Charlotte Albright

Reporter

Charlotte Albright moved to Vermont from Maine in 2006, after more than a decade of reporting and producing for Maine Public Broadcasting Network. She has also contributed  many  stories to NPR. Her first project for Vermont Public Radio was a series on farming, followed by frequent free-lancing. In January 2012 she joined the VPR staff and now covers the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom.

Ways To Connect

Over the past century, Bag Balm has become a staple in barns, bathrooms and kitchens all over America. The yellow, gooey salve in a bright green and pink tin is used for everything from softening cows' teats to quieting squeaky bedsprings. Bag Balm even soothed the legs of dogs that searched the Twin Tower rubble after 9/11. 

Mike Perkins, who’s been mixing and packaging the stuff for over 17 years, gives a quick tour at the Lyndonville assembly line and tells the ointment's creation story.

The former Dean of the now defunct Lebanon College in New Hampshire is trying to launch a new kind of educational institution that would offer liberal arts instruction in non-classroom settings.

More and more ambulance services are needing cash transfusions to stay in business.

Volunteers are scarce, operational costs are rising, and revenues are not keeping pace. So some of the most rural services are starting to consolidate.

That includes Calex—originally named for Caledonia and Essex Counties—which now serves St. Johnsbury, Danville, and Littleton, New Hampshire.

VPR rode along on a call that may have saved a life.

Dairy farmers have a new way to protect themselves against falling milk prices and rising feed costs. The Margin Protection Program is part of the federal Farm Bill approved this year. But this is not a handout—it’s an insurance program, and farmers have lots of decisions to make about whether  and how to enroll.

Vermont’s public school students are not as good at science as they should be. That’s what Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe conceded when she released the latest standardized science test scores. But she made the announcement at an elementary school in Hartford, where students performed better than many of their peers elsewhere in the state.

Computer scientists at Dartmouth College have developed an app for a student’s smartphone designed to monitor mental health.

The so-called StudentLife app can track how much a student sleeps and whether he or she is having conversations and getting exercise. It also asks students about their state of mind and what they’ve been eating. The researcher, professor Andrew Campbell, says such data could be used to see depression or dangerous stress coming before it hits too hard.

Ten of Vermont’s 14 hospitals are battling Medicare reimbursement rules that they say will hit their bottom lines hard.

The federal government claims it overpaid the hospitals. And it wants that money back – amounting to as much as $12 million dollars, statewide. So the hospitals are lodging a formal appeal.

A non-profit agency that provides settings for supervised parental visits with children whose families are in distress is being accused of financial mismanagement by the Vermont Attorney General. The agency, Emerge, monitors family visits at facilities in White River Junction and Bellows Falls, Vermont, and in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Most families are charged between $10 and $30 an hour for these visits, depending on their income. Domestic abuse victims need not pay fees.

An abandoned cemetery is turning into a classroom for middle-schoolers at the Sharon Academy in the Upper Valley. They’re mapping the grave sites, researching the people buried there, and creating a website for genealogists who might not be able to visit the plots in person.

The project is spurring the students’ interest in local history.

With the November election only about a month away, we’re spotlighting some sharply contested races for the legislature. In St. Johnsbury, two Republicans are challenging the Democratic incumbents.

In Part 1 we introduced those challengers. Here we find out how the two Democrats agree -- and disagree --on key issues they would likely face if they return to the House of Representatives from Caledonia District 3.

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