July 15, 2002 – News at a Glance

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Bicycling on Champion Lands
The federal government has banned bicycles on its portion of the Champion timberlands in the Northeast Kingdom. The decision has upset some local cycling enthusiasts. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Fairfielder Restaurant Closing
Renovations to an old shopping plaza in Brattleboro have threatened to upset the routines of hundreds of locals. While the new stores will be welcome, local residents are drawing the line at changes to a favorite eatery. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Sounds of Vermont: Haying
As the saying goes, you make hay when the sun shines. Making hay is a constant race against time, machinery and weather. At the Pease farm in Middlesex this time of year, the sound of haying is also the sound of neighbors working together. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Candidates Filing Deadline
Today is the filing deadline for any candidate who wants to be on Vermont’s primary election ballot. Candidates for the House are required to have 50 signatures on their nominating petitions; state Senate candidates need 100 signatures. Seven Democrats are vying for the Vermont Senate nomination for two seats in Windham County. The interest is generated because of the retirements of two long-time incumbents — Senators Peter Shumlin and Nancy Chard. Shumlin is running for lieutenant governor and Chard has decided to retire. (AP)

Rural Doctors
Medical students and young doctors at the University of Vermont are being given incentives to practice in rural areas of the state. Working with the Freeman Foundation, the College of Medicine is offering ten-thousand dollar scholarships. The goal is that the recipients work in medically under-served areas of the state when they’re done with their education. Eleven of Vermont’s 14 counties have significant needs for physicians, and six counties have severe needs: Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Orange, Orleans and Rutland counties. The program has been offered for two years and already has distributed three million dollars. (AP)

Shaw s Expansion
One of the biggest grocery store chains in Vermont says it will be expanding many of its stores. Shaw’s Supermarkets’ incoming president says expansions are necessary to remain competitive in the marketplace. The company says it plans to upgrade, remodel and expand more than 90% of its 186 New England stores. That’s expected to cost between $1.5 million to $8 million dollars per store. (AP)

Vermont Job Losses
Congressman Bernie Sanders says he believes there’s a simple explanation for the declines in manufacturing jobs: national trade policies. Sanders says things such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or most favored nation trading status with China are helping to siphon good jobs out of the United States. He says his point is proven by the fall in manufacturing employment not just in Vermont but in all of New England and the nation as a whole. Some state economic development officials say they agree that foreign trade has hurt Vermont, but they say there are other factors, as well. (AP)

Wind Power
Demand by the Burlington Electric Department could be the impetus to build a permanent wind farm atop southern Vermont’s Little Equinox Mountain. Burlington has agreed to buy all of the output of an electricity-generating station from Mount Equinox windmills, near Manchester. Equinox Wind Partners say a generating plant is now financially viable because there’s a definite customer. The final design of the system is not yet complete and it still needs approval from regulators. But owners of Equinox Wind Partners say they’re planning to move forward. (AP)

Nursing Shortage
Health care facilities around the country are trying to attract more Canadian nurses to help fill critical shortages. The Vermont’s State Board of Nursing doesn’t track the number of Canadian nurses who are working in the state, but Vermont’s proximity to Canada allows some nurses to commute from Quebec. Fletcher Allen Health Care officials say the hospital has about 50 Canadians among its staff of some 1,300 nurses. The North American Free Trade Agreement allows registered nurses and other professionals to work in Vermont under a temporary visa. That visa can be renewed annually without limit. Officials say the strong U.S. dollar is helping to attract the Canadian nurses. (AP)

Lawyers Dispute Trial Location
Lawyers for a man accused of kidnapping and killing a North Clarendon woman say he shouldn’t face the death penalty in Vermont for a crime he allegedly committed in New York. Twenty-two-year-old Donald Fell is charged with kidnapping Teresa King at gunpoint from a Rutland parking lot in November of 2000. Police say Fell and an accomplice beat King to death in New York state later that day. But prosecutors say the case has substantial ties to Vermont, including being the scene of the alleged carjacking and kidnapping. The battle over the site of the trial is just one of several motions and responses recently filed by federal prosecutors and defense lawyers. A hearing in the case is set for July 25. Fell’s trial is scheduled to take place in November. (AP)

Boating Accident
Investigators are focusing on the use of ballast tanks on a boat involved in a Fourth of July accident that killed two children. The 26-foot MacGregor is a hybrid of a power boat and a sailboat. The manufacturer recommends that it carry up to 1,400 pounds of water in its tanks as ballast when more than four people are on the boat. On July 4, there were eleven people on a boat operated by George Dean Martin of Charlotte. The boat overturned off of Ferrisburgh and two children drowned. The boat’s manufacturer cannot explain why there was no sticker next to its steering column warning of the need for ballast when carrying a large load. (AP)

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