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

America has lost a gifted poet who loved living in Vermont. Galway Kinnell, the state’s former Poet Laureate, died Tuesday at his home in Sheffield. He was 87.

Galway Kinnell was born to immigrant parents in Rhode Island, and in the years after World War II, he became a distinctly American voice in the literary world.  He won a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur fellowship, and an American Book Award for a large body of work that never went out of print.

Here is what he told VPR in 2013 about why he spent so much of his long life reading and writing poems.

There is now a scientific way to find out if someone is smoking, even if no one else is in the room. The nondescript white plastic box, brand-named FreshAir Sensor, gets installed  into a wall outlet. Inside, a computer chip is coated with polymers that are sensitive to certain chemicals found in tobacco and marijuana.

New federal science education standards adopted in Vermont require that students learn about climate change. So teachers are starting to create lesson plans with hands-on activities about weather patterns.

Some are getting that training deep in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom.

A company that started in Lyndonville 115 years ago making a salve for cow’s udders has new owners, and they hope to tap bigger markets.

Yellow, waxy Bag Balm soothes human as well as animal skin, and fans tout other uses, too. For example, incoming CEO John Packard has seen it quiet squeaky springs.

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. 

Mark 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.

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