Cirque du Soleil is the dreamlike, traveling human circus that got its start more than 30 years ago in Québec. It’s been headquartered in Montreal for a long time and is considered a cultural treasure. But just recently, it was sold to a group of investors from the U.S. and China.

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In his first book, Tomatoland, Vermont food writer Barry Estabrook took on Big Ag that has destroyed that fruit. Now in Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat, he uncovers methods large pork producers are using to raise their pigs, including feeding them animal byproducts, hormones and drugs and keeping them in cramped individual cages.

He espouses more humane methods that would allow them to have room to roam and be fed a diet of pure soybeans and corn.

We speak with Estabrook about his new book and how the pork industry can be improved.

Lindsay Raymondjack / Vermont Stage

Two performance projects have been spurring big discussions about race and identity in Vermont in recent weeks. The Vermont Stage production of "The Mountaintop" depicts the imagined last night of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. And Sandglass Theater recently brought the collaborative "Race Peace" storytelling and performance project to Brattleboro.

FairPoint Communications says a workers strike and winter storms continued to take a toll on earnings in the first three months of 2015.

The quarterly earnings report issued Wednesday underscores the company’s continued loss of land line and residential broadband revenue, but FairPoint says the quarter represents a turning point in its finances. 

In Dorset, residents voted down controversial changes to the town’s zoning bylaws 513 to 344.  

Select board members had approved a number of amendments, including banning chain-based businesses, as well as allowing larger buildings to be constructed in certain parts of town.  

Many local residents felt expanding the allowable footprint of new construction would harm Dorset’s historic character and hurt property values – and they gathered enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

As spring returns, controversy swirls over a dam in East Burke. The land trust that owns the dam wants to tear it down. But other residents see the dam as an historic buttress to the local economy. 

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Three professors in the University of Vermont Extension program are losing their positions next year due to budget cuts, university officials say. The cuts are a result of the state of Vermont’s level-funding of UVM for most of the past decade, as well as Congressional gridlock, according to UVM Extension Dean Doug Lantagne.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

The Vermont Statehouse on Tuesday afternoon was the scene of a showdown over the state's mandatory immunization law.

The issue is whether lawmakers should support a bill that removes a parent's right not to vaccinate their children for philosophical reasons.

More than 25 wild fires flared around Vermont Monday. On Tuesday, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation ordered forest fire wardens throughout the state to cease issuing burning permits for the next two weeks.

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In recognition of Mother's Day on Sunday, the latest "Best and Worst" list from the personal finance website WalletHub ranks the best and worst states for working mothers. Vermont made the list's top spot for being the most working-mom-friendly state, up from third on the same list last year.