Rutland County Parent Child Center

Last week, Casey Family Programs released the latest in a series of reports and investigations examining Vermont’s Department for Children and Families. This follows the death earlier this year of two toddlers who were under state supervision.

Perhaps no DCF district office has come under more scrutiny than Rutland’s, where one of the toddlers, 2-year-old Dezirae Sheldon, had received services.

labuda / iStock

Marijuana legalization advocates have been laying the groundwork for a big legislative push in 2015. But Vermont lawmakers don’t seem inclined to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado any time soon.

Earlier this year, Burlington lawyer Carl Lisman quietly registered a rather noteworthy trade name. It’s called “Vermont Cannabis,” and its purpose, according to the paperwork filed at the corporations division at the Vermont Secretary of State, is the “promotion of cannabis products.”

Geeking Out

Dec 20, 2014
Casey Rodgers / AP

They were the kids who sat together in the high school cafeteria, dressed a little funny and laughed at jokes that none of the rest of the class quite understood. They were into Star Wars, Star Trek, roll-playing games and comic books. Really into it.

But now, being a geek has become more socially acceptable. Dare we say geek is now chic.

VAST

Money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has helped a Windsor County snowmobile club  buy equipment that can be operated by people with disabilities.

The $77,000 USDA Rural Development grant supplements nearly $147,000 invested by the Hawks Mountain Ridge Runners in an unusual trail groomer. Cindy Locke, Executive Director of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, says two of the club’s groomers have disabilities that make using foot controls difficult.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issues a water quality certification regarding the future operations of Green Mountain Power’s hydroelectric project in Waterbury. Many wooded trails are closed due to downed trees and debris. Vermont State Parks offer First Day Hikes. Colchester is asking local artists to submit design ideas for creative bicycle racks.

It’s now been two months since some 1,700 union workers at FairPoint Communications walked off the job.

The unions and the company are at an impasse over changes FairPoint management wants to make to workers' pensions, health benefits and work rules. Right now, there's no end to the strike in sight.

Steve Zind / VPR

The state says despite efforts to address service delays by FairPoint Communications, the pace of customer complaints shows no sign of slowing.

The Department of Public Service says it has received more than 730 complaints about FairPoint service since workers went on strike on Oct. 17.

The department was pressing the company to resolve repair delays for telephone customers even before the strike, but says the number of complaints increased dramatically when the work stoppage began.

Peter Biello / VPR

This holiday season, many make long journeys to spend time with their families. For parents with children in the armed forces, such holiday reunions aren’t always possible. A group of military mothers are mending their empty nests by reaching out to veterans in need of a family of sorts — those who are homeless and living in transitional housing.

Angela Evancie / VPR File Photo

Tristram Coffin, the U.S. Attorney for the district of Vermont, said he is resigning next month to take a job in private practice.

"I'm going to be reluctantly stepping down and taking on another job beginning Jan. 12," he said. "It's an excellent opportunity, but I will be leaving this job feeling it's been an amazing time here. We've got such an incredible office here and terrific people."

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Vermont Gas Systems announced Friday that it faces additional cost overruns for its pipeline to Addison County. 

The company is not ruling out a rate increase to pay for the new costs. And officials say they will ask regulators to delay proceedings on the the next phase of the project, pending revised cost estimates for that phase.  

Costs have gone up substantially since the project was first submitted to regulators a year ago.

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