February 24, 2004 – News at a glance

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Vermont Guard deployments
Governor Jim Douglas says he expects that a greater number of Vermont National Guard members will be sent overseas in the coming months. Guard leaders in Washington want to equalize the percentage of guard members from each state that are assigned to overseas duty. Vermont’s share is currently one the smallest in the country. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Interview: sociologist researches 9-11
A University of Vermont sociologist was one of six top rapid response disaster experts in the nation to shed light on their research at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Alice Fothergill spoke on Monday at the National Science Foundation in Washington. Mitch Wertlieb talks with her about Fothergill about her research on volunteer efforts at Ground Zero following the attacks. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Vermont granite industry
An official with the Barre Granite Association says the industry has lost jobs and market share because of low-cost imports from China and India. The industry official met on Monday with Congressman Bernie Sanders, who has sponsored legislation to roll back a recent trade deal with China. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Housing prices
A shortage of affordable housing is driving prices beyond the reach of an increasing number of Vermonters according to a new study of census and government data compiled by the Housing Council and the Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign. (VPR)

Nader’s run criticized
Vermont’s top political leaders are denouncing consumer activist Ralph Nader’s decision to run for president again. (AP)

Milk prices rising
A farm economist says the price Vermont farmers are paid for their milk could go up more than predicted this year. Bob Wellington of the Agri Mark dairy cooperative says the price for a gallon of milk could hit $1.39 cents by September. That’s up from a low of 99 cents last year. (AP)

Hinsdale appeals farm ruling
A Charlotte farmer is asking Vermont agriculture officials to reconsider his plan for a 684-cow dairy. The Agency of Agriculture rejected Clark Hinsdale Jr.’s plan earlier this month because it did not include enough land to spread manure without causing water pollution. (AP)

Canadian prescriptions
Michigan’s governor says the Bush administration plans to reject a drug-buying program that has saved Vermont and Michigan millions of dollars. Michigan and Vermont negotiate together for lower prescription drug prices from drug companies. But Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says federal authorities plan to reject the program because it violates federal procurement procedures. (AP)

Malpractice insurance bill
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says a bill that’s aimed at capping medical malpractice awards is just a bailout for insurance companies. The bill would cap damages against obstetricians and gynecologists. (AP)

Transportation funds
The root of Vermont’s transportation problems is a lack of money. That was the assessment of local and state transportation officials at a forum held on Monday in Rutland. (AP)

Town Meeting voters
Voters interested in participating in next week’s town meetings or casting a presidential primary ballot got a little more time to register this year. The deadline was Monday at noon. That’s a change from previous requirements that registrations had to be filed two Saturdays before the election. (AP)

Norwich planning commission
Town officials in Norwich are trying to decide whether the town should leave its planning commission, which is mostly made up of New Hampshire towns, to join another. The select board has cast a divided vote on the proposal to leave the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, based in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (AP)

Montpelier mayor’s race
The race for mayor of Vermont’s capital city is heating up. The four candidates for mayor of Montpelier outlined their platforms at a debate held on Monday. (AP)

Free Staters target Killington
The Free State Project, which aims to bring 20,000 liberty-minded people to New Hampshire to fight for scaled-back government, is hitting the airwaves. A television commercial will air on Wednesday aimed at convincing voters in Killington, Vermont to secede from that state and join New Hampshire. The project also spent nine-hundred dollars in running three half-page newspaper ads in the Mountain Times of Killington. Killington selectmen are urging voters to secede from Vermont because they claim the town is overtaxed by the state. (AP)

Fish tested for pollutants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is testing its hatchery-raised salmon and other fish for dioxin and other pollutants. Northeast regional director Marvin Moriarty says the tests were ordered after a study found farm-raised salmon contains significantly more pollutants, including dioxins, than salmon caught in the wild. (AP)

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