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

VPR/Nina Keck

Nearly 100 people met in Brandon Wednesday evening to hear how the state plans to fight Equine Encephalitis or EEE - the mosquito borne illness that caused two deaths in Rutland County last year.

State Health Commissioner Harry Chen said those tragic deaths ushered in a new reality in Vermont that the state is taking very seriously.

“I think it was vitally important for us to come back here,” said Chen, “and show you what we’ve done throughout the winter in terms of planning, in terms of building resources and capabilities to better address that new reality.”

This year, Brandon is celebrating the 200th birthday of their native son Stephen Douglas.  As part of the town’s Independence Day celebrations, they’ve invited two former governors to star in a play about the famous debates between Douglas and his political rival Abraham Lincoln.

The play takes audiences back to 1858, when the nation was sliding toward civil war and the U.S. Senate race in Illinois was heating up.  Abraham Lincoln, a relative newcomer at the time, was trying to unseat the powerful incumbent Stephen Douglas.  Their debates have become the stuff of legend.

The wet weather of May and June hasn’t exactly been conducive to outdoor activities – including camping. 

The weather has been taking its toll on business at Vermont State Parks.

Montpelier set a new record for wettest June and most of the state feels like it could be wrung out.

Nina Keck

See a town-by-town breakdown of FEMA Irene assistance at VPR's Mapping the Money project.

Long term Irene recovery projects are still underway across Vermont.   In Rutland County, 90 volunteers have put in nearly 300 hours of work in the last four months - helping people like Kim Garner, who’s mobile home was ruined by the storm nearly two years ago.  

The Rutland woman says she’s had to live out of a suitcase ever since. 

In Rutland this weekend, there will be a symphonic buffet for Broadway music lovers.

Rip Jackson, Grace Congregational Church’s music director wanted to go big for Saturday’s Broadway Cabaret.

“There’s 3 oboes, four flutes, four clarinets, saxophone four trombones, four horns, tuba,  three trumpets, three bassoons, many different percussion," Jackson listed.

Nearly 50 musicians from all over the state and an even larger chorus will perform a medley of Broadway classics. 

Rutland County’s four colleges believe Green Mountain Power’s new energy innovation center can be a powerful educational tool for their students The colleges and utility announced a unique new collaboration that GMP officials hope will also help them find future employees.

Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell says their new partnership has many goals.

Solar City

Jun 11, 2013
Toby Talbot / AP

Tues 6/11 at Noon and 7pm When Green Mountain Power merged with Central Vermont Public Service last year, GMP promised to turn Rutland into a ‘solar city.’ The goal is to install at least 6,250 kW of installed solar capacity by 2017.

VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen

While the town select board is the most identifiable form of local government in Vermont, 56 towns in the state also have a town manager. The role of these chief administrators is often overlooked and few of us understand what these individuals actually do on a daily basis.

Steve Jeffery, the executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, told Vermont Edition that town managers play a key role both on a day-to-day, and in times of crisis. 

AP/Courtesy of Harvard Medical School

Mon 6/10/13 Noon & 7 pm  Brain injuries can be caused by falls, car accidents, attacks or from a medical situation like a tumor. For survivors, recovery can be a long lonely struggle.

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.