January 24, 2003 – News at a glance

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Internet conference
VPR’s Steve Delaney talks with Michael Claudon, an economics professor at Middlebury College. Claudon is hosting a conference this weekend on how people use the Internet. (Listen to the interview online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Douglas: cuts will boost economy
Governor Jim Douglas presented his first budget plan to lawmakers on Thursday. The proposal calls for a very small increase in overall state spending in the coming fiscal year, and many departments will experience cuts. Douglas says the measure is needed to help revitalize the Vermont economy. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Reaction to budget plan
Key lawmakers say they’ll take a close look at how the governor’s proposed budget will affect low income people on state health care programs. Senior citizens are concerned that the planned cuts may make it harder for them to afford prescription drugs. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Smallpox vaccinations
The Vermont State Nurses Association has asked the state to delay its smallpox vaccination program for health care workers. The group says there are too many issues yet to be resolved. Two thousand doses of the smallpox vaccine arrived in Vermont this week. The health department says smallpox vaccination program is set to start shortly. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

December unemployment
Vermont’s unemployment rate has slightly to 4.2% in December. That is slightly higher than November’s unemployment, but it’s still lower than it was a year ago. (AP)

Dean campaigns in NH
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in New Hampshire Thursday. Dean criticized Senator John Kerry and Congressman Dick Gephardt over their positions on foreign policy. (AP)

Indictment for eBay fraud
A Rutland man was indicted today on charges of eBay fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Burlington said John Landau is alleged to have listed and sold fake “celebrity memorabilia” over the Internet. (VPR)

Legislative farm hearing
Vermont legislators are getting a wish list from farmers today. A group of agricultural leaders have developed recommendations for the future of Vermont agriculture. Friday morning they’ll present those ideas to a joint session of legislators. (AP)

Veterans’ benefits
Vermont’s congressional delegation is asking the Bush administration to reverse a decision suspending health care for some veterans. Vermont’s two senators and congressman say the administration failed to explore alternative ways to provide care for all veterans. (AP)

Cellular antenna
The town of Charlotte has been ordered to allow a wireless-phone service provider to install antennas in town. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier found the town discriminated against Independent Wireless One last year when it denied the company an application for antennas. The town had argued there were already cellular antennas in town and more weren’t needed. (AP)

Sundance Film Festival
A film shot in Vermont is among the contenders at the Sundance Film Festival. “The Mudge Boy” is one of 16 films being considered for the top dramatic award at America’s premier showcase for independent movies. It was shot in southern Vermont last summer. (AP)

UVM star, NHL all-star
Former University of Vermont hockey star Martin St. Louis will play in the NHL all-star game next month. It will be the first appearance for St. Louis, who helped lead his college team to the NCAA hockey semifinals in 1996. St. Louis now plays forward for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. (AP)

Teen dies in accident
Family and friends are mourning the death of an 18-year-old basketball star. Authorities say Christine Perry of Bradford died late Wednesday night from injuries she suffered in a car crash on Interstate 91. (AP)

Consumer fraud investigation
Two attorneys with a Bennington debt reduction firm being investigated for consumer fraud and money laundering are being disciplined. Thomas Daly and Howard Sinnott are principals in the Law Centers for Consumer Protection. (AP)

House fires
Firefighters across Vermont are keeping busy during one of the coldest stretches in years. A roaring fire destroyed a mobile home in Danby yesterday and kept firefighters busy for several hours. Another home in Killington was heavily damaged. There were no injuries. (AP)

Shoplifting conviction
A Rutland man is headed to prison for from two to five years after pleading no contest to stealing a $199 jacket from the store T.J. Maxx. Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Bruno had his probation of an earlier conviction revoked after he entered the plea. (AP)

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