April 21, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: Barbieri steps down
Steve Delaney talks with Chris Barbieri, the longtime president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Barbieri announced last week he is moving to China. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

School choice in Act 60 reform
Administration Secretary Michael Smith is backing an effort to include an expanded school choice plan in the new compromise Act 60 Reform bill. Senate Education Chairman Jim Condos says he’ll strongly oppose the idea. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean in New Hampshire
Howard Dean is campaigning in New Hampshire where he’s trying to turn the focus his campaign from war to the economy. Dean is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Listen to the story online.) (VPR)

Douglas’ first 100 days
Governor Jim Douglas says his first 100 days in office have been marked by rapid progress on school financing and economic development issues. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Human Services Agency hearing
A Senate committee is seeking the public’s input as it considers reorganizing the Agency of Human Services. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee wants to hear from people who have dealt with the human services agency and have comments about the agency’s work. The committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday afternoon at Burlington City Hall’s Contois Auditorium. (AP)

Waterbury dam funding
Additional federal funds have fallen through to repair the Waterbury dam. Officials say the lack of funding will delay the project for another year. The U.S. Senate passed a mid-year budget adjustment that included about $3.3 million to fix the leaking dam. But the House has rejected the provision. (AP)

St. Michael’s expansion
The president of St. Michael’s College in Colchester has laid out a master plan for the school that includes a hockey rink, dormitories and more parking. President Marc vanderHeyden says the changes are what the small Catholic school needs to do to become a complete residential college. (AP)

Champlain College building permit
Champlain College has won state approval to go ahead with plans for a $30 million expansion. The college has resolved a long dispute over its Act 250 land-use permit. That means construction could begin within weeks on a business and technology center. (AP)

4-20 quashed
The University of Vermont is continuing its crackdown on the annual marijuana smoking event known as 4-20. About 40 students gathered on the steps of the Bailey Howe library Sunday just after 4:00 p.m., but so did six campus police officers. (AP)

Fewer deer season permits
The Fish and Wildlife Department has recommended a 20% reduction in the number of hunting permits issued for antlerless deer. Officials the severe winter likely has caused a drop in the deer population. (AP)

Leopard frogs
The Vermont Agency of Transportation is working with the state Fish and Wildlife Department and local environmentalists to keep animals off the road. The state has put up fencing on Route 2 in Milton to save northern leopard frogs from being hit. It’s also planning to build wildlife tunnels as it repairs old roads and paves new ones. (AP)

Joe’s Pond still frozen
Spring comes slowly to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Just ask the 6,500 people who bet on the annual Joe’s Pond ice-out contest. Ice still covers the Danville pond. The winner is still waiting for the cinder blocks to fall to the bottom and end the contest. (AP)

Civil unions boost tourism
A report by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research found that same-sex civil unions have helped tourism in Vermont and could do the same for Connecticut. A state office estimated that if a civil unions law were enacted in Connecticut, about 8,000 more tourists would visit the state for ceremonies in the first year. (AP)

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