January 3, 2003 – News at a glance

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USA Patriot Act petitions
In southeastern Vermont, petitions are being circulated that would place protection of civil rights on some March town meeting warnings. The petitioners say the U.S. war on terrorism is eroding essential American liberties and privacy. (VPR)

Dairy industry
Incoming governor Jim Douglas says he’s working with other New England governors in an effort to revive the Northeast Dairy Compact. Douglas says low dairy prices are one of the biggest threats to the future of dairy farmers in the state. (VPR)

Agriculture commissioner
Farm groups are responding favorably to the appointment of Steve Kerr as Vermont’s new Agriculture Commissioner. Kerr is currently the state director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. (VPR)

Steamboat court ruling
A district court judge has ruled against the owners of Okemo Mountain Resort in their attempt to force the sale of the Steamboat Ski Area in Colorado. (VPR)

Champion Lands
A group that is critical of an agreement governing the former Champion Lands in the Northeast Kingdom hopes the incoming Governor Douglas, will help them change the terms. (AP)

Douglas differs with Bush administration
Governor-elect Jim Douglas has staked out two sharp differences from Republicans in Washington. Douglas says he supports the restoration of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, which President Bush opposes. Douglas also says he supports lawsuit against the Bush administration over its relaxation of anti-pollution rules at Midwest power plants. (AP)

DET commissioner
Former state Representative Anne Ginevan will join Governor-elect Jim Douglas’s administration as commissioner of Department of Employment and Training. Ginevan will replace Steven Gold, an appointee of Governor Howard Dean. (AP)

Governor’s inaugural ball
Vermonters will be able to meet their next governor at the inaugural ball on Saturday night at Norwich University. Governor-elect Jim Douglas says the event is open to the public. Tickets are $40. The event is “black-tie optional” with music by the Vermont Jazz Ensemble. (AP)

Dean begins farewell
Outgoing Vermont Governor Howard Dean will begin saying his farewells Friday. Dean will be at the Community Boathouse on Burlington’s Lake Champlain Friday morning to talk about the environment. Then he heads to Bennington and Brattleboro for radio and newspaper interviews. (AP)

Smoking ban proposed
Vermont lawmakers this year are expected to take up legislation that would ban smoking in bars. The effort is expected to have the backing of organizations ranging from Fletcher Allen Health Care to the state chapter of the American Lung Association. (AP)

PGE dams
The PG & E National Energy Group is thinking about selling its dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers. A company spokeswoman says the potential sale would include 15 dams in New Hampshire, Vermont and western Massachusetts. (AP)

S. Burlington teachers’ contract
Teachers in South Burlington marched outside school Thursday morning calling for a settlement of their contract. Teachers say they will hold a strike vote if an agreement is not reached soon. (AP)

Winooski River bicycle bridge
Five Vermont lawmakers and two residents have asked a court to block work on bicycle bridge between Burlington and Colchester. The plaintiffs in the suit say the cost of the project has more than doubled from the $1.4 dollars approved by the Legislature in the Spring. (AP)

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