October 31, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Maple specialist retires
Mitch Wertlieb talks with retiring maple specialist Larry Myott. After 30 years in the University of Vermont’s Agriculture Department, Myott will retire from his position in January. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Agencies face 2% budget cut next year
The Douglas administration is asking most state agencies to consider a 2% cut in spending in the next fiscal year. The administration says the move is necessary because of slow revenue growth and required spending increases in the Human Services budget. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Racial harassment in schools
A new report says that racial harassment continues to be a serious problem in Vermont schools. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Environmental Board proposed Act 250 rule changes
The Environmental Board will send new rules to the Legislature that change the way the public gets involved in Act 250. The rules set up several ways for the public to be heard in development review cases. (VPR)

Douglas re-election campaign
Governor Jim Douglas has confirmed his intentions to seek re-election to a second term. He said at a Northeast Kingdom event on Thursday that he was preparing to launch his political campaign. (AP)

Iowa poll results
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt are tied in Iowa. That’s according to a poll released by KCCI-TV. Dean and Gephardt both had 26% support. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry had 15%. (AP)

Possible Dean endorsement
The biggest union in the AFL-CIO will decide next week whether to endorse Howard Dean – if it endorses any of the Democratic presidential candidates. Sara Howard, the spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union, says, “It’s Dean or no one.” The union has 1.6 million members. (AP)

Teachers pull out of Putnam Investments
The board managing pension funds for current and retired Vermont teachers became the first in the nation this week to fire Putnam Investments. That’s the Boston company that is being investigated for inappropriate trading practices. The board of the Vermont State Teachers Retirement System voted unanimously Wednesday to pull its $91 million in investments from Putnam. (AP)

National Guard business training
Vermont Senator James Jeffords says a new business training program has been developed for veterans and members of the Reserves and National Guard. It’s designed for people who have served in the armed services who want to start or expand a small business. (AP)

UVM union vote
There’s going to be another vote on whether to form a union at the University of Vermont. This time part-time faculty members at the university are deciding whether to organize. The union says December third has been set as the date for the part-time faculty to vote on unionizing (AP)

Prescription drugs
Michigan and Vermont have slowed the rise in the cost of drugs provided through Medicaid. Both states now require physicians in most cases to prescribe drugs from a preferred list of cost-effective drugs. That practice, along with better drug management, has held down the growth in drug costs by 11% so far. (AP)

Okemo owners buy Colorado resort
The owners of the Okemo Mountain ski resort in Ludlow are buying the Crested Butte Resort in Colorado. Okemo President Timothy Mueller says the deal might be final in time for the opening of the season, planned for December 13. He won’t give the purchase price. (AP)

Marathon switches to lottery system
The Vermont City Marathon is going to use a lottery to decide who gets a spot in the popular relay event of the race next spring. Marathon officials were overwhelmed by entries for the relay last year. This time around, the Burlington-based marathon will accept relay bids from November 3 to November 30. The lottery drawing for spots in the relay event will be held on first day of December. (AP)

PSU hazing
Ten students at Plattsburgh State University have been dismissed or suspended from the school following an investigation into unsanctioned pledging activity and the death of a student this past spring in a hazing incident. (AP)

Provost trial
The murder trial of Douglas Provost is expected to go before a jury on Friday. Provost is accused of killing four people in Belvidere in July 2001. Prosecutors say Provost confessed to the shootings, but say one was accidental and the other three were in self-defense. (AP)

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