January 31, 2005 – News at a glance

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1 killed, 9 injured after carbon monoxide leak
One person died and nine others were injured on Sunday afternoon following a carbon monoxide leak at an apartment complex near the University of Vermont. Twenty-three-year old Jeffrey Rodliff of St. Johnsbury died in the incident. UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera says the Redstone apartment complex where the incident occurred is not technically UVM housing, but does house many UVM students. (VPR)

Interview: Covering the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis
Covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no easy task, but a Vermont native who writes for the New York newspaper Newsday says the story is so compelling and critical to the fortunes of the Middle East and the world, that he welcomes the challenge. Andrew Metz is from Shelburne and now lives in Albany, New York. He’s been covering the conflict since the most recent Palestinian intifada began five years ago. (VPR)

Vermont Teddy Bear to continue marketing ‘Crazy for You’ bear
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company will continue to sell its controversial “Crazy for You” bear. That decision comes amid criticism from advocates who say the bear insults people with mental illness. (VPR)

New power plant proposed for Hinsdale, NH
The Connecticut River town of Hinsdale, New Hampshire is considering a proposal for a 40 megawatt, wood-burning power plant. The $90 million complex would include a construction and demolition processing facility. (VPR)

Mid-year budget adjustment
The Vermont House is set this week to take up a mid-year budget adjustment bill, including about $30 million worth of changes in the state’s spending plans. The bill is expected to include increased funding for the Vermont State Hospital, for foster care and adoptions. The Corrections Department, burdened with a fast-growing caseload, also will get some extra funding, as will the Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation. (AP)

Medicaid spending in 2006 budget
The top budget writer in the Vermont House wants to hold off on committing to the full amount of Medicaid spending sought by Governor Jim Douglas. The Appropriations Committee is recommending a $22 million infusion for the remainder of the current budget year. It then will decide whether to put more into Medicaid from the existing general fund surplus as part of the 2006 budget deliberations. (AP)

Transportation Agency changes
The Transportation Committee in the Vermont House wants to hear from the public before going along with a Douglas administration plan to reorganize road maintenance districts and cut eleven jobs. Transportation Secretary Dawn Terrill has come up with a plan to consolidate what are currently nine transportation districts into six. She says that will cut administrative costs and promote efficiency. (AP)

Judicial retention hearings
Four Vermont Supreme Court justices and eight other judges will be the focus of two public hearings this week at the Vermont Statehouse. They are all up for judicial retention, a process under which lawmakers review judges’ performance every six years and vote whether to keep them on the bench. (AP)

Organic farming rules
Advocates of organic farming say a recent federal court decision could make it harder and more expensive for Vermont dairy farmers to move to organic practices. The court struck down a rule allowing farmers to change over to organic feed gradually over the course of a year. (AP)

Voyeurism bill questioned
Vermont’s defender general says an anti-peeping-tom bill pending before a Senate committee could outlaw the normal curiosity of teenage boys. Defender General Matthew Valerio says for generations teenage boys have sought ways to look at naked women. He says such behavior should be discouraged, but not outlawed. The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering legislation that would outlaw voyeurism and make it a crime to hide or loiter to view someone who is naked or partially clothed for more than a brief time period. (AP)

Vermonter wins Sundance film award
A Vermont filmmaker has won the top award for a documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Thirty-five-year-old Eugene Jarecki of Waitsfield was awarded the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Utah festival for his film “Why We Fight.” The 90-minute film on American militarism argues that promoting democracy with force has never worked. (AP)

Rutland parking deck
An old parking deck in Rutland is to be dismantled this coming week and some are already missing the parking spaces it provided. Especially affected are the 600 students who attend the Rutland campus of the Community College of Vermont, who were frequent users of the old parking deck at the Rutland Shopping Plaza. (AP)

Sexual assault guilty plea
A former Brattleboro ice cream shop owner goes to prison this week for repeatedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old female employee. Forty-seven-year-old Douglas Huntley of Brattleboro received a four to 20 year sentence after pleading guilty to the crimes. (AP)

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