February 3, 2005 – News at a glance

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Dry cask storage decision
Legislative leaders have made an important decision about one of the top energy issues of the session. They’ve determined that Vermont Yankee’s plans to store its nuclear waste in dry casks will be handled by the existing committee system. (VPR)

Statewide teachers’ contract proposed
Backers of a statewide teachers’ contract are hoping that lawmakers will seriously consider their proposal this year. But the teacher’s union in Vermont is strongly opposed. (VPR)

Dean’s DNC run
Howard Dean’s bid to become the national chairman of the Democratic Party has gained more momentum. On Wednesday, Democratic Party leaders in New York threw their support behind the candidacy of the former Vermont governor and one-time frontrunner in the Democratic presidential campaign. (VPR)

Enosburg fire
A huge fire destroyed a downtown block in Enosburg on Wednesday. Firefighters have been battling the blaze all day and say they have nearly put out the fire. (AP)

Jazz musician Big Joe Burrell dies
A legendary Vermont musician has died. Big Joe Burrell died on Wednesday at the age of 81 from complications from surgery. Burrell has been entertaining crowds around Vermont for nearly 30 years as a solo performer and with his group, the Unknown Blues Band. (AP)

Response to State of the Union
Vermont’s congressional delegation says President Bush failed to address the real challenges facing the country in his State of Union remarks. The trio says Bush should have talked about a plan for ending the U.S. presence in Iraq and the health care crisis, rather than Social Security. (AP)

Vermonter a guest at State of the Union
One of the first lady’s guests at the State of the Union address will be Tom Martin of Rutland. Martin’s business was a victim of asbestos litigation. He ran a family-owned manufacturing business until asbestos litigation drove the company into bankruptcy. (AP)

Attorney general confirmation votes
Both of Vermont’s U.S. senators say they will vote with the minority when the Senate votes on President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general. A final vote in the Republican-controlled Senate is expected today. (AP)

Judicial retention hearings
Four Vermont Supreme Court justices will be the focus of a public hearing tonight at the Vermont Statehouse. They are all up for judicial retention, a process under which lawmakers review judges’ performance every six years and vote whether to keep them on the bench. (AP)

Budget adjustment bill
The Vermont House is expected to take up today a mid-year budget adjustment bill including about $30 million worth of changes in the state’s spending plans. The bill is expected to include increased funding for the Vermont State Hospital, for foster care and adoptions. (AP)

Plan for Vermont State Hospital
The troubled Vermont State Hospital would be replaced by a 28-bed facility at an academic medical center and a series of short-term-stay programs at community hospitals. That’s the crux of a plan to be unveiled tomorrow by the Douglas administration. (AP)

Recalled vent pipe blamed in carbon monoxide death
A federal agency issued a recall order seven years ago for the type of boiler vent piping believed to have contributed to a carbon monoxide death in Burlington this week. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Plexvent plastic pipe systems were known to crack or separate at the joints and posed what it called a deadly threat to consumers. (AP)

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