Taylor Dobbs

Digital Reporter

Taylor is VPR's digital reporter. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.

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Peter Italia, the Rutland man in quarantine after returning from West Africa, has a strange backstory. And the public discourse around this story  is full of questions and, in some cases, intense hostility. The criticism has become so intense that Italia said he doesn’t feel free to leave his “voluntary” quarantine at an undisclosed location.

“That’s just going to give people ammunition to assault me even more, so I’m not going to do that – even though I could, and probably should,” Italia said in an interview Friday.

Burlington College is trying to sell off some land to get out of a bad financial situation, and they want to give conservation groups a chance to buy the land. Those groups say it's unlikely they'll be able to compete with the millions a local developer has agreed to pay for the property.

A Rutland man was put in voluntary quarantine after visiting West Africa and returning to the state.

And then everyone went into Ebola overdrive.

Peter James Italia has been posting on Facebook throughout October about the trip he took to Guinea, where he claimed he hoped to “to join in the fight against the spread of the ‪#‎Ebola virus and to help those who have been stricken.”

The Shumlin administration wants to talk about weed.

Administration officials announced a public hearing this week as part of their continuing look at marijuana legalization. A hearing on Nov. 12 will “provide Vermonters with the ability to contribute comments for a legislatively-mandated study on the issues involved with possible legalization of marijuana production, distribution and possession in the State of Vermont.”

Late Monday afternoon, about 50 protesters with the groups 350VT,  Rising Tide Vermont, Just Power and the Vermont Workers Center staged  a sit-in at Gov. Peter Shumlin’s office in Montpelier.

Organizers said they plan to stay until the governor meets their demands to renounce his support for the Vermont Gas Systems natural gas pipeline expansion – and back a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure.

At similar demonstrations in the past, protesters refusing to leave an area have been arrested.

Authorities in the Upper Valley confirmed today that a recent surge in drug overdoses is linked to heroin mixed with Fentanyl.

According to Hartford Police Deputy Chief Braedon Vail, there have been nine known overdoses in the Upper Valley this month, two of which were fatal.

Test results announced today showed that “a sample of heroin that was sent to the lab regarding the many overdoses in our area” were found to be mixed with Fentanyl.

The interim administrative team that was in place to right the troubled Burlington Public School system earlier this year resigned suddenly Friday morning, citing conflicts with the city’s school board.

A letter signed by the three-member administrative team says that some members of the school board “have little understanding, concern or respect for the work the interim administrative team has faced in a very short time under very difficult circumstances.”

Vermont lawmakers have been working for years to move the state’s schools toward more efficient operations. They’ve passed laws and enacted tax incentives in an effort to make school district mergers easier and more appealing for local communities.

But when the question makes it down to the community level, the issues at play are many and complicated.

Vermont is putting a hold on the use of a potentially faulty guardrail component that some other states have deemed a safety hazard.

As VPR reported Monday:

The concern is that a change in the design of the terminus of the guard rail has caused these products to malfunction. Instead of cushioning the blow of a car, these products break apart and become "bayonets" that penetrate the body of the car.