March 13, 2003 – News at a glance

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Medicinal marijuana bill
By a vote of 22 to 7, the Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave its support to legislation that will allow patients with severe and chronic illnesses use marijuana for pain relief. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Wind energy debate
Opponents of a large wind energy project planned for southern Vermont want a moratorium on wind turbine development. They argue a delay would give the state time to sort out which mountaintops are best suited for wind generation. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Jarris named health commissioner
Vermont’s longest serving commissioner has been replaced. Governor Jim Douglas has appointed Doctor Paul Jarris of Shelburne as Health Commissioner to succeed Doctor Jan Carney. Carney had served in the post since 1989. (VPR)

Homeland security grant
Governor Jim Douglas says the state of Vermont will receive nearly $5 million in federal Homeland Security grant money to help provide additional training and equipment for local and state emergency response teams. (VPR)

Husky expansion
Husky Injection Molding Systems in Milton announced on Wednesday that it plans to expand its plant and add up to 100 new jobs. Husky officials plan to add onto the existing facility, and have already begun hiring for 50 new positions. (VPR)

Barre murder suspect
The father of the ex-boyfriend of Tara Stratton has pleaded innocent to aggravated murder. Alfred Brochu, 50 years old, was arrested Wednesday and appeared in court that afternoon in Barre to answer charges in the stabbing death. (AP)

Property taxes
Governor James Douglas is urging lawmakers cut the statewide property tax rate and eliminate property taxes on farmers. Douglas is encouraging lawmakers to back his idea for education funding reform. A Senate plan would simplify the existing education funding system. (AP)

Teachers’ strike averted
School is on today in Milton. Teachers and administrators have reached a tentative agreement, averting a strike. Both sides say the negotiations went smoothly and they’re happy with the tentative agreement. (AP)

Unmarried households
Vermont has one of the country’s highest percentages of households led by unmarried couples. That’s according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Vermont had more than 12.5% of its coupled households led by unmarried partners.

Manchester Film Festival
The future of Vermont’s Manchester Film Festival is up in the air. The festival has been sued by one of its founders for back pay. That’s the second such complaint filed in Bennington Superior Court in recent months. (AP)

College basketball
Many Vermonters are starting to get a touch of March madness. That’s because the University of Vermont men’s basketball team is one win away from an automatic berth in the NCAA basketball tournament. The men must beat Boston University on Saturday to advance in the tournament. (AP)

Killington spring skiing
It’ll only cost a buck for a lift to the top of Killington Friday. In its best deal since the Vermont resort had a day of free skiing three years ago, Killington will cut its lift ticket prices from about $60 to $1. (AP)

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