An investigation into the cause and extent of chemical contamination in Vermont compost has been hampered by conflicting test results. The results have frustrated state and local officials, who had hoped to have more answers by now about what’s caused some commercial compost to damage garden plants. Barre’s City Council is expected to approve a property tax break this week for a development project in the heart of downtown. A Vermont committee has been appointed to conduct a national search for an education secretary after a state law was passed that gives the governor the authority to make that appointment. A Vermont judge has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murdering his wife in 1994, after newly analyzed DNA evidence raised questions about the case. And finally, Vermont State Police are investigating a case that’s apparently fairly black-and-white. They’re looking into the suspected theft of a cow from a farm in Orwell.