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. 

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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.

A male brook trout in his spawning colors. Trout Unlimited wants the state to reduce the catch limit to 12 a day to six.

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. 

AP/Toby Talbot

We hear a lot about bullying in schools these days- both physically and online. But what exactly constitutes bullying?

Vermont filmmaker Eugene Jarecki says he thought about making a movie about the war on drugs for more than 20 years. The House I Live In is the result of that effort - a documentary that is largely an indictment of the legal, political and social framework of the war on drugs.

The film won the grand Jury award at the Sundance Film Festival for best documentary, and it premieres on PBS stations across the country this week. Eugene Jarecki spoke with  Vermont Edition about the film. 

Fresh snow lures a lot of people to do some outdoor exploring, but sometimes that exploring can go too far. When snowmobilers or skiers wander off or get in over their heads, many call 911, putting a strain on already underfunded search-and-rescue budgets.

In Vermont, state police have had to help find 50 lost skiers in the past four weeks.

A couple hundred years ago. hard apple cider used to be the drink of choice for thirsty Americans. It was easy to make and easy to find. But as people moved into cities, and beer became more popular, cider fell out of fashion.

Now it's come roaring back. U.S. hard cider sales are up 65 percent over last year, and just about all the big beer companies sell it, as well as many artisan brewers. Finding cider at your local bar is often no longer a problem.

If the thought of eating horse meat makes you queasy, what about strong, sturdy oxen? A small Vermont college that emphasizes sustainable living will soon slaughter two beloved campus residents: Bill and Lou, a pair of oxen. Green Mountain College plans to serve the meat from the oxen in its dining hall, but the plan has drawn international outcry and a massive Facebook petition to save the oxen.