June 18, 2004 – News at a glance

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Interview: Vermont Yankee transformer fire
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant went offline at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning due to a fire in a transformer on the non-nuclear side of the plant. Officials say there was no release of radiation in the incident and no injuries. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Vermont Yankee spokesman Rob Williams about the incident. (VPR)

Vermont Episcopal Diocese formalizes same-sex ceremonies
The Episcopal Church in Vermont will formally embrace gay and lesbian unions with a standardized ceremony. The church says it will establish a policy on blessing same-sex unions in the same way there is a diocese-wide policy for marriage. It’s only the second Episcopal diocese in the country to formally embrace gay and lesbian unions. (VPR)

Wind projects on state land
The Douglas administration has issued a draft policy that prohibits large scale wind development on state land. The proposal does allow smaller projects if the energy is going to be used on-site and is not intended for commercial use. (VPR)

Medical transcriptionists begin training
The state’s largest hospital will hire Vermonters to process medical transcriptions instead of sending the jobs overseas. Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington plans to employ the new workers after they undergo an intensive eight-month education program. Twenty trainees began their studies this week. (VPR)

Vermont Guard on alert for deployment
Fifteen-hundred members of the Vermont Army National Guard have been put on alert that they may be mobilized for active duty. The alert means that the soldiers of the 86th Brigade will prepare for the possibility of deployment. (VPR)

9-11 commision
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas says it’s troubling to hear comments coming from members of the 9-11 Commission. The commission has concluded there was no “collaborative relationship” between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda. (AP)

Supreme Court appointment
Governor Jim Douglas says he wants to work quickly to appoint a new chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court. Douglas will name a replacement for Chief Justice Jeffrey Amestoy from a list submitted to him by the Judicial Nominating Board. (AP)

Unemployment rate steady
Vermont’s unemployment rate in May stayed the same for the second month in a row at 3.5 percent. That’s down about one percentage point from May 2003. (AP)

MA same-sex marriage statute
Two Essex Junction women are helping to launch a legal attack on a 1913 Massachusetts law that bars out-of-state gay couples from marrying in that state. Lawyers say they’ll file two suits Friday arguing the law is unconstitutional. Sandi and Bobbi Cote-Whitacre of Essex Junction are among the plaintiffs. (AP)

Harwood track team controversy
The Vermont Principals’ Association will await a legal ruling before deciding which high school track team will be the Division 2 champion this year. On Wednesday the Harwood Union High School board voted to return the championship trophy that senior David Strojny helped win. Strojny had been suspended from athletic competition for violating the school’s substance abuse policy. But a judge overturned the suspension, giving him time to compete. The Harwood School Board is contesting Strojney’s lawsuit. (AP)

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