Alex Keefe

Local Host, All Things Considered/Reporter

Alex is VPR's local All Things Considered host. He comes to Vermont from WBEZ-FM in Chicago, where he spent nearly five years, most recently as a political reporter. He's covered everything from federal corruption trials, to Illinois' worst-in-the-nation public pension crisis, to the personalities who voice campaign attack ads. He has a particular interest in municipal finance, LGBTQ rights and gun rights.

Alex's feature reporting contributed to WBEZ winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in 2014. His stories on Illinois' pension troubles have been recognized by the Illinois Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. He's also been recognized by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and he was named Best Newswriter by the Illinois AP in 2011 and 2013.

Alex got his start in journalism at WVIK-FM in Rock Island, Ill., as a reporter and anchor, and he has also worked with Capitol News Connection covering Congress in Washington, D.C. He has a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and he studied fiction writing at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

An Illinois native, Alex is the proud son of former longtime Chicago radio newsman Barry Keefe, who taught him everything he knows about the family business. Alex and his wife live in Burlington with their mutt, Sallie.

Ways to Connect

Bob Kinzel / VPR/file

When it comes to government ethics, Vermont is a national outlier. The state is one of just a handful that don't have any sort of statewide ethics commission to watchdog public officials, nor does it require state lawmakers to reveal anything at all about their personal finances in order to disclose possible conflicts of interest.

Oliver Parini for VPR

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign with a rally in Burlington Tuesday.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

One of Vermont's oldest unsolved murder cases is getting a facelift.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

A deal on a tax bill Saturday afternoon finally ended a long – some would say, strange – legislative session in Montpelier. It started with lawmakers electing a governor, and wound up with a different set of accomplishments than what many observers might have predicted.

Gov. Peter Shumlin joined VPR to debrief the session.

Gregory J. Lamoureux / AP

A lot has happened since Vermont Sen. Norm McAllister was arrested on felony sexual assault charges.

First, there was word he'd resign – but that didn't happen.

Then there was pressure from lawmakers for him to step down, and yesterday a Vermont Senate panel stripped the Franklin County Republican of all his committee assignments.

ElisabethAardema / iStock

While Vermont's lawmakers are unlikely to get around to deciding whether to legalize marijuana this session, the University of Vermont is hoping to keep the conversation about cannabis going with an online Cannabis Speaker Series.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Registering to vote in Vermont may soon get a little bit easier. On Tuesday, the state House passed a bill that would let citizens register to vote on Election Day itself. Lawmakers still must agree on some changes to the bill before it goes to Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who supports Election Day registration.

If he signs it, Vermont will be the 14th state — plus the District of Columbia — that has decided to allow voters to register on Election Day. But laws like this are not without their critics.

Tom Gannam / AP/File

Branded as “The King” or “Ronald Reagan,” potent and possibly deadly batches of heroin are again popping up in New England.

Alex Keefe / VPR

On Sunday, cyclists from around Vermont are expected to go for a ride that one of their own never had the chance to complete.

Richard Tom, 47, was killed after getting hit by a car last Sunday morning in Hinesburg. The driver of the car – 17-year-old Joseph Marshall – was also killed.

Elixir

Try to imagine New England 100 years into the future. A future in which access to water isn't a right, but a privilege controlled by the powerful. That's the premise of a new science fiction action film that was written, produced and directed by University of Vermont Matthew Lipke. 

The film is called Elixir and it debuts Friday night at the Roxy theater in Burlington.

On the basic plot of the film

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

If you’re looking for a job, the IBM plant in Essex could be looking for you. On Thursday, the Vermont Department of Labor is holding a job fair in Burlington for IBM.

The company is hiring for about 100 positions that will later be transferred over to GlobalFoundries, the company that’s set to take over IBM’s chip-making division once the deal is finalized. But exactly how long will these jobs stay in Vermont?

When Richard Laws was released from prison earlier this month, law enforcement sounded the alarm from one end of Vermont to the other.

A high-risk sex offender was once again on the streets.

Critics say that does nothing to help sex offenders re-integrate into society.

A Windham County initiative aims to convert 20 public buildings to wood heat. Vermont's 45th annual Green Up Day is Saturday, May 2. The law that allowed for the creation of town and city forests in Vermont turns 100 this year.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

It’s been a long, busy legislative session in Montpelier, and it’s not over yet. A few months ago, we tagged along with two freshmen state lawmakers — elected just last fall — on one of their first commutes to the Capitol. Recently, we talked to them over lunch about how they’ve been working to change Montpelier — and how it's changing them.

If you drive along a Vermont highway and look out over miles of trees, it might come as a surprise that, for the first time in a century, the state is actually losing forest land.

That’s according to a new study from the state Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

To learn why, VPR's Alex Keefe stopped by the offices of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, an environmental advocacy group, and talked with Forest and Wildlife Program Director Jamey Fidel.

He says the culprit is something called forest fragmentation.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The release of a high-risk sex offender from prison last week is again raising questions about state sex offender laws. 

Photodisc / Thinkstock

Dialing 911 may seem like a guaranteed way to get assistance during an emergency, but a state survey conducted last year found that two-thirds of EMS agencies in Vermont are understaffed.

PJ Nelligan Photography

All this week, VPR has been exploring the challenges to Vermont schools posed by dwindling student populations in our series Declining Enrollment. Some advocates say consolidation would allow small districts to share resources and offer more to students, all while saving money. Those were some of the reasons behind the consolidation that formed the Two Rivers Supervisory Union headquartered in Ludlow about two years ago.

Two Rivers Superintendent Bruce Williams joined VPR to talk about how that consolidation has been going, and whether it holds lessons for other Vermont schools. 

Norwich University

Military writers from around the country are converging at Norwich University this week for the school’s 20th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium.

The conference, which kicked off on Wednesday, is covering everything from military fiction to cybersecurity to the aircraft of the U.S. Civil War.

It’s been a year of big changes for Vermont’s main public television station. Vermont PBS lost its long-time leader last April as the station was dealing with a spate of bad headlines.

Now the organization has a new CEO. Holly Groschner has been on the job for about six weeks and she joined VPR to talk about her plans for VPBS.

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