Amanda Shepard

Digital Producer

Amanda Shepard was a digital producer for VPR.

Ron Thomas / iStock

Listen to VPR Monday for the special programs Monumental Disagreements and We’ve Never Been the Same. Music lovers of all genres should check out the 2015 Summer Music Festivals guide at!

Listen Monday, May 25 at 12 p.m. to Monumental Disagreements.

propheta / iStock

You may be of the belief that a spoonful of maple syrup helps the medicine go down – and now preliminary research from McGill University suggests that maple syrup may also help the medicine do its job.


Cirque du Soleil is the dreamlike, traveling human circus that got its start more than 30 years ago in Québec. It’s been headquartered in Montreal for a long time and is considered a cultural treasure. But just recently, it was sold to a group of investors from the U.S. and China.

Lindsay Raymondjack / Vermont Stage

Two performance projects have been spurring big discussions about race and identity in Vermont in recent weeks. The Vermont Stage production of The Mountaintop depicts the imagined last night of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. And Sandglass Theater recently brought the collaborative Race Peace project storytelling and performance project to Brattleboro.

duncan1890 / iStock

This week marks two important dates for William Shakespeare: Although his actual birth date is unknown, he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and died almost 400 years ago on April 23, 1616.

David Evans, president of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, argues that everyone – literary scholar or not – should be acquainted with Shakespeare, and not just on the anniversary of his death.

University of Vermont

The University of Vermont hockey program has turned out a number of players who’ve made it to the National Hockey League. Among them is Tim Thomas, a goaltender who went on to play with three NHL clubs and lifted the Stanley Cup in 2011 as a member of the Boston Bruins. Now there’s another UVM goalie who hopes to follow in Thomas’ footsteps: Brody Hoffman.

The Saskatchewan native has decided to forego his senior year at UVM to sign with the Minnesota Wild. He joined Vermont Edition to talk about his decision to go pro just shy of his degree.


The iconic Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit 25 years ago this week. Since 1990, it’s been capturing crystal clear images of stellar nurseries, planetary rings and much more. It has been responsible for some major astronomical breakthroughs and has helped shape our knowledge of the universe.

Cat_Chat / iStock

Although nights may not be as bitter cold, new challenges face Vermont’s homeless population now that spring has sprung.

Elizabeth Ready, director of the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, sees those challenges every day and is working to help find a safe, permanent home for Vermont’s homeless population.


The new host of Q is Juno-winning Canadian rapper Shadrach Kabango — better known as Shad — who takes over on Monday, April 20.


April is National Poetry Month, and poetry enthusiasts around Vermont have embraced the occasion with readings and new publications. This April, nominations are open for Vermont's next poet laureate, which gives an appointed poet a chance to spread the word about poetry. 

Vermont's current laureate, Sydney Lea of Newbury, has spent his time promoting the literary form at libraries around the state. He'll retire from the position in a few months, when the next poet laureate takes the helm.

Compass Points Media / Flickr

Each year, thousands of people attempt to hike 2,180 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail,  a small section of which crosses through Vermont.

But this year, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is worried that high profile movies such as Wild and A Walk in the Woods are going to entice un-prepared hikers to attempt their own adventure on the trail.

Alden Pellett / AP/File

Doug Racine spent more than 30 years in state government, most recently as the secretary of the Agency of Human Services. After several high-profile issues involving the Agency of Human Services, Gov. Shumlin removed Racine from his position in the summer of 2014. Now, Racine works with the American Public Human Services Association in Washington, D.C., and reaches out to newly appointed human services leaders in other states to help them navigate the challenges of running such an agency.

Mark Lennihan / AP

The historical role of the princess within the Disney franchise is fairly predictable: a handsome, wealthy prince appears and it’s love at first sight, and the immediate solution to any problems facing the princess that she couldn’t solve on her own.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

“I play pinball a lot,” says Steve Daniels. He stands in front of a row of loud, flashing machines at the Pinball Coop in South Burlington.

Stephen Martin

Orville Gibson went missing before dawn on the morning of New Years Eve in 1957. Three months later, his body was found in the Connecticut River, his legs and arms bound with rope.

Monika Rivard / Rebel Yell

It’s a romantic notion: heading out to a cabin in the middle of woods, completely detached from civilization, ready to create whatever it is you were born to create.

Two Vermonters have taken this dream and turned it into reality with Rebel Yell, a cabin in the Northeast Kingdom set on 140 acres of solitude where artists can write, record and be creative without distraction.

L'ouie Paul / Flickr Creative Commons

Vermont first bought power from Quebec a century ago. That trade relationship deepened in the 1980s when Gov. Richard Snelling negotiated with Quebec Premier Rene Levesque to secure the first of several long-term power deals.

The film Boy Meets Girl is in some ways a very traditional “Will they, won’t they?” love story, but also works to break the stereotype of what love looks like in 2015.

Douglas Brooks

Although the use of small trapping boats on Lake Champlain may be a thing of the past, students from a career center in Middlebury are keeping the tradition alive by building full-scale replicas.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Early this year, the Vermont State Police announced that Ingrid Jonas was being elevated from the rank of lieutenant to that of captain, the first female in the agency’s history to reach that rank.