March 9, 2004 – News at a glance

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Omya seeks exemption to solid waste fees
The Omya Corporation wants an exemption from fees and taxes related to waste from its mineral mining operation. Omya faces a state ruling on its waste that could force it to pay millions of dollars. Company officials have asked the Legislature for help. (VPR)

50 years ago: Vermonter stands up to McCarthy
Fifty years ago on Tuesday, a soft spoken U.S. senator from Vermont stood before a nearly empty Senate chamber and made a speech that set in motion a chain of events that would end a troubled era in American politics. Ralph Flanders was an unlikely figure to stand up to a powerful Wisconsin Senator named Joseph McCarthy. (VPR)

Bennington development
Bennington has seen some hard knocks over the last 15 years with significant losses in industry and jobs. This fall, though, a long-awaited highway of opportunity for this area will open. With the opening of the first leg of the Bennington Bypass has come a debate over where – and on what scale – the development will be. (VPR)

Drop in state revenue
State revenues in February took an unexpected drop because personal income tax refunds are running much higher than projected.The Douglas Administration is trying to determine if this is happening because the Tax Department is processing returns much more efficiently than in previous years. (VPR)

Affordable housing study
A leading economist says housing in is more affordable than it has been in years.Art Woolf of the Vermont Economy newsletter says record low interest rates have more than compensated for rising home prices. (VPR)

Vermont food labels
State officials held a hearing on Monday to talk about the labeling of Vermont products. The Vermont Attorney General’s office has proposed labeling regulations to help consumers figure out whether products are made in Vermont or contain Vermont ingredients. Right now, some brands use the Vermont name but don’t have a Vermont connection. (AP)

Heating assistance program
A statewide program that helps low-income Vermonters pay their heating bills is warning of an early shutdown. The Warmth Support Program hasn’t gotten as much money in donations this year as in past years. Last year, the Burlington-based fund received $105,000 in donations, as opposed to $80,000 this year. (AP)

College drinking targeted
The University of Vermont is one of a handful of colleges targeted in a national advertising campaign to discourage high-risk drinking during spring break. Leading the campaign is the American Medical Association, which has put ads in UVM’s and other college newspapers aimed at raising awareness of high-risk drinking. (AP)

School may be sold on eBay
The Mount Anthony Union School Board is thinking of putting the town’s old middle school up for sale on eBay. The board turned aside a $100,000 offer for the school on Monday to explore using the Internet auction site instead. The school was built in 1913 and has 81,000 square feet. (AP)

Monte the Moose
A moose beat out Bigfoot and a catamount to become the first mascot of Bennington’s Southern Vermont College. Monte the Moose made his debut to great fanfare at a recent basketball game. (AP)

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