Charlotte Albright

Charlotte Albright moved to Vermont from Maine in 2006, after more than a decade of reporting and producing for Maine Public Broadcasting Network. She has also contributed  many  stories to NPR. Her first project for Vermont Public Radio was a series on farming, followed by frequent free-lancing. In January 2012 she joined the VPR staff and now covers the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom.

Things are looking up in the Upper Valley city of Lebanon, New Hampshire. A large building in the heart of its retail district left vacant by the abrupt closure of Lebanon College will become a satellite campus for Claremont-based River Valley Community College. Classes won’t start until renovations are complete next spring, but business and government leaders already see the college as a spur for further economic development.

This time of year, the Appalachian Trail fills up with hikers passing through Vermont and New Hampshire on their way to the endpoint in Maine. Some are walking to bring attention to a worthy cause. But not everyone scales the obstacles that Phil Valentine has faced. 

More and more members of the military are coming back from deployments needing medical attention, and Vietnam-era veterans are aging. 

The village of Island Pond, in the Northeast Kingdom, is becoming the maple sugar capital of North America. An out-of-state company called Sweet Tree has bought about 7,000 acres and tapped 100,000 trees this year. But they say they don’t want to make the stuff you put on pancakes.

One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.

The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.

As winter arrives, many Vermonters are probably going to be shivering – indoors. The state wants to weatherize 80,000 homes, a quarter of them owned or occupied by people with low incomes, by 2020.

But that goal is behind schedule, even though some new money is coming in.

New federal science education standards adopted in Vermont require that students learn about climate change. So teachers are starting to create lesson plans with hands-on activities about weather patterns.

Some are getting that training deep in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is trying to prevent the spread of a skin condition known as crusted scabies. Also called Norwegian scabies, the disease is non-life threatening and easily treatable if caught in time.

As the fall college term gets underway, some Upper Valley students are finding themselves in limbo. That’s because they had enrolled in New Hampshire’s Lebanon College, only to find out without warning that their school was closing.

Visitors to the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead in Strafford are getting a rare chance to see American icons normally found only in the National Capitol. Morrill was the U.S. Senator famous for the legislation launching land grant colleges. He’s less well-known for another accomplishment: creating Statuary Hall, where each state is represented by two statues.

There are signs that after years of decline, manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States. One global company based in the Upper Valley has been adding so many workers so fast that it’s had to create its own on-site academy.

Hypertherm, in Hanover, makes high-tech machines that use laser and water to cut metal. On a summer day perfect for swimming, in a factory built just for training, about a half dozen young men are hard at work, gathered around a drill press.

Sexual assaults on college campuses are making troubling headlines nationwide. This week, about 700 university officials from all over the country are gathering at Dartmouth to brainstorm ways to make schools safer for their students.

Dartmouth President and alumnus Philip Hanlon started the Dartmouth Summit on Sexual Assault with an admission that, much as he loves his job, there can be some terrible moments.

Charlotte Albright for VPR

Every three, four, and five-year-old  in Vermont will be eligible for state-subsidized preschool, under new legislation  that Governor Shumlin has promised to sign into law. Many school districts already offer early education programs, but they vary widely in structure and quality. So a lot of details have to be worked out as the state sews together what is now a patchwork of programs.  

Courtesy VPR

About 35 students staged a sit-in in Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon’s office Tuesday. They have been pressuring the College to increase enrollment of black, Latino and Native American students to at least 10 percent each, and to hire more faculty from minority groups. The 70 monetary demands outlined in their “Freedom Budget”  also include sweeping changes in the curriculum, financial aid, and residential life programs.

About 90 percent of Americans who need long term care get it from unpaid family members. That puts a strain on a lot of relatives who have neither enough time nor the training to care for loved ones with brain disorders such as dementia.

So Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., gives classes to family caregivers, and recruits actors to play the patients.

The wild-game supper has traditionally been a way for rural America to share the harvest before winter sets in. Food historians trace the ritual back to Colonial times, when families had to hunt in order to eat well, and some providers were better shots than others.



OK, it's getting a bit colder in many areas of the country. We've got those brisk mornings and chilly evenings. Great weather. Football weather for many of us. For many state tourism offices, of course, it means gearing up for a lucrative time of year known as foliage season. Travelers can use websites and apps to learn where and when fall colors are supposed to be the most brilliant. And predicting that in Vermont is serious business.

For one Vermont couple, "local" doesn't mean heading to the farmers market. It means finding a natural salad bar at your picnic spot — or maybe even in your backyard.

Nova Kim and Les Hook live on a lush farm between a large lake and the Connecticut River near the Vermont-New Hampshire border. Over the decades, they've become skilled gatherers of edible wild foods, which they sell to high-end restaurants. But on this drizzly day, they're in their own kitchen, making dressing for a picnic green salad.

A development project in a remote area of northeast Vermont is one of the largest in the country to bring in funds using the federal EB-5 immigrant investor program. It allows qualified foreigners who invest $500,000, and create at least 10 American jobs, to get green cards.