Vermont

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

Amanda Loder / NHPR

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

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Sledding With Vermont's Mushers

Mar 12, 2014

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.

Vermont's Fish and Wildlife board has given preliminary approval for 285 regular season permits and 50 archery permits this year. The regular season number is a 20 percent reduction from 2013.

Read or listen to Steve Zind's report on Vermont Public Radio's website.

New Farm Bill Boosts Hemp Cultivation In Vermont

Feb 26, 2014

Tucked away in the thousands of pages of the Farm Bill is a provision that affects the 11 states that have legalized the growing of hemp. Vermont is part of this group.

Read and listen to Bob Kinzel's report on Vermont Public Radio's website.

A number of businesses in Vermont are working to attract foreign capital with the prospect of permanent US residency. The Mount Snow resort hopes to raise $52 million dollars overseas through the EB-5 visa program.

Read and listen to Susan Keese's report on Vermont Public Radio's website.

Winter sports are capturing the attention of Olympics spectators, but climate change is making some environmentalists worry about the future of sports like skiing and snowboarding. Last week, Vermont Law School hosted a panel discussion about how climate change continues to jeopardize the winter sports industry both nationally and in New England.

Listen to Annie Russell's report at Vermont Public Radio's website.

Thirteen unemployed and underemployed people from New Hampshire and Vermont will soon be taking jobs with Dartmouth-Hitchcock as medical coders.  Today they graduate from an innovative cross-state program.

It came as a surprise to many people when Vermont's governor recently devoted his entire 2014 State of the State address to what he called a "full-blown heroin crisis."

While it may not fit Vermont's bucolic image, the state's addiction problem has long been acknowledged. And as the state has expanded treatment, it's also been coming to grips with one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of the issue: addicted mothers.

Sean Hurley for NHPR

What happens when a veritable Grinch is confronted by unbridled Christmas spirit? Last year we sent favorite contributor Sean Hurley to visit a town Time Magazine dubbed one of America's "most Christmassy":

Is there a better place to celebrate Christmas than Vermont, where the air has a fragrance of pine needles and the ground is (most likely) dusted with snow? For the past 25 years, Woodstock has hosted Wassail Weekend, a pre-Christmas festival that is rooted in 19th century Norse culture and traditions. While the city itself is a sight to see during the holiday season, Wassail Weekend brings a distinctive parade of more than 50 horses and riders adorned in holiday costumes and period dress, as well as wagon and sleigh rides, a wassail feast and tours of the city's most notable historic buildings ... It's everything you imagine Christmas to be, but so much more. -Time Magazine

He was, perhaps, a bit of a Scrooge about it.

Courtesy Kingdomcounty.org

When people talk about shopping local, they’re usually referring to buying food, books, and other goods and services  from a regional supplier as opposed to buying online or from big box store.

Courtesy PRX

This episode of State of the Re:Union visits our neighbors across the Connecticut. Best of Public Radio airs Sundays at 3 p.m.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Well, after a good meal - whether shouting is involved or not - comes dessert, which brings us to our last word in business: Ben & Jerry's take on Tokyo.

The Vermont-based ice cream company, this weekend, opened up a flagship store in the Japanese capital.

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