January 16, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Human Services Agency
VPR’s Steve Delaney talk with the incoming commissioner of Human Services, Charles Smith. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Gorczyk to leave Corrections
Vermont Corrections Commissioner John Gorczyk has confirmed to VPR that he will be leaving his post. (VPR)

Justice Morse retires
Vermont’s lawyers and politicians are stunned by Supreme Court Justice James Morse’s decision to resign from the bench to become the state’s next commissioner of Social and Rehabilitative Services. The Morse appointment will be formally announced on Thursday afternoon. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Ice dams indicate energy efficiency
This winter’s consistently cold temperatures and heavy snows have combined to create one of the worst ice dam problems in years. Some people are doing a brisk business removing ice and snow from rooftops. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Farmers organize for milk prices
Dairy farmers in northern Vermont have formed a new organization that they hope will bargain for higher prices. About 100 farmers met Wednesday) in Derby. They say they eventually want to control about one-third of the state’s milk supply. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Legislature farm hearings
The Vermont Legislature is taking several steps to help improve the future of the state’s dairy farmers. Thursday night, the House and Senate will hold a special hearing at the Statehouse to examine the scope of the problems facing farmers across Vermont. (VPR)

Justice Morse announcement
Vermont has one of the youngest state Supreme Courts in the country, and it had been considered unlikely that Governor Jim Douglas would get to fill a vacancy on the court. But now the oldest justice, 62-year-old James Morse, is resigning to go to work for Douglas as commissioner of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. (AP)

Welfare drug testing
The Douglas administration won’t support a proposal to require drug testing for some recipients of public assistance. Eileen Elliott, commissioner of Vermont’s welfare agency, says Governor Jim Douglas wants to take a broader approach to combating substance abuse. (AP)

Milk processor merger
The Vermont Attorney General’s office is continuing its investigation of two dairy companies proposing a merger that has drawn concern from some farmers and lawmakers. Meanwhile, several northeastern members of Congress, including Vermont’s three-member delegation, have asked for an antitrust probe by the U.S. Justice Department. (AP)

Town road budgets depleted
The series of heavy winter storms early in the season is burying the highway budgets of many Vermont towns. Officials in several Rutland County towns say they are closing in on the limits of their highway budgets. Wallingford Road Commissioner David Morris is predicting budget overruns. (AP)

Gasoline delivered mistakenly
Some tense times in several Vermont communities Wednesday as hazardous-materials teams responded to homes where bad heating fuel had been delivered. Officials aren’t sure how the much more volatile and flammable gasoline came to be mixed with home heating oil that was delivered to 43 homes yesterday by five companies. (AP)

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