March 4, 2005 – News at a glance

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Dairy price support program
President Bush says he supports a milk subsidy program that helps Vermont dairy producers. But his recently released budget would shrink payments to farmers. (VPR)

Internet identity theft
Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced legislation that’s designed to fight identify theft on the Internet. If the proposal is not adopted, Leahy is concerned that the public’s trust with the Internet will be undermined. (VPR)

New bishop named for Burlington Diocese
Vermont Catholics have a new leader. On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington announced that Pope John Paul the Second has appointed Monsignor Salvatore Matano to succeed Bishop Kenneth Angell when Angell retires. (VPR)

Omya Act 250 infraction excused
The state has decided not to take enforcement action against the Omya Corporation for an Act 250 violation. An environmental activist has criticized the decision, saying officials have sidestepped their responsibility to uphold the law. (VPR)

Vermont Guard resolutions spark national discussion
On Town Meeting Day, 48 Vermont communities voted for some version of a resolution that asked elected officials to examine whether it’s appropriate to use National Guard troops in foreign deployments, specifically to Iraq. (VPR)

Skiers charged for rescue
Vermont State Police officials are considering charging another out-of-state man for the costs of rescuing him after he skied out of bounds. On Thursday troopers announced that four Pennsylvania men had been billed nearly $4,200 apiece. Major James Baker says state police were involved in another rescue in January at Killington that involved a Virginia man. Baker says state police are considering sending him a bill for helping to find him in the woods and lead him to safety. (AP)

Unemployment rate
The Vermont unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point in January. The state Department of Employment and Training says it fell to 3.5 percent. The department says seasonal layoffs after the holiday were slightly higher than expected but they’re expected to be temporary. (AP)

Minimum wage bills
Amid efforts in Congress to increase the federal minimum wage, lawmakers in northern New England are considering taking action themselves. Vermont senators already have approved a bill that would tie raises in the minimum wage to increases in the consumer price index. In Maine, a bill awaiting further action would ratchet the state’s hourly minimum from the present $6.35 to $7. (AP)

Land conservation leadership
The Trust for Public Land has a new northern New England director. Dennis Shaffer will be overseeing the national nonprofit’s work in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. He’ll lead conservation projects from an office in Montpelier. (AP)

License plate rules
Vermont vehicles will still be required to have license plates on the front and back. Police opposition led state officials to scrap a cost-saving move to do away with front plates. Eliminating front plates would have saved the state $150,000 a year. (AP)

Emerson rape charges
A former Springfield man with a long history of sex crimes is facing two new attempted rape charges in Alabama. Alabama police are searching for Daniel Dean Emerson who was released from the Springfield prison last summer after completing a 20-year rape sentence. (AP)

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