July 22, 2002 – News at a glance

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Burlington Diocese
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington hasn’t decided if it will change its policy of investigating child sexual abuse allegations first, before turning information over to authorities. Vermont officials have made it clear they want the change. But the diocesan attorney says he wants to see how the attorney general handles its review of allegations against a number of Vermont priests. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Sounds of Vermont: Nightlife
Evenings in Vermont are celebrated in postcards and song as a peaceful time, when the sun goes down and the day’s work is over. It’s a time to sit back on the porch and listen to the crickets. But for many Vermonters the best part of the day is just beginning. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean on “Meet the Press”
Vermont Governor Howard Dean says if he were elected president he wouldn’t seek to pass a national civil unions law. Dean said on NBC’s Meet the Press program yesterday that he continues to support marriage-like rights and benefits for gays and lesbians, but the governor and likely presidential candidate says it should be up to states to determine how that goal is achieved. Dean also said he supports the idea of nation-building in poorer countries. Dean said disagrees with President Bush’s policy of avoiding using U.S. aid to bring stability to other countries. (AP)

Legislative candidates
Candidates for two seats in a disputed legislative district say they’ll do their best to represent all voters equally in the Vermont House. The district in question is newly created in this year’s reapportionment and combines the Washington County towns of Worcester and Woodbury with Elmore and Morrisville in Lamoille County. (AP)

Agriculture fairs
Some of the organizers of Vermont’s traditional agricultural fairs are worried about the future of the events. Orleans County Fair President Philip LaFontaine says fairs are getting a lot more competition than they used to from other forms of entertainment. (AP)

Vermont Yankee
Just ten days remain until the expiration date on the sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. The planned buyer of the plant, Mississippi-based Entergy Nuclear, says it won’t close the deal unless it’s allowed to keep half of the decommissioning fund. The fund is set aside to pay for dismantling the Vernon reactor. (AP)

FAHC garage
Vermont’s top hospital regulator says she had little choice but to approve a hotly debated parking garage at Burlington’s Fletcher Allen Health Care. Elizabeth Costle — commissioner of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration — notes the project was already well under way when the permit application came before her. (AP)

Apple co-op failing
Vermont’s only apple cooperative is facing some serious financial woes. Experts say the problems facing the Shoreham Cooperative Apple Producers’ Association reflect the hard times facing apple producers nationwide. (AP)

Reservist returns from Afghanistan
A Rutland doctor and Army reservist who recently returned from Afghanistan says it’s good to be back in Vermont. Matthew Conway spent nearly three months in Afghanistan. His unit serves close to the front lines and performs emergency surgery on soldiers. (AP)

Farm worker awarded damages
A Vermont judge has awarded $4 million dollars in compensation to a Jamaican man who suffered brain injuries on a Putney farm several years ago. But it remains to be seen whether the defendant in the case will be able to pay any of the damages. (AP)

Shore-to-shore swim
The Greater Burlington YMCA will be able to put $10,000 toward swimming programs for the disabled. That’s thanks to a weekend fundraising event in which swimmers swam eight miles across Lake Champlain from the New York shore to Burlington. (AP)

Insanity defense
Two pending homicide cases could become the first in a quarter-century in Vermont in which the lawyer for the accused tries to use an insanity defense. In Chittenden County, Jacob Sexton is planning to use an insanity defense against charges that he beat to death a Japanese student two years ago. And in Lamoille County, the question of sanity has been raised in the case of Keefe Beattie, who is accused of killing his live-in caregiver in 2001. (AP)

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