Nina Keck

Reporter

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

VPR/Jane Lindholm

Thurs 6/06/13 Noon & 7 pm   Vermont is one of the country’s most rural states to begin with. So think of those towns that are located a bit more remotely and that have little or no public transportation. How do people in those towns and villages have access to basic services if they don’t drive?

Mosquito Season Heats Up

Jun 6, 2013

Thanks to recent warm, wet weather - mosquitos are out in force.  That has many in towns around Brandon concerned - because that’s where the mosquito born Triple E virus killed two people last year.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or Triple E, and West Nile are both rare and potentially deadly viruses.  Both illnesses are also initially carried by birds but spread to humans by mosquitos who feed on both.

Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report claiming that there is racial bias in arrests for marijuana possession. The report includes details on drug arrests in Vermont as well. Allen Gilbert, Executive Director of ACLU Vermont. He spoke with Vermont Edition about the report.

Wed 6/05/13 Noon & 7 pm Three years ago, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont won a $4.5 million dollar grant as a part of the Federal stimulus package. They promised to improve the energy efficiency of 40 percent of the homes in Rutland County. Energy efficiency was one of the Governor's big goals in his budget this year too, but his plan for funding retrofits never made it through the legislature.

The Blood in This Town, the documentary about Rutland’s grassroots effort to revitalize itself will make its European debut this weekend.The 80-minute film by Art Jones will be shown Sunday in Breda one of Holland’s largest cities.

Monique Mols, a Breda native who translated the film into Dutch says she hopes the can-do spirit in Rutland will inspire residents of Breda who’ve seen their city hurt by unemployment and the European Debt Crisis.

Three Girls On The Run 5K events are being held across Vermont this season, in Brattleboro, Rutland and Essex Junction. For thousands of girls who participate, the race is the culmination of a twelve-week after-school program.

VPR’s Nina Keck has coached for Girls On The  Run and says the program is about a lot more than running.

VPR/Nina Keck

Vermont has nearly 1,900 cemeteries - some large and well manicured - others, small, tucked-away family plots.  They’re the final resting places for luminaries like Ethan Allen, Robert Frost and Calvin Coolidge.  But Vermont also has cemeteries for paupers and criminals - and officials in Rutland say they’re part of history too.

Tom Giffin is Rutland City’s cemetery commissioner and president of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association.

Giffin lifts the metal latch of a gate and enters an odd little plot of land tucked behind Rutland’s prison near East Creek.

Nina Keck / VPR

Green Mountain Power says there are a lot of Vermonters who’d like to use solar power. But many are unable or unwilling to install the necessary equipment on their homes.  

GMP officials say now, thanks to a new partnership with the nation’s largest solar developer, they’ll be able to offer a new way for customers to take advantage of solar power without installing the hardware. 

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.

Rutland Herald/Vyto Starinskas

Former Rutland City Attorney Christopher Sullivan pleaded innocent Thursday to two felony charges related to the April 10 hit-and-run that killed 71-year old Mary Jane Outslay of Mendon.

Sullivan was quiet and composed as he walked with his lawyer into Rutland Criminal Court.  It was a brief visit; just long enough for him to plead innocent to two felony charges - driving under the influence, fatality resulting, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.  

Each charge carries a potential 15-year prison sentence. 

Thanks to the grassroots effort of local volunteers, Rutland opened a year round Farmer’s market and agriculture center last fall as well as a new multi use bike path through the city. The latest goal? A children’s museum.  Organizers say it’s closer than ever to being a reality.

Myra Peffer and Chris Ettorie stand in an empty storefront across from the Paramount Theatre.

“Well we’re going to open this up- so the idea is to take out these walls and make it as open as possible,” Peffer says.

Mary Jane Outslay - friends called her Jane - raised five kids, worked as a nurse, and along with her husband of nearly 50 years, owned a popular pizza restaurant in Rutland - a restaurant that was closed today.

That’s because friends and family were gathering to remember the 71-year-old Mendon woman who was struck and killed last week by a hit and run driver.

VPR/Nina Keck

What makes a farm a farm?  That's a question the state's Environmental Court will have to sort out as it considers WhistlePig whiskey, a company that wants to make whiskey from rye that it grows itself.

Act 250 officials ruled in February that the Shoreham-based company is not a farm, and is therefore subject to state oversight. 

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

Lawmakers are debating whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Vermont. As the House prepares to vote on the question, we take up the debate over marijuana laws, Friday on Vermont Edition.Our guests are Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) and Chief Chris Brickell, head of the Vermont Police Chiefs Association.

Also in the program, Senator Patrick Leahy outlines the actions he wants his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to take on gun legislation.

Opening Day to some might signify the first pitch of the baseball season. But for many Vermonters, it means the second Saturday in April has arrived and it's time to throw on the hip waders, grab the rod and reel and head to the nearest river or stream for Trout Season.

Returning from War

Apr 10, 2013
AP/Alden Pellett

It's one of the most universal moral codes: do not kill. But if you've been to war, you've learned to kill. And you have to figure out how to come home again.

We'll talk about the hopes, fears, and challenges faced by veterans returning from war with Karl Marlantes, author of the novel Matterhorn, and Jon Coffin, psychologist for the Vermont National Guard.

John Gregg, local editor for the Valley News speaks with Vermont Edition about the political debates at the New Hampshire Statehouse this week.

Photo/Scott Darling, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

It sounds like something out of a biologist's Mission Impossible: last fall, 15 hibernating bats were taken from a cave in Dorset, and transported in the back of a van to an abandoned military bunker in far northern Maine. They were left to hibernate there for the winter...watched over by motion detector cameras. The mission: to see if the bats could be saved from white nose syndrome. They called it: The Bunker Project.

AP/Toby Talbot

People who are in Vermont illegally may soon be able to get a legal driver's license. Supporters say it provides a level of freedom and safety for people who are isolated on the farms where they work. Tuesday on Vermont Edition, we examining the question with Natalia Fajardo, an organizer with Migrant Justice, who explains the quality of life issues that would improve for migrant workers if they had driver's licenses.

First it was solar power. Now Green Mountain Power officials are teaming up with Rutland area businesses and community groups to harness flower power.

Think about it. What do real estate agents always tell you when you're trying to sell your house in the summer? Make sure you've got fresh flowers growing our front to boost curb appeal. 

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