Carolyn Box / AP

The Vermont House passed a bill Tuesday to ban microbeads in beauty products that have been found to cause harm to fish and other wildlife.

The House gave preliminary approval to H.4 with a unanimous voice vote. It was passed unanimously by the House Fish and Wildlife Committee on Friday.

The legislation, first brought to the attention of the House Fish and Wildlife Committee by Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, has broad support across the political spectrum.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Vermonters do a pretty good job of filling their local food shelves with Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas cranberry sauce. But donations can take a sharp drop with the start of the New Year. The Lamoille Neighborhood Food Project aims to address such dips by making donating food as easy as putting an extra can in your cart.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The deteriorating water quality in Lake Champlain has been a topic of ecological concern, litigation and spending in the last two decades. Much of the problem comes from phosphorous washing into the lake from its massive watershed and setting off blooms of toxic, filthy blue-green algae.

In a few years all Vermonters will be required to keep food waste out of landfills, but for some institutions that create a lot of food scraps, those requirements kick in a lot sooner. While some of that food waste will be composted, under a new pilot project some of it will be headed to anaerobic digesters that create energy, including the one at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

TH3DSTO / iStock

Germany may have a woman chancellor, but more than two-thirds of German businesses have no women in a senior role. It’s not much better in the United States. According to a study by the Grant Thornton International Business Report, of 45 countries, the U.S. ranked ninth from last when it came to women in top managerial positions – well behind Russia, Indonesia, Latvia and Peru.

You might think things are better in Vermont. But of the 99 largest employers in the state, just 15 percent are headed by women. 

Alexa Luthor

Higher Ground, a music venue in South Burlington, sold out a string of shows this past weekend. But it wasn't a band that folks were lining up to see.

The performance space hosted a popular festival celebrating the art of burlesque.

Over the course of last year the Vermont unemployment rate bumped up and down quite a bit from month-to-month, and the December figure of 4.2 percent is actually higher than it's been most of the year.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Last year, Vermont lawmakers heeded President Obama’s call to boost the minimum wage. But it’s unclear whether the president’s recent push for paid sick days will spur action in the Statehouse in 2015.

FTwitty / iStock

Former Executive Director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission Robert Appel recently wrote an opinion piece for the Rutland Herald that questioned the effectiveness of the state's bias-free policing policy. He was particularly concerned that traffic-stop data that has been collected has not been analyzed.

Chart: Building Bright Futures / Data: Vermont Agency of Human Services, Agency of Education, and Federal Ofce of Head Start

Vermont spent about 15 percent of its state budget on early childhood education in 2013. A little less than half of that expense supported K-3 education, and the rest targeted the needs of younger children. But many working families still cannot afford child care, according to a new report from an early childhood advocacy group.

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