Nina Keck


Nina has been reporting for VPR since 1996, primarily focusing on the Rutland area. An experienced journalist, Nina covered international and national news for seven years with the Voice of America, working in Washington, D.C., and Germany. While in Germany, she also worked as a stringer for Marketplace. Nina has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards: In 2006, she won for her investigative reporting on VPR and in 2009 she won for her use of sound. She began her career at Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Ways to Connect

State health officials believe there may be more homes in and around Rutland County contaminated with a banned pesticide.

High levels of the chemical have forced six households to relocate while five others have been told to move.

Tom Condon is an on scene coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Boston Bureau.   He’s one of a dozen EPA field agents that recently arrived in Rutland to help the state deal with the situation.

Six Rutland households have had to relocate after an exterminator used a banned pesticide and hundreds of other Rutland County residents may also have been exposed.

State officials say the situation presents a serious health danger and they’ve called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for help.

Police have charged a third Castleton State College student -  22-year-old Mark Comstock of Rutland - with retail theft.  Comstock, 19-year-old George Andrew Busharis and 21-year-old Brandon Boyle allegedly took part in a string of thefts at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland.  

According to Castleton State College officials, three other student athletes - as yet unidentified - were also allegedly involved.  All six students were football players and all have been suspended indefinitely from the football program pending a campus investigation.  

Castleton State College officials say the campus investigation of six members of their football team allegedly involved in a scheme to steal merchandise from a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Rutland should wrap up by Thursday.  The college will then decide what if any disciplinary hearings are warranted.

“What we’re trying to decide is if their behavior - as we know it - affects the operations or the relationship to the community of the college,” says Dennis Prouix, Castleton’s Dean of Students.

VPR/Nina Keck

Residents in Mount Holly are taking sides over a proposal to build a new town garage.  Most people agree a new garage is needed and many like the half million dollar proposal the local select board has been developing.

But several dozen others in town are upset and say the community has been improperly shut out of the planning process.

Courtesy/Yan Lu

It’s one thing to look at sculptures in a museum.  it’s another thing entirely to see them carved in your back yard by artists from all over the world. 

But that’s just what Barbara and Bill Carris of West Rutland are doing and they’re inviting the public to see the results.

Barbara Carris is an artist, art lover and patron who’s worked for years with various local and regional non profit arts organizations.

John Miller/ AP

Twenty employees of the Green Mountain National Forest and Finger Lakes National Forest have returned from two weeks of fire fighting duty in Idaho.

Just as power companies call in help from other utilities when major storms hit - firefighters often travel from state to state when needed.

Ethan Ready is with the US Forest Service based in Rutland.

VPR/Nina Keck

Castleton College built its newest dormitory, Hoff Hall, with solar panels on the roof.  Now, four new micro wind turbines will be generating power alongside them. 

When Vermonters think of wind turbines they’re likely to imagine ridge lines with huge blades turning hundreds of feet in the air.

But JLM Energy of Rocklin California has made a name for itself designing much smaller micro turbines designed for urban and suburban areas. 

VPR/Nina Keck

Debate continues to swirl in Middlebury over a proposed land swap between the town and the college.  Proponents say the deal will help the town afford a new municipal office and recreational facility.  But opponents are angry at the way it was worked out and say valuable town property will be lost.

Town officials have struggled for years over what to do with the municipal town offices - located in a hundred year old red brick building many in town consider an eyesore.

VPR/Nina Keck

Tropical Storm Irene temporarily or permanently displaced more than 1,400 people in Vermont.

76-year-old Evelyn Payette was one of them. If you drive along Route 100 in Pittsfield you can still see her bent and battered mobile home on the side or the road. 

Payette is one of 23 Vermont homeowners who have recently received a FEMA buyout. While the money is welcome, the nearly two years it’s taken to get has taken a toll.

State Agriculture officials are planning a second round of aerial spraying Tuesday night in Whiting to combat mosquitos - some of which may be carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus - both rare but potentially fatal mosquito-born illnesses.

Two men died from Triple E in Vermont last summer and state officials say mosquitos carrying the virus have been detected in Whiting and nearby Sudbury this summer.

West Nile Virus has been found in Whiting and Brandon.

Neil Bainton

Rutland writer Peggy Shinn is best known for profiling Olympic athletes and writing about the outdoors for national ski and travel magazines and Vermont Life.  

But in a new book, Shinn writes about champions of another sort - the every day Vermonters who were hardest hit by Tropical Storm Irene and those who helped put the state back together.

Shinn says the day of the storm she was hunkered down with her family playing Monopoly.  She remembers thinking Rutland had gotten off easy with just rain.  

In Brandon and surrounding towns mosquitos are a way of life in the summer.  Entomologists say an ancient lakebed has made the area especially attractive to the biting bugs and heavy rains this summer have made the problem worse.  West Nile virus was found in mosquitos in Leicester earlier this summer and last week state health officials announced they’d found Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a mosquito pool in the town of Whiting. 

Chris / Flickr

Wed 7/31/13 Noon &7PM More people are suffering from hay fever, food allergies, asthma and eczema than ever before. Allergic diseases are on the rise, and doctors aren't exactly sure why.

We'll learn a little more about what we do know about allergies, with Dr. Betsy Jaffe from Timber Lane Allergy and Asthma Associates and Dr. Kay Hillinger from Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic.

The leader of the Vermont National Guard says budget cuts caused by the federal sequester are having both short-term and long-term impacts on the Guard here.

Major General Steven Cray, the adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard,  says the immediate concern is the 500 military technicians in Vermont who’ve been forced to take furloughs this summer, amounting to a 20 percent cut in each paycheck.  “The longer it goes on, the harder it’s going to be for our members," Cray says. "Some of them are going to start looking for other ways to supplement that 20 percent pay cut.”  

AP/Charles Krupa

Tues 7/30/13 at Noon & 7PM

Depending on where you are in Vermont, your access to the internet and the speed of that connection vary dramatically. Tuesday on Vermont Edition, we look at how widely available high-speed internet is here, and the efforts to connect the so-called "final miles."

A summer of leisure is a dream that many teenagers either can’t or won’t indulge in. Summer jobs, internships and volunteer projects are the stuff that fill the long days of summer for a lot of teens.

And one of those opportunities is called the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont. The Governor’s Institutes are finishing their 30th summer of programs this week. Karen Taylor Mitchell is the program's executive director. She spoke with Vermont Edition about the experiences that Vermont teens have had this summer.

AP/Ted S. Warren

Mon, July 29 Noon and 7 PM  For some runners, completing a marathon is a lifetime goal. Then there are the ultramarathoners. Running 26.2 miles is just getting started for these people. They enter 50-mile and 100-mile events around the country. And even seek out longer races throughout the world.

Amy Mosher

For almost ten years RAFFL, the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, has been promoting locally produced foods and farms to bolster the region’s agricultural economy.  

Now RAFFL is teaming up with the Chaffee Art Center for a first ever Farm and Food Art exhibit. 

Headlining the show are painters Amy Mosher and Betsy Hubner.  

For victims of domestic violence, the courage to get help can come at odd hours. 

That’s why shelter advocates say 24-hour hotlines are so important. 

More than 12,000 calls a year are made to domestic hotlines across Vermont.  It’s a number that’s rising at the same time federal funding is dropping.  

In Rutland, the situation has prompted shelter advocates to reach out to the community for help.