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.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Every winter, the Vermont Farm Show is a chance for farmers to check out new equipment and trade information about issues affecting them. One of the big topics this year: the impact of farms on the water quality of Lake Champlain.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Did you know most salts won't melt ice when the temperature is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit? Or that cracked corn is a good traction alternative to sand or kitty litter?

Eye on the Sky

A powerful coastal storm is forecasted to bring heavy snow and high wind to Vermont, beginning in the southern part of the state on Monday afternoon and moving northward through Tuesday.

United Way of Chittenden County

With a winter storm bearing down on New England, some homeless people may seek emergency refuge. During the day, they may ask for housing help in person at a Vermont Human Services office. After business hours, they can call VT 2-1-1. On evenings and weekends, those 2-1-1 calls are re-routed to Maine.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

When Gov. Peter Shumlin made water pollution and cleaning Lake Champlain a major focus of his inaugural address earlier this month, officials in charge of preventing that pollution got a boost.

Seth Wenig / AP

The long-time speaker of the New York State Assembly returned to Albany today for the first time since he was arrested on federal corruption charges last week.

Government prosecutors say Speaker Sheldon Silver took nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks, in exchange for using his political clout to direct money and policy out of Albany.

The familiar Lang McLaughry Real Estate signs are a thing of the past. 

The South Burlington residential and commercial real estate company, which was Vermont's largest, has merged with the smaller Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty based in New Hampshire.

The company has also acquired a real estate firm based in Manchester, Vermont Country Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.

The new company,  called Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty, has 23 offices and more than 220 sales agents in two states.

The Department of Public Service says FairPoint Communications continues to make significant progress in resolving the backlog of telephone repairs. 

The repair delays, which have been a problem since last summer, have landed the company in hot water with regulators.

The department says the number of outstanding repairs has dropped by 50 percent from a week ago.

Based on numbers provided to legislators, that means there are now about 400 Vermont customers waiting for phone service and repairs.

Angela Evancie / VPR

There has been talk for months that the state budget has a projected shortfall of around $100 million. To close the budget gap, lawmakers and officials will look at ways to increase revenue through taxes and fees, as well as cut back spending and state services.

But what is our total state budget and how does a $100 million gap happen? VPR’s Statehouse Reporter Peter Hirschfeld, who looks at these numbers on a daily basis, explains the basics of the state budget.

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