January 24, 2005 – News at a glance

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Resettled refugee reunited with her children
Chittenden County is home to a small community of Somali Bantu refugees. Their new life in Vermont is challenging, but far better than the life they left behind. For one woman, however, leaving Africa to come to the United States required a heart-wrenching “Sophie’s Choice,” when she had to leave two of her children behind. (VPR)

GE seeds liability bill
Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr wants more information before he’ll support legislation that provides farmers protection from legal liability stemming from the use of genetically modified seeds. Kerr says he’s concerned that the bill could force seed manufacturers to stop selling their products in Vermont. (VPR)

Interview: Sciences and education
What are the connections linking citizenship, science and education in the twenty-first century? In light of recent controversies concerning the teaching of evolution in public schools, and comments made about women’s abilities in the field of science made by the president of Harvard, the question is as relevant as it is weighty. And it will be explored in a discussion led by former University of Vermont President Judith Ramaley on Monday night at Marlboro College. (VPR)

Douglas job creation meetings
Governor Jim Douglas is launching a series of meetings across the state to discuss job creation with employers. The first forum will be Monday morning in Rutland. Douglas says the meetings will provide an opportunity for business leaders to raise concerns about issues they believe are slowing their growth. (AP)

Judicial retention hearings
Four members of the Vermont Supreme Court will be meeting this week with lawmakers who will decide whether the justices should continue in office. The justices will meet Tuesday with the Joint Judicial Retention Committee, which will recommend to the full Legislature whether the justices should get another term. (AP)

Transportation Agency consolidation
Vermont Lawmakers say they want to take their time while considering a Transportation Agency proposal to reduce the number of highway maintenance districts from nine to six. The Douglas administration wanted the plan to be enacted quickly as it seeks to save $750,000. So it proposed the plan as part of the annual midyear adjustment of the budget. But key legislators say they’re not ready to move immediately. (AP)

Champlain Flyer funds
More than $9 million once tagged for the Champlain Flyer commuter train will now be used for other projects meant to improve Vermont’s western rail corridor. In freeing up the federal transportation funding, Congress did not place a timeline on the money’s use. (AP)

Cell tower height
A cellular phone company must lower its proposed communications tower in Waterford. That’s the word from the District 7 environmental board. The board told Nextel Communications to shorten the proposed 140-foot tower if it wants to gain Act 250 approval. (AP)

Dairy farm stems pollution
Neighbors of a dairy farm in Worcester are raising money to keep manure pollution out of the state’s waterways. Until this fall, there was no barrier between the manure pile at Bob Compagna’s dairy farm and the North Branch of the Winooski River, 75 feet away. (AP)

Winhall votes whether to secede
In a protest over taxes, officials in another Vermont town want their community to join New Hampshire. The Winhall Select Board plans to ask voters about the secession idea on Town Meeting Day on March first. (AP)

Tsunami relief work
A Burlington church is helping with tsumani relief efforts in India. Reverend Bob Smith and six parishioners from the First Congregational Church arrived in Colachel, India, about ten days ago. (AP)

Flights rerouted for weather
Southern Vermont got buried by the weekend blizzard, but the northern part of the state got so little snowfall that three airline flights were diverted away from the worst of the storm to Burlington International Airport. Three JetBlue Airways flights heading from Florida to JFK International Airport in New York were sent instead to Burlington on Saturday. (AP)

Burlington house fire
Nine people were left homeless by an apartment building fire in Burlington over the weekend. No one was injured in the blaze, which began at about 2:45 on Sunday morning in a two-story, wood-framed apartment house in the city’s Old North End. (AP)

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