June 4, 2004 – News at a glance

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Interview: Future of family farms
Agriculture experts from around Vermont met in Brattleboro Thursday night for a discussion on ways to maintain family farms, and make sure they’re a vibrant part of the state’s economy and way of life. Robert Wellington says doing so takes a lot more than a snappy ad campaign like the “Got milk?” slogan. Wellington is the senior vice president for Agri-Mark, one of New England’s largest farmer-owned dairy cooperatives, and he talks with Mitch Wertlieb. (VPR)

Douglas steers away from heavy campaign debate schedule
Governor Jim Douglas says he will debate his Democratic challenger, but probably not as many times as in the last campaign. The Republican governor also said at his weekly news conference that he’s hopeful Vermonters will support him for re-election, even if voters oppose the Iraq war and other policies of the Bush administration. (VPR)

Organizers question future of farmers’ milk processing plant
Supporters of a plan to locate a new milk processing plant in Springfield say their proposal faces an uncertain future because lawmakers failed to appropriate half a million dollars for the project. If the plan does go forward, it’s likely that a different location will be chosen for the project. (VPR)

Brattleboro festival highlights family farming
Organizers of this weekend’s Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro hope folks joining in the fun will take away a serious message. They say Vermont’s farm economy has been in trouble for years and new, creative ways are needed to help it survive. (AP)

Fletcher Allen shows financial turnaround in first two quarters
Vermont’s largest hospital has announced some good financial news. Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington reported today that its income exceeded expenses for the first half of its fiscal year by $5.7 million. (AP)

Justice Department to review State Hospital
Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice will do a systems review of the Vermont State Hospital this summer. Vermont Human Services Secretary Charles Smith said today that the investigation was triggered by publicity over the hospital’s loss of federal certification last year. (AP)

Jeffords campaigns for Democrats
Vermont Independent Senator Jim Jeffords is showing no longing for the Republican Party. Instead, Jeffords says Democrats have a “real chance” to regain the majority in the U.S. Senate that they lost after the 2002 elections. Jeffords left the GOP three years ago. (AP)

Agriculture bill signed into law
A bill that was a top priority of the governor’s administration and set off a hotbed of debate in the Vermont Statehouse has become law. Governor Jim Douglas on Thursday signed the right-to-farm bill at the Conant dairy farm in Richmond. (AP)

Rep. Shaw decides against retirement
A Republican state representative from Derby who had announced plans to retire from politics is running after all. Loren Shaw says he changed his mind after hearing from constituents who asked him to reconsider. Shaw was first elected in 2000. (AP)

Nuclear fuel rods
Millstone Power Station is one of about a dozen nuclear power plants being asked to inventory their fuel rods. The move comes after the loss of rods at Millstone and at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. (AP)

Fish and Wildlife licenses
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is now selling licenses online. Hunters, anglers and trappers who have had a license in the past can now log on to the department’s Web site and buy their license. (AP)

Two priests ordained
Vermont’s Roman Catholic Church will be getting two new priests tomorrow. Bishop Kenneth Angell is scheduled to ordain 35-year-old Karl Hahr and 30-year-old Daniel White. Vermont has 92 priests, compared with 150 a half century ago (AP)

Turnbaugh ruled insane
A psychiatrist’s report says that a 20-year-old Moretown man acquitted of killing a co-worker is insane. The report about the mental health of Isaac Turnbaugh was written last month after Turnbaugh damaged his family’s home and then held police at bay for seven hours. (AP)

Jodie Whitney’s body identified
Police have formally identified the body of a woman found Wednesday as that of Jodie Whitney, who had been missing since last week. An autopsy on the body of the 35-year-old Whitney of Johnson was scheduled for Thursday. (AP)

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