May 21, 2003 – News at a glance

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Act 250 reform
According to Senate Majority Leader John Campbell, it’s very unlikely that the Senate in the final days of this year’s session will agree to a House plan to consolidate the appeals process of Act 250 (VPR)

Border closed to Canadian cows
The discovery of mad cow disease in Canada has prompted a shutdown of the northern border to all imports of cattle, sheep and other ruminants. Vermont officials were notified on Tuesday. They say the border will be closed for the animal imports until further notice. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Act 60 reform remains a challenge
Legislative leaders say they’re making solid progress resolving budget differences between the House and the Senate. But finding a compromise Act 60 plan is proving much more difficult. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Judges’ retirement age
Legislation increasing the mandatory retirement age for state judges is on its way to Governor Jim Douglas for his signature. (VPR)

Vermont security during Orange alert
Governor Jim Douglas is putting Vermont on a heightened state of alert, after the federal government today raised the national threat level from yellow to orange. (AP)

Fire at Ethan Allen plant
Firefighters from across the Northeast Kingdom stopped a fire in the Ethan Allen furniture plant in Orleans. (AP)

State budget
A panel of lawmakers negotiating a compromise state budget for the year 2004 made some progress Tuesday. Both sides say they’re very near reaching an agreement on the budget. They’re waiting for movement on the issue of education funding before they wrap up a few last unresolved issues. (AP)

Committee continues work on Act 60
A conference committee that is trying to come up with a compromise on education funding resumes its work Wednesday. The committee exchanged some tense words Tuesday as the lawmakers discussed ways of lowering the property tax burden. (AP)

School budget results
Voters in Burlington approved a $31.5 million school budget on Tuesday. Essex and Essex Junction also approved their high school budget. But Winooski voters rejected both their municipal and school budgets. The Winooski school budget that fell Tuesday was the same amount as one turned down by residents in March. (AP)

Dean defend against “elitist” accusation
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is responding to earlier criticisms from centrist Democrats that he’s an elitist liberal. In Washington Tuesday Dean rejected the notion his supporters are elitists and that he’s catering to elitist special interest groups. (AP)

NH airport security
Manchester Airport plans to ask federal security officials to review their numbers after they proposed cutting 84 of 198 federal baggage and passenger screeners at the New Hampshire airport. Airport Director Kevin Dillon says the federal agency used inaccurate information. (AP)

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