Vermont Edition
4:40 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Turning A Blind Eye To Bias-Free Policing

This routine traffic stop in September 2011 led to a change in the state's bias-free policing policy.
Vermont State Police AP

In September of 2011, two migrant farmworkers were arrested during a routine traffic stop. The workers were not involved in the infraction, yet they were asked for immigration documentation.

That incident led to an outcry from the migrant farm community and, eventually, to a law requiring the state’s law enforcement agencies to adopt a bias-free policing policy.

Two years after that law was passed, many agencies have not complied with it nor is anyone tasked with monitoring compliance.

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The Frequency
3:37 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

GMO Labeling Bill To Become Law

The House of Representatives voted 114 - 30 in favor of a bill that requires the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Angela Evancie VPR File Photo

The Vermont House of Representatives  voted 114 - 30 Wednesday to require the labeling of foods produced with genetically modified organisms.

Proponents of the bill, including Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, argued that Vermonters have a right to know what is in the food they eat.

During the floor debate, opponents often agreed with that premise, but said they would vote against the bill because of concerns that national food producers would sue the state over the law.

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The Frequency
3:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

What Happened To Those 35 Failed School Budgets?

On Town Meeting Day this year, 35 cities and towns voted down proposed school budgets - the highest number in a decade. But students in those towns still have to go to school in the fall, so school boards, administrators and voters have to find a workable solution.

For some of those budgets, solutions have already been passed. Others have gone back to the drawing board a second time. Many cities and towns still have to have a re-vote. Here's what's happening with each of the 35 school budgets that failed on Town Meeting Day 2014.

Public Post
1:34 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Who's Seen A Vernal Pool? Cornwall Calls For Inventory

A spotted salamander makes its annual migration through New Haven to mate.
Alden Pellett AP

Along with the annual onslaught of April showers comes the emergence of Vermont's native amphibians and reptiles. Many come out in search of the vernal pools where they breed.

In Cornwall, the conservation commission has noticed the town has no record of vernal pools, and the commission is asking residents to help change that by reporting any of these seasonal ecosystems on their property. In an article on the town website, the conservation commission states:

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Vermont Edition
12:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About GMOs

A protest on World Environment Day, Wednesday June 5, 2013, in Quezon, Philippines. A coalition called "Green Moms" advocates organic foods to show their opposition to a genetically modified rice variety known as "Golden Rice."
Bullit Marquez AP

Vermont is poised to pass a GMO labeling bill before the end of the session. The labeling issue is framed as a right to know what's in our food. But that's not the only thing people talk about when they argue about GMOs. There's also a controversy about whether GMOs might be bad for our health, or whether enough research has even been done on the health effects. And there's an argument over whether GMOs lead to an overuse of herbicides, which in turn may create species of super-weeds. Or whether GMOs help farmers use fewer insecticides and till the soil less often.

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Public Post
10:11 am
Wed April 23, 2014

New Green Ribbon Schools Announced

The U.S. Department of Education has announced its 2014 slate of Green Ribbon Schools and three honorees are Vermont public schools. Champlain Valley Union High School, Camels Hump Middle School and Lake Region Union High School were nominated for the recognition by the Vermont Agency of Education in February.

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Public Post
7:13 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Vermont's Smallest City Thinks Big

The City of Vergennes is looking for community task force members.
City of Vergennes

The citizens of Vergennes have set the top three priorities for their city, in an effort to take a big picture approach to planning for the future. More than 100 people turned out to a community meeting last week. It was the second event in a three-month "Community Visit" facilitated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD).

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VPR News
7:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

A Dirty Little Secret: Some Towns Are Beating Mud Season

William Wood shared this photo from East Town Farm Road in Putney. "We bought a very old used truck shortly after getting towed out; our cars now 'live' in downtown Putney, and the truck takes us home from there, till the road improves..."
William Wood

Vermont’s fifth season, mud season, is here in all of its rutted and sloppy glory.

But if you’re among those struggling to keep your car on the road and your muffler in one piece, we’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: For an increasing number of back road residents, mud season isn’t so bad anymore.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Lawmakers Set New Deadline For Single-Payer Financing

Legislative leaders are ramping up the pressure on Gov. Peter Shumlin to provide answers on how he plans to finance his single-payer health plan.

The pressure includes detailed questions about how the plan could affect the economy, and a proposed deadline for the financing plan to be delivered.

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VPR News
5:22 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Frat Houses Fret Over Statehouse Tax Bill

The owners of the Sigma Phi fraternity house on College Street in Burlington would owe $31,068 this year in taxes if it didn't have a tax exemption.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

A tax bill in the statehouse has fraternities and sororities in Burlington on the defensive.

The bill would revoke a long-standing tax exemption for the owners of fraternity and sorority housing and require them all to pay taxes based on the appraised value of the property.

For the 10 fraternity and sorority houses in Burlington, those payments add up to $278,120 a year, and the students in those groups say the bill threatens their presence in the university community.

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