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.

Two cranes lift the 14-foot statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, from the capitol dome as part of $2 million rennovation project.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

The golden dome that crowns Vermont's capitol building is undergoing a $2 million renovation. We're looking at what the project will accomplish with Statehouse Curator David Schutz.

Greg Sharrow, right, interviews Burmese weaving instructor True Tender Htun as she demonstrators the use of homemade looms she used in Burma and now in Vermont.
Vermont Folklife Center, courtesy

The idea of “folklore” may conjure stories we tell children about mythical creatures, explanations of unique family traditions, or even mysteries of the natural world. But for Greg Sharrow, folklore was how people forged a sense of who they are. 

Sharrow dedicated three decades of work with the Vermont Folklife Center to documenting, celebrating, and illuminating folklore and folk arts in Vermont. He died Monday, April 2.

Washington County Sen. Anthony Pollina discusses the Progressive agenda in Montpelier.
AP/Toby Talbot

Progressive leaders in Montpelier began the legislative session with a plan for Vermonters to pay their school taxes based on their income, rather than the value of their property. The plan failed to gain traction in both the House and Senate. We're talking with Progressive leaders about how their agenda has been received in the Statehouse this year.

Vermont's small colleges and universities face growing challenges as enrollment drops across the state and region.
Photobuay / iStock

College enrollment is down across New England. We're looking at how Vermont's small private and state colleges are adjusting to fewer students, rising costs, and growing competition for tuition dollars.

A team at Norwich University has designed a solar power supply system for use on Mars.
European Space Agency / Flickr

A five-member team of students from Norwich University won a prestigious design competition hosted by NASA.

According to campaign finance disclosures, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has raised more than twice as much money toward his 2018 reelection bid than any of the other four candidates challenging him for the office.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

In his second year in office, Gov. Phil Scott has called for limited spending and shared his change of heart on gun control laws. We're talking with the Governor about the surprises and changing priorities in Montpelier in 2018, and what he wants to accomplish in the rest of the legislative session.

"The Vermonter" travels from its northernmost stop in St. Albans through New England to Washington, D.C.
Vermont Agency of Transportation

Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson startled rail passengers and others who regularly use trains in Vermont when he said he "doubts" Amtrak would run trains on track that doesn't have a safety protocol known as PTC, or positive train control. Vermont is among the states that doesn't have PTC on its tracks.

The exhibit at the Champlain College Art Gallery showcases "artifacts" of the imaginary town of Ralston, Vt., like this faded postcard bearing the town's seal. The exhibit runs through March 29, 2018.
Peter Moore / Champlain College

The history of Ralston, Vermont is well-known to many: the story of feuding brothers at odds over logging and textile fortunes, a dispute that ultimately led to the digging of the Thibodeau Canal which now separates the island from Burlington. Only, there is no canal and that history isn't real. But it's all part of "Quality of Life: The Ralston Historical Museum" exhibit now at the Champlain College Art Gallery.

An F-35B lifts off from the runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in October 2017. Burlington will receive 18 F-35s starting in 2019.
Samuel King Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We're looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

The Jericho town meeting in 2017. We're talking about whether town meeting still make sense in the modern era.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Town Meeting Day is almost here, and every year the question gets raised: does town meeting still make sense in the modern era? We're looking at how this tradition has changed over time and how it fits with Vermont's democracy today.

Vermont's attendant services program, or ASP, is up for elimination in Governor Scott's budget.
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / iStock

Vermont's attendant services program — or ASP — directs $1.38 million in state funds to help Vermonters with permanent and severe disabilities. It’s been targeted for elimination by Gov. Scott’s latest budget.

We're talking with Vermont gun owners about how their use of firearms informs their views on gun laws and gun control.
artas / iStock

Conversations about firearms and gun control are often dominated by extreme views, leaving many in the middle whose voices aren't heard. That includes voices informed by their own gun ownership. We're talking with Vermont gun owners about recent shifts in the discussion around guns and our gun laws. 

Medication-assisted treatment is one of the most effective ways to combat opioid addiction, but access to MAT in Vermont prisons can be limited.
Instants / iStock

Dealing with addiction in prison is complicated. For some, it helps them get away from the drugs and into treatment. But treatment while incarcerated can be limited, and those leaving prison often face the greatest risk of a relapse.

Sec. of State Jim Condos discusses how states like Vermont could be vulnerable to election meddling, and what's needed to secure future elections.
Toby Talbot / AP File

Thirteen Russians face indictments for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security identified more than 20 states whose voting systems were compromised by Russian hackers. As they face concerns over election integrity both inside and outside the ballot box, how are Vermont officials keeping future elections secure?

The average smart phone is replaced roughly every 22 months, spurring calls across the country to protect customers' "right to repair" their electronics.
Bru-nO / Pexels

Have you ever tried fixing one of your electric gadgets? Even simply replacing the battery in your cell phone can require special skills or tools. You may not be allowed to do more advanced repairs without potentially voiding a warranty. That's led to demands across the country, including here in Vermont, for the "right to repair," the ability to perform basic repairs on items like smart phones, other electronics and more.

According to the Vermont Commission on Women, 75 percent of women who report sexual harassment in the workplace say they've experienced retaliation for speaking up.
Kameleon007 / iStock

Sixty percent of women say they've experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the Vermont Commission on Women, and three out of four of those women report experiencing retaliation for speaking up. Now House lawmakers are updating Vermont's sexual harassment laws to protect victims' rights and ban settlements that can silence victims and favor employers.

Climate researchers say a changing climate could mean, among other changes, more extremes of heat and cold for Vermont.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Vermont's climate is already changing, and experts say that could mean rising temperatures, wetter weather and more extremes for both heat and cold. But are there also opportunities to be seized as those changes unfold? 

Winter can be a time of hearty stew, spicy chili and other dishes that leave you feeling warm. What recipes do you turn to during cold winter months?
Pexels

The snow and cold of February in Vermont can make winter feel endless. When the temperature drops and you need a hearty meal, what foods and recipes do you rely on to make this time of year feel just a bit warmer?

Kevin Daignault (center) and his team at Mass General. Daignault's operation was the hospital's 500th heart transplant.
Massachusetts General Hospital, courtesy

Massachusetts General Hospital performed its first heart transplant in 1985, and in late December, a Swanton man became the hospital's 500th heart transplant patient.

The report from Vermont's Opioid Coordination Council highlights some successes in the state's response to the opioid crisis, but stresses the need to increase prevention and do more for Vermonters in recovery.
Moussa81 / iStock

Thousands of Vermonters have been treated for opioid addiction, and prescriptions for addictive painkillers are down. Vermont's Opioid Coordination Council says that these are signs of progress, but more still needs to be done to create a "firewall of resilience" to the deadly opioid crisis in Vermont. 

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