Two years ago, Congressman Peter Welch visited Cuba as part of a special congressional fact-finding mission.

Welch says he was struck by the high quality of the Cuban education system and the basic services provided by the country's health care system.

But he says it was also clear that the long standing U.S. trade embargo imposed on the Cuban government was taking its toll on many of the Cuban people.

The political ascendance of Peter Shumlin has come thanks in part to support from the Progressive Party. But the Democratic governor’s decision to shelve single-payer health care last week could shatter that alliance.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis has been appointed the 10th Bishop of Burlington in Vermont.

The Most Reverend Christopher James Coyne was appointed Monday and will be formally installed as pastor of Vermont's 118,000 Catholics on Jan. 29.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Christopher Coyne is well-known for his Boston accent in Indianapolis where he's served since 2011.

Alex Keefe / VPR

Barring a holiday thaw, this is the time of year when the Green Mountain National Forest sports gorgeous, snowy mountains and heavy, snow-bowed pine trees.

And for $5, you can head into these woods and procure your own Christmas tree. Forester Dun Cochrane showed VPR the ropes – er, garlands.  

Amattox Mattox / Flickr

Are you spending your holiday surreptitiously checking work emails? Not a good idea. In his new book, The Organized Mind, McGill University professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience Daniel Levitin reminds us that our brains need a true rest in order to function properly. The deluge of tweets, Facebook updates, and emails we're faced with on a daily basis, compete for the limited attentional resources of our brains.

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.

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.


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.