Vermont Edition
1:45 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

A Farewell To The Eastern Hemlock

This is an undated photo of egg masses of the hemlock woolly adelgid.
AP/U.S. Forest Service/Dennis J. Souto

In the current issue of the nature writing magazine Orion, Robert Sullivan has an essay eulogizing the Eastern Hemlock.

This tree is being decimated by the hemlock wooly adelgid, a tiny but massively destructive pest. Sullivan says the hemlock has never been a particularly well-loved tree, but the experience of being in a dark, quiet, hemlock forest, where the falling pine needles create their own ambient sound would be enough to turn anyone into a fan.

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The Frequency
1:07 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

No End In Sight As CCTA Strike Enters Second Week

CCTA drivers' steward Mike Walker (right) speaks at a press conference as driver Rob Slingerland looks on.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

The Chittenden County Transportation Authority and its drivers are locked in a bitter standoff, with both sides in disagreement publicly and privately on facts as basic as how long Saturday’s negotiation session lasted.

At a press conference Monday, Rob Slingerland, the spokesman for the drivers, said the CCTA’s release that came after the weekend negotiation session failed was marred with inaccuracies and half-truths.

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Vermont Edition
12:00 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

A New Plan For Cleaning Up Lake Champlain

Blue-green algae in Lake Champlain caused by excessive phosphorus.
John Dillon VPR File

The state’s last plan to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain was rejected by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), did not take into account the effects of climate change, according to the EPA, and was not specific enough it its requirements.

David Mears, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation has been working to release the final version of the TMDL by the end of March.

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VPR News
9:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Vt. Author Pens Memoir Of Addiction, Family

Author Jessica Hendry Nelson.
Nick Adams

Addiction has the power to throw lives into chaos. Sometimes reaching across generations, it disrupts not only the addict but also the addict’s family. That’s the story told in the debut memoir by Winooski resident Jessica Hendry Nelson.

If Only You People Could Follow Directions is the story of her brother’s addiction, her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s attempt to hold the family together, and her own attempt to make a life out of chaos. She spoke with VPR's Peter Biello about her book.

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VPR News
5:35 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Overdose Recovery Drug Becomes More Widely Available

A Narcan kits sits onthe desk of St. Johnsbury Police Chief Clement Houde.
Charlotte Albright

Last year, the Vermont Legislature approved the use of medication called Narcan that can prevent drug users from dying of an overdose. The Health Department set up two pilot sites in Burlington and White River Junction. Now Narcan is becoming more widely available.

On a recent afternoon in  his small office on the second floor of St. Johnsbury’s Police Department, Chief Clement Houde pulled a rectangular pink cardboard container out of his desk drawer. It’s about the size of a travel toothpaste box.

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5:21 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Environmental Group Challenges Energy Policy Coordination

An environmental advocacy group is challenging how energy policy is coordinated by New England's six governors. The Conservation Law Foundation has submitted public records requests to the region's six states.

Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation says since the six New England Governors announced in December that they would coordinate their plans for the region’s electric grid, those conversations have happened behind closed doors and the public has seen only signs that a plan is being carried out.

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VPR News
10:05 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Goat Local? Meat For Refugees, And The Rest Of Us

Theoneste Rwayitare distributes powdered milk to male baby goats, called bucklings, that the collaborative sources from dairy farms.
Angela Evancie VPR

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That makes it hard for members of the state's refugee population. The city of Burlington is home to more than 6,000 Africans, South Asians and Central Europeans who are accustomed to eating goat on a regular basis.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand not only of refugees in Vermont, but of ethnic populations throughout New England and what may be a growing mainstream market for the meat. 

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VPR News
9:53 am
Sun March 23, 2014

CCTA Negotiations End Without A Deal

Negotiations between the Chittenden Country Transportation Authority and striking bus drivers appear to be at an impasse.

CCTA General Manager Bill Watterson said in a written statement that discussions ended without an agreement after seven hours of mediated talks on Saturday.

CCTA says it delivered a compromise contract proposal to the union in hopes of ending the strike, now in its seventh day.

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Public Post
7:12 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Public Post Weekly Roundup

"Please don’t begin to lecture our road crew on the need for better road maintenance," the Town of Warren posted on its website. Potholes are a fact of the season.
StockSolutions Thinkstock

Public Post reports on Vermont's Open Sugarhouse Weekend; the prevalence of potholes in many towns, including Warren; a public art project in Londonderry and the upcoming Town Officers Education Conferences.

Here's a sampling of the week's Public Post Twitter updates from Wilmington, Worcester, Warren, Derby and more:

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VPR News
4:59 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Cigarette Tax Eyed To Fund Health Care Costs

Smokers in Vermont could soon be paying more for a pack of cigarettes, as House leaders eye a 50 cent per pack tax increase to help pay for several health care programs.

The cigarette tax increase is on the table as an alternative to a tax plan proposed by Gov. Peter Shumlin in January.

At the beginning of the session,  Shumlin proposed doubling a tax on all health care claims as a way to help pay for the ongoing operations of the state’s new health care exchange and several other health related programs. This tax was expected to raise around $14 million.

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