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The Thanksgiving holiday weekend embodies a few big themes: a festive meal with family, perhaps a long car trip to get there, and time to reflect - sometimes uncomfortably - on our founding history that gave rise to Thanksgiving. Wednesday on Vermont Edition, we're taking all of it on!  From food to travel to history to culture, we'll get your Thanksgiving weekend started right.

Anthropology of a shared meal

Library of Congress

Award-winning author and food historian Rebecca Rupp has written more than 20 books and published over 200 articles. Rupp lives in northern Vermont and recently published an article online for National Geographic Food called Eat, Drink and Be Merry. It examines the cultural significance of food and its power to bring people together.

Vermont Edition sat down with Rupp to talk about her new article and the historical importance of food.

Homelessness is a problem in the United States that affects every state, and Vermont is no exception.

But a model of handling homelessness called Housing First is getting a lot of attention lately, because it not only helps get people off the streets, it also saves money.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Amy Burell-Cormier says she was pulled over six times in three months, but not because of her driving.

“The third time, the officer asked ‘Do you know why I’m pulling you over?’” she remembers. “I said yes, he said ‘Why?’ I said ‘Because I’m black driving down the road in Vermont,’ and he was horrified.”

The officer’s reason, she says, is that she was speeding – 27 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone.

Steve Zind / VPR

There’s an experiment underway in state government, and it involves the science of staffing. The state of Vermont, which employs as many as 1,500 temporary employees at any given time, is taking efforts to reduce reliance on short-term workers by allowing for more permanent hires.  

Government managers are generally bound by statutory caps on the number of full-time employees their agencies can carry. But a new pilot program allows for a new approach. And it tests the idea that adding workers might actually make it easier for agencies to adhere to their budgets.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

In the last few months, the price of many generic drugs has increased dramatically. There are a number of cases where the price jumped more than 1,000 percent overnight.

Rich Harvie is a pharmacist and co-owner of the Montpelier Pharmacy. Harvie says a lot of his customers are in a state of shock these days because the cost of many generic drugs has gone through the roof. Harvie says he's been watching this development over a period of years, but he says the increases over last few months are staggering.  

The U.S. Department of Education said Marlboro College is under investigation for issues relating to sexual violence.

Records show the department's Office of Civil Rights has been investigating the private non-profit college since early October.

The investigation is related to Title IX, the federal law protecting students from discrimination based on sex.

In the past six months, federal officials have launched more than 30 Title IX investigations across the U.S.

More than 46 million Americans are expected to travel some distance to get to Thanksgiving dinner this week. That's the most since before the great recession. And while the traffic and weather may not be cooperating, at least gas prices are down.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has weighed in in favor of partial development of the 25-acre plot of land Burlington College is selling in order to improve its troubled finances.

The welfare of children under state supervision in Vermont has been under particular scrutiny over the last year. The homicide of two-year-old Dezirae Sheldon in February sparked outrage partly because Sheldon's family had previously been investigated for abuse. That anger was compounded last spring when another young child, Peighton Geraw, was killed; his family had also been in the Department for Children and Families system.