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.

Ways to Connect

Vermont Suicide Prevention Center Director Joelle Tarallo says feelings of connection are very important in preventing suicide.
PeopleImages / iStock

According to the Vermont Department of Mental Health, the suicide rate in Vermont has increased over the past 10 years. In 2014, according to the department’s data, there were more than 17 suicides per 100,000 Vermonters. The New York Times reported that the national average that year was 13 suicides per 100,000 people.

This week nearly half a million pieces of bait about the size of a quarter will be dropped from low-flying airplanes in more than 100 communities in the northern half of Vermont.

Taylor Dobbs, Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

From Jan. 1, 2011 to the end of December, 2016, 420 people died in Vermont from gunshot wounds. The majority of those people died by suicide. For the Gunshots project, VPR created a database of all 420 of those deaths in an effort to better understand the issue of gun deaths in Vermont.

The Champlain Housing Trust announced Monday they have purchased what used to be the St. Joseph School in Burlington's Old North End.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's been friends with Arizona Sen. John McCain since before McCain joined the Senate in the late 1980s. Leahy fought tears Friday describing McCain's return to the Senate this week after a brain cancer diagnosis.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

There's no question the biggest political accomplishment of Sen. Patrick Leahy's week in Washington was voting along with his senate colleagues to successfully defeat the Republican plan to change the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But another event in Washington this week – Arizona Sen. John McCain’s return to Washington after a brain cancer diagnosis – also had a profound effect on Leahy.

With funding from the University of Vermont Medical Center, the Champlain Housing Trust purchased and renovated a motel for use as housing for people who are chronically homeless.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

A repurposed motel in Burlington will soon be home to a dozen or more people struggling with chronic homelessness, the Champlain Housing Trust announced Tuesday.

Dr. James Hudziak, a professor at UVM's Larner College of Medicine, developed an app to help coach college students on healthy behaviors. Hudziak has now received a $1.8 million grant to study the app's effectiveness.
PeopleImages / iStock

A University of Vermont program designed to help college students form healthy behaviors could go national with the help of nearly $2 million in grant money. 

Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicles was breaking Vermont law when it searched its records using facial recognition software, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan says.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

A facial recognition system in place at Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicle has been suspended indefinitely after a review by the state's Attorney General found that the system violates state law.

At the Vermont Statehouse on July 17, Republican Gov. Phil Scott joined Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (left) and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (right) to denounce proposed cuts to Medicaid funding.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Vermont's top elected officials from across the political spectrum came together in Montpelier Monday morning to show their opposition to U.S. Senate Republicans' health care proposal.

Former lawmaker Norm McAllister takes the stand to testify on the third day of his trial at Vermont Superior Court in St. Albans on Friday, July 14, 2017.
Greg Lamereaux / Pool Photo

Late Friday night, the jury in the case against former state senator Norm McAllister found him guilty of one count of prohibited acts and acquitted on charges of sexual assault and a second count of prohibited acts. 

Vermont State Police are investigating the death of 59-year-old Cindy Cook of Barre after her body was found next to a dirt road in Middlesex Wednesday evening. According to preliminary autopsy results, Cook’s death was a homicide. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

A federal investigation of Jane Sanders is quickly becoming a political problem for her husband, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Officials are looking into whether Jane Sanders lied on a loan application when she was president of Burlington College, a small liberal arts school along the shore of Lake Champlain in Vermont.

Questions about Jane Sanders' time at the college are putting Bernie Sanders on the defensive at a time when national speaking tours and regular appearances on cable talk shows have some of his supporters predicting a 2020 presidential run.

At a news conference with Rep. Peter Welch (left), Winooski Superintendent of Schools Sean McMannon said proposed cuts to federal education funding would hurt Winooski's summer education programs designed to help low-income families.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

At a federally funded summer program for Winooski children, Rep. Peter Welch said President Trump's proposed cuts to federal education programs highlight the fact that some elected officials in Washington have abandoned their fundamental duty to constituents.

The Burlington City Council voted 10-2 Monday night to permanently keep changes made to North Avenue last summer that, according to preliminary data, have reduced crashes and injuries along the avenue.

At a news conference announcing Aspenti Health's new name, Gov. Phil Scott praised company officials for saving the company's 140 jobs, and for their continued work in drug prevention and treatment.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The company formerly known as Burlington Labs has a new name: Aspenti Health.

State officials are investigating the death of a toddler in the care of a foster family under the supervision of the Department for Children and Families.

Jody Herring, seen here in court in August 2015, took a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.
Toby Talbot / AP/Times Argus/File

Jody Herring, the prime suspect for the murders of four people in central Vermont in August 2015, plead guilty Thursday as part of a plea deal.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

In Newport on Thursday, employees and company officials at Revision Military joined Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch and Gov. Phil Scott to celebrate a new federal contract.

Officials say Vermont inmates at the Camp Hill prison in Pennsylvania are getting one phone call every four days until they are fully processed by Pennsylvania officials.
Marc Levy / Associated Press

Vermont’s Department of Corrections is in close communication with officials in Pennsylvania about concerns and complaints from Vermont inmates staying in Pennsylvania’s Camp Hill prison, according to Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Touchette.

Officials at Tesla are “working quickly” to respond after Vermont’s Public Service Board found that Tesla subsidiary SolarCity was installing solar generation projects in the state without proper approval, a company spokesman said Friday.

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