January 12, 2005 – News at a glance

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Douglas hopes Dubie will serve out term as lt. governor
Governor Jim Douglas says he hopes it will be possible for Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to serve out his full term in office. Dubie is under consideration for a presidential appointment to a United Nations agency that regulates international air travel. (VPR)

Sunderland may give tax relief to service families
Town Meeting voters in Sunderland will consider eliminating town taxes this year for National Guard and Reserve troops serving overseas. (VPR)

House committee begins work on health care reform
House Speaker Gaye Symington had a pep talk for members of the new Health Care Committee on Tuesday. She told them that it’s time to move beyond ideology and partisan politics as they tackle health care reform. (VPR)

Bill would give state aid to tsunami victims
Backers of a plan to appropriate $50,000 from the state’s General Fund for tsunami relief are hoping their bill will be put on a fast track for consideration. However there are some concerns about the proposal at the Statehouse. (VPR)

Dean announces bid for Democratic Party chair
Former governor Howard Dean has announced that he’s decided to seek the chairmanship of the national Democratic Party. For the past few months, Dean has been exploring a possible run for the position but he said he wouldn’t run unless he thought he had a good chance of winning. (VPR)

Some Employment and Training offices likely to close
The Department of Employment and Training could be in for some big cuts, including the closing of several of its 12 regional offices around Vermont. Employment Commissioner Patricia McDonald says she can’t release details of the plan until the governor’s budget address next week. But she says changes are in the works. (AP)

Guard service limit
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas is adding his voice to those opposing a plan floated by the Pentagon to call up Guard and Reserve soldiers for longer periods of time. Douglas joins U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Major General Martha Rainville, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, in criticizing the proposed policy. (AP)

Emergency management director resigns
Vermont Emergency Management Director Albie Lewis has announced he will resign to take a job in the private sector. Lewis has held the job for two years, focusing on updating operational procedures and improving relationships among local, state and federal agencies. (AP)

Dairy price program
Four senators from dairy-producing states are urging President Bush to include the Milk Income Loss Contract program in next month’s 2006 budget proposal. During last year’s presidential election, President Bush told voters in the swing state of Wisconsin that he supported the taxpayer-funded program. But Congress failed to extend it and the program expires in less than ten months. (AP)

Dean’s DNC run
The new chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party says those opposed to Howard Dean’s candidacy to chair the national party don’t fully understand Dean’s record or philosophy. Peter Mallary says the image of Dean as a liberal does not square with Dean’s record in Vermont as a fiscal conservative. (AP)

Lawmakers on jury duty
Lawmakers plan to discuss on Wednesday whether they should be exempt from jury duty during the legislative session. The proposed bill would exempt members of the House and Senate while the Legislature is in session. (AP)

Waterbury merger overturned
A vote to merge the village and town of Waterbury has been overturned. Voters narrowly rescinded the measure on Tuesday. On November 2, voters backed the merger by a wide margin. But a petition drive put the issue back on the ballot. (AP)

Glut of flu vaccine
The New England states, which struggled to get enough flu vaccine for their residents, now have a glut of the medicine. The Boston Globe has determined that more than 300,000 doses of flu vaccine still may be available in all six states. In Vermont, officials are pushing to get rid of 5,000 remaining doses. (AP)

Telemarketing scams
Vermont state police are warning about two new telemarketing scams operating within Vermont. Those who get the calls are asked for their bank account numbers so purported grant-making agencies can deposit money into them. Police caution that giving out account numbers can result in unauthorized withdrawals. (AP)

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