Lynne McCrea

Special Projects Reporter/Producer

Lynne is a producer/reporter for special VPR News projects. Lynne joined VPR in 2002. A veteran broadcast producer, she spent 12 years as field producer at ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston, where she did reporting and writing for the award-winning Chronicle newsmagazine. Since coming to Vermont in 1995, Lynne has produced and written television documentary and magazine programs as well as a variety of new media projects.

Ways to Connect

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Efforts to clean up Lake Champlain are about to get a big boost from the federal government. Today, Jason Weller, chief of the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, visited Montpelier to announce that the state will be getting $16 million over the next five years.

Jim Cole / AP

Over the past week, state lawmakers across northern New England have been rolling up their sleeves and getting to work to start their 2015 sessions.

On Monday we learned about the major issues facing New York lawmakers; today we hear from Concord, where lawmakers in New Hampshire’s general court have their work cut out for them. 

Angela Evancie / VPR

This morning, state lawmakers re-elected Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin to a third term in office. That’s likely no surprise to many political observers, as the Vermont Legislature is controlled by Democrats.

But what has been surprising is how close Republican Scott Milne came to winning that race. Republicans also picked up seats in the Legislature in November, after 14 years of losing ground there.

It’s been a wild ride for the Vermont State Republican Party over the last two months and the party’s Chairman, David Sunderland, joined VPR to talk about what’s next. 

With falling ad revenues and declining circulation, it’s become a tough time to be a leader in the American newspaper business. Vermont’s largest daily, the Burlington Free Press, hasn’t been immune to those issues.

On Tuesday, the paper announced it has a new president and publisher to help guide it through a variety of transitions. Al Getler is a veteran of the newspaper business and most recently worked with several publications in Massachusetts.

Getler joined VPR’s Alex Keefe to talk about the future of the Free Press.

Jill Zuckman / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy was present when American contractor Alan Gross was released from a prison in Cuba Wednesday after being held there for five years. The release came as President Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Sally McCay / University of Vermont

Award-winning producer John Kilik, a University of Vermont alumnus, is known for big projects including Babel, Hunger Games and several Spike Lee films. His newest film, Foxcatcher, is a chilling biographical drama that tells the story of Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, and his relationship with wealthy, disturbed coach John du Pont, played by Steve Carell.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Democrat Peter Welch has easily won a fifth term as Vermont's lone representative in the U.S. House, turning aside the second challenge in as many elections from Republican Mark Donka.

In 2012, Welch beat Donka,  a conservative Republican and Woodstock police officer, by amore than three-to-one margin.

As Republicans increased their ranks in Washington Tuesday night, Welch said the big challenge facing Congress would continue to be in finding common ground.

Chester Fire Department

Town officials in Chester are still assessing the damage from Monday afternoon’s flash flooding. They say more than three inches of rain fell on Chester and the Williams River, creating the worst flooding since Tropical Storm Irene hit the area almost three years ago.

Town Manager David Pisha says a number of roads have washed out and culverts are plugged.

"The river moved up on Potash Brook Road, to the extent that we will probably be constructing a new bridge just to accommodate the move in the river," Pisha says.

The Department for Children and Families is charged with protecting the state’s most vulnerable population – abused and neglected children.

 

Yet the department has seen intense scrutiny in recent months because two toddlers that had been in state custody died after alleged physical abuse.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan asked the Vermont state police to investigate the latest case: the death of 15-month old Peighton Geraw of Winooski who died hours after being seen by a DCF caseworker.

The state Health Department is reporting an increase in whooping cough cases in Windham County.

The department has alerted health care providers in the area that the number of confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, rose to 11 in June. Ten were among children age 3 to 17, while one was an adult. The cases occurred as schools were closing or after they had closed for the summer.

So far in July, the department says there are five more suspected cases. All but one of the confirmed and suspected cases are from Brattleboro.

As lawmakers enter the final weeks of the legislative session, they’re set to debate a bill that addresses rising property tax burdens by shifting around who pays.

The Burlington City Council voted Monday night to seek more oversight of the school budgeting process, after a chain of troubling discoveries about the school system’s budget.
The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will attend the grand opening of the Vermont Service Center's newest facility in Essex.

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly approves of the idea.

A bill under consideration by lawmakers would set new broadband goals for Vermont; the state would concentrate on bringing service to all Vermonters at speeds that meet the federal definition of broadband.

The transition to Vermont Health Connect has been anything but smooth, and thousands of Vermonters are now stuck in a sort of insurance limbo as the state works to iron out wrinkles in the system.

The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation is hosting a series of events next week to celebrate Ash Tree Awareness Week.

The entire state of Vermont is under a Flood Watch and the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for a number of river basins.

For the first time this year, the Veterans Administration will use federal tax returns as a means test to decide whether a veteran is eligible for subsidized health care.
Several major Vermont highway projects are taking place this year in the Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury areas for a cost of about $21 million.
Vermont's Bennington Battle Monument is opening for the season on Saturday.

The Addison County Regional Planning Commission has voted by a narrow margin in support of Phase Two of the Vermont Gas Pipeline.

A bill now goes on to the Vermont Senate that would make Vermont the first state with a minimum hourly wage higher than $10. Vermont lawmakers are going to be getting an update this week on efforts to restore the American chestnut tree to the state's forests.

The Shumlin administration has unveiled a new proposal to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain.

Vermont's net metering bill that nearly quadruples the amount of power that utilities can buy from renewable energy projects is becoming law.
State Auditor Doug Hoffer is asking lawmakers to strengthen protections for whistleblowers in state government.
The Chittenden County Transportation Authority says it has authorized its staff to secure temporary bus drivers until negotiations with striking drivers are resolved.

The state of Vermont is making a final push to convince thousands of uninsured Vermonters to sign up for health insurance coverage by the end of the month.

The Vermont Senate is holding a final vote on legislation setting up a new system in the state for restricting toxic chemicals.

The Burlington City Council has approved a financial partner to assist with a settlement regarding its troubled provider of television, Internet and phone service.

The preliminary results of the Doyle Town Meeting Day survey are in, and they show a strong support for increasing the state’s minimum wage.

The Green Mountain Psychiatric Care Center in Morrisville has become the first such state facility in Vermont to win federal certification since 2003.

This winter’s cold, snowy weather has been a boon for Vermont’s loggers, with frozen ground and snow cover making it possible to keep heavy equipment operating in the woods.

The bus drivers strike in Chittenden County continues for a second week.

Negotiations between the Chittenden Country Transportation Authority and striking bus drivers appear to be at an impasse.

CCTA General Manager Bill Watterson said in a written statement that discussions ended without an agreement after seven hours of mediated talks on Saturday.

CCTA says it delivered a compromise contract proposal to the union in hopes of ending the strike, now in its seventh day.

Despite the slow start to the season, more than 85 sugar makers around the state are opening their doors to the public this weekend to show how maple syrup is made.

Negotiations between the Chittenden Country Transportation Authority and striking bus drivers appear to be at an impasse, after seven hours of mediated talks on Saturday ended without an agreement.

A new pilot program in Vermont will allow farmers to recycle the 500 tons of plastics they accumulate every year for free.

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