Annie Russell

Weekend Producer/Reporter

Annie Russell is VPR's weekend producer. She has interned for NPR at Weekends on All Things Considered and for WNYC at On The Media.  She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School. She loves the Boston Celtics unconditionally.

Ways To Connect

Angela Evancie / VPR

The prospect of single-payer health care in Vermont is no more, at least for now.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday that he is backing away from his signature policy push that would have made Vermont the first state in the nation with a publicly financed health care system overseen by state government. The governor now says that the taxes required to pay for such a system would simply be too much for Vermont to bear.

Gov. Shumlin came to the VPR studios to talk with host Alex Keefe about his decision and what comes next.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A group of about 50 medical students at the University of Vermont staged a "die-in" Monday to show solidarity with similar actions across the U.S., and to raise awareness of race issues.

The students who organized the demonstration said it wasn't outside of their purview to weigh in on the national conversation on racial issues since this summer's events in Ferguson, Missouri. The goal, the students said, was to spark discussions in medical schools around the U.S. about the racial discrimination that "kills, sickens and provides inadequate care."

Josh Larkin / CCV

For interpreters, a court assignment is one of the toughest translation jobs in Vermont.

That's why Community College of Vermont and the Vermont Judiciary offers a special training focused on court interpreting.

As instructor Sarah Reed handed out certificates to 17 graduates last week, the mood was upbeat and positive. And the group, most of whom are already working as interpreters, gave the class rave reviews.

Francis Manga has experience interpreting French, Lingala and some Swahili. He says at first, he wasn't sure he had much to learn about translating.

Alex Proimos / Flickr

Within the past three weeks, adjunct professors at three educational institutions in Vermont have announced that they've voted to organize unions. Adjuncts at St. Michael’s College, Burlington College and Champlain College all say they want better pay, more benefits and stable working conditions.

Lucia Orantes

For Lucia Orantes, who came to Vermont from Guatemala to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Vermont, this state's winters can be long and punishing. To stave off the blues, she stores up summer sunshine on the top of Mt. Abe.

kzenon / Thinkstock

Last week over 100 Vermonters participated in Hunger Free Vermont’s 5th Annual 3SquaresVT Challenge as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Challenge participants were asked to eat on the average 3SquaresVT budget: approximately $36 for the week for one person. That's about $1.72 per meal.

 

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 3SquaresVT program, formerly known as food stamps.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Barack Obama says he will be laying out a plan Thursday to improve the immigration system. He says he plans to extend temporary legal status to more than five million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Advocates wonder how the move will help the Vermont's undocumented farmworkers.

The state is home to about 1,500 migrant dairy farmworkers, some undocumented. It's anticipated that they won't be covered under President Obama's plan.

Fuse / Thinkstock

Abuse of legal narcotic painkillers is on the rise in Vermont, but clinicians often prescribe such drugs for chronic pain.

The Boston University School of Medicine held a training this past weekend in Burlington to provide Vermont's doctors with tools to make these difficult decisions.

Earlier this year, Gov. Peter Shumlin drew national attention by devoting his entire State of the State speech to Vermont's battle with opioid addiction.

While Shumlin referenced "a full blown heroin crisis," addiction to prescription drugs is just as prevalent.

bhofack2 / Thinkstock

Vermont's first-ever Cider Week is underway. The statewide series of events highlights a growing craft hard cider industry in Vermont.

A few years ago, Vermont had only a handful of hard cider makers.  Now, the state is home to 15 producers that make up the Vermont Cider Makers Association. Along with Vermont's robust craft beer offerings, ciders are popular among localvores.

Nate Formalarie, communications manager for Woodchuck Hard Cider, says cider attracts wine drinkers and spirits lovers, too.

With a record low voter turnout rate in the 2014 general election and a weird (and ongoing) finish to the race for governor, there's plenty to catch up on.

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