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

Vermont Yankee nuclear plant officials say two high radiation readings were false alarms. The idea behind the Vermont Digital Economy Project is to help build a more robust Web-presence for town governments, local businesses and non-profits and make it easier for them to get information out. Vermont's capital city of Montpelier is going to be celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Five major construction projects have been given the green light in the Northeast Kingdom. Over the next few years over a thousand jobs are expected to be created. In a region with a traditionally higher unemployment rate than the rest of the state, that should be great news.

But a new report says candidates for these jobs- mostly in the hospitality sector- could be difficult to find.


Governor Peter Shumlin says he likes what he's hearing from President Barack Obama on improving the economy and strengthening the middle class. Last week, when electricity demand hit a near all-time high in New England, the operator of the regional electric grid ordered the Lowell, Vermont wind project to cut its power output. A former Vermont fire captain has been convicted of conspiring to set fires on public land.

The U-S Environmental Protection Agency has approved a plan that gets Vermont into compliance with the Clean Water Act. A lawyer for Burlington's deputy police chief says he expects his client will plead not guilty to a charge of drunken driving. In New Hampshire, a special commission studying Medicaid expansion is hearing from social service officials on the issue. The Health Center in Plainfield has been recognized for special designation by a national health care accrediting group.

Entergy, the company that owns Vermont Yankee, is expecting layoffs. Plans for a new Connecticut River bridge between Brattleboro and Hinsdale, New Hampshire have languished in the planning stage for decades. Some Vermont farmers want to plant hemp now that the state has set up rules to grow it. Vermont environmental officials have finalized a new plan for improvement and protection of the White River and its branches.

A complicated altercation between police and a family in the Old North End neighborhood of Burlington included an alleged attack on a police officer. The incident may also reveal tougher scrutiny from Burlington’s housing authority.

A woman involved in the July 1st incident is being evicted from her apartment. She may also lose her affordable housing voucher.

The state says IBM has dropped its objection to the disclosure of the number of jobs cut at the company’s plant in Essex Junction.   For victims of domestic violence, the courage to get help can come at odd hours.

Norwich University/Jordan Silverman

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon will showcase affordable solar homes in California this Fall. An elite group of 20 collegiate teams have designed, built, and operated solar-powered houses that are cost-effective and energy-efficient. Of the 20, two teams are from Vermont. Along with Middlebury College, Norwich University is in the running this year.

The team from Norwich University hopes to do well with their solar-powered, affordable home.  Matt Lutz is a professor of architecture at Norwich who led the student team.

Governor Peter Shumlin says the state's tracking of what travels through Vermont by train is quote "certainly something we should look at." The U.S. House has voted to delay a key part of the Affordable Care Act. Brattleboro celebrated an important part of its history and future yesterday when ground was broken on a 24 million-dollar reconstruction of the Brooks House.

IBM has provided the state with details about the number of jobs cut at its Essex Junction plant, but it wants the state to keep the information from the public.  For many runners a 26-mile marathon is the ultimate distance goal. But for a Canadian man who’s running through Vermont on his way to Argentina - 26 miles is all in a day’s work. 

State officials say they’re confident that Vermont’s new health care exchange is in full compliance with state and federal laws. Governor Peter Shumlin says he isn't thinking much about a 2014 campaign for re-election, but is squaring up accounts from old campaigns. A fire that severely damaged a West Rutland home is being blamed on a malfunctioning power strip — and that's prompting a broader warning about the devices.

VPR/Annie Russelll

IBM still has not disclosed the exact number of employees it has laid off from its Essex manufacturing plant.

The company told the workers a month ago that their jobs were being eliminated. And the state expected to know by now the exact number who were let go.

The lack of detailed information frustrates some of the former IBM workers who attended a job fair on Monday.

The job fair drew about 80 Vermont companies and several hundred job-seekers who were recently separated from IBM.

There’s still no official word on the exact number of layoffs at the IBM plant in Essex Junction. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the numbers are expected in the next few days. A Wolcott man has been ordered to pay $52,000 in restitution for stealing copper wire from power transformers. State police have launched "Operation Sober Summer," which aims to combat aggressive and impaired driving. And finally, Santa's Land has reopened. The Christmas-themed park in Putney shut down more than a year ago but was reopened this month after the Billewicz family bought the park.

The Vermont Department of Labor is holding a job fair today for workers laid off from IBM and elsewhere. Most people who lost their homes in Tropical Storm Irene have had access to some kind of government help, but for many of those whose land washed away there are fewer options. Vermont State Police are taking part in a campaign to combat aggressive and impaired driving called "Operation Sober Summer.

Due to a Tractor Trailer that is off the road into a median about 300 feet south of exit 11 on I-89, drivers in both North Bound and South  Bound lanes can expect traffic delays for the morning commute. Governor Peter Shumlin and Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross are urging farmers to document the damage their farms suffered after unprecedented rainy period left fields underwater and ruined crops across the state. Last call in New Hampshire will now be 2 a.m. — with approval of the New Hampshire community where the bar is located under a new law.

Robin Smith / Caledonian Record

Facing their second straight year of deficits, North Country Hospital in Newport laid off 19 staff on Tuesday.

Reporter Robin Smith covered the cuts for the Caledonian Record this week, and joins VPR for Regional Report.

Smith says other than two doctors and four clinical staff, the cuts are being made in administrative positions at the hospital.

Two communities near the Burlington Airport voted this week on whether or not to support an Air Force proposal to base F-35 jet fighters there.

Last night the Winooski City Council voted unanimously against the idea. Nearly 100 people met in Brandon last night to hear how the state plans to fight Equine Encephalitis or Triple E - the mosquito born illness that caused two deaths in Rutland County last year. Police in Morristown say they are getting complaints about cars being burglarized and vandalized.

After fierce legislative debate, the State of Vermont is preparing to implement a new law that allows a terminally ill patient to receive a prescription from their physician for drugs to end their life. Lawmakers reached an unusual compromise in order to pass this legislation. Opponents of a proposed move bringing F-35 fighter jets to Burlington's airport are again highlighting potential noise issues. A group of investors has completed a deal to start rebuilding a 142-year-old building damaged by fire in Brattleboro.

The State of Vermont is preparing to implement a new law that allows a terminally ill patient to receive a prescription from their physician for drugs to end their life. A group of local investors has completed the purchase of Brattleboro’s Brooks House.

courtesy Ted King

If you mention controversy in connection with the Tour de France these days, what might come to mind are doping scandals that have brought down some of the biggest names in the sport- even the once seemingly untouchable Lance Armstrong. This year, the scandal has nothing to do with illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

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