January 31, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: GMC barn fire
VPR’s Steve Delaney talks with Ben O’Brien, director of the Green Mountain Club. Earlier this week, a barn that houses much of the club historical artifacts was consumed in a fire. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Douglas supports Iraq policy
Governor Jim Douglas says President Bush has made a compelling case for the United States to take military action against Iraq. (VPR)

Businesses plan peace strike
A number of Brattleboro area businesses plan to take part in a daily protest called a ‘peace strike’ in the event of a war with Iraq. (VPR)

House-Senate milking contest
One highlight of this week’s Farm Show was the annual milking contest between the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. In the lighthearted “political pull” competition, politicians face off to see how much milk they can coax from a cow within 30 seconds. (VPR)

Colombian union violence
Organizing a labor union can be a deadly venture in some parts of the world. That point was brought home to Vermonters this week as a union leader from Colombia visits the state. Hector Giraldo says American taxpayers are supporting a repressive regime in his country. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Douglas Act 60 plan
Governor Jim Douglas is defending his plan to reduce the statewide property tax rate of Act 60. A number of Democratic lawmakers are critical of the proposal because they say it will primarily benefit wealthier Vermonters and the state’s business community. Douglas says his plan will reduce tax burdens for groups who are not protected under the income sensitive provisions of Act 60. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Rockingham wins utility suit
The town of Rockingham has won a big legal victory in its tax battle with a California-based utility. (VPR)

Fish and Wildlife commissioner
An Enosburg Falls environmental consultant will become Vermont’s next commissioner of Fish and Wildlife. Governor Jim Douglas Thursday announced that he will appoint Wayne Laroche to head the department that oversees Vermont wildlife. (AP)

Smallpox vaccine
Six public health nurses in Vermont have been vaccinated against smallpox and will begin vaccinating others soon. They’re among the first health professionals in the nation to be vaccinated. Vermont, Connecticut, Nebraska and California were the first states to receive doses of the smallpox vaccine. (AP)

Underage drinking
Vermont legislators are considering changes to the state’s underage drinking law. A Senate panel is taking a second look after learning that the law is costing some families thousands of dollars or even their car insurance. (AP)

ATVs fall through ice
U.S. Coast Guard officials say two Vermont men whose all-terrain vehicle fell through the ice on Lake Champlain Thursday night were unharmed. Twenty-three-year-old Keith Boucher of Ferrisburgh and 22-year-old Jason Fuller of Vergennes were ice fishing at the time. (AP)

Milton hockey incident
Two young Vermonters suspended from their hockey team for allegedly making racial remarks to a member of an opposing team have been reinstated. The Milton School Board decided this week to reduce the suspension from an entire season to five games. (AP)

Bennington wrongful death suit
A trucking company that hauls manufactured homes has agreed to pay an elderly Bennington widow $1.2 million. The offer from Bennett Truck Transport came Thursday, ending the civil trial over her husband’s death. (AP)

Dean opposed to Iraq
Former Vermont Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean is continuing to oppose a U.S.-led war against Iraq. Dean says he’s the only Democratic candidate with previous experience in government who has opposed the war with Iraq from the start. Dean and the Reverend Al Sharpton have been the most outspoken in their opposition to war with Iraq. Sharpton has never held elective office. (AP)

Sheen for Dean
The man who plays the president on television has endorsed a former governor who wants to be president. Former Governor Howard Dean dropped by a taping of NBC’s “The West Wing” in Washington last week for a tour and picked up the backing of actor Martin Sheen. Sheen’s manager says the actor likes Dean because he’s “the best possible hope for the Democrats because he’s not afraid to lose.” (AP)

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