April 25, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: maple season
Steve Delaney talks with Larry Myotte of the UVM Extension Service about this year hit and miss maple season. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

SARS outbreak in Canada
Area health officials are keeping a close eye on daily developments in the SARS outbreak, especially now that the disease has struck across the border in Canada. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Clergy reporting bill
The Senate Health and Welfare committee has given its unanimous approval to legislation that adds members of the clergy to the list of mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse. The bill does exempt information gathered a confession from the reporting provisions of the law. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Beer tax debated
Democratic leaders in the Vermont Senate want to raise taxes on alcohol to expand the state’s substance abuse programs. But Governor Jim Douglas says major improvements can be made without raising taxes. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Business side of agriculture
Some Vermont agriculture students are learning the business side of dairy farming. They’ve also won some awards for their efforts. (VPR)

Wal-Mart pricing errors
Two Wal-Mart stores in Vermont are paying penalties for what the state says were pricing errors. (AP)

Students return from China
A group of Middlebury College students has left China because of the SARS outbreak there. Eight students had been studying in northeastern China. (AP)

Judges’ retirement age
Judges in Vermont would have to retire at the age of 80 under legislation passed by the Senate. For the past 30 years judges have had to retire at the age of 70. (AP)

Vermont’s E-911 system gets high marks from federal regulators for being prepared for emergencies. The nation’s 7,500 “911” emergency call centers are eligible to sign up for service priority. That means they would be among the first to have their operations restored if there were a disaster. (AP)

Minimum wage
The Vermont House endorsed a bill yesterday that would raise Vermont’s minimum wage by 50 cents per hour next year, with yearly cost-of-living adjustments to follow. The bill calls for raising Vermont’s minimum wage from its current $6.25 per hour to $6.75 per hour on January 1. (AP)

Douglas comments on Santorum
Governor Jim Douglas says he thinks comments by a U.S. Senator equating gays with incest and adultery were wrong. But Douglas says it’s up to the Republicans in the U.S. Senate to decide if Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum should lose his post as the third ranking member. (AP)

Dean celebrates civil union law
Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean will be marking the third anniversary of Vermont’s civil unions law with supporters. His campaign is helping organize more than 50 fund-raisers at the homes of supporters across the country Saturday. (AP)

Drug ring busted
A man accused of leading a European-based ecstasy and cocaine smuggling ring has pleaded guilty in Vermont to federal charges. Thirty-five-year-old George Lammers of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will serve 20 years in prison. (AP)

Vigil for fired nurse
Supporters of a Vermont nurse who says she was fired for union activity are trying to get her reinstated. Organizers estimate some 200 people attended a candlelight vigil last night in support of former Fletcher Allen Health Care nurse Marley Skiff. (AP)

I-89 pavement crumbling
Crumbling pavement on a section of Vermont I-89 is causing problems for the state’s highway budget. The stretch of road between Richmond and Montpelier was installed seven years ago; similar roadways in Vermont have held up for 30 years. (AP)

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