Steve Zind

Senior Reporter & Special Projects Producer

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.

Ways to Connect

Amtrak’s northbound Vermonter leaves Washington D.C.’s Union Station shortly after 8 in the morning.  For the first several hours the view from the window provides a fascinating study of the sheer volume and variety of litter and industrial detritus that lies behind urban factory yards and warehouses.

“We have promised to have high speed internet access to every last mile by the end of 2013,”  declared Governor Peter Shumlin at a December, 2012 news conference.  It's a statement he's made numerous times.

Today, state officials are still promising that by the end of the year all Vermonters will have access to broadband internet.

As broadband has become more widely available, the state has continued to focus on those places with no high speed Internet in order to reach its goal.

Courtesy Brigham and Women's Hospital

A Thetford woman who received a face transplant two months ago made her first public appearance today.

44 year old Carmen Blandin Tarleton was severely burned six years ago when her estranged husband attacked her with industrial strength lye.

Tarleton spoke at a press conference at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where the surgery was performed.

The difference between Tarleton’s badly disfigured face before the transplant and her new face is striking.

The Small Business Administration recently held meetings in Waterbury and Wilmington, the Vermont towns that experienced the most serious damage to their business districts when Tropical Storm Irene hit.

Homeowners can qualify grants to help pay the costs of Irene repairs.  There is little grant money available to businesses, so many sought disaster assistance loans.

VPR/Steve Zind

The view that economic growth improves our lives is the opinion of a the vast majority economists and the general public. 

But for nearly two hours Wednesday afternoon, those who question the benefits of growth got equal time.

If the idea of four University of Vermont professors debating economic growth sounds sleep inducing – it was dispelled by the informal title of the debate:  “The Rumble in the Econ Jungle”.  

This was an energetic and entertaining event for the benefit of the crowd of students who came in out of the sunshine to listen.

While Governor Peter Shumlin hails the recent drop in Vermont's unemployment rate, the numbers behind the 4.1% figure are raising concerns.  That's because the size of the state's labor force continues to shrink. 

Many Vermont businesses that suffered damage in Tropical Storm Irene had to rely on loans to reopen.

Once source of money was the Small Business Administration.  But many owners were frustrated by the process. 

On  Monday  SBA representatives were in Waterbury and Wilmington to listen to suggestions about how to improve how the agency responds to disasters.

At the Waterbury meeting it took Albert Caron about 12 minutes to get through a bare bones description of his experience applying for SBA loan to help cover the damage to his Waterbury auto service center.

In the state’s effort to provide broadband access to all Vermonters by years’ end the focus is on some of the most difficult to reach areas. 

Many of them involve just a handful of addresses.

One recent state grant designed to bring service to a small part of Orange County also represents a milestone in the history of ECFiber. 

The non-profit municipally owned provider has relied almost exclusively on small local investors to build its network.

Vermont officials say some hard-to-reach parts of the state will soon have cell phone coverage thanks to the successful test of a new system.

For Vermont cell phone users reception difficulties stem from two problems:

First, the terrain which often blocks the signals from cell phone towers. 

The second reason is economic. 

In its 20 year history, the Vermont Folklife Center's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has sponsored hundreds of apprenticeships.

In recent years it's been focused on helping Vermont's immigrant communities preserve the traditions of their home countries.

For one Congolese man, that's meant teaching young people the dance and music of their native culture. Lusenge Siriwayo leads Ngoma ya kwetu, an African dance troupe.


As part of our series marking the 20th anniversary of the Vermont Folklife Center's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, we hear from  master stone cutter George Kurjanowicz who has helped keep the art alive in the granite sheds of Barre.

The Vermont Folklife Center's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program started 20 years ago and since then its underwritten apprenticeships in a wide range of arts.  But its initial focus was on preserving Vermont's Native American culture.

Among the first apprentices was a woman who set out to learn the traditional basket making of her ancestors.  She is now a master herself, and teaches the skills she learned 20 years ago.

Steve Zind / VPR

This week on Vermont Edition, we're hearing from people who have worked as masters and apprentices in the Vermont Folklife Center's "Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program," which is celebrating its twentieth year. 

The program has been instrumental in helping to train some of the stonecutters who still ply their trade in the granite sheds in Barre.

It's been particularly successful in opening what was once an all-male trade to a new generation of women.

Toby Talbot / AP

The state has issued its latest report on the progress of the recovery effort following Tropical Storm Irene.

The report says while some work remains, it's time to look ahead to guard against future disasters.

Steve Zind / VPR

For the past 20 years, The Vermont Folklife Center's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has helped keep alive a variety of traditional arts and skills.

Some have a long history in our area.  Others were brought here in recent years by new immigrant communities.

The program fosters relationships between people who are masters in their art and those who want to learn.

Steve Zind / VPR

Dollar General and Family Dollar both have plans to expand the number of stores in Vermont. Opponents say the stores are a bigger threat to small towns than big box stores.

Residents in South Hero are organizing to fight a proposed dollar store in their community.  They join a number of towns where there is opposition to proposals to build the small box stores.

Two national chains, Dollar General and Family Dollar, have established a number of new stores in Vermont in recent years.

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to expand cellular phone service and provide wireless internet in areas hit by flooding in 2011. 

The disaster relief grant from the U.S. Department of Economic Development will help pay for expansion of cell service along 120 miles of roadway in five Vermont counties including Addison, Essex, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties.

By Steve ZindThere was a lot of response to Tuesday’s Vermont Edition program on changing the gas tax.  The idea is in play in the legislature because of a shortfall in the transportation fund which pays for highway and bridge repairs.This Council On Foreign Relations “Renewing America” blog post gives a brief, broad overview of the nation’s deteriorating road conditions and the inability of gas taxes to pay for needed repairs.It appears that Vermont may abandon the tradition of

Bob Northrop devoted his life to support a variety of Vermont institutions.He was best known for his efforts to protect the Long Trail. Northrop hiked the trail end to end many times over the years, most notably in 2001 at the age of 80.

Northrop died this weekend at his home in Underhill.He was 92.

Northrop was born in Massachusetts. He went to Middlebury College in the early 1940s and after enlisting in the Army during the Second World War, attended college in New York and at the University of Vermont.

Dozens of Vermont musicians and artists have used crowdfunding to raise money for their projects by appealing for donations through the New York City based Website Kickstarter.

The site enables people to post information about a project, such as recording a CD or publishing a book. And then they can raise money to pay for the production through small donations. Funding_040113_Steve Zind.mp3