April 28, 2003 – News at a glance

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Dubie seeks expanded trade with Canada
New political administrations in Vermont and Quebec mean new opportunities for strengthened ties between the two. As VPR’s Neal Charnoff reports, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie wants to expand the relationship. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Housing shortage worsens in Rutland
Rutland housing officials say homelessness is on the rise in Rutland and they’re worried it’s going to get worse. They say this past winter’s record high fuel prices, low temperatures and home fires have created a difficult situation. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Salamander crossing
A rite of spring has been gaining attention around Vermont. It’s the annual mating migration of spotted salamanders and other amphibians to the region’s vernal pools and ponds. It happens on a wet night in April and it’s all about love. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Beer tax debate continues
A fight is shaping up in the Vermont Legislature about increasing taxes on beer. The Senate wants a range of alcohol tax increases to pay for expanded substance abuse programs – including a two-cents-a-bottle increase in the excise tax on beer. (AP)

Senate faces three spending bills
The Vermont Senate is poised this week to take up three major spending bills. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch says it’s expected the body will consider the annual transportation bill tomorrow. That includes road and bridge projects around the state. (AP)

PSB hearing on Vermont Yankee
The Public Service Board is holding a hearing this week on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Entergy Nuclear wants to increase the output from the plant by 20%. The hearing is Tuesday night in the Vernon Elementary School cafeteria. (AP)

Air Guard troops return
The first Vermont Air National Guard members back from the Middle East are now enjoying time with their families. Fifteen members of the 158th Security Forces Squadron returned this weekend from Qatar. (AP)

Central Vermont bus service
There’s good news for central Vermonters who relied on Wheels Transportation buses to get around the area. Buses are set to start rolling along the former Wheels routes Monday morning. Bus routes will remain similar to those traced by Wheels. (AP)

Assistance now available to farms
Vermont farmers can now begin applying for some much needed financial help. The emergency program signed into law last Friday is intended to give farmers cash to pay for spring planting. It provides $20 million in loans to eligible farmers. (AP)

Turkey season starts Thursday
Vermont wildlife officials are predicting a good season for turkey hunters. The lead turkey biologist for the state says he expects this winter’s cold temperatures may have killed a few birds but he expects the season starting Thursday to be a good one. (AP)

Battenkill trout population
The decline of brown trout populations in one of Vermont’s most famous streams appears to be leveling off. State fisheries biologist Ken Cox says that’s a glimmer of hope for southwestern Vermont’s Battenkill. (AP)

Hand Motors expansion
A Manchester car dealership has been given the go-ahead to expand after state historians failed to produce evidence of the purported archaeological significance of the area. The District Eight Environmental Commission said Hand Motors could build its proposed 21,000-square-foot addition, plus added parking and paint-spraying booths. (AP)

Philanthropy lowest in New England
It may be Yankee thriftiness or just plain stinginess. But a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy finds that New Englanders are among the least generous people in the country when it comes to giving money to charity. (AP)

Hit and run accident kills bicyclist
Police in Vermont and New Hamphsire are investigating a hit-and-run accident that killed a bicyclist on a Connecticut River bridge. Authorities say the accident happened at about 8:00 p.m. Sunday evening, when the unidentified cyclist was struck on the Route 12 bridge between Ascutney, Vermont and Claremont, New Hampshire. (AP)

Reckless endangerment with handgun
A 19-year-old man from the town of Washington faces a charge of reckless endangerment after allegedly pointing a handgun at three juveniles. John Driscoll was arrested Sunday and later released on conditions. He was ordered to appear in Vermont District Court for Orange County to be arraigned on the charge. (AP)

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