Vermont

Vermont
12:21 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Shumlin: State Will Abandon Exchange If Problems Persist Through May

Gov. Peter Shumlin, shown here at his inauguration on Jan. 8, says the state will abandon Vermont Health Connect for the federal health care exchange if the system fails to meet certain benchmarks by the end of May.
Angela Evancie VPR/file

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 12:37 pm

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been beset with problems since its launch a year and a half ago. In a surprise announcement on Friday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Vermont will abandon Vermont Health Connect if it doesn’t start working properly soon.

Read more
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.  

Read more
All Things Considered
5:16 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Cost, Tax Concerns Prompt Vermont To Hold Off On Single-Payer Health Plan

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, at an event in 2012.
Credit Delaywaves via Creative Commons

Vermont's big experiment in creating a single-payer health care system is over, at least for now.

On Wednesday Governor Peter Shumlin announced he would effectively kill the plan to create a publicly-financed insurance system that was to be known as Green Mountain Health Care. "In my judgment," Shumlin said, "now is not the right time to ask our legislature to take the step of passing the financial plan for Green Mountain Health Care."

Read more
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.

Read more
Newscast
4:00 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Draft Of Vermont's GMO Labeling Rules Released

Credit Rob Friesel via Flickr CC

The Vermont Attorney General's office has released a draft of the rules it is writing to govern the state's first-in-the-nation law to require the labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms.

The nine pages of rules released Wednesday lay out everything from definitions of "food" and "genetic engineering" to the required disclosures on packaging that will read "Produced with Genetic Engineering."

Read more
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.

Read more
Environment
9:32 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Environmental Group Loses Vermont Gas Pipeline Challenge

Credit Via Vermontbiz.com

An environmental group has lost its bid to intervene in a proposal by Vermont Gas Systems to build a pipeline between Colchester and Middlebury.

The Rutland Herald reports Public Service Board denied the Vermont Public Interest Research Group's request to intervene in a re-evaluation of the approval granted to Vermont Gas.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.  

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
Newscast
11:08 am
Mon May 26, 2014

V.T. Senator Sanders To Introduce Legislation In Response To VA Scandal

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'll introduce legislation after the Memorial Day break that will improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The comments from the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee follow allegations that some Veterans Administration hospitals have been providing substandard care to their patients and falsifying records.  Sanders says his legislation would make it easier for a secretary of veterans affairs to remove a senior executive due to poor job performance.

New England Snapshot
11:38 am
Tue May 20, 2014

EZ Pass Rider: Tolls Considered For Vermont's Interstates

Vermont's Transportation Agency is studying the possibility of funding the state's interstate system with money collected from toll booths, like this one on Interstate 95 in Hampton, N.H.
Tim Boyd AP

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 12:12 pm

Have you ever wondered why there are toll booths on the interstates in New Hampshire and Maine and not in Vermont?

Under federal law, those states are allowed to impose tolls because they used a considerable amount of their own money to build their interstates. But states like Vermont, that used a lot of federal money to build the roads, aren’t allowed to charge tolls.

This could change soon because the White House is backing a plan to allow all states to charge an interstate toll if they want to. Congressman Peter Welch supports the change.

Read more
New England Snapshot
1:43 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Vermont Legislature Gives Green Light To Pre-Kindergarten

Chase Robinson and Cayden Blodgett, preschoolers, at Lyndonville, VT's Head Start Program.
Credit 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.  

Read more
New England News
2:33 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Vermont Lawmakers Expand State's Medical Marijuana Law

The number of people who can obtain medical marijuana would increase under a bill that has now passed the Legislature and is on its way to the governor for his signature.

The bill also calls for a study to determine how much money the state could reap in new tax revenue if marijuana is legalized in the future.

Under Vermont’s current medical marijuana law, no more than 1,000 people can be registered to receive marijuana in total from the four dispensaries in the state. Those dispensaries are located in Burlington, Montpelier, Brattleboro and Brandon.

Read more
New England Snapshot
4:57 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Fearing Neglect, Neighbors Feed Animals At Santa's Land

The owner of Santa’s land in Putney and the park’s caretaker appeared in Brattleboro District Court Tuesday. Lillian Billewicz  and Brian Deistler pled not guilty to charges of animal cruelty. Earlier this winter 16 fallow deer, a pot-bellied pig and a pheasant were found dead at the once-popular theme park.  Court documents say other animals were found in stalls with frozen water and insufficient hay. Now the park’s remaining animals are getting attention from some local residents who’ve been trying to feed them.

New England Snapshot
4:56 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Lack Of Funding Could Halt Vermont Highway Projects

In the past few years, many states, including Vermont, have embarked on hundreds of road and bridge construction projects and most of the projects were paid for with a large amount of federal funds.

But there’s a problem: the Federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.

Read or listen to Bob Kinzel's report on VPR's website.

From the Archives
1:12 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

From The Archives: Town Meeting; Killington Secedes

Credit www.BackgroundNow.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s town meeting time! A storied tradition in northern New England, and in New Hampshire especially. This week I found an old interview with Dartmouth College professor of history, Jere Daniell. He spoke with an unidentified NHPR reporter in July, 1994. Daniell has made close study of our town meeting and the history of the institution.

The roots of town meeting go back three centuries and have evolved over time. Once viewed as an extension of the old boys network which governed many towns, it enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in the early 20th century. 

Read more
New England Snapshot
5:27 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Sledding With Vermont's Mushers

Among the people following the recent Iditarod sled dog race closely were the members of the Vermont Mushers Association — people who run sled dogs in the Green Mountain state.

Read or listen to Sage Van Wing's report on Vermont Public Radio's website.

Pages