March 15, 2005 – News at a glance

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Initial results from Doyle survey released
According to the preliminary results of Senator Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day survey, an overwhelming number of Vermonters support efforts to expand the state’s bottle deposit law. Respondents also think that doctors should be allowed to help terminally ill patients die. (VPR)

Supreme Court hears arguments on access to information
The Vermont Supreme Court heard two arguments on Monday involving access to information. One centered on former Presidential candidate Howard Dean’s decision to keep many of his gubernatorial records sealed. The other concerned a television station’s refusal to give authorities videotape of a riot on the University of Vermont campus. (VPR)

Panel explores civics and heroism
The University of Vermont is hosting a panel discussion on Monday afternoon, “Politics and the Public Trust: The Next Generation of Civic Heroes.” The panel includes attorney, author and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (VPR)

Supreme Court hears WCAX case
The Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments over whether television station WCAX must give prosecutors unbroadcast videotape of a disturbance at the University of Vermont. Chittenden County’s top prosecutor says he wants access to what he describes as some of the best evidence imaginable. The station’s lawyer countered that the station should have qualified protection under the First Amendment that would protect it from having to turn the tapes over. (AP)

Watchdogs say Dean records should be released
A Washington-based watchdog group says the state hasn’t met its burden in trying to keep secret the papers of former governor Howard Dean. The group Judicial Watch wants the Vermont Supreme Court to order Dean’s records released, and says the state has not met its burden of proof that records left behind by former Governor Howard Dean should be kept sealed for ten years. The group says the state should go through each of the documents sealed in 93 boxes one by one and give its reasons for wanting to keep each one secret. The Vermont Supreme Court will not rule on the case for months. (AP)

Howard Dean praises New Jersey Democrats
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean praised New Jersey Democrats last night for the way they have bounced back from the political crisis the party faced with last year’s resignation of Governor James McGreevey. Much of Dean’s 14-minute speech to party members attending a $1,000 per ticket fundraiser at the Trenton Marriott Hotel was directed at the Bush administration, which he blamed for forcing states to raise taxes to cover federal mandates that have gone unfunded, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. (AP)

Burlington police clear man of murder involvement
Police in Burlington have cleared a man of possible involvement into the murder of Laura Winterbottom. The 31-year-old Burlington woman was found dead in her car in the city’s Old North End last week. Police are not saying how she was killed. Investigators released a sketch of a man they thought might have been involved in the killing or witnessed some activity. But the authorities now say the man was not involved. (AP)

Governor pledges to support open government and public access
Governor James Douglas has pledged to support an open government that is accessible to the public. Douglas today signed a proclamation for the Vermont Press Association during Sunshine Week, an effort organized by media organizations to press for government access. Douglas says open government is essential in a free democracy. (AP)

Different views on mercury pollution
New Hampshire considers a bill aimed at mercury pollution today at the same time the EPA is expected to issue a ruling allowing coal-burning power plants to trade credits with other cleaner plants across the country rather than cleaning up existing mercury emissions. (AP)

Tuna salad recalled throughout New England
The manufacturer of prepared tuna salad is conducting a voluntary recall because of possible contamination. The product is made by Hans Kissle Company and sold under the Hans Kissle, Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, Star Market and Block and Barrel labels. The Haverhill-based company says the tuna could be contaminated by Listeria, which causes flu-like symptoms in healthy people, but is potentially fatal for young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths. Hans Kissle is recalling 5 lb and 8 oz containers with sell-by dates between March 15th and March 31st. The tuna salad in question was sold in all six New England states as well as New York and New Jersey. (AP)

Health Department looking at radiation reading at Vermont Yankee
A radiation monitor at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station has recorded a radiation level above the amount the state allows. Officials with the Vermont Department of Health say the monitor was the only one of approximately 40 that recorded increased radiation since the last reading. The Health Department checks the monitors quarterly. Health Commissioner Paul Jarris says officials do not believe the elevated reading poses any immediate threat. Jarris says the Health Department and Vermont Yankee are working to figure out what caused the reading. It is unclear if there was increased release of radiation from the nuclear reactor or if the reading was incorrect. (AP)

Tickets to UVM game being sold online at inflated prices
Tickets to the University of Vermont’s men’s basketball game against Syracuse are being sold on a wide number of ticket broker websites at a significant mark-up from the $55 price. was selling tickets for Friday night’s two opening-round NCAA tournament games in Worcester, Massachusetts, for $185 each. Another website is offering closer seating for $281 each. Some Vermont fans will buy their tickets at face value. Officials say the NCAA has allotted 550 tickets to UVM. High-paying members of the school’s booster organization, The Victory Club, will be given priority. A few lucky students also will get tickets. A raffle drawing for students will be held tomorrow morning. (AP)

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