Matthew F. Smith

Producer, Vermont Edition

Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as a producer for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined VPR in October 2017.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years in China and the U.S. before pursuing a career in journalism.

An AR-15 rifle pictured with a 30-round magazine and a 10-round magazine. Vermont law now prohibits the sale and purchase of magazines with more than 10 rounds. The high-capacity magazine ban is the focus of one of two lawsuits in Vermont courts.
Charles Krupa / AP

Episode 4 of VPR's five-part podcast series, JOLTED, explores how Republican Gov. Phil Scott, a gun rights advocate, declared that Vermont needed more gun control laws. Within months, Senate Bill 55 was passed, putting several restrictions on gun and ammunition purchases.

Jared Carter, an associate professor at Vermont Law School and VPR commentator, joined Vermont Edition to discuss two lawsuits challenging the new law.

Emotional support animals are increasingly found in public places like stores, businesses and school campuses.
Good Dog Autism Companions / Flickr Creative Commons

Emotional support animals are an increasingly common sight in public, in stores, on campuses and at airports. But accommodating these animals in crowded public spaces isn't easy, and the rules on what's allowed, and where, aren't always clear. We're talking about emotional support animals and how we're making space for them in public areas.

Deb Snell with the nurses' union at UVM Medical Center addresses reporters ahead of the July work stoppage.
Henry Epp / VPR

After months of negotiations between the UVM Medical Center and the hospital's nurses' union yielded no new contract, UVMMC administrators have made what they call their "last, best and final offer." 

A screen shot of the BHS "Register" on Thursday, Sept. 13, shows the school paper's article removed and a headline alleging censorship by the administration.
screen shot

Burlington High School’s director of guidance, Mario Macias, faces six charges of unprofessional conduct from the Agency of Education. The school paper, the BHS Register, broke the story last week, but for a time you couldn't read it there. That's because within 24 hours of publication, the story had disappeared from the paper's website, replaced with a mostly blank page with the words: “This article has been censored by Burlington High School administration.” 

House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton) is seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor in Vermont's Nov. 6 general election.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Republican Don Turner represents Milton in the Vermont legislature, and now the House Minority Leader is running for Lieutenant Governor in the Nov. 6 general election. We're talking to the candidate about why he's seeking the state's second-highest office.

"Vermont Edition" explores overlooked, unknown, obscure or unusual gems of Vermont art, like Eden artist Matt Neckers' miniature mobile museum that recreates (on a smaller scale) the look and feel of a contemporary art museum.
Matt Neckers

There's no shortage of acclaimed art in well-known museums across Vermont, but surprising works are tucked away in unexpected places, in galleries off the beaten path or hidden in plain sight in buildings, campuses and towns across the state. We're talking about overlooked, unexpected and unknown art in Vermont and where you can find it.

Vermont's small-town ambulance departments, many run by volunteers, face increasing demands on time and resources. Some have even had to close their doors, including two departments in the Northeast Kingdom in the last year.
Andyqwe / iStock

Ambulance departments in rural areas of Vermont face growing costs and increasing demands of time and training. Some volunteer-run departments have been forced to close when those demands become too much to manage. We're looking at how Vermont's rural ambulance departments are meeting those challenges to make sure someone answers when Vermonters dial 911. 

State highway safety officials say increasingly aggressive drivers and texting while driving continue to plague Vermont's roads.
SHSPhotography / iStock

Vermont is seeing more cases of aggressive driving on its roads. And more drivers are using cell phones while driving, even though it's against the law.  We're talking with highway safety officials about how they're addressing these issues. 

Jim Condon speaking at Montpelier's Capitol Plaza Hotel.
Condon For Colchester website

Jim Condon, a prominent Vermont broadcaster and state representative for Colchester, died last week from esophageal cancer. He was 60 years old.

Vermont sends a handful of the 1,350 minors in state custody to out-of-state residential treatment programs for issues like mental health or substance abuse.
tarasov_vl / iStock

Vermont’s Department of Corrections has more than 200 prisoners serving their sentences in out-of-state prisons. But what about the roughly 1,350 juveniles in state custody?

We're talking with energy experts and environmental advocates about assessing "renewability" when it comes to renewable energy.
DrAfter123 / iStock

Vermont is striving to meet ambitious goals to get 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. But just how renewable is some of that energy? We're talking with energy experts and environmental advocates about how we assess renewability and other environmental costs to alternative energy sources.

A Vermont man charged with murder is arguing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should protect him from facing the death penalty.
Michal Chodyra / iStock

Donald Fell was convicted in federal court of kidnapping Teresca King in Rutland in 2000 and killing her in New York state. He was sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned due to juror misconduct.

As Fell awaits a new trial, his attorneys are working to avoid the possibility of him facing the death penalty again with unique arguments against The Federal Death Penalty Act, including one invoking the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss health care rates, hospital budgets and the state's overhaul of how health care reimbursements are made.
SteveColeImages / iStock

This month the Green Mountain Care Board told Vermont health insurers they won't get the rate increase they want. In the board's ongoing struggle with health care costs, it's also reviewing hospital budgets to curb medical spending and overhauling how Vermonters reimburse health care providers. We're talking about containing health care costs with GMCB Chair Kevin Mullin. 

Christy Mihaly's first illustrated book for children is a rhyming picture book about making hay.
Holiday House publishers, courtesy

Vermont’s farms are the stuff of legend. The iconic barn, the determined farmer, the sturdy tractor and fresh-cut fields bursting with towering bales of hay. But you wouldn't be the first to realize — hey, there are no stories about hay!

East Calais author Christy Mihaly's new illustrated children's book aims to fill that gap in your child's bookshelf.

Dan French has worked in Vermont schools for more than 20 years. He took over the job of Secretary of Education on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018.
Vermont Agency of Education, courtesy

Dan French took over the job of Vermont's Secretary of Education just last week, but he's no stranger to the state's schools: he's taught in the Northeast Kingdom and worked as a superintendent in Southern Vermont for nearly a decade.

We're talking with the state's new education secretary about merging districts, shrinking enrollment and his vision for Vermont’s schools. 

The mural in Burlington reflects 400 years of Vermont history but has drawn criticism for lacking diversity.
Adam Fagen / Flickr

The mural should move: that's one of several recommendations from a seven-member task force convened by the Burlington City Council to look at the controversy surrounding the Everyone Loves A Parade! mural on Leahy Way, just off of Burlington's Church Street pedestrian thoroughfare. 

Novelist Anna Katharine Green, top left, and her late 1800s novels like "The Leavenworth Case" and "Marked Personal" created the template of modern detective fiction.
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

You may have never heard of the novelist Anna Katharine Green. But if you’ve ever read a detective novel, or followed the sleuthing exploits of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or even Inspector Gamache—you’ve been enjoying the countless authors who followed in Green’s footsteps.

The Passumpsic River overflowed its banks in 2002, washing out roads and flooding homes in and around Lyndonville in 2002.
Vermont Emergency Management, courtesy

Flooding is Vermont’s most frequent and costly natural disaster, but seven years after the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene, just how ready are homeowners and towns for future floods? We're talking about the threat of flooding in Vermont and planning for flood resilience.

Rep. Peter Welch, left, and challenger Dan Freilich are vying to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. House after a third candidate dropped from the race Thursday.
Anna Ste. Marie / VPR

The field of Democratic nominees for Vermont’s seat in the U.S. House narrowed Thursday after one of the three candidates abruptly withdrew from the race. 

Challengers Dan Freilich, left, and Ben Mitchell, center, will debate incumbent Rep. Peter Welch in the Democratic primary for Vermont's sole seat in the U.S. House.
Freilich campaign / DEBORAHANNE MAYER courtesy Mitchell campaign / Liam Elder Conners, VPR file

Three candidates are running to be the Democratic nominee for Vermont's only seat in the U.S. House. As part of VPR's coverage of contested statewide and federal races, Vermont Edition hosts a debate between Dan Freilich, Ben Mitchell and incumbent Rep. Peter Welch.

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