Peter Hirschfeld

Reporter

Peter Hirschfeld covers state government and the Vermont Legislature. He is based in VPR’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse.

Hirschfeld is a leading Vermont journalist who has covered the Statehouse since 2009, most recently as bureau chief for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He began his career in 2003, working as a local sports reporter and copy editor at the Times Argus.

Ways to Connect

The Scott administration says its web-only process for gathering public input will make it easier for residents to weigh in on the state budget, but critics say it is a poor stand-in for public hearings.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute.

An array of cheeses is displayed at a cheese festival. Many Vermont cheeses have won national and international awards. Dr. Paul Kindstedt tells Vermont Edition why.
Catherine Hays / VPR File

Vermont cheesemakers frequently earn prestigious titles in national and international cheese competitions. At the World Cheese Awards last week, Jasper Hill’s “Little Hosmer” garnered the title of Best New Cheese. “Little Hosmer” and Vermont Creamery’s “Cremont” were both awarded Super Gold medals, making it among the top 66 cheeses in the world. 

But while many in enjoy Vermont cheeses, can you describe why?

Courtesy: NOFA-VT

Are Organic Standards working?

We talk with Maddie Kempner, membership and advocacy coordinator with NOFA-VT, to answer this question. We’ll also hear from Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Jesse McDougall of Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury. Hill helped author a bill on  regenerative agriculture currently before the Vermont Senate.

On a recent Sunday, as warm sun burned the morning dew off the cover crops at Wild Roots Farm in Bristol, Jon Turner explained the guiding philosophy behind his unique agriculture operation.

For Lucas Papineau, who joined the Vermont National Guard when he was 18 years old, farming has helped repair his relationship with his family.

Brett, who served in the Army, has brought in a small flock of sheep to start reclaiming the soil.

Sabrina and Lucas Papineau with their children, Jeremiah and Aubrey, at the Papineau Family Farm in Highgate Springs. The Papineaus say farming helped them reintegrate as a family after Lucas' deployment to Afghanistan in 2010..
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many are still dealing with the invisible wounds of the nation’s longest-running war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, center, says Vermont lawmakers will consider numerous bills next year that would give Vermonters more recourse when their personal data is hacked.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont lawmakers say they’ll try to put new safeguards on residents’ personal data in the next session, after the massive security breach at Equifax earlier this year.

Workers from Stowe Electric tend to damage from a fallen tree on Moscow Road Tuesday. Utility officials say the scope of the damage from Sunday's storm has complicated recovery efforts.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Tens of thousands of Vermonters moved into their second day without electricity Tuesday, and utilities say it could be days until they restore power to everyone.

A tree downed on a powerline in Monkton, Vermont. Thousands of homes and buisnesses have been without power since wind storms hit the region on Sunday.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

More than 150,000 Vermonters were without electricity Monday after severe winds felled power lines across the state, and utility officials say it could be days before some homes and businesses have the power back on.

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The idea of a tax on gasoline and heating oil is politically fraught, to say the least, but one Vermont business group says it’s time for elected officials to embrace the carbon tax.

John Cotter, Margaret Cheney and Tom Knauer, from left, of the Public Utility Commission. On Thursday, a legislative panel approved the commission's proposal for stricter sound limits for wind turbines.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In approving stricter sound limits for ridgeline wind turbines Thursday afternoon, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules has managed to upset both sides on the wind energy debate.

Sen. Christopher Bray is backing a per parcel fee on all property in Vermont to help fund water quality projects
courtesy / the Vermont Department of Health

A government official’s decision to bring armed law-enforcement officers to maintain order at a public meeting on water quality has raised questions about the use of force.

The Scott administration wants to reallocation existing revenues to pay for clean water initiatives, but lawmakers are worried the plan could shortchange other state programs.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

Vermont’s secretary of natural resources is out with a new plan to fund costly water quality improvements, but legislators have some concerns about where she wants the money to come from.

Some of the principal figures behind civil unions and same-sex marriage in Vermont celebrate the unveiling of a historic marker honoring passage of the laws.
Stefan Hard / The Times Argus

A historic marker rising prominently from the Statehouse lawn now commemorates Vermont’s outsized role in the history of gay rights.

Colin Benjamin, director of the Office of Professional Regulation, says an overhaul of rules governing alcohol and drug counselors will increase the supply of addiction-treatment specialists in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As substance abuse treatment agencies struggle to find qualified workers, state officials are trying to make it easier to become an alcohol and drug counselor in Vermont.

John Cotter, Margaret Cheney and Tom Knauer, from left, of the Public Utility Commission. On Thursday, a legislative panel approved the commission's proposal for stricter sound limits for wind turbines.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The future of ridgeline wind energy in Vermont hinges in part on proposed sound standards for large turbines, but a special legislative committee is struggling to decide whether or not to accept the new rules.

Attorney General TJ Donovan says a lawsuit filed against the state of Vermont, for its alleged role in EB-5 frauds in the Northeast Kingdom, is without merit.
Oliver Parini / VPR file

Attorney General TJ Donovan is asking a judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit that seeks to hold the state of Vermont liable for its failure to stop alleged EB-5 frauds in the Northeast Kingdom.

An empty marijuana jar at the Canna Care Docs clinic in Burlington. The company opened its first location in Vermont last month, and offers patients a new avenue to medical marijuana.
Emily Corwin / VPR

Two weeks ago, a new health clinic opened its doors in Burlington to do in Vermont what it has already done in several other states: bring thousands of new patients into the state’s medical cannabis program.

A federal program that provides low-cost health insurance for Vermont children expired at the end of last month, but officials here say the state isn’t feeling a financial pinch just yet.

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