May 22, 2002 – News at a Glance

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Interview: U.S.-Canadian Trade
The Vermont Business and Industry Expo is being held today at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington. It’s a chance for companies and institutions to showcase their products and services. Steve Delaney interviews Deputy Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner Robert Noble, who will be representing the Canadian government at the Expo. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

The Jeffords Effect: Impact on National Policy Issues
In the second part of our series on “The Jeffords Effect,” VPR’s John Dillon looks at the national farm plan, environmental issues and transportation policy a year later. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

The Jeffords Effect: Vermonters Share Opinons
It’s unlikely many people have changed their minds about the wisdom of Jeffords’ decision in the year since he announced his switch. A survey of the breakfast crowd at Montpelier’s Coffee Corner found that most people saw Jeffords’ move in light of it’s broader political implications, not in terms of specific issues. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Conference Committees
The House and Senate conference committee working on next year’s budget is considering some changes to the state’s Medicaid program, but the two chambers have yet to reach an agreement on this controversial issue. The conference committee is a familiar scene at this time of the year as the legislature winds down, as VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Hill Announces for Attorney General
Middlebury attorney Cindy Hill announced on Tuesday that she’ll seek the Progressive nomination for attorney general. Standing just outside of the Vermont Supreme Court Building, Hill told reporters that if elected she would be an advocate for the people. (VPR)

Census and Commuting
Vermonters’ commutes are growing, and a smaller percentage of the state’s residents are carpooling to work, according to the U.S. Census. Vermonters took an average of 18 minutes to get to work in 1990. That number had grown to 21.6 minutes in 2000. The percentage of people carpooling to work dropped from 12.9% to 11.9% during the decade. (AP)

Suspicious Device
Authorities have determined that an item found in an Orleans mailbox this morning was just a pipe not a pipe bomb. Orleans Elementary School was closed and a neighborhood was evacuated early this morning after a newspaper delivery person discovered the item.The state police bomb squad, based in Burlington, was called in and determined the item was a pipe filled with cement. Authorities say they do not know if it was a hoax or if someone just picked the pipe off the street and put it in the mailbox. (AP)

Legislative Calendar
The Legislature will probably miss this week’s adjournment deadline. Lawmakers are still negotiating compromises over taxes and Medicaid. House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on creating drug courts. (AP)

Waterbury Dam
An agreement has been reached on repairs to the Waterbury Dam, which was discovered to be structurally flawed three years ago. The $23 million project should begin this summer. (AP)

Kopp Extradition from France
The extradition deadline for James Kopp to fight being returned from France has passed. The former Swanton resident is wanted for the murder of an abortion provider in Buffalo, NY. (AP)

Jeffords’ Anniversary
Democratic senators in Washington are celebrating the anniversary of James Jeffords’ departure from the Republican Party. The move put the Democrats in charge of the Senate and stalled some of the conservative items on the Bush agenda. (AP)

Vermont Yankee
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will go back online today after repairs to stop leaking radiation. An anti-nuclear pressure group in Brattleboro wants the town’s emergency plan tested, in case terrorists attack the plant. (AP)

Lake Champlain Cleanup Plan
State offices in New York and Vermont have crafted a draft of a plan to clean phosphorous pollution out of Lake Champlain. The plan is open for public comment until the middle of June. (AP)

Vermont Census Statistics
New census figures indicate Vermont leads all New England states except New Hampshire in the percentage of high school graduates in the population. The figures indicate that Vermont became somewhat more prosperous in the 1990s, although large parts of the Northeast Kingdom and southwestern Vermont were left out of the state’s economic growth. Sheldon wins the distinction of having the highest percentage of Vermont-born residents, at 82%. Norwich has the fewest, 8%. (AP)

Vermont Priests on Administrative Leave
Six Vermont priests identified to the state as having abused children years ago are still on duty, ten days after their bishop said they’d be put on administrative leave. The Burlington Diocese says the priests will be put on leave beginning this Friday. (AP)

MAU Wrestling
The Vermont Principals’ Association is reviewing a letter of apology from a Bennington athlete whose high school wrestling championship was lifted when he used an illegal choke hold. The VPA will decide whether the apology, a condition of the wrestler’s punishment, meets their expectations of contrition. (AP)

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