October 22, 2003 – News at a glance

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Education testing compact
Vermont will join a compact with New Hampshire and Rhode Island to develop new tests to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law. New math and reading tests must be in place by 2005 and federally approved science tests by 2007. State officials say the regional collaboration will save time and money. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Chronic illness costs rise dramatically
Vermont Health Commissioner Doctor Paul Jarris says the state will be unable to maintain its current levels of health care access, unless changes are made in the way services are delivered to chronically ill people. (VPR)

Black bear expert gives talk in Montpelier
The man sometimes referred to as “the Jane Goodall of the bear world” will be speaking in Montpelier Tuesday evening as part of a New England lecture tour. (VPR)

D.C. primary may boost Dean’s appeal to minority voters
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean plans to wage an active campaign to win a primary in the District of Columbia. The D.C. primary is being held six days before the Iowa caucuses and the Dean campaign is hoping that a win will show that Dean’s message is being strongly supported by African-American voters. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Omya waste permit
Environmental Commissioner Jeffrey Wennberg says he’s close to a decision on whether the Omya calcium carbonate plant needs a solid waste permit. Omya wants to expand storage for the mining waste left over from its rock-crushing operation in Pittsford. Local residents are concerned that trace chemicals in the waste could contaminate their groundwater. And they argue that the state has allowed Omya to operate an illegal waste dump for years. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean leads in New Hampshire poll
A new poll shows Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean with a 14-point lead over rival John Kerry, among likely Democratic and independent voters in New Hampshire. (AP)

State Hospital may not be in compliance by January
State officials say the Vermont State Hospital may not be ready to regain its federal certification by January. (AP)

Small hydropower contract will continue
The Department of Public Service has renegotiated a contract for a small amount of inexpensive hydropower from the Saint Lawrence River. (AP)

Senate abortion vote
Vermont’s two United States senators voted on different sides of a proposal to ban a specific abortion procedure. Senator Patrick Leahy voted to ban what opponents call “partial birth” abortion. Independent Senator James Jeffords voted against it. (AP)

Lead safety
Governor Jim Douglas and health officials are praising an effort to educate Vermonters about the dangers of childhood lead poisoning. Douglas was in Rutland on Wednesday to present an award to Leslie Wright, director of the Vermont Lead Safety Project. (AP)

Low income phone service
Telephone bills are going up $13.50 for several thousand low-income Vermonters who failed to reapply for the Lifeline Telephone Service credit. But the state is reopening enrollment to enable eligible Vermonters to continue receiving the credit. (AP)

Cabot Creamery expands to Montpelier
The Cabot Creamery cheesemaker is expanding to Montpelier. The dairy processor has outgrown its plant in Cabot and plans to break ground on a new distribution warehouse in the capitol city next month. Officials say the expansion will not add any new jobs. (AP)

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