June 6, 2003 – News at a glance

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New tax structure will impact business
The new compromise Act 60 reform plan creates a two-tiered property tax system: one variable rate for residents and a second fixed rate for all businesses. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Young writers learn the playwright’s craft
For the past nine years, the Vermont Stage Company has given middle and high school students the opportunity to become playwrights. The annual Vermont Young Playwrights Project has worked with over 2,000 students. Each year, the project concludes with the performance of several plays created by these young writers. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Douglas says permit reform linked to job growth
Governor Jim Douglas says it’s critical that lawmakers reach a consensus on permit reform this summer. Douglas says he’s encouraging a House-Senate conference committee to find a compromise in the coming months because he’s very concerned that the issue will become bogged down in partisan politics if it spills into next year’s session. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Dean to make formal announcement
Governor Howard Dean will formally announce his presidential candidacy in Burlington later this month. Deputy Campaign Manager Bob Rogan says even though Dean has been actively seeking the Democratic nomination for a number of months, the governor felt it was important to present Vermonters with a clear vision of his candidacy. (VPR)

Electric upgrade planned
The company that handles shipments of large chunks of electric power to Vermont utilities wants to upgrade power lines and equipment in the northwestern part of the state. (AP)

State retirement fund management
State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding wants Vermont teachers and state and municipal employees to be more active as investors. Spaulding says the boards that control nearly two billion dollars in retirement funds for those employees could influence corporate behavior by paying more attention to the votes they are eligible to cast. The three retirement boards are entitled to vote on issues ranging from executive compensation to anti-discrimination policies. Currently the boards let outside financial managers decide their positions. Spaulding says under this passive approach, the Vermont boards are sending mixed messages to companies. The three boards have agreed to discuss Spaulding’s proposal. (AP)

Some lawmakers return
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas is hoping some lawmakers will return to the Statehouse later this month. The governor wants members of a House and Senate conference committee on environmental permit reform to reach consensus this summer. (AP)

Velan Valve layoffs
Former employees of Velan Valve Corporation will be getting some extra help from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Labor has approved trade adjustment assistance for the laid-off workers in Williston. (AP)

Jeffords two-year anniversary
Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords is marking the anniversary of his departure from the Republican Party. Yesterday Jeffords said he thinks his historic party switch two years ago has encouraged other moderate Republicans to challenge President Bush. (AP)

Danville homicide suspect
Authorities say a Vermont man accused of a double homicide was identified by the victims on a tape-recorded 911 call. Police were continuing to search last night for 54-year-old Hank Butson of Saint Johnsbury, who has been missing since Sunday evening. (AP)

Dean ranks third
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean currently ranks third among Democratic presidential contenders in Iowa. That’s according to a new poll of likely voters in the state that launches the presidential nominating season next January. (AP)

Juvenile crime bill vetoed
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas has vetoed a bill out of concern that it could limit access to records related to child abuse. The bill was intended to give victims more rights when the person accused of a crime is a juvenile. (AP)

Pilot rescued after crash
A hiker helped rescue a pilot whose plane crashed near the Magic Mountain ski area in Londonderry Thursday. The hiker spotted the plane in the trees and called police. Police say the pilot from Essex fractured his leg in the crash. (AP)

Plastic covered bridges
Covered bridges could one day contain plastic. That was a topic of debate on the first day of a conference on covered bridges at the University of Vermont Thursday. More than 200 engineers and historic preservationists are attending the three-day event. (AP)

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