January 14, 2005 – News at a glance

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Historical programs unlikely to merge
For the past several years, the state Division for Historic Preservation and the Vermont Historical Society have been experiencing budget shortages. One proposed answer was to combine the two groups. (VPR)

Pfizer executive testifies in favor of drug re-importation
A drug industry executive told lawmakers on Thursday that allowing people to buy cheaper prescriptions from other countries will save lives and save money. Several House and Senate committees are working on the re-importation issue. Democratic leaders want to pass a bill by Town Meeting Day. (VPR)

Democrats raise questions about Dubie’s possible appointment
The possible appointment of Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to a key international aviation post continued to draw controversy on Thursday. Democrats want to know if Dubie pursued this position before the November election. He says the answer is ‘no.’ And there’s a debate as to whether the governor has the authority to fill a vacancy if the lieutenant governor resigns. (VPR)

Douglas adds to criticism of teddy bear
Governor Jim Douglas says he agrees with those who see a new stuffed animal from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company as insensitive toward the mentally ill. (AP)

Police response to student incidents
A committee in Keene, New Hampshire, has come up with a plan for paying police who deal with disturbances involving Keene State College students. The committee of city and college officials suggests Keene State set aside $10,500 to cover student disturbances on or near campus. (AP)

Clean air rules
Vermont’s two U.S. senators say a new report from the National Research Council shows that the Bush administration’s policies are undermining the Clean Air Act. Senators Jim Jeffords and Patrick Leahy say the Bush administration’s so-called “Clear Skies Initiative” masks a weakening of existing clean-air rules. (AP)

Property tax reduction
Governor Jim Douglas wants to see another reduction in the statewide education property tax rate. Douglas wants to see a drop of three cents per $100 of property value. The reduction, following a nickel reduction last year, would bring the basic education property tax rates to $1.02 for primary homes and $1.51 for business and other non-residential property. (AP)

Business tax credit program
A much-criticized program of tax credits for businesses that generate jobs in Vermont is due for an overhaul. That word from Governor Jim Douglas, who says he wants the program run by the Vermont Economic Progress Council to be simplified. (AP)

Fonda factory closing in St. Albans
About 168 Vermonters will lose their jobs when a Saint Albans factory closes. The Fonda Group plans to close its only Vermont plant on November 1. The plant has been in Saint Albans for 63 years. (AP)

Pilot killed in crash
The pilot of a cargo plane was killed when his aircraft crashed at the end of a runway at Dillant Hopkins Airport in Swanzey, New Hampshire. The plane is believed to have been owned by Business Air, of Bennington. (AP)

Grafton murder trial
Two months after one man was convicted in the murder of a couple in a Vermont state forest in Grafton, a second man has pleaded guilty in the case. Forty-five-year-old Charles Sherman of Bellows Falls got 20 years to life after pleading guilty on Thursday, on two counts of aiding second-degree murder. (AP)

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