Nurses from the Brattleboro Retreat stand outside the hospital to bring attention to recent changes made to their schedules.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Union Nurses At Brattleboro Retreat Push Back On Schedule Changes

Nurses at the Brattleboro Retreat have been holding informational pickets in front of the southern Vermont psychiatric hospital to bring attention to what they say are radical schedule changes enacted by the administration that violate their union contract.

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Job losses in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene were in many cases temporary, lasting only as long as it took businesses to repair damage from the flood.

The financial impact of those layoffs has been more lasting, but lawmakers may have found a way to soften the blow.

Senate Delays License Bill For Migrant Workers

Apr 3, 2013

The Vermont Senate is delaying action until next week on a bill allowing immigrant farm workers to become Vermont drivers.

The Senate was going to debate the measure this week. It was approved last week by the Transportation Committee by a vote of 4-1.

But now it's being sent to the Finance Committee for review because it contains a fee - which an immigrant would pay to get the special driving privilege card.

Lynx Sightings On The Rise

Apr 3, 2013

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says sightings of Canada lynx are on the rise in the Northeast Kingdom.

Officials say there were only four confirmed sightings of the animals in Vermont between the late 1700s and early 2000s but say sightings have been increasing every year since 2003.

The department is doing surveys to determine the extent and distribution of the animal in Vermont.

Lynx are listed as threatened under the federal endangered species act and as endangered in Vermont. They are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and secretive.

Rutland Hospital Plans Methadone Clinic

Apr 3, 2013

The Rutland Regional Medical center is hoping to open a methadone clinic by fall.

Last week the hospital's board of directors voted to move forward with a state Department of Health plan to open a drug treatment center that police and health officials say is needed to treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers.

Hospital spokeswoman Priscilla Latkin says the target date is Oct. 1

The facility will open with enough staff to handle 400 people a year but will probably not come close to that number of patients during its first 12 months in operation.

AP/Jeannie Nuss / Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over

An oil spill in Arkansas may add urgency to Vermont legislation that would regulate oil pipelines.

Environmentalists point to similarities between the pipeline in Arkansas that ruptured and one in northern Vermont that could be used to ship tar sands oil.

The accident last week in Mayflower, AR spilled about 80,000 gallons of oil and forced the evacuation of 22 homes.

The 20-inch, underground line was used to carry tar sands oil from western Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

The Senate Transportation committee is set to make a key change in the gas tax bill that was adopted by the House several weeks ago.

Lawmakers are eyeing the gas tax as a way to raise new revenue to allow the state to take full advantage of all federal matching money that's available.

The Transportation Fund has a major shortfall this year because the gas tax is levied on a per gallon basis nd sales have dropped more than 40 million gallons over the past 7 years.

AP/Toby Talbot

The House Transportation Committee is considering a bill that would explore why gasoline prices are higher in certain areas of Vermont.

Gas prices in the northwestern part of the state have been considerably higher than many other regions. The average disparity in prices in Chittenden County is about 22 cents.

Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, is sponsoring a measure that would require distributors to provide data to the attorney general’s office.

Vt. Bills Target Distracted Driving

Apr 2, 2013
AP/Toby Talbot / A driver talks on the phone on Tuesday in Montpelier.

Vermont lawmakers are continuing their efforts to crack down on distracted driving, with bills that would boost the penalties for texting while driving and ban all hand-held electronic devices when driving through road construction zones.

Two House committees are studying those measures, while prospects for a proposed outright ban on using portable electronic devices while driving appear slim.

Vermonters already are banned from texting while driving and drivers under 18 are barred from using any portable electronic device.

Key members of the House are skeptical of a Senate bill that calls for a statewide study of the impact of renewable projects on Vermont’s environment.

Last week, after hours of often heated debate, the Senate passed a stripped-down measure of a bill that originally would have given towns more control in the state review of energy projects that are proposed for their communities.

A bacterial disease spread by tick bites is getting attention this week in the Statehouse.

Lyme disease patients and their advocates are pushing for a bill that requires insurance companies to cover long-term antibiotic care for the debilitating illness.

The bill highlights a debate in the medical community about the most effective treatment, because it sanctions a medical practice that critics say is not recommended by state and federal agencies.

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A telescope on a tripod pointed up toward a night sky.
ClaudioVentrella / iStock

How Was The Universe Created?

But Why explores the Big Bang, earth, stars and black holes in this call-in episode that aired live on Vermont Public Radio. Astronomer John O'Meara tackles the big bang, the origins of the universe and how we know humans landed on the moon. Plus, why is the earth round? What is space made out of? How are stars formed? Why do the stars shine so bright? What's beyond space? How long does it take to get to outer space? Will humans ever be able to go to Mars?

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