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.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Charity, some say, begins at home. But in Vermont, it’s also being taught in classrooms. At Bradford Elementary School in the Upper Valley, a philanthropy project has yielded bushels of handmade stuffed animals and plenty of empathy.

Comstock / Thinkstock

Does getting a good public education in Vermont depend on whether or not your teacher and principal are experienced and well paid? If so, are urban kids better off, or worse off, than rural ones? And are minorities always the most disadvantaged, when it comes to high quality instruction?

That’s what the U.S. Department of Education wants every state to find out. But in Vermont, the answers do not match up with other states.  

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Truancy — skipping school — is a perennial problem, especially toward the end of the school year. Poor attendance sets kids back academically and can mask dysfunction at home, like abuse and addiction.

Few Vermont communities have addressed the issue as thoroughly as Lamoille County.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

All this week, we're discussing Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. It's this year's pick for the Vermont Humanities Council's Vermont Reads state-wide reading program.

Twelve-year-old Haroun has traveled to a magical land where all the world's stories are created. And it's up to him to stop a villain who controls a shadowy cult of silence from poisoning the Ocean that serves as the birthplace of the Sea of Stories.

Here's a passage from the moment when Haroun finally confronts the nemesis of storytelling, Khattum-Shud:

Charlotte Albright / VPR

MRSA, short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is one of the most dangerous infections you can get. It’s usually a skin disease, it's often transmitted in hospitals and it resists many antibiotics.

But researchers at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering believe they have discovered a novel kind of treatment for the MRSA bacteria.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

At the end of January, Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon presented a sweeping plan to reverse troubling trends at the Ivy League school.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

The long legal battle between St. Johnsbury and former Town Manager Ralph Nelson is finally over.

Nelson left an administrative job in Major League Baseball to become Town Manager of St. Johnsbury in 2010. About two years later, a newly elected select board sent him packing without, he says,  explaining why. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

There’s a new kind of classroom springing up in some Vermont high schools. It’s called a maker lab, and usually features high-tech design and manufacturing tools.  

At St. Johnsbury Academy, the lab’s purpose is not to teach specific workforce skills but to foster creativity. It’s the brainchild of Assistant Principal Jeff Burroughs. He used to work at IBM.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

“Slow food” used to mean nutritious meals that take hours to prepare. In the 1990s, the phrase was adopted by advocates who see traditional, small-scale agriculture as superior to industrial food production. Now comes "slow money," which links fledgling food growers and producers to local investors. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A solar company based in Waterbury is urging residents of northeastern Vermont to harness the sun.

SunCommon got its start as a spin-off from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group only three years ago. It’s already installed 1,200 residential systems and eight larger community arrays of panels for 300 members in several communities, including Milton and Barre. Now it’s looking for more customers in the southern part of the Northeast Kingdom.

haya_p / iStock

Vermont deserves high marks for making preschool available to every 3, 4 and 5 year old, according to a report released Monday by a national research organization based at Rutgers University.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Like many small towns in Vermont, Norwich is trying to manage future development to meets the needs of all residents, not just the well-heeled. So town planners are inviting feedback about possible zoning changes in this Upper Valley community.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

As spring returns, controversy swirls over a dam in East Burke. The land trust that owns the dam wants to tear it down. But other residents see the dam as an historic buttress to the local economy. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Plainfield, New Hampshire residents are still furious about noise coming from a shooting range in Hartland, Vermont. So Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Commissioner Louis Porter wants to limit the range’s hours, require a hunting or fishing license and add supervision. The department also plans to install about $20,000 of security and soundproofing upgrades.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Community National Bank is planning to shutter two branches in Caledonia County – one in Lyndonville and another in St. Johnsbury. Both branches that will close are located in retail districts. The company says it needs to consolidate, but some customers are unhappy.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

The Northeast Kingdom town of Concord will close its high school at the end of this term. More than half of all registered voters weighed in on an issue that has deeply divided the town for many years.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Many veterans who have to drive more than 40 miles to reach a full-service Veterans Health Administration hospital may now get care at private medical facilities at government expense. The option is also available for eligible patients who cannot get an appointment at the VA within 30 days. But so far, not many Vermont vets are taking advantage of this new rule.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

About 14 percent of Americans cannot read. That’s according to a U.S. Department of Education Study in 2013. And while Vermont’s literacy rate is higher than the national average, plenty of children are falling behind.

But there is a remedial reading program that’s showing promise.

Skip Brown

Voters in Fairlee, West Fairlee and Thetford will decide next month whether to finance a new dam over Lake Fairlee. The old one is in bad shape and the owner, a Maine resident, can’t afford to replace it. The re-design process has hit a few snags but community leaders in charge of the project are confident it will go forward.

Engineers warn that if the dam fails, water levels would drop so much so much that lakefront property would border on mud flats.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Believe it or not, bathing suit weather is coming. But for the fourth summer, residents in Norwich will not be cooling off in their popular natural swimming hole. After Tropical Storm Irene washed out the dam over Charles Brown Brook, Norwich began tangling with the state over a plan to re-make the pool.

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