May 5, 2003 – News at a glance

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Interview: missing Brattleboro teen
Steve Delaney talks with SRS Commissioner James Morse about the Brattleboro teenager who disappeared while on a school fieldtrip to Boston. The teen – who returned home this weekend – is a foster child under SRS supervision. (Listen to the interview online.) (VPR)

Dean tested in debate
The stakes were high this past weekend for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. He went into the first presidential debate in Columbia, South Carolina as a candidate who’s untested on the national stage. The viewers who watched the late night face-off saw some sharp exchanges between Dean and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Political observers in South Carolina say no clear winner emerged from the debate and that Dean may have benefited from the controversy with Kerry. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

COTS Walk benefits homeless
About 1,100 Vermonters took part in the fourteenth annual “COTS Walk” in Burlington yesterday. The event raises funds and awareness for the Committee on Temporary Shelter, which assists homeless people. (VPR)

Legislative heads toward adjournment
The Legislature is starting to wrap up its 2003 session. House and Senate negotiators will be taking up differences over state spending. Speaker Walter Freed says the appointment of budget negotiators is usually a sign that lawmakers are within 10 to 14 days of adjourning. The Senate is turning its attention this week to a bill that will reform the state’s school-funding law, Act 60. The bill passed by the House would set different tax rates for primary residences and second homes and increase the sales tax. (AP)

Jeffords against tax cut
Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords says the current debate about tax cuts is reminding him why he left the Republican Party. Jeffords says President Bush’s tax cuts will hurt those who need help most. Jeffords on Saturday gave the Democratic Party’s weekly radio address. (AP)

Green-up Day
Vermont is just a little cleaner thanks to thousands of people across the state who picked up trash Saturday for the annual Green Up Day. Green Up volunteers hauled, sorted and collected all kinds of litter: cans, bags, bottles and vehicle parts. (AP)

Old Man crumbles
Former New Hampshire Governor Steve Merrill will lead the state’s effort to revitalize the Old Man of the Mountain. Governor Craig Benson announced the effort in Franconia Notch Saturday after viewing the stone profile’s former perch. (AP)

Airport security screeners
The number of security screeners at the Burlington International Airport is being reduced. The Transportation Security Administration is reducing the number of screeners in South Burlington from 97 to 56. The TSA hopes to reduce most of the jobs through attrition. (AP)

CVU expansion vote
Voters in four fast-growing Burlington suburbs will decide later this month whether to expand their regional high school. The proposed $18.4million plan would pay for a new cafeteria, library, playing fields, classrooms and parking and expand the gym at Champlain Valley Union High School. The vote is May 27. (AP)

Church affirms gay members
The First Congregational Church of Springfield has voted to welcome gays and lesbians. It’s the 13th member congregation of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ to do so. The congregation voted 66-35 last week to become open and affirming after two years of consideration. (AP)

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