from around the world. (VPR)

Killington secession
Town leaders from Killington met with New Hampshire Governor John Lynch on Monday to discuss whether the town can secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire. (VPR)

Vermont State Hospital loses certification
The Vermont State Hospital has again lost its certification and its federal funding after two patients escaped last week. Governor Jim Douglas says he’s disappointed the institution failed to maintain standards of care. He’s directed the Agency of Human Services to accelerate plans to close the hospital. (VPR)

Peeping Tom bill to encompass new technology
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expanding the scope of the so-called “Peeping Tom” bill to include other acts of surveillance that use new forms of electronic technology. The committee hopes to vote on the bill by the end of the week. (VPR)

Reiber confirmed as Supreme Court chief justice
The Vermont Senate has unanimously confirmed Paul Reiber as Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court. For the past 15 months, Reiber has been serving as an associate justice on the court. Reiber replaces Jeffery Amestoy who stepped down from the court last year. (VPR)

International Paper files for test tire burn
The International Paper Company wants permission to burn tires for two weeks at its Ticonderoga Mill on Lake Champlain. The company announced on Tuesday that it filed an application with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the test burn. (VPR)

Morgan Horse museum
Vermont lawmakers are trying to keep the National Museum of the Morgan Horse from moving from Shelburne to Kentucky. The Morgan horse is the state animal of Vermont. Chelsea Representative Sylvia Kennedy has proposed a resolution in the Legislature urging the Morgan Horse Institute, which owns the museum, to stay in Vermont. (AP)

Interview: Vermont filmmaker wins at Sundance
A filmmaker from the Mad River Valley took home a top prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which ended this weekend. The film, “Why We Fight,” was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. Directed by Eugene Jarecki, “Why We Fight” is a non-partisan examination of the political, corporate and military motivations for war. (VPR)

Leahy PACs
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has formed a political action committee designed to help elect Democrats at the local, state and federal levels. Leahy has decided to accept money from political action committees to finance his PAC and will accept contributions from political action committees for his own re-election campaign committee. (AP)

Dean’s DNC bid
Howard Dean’s chances of becoming the next national Democratic Party chairman appear to be rising. Three of his rivals in the February 12 election have dropped out of the running in the last two days. (AP)

Sea lamprey in Lake Champlain
Fish and Wildlife officials say efforts to control sea lamprey in Lake Champlain appear to be working. Lamprey attacks on fish have gone down since lamprey-killing chemicals were added to Lewis Creek and New York streams before last year. Officials say the effects of treatments added this fall won’t be visible until next fall. (AP)

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