Janaury 13, 2003 – News at a glance

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Governor’s inaugural ball
A week of ceremonies to mark the beginning of the new administration of Governor Jim Douglas ended Saturday night with an Inaugural Ball. It was the first such occasion in over a decade.

Racism forum
A public forum on racial harassment will be held in Montpelier on Wednesday, the 74th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King.

Lawmakers get oriented
Vermont lawmakers are expected to still be trying to orient themselves during this, the first full week of the 2003 legislative session. Committee assignments weren’t made until January 10, so lawmakers will be devoting time this week to a broad study of issues they might take up this year. (AP)

Agriculture committees
Two groups of Vermont lawmakers that want to hit the ground running this legislative session are the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. They’re planning a joint session this week to map out what their agenda should be for the year. (AP)

Governor’s appointments
Governor Jim Douglas still has some key appointments to make. Tim Hayward, the governor’s chief of staff, says some of the remaining appointments will be made this week. Among those still outstanding are a commissioner for the Department of Public Service, which represents utility ratepayers before the Public Service Board. (AP)

Medical malpractice insurance
The Vermont Medical Society wants to see caps on malpractice jury awards to stem rising costs for insurance that doctors must buy. But lawyers who handle malpractice cases say such caps are unnecessary. (AP)

FAHC drug trials
Fletcher Allen Health Care hospital is participating in trials for a drug designed to treat multiple sclerosis. The Burlington hospital is one of 100 sites worldwide testing the drug that actually treats the disease instead of just its symptoms. (AP)

Ethan Allen furniture fine
A Vermont state senator wants a waiver of a fine issued by the Environmental Protection Agency against the Ethan Allen furniture plant in Orleans. Senator Vincent Illuzzi, whose district includes the plant, wants to see the company spend the nearly $74,000 instead on improvements to enhance environmental protection at the plant. (AP)

Ludlow preservation district
Ludlow village trustees have created a preservation district in the center of town. Trustees say their goal is to maintain the historic character of the village. The preservation district bylaws shrink the portion of a building lot that can be covered with a structure. (AP)

Modular home ruling
Two Vermont bankers’ groups are siding with a family ordered by a judge to move their manufactured home on the grounds that it violates a neighborhood covenant. The Vermont Bankers’ Association and the Vermont Mortgage Bankers’ Association have filed a brief with the state Supreme Court supporting an appeal filed by Francis and Debra Clogston of Rutland. (AP)

Brattleboro plans bridge work
Brattleboro officials are warning that this summer is going to carry traffic headaches. That’s primarily because of the replacement of a bridge at the bottom of Main Street in the center of downtown. During part of the summer, the bridge will be down to a narrow single lane. (AP)

Timeshares at Stowe
The national boom in timeshares is coming to Stowe, with three major resorts in the ski town working to develop new timeshare properties. The Stoweflake, Trapp Family Lodge and the Stowe Mountain Resort all are pursuing timeshare projects. (AP)

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