Mitch Wertlieb

Local Host, Morning Edition

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as News Director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a News Director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.

An avid Boston sports fan, Mitch has been blessed with being able to witness world championships for two of his favorite teams (and franchises he was at one time convinced would never win in his lifetime): the Boston Red Sox in 2004, 2007, and 2013, and in hockey, the Boston Bruins, who won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011.

Mitch has also been known to play a music bed or two during Morning Edition featuring his favorite band The Grateful Dead.  He lives in South Burlington with his wife Erin, daughter Gretchen, and their dog Fezzik. He (Mitch, not Fezzik) has been host of Morning Edition on VPR since 2003.


Ways to Connect

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

In our hyper-connected world, some may find that it’s increasingly difficult to slow down long enough to read and truly enjoy a poem. A professor at the University of Vermont is encouraging his students to appreciate the sound and feel of poems.

Major Jackson says at an early age he fell in love with condensed language as a reader of poetry. His working-class African-American grandparents kept books filled with poems in their northern Philadelphia home. From time to time, Jackson would come across a poem that resonated with him sonically.

After a lengthy debate that got personal at times, the Vermont Senate has postponed final action on a bill that allows terminally ill patients to get a doctor’s prescription to end their lives. The Vermont Legislature is one step closer to decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate gave preliminary approval to legislation that would make it a civil offense rather than a crime to possess one ounce or less of pot. The vote was 24-to-6.

VPR/Nina Keck

U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins’ search for poetry to include in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry,  led him to believe that “clear, reader-conscious poems are the ones that will broaden the audience for poetry.”

Vermont’s poet laureate, Sydney Lea, agrees with that approach.

The Vermont House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill requiring GMO food labeling, but the measure isn't expected to pass into law this year, because there isn't enough time to get the bill through the Senate.

A cost-cutting move by the Shumlin administration could save millions next year by changing the way Vermont deals with certain mentally impaired inmates, but critics say offenders will pose a more severe threat to public safety as a result.

Tropical Storm Irene is still packing a punch for some Vermont businesses. That’s because more than 200 employers were forced to lay off workers after the storm—and other flooding that year. And some have seen their unemployment tax rates go up, sometimes dramatically. Vermont lawmakers have a heavy agenda set for today. Some are saying they’ll still be able to wrap up business for the year by Saturday.

VPR/Susan Keese

Educators say that most children love rhymes. And they say that poetry can be helpful in many ways as children learn to read, write, listen and express themselves.

In her kindergarten class at Oak Grove School in Brattleboro, teacher Chelsea Dowd is reading a favorite story.

It’s Dr. Seuss’s ‘One Fish, Two Fish,” and the students are joining in.

Many of the children have the same book at home. But that’s not the only reason they’re able to shout out the final word in every line. It’s also because the rhyming pattern is predictable and easy to remember.

The Vermont House is preparing to debate a bill that would allow immigrant farmworkers in the country illegally to drive in Vermont, with a new type of driver's privilege card.  A bill that would require labels on genetically modified food sold in Vermont will not likely see action this legislative session.  The Vermont Public Service Board says a 16-turbine wind project in Sheffield is meeting its noise standards and is in compliance with its Certificate of Public Good.  A Burlington High School Spanish teacher has been placed on administrative leaving pending a criminal investigation.

Monday, May 6th:

5:59am: Bad Plus: "Flim", from "These Are the Vistas."

6:20am: Beastie Boys: "Groove Holmes", from "Check Your Head."

6:49am: Jon Brion: "Monday", from the soundtrack to the film "I (heart) Huckabees."

6:58am: Grateful Dead: "The Women Are Smarter", Live from Alpine Valley Music Theater, WI., 7/18/89

7:20am: Jeff Coffin: "A Half Sleep", from "Into the Air."

7:58am: Crimson Jazz Trio: "Three of a Perfect Pair", from "King Crimson Songbook, Vol. 1"

It looks like efforts to protect the edges of Vermont's lakes and rivers from the negative effects of development will have to wait another year. The clock is running out on the 2013 legislative session, and it appears time has run out for a bill requiring labels on genetically modified food sold in Vermont. Lawmakers remain concerned that a state law on genetic labeling could provoke a lawsuit from the biotech industry. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for moose.

Steven Kovich

Schools and communities around Vermont are reading and discussing “Poetry 180: A Turning Back To Poetry,” – an anthology of contemporary poetry edited by the poet Billy Collins, as part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s Vermont Reads, statewide community reading program.

Collins starts the collection with a poem of his own.

Introduction to Poetry

Steven Kovich

The former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins wrote that high school is “all too often the place where poetry goes to die.” He set out on a mission to collect short, clear, contemporary poems, with the idea that teachers could read one per day, for the 180 day school year, and allow students to simply hear and absorb the poetry, with no discussion, explication or quizzes.

Rutland’s former city attorney Christopher Sullivan was in court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a fatal hit and run accident that killed a Rutland restaurant owner.

On April 10th, 71- year old Jane Outslay was hit and killed by a vehicle in the city of Rutland. Sullivan’s lawyer contacted police the next day and told them the vehicle involved in the crash was owned by his client Christopher Sullivan.

Governor Peter Shumlin remains strongly opposed to the tax bills passed by both the House and Senate. The disagreement shows that the governor and lawmakers have very different views about how taxes affect the economy. House and Senate negotiators will soon begin working on a compromise version of the 2014 budget. One of many differences between them is how the state work force that administers the welfare-to-work program would be affected.

The Vermont Senate has passed a state budget. But it varies from the House version, and it’s likely that conference committees will be named to resolve the differences.

The Vermont House has passed a bill that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with doctor prescribed drugs.

The third and final year of a major road improvement project through Danville is underway and so far, there haven't been any complaints.

A former realty business employee has been charged with embezzling over $10,000 from the company and several clients.

The Senate has rejected a plan to raise income tax rates on wealthy Vermonters to help pay for next year’s budget. A company that planned to grow food year-round using methane from the Brattleboro landfill has filed for Chapter Seven Bankruptcy. A Rutland man is due in court to face charges in a fatal hit and run crash that killed a pedestrian last month. Hardwood Union High School will remain closed for a second day after someone broke in and damaged the plumbing, causing some flooding and water damage.

VPR/Ric Cengeri

The names of the places around us often tell the unique story of Vermont’s history. All next week on Morning Edition, we’ll be taking a look at some of those names.

Our guide is “Vermont Place Names: Footprints of History,” by Esther Munroe Swift.

Let us know if you have a question about a place name below, and we’ll see if Vermont Place Names has the answer.

Vermont Place Names, Footprints of History was first published in 1977. The copyright is held by Esther Munroe Swift’s estate, which granted permission for its use. 

Young women in Vermont are ill-equipped and not prepared for the challenges of economic independence and adulthood---and that’s what they say about themselves.

A new report released this week by Vermont Works for Women draws on interviews with over 200 women between the ages of 15 and 25. Vermont Works for Women Executive Director Tiffany Bluemle says there are a number of things that these young women, most of limited financial means, pointed to as obstacles to success.

The Senate passed its tax bill yesterday. The legislation raises a total of $10 million using four primary sources. One of northern New England’s most unusual natural history museums will soon have a new leader. Director Charlie Browne is retiring after 34 years at the helm of the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury. He leaves behind a museum that is very different from the one he arrived at as a young intern.

Federal regulators say they’re confident the public is not in danger from the tons of radioactive spent fuel stored in an above-ground pool at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant. The price of gasoline is about to go up. Yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin signed the transportation budget, which contains the new tax. At the Statehouse today, lawmakers are spending much of their time on the House and Senate floor debating a slew of bills.

Vermont lawmakers are trying to wrap up their 2013 legislative session, with the hope of adjourning in early May.

Here’s a look at what’s been accomplished and what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

-Gas tax.  Both the House and Senate approved a gas tax, and so it will increase on May 1. Lawmakers favored a change to a sales tax on gas, rather than a per gallon increase. Many supported the bill because they wanted to take advantage of $56 million in federal matching funds.