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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FTwitty / iStock

Mary Hoerig spends a lot of time talking about uncomfortable subjects.

“Who’s dying here?” she asks, pointing to a graph in front of a room full of law enforcement trainers from across the state. One says quietly  "black" - and Hoerig responds quickly, her point made: “Unarmed black men, potentially," she says.

Hoerig is an inspector with the Milwaukee Police Department, and she stood before about 20 Vermont law enforcement instructors Friday in a workshop teaching them how to train officers to avoid discriminatory policing.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Gov. Peter Shumlin  has announced the departure of a top administration aide. 

Chief of Staff Liz Miller will leave state government at the end of the 2015 legislative session. 

Thirty-five-year-old Darren Springer, currently the deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service, will take her place.

Springer says that he joined the Shumlin administration to work on renewable energy policy.

Vermont’s Public Service Board is considering a $35,000 fine for Vermont Gas Systems because of the company’s handling of major cost overruns that have raised the estimated cost of the Addison County pipeline by about 80 percent over the past year.

In question is whether Vermont Gas Systems behaved responsibly in developing a new cost estimate last summer. The company knew about the increase as early as last March, but didn’t tell regulators about it until July.

The Vermont Department of Health is calling attention to disparities in community health across the state.

In a news release Wednesday, the department pointed to the latest County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A wide-ranging bill designed to ensure Vermonters’ privacy in the digital age isn’t going anywhere soon, as lawmakers have largely abandoned the effort because of pressure on other issues.

The bill’s provisions related to issues such as drone surveillance and collection of consumers’ online data were quickly relegated to a summer study committee. But lawmakers will have a chance to research the topic with the hopes of legislating on the issue next year.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials from Vermont and Quebec signed a new agreement Monday that outlines how the two governments will continue to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain.

A Department of Labor employee has been fired for stealing personal data from the department's unemployment insurance system. According to a Department of Labor news release, the employee improperly had possession of 39 people's names and social security numbers.

In addition, the employee, who wasn't named in the release, had 41 social security numbers that weren't associated with names.

Courtesy / Castleton Polling Institute

The majority of Vermonters want the legislature to legalize marijuana, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, said that 54 percent of Vermonters are in favor of legalization. The poll showed that 70 percent of Vermonters aged 18 to 44 are in favor of legalization, while just 28 percent in that age group are opposed. Support for legalization is lower among older residents, with 61 percent of Vermonters older than 64 opposed.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Vice President Joe Biden is five times more likely to win the Democratic nomination in 2016 than Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to a new poll. And Joe Biden is not likely to win the nomination.

A poll released by CNN Wednesday shows that just 3 percent of Democrats would be "most likely to support" Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary. That puts the Vermonter behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (10 percent), Biden (15 percent) and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (62 percent).

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Vermont Gas Systems is planning to go ahead with construction on its Addison County pipeline this summer even though the state permit for the project is no longer a sure thing.

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