Kathleen Masterson

New England News Collaborative Reporter

Kathleen Masterson is VPR's New England News Collaborative reporter. She covers energy, environment, infrastructure and labor issues for VPR and the collaborative. Kathleen comes to Vermont having worked as a producer for NPR’s science desk and as a beat reporter covering agriculture and the environment.

Kathleen covered food production for Harvest Public Media while based at Iowa Public Radio in Ames, Iowa. She wrote stories ranging from the risks of antibiotic use in livestock feed to how hedge fund managers visit corn fields to bet on the commodities market to how the fracking boom has spurred sand mining in Iowa. As a digital producer for NPR for several years, Kathleen reported science and health stories and produced multimedia series for NPR.org. She covered topics that ranged from human evolution to swine flu to the Affordable Care Act to plastic chemicals BPA and phthalates.

Kathleen has contributed work to NPR, Marketplace, Grist, and NPR-affiliates including KQED and WGBH. She also worked as a digital producer for PBS NOVA, a science writer for University of California, San Francisco and the Morning Edition producer/reporter for VPR.

Ways to Connect

Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

The Canada Border Services Agency has created a makeshift refugee processing center to respond to the influx of refugees crossing the border west of Lake Champlain.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting surges in illegal crossings in Canada in recent months. Officials say Quebec has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in remote, snowy areas west of Lake Champlain.

bluejayphoto / iStock.com

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting a flurry of illegal crossing into Canada this past weekend. Officials say Quebec has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in frigid, remote areas west of Lake Champlain, and ending up in Hemmingford and Lacolle.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

There are many challenges to farming for a living: It's often grueling work that relies on unpredictable factors such as weather and global market prices. But one aspect that's often ignored is the cost of health care. 

The Vermont Air National Guard announced it has discovered PFCs in a private water well near its airport base.
Jtasphoto / iStock

After the industrial chemical PFOA contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of people in southern Vermont, legislators wanted to avoid another surprise contamination. So last year, they tasked a working group to figure out how the state could more proactively regulate chemicals. Now the group is back with recommendations.

The federal department that oversees pipeline safety is looking into Vermont Gas Systems' 41-mile extension into Addison County.

zilli / iStock

Vermont has already invested significant time and money in combating the opioid addiction, from special drug courts to laws regulating prescription monitoring. Now the state is considering a new tool in its arsenal: acupuncture. 

Vermont Gas Systems says its 41-mile pipeline has stayed within its budget this past quarter, and is on track to be completed this spring. The news comes after costs have ballooned nearly 50 percent in the last three years.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders grilled President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency at his confirmation hearing Wednesday, while Sen. Patrick Leahy called Scott Pruitt "unqualified" and says his appointment would be a "disaster for the country."

Courtesy, John Mejia

A Monkton resident who has had multiple Black Lives Matter signs stolen from his front yard is appealing to the community for support. 

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England reports that they've received a large boost in donations in the weeks following this year's presidential election.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

In 2014, the Obama administration issued a federal memo aiming to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But a closer look finds that there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies, including in Vermont.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

A University of Vermont scientist recently won a $450,000 grant to continue his research that could one day lead to a new approach to treating a rare, more aggressive form of breast cancer.

Luka Lajst / iStock.com

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of illegal immigrants with criminal records. It’s unclear how many people fit this category — but Trump's sweeping statements are already sending shock waves into many undocumented workers' lives.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Lake Champlain water levels approached record lows this summer, which exposed acres of beach sand that would normally be underwater.  This allowed some rare — and a few endangered— species of sand-dwelling grass plants to blossom, some of which may have lain dormant for decades.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy has won an eighth term representing Vermont in Washington, D.C. The incumbent senator, who was widely expected to win, garnered more than 60 percent of the vote.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

One of the largest remaining elm trees in New England has died. But the wood from the 109-foot-tall slippery elm tree is heading on to a new life — as custom furniture. And a percentage of the sales proceeds will support research to breed elms that are resistant to Dutch elm's disease. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

On its face, the purchase of Vermont-based Seventh Generation by the giant multinational Unilever seems like a straightforward a corporate buyout. But leadership and employees alike says it’s a chance for the company to expand its sustainable mission — and go global.

Photo illustration by Emily Alfin Johnson; Photo by Taylor Dobbs, Patti Daniels / VPR

About 60 percent of Vermonters polled say they'd vote for Democratic incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy, who has held the office since 1975. His challenger, Republican Scott Milne, has held steady in recent months with about 22 percent of polled voters.

Courtesy The Nature Conservancy

Conservation biologists say that the good news for wildlife is there are still extensive tracts of forest habitat in the northeast. Yet as humans have built up roads and housing developments, crossing between key habitat areas — such as from the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains — can be a dangerous trip for a moose or a bear.   

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