New England Snapshot

New England News
3:38 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Meet The Man In Charge Of Getting Fenway Park Ready For The Red Sox Home Opener

Fenway Park's field is covered by a 'blanket.'
Craig LeMoult WGBH News

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:07 am

There’s always that moment, after you walk up the ramp and into Fenway Park, when you first glimpse the brilliant green of the field. And if you’re like me, your heart jumps a little. So it’s a little weird to walk in and not see any grass.

But it’s not the sea of white you might expect after this winter.

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New England News
2:30 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

A Step Closer To Train Service From Vermont To Montreal

Amtrak Service to Montreal through Vermont, which ended in 1995, is a step closer to resuming.
AP/Toby Talbot

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 10:18 am

A significant hurdle to the resumption of Amtrak rail service through Vermont to Montreal was cleared Monday when the United States and Canada signed an agreement allowing the creation of a U.S. Customs facility in Montreal.  

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New England Snapshot
3:24 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Conservationists Vow to Fight Sale of Plum Island

Plum Island hosted an animal testing center for years. Now, the government wants to sell it.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:33 am

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

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New England Snapshot
3:21 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Rhode Island's First 'Vapor Lounge' Opens In Providence

Elevated Lounge owner Kevin Cintorino sits in his Providence shop.

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 9:22 am

The state’s first medical marijuana vapor lounge opened this weekend in Providence, but the legality of the lounge remains murky.

Elevated Vapor Lounge, located in downtown Providence opened Saturday.  Rhode Island medical marijuana patients can utilize the space to vaporize their doctor prescribed product.  And since state law bans smoking indoors, vaporizing is only thing allowed.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2006. Federal law continues to ban its sale.

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New England Snapshot
3:19 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Auditor Says Vermont Should Charge Ski Resorts More For Use Of State Lands

Killington Resort is one of several large ski areas in Vermont that are under lease agreements allowing them to use land owned by the state. State Auditor Doug Hoffer thinks the ski areas aren't paying enough and wants to charge higher rates.
Chandler Burgess Ap Photo/Killington Resort

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 2:57 pm

Some of the state’s largest ski areas owe their success to lease agreements that allow them to use land owned by the state of Vermont. But State Auditor Doug Hoffer says the state ought to be charging higher rates for use of this pristine mountain land.

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New England Snapshot
2:33 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Raimondo Says She's Ready to Take on Rhode Island's Problems

Raimondo's first official act as governor was signing an executive order calling for high ethical standards in her administration.

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 8:36 am

Gina Raimondo’s long path to the top job in Rhode Island politics culminated when she was sworn in Tuesday as the state’s first female governor. Raimondo has cautioned that making change won’t be easy in a state plagued by persistently high unemployment.

Raimondo’s inaugural on the south portico of the Statehouse was steeped in tradition, from the singing of the National Anthem to the firing of a 19-gun salute.

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New England Snapshot
2:27 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

In Vermont, Amendment Would Allow Gubernatorial Candidate To Win Without Majority

Under the Vermont Constitution, Gov. Peter Shumlin, shown here in January 2014, didn't earn enough votes for reelection, despite getting more than challenger Scott Milne. A proposed Constitutional amendment would allow a candidate to win with 40 percent.
Credit ANGELA EVANCIE VPR/FILE

Longtime Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle says he'll propose a constitutional amendment to make it less likely that lawmakers will be asked to elect a governor in the future. Doyle says the results of this year's election show why his amendment is needed.  

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New England News
2:57 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

LePage Proposal Would Ban Purchase of Junk Food on Food Stamps

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 6:29 pm

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says he wants to promote more nutritious foods for all Mainers, including those who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. 

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Newscast
12:01 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Thomas M. Menino, Boston's Longest-Serving Mayor, Dies At 71

Mayor Thomas Menino, being interviewed on Greater Boston.

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:04 pm

Long-serving former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has died. He was 71.

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New England Snapshot
3:34 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

In The NEK, Climate Change Education Gets Down To Earth

Kristi LaFleur and Katrina McCullough build an anemometer at a teacher training workshop held by the Northwoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:03 pm

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.

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All Things Considered
3:27 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Why Fuel Prices In Vermont Are Dropping So Low

Vermont gas prices are expected to continue to drop, at least in the short term.
iStock Thinkstock

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:07 pm

From gasoline to heating oil and propane, fuel prices in Vermont are lower than they were a year ago. The decline in prices will likely mean lower heating bills and less expensive fill-ups during the coming winter.

According to Chicago-based GasBuddy.com, a clearinghouse of real time information on gas prices across the country, on Tuesday the price for a gallon of regular unleaded varied in Vermont from a low of $3.18 in Rutland to a high of $3.69 in Derby.

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Environment
3:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

An Unusual, Non-Lethal Idea to Deal With Connecticut's Pesky Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets get their name from the distinctive cowl over their heads. They're also known as "Quaker Parrots."
Kevin Burgio

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Kevin Burgio remembered the first time he saw monk parakeets. He was out bird watching "and I ran across this puddle that had like five or six monk parakeets drinking from it," he said. "I'm like, what the hell is that? Did someone lose, like, five parrots? I didn't know there were parrots here."

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New England Snapshot
3:21 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

One Square Mile: The Debate Over Providence's Industrial Waterfront

A view of Providence's industrial waterfront from Conley's Wharf, off Allens Avenue.

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 5:14 pm

All this week we’re taking a close look at the Narragansett Bay, for a series we call One Square Mile.  Today we look at the heavy industry that relies on the Providence waterfront.  Specifically, where those big piles of coal, scrap metal and salt,  sit along the Providence River.

Tuesday, independent Providence mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. details his plan to turn the industrial waterfront to mixed use development, with things like hotels and marinas.   As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, that's been the subject of a decades-long battle.

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New England Snapshot
4:25 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Mixed Reviews At Wesleyan, Where Fraternities Ordered To Go Co-Ed

The Psi Upsilon house at Wesleyan is seen this week. A student who says she was raped at a party at the house is suing the fraternity.
Credit Fred Thys/WBUR

  Wesleyan University is asking its residential fraternities not to pledge freshmen and to turn over the rolls of all their members as the school issued an order to end its all-male fraternities and make residential fraternities co-ed.

It’s a decision that has received mixed reaction on campus.

The decision is felt hardest at the three residential fraternities. No one agreed to recorded interviews at any of the fraternities, but men did agree to speak to WBUR on background.

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New England Snapshot
4:15 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Maine Candidates for Governor Spar Over Natural Gas Pipeline

Gov. Paul LePage discusses his views on a natural gas pipeline expansion Monday at a news event in Gorham.

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 4:19 pm

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is defending his support of legislation that could make it easier for private businesses to use eminent domain to seize property for natural gas pipeline expansion. The governor says the legislation is necessary to alleviate what he calls the New England energy crisis. But the governor's two opponents oppose the move.

At issue is federal legislation known as H.R.1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for the development of natural gas pipeline projects.

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New England Snapshot
12:48 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

License Plate Scanners Raise Privacy Concerns, But Do They Help Police?

Winooski Sergeant Michael Cram operates an automatic license plate reader (ALPR) in his cruiser on Sept. 20. ALPRs use high-speed cameras mounted on police cruisers that take photos of passing cars. There are 116 in the state.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 2:46 pm

Over the past five years, law enforcement agencies in Vermont have invested more than $1 million in technology that gathers millions of data points every year about the whereabouts of vehicles across the state.

The Automated Plate Recognition Systems, or ALPRs, use high-speed cameras mounted on police cruisers that take photos of passing cars and relay them to an in-car computer for analysis. The technology keeps track of every license plate the cruiser passes and checks each against a “hot list” of vehicles, all in real time.

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New England Snapshot
2:25 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Maine Sponsors NASCAR Race Car To Promote Tourism, Business Climate

Gov. Paul LePage poses for the cameras with Miss Maine, left, Miss Teen Maine, and NASCAR driver Austin Theriault, in front of Theriault's car.
Credit Patty Wright, MPBN

It's being billed as the first-ever public-private sponsorship of a race car. Today Gov. Paul LePage announced that the state of Maine will use Fort Kent NASCAR driver Austin Theriault's car as a billboard for the slogan, "Maine is open for business." The sponsorship cost the state $50,000. Some are celebrating the move, while others question whether it will drive business to the state.

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New England Snapshot
2:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Bucking Trend Of Industry Decline, American Woolen Company Relaunches In Connecticut

The main offices of the American Woolen Company in Stafford Springs.
Credit J Holt for WNPR

The slow death of the textile industry in the U.S. was underscored last December by the closure of the last operating mill in Connecticut, the historic Warren Mills in Stafford Springs. That same mill is celebrating its re-opening under new owners. 

How does the American Woolen Company expect to buck the trend?

In early 2013, investment banker Jacob Harrison Long bought the American Woolen Company. Once one of the nation’s most recognized textile companies, when Long arrived, it was little more than a trademark.

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Education
3:23 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Portland Public Schools Planning Online Program

The exterior of Portland High School in December 2012.
Tom Porter MPBN

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 5:34 pm

The Portland Public School Department plans to launch an online program this year. The district is trying to get a slice of the virtual school pie as it faces competition for students — and funding. But some educators remain skeptical of yet another online option. Portland officials say it's an important — and innovative — option for students.

The first day of school is a busy one for Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. He rides his bike to district schools to personally welcome students back.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Vermont's Top Utility Wants To Transform The Electric Grid

David Crane, President and CEO of NRG, speaks at a press conference in Essex on Sept. 2 announcing NRG's partnership with Green Mountain Power.
Credit Angela Evancie for VPR

The Beacon 10 Stirling – black, with a glowing blue light, and about the size of a large chest freezer – emits a constant low hum. And this one, in the basement of the Essex Resort & Spa, converts natural gas into electricity, enough electricity to power an average-sized home.

It’s just one of the technological innovations on offer at NRG Energy, a national company that is about to use Vermont as a testing ground for its products and services.

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New England Snapshot
3:17 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Maine Scientists Launch Long-Term Study of Marine Life in Casco Bay

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 10:21 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn-vmO63PhQ&feature=youtu.be

Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland are trying to better understand how the ecosystem of Casco Bay is changing. This summer, they launched a comprehensive survey of marine life in the bay that will unfold over the next 10 years. MPBN's Jennifer Rooks caught up with some of the researchers.

 

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New England Snapshot
3:11 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Massachusetts Mall Offers 'Sensory-Friendly' Shopping Hours For Kids With Autism

Hope Tremblay (left) and Sarah Hunter at the Holyoke Mall's Sensory-Friendly Shopping Night
Credit Karen Brown for NEPR

One in 68 children are thought to have autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The disorder varies widely in severity, but one common trait is the tendency to get over-stimulated by noise, lights, and other trappings of modern life. A recent effort tried to bring down the sensory stimulation — just in time for back-to-school shopping.

The Holyoke Mall is one of the most obvious places to do back-to-school shopping, but one of the last places you’d take a child who has problems with sensory overload. That describes both of Mary Ellen Demaris’s sons.

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New England News
10:32 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Feds Warn Brattleboro Retreat Over Safety Issues

Brattleboro Retreat is in jeopardy of losing federal funding if it does not fix problems identified in an inspection this summer.
Toby Talbot AP File Photo

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 2:00 pm

For the second time in three years, the Brattleboro Retreat faces a potential loss in federal funding because of a failed inspection. Despite the warnings, the state’s commissioner of mental health says he’s still confident that the retreat can provide quality care.

The federal warning comes after a suicide attempt at the Brattleboro Retreat in June which, after retreat staff notified the state, prompted a site visit of the facility.

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New England Snapshot
4:27 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

In Maine, Opposing Sides Gear Up For Battle Over Bear Hunting Referendum

Credit Michael Webber via Flickr CC

Supporters of a referendum to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in Maine's annual bear hunt began canvassing neighborhoods in Portland over the weekend. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say they don't oppose hunting in general, just the use of what they consider cruel and inhumane practices. They plan to contact tens of thousands of voters across the state over the next few weeks to make their case. Opponents are also gearing up.  And both sides are feeling confident as the election draws closer.

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Environment
3:58 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Innovative Solar Farm To Be Built On Rutland Landfill

Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell stands with Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and others to announce the groundbreaking of a new $10 million solar farm being constructed on a Rutland landfill.
Nina Keck

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:58 pm

Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed.

Solar arrays are sprouting up all over Rutland County and some of the larger ones have generated a fair amount of controversy and criticism.

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New England News
3:49 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Pentagon Considers Maine Site For Missile Facility

Credit Via US Department of Defense

Pentagon officials are coming to western Maine this week to gather public input regarding a possible missile defense site in Redington Township.

The Franklin County site - which already operates as a survival training facility for the Navy - is one of four locations being considered in the eastern half of the United States. The others are Camp Ravenna in Ohio, Fort Custer in Michigan and Fort Drum in New York state.

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New England Snapshot
4:48 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Maine Public Safety Launches Distracted Driving Enforcement Effort

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a press conference on distracted driving Tuesday.
Mal Leary MPBN

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:43 pm

The Department of Public Safety has launched a multipronged effort to beef up enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws and increase public awareness about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel. In Maine, over the last three years, 41 highway deaths have been attributed to distracted driving. And state troopers are seeing widespread violations of distracted driving laws.

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New England Snapshot
4:45 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Historic Heroes On Display At The Justin Morrill Homestead

Ethan Allen, as cardboard cut-out, greets visitors to the Statues of Liberty exhibit at the Justin Morrill Homestead in Strafford.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:22 am

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.

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New England Snapshot
3:54 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Battle Over South Portland Tar Sands Ordinance Not Over Yet

An oil tanker makes its way into the harbor in South Portland.

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:38 pm

When South Portland Mayor Jerry Jalbert announced the 6-1 vote to approve a measure that will block the loading of raw crude, including Canadian tar sands oil, onto tanker ships in the southern Maine city, residents and supporters, who had filled the community center, rose to their feet and gave the City Council a standing ovation.

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Market Basket
3:37 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

With No Corporate Page, Market Basket Inspires Shopper To Build His Own Website

Web developer Michael Devaney took it upon himself to create MyDemoulas.net
Credit Courtesy Michael Devaney via WBUR

When the Market Basket situation blew up this weekend, so did Michael Devaney’s inbox.

“I knew something was up when I had 37,000 e-mails,” he said.

Many messages are short and angry, demanding the return of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Others are as long as book chapters. But 29-year-old Devaney said he hardly has time to read more than a handful.

Because he does not work for Market Basket.

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