September 19, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Obesity versus the food system
Mitch Wertlieb talks with UVM Dean of Agriculture Rachel Johnson. Johnson has helped organize this weekend’s lecture series on how food production and obesity are linked. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Heroin arrests up sharply
The head of the State Police says the number of heroin arrests in Vermont has doubled. Colonel Thomas Powlovich said a new drug enforcement effort called “HEAT” is already producing results. (VPR)

Racine weighs gubernatorial bid
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Racine says he’s actively exploring another run for governor. Racine says the prospect of facing Burlington mayor Peter Clavelle in a primary will not be a factor in his final decision. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Coolidge impersonator on final tour
Jim Cooke, the actor who’s portrayed Calvin Coolidge around the country for 30 years, is on his final whistle stop tour. This week he’s touring Vermont on the 75th anniversary of Coolidge’s last official visit to his native state. The trip was the occasion for the president’s famous, “Vermont Is A State I Love” speech. (AP)

Psychiatric hospital decertified
The Vermont State Hospital expects to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds after it is decertified at the end of the month. The news comes just days after officials there confirmed the second suicide at the state hospital in six weeks (AP)

Fundraising quarter ends soon
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign is kicking into overdrive as it nears an important fund-raising deadline. Dean’s campaign plans to raise money over the next few weeks through a couple of fund-raising stunts. (AP)

Soldier honored in Proctor
Vermonters are remembering a Proctor native on Friday who was killed while serving in Iraq earlier this year. A bridge will be dedicated in Sergeant Justin Garvey’s honor today. The 23-year-old Garvey died in July when the vehicle he was riding in was ambushed. (AP)

UVM housing project delayed
A plan to ease a student-housing crunch in Burlington is being delayed. The plans for the 203-bed apartment complex for University of Vermont students known as Catamount Apartments is being delayed by concerns that stormwater runoff would pollute a local brook. (AP)

Williston sales tax revenue
The town of Williston is receiving more money from a local sales tax than officials had anticipated. In April, May and June the town received $642,000 from the 1% tax it imposes on top of state taxes. That figure is 22% higher than anticipated. (AP)

Federal firearms charges
Two men stopped on a Vermont back road near the Canadian border earlier this month are facing federal firearms charges. Both men have been held without bail since their arrests earlier this month. Authorities say the two men were stopped in East Richford. (AP)

Unemployment rate down slightly
Vermont’s monthly unemployment rate edged down slightly in August. The Employment Department says the rate was 4%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from July. (AP)

Population growth
Vermont’s population hasn’t grown much in the last couple of years but it is becoming more diverse. That’s according to recently released U.S. Census data. The number of Vermonters grew by just 1.1% from 2000 to 2002. (AP)

Judy Dean joins campaign effort
Howard Dean’s wife, Judith Steinberg Dean, is getting more involved in his Democratic presidential campaign. She’s writing a letter to hundreds of thousands of past donors and potential future donor, asking them to give to her husband’s campaign. Up till now, Judy Dean hasn’t participated much in her husband’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. (AP)

Tremblay named Burlington police chief
Burlington Mayor peter Clavelle has named Thomas Tremblay, a 20-year veteran of the department, to be the city’s next police chief. Tremblay has promised better communication within the department and to hire eight new officers. (AP)

Douglas promotes commuter bus
Governor Jim Douglas plans to ride the first commuter bus between Burlington and Montpelier on Monday. The bus makes stops at commuter parking lots in Montpelier, Waterbury and Richmond. One-way tickets cost $3. Monthly passes are $99. (AP)

State to sell Duxbury Farm
The state is going to sell an unused 148-acre farm in Duxbury. The state farm used to be worked by patients from the Vermont State Hospital. The farm has been unused for a decade. Duxbury Town Clerk Ken Scott says he doesn’t know how much the land is worth. (AP)

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