Public Post
2:59 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

To Plan New Welcome Center, Montpelier Wants 'Participation By All'

Montpelier's plan to develop the recently purchased Carr Lot, shown here in an overhead rendering, will informed by community input.
City of Montpelier

What will the new transit and welcome center at One Taylor Street in Montpelier be like? That's yet to be determined, and largely up to the community.

Over the next three months, Montpelier will be hosting three meetings to garner community input on specifics about the site and building, as well as the scale of the project. At a fourth meeting, in July, architects will present the resulting plans.

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Vermont Edition
2:49 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Vermonters At The Battle Of The Wilderness

The first week of May in 1864 saw a brigade of Vermont soldiers engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness in northern Virginia.  Twelve hundred Vermonters died in three days of fighting, accounting for more than half of the Union losses in that battle. On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness, we talk with Vermont Civil War historian Howard Coffin about how the battle was fought, why he says it was Vermont’s most important contribution to the war, and what consequences it had for both the North and South.

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VPR News
8:35 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Plainfield Poet Wins Prize For Collection

Poet Kerrin McCadden

Plainfield resident and teacher Kerrin McCadden is the winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize for her book, Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes. The collection features poems that tackle the feelings of emptiness that follow divorce, the trials of parenting, and the connection to a place that can be called "home."

Broadcast on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:49 a.m.

Learn more about Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

State Cracks Down On Payday Loan Companies

Rhonda Wood and her husband Greg discovered the interest payments on their 'payday loan' far exceeded the amount they had borrowed.
VPR/Steve Zind

Several national companies that offer small loans at high interest rates have agreed to refund money to more than one thousand Vermont borrowers.

The agreement is the result of a lawsuit brought by the Vermont Attorney General against companies illegally offering what are called payday loans.

The loans are often used by individuals who are unable to secure a bank loan.  That was the case with Greg and Rhonda Wood of Thetford.  Four years ago a health problem forced Greg to stop working and his income dropped dramatically.

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VPR News
6:27 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Over Half Of Vermont's Kids Deemed Not Ready For Kindergarten

Fifty-one percent of Vermont kids do not have the social, physical, emotional, language, and cognitive skills they need to start school, according to statistics from the Agency of Education.
archideaphoto Thinkstock

Too many of Vermont's children are not ready to start kindergarten. That’s one conclusion in a new report from Building Bright Futures, the child advocacy group responsible for governing the state’s childcare system. The findings come as legislation to mandate pre-kindergarten statewide has apparently stalled in the Vermont Senate. 

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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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