January 27, 2005 – News at a glance

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Feral cats cared for by volunteers
Winter cold snaps are especially hard on the many feral cats that populate Vermont. Feral cats are the offspring of abandoned house cats. They rarely make good pets. And most are terrified of human contact. But the animals have their benefactors. (VPR)

Douglas, Senate support drug re-importation bill
The Vermont Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that will allow Vermonters to import lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Governor Jim Douglas, who has had reservations about the idea, says he supports the bill. (VPR)

Senators cast votes on key Bush appointments
Vermont’s two U.S. senators have taken different positions concerning the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as the country’s new Secretary of State. The Senate confirmed Rice by a vote of 85 to 13. (VPR)

Minimum wage adjustment
Legislation that would automatically increase the state minimum wage based on the consumer price index has cleared a hurdle in the Senate. On a unanimous vote, the Economic Development Committee gave its support to the bill. (VPR)

Health Department launches healthy teeth campaign
The Vermont Health Department has launched a public education campaign to inform people about dental health. The campaign is especially geared toward informing parents about how to keep their kids’ teeth healthy. (AP)

New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire’s Democrats are preparing to fight to keep the state’s presidential primary the nation’s first. The New Hampshire Presidential Primary Democratic Task Force was named in response to formation of a 40-member Democratic National Committee commission charged with studying the presidential nominating calendar for the 2008 election. (AP)

Global warming conference
Environmentalists say efforts to address global warming are at a critical juncture. At a conference on global warming at Middlebury College, activists are discussing how to start a climate change movement. Organizer Jonathan Isham says the world is nearing the point of no return in stopping the increases in global temperatures. (AP)

Transportation Agency consolidation
Lawmakers remain skeptical of a Douglas administration proposal to lay off 40 people from the Transportation Agency and reduce the number of highway maintenance districts from nine to six. Members of two different House committees called Transportation Secretary Dawn Terrill to the Statehouse so they could quiz her and two top deputies on the plan. They said they did not want anyone to be laid off until they and their colleagues have had a chance to weigh in. (AP)

Circumferential Highway
The Vermont Transportation Agency is seeking public input on its plans for the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway through a new Web site. The site, www.circEIS.org, explains the environmental impact statement process now under way. (AP)

Burlington High School air quality
A second round of air-quality tests at Burlington High School found no problems. Officials say the tests done last month were ordered after members of the Burlington Education Association said poor air quality contributed to health problems for three teachers. (AP)

Zantop murders
Thursday marks the four-year anniversary of the day two Vermont teenagers brutally murdered Half and Susanna Zantop, two Dartmouth College professors. Robert Tulloch now is 21, James Parker is 20 years old. After their arrest in Indiana, Parker pleaded guilty to being an accomplice to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Tulloch pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without parole. (AP)

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