New England briefs

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Leahy, Sanders, hit bill that would bar state food labeling

Vermont's two U.S. senators are criticizing legislation that would block states from requiring labeling of genetically modified foods.

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders issued a joint statement saying Vermont's GMO labeling law, set to take effect this July, should be allowed to go forward.

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is nearing completion of work on a bill that would take the labeling decision out of the hands of individual states.

Leahy and Sanders say they support a national GMO labeling law, but states should be allowed to go ahead if the federal government won't act.

Authorities ID man killed in Vermont house fire

Authorities have identified one of two people killed after a fire swept through a home in a rural, northern Vermont town.

Police say 58-year-old Jeffrey Doba's badly burned body was discovered inside the Morgan house after the fire on Friday. Authorities haven't identified the other victim.

Both bodies were taken to the medical examiner's office in Burlington for autopsies to determine their identities and cause of death.

The investigation is ongoing.

Vergennes asks Agency of Transportation to alter truck route

esidents of the western Vermont city of Vergennes are asking the Agency of Transportation to change a truck route that rolls through their historic downtown.

Mayor William Benton tells Vermont Public Radio that roughly 800 trucks come through Vergennes on a given day.

The voters' request is an attempt to reduce traffic in the city's downtown area. Their proposal would route northbound trucks onto state Route 17 West in Addison to connect with U.S. Route 7 in New Haven. Trucks headed southbound would still be permitted to use state Route 22-A through Vergennes.

Agency of Transportation officials say they want to know if other towns support the change before making a ruling.

The New Haven Select Board has already said they oppose the change.

Officials: Truck crashed, spilled fuel into Merrimack River

Fire officials say a box truck crashed in Manchester, spilling fuel into the Merrimack River.

It happened on Wednesday afternoon. The truck was headed south on Interstate 293 near exit 6 when the driver lost control, drove over the median and guardrail and ruptured his tank.

Fire District Chief Jim Michael says fuel from the truck poured into a drain that goes directly to the river. He says crews recovered all the fuel on the bridge.

The city of Manchester and state environmental officials are investigating.

Warren pushes bill to increase medical research funding

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pushing legislation designed to increase funding for medical research.

The Massachusetts Democrat says the bill would funnel an additional $5 billion in research funding each year into the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

Warren says the money would be targeted at a range of medical challenges, from understanding the underlying basis for diseases, developing new treatments for cancer, and searching for therapies for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Warren says the purchasing power of the NIH has been cut by Congress for more than a decade.

Nine Democrats have signed onto the proposal, including Sens. Patty Murray, Barbara Mikulski, Bernie Sanders, Bob Casey, Al Franken, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tammy Baldwin, and Chris Murphy.

– The Associated Press


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