Charlotte Albright

Commentator

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.

The group that oversees virtually every aspect of health care in the state, the Green Mountain Care Board, went to the Northeast Kingdom to explain how policies will be marketed and bought next year through an online healthcare exchange.  

Beginning in January, all individuals and businesses with fewer than 50 employees will have to purchase their health insurance on the Exchange.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Lyndonville’s new bookmobile has arrived and on Thursday librarians started training on how to use it. The Cobleigh Library van was donated by the Manton Family Foundation of Massachusetts after a trustee heard a story on NPR that originated from VPR.

College towns have always been magnets for the performing arts. But campus presenters find it tough sometimes to get students through the auditorium doors.  

The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth recently hosted a symposium where music-loving students from all over the country shared new ways to get their friends to take in a concert or two.

So here’s the multiple choice question for college arts presenters these days. What do students most want to see and hear at a performance?

a. Hip hop

b. Classical Music, or

Dartmouth College is mourning the death of a young man who was visiting a graduating student this week. The 20 year-old man, whose name is being withheld, drowned when he dropped into the water from a rope swing over the Connecticut River on Wednesday. The brothers were attending a party organized by the senior class. Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson says the College is saddened by the accident.

“And we are full of grief for his Dartmouth brother, who is experiencing deep sorrow when he really should be filled with great joy,” Anderson said.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Getting airlifted to a hospital can make the difference between life and death, yet medivac helicopters are often grounded by poor visibility.

A new navigation system for the helicopter service linking many of the state’s hospitals has made it safer for pilots to accept missions in less than ideal weather.  

The Dartmouth Hitchcock Advance Response Team—or DHART—has a colorful new map in the hanger beside the hospital. It shows routes that pilots will now take whenever possible.

The owner of an art gallery and tourist destination for dog lovers has passed away. Gwen Huneck, the widow of folk artist Stephen Huneck, was found dead at her St. Johnsbury home on Sunday. Police are not releasing the details but do not suspect foul play.

Dog Mountain, in East St. Johnsbury, is an art studio complex that includes a chapel where many mourn the loss of their pets.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

A researcher at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center has found what may be a way to improve treatment for adults who have a common form of leukemia.

The recently published study shows that two drugs may be better than one.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, or CLL, accounts for about one third of all leukemia cases in the United States, and about 4500 people die from it every year.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

As the school year winds down, some of Vermont’s seven Head Start Programs are shutting down a few weeks early.

A few will be closed all summer.  Many have already reduced enrollment, eliminated management positions, and furloughed teachers—and those cuts are likely to deepen next year unless Congress acts on sequestration budget cuts.

Last April, Head Start got the first wave of bad news. In Vermont, federal sequestration reduced grants to programs by 5.27 percent. 

VPR

Camping reservations at Vermont’s 52 State Parks poured in for the Memorial Day Weekend, despite rain in the forecast. Last year broke a twenty year record with more than 900-thousand visits to the parks all year.

State Parks Director Craig Whipple says the State Park website has added some new bells and whistles to entice even more campers this year.

"We’ve got menu ideas, we’ve got ideas for activities, we’ve got checklists for how to plan, the gear to bring camping, and we’ve also done seven really fun videos," Whipple said.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Last year, nearly a quarter of Vermont’s middle school students, and a higher percentage of secondary school students, were labeled “substantially below proficient” in a standardized science test given throughout the United States. 

School districts are adjusting lesson plans to bring up those scores. And in the Northeast Kingdom, there’s an unusual hands-on approach to learning about astronomy.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, more and more soldiers continue to come back home to Vermont.

For some, the search for employment and housing  is a major hurdle. A group called Leadership Upper Valley recently hosted a town meeting style event designed to help ease veterans’ re-entry.

In the audience at the elegant Quechee Club were many well-dressed community leaders who listened to a panel of military experts, including Major Christina Fanitzi.

Vermont Arts Council

More than 200 artisans across Vermont will open their studios to visitors this weekend. It’s the 21st annual tour sponsored by the Vermont Crafts Council. Council Director Martha Fitch says it gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how arts and crafts are made.

“Once you’ve seen something produced every single time you pick up a clay bowl or mug all of a sudden you remember the process that was used to create it and it’s just much more valuable," Fitch said.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Until this year, the children who play in the field behind Reading Elementary School have been getting itchy—literally.

The playground borders a huge patch of poison ivy. But the weed has met its match.

Three goats are dining on it.

The goat project at tiny Reading Elementary grew from research conducted in Patricia Collins’s class of fifth-graders. There are only six students, but over the past year they filled a binder with information about how to solve the school’s poison ivy problem. 

Ten-year old Kit Oney says recess could be hazardous.

A Dartmouth student is accused of raping a fellow student in her dorm room earlier this month. He was initially held for lack of bail.

Dartmouth College officials are declining to speak publicly about the incident, which is still under investigation. And Hanover police commented only in a  press release.

Police say Parker Gilbert, a junior from London, trespassed into a female student’s unlocked dorm room and sexually assaulted her.

Jeff Shiffrin

In March, a student from Burke Mountain Academy became the youngest Women’s World Cup ski slalom champion in 39 years. 

The eighteen-year-old  athlete is now back at school cracking the books and hanging out with friends.

Sitting at a long table in the administration building under a painting of Burke Mountain, a smiling Mikaela Shiffrin looks at ease near the slopes where she first learned to ski.

Herb Swanson / http://www.swanpix.com/

Tropical Storm Irene is still packing a punch for some Vermont businesses.

That’s because more than 200 employers were forced to lay off workers after the storm—and other flooding that year. And some have seen their unemployment tax rates go up, sometimes dramatically.

That’s what happened to the Woodstock Farmers’ Market.

On warm spring day, the Ottauquechee River flowed gracefully around the back of the store, which sells plants, produce, and other groceries.

Matthew W. Payeur

One of northern New England’s most unusual natural history museums will soon have a new leader.

Director Charlie Browne is retiring after 34 years at the helm of the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury.

He leaves behind a museum that is very different from the one he arrived at as a young intern.

This Victorian institution is trying to keep up with the times.

But it is also a window on the past.

Toby Talbot / AP

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend are looking for ways to collaborate more closely.

They say the goal is to make health care more cost-effective and accessible in southeastern Vermont.

The hospitals are only 17 miles apart and they want to learn how they can better coordinate care in the region.

They’re turning to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and a consulting firm to gather data that will lead to recommendations later this year.

Steven Gordon is president of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

It’s been five years since hemp was declared a legal crop in Vermont. But there’s a catch. The law takes effect only if the feds declassify the plant—which is related to marijuana—as a controlled substance. 

Federal law still forbids growing hemp. But a new bill with wide support would legalize hemp in Vermont, despite the federal ban.   

East Thetford farm manager Will Allen has his fingers crossed.

Photo by Herb Swanson

Dartmouth College canceled classes Wednesday to hold a teach-in about the reaction to a demonstration last week.

Students staged the demonstration last week to highlight alleged discrimination at Dartmouth. And that drew angry comments online, as well as threats of violence.

Last Friday about fifteen students unhappy about the way they are treated at Dartmouth interrupted a presentation to prospective students. They carried signs and shouted “Dartmouth has a problem.” That problem, says senior  Karolina Krelinova, from the Czech Republic, is intolerance.

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