VPR/Charlotte Albright / Phil Kline, composer of "Tesla in New York" uses a rehearsal break to speak at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

Radio lovers owe a debt to a brilliant engineer named Nikola Tesla. The inventor from Croatia revolutionized the study of electro-magnetism.

But Tesla was also socially awkward and descended into poverty and madness.

For composer Phil Kline and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, Tesla's story had all the makings of an opera.

They're still writing the piece, but parts of the work-in-progress will be staged this week at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover.

Milton 5th-Graders Help Plant White House Garden

Apr 4, 2013
AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais / First lady Michelle Obama plants spinach with Nolan Deep, left, from Milton Elementary School in Milton, and Kaila Bourne from

Five fifth-graders from Milton were at the White House to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the spring garden.

School district officials said last week the invitation was prompted by the district's changes to its food service. Mrs. Obama had noted a blog post from Milton Food Service Director Steve Marinelli about the fresh entrees now available to Milton students, along with fruits and vegetables in their new self-serve bars.

Mrs. Obama also liked the students' essays about how changes in the school food service helped the school and community

Counterpoint

The Vermont vocal ensemble Counterpoint is presenting three concerts this weekend celebrating the music of Vermont composers.

Counterpoint's Artistic Director Nathaniel Lew says it's been a longtime dream of his to present such a concert.

The concert will include works from three members of the UVM Music faculty-David Feurzeig, Patricia Julien, and Thomas L. Read-as well as works by Peter Hamlin of Middlebury College and Dennis Bathory-Kitsz.

Counterpoint also commissioned a piece by Jorge Martin.

The House has unanimously approved a two-year capital construction bill that solidifies a commitment to rebuild the Waterbury state office complex devastated by Tropical Storm Irene.

The bill includes $173 million in spending, with close to $70 million set aside for Irene-related projects.

This is the second legislative session that lawmakers have crafted a two-year spending cycle for state construction projects. And a top priority remains repairing or replacing buildings damaged by the floodwaters of Irene.

Vermont’s attorney general wants a marijuana decriminalization bill moving though the House to allow people to grow one or two plants.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell says if the state doesn’t allow Vermonters to grow their own pot it will force them to buy marijuana illegally.

The Black River Academy Museum in Ludlow, has something of a mystery on its hands. When the museum opens for the summer on June 6, it will be exhibiting a new display of World War I artifacts, donated by several area residents. Among the items to be displayed is the liquid storage container pictured above. But neither the donors nor museum personnel know how to classify the container. An article in the Mt. Holly Chit Chat newsletter states:

Political victories have been rather scarce for the Vermont Republican Party in the last several years. Brent Burns is hoping to turn that around. He's the new Political Director for the Vermont GOP. He just started the job on Tuesday. He spoke with VPR about what he expects from his new job. 

AP/Jim Cole / In this 2005 file photo, doctors and nurses talk in the hallway of the Adult Treatment Center at the Brattleboro Retreat in

Changes are underway at the Brattleboro Retreat. The psychiatric hospital will open a new Adult Intensive Unit next week. The facility is part of the state's new plan to serve mental health patients following the closure of the Vermont State Hospital by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

After the storm, the Retreat immediately took patients into an older unit that was quickly redesigned for safety. Now they've fully re-designed a unit in the Tyler building on the fourth floor.

Governor Shumlin's plan to transfer $17 million from the state's Earned Income Tax Credit program to pay for his child care initiative is under fire in the Senate.

Shumlin is looking to the Senate to keep his plan alive because it was rejected by the House last month.

The EITC is a federal program and Vermont matches 32 percent of a household's federal credit. The program is designed primarily to assist low income working people with children.

Rabies Confirmed In St. Albans Raccoons

Apr 4, 2013

Authorities in St. Albans say they've found two raccoons that have tested positive for rabies.

The animals were tested over the weekend after police responded to two separate complaints of possible rabid raccoons on New Street and High Street.

Police Chief Gary Taylor is reminding people that even raccoons that appear to be healthy could be a source of exposure to rabies.

Taylor is asking people if they see a raccoon in the area to please call the police department.

Shumlin, Wife, Finalize Divorce

Apr 4, 2013

Gov. Peter Shumlin and his now ex-wife, Deb,say their divorce has been finalized, after having been separated for several years.

In a statement released Wednesday by the governor's office, Shumlin said the divorce was finalized last month in Windham County Family Court.

In the statement, Shumlin said even though divorce is a sad occasion, Deb and I will be forever blessed by many extraordinary years together and two remarkable daughters.

Veterans Home Passes State Inspection

Apr 4, 2013

The Vermont Veterans Home has passed a state inspection and needs to pass one more to ensure it will keep receiving federal funds.

The home is on special focus status following a near-loss in funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year. That funding accounts for most of the home's $20 million budget.

Administrator Melissa Jackson tells the Bennington Banner the inspectors from the Division of Licensing and Protection found one minor issue in Monday's inspection, an expired medication.

A group of doctors is telling Vermont lawmakers and the media that changes in how they are paid could harm medical ethics.

They're worried about the payment plan that might be implemented by the Green Mountain Care Board. Speaking at a news conference organized Wednesday by the group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, Dr. Robert Emmons, a Burlington psychiatrist, said the way Vermont's health care overhaul is planned is not compatible with medical ethics.

By Steve ZindThere was a lot of response to Tuesday’s Vermont Edition program on changing the gas tax.  The idea is in play in the legislature because of a shortfall in the transportation fund which pays for highway and bridge repairs.This Council On Foreign Relations “Renewing America” blog post gives a brief, broad overview of the nation’s deteriorating road conditions and the inability of gas taxes to pay for needed repairs.It appears that Vermont may abandon the tradition of

One of the country's top medical journals is touting Vermont's health care reform effort as an example for the rest of the nation.

A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says other states can learn some lessons from Vermont in rolling out health exchanges that are essential to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Doctor Laura Grubb at the University of Texas wrote the report. In a phone interview Wednesday, she said other states should follow Vermont administrators' lead and take matters into their own hands.

Patients living with Lyme disease crowded the Statehouse on Wednesday to tell their stories about years of misdiagnosis and chronic pain.

The patients and their advocates want legislation to protect doctors if they prescribe long-term antibiotic treatment contrary to current medical standards.

Lawmakers also learned that Lyme disease is just one of several tick-borne infections now sweeping through Vermont.

Shumlin Announces Release Of New Bird Atlas

Apr 3, 2013
AP File/Toby Talbot / Wild turkeys walk through the snow in Barre in this 2010 file photo. A new resource for understanding Vermont's bird populations

Governor Peter Shumlin helped mark the publication of a new book today that's a new resource for understanding Vermont's bird populations.

Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont, was produced with the help of 350 volunteers who donated thousands of hours compiling the information.

Shumlin says the atlas will help the state protect and build ecosystems where birds will thrive.

Now What? That's a fairly common question at select board and school board meetings this time of year, especially in down economy years.

What happens after municipal officials invest time, energy and money planning a project that the voters turn down at town meeting? Should they throw in the towel? Scale down the project and ask again? What about trying to do a better job explaining why the project is needed?

Planners in St. Albans know downtown parking is going to be a hassle this spring and summer. The city's downtown revitalization project will certainly make negotiating Main Street worse, before it makes it better. So to keep shoppers and other downtown business clientele coming, the city is offering up free off-street parking. The town's website states:

The momentum to reform Vermont’s earned income tax credit appeared to run out last week, but Governor Peter Shumlin continues to lobby a small group of state senators. He hopes to strike a deal on his proposal to subsidize child care by redirecting $17 million from the tax credit for poor working Vermonters.

A week after a key House committee narrowly rejected his plan, Shumlin has his work cut out for him in the Senate.

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