Annie Russell

Deputy News Director

Annie Russell is VPR's Deputy News Director. She came to VPR from NPR's Weekends on All Things Considered and WNYC's On The Media. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School.

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Vermont’s largest hospital says it will reduce its proposed budget to meet the state’s guidelines to contain health care costs. Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont say they have settled a lawsuit with the state’s Adult Protective Services Division over a backlog of investigations. The Vermont Health Department says it has confirmed that one person has been sickened by West Nile virus spread by mosquitoes this year.

Vermont’s largest hospital says it will reduce its proposed budget to meet the state’s guidelines to contain health care costs. The next conflict over the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant may be over how long plant owner Entergy Corp. will take to dismantle the reactor. Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont are planning to announce the details of a settlement with the state Adult Protective Services Division.

The news that Entergy Corporation of Louisiana would close the Vermont Nuclear Power plant at the end of 2014 struck like a bombshell yesterday. But for some long-time observers and reporters tracking the saga of Vermont’s only nuclear facility, the news wasn’t entirely surprising.

A federal budget squeeze threatens to cut off funding for equipment that researchers use to pinpoint the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Champlain. Forty-seven-year-old Michael Jacques of Randolph is due in federal court today, expected to plead guilty to charges he kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then killed his 12-year-old niece Brooke Bennett. The Vermont Attorney General's Office is warning consumers not to respond to calls or texts about a debit card problem.

VT Head Start programs will receive $800,000 less this year due to sequestration. Rutland writer Peggy Shinn is best known for profiling Olympic athletes and writing about the outdoors for ski and travel magazines and Vermont Life. Keck. Runs: 3:36

AP/ Toby Talbot

Vermont State Police are cracking down on driving under the influence with a new initiate called “Operation Sober Summer."

But recent reports in the Burlington Free Press suggest that some of the stops are based not necessarily on evidence of impaired driving, but rather by a quota system. Friday's Regional Report takes a look at this story.

A legislative committee has approved a plan to roll back restrictions on how the state cares for homeless people. Norwich University is getting $9.9 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue working on a cyber-warfare gaming system. Vermont's Champlain Valley Fair kicks off this weekend in Essex Junction.

A state commission is touring Vermont to get the public’s input on lakeshore protection and development issues. Senator Patrick Leahy and officials at Norwich University in Northfield are talking about a contract to develop software that would help combat cyber warfare.

It was a horrific crime that shocked and saddened Vermonters. Michael Jacques will be tried next month for the abduction, rape and murder of his niece Brooke Bennett in 2005. She was 12 when she was found dead about a mile from Jacques’ home.

Now, federal prosecutors have reached a deal with Jacques. He’s likely to plead guilty to the crime in order to avoid the possibility of a death penalty sentence. A hearing is scheduled for next week in the case.

Besides books, card catalogs and computer terminals, add another feature to a Vermont library near you: video teleconferencing. A Vermont grain company says getting a derailed car back onto the tracks and other repairs could cost as much as $50,000 after a vandal released the brakes on three rail cars in Bethel. Time is running out to enter Vermont's moose hunting auction.

A Connecticut company wants to develop a new wind project on a Northeast Kingdom ridgeline just south of an existing wind development. ) Environmental advocates say blue-green algae has infested large portions of St. Albans Bay. A man who pleaded guilty in Vermont to charges connected to a scheme to defraud hundreds of investors in a movie out of $9 million is going to prison for seven years.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be discussing veterans' health care needs at a press conference in Burlington. Some cities and towns are continuing to recover from Tropical Storm Irene. A driver who lost control of his pickup truck and struck a guardrail in Woodstock has been seriously injured and a passenger in the truck has been killed. Vermont State Police are investigating vandalism as the possible cause of two loaded grain cars colliding with a third car and derailing.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s disappointed a federal appeals court ruled against the state’s attempt to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. A sports complex in Woodstock is seeking $125,000 to keep running.  A Vermont man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  A medical examiner has tentatively concluded that the death of a man found along the Lake Champlain shoreline yesterday was the result of drowning.

A Vermont juror in the 2005 death penalty trial of Donald Fell is denying that he committed juror misconduct by taking a trip to the crime scene during the trial. The cash-strapped Woodstock Union Arena, a popular sports complex owned by the high school, has received a short term reprieve that will allow it to stay open. A man being held in Vermont is not challenging his return to New Hampshire to face charges that he killed his wife.

A look behind the most recent revenue report that reflects the performance of more than a dozen different tax sources. Three members of a jury that sentenced a man to death for the killing of a Vermont supermarket worker are due back in court to answer allegations they engaged in misconduct in the 2005 federal trial of Donald Fell. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says a bat researcher skilled at caving helped rescue an injured man from a cave in Weybridge last week.

The release of a convicted sex offender, who state officials believe is a high risk to re-offend, is fueling a new debate over proposed civil commitment legislation. Two Danville school officials deny charges they failed to report an allegation of sexual abuse of a student in timely fashion. Police have investigated more than 105 burglaries in Addison County, approaching a record.

Gov. Shumlin defends his goal of having VT use 90% renewable energy by 2050.  A compost producer says his organic soil additive should not be subject to the state’s 6 percent sales tax. Senator Leahy pleased that Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for more flexibility regarding mandatory minimum sentencing and will hold hearings on the issue in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, nine committees formed around the state to help people get back into secure housing. ) Emergency management officials will hold public meetings this month for Vermont communities eligible for federal reimbursement to cover damage from this summer's rain and flooding. With the start of school less than a month away, school chefs around Vermont are set to gather in St. Johnsbury this week for the release of a new school food cookbook.

Paul Chiasson /AP

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the railway that owned the trains in last month's deadly derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

MM&A says the move is to preserve the value of its assets. Also yesterday, a company called Sun Corp announced that it wants to start shipping oil from the west into Montreal by rail. Sun Corp wants to bring in 400 tankers of oil a day. 

CBC reporter Thomas Daigle  says MM&A could have been in financial trouble even before the derailment.

Burlington's Fletcher Allen Health Care has been given permission by Vermont health care regulators to spend $3.7 million for planning a new inpatient bed facility to replace some hospital rooms that are 70 years old. The city of South Burlington is moving forward with plans to build its own city center. Vermont state officials say they are continuing to investigate the possible misuse of a pesticide in the Rutland area by a pest control company. In New Hampshire, today is the last day to bid for five moose hunt permits available through an annual auction.

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