Middlebury's former Lazarus Department Store has been leveled and will become a pop-up pocket park. Three Vermont communities are semifinalists for Georgetown University's Energy Prize. Submissions are open for Montpelier's PoemCity and Randolph's PoemTown National Poetry Month projects, in April.

In the first statement since negotiations began under their auspices, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has acknowledged that talks between representatives of FairPoint Communications and two striking unions are continuing and that “progress is being made”.

A statement issued Friday evening by FMCS Acting Director Allison Beck on behalf of the negotiating parties offers little additional information.  

westphalia / iStock

The natural gas pipeline through Addison County received approval from the Public Service Board. But since then, the projected costs have risen twice and nearly doubled.

We talk with the new CEO of Vermont Gas, Don Rendall, and Maren Vasatka, an Addison County landowner who opposes the pipeline.

Post your questions or comments about the proposed natural gas pipeline here or email them to vermontedition@vpr.net.

Wilson Ring / AP/file

An energy proposal from the Shumlin administration could become one of the biggest pocketbook issues of the 2015 legislative session as lawmakers look for a renewable energy policy that will stave off a significant rate increase.

Sen. Patrick Leahy

This past weekend, Sen. Patrick Leahy led a special congressional delegation to Cuba. It’s part of an effort to normalize relations between the two countries – relations that were severed in 1961 when Fidel Castro came to power.

 

Smoking is banned on Church Street in Burlington. It's a win for public health and many in Burlington who advocated for the ban, but (a minority of) city councilors and some Burlingtonians say it has some negative side effects.

Jay Sansone

Proctor born singer and songwriter Caitlin Canty will perform on Saturday in West Rutland. Canty just finished her first tour of Europe and is coming home to celebrate the release of her latest album, Reckless Skyline.

Critics describe her music as a blend of country, blues, rock and folk.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The unusual results in the November election have some lawmakers suggesting that Vermont should change its rules for electing the governor.  The Vermont Constitution specifies that the Legislature elects the governor when no candidate receives 50 percent of the electoral vote. On the next Vermont Edition, we look at two possible amendments that both aim to keep the decision in the hands of voters, not the Legislature.  Our guests are Senators Bill Doyle and Anthony Pollina.

Steve Zind / VPR

It’s clear lawmakers have been hearing from constituents about the wide disparity in gas prices in Vermont – especially higher prices in the Burlington area – and the fact the average price of a gallon gas statewide is currently about 40 cents above the national mark. 

Why and what can be done about it wasn’t so clear, as lawmakers heard from a testimony during a public hearing at the State House on Thursday.

What's the value of a dormant nuclear power plant?

That's the question facing folks in Vernon now that Vermont Yankee has shut down for good - after more than four decades in operation.

Vernon officials recently negotiated a new tax deal with plant owner Entergy, the first since the shut-down, and that's the subject of today's Friday Regional Report.

VPR's Mitch Wertlieb spoke about the deal with Brattleboro Reformer reporter Mike Faher.

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