March 1, 2005 – News at a glance

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Annual Doyle survey focuses on health care
Washington County Senator Bill Doyle is distributing his Town Meeting Day survey in over 150 communities this year. The survey contains a number of new health and environmental questions. (VPR)

Rochester passes resolutions after lengthy discussion
Vermont’s annual Town Meeting Day is upon us but a number of communities held their meetings Monday night. In Rochester nearly a third of the evening was taken up with discussion about several non-binding resolutions. (VPR)

Rutland town discusses railyard proposal in advance of vote
Rutland Town and Rutland City have been working for several years on a $100 million plan to move the city’s congested railyards to a larger parcel of land in Rutland Town. Residents of the two communities will have their first chance to weigh in on the project on Tuesday in separate ballot items. (VPR)

Rockingham passes school budget, Guard resolution
The town of Rockingham was among dozens of towns across the state that held town meetings on Monday night. Voters unanimously passed an essentially level-funded town budget after some scrutiny and a minimal amount of haggling. (VPR)

Interview: How media outlets cover Town Meeting Day
Given the wide range of issues and topics that affect different communities in a variety of ways, covering Town Meetings is a major challenge for Vermont’s media. Mitch Wertlieb talks with Jeff Gevalt, managing editor of the Burlington Free Press. (VPR)

Railyard ballot item raises controversy in Rutland
Town meeting day voters in Rutland City and Rutland Town will be considering the pros and cons of a $100 million rail yard relocation project. While many in the community are in favor of the move, VPR’s Nina Keck reports debate over the proposed site has heated up in recent weeks. (VPR)

Guard resolution
If early town meetings are any indication, Vermont’s reaction to a resolution involving the Iraq war will be passionate and varied. On Saturday, Westminster voted for the resolution, Starksboro decided it to table it and Thetford spent an hour discussing and amending it. (AP)

Two die in snowmobile accident
Two Northeast Kingdom residents have died in a snowmobile crash in Barton. Thirty-year-old Freddy Geraw of Barton and his nephew, 12-year-old Michael Geraw of Newport, were killed Friday night when the snowmobile they were riding went off a VAST trail, down an embankment and into the Barton River. (AP)

Property tax reassurance
Leaders of the Vermont House are seeking to reassure voters headed to annual town meetings that they’re looking for ways to moderate growing property tax bills. The House Ways and Means Committee has drafted a proposal that won’t be forwarded to the full House until after lawmakers return from their weeklong recess. Speaker Gaye Symington says the intention is to let lawmakers get reactions from constituents at town meetings. (AP)

Towns without taxes
While voters in many Vermont towns debate the finer points of municipal budgets this Town Meeting Day, three communities don’t have much to talk about. Buels Gore, Mount Tabor and Coventry won’t be levying any municipal taxes today at all. (AP)

Heroin dealer arrested
Burlington police say they’ve arrested a major heroin dealer who has been on the state’s most wanted list for more than two years. Police arrested 25-year-old Angel Colon of Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday night using a tip from an informant. Police say Colon had been delivering large amounts of heroin to several Vermont communities for at least two years and using several aliases to duck the law. (AP)

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