Vermont

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 News
7:15 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Vermont School For The Deaf Shutting Down

Credit Via the Austine School

The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is shutting down later this month.

The center announced in the spring that its Austine School would not be opening for the 2015 school year. Its board had hoped to keep some of its programs operating this year, and to reopen the school in two years, but at an emergency meeting last week voted to completely shut down both the school and the center.

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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 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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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 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
6:53 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Program Helps Lawyers Set Up Shop In Underserved Areas

Erica Lewis is just a month into her new Randolph law practice.
VPR/Steve Zind

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:46 pm

Imagine you’re fresh out of law school. Instead of going to work in a place where there are people to learn from and turn to for support, you’re a one-person firm on your own. 

A new program is helping young lawyers establish solo practices in hopes of helping both law school graduates and those who need legal services.

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Environment
8:04 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Vermont Conducts Loon Count To Gauge Health Of Bird

Credit Flkr Creative Commons / KeithCarver

Experts estimate there are nearly 300 adult loons living on Vermont's lakes and ponds, up from just a couple dozen 30 years ago.

On Saturday, more than 200 volunteers spread out across Vermont for the annual loon survey.

The results of the survey are trickling in, but Eric Hanson of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the coordinator of the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, says there are many more birds now than just a few years ago.

He says 15 years ago there were around 100 loons and in 1983 biologists counted only 29.

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New England News
12:12 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Vermont Asked To Consider Housing Undocumented Border Kids

In this June 25, 2014 photo, a group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:54 am

Gov. Peter Shumlin has agreed to a request from the White House to investigate whether the state could house some of the undocumented children now being detained in the southwestern part of the country.

The request from the White House is the first step in a very long process. 

The initial goal is to determine how much capacity each state has to house some of the nearly 60,000 children who have streamed across the border in the last few weeks.

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New England Snapshot
1:53 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Vermont Towns Are Models For National Flood Planning

Doug Turner stands along the rebuilt river bank of the Mad River at his farm in Waitsfield one year after Irene.
Credit Toby Talbot AP/File

The lessons of Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont have been incorporated into a new report designed to assist communities across the nation. 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency says the report offers a more comprehensive approach to mitigating the effects of flooding.

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New England Snapshot
4:37 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

The Weather Is Fine For Farming

Hay and vegetable crops are benefitting from the weather.
Toby Talbot AP/file

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 10:32 am

Last year at this time farm fields were soggy from rain. The bad weather hit dairy farms at a time when expenses outstripped income and it caused vegetable farmers to lose entire crops.  

It’s a different story this year: Milk prices are high and the weather is good.

In her job as Agronomy Outreach Professional with the University of Vermont Extension Service, Kirsten Workman visits farms throughout Addison and Chittenden counties. She remembers well the rains of last year.  

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The Currency
3:11 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

The Currency: Long Time CEO Of King Arthur Flour Steps Down

After 15 years, Steve Voigt is stepping down as CEO of America's oldest flour company.
Amanda Loder NHPR

The Currency is our ongoing look at economic and business news in New Hampshire. 

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New England Snapshot
4:31 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

When Looking For Local Food At Vermont’s Trader Joes, It Can Be Hard To Find

Because Trader Joe's sells the majority of its products under a private label, it's difficult to know which food comes from where. One product that definitely isn't local? This maple syrup, which is a product of Canada.
Credit Angela Evancie VPR

The grocery market is changing in northern New England. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are each expanding their presence in the region.

What do those moves mean for the local food networks here? Well, recently Whole Foods put out a call for local growers in New Hampshire for the store it's opening in Nashua. But, can you find local food at the new Trader Joe's in South Burlington, Vermont? As Angela Evancie of Vermont Public Radio explains, the answer is maybe - maybe not.

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Newscast
4:31 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Vermont Yankee Could Be Replaced By Biomass Plant

A biomass plant has been proposed to occupy the site of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is shutting down at the end of year.

The idea is in its infancy. The Brattleboro Reformer reports officials plan to organize a public forum to discuss the details.

The state has negotiated a detailed agreement with Entergy, owner of the nuclear plant, providing for millions of dollars for economic development and clean energy projects as well as a "timely decommissioning."

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New England News
4:15 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Vermont Governor Signs Universal Early Education Bill

Credit Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law a bill calling for every 3- and 4-year-old in Vermont to have access to at least 10 hours a week of publicly funded, pre-kindergarten education.

Backers of the bill say it will add about $10 million a year in costs to the state's Education Fund by 2021. But they say the measure will save much more in the long run because many of the children will be given a good enough educational start that special education and corrections costs will be reduced.

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