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.

Ways to Connect

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.

Courtesy South Burlington City Council

The city of South Burlington is moving forward with plans to build its own city center. Plans include a downtown area with shopping, dining, access to public transit and even affordable housing. 

Inspired by downtown re-vitalization in cities like Winooski, the South Burlington City Council passed a resolution last month to move forward on planning the project. But the process is likely to take years.

AP/ Toby Talbot

The small town of Chittenden could soon be home to a very big sugaring operation this spring.

The project would span nearly 2,800 acres for maple syrup production. Josh O’Gorman, who’s been covering the story for the Rutland Herald, joins host Mitch Wertlieb for this Friday’s Regional Report.

O’Gorman says Chittenden resident Patrick Dupois recently purchased the large section of land and plans install over 80,000 maple syrup taps this spring alone.

Early last month North Country Hospital in Newport announced it would end two programs and lay off at least nineteen workers.

Vermont's largest electric utility and the owner of the state's only nuclear power plant have settled a lawsuit about the costs of replacing power after the collapse of a cooling tower in 2007 caused Vermont Yankee to reduce its output. 

Firefighters are trying to determine what caused a fire at the Norwich water pump station, the second one in a month at that station.

In early July, North Country Hospital, in Newport, announced that it would end two programs and lay off at least nineteen workers. Green Mountain Power is helping three nonprofit groups in the Rutland area go solar. A Vermont woman has been sentenced to three to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to abusing children and vulnerable adults in her home.

Vermont Shakespeare Company

You don’t have to go all the way to Manhattan to see Shakespeare in the Park. Since 2005, the Vermont Shakespeare Company has performed the great works of the Bard in Northern Vermont. Tonight marks the opening night of this year’s production, The Winters Tale.

Executive Director of the Vermont Shakespeare Company John Nagle joins Mitch Wertlieb to chat about this year’s season.

He says for the company’s sixth season, he decided to tackle one of Shakespeare's later plays:

The state is recommending that Green Mountain Power be fined up to $50-thousand dollars for violating noise levels last winter at its Lowell wind project.

The Vermont National Guard says furloughs without pay for about 500 employees will be ending earlier than originally anticipated.

A Vermont sex offender who has struggled to find a home since his release from prison has found a place to live in Hyde Park.

Federal prosecutors say a hearing on a Vermont death penalty case should be open to the public.

Vermont National Guard furloughs are ending earlier than originally anticipated. The state is recommending that Green Mountain Power be fined up to $50-thousand dollars for violating noise levels last winter at its Lowell wind project. Dillon. VT gets $3.2 Million from US Dept. of Transportation for highway repairs.

In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, a number of groups sprung up to help people recover. Two groups critical of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant want state regulators to consider the financial condition of plant owner Entergy Corporation as they prepare to decide whether to give the plant a new state permit. U.S. Forest Service employees of the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont and the Finger Lakes National Forest in New York are taking part in a food drive to help area food shelves.

AP/ Toby Talbot

A joint U.S.-Canadian study group says there is an urgent need to spend about $14 million to study floodplain planning and forecasting in the Lake Champlain basin.

Flooding of the lake and Richelieu River in 2011 caused tens of millions of dollars in damage in Vermont, New York and Quebec and prompted the International Joint Commission to study practical and affordable preventive measures.

Music from all over the world has been spilling out of churches and meeting houses all over Vermont this summer from a youth singing group.   A sex offender recently released from prison has still not found housing in VT. Congressman Welch making several appearances in Brattleboro today.

Vermont's largest electric utility wants to increase its rates by 2 percent on Oct. 1 and as much as 2.5 percent in 2014.  Of all the issues surrounding large-scale wind projects, perhaps the most personal and difficult one to resolve is the impact of the sound produced by the turbines.

AP/ Toby Talbot

Technology is being implemented in the health care industry in a variety of ways including text message appointment reminders and using robots during surgical procedures. At the Veteran’s Affairs medical center in White River Junction, more patients now have the option of consulting with their doctor over video chat.

One of two labor unions competing to represent Vermont’s 7-thousand home care workers has withdrawn from the election. Vermont's largest electric utility is kicking off what is believed to be the first utility-sponsored heat pump rental program in the country. Governor Peter Shumlin and Labor Secretary Annie Noonan traveled to the headquarters of Cabot Cooperative Creamery on the outskirts of Montpelier to announce two federal grants for workforce development.

Gov. Peter Shumlin is heading to the Cabot Cooperative Creamery headquarters to talk about job training. Dozens of Charlotte residents are spending hours  - voluntarily - pulling weeds out of a local wetland this summer. Lawyers for a man on federal death row for abducting and killing a Vermont woman are asking a judge for a closed-door hearing to interview some of the jurors from the 2005 trial who sentenced him to death.

Seth Wenig / AP

Inter-city buses are coming back to Rutland for the first time since Greyhound suspended service five years ago.

With help from a federal subsidy, The Agency of Transportation is calling for proposals from bus companies interested in providing service between Rutland and Burlington, White River Junction and Albany, N.Y.

Barbara Donovan, the Public Transit Administrator for the Vermont Agency of Transportation says there is a need to connect Vermont cities to the rest of the Northeast. Right now, Donovan says, it’s open to negotiation.

Solar energy projects are blossoming across Vermont, spurred by a state law that allows customers to zero out their electric bill by sending power back to the grid. Vermont seniors have saved $14 million in prescription drug costs under Medicare changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has appointed Rachel Feldman to replace his outgoing chief of staff, Nancy Driscoll.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation is taking steps to improve traffic conditions at a construction site on Interestate 89 in Richmond. Vermont is again ranked as the state with the highest average internet speeds according to a new report. The Shumlin administration has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for information about malfunctioning radiation monitors at Vermont Yankee.  The historic Proctor mansion, built by Redfield Proctor Jr. before he served as governor of Vermont, is going up for auction.

After Grant Berick’s dog died, to ease his grief, he began creating more than 100 rock sculptures in the river in Bondville. The sculptures were a stunning sight, columns of stacked rocked of different shapes and sizes popping up throughout the river. The sight didn’t please everyone, however. Last week, another local man knocked them down one by one.

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