A new report  shows that Vermont is making progress toward some key education goals for high school students, but lagging behind the region in other areas. The data have been collected since 2009 using similar metrics and methods by five states in the New England Secondary School Consortium.

Chris / Flickr

Most people who are looking for work spend a lot of time polishing their resumes. But it may be that working on your handshake or your communication skills is just as important. How do you deal with a difficult coworker? How do you speak up for yourself without being seen as pushy? How do you get through endlessly boring meetings? Learning how to deal with conflict at work can sometimes be the most difficult part of a job.

Toby Talbot / AP

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has been operating since 1972. Now, we're less than two weeks away from the plant closing for good. And while it will stop producing energy, life will continue at the plant with the storage of spent fuel and the decommissioning of the plant.

Susan Bulmer / Vermont State Parks

Looking for something to do New Year's Day? Vermont State Parks suggests you go take a hike.

Guided First Day Hikes are being offered at nine Vermont State Parks and Forests on Jan. 1. Professional guides and outdoor educators will lead the family-oriented hikes. Leashed dogs are also welcome on most of the hikes. Snowshoes are recommended if the snow is deep. There's no need to preregister just pack a snack, water and warm clothes and go take a hike!

iStock / Thinkstock

Attention artists: Colchester wants you to design its new bike racks.

The Town of Colchester is asking artists to submit designs for permanent outdoor bicycle racks for its Colchester Rides! contest. Three winning designers will be offered $2,500 honoraria to produce the bike racks, which will be placed at prominent locations in the community. Artists will also be responsible for the first year of maintenance on their racks.

The three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation have once again called on FairPoint Communications to settle a two month old strike with unionized employees.

In a joint letter to the company, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch wrote, “It is becoming increasingly clear to Vermonters that management is more concerned with the interests of corporate owners of FairPoint than negotiating a reasonable agreement that is fair to your workers and customers.”

Jason R. Henske / AP

In less than two weeks, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will enter its final shutdown. The Vernon reactor has generated electricity on the banks of the Connecticut River since 1972. It’s also generated public discord, litigation and mistrust. Officials on both sides hope that’s coming to an end, now that the plant is closing. But with decades of cleanup and decommissioning ahead, the saga of Vermont Yankee and the state is far from over.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation and US Forest Service Forest Health Protection

An annual report on the health of Vermont forests identifies some trouble spots but says overall, it was a good year for trees.

Because Vermont is 78 percent forested, the health of the state’s hardwood and softwood species is important.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Last January, Gov. Peter Shumlin made Vermont's opiate addiction problem the focus of his State of the State Address. Now, the governor says we've made steady progress in the year since his speech.

Shumlin points to expanded treatment centers and 700 more Vermonters getting treatment as successes in the past year.

VPR/Angela Evancie

In the aftermath of last week’s storm, Vermont’s major electric utilities issued a steady stream of news releases detailing the number of customers without service.  

But information on storm related telephone outages was hard to come by.

FairPoint Communications, the state’s principal telephone company, says it can't determine how many customers lost service due to the storm.  

Both FairPoint and Green Mountain Power, the largest utility, rely on a mix of technology and customer calls to determine how many people are without service.