The state’s unemployment numbers dropped while the University of Vermont contemplated layoffs, lawmakers debated the merits of ballot scanners, Brattleboro suffered a downtown fire and public radio lost a voice from its past.
These are some of the voices in the news this week.
(Mathew Barewicz, Vermont Department of Labor) "When you see the number 5.4 for the month of March 2011, that may seem like welcome news, but when you look back on Vermont’s history, I mean Vermont has had an unemployment rate in the 4’s, in the mid-3’s, so we’re still at an elevated level of unemployment."
(UVM Provost Jane Knodell) "There may be layoffs, the budget is still somewhat fluid with some moving parts. So we won’t really know till we’re further into the process. But it is a possibility."
(Milton Rep. Ronald Hubert) "History has proven that vote tabulators have an error rate of about 1 vote per 1000 ballots read, the history that we have received from the Secretary of State shows that hand counting can have errors in the same range from 10 votes to 40 votes per thousand votes."
(Ana McDaniel, manager of The Book Cellar in Brattleboro) "We were able to sort of one by one, in small groups, go into our businesses under the escort of a fire fighter. It’s very, very wet, and our initial impression also is probably there is very little of our stock that’s salvagable."
(Author and Naturalist Will Curtis) "Spring never came, summer never came and in July snow was still piled up and more coming down. Crops never got in the ground, animals died from lack of food; humans went hungry. In Vermont where conditions were particularly severe, whole families pulled up roots and left for parts of the country where such unnatural weather didn’t plague honest, hard-working folk." (Theme music from the Nature of Things) "Will Curtis and that is the Nature of Things."