News March 31

Senator Sanders

Obama Visits Vermont President Obama told a crowd of about 4,500 in Vermont that he needs their help to pursue initiatives he began when he was elected during the depths of the Great Recession. As he stepped off Air Force One at Burlington International Airport, the president was greeted by Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss and Mayor-elect Miro Weinberger, the Burlington Free Press, Associated Press, Vermont Press Bureau, Brattleboro Reformer, WPTZ and ABC 22 reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO

President Nods to Governor and Senators Obama said he "couldn't be prouder" of Gov. Shumlin for his efforts at rebuilding the state after Tropical Storm Irene. The president also gave a shout out to Vermont's two "outstanding" senators, Patrick Leahy and Sanders, the Bennington Banner reported. LINK

Sanders Was Impassioned Sanders issued an impassioned call to action, warning that America must not cede the White House and Congress to "extreme right-wing Republicans." "We are fighting for the soul of America, and we do not intend to lose," Sanders said, according to The Vermont Cynic. LINK

Self-Defense Laws Doubted Sen. Sanders told a caller Friday on the Thom Hartmann Program that states should reconsider "stand-your-ground " laws which give people more leeway to attack and even kill someone who is threatening them. Such laws are attracting close scrutiny following February's controversial killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by a neighborhood watchman. While the overall U.S. homicide rate is declining, more civilians are killing each other and claiming self-defense-a trend pronounced in states with "stand your ground" laws, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

World

U.S. Tightens Oil Sanctions on Iran President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date. The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran's 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table, CNN reported. LINK 

National

Countdown Cancelled Current TV announced Friday it ended its contract with liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann, CBS News reported. LINK

Vermont 

A Memorial for Melissa A Vermont community shaken by the killing of a popular prep school teacher gathered Friday to celebrate her life and gave police investigators a standing ovation for solving the crime. Many in the crowd of about 2,500 that packed the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium and another room wore pink or pink ribbons to honor Melissa Jenkins, who was remembered as a dedicated teacher and loving mother and friend, AP reported. LINK

Vermont Yankee The state Public Service Board has determined it must start from scratch in reviewing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's application for a state permit to operate for another 20 years, AP reported. LINK

Welch Wants IRS to Probe Super PACs Rep. Peter Welch is leading an effort to have the Internal Revenue Service investigate the operations of new Super Pacs that have played a prominent role in this year's presidential campaign, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK