A new report from the Vermont Citizens Advisory Board says systemic problems with the state’s child protection processes contributed to the deaths of two children this spring.

The 26-page report raises serious questions about communication, quality control, training and investigations at the Vermont Department for Children and Families, as well as within law enforcement and the state court system.

“The one thing you're not supposed to do when filming sharks is to back up."

The first time Andy Mitchell swam with great white sharks proved to be quite an adventure. The Middlebury-based documentary filmmaker was in South Africa, in an area known as "Shark Alley." He and another cameraman had dropped a cage to the sea bottom and tipped it on its side like a soccer goal to provide some protection if an aggressive shark came at them.

“The weather was crap, and the visibility was horrible. You couldn’t see more than five or six feet. So I slowly edged out of the cage.”

President Obama wants to implement an immigration package through his powers of executive order and this decision has set off a controversial debate in Congress. Friday on Vermont Edition, Sen. Patrick Leahy is our guest to discuss immigration and other issues facing the U.S. Senate, such as this week's vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. We'll also discuss the failure this week of a bill Leahy sponsored to restrict government surveillance.

Vermont’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.4 percent in October, ending a series of monthly increases.

The October rate is the same as it was one year ago. In the past 12 months, unemployment fell as low as 3.3 percent (in April and May, 2014) before climbing to its current level.

The Vermont Telephone Co. CEO who moved an ancient cemetery in Hartland to clear the way for a new home has received a wastewater permit for the site, but not necessarily the blessings of the many in town who have opposed his plans. The resentments stirred by the three-year battle — one that has variously involved costumed protesters, accusations of graveyard desecration (from both sides) and the exhumation of a cat — remain fresh.
 

The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund has allocated $1.6 million to develop a wood-pellet heating industry in Windham County. The funding group has put out a call for proposals to design and run the program.

The funds are part of a final $5.3 million clean energy payment from Entergy Vermont Yankee, which is closing at the end of the year. At least $2.6 million of that is earmarked for Windham County, the region expected to be hardest hit economically by the closure.

Detectives with the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations charged Rosemary Gile Wednesday in the July death of her four-week-old son, Saunder Gilruth.

Emergency responders responded to Isham Street in Burlington on July 22 and rushed the infant to Fletcher Allen Health Care (now the University of Vermont Medical Center), where he died on July 30.

Gile is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death. She is due to appear in court on Dec. 4.

President Barack Obama says he will be laying out a plan Thursday to improve the immigration system. He says he plans to extend temporary legal status to more than five million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Advocates wonder how the move will help the Vermont's undocumented farmworkers.

The state is home to about 1,500 migrant dairy farmworkers, some undocumented. It's anticipated that they won't be covered under President Obama's plan.

There isn’t a single documented case of Ebola in the United States right now, let alone in Vermont. But health officials here remain on high alert nonetheless. And the state is now monitoring two people who returned earlier this month after traveling in West African countries where the disease is more widespread.

The individuals are checking their own temperature twice a day, then reporting results via phone during daily check-in with a public health nurse. They are not health care workers, according to officials, and their period of monitoring ends Friday.

Susanne Schmidt started telling stories over a year ago, during a comedy fundraiser for the lunch ladies of Vermont. “The day before the event, I was having a really hard time deciding what to do for my set, when I realized I had a story about my lunch lady when I was growing up," Schmidt says. “So I threw out my comedy set, got up in front of 200 people and told my story.” 

From that point forward, Schmidt hasn’t stopped connecting with people through her storytelling.


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