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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John Dillon / VPR

The newly elected chairman of the Vermont Republican Party got an early start setting the tone for his chairmanship today in an open letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin.

The letter came in response to statements on Monday when Shumlin said he will attempt to get waivers for the state from the federal Medicare and Tricare programs in favor of getting all Vermonters enrolled in his proposed single-payer health care program.

VT Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

An exotic fish native to Southeast Asia turned up at North Montpelier Pond last week, according to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Department spokesman Shawn Good said a fisherman at the pond found a dead 17-inch-long clown knifefish. The man contacted good about the unusual find to see if he could identify the fish.

“This was likely someone’s pet,” said Good in a release. “The clown knifefish is a popular species when they are young and small, but they can often outgrow the confinement of hobby aquariums.”

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Burlington Police fatally shot a man on Randy Lane in Burlington’s New North End Wednesday afternoon.

Burlington police Chief Michael Schirling said officers were responding to a call from Ruthine "Dolly" Brunette, who said her son was acting irrationally and destroying property at their Randy Lane home.

Vermont hunters killed almost 250 moose last month, officials say.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday that bow hunters took 23 moose during archery season Oct. 1-7. During regular moose season from Oct. 19-24, hunters took 197 moose, according to Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader.

Alexander said the moose population is being scientifically managed, and the department is also tracking the number of ticks found on reported moose.

Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jack Lindley announced to party officials Wednesday that because of continuing health issues, he will not seek reelection as the party chair in Saturday’s election.

“I’m writing to let you know that although my recovery is going well, I will not be a candidate for chairman of the Vermont Republican Party,” he wrote. “My time and energy is best spent working on building my strength and fully recovering.”

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

The University of Vermont moved low-cost bus line Megabus off of its campus this week after police repeatedly caught its passengers allegedly moving drugs into the state.

Megabus announced the change on its website Nov. 1.

At the request of UVM, we have been asked to vacate their campus bus-stop location, effective Monday, November 4th.

The company is temporarily operating out of the parking lot at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington.

AP/ Toby Talbot

Bishop Salvatore Matano, who has overseen the Diocese of Burlington since 2005, was named bishop of the diocese of Rochester, N.Y.

Church officials in Rochester announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has named Bishop Salvatore R. Matano the ninth bishop of the Rochester diocese, which covers a 12-county region in central and western New York.

The 67-year-old Matano  is currently the bishop of the Diocese of Burlington, which comprises the entire state of Vermont.

Vermont Gas Systems announced a 5.86 percent rate reduction today after the state’s Public Service Board approved the change.

Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said the reduction, which went into effect Nov. 1, is driven by cheaper supply out of Canada.

“This reduction comes as a result of lower transmission costs up in the TransCanadian pipeline system,” Wark said.

Wark said this month’s reduction is the company’s 16th since 2008 and keeps the price of natural gas around half the going rates for oil and propane.

Paladin27 / Flickr

Beginning Feb. 19, 2014, a low-cost travel company will offer nonstop service from Burlington to Orlando via Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Allegiant Travel Company, the Las-Vegas based company that operates Allegiant Airlines, announced the new route on Tuesday afternoon. The airline will offer the flights twice weekly; one-way fares begin at $67.

"We hope this is the beginning of a long productive relationship between Burlington and Allegiant," Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said at a press conference at Burlington International Airport (BTV).

Courtesy / UVM

According to a death certificate released Nov. 4 by the Vermont Department of Health, Kathleen Cook, the associate director of the Department of Residential Life at the University of Vermont, died Oct. 30 as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to a release last week from UVM Police Chief Lianne Tuomey, officers saw heavy smoke around Cook’s residence at 448 South Prospect St., near UVM’s campus in Burlington.

Senator Bernie Sanders with Governor Peter Shumlin at a Nov. 4, 2013 press event announcing the solar test center.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a new, federally funded solar site in Williston on Monday designed to host experimental solar technology.

Sandia National Laboratories is responsible for management of the Williston location and four others across the nation ­– mostly in the south and southwest. The importance of the Vermont site, officials said, is that it will help the nation’s solar industry improve solar technology for cold weather areas.

Vermont’s top Republican politician weighed in on the upcoming party leadership election, endorsing challenger David Sunderland for the GOP chairmanship over incumbent Jack Lindley.

In an email statement Friday, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott endorsed Sunderland with a call for unity, both within the state Republican Party and among Vermonters as a whole.

President Barack Obama named Gov. Peter Shumlin to a nationwide task force on “Climate Preparedness and Resilience,” the White House announced today.

Shumlin is one of 26 officials from around the country named to the task force and one of eight governors. Other members of the task force include local officials and two tribal representatives.

Just before the state health care exchange’s next major target date, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Thursday that implementation of his flagship health care reform law will be delayed.

According to an announcement released by Shumlin’s office:

The Village of Essex Junction has experienced three large accidential discharges from the municipal water treatment facility in the last three months.

Two of the releases totaled between 500,000 and 1 million gallons, but water quality superintendent Jim Jutras said all of the recent releases have been near the end of the treatment process and were not raw sewage.

The recent problems at the facility all center around the chlorination and dechlorination of wastewater, which must be completed before it is released into the Winooski River.

Kirk Carapezza / VPR File Photo

Site glitches and failures have turned Vermont Health Connect, the state’s healthcare exchange, into a political football. Republican leaders are calling on the Shumlin Administration to invoke an emergency provision of state law that allows Vermonters to keep their current health care coverage if the exchange isn’t working as planned.

As state teams scramble alongside contractors to get the exchange website fully functional, it remains the largest information technology project the state has ever undertaken, according to the official overseeing the build out.

The Vermont National Guard announced a nighttime live fire training session at its Camp Ethan Allen Firing Range in Underhill/Jericho for the evening of Friday, Nov. 1.

While the entire National Guard site is posted off limits to non-military personnel at all times, area residents may hear machine-gun fire between 5:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Friday.

Entergy announced a three-minute test of their 37 emergency sirens within a 10-mile radius of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Residents can expect the three-minute siren blast Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12 noon.

The tests, mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will affect the following towns:

In Vermont:

  • Brattleboro
  • Dummerston
  • Guilford
  • Vernon

In New Hampshire:

  • Chesterfield
  • Hinsdale
  • Richmond
  • Swanzey
  • Winchester

In Massachusetts:

A leader in the movement to ban the F-35 from Vermont has himself been banned by VTDigger.org.

The Montpelier based policy and politics news site banned James Marc Leas from submitting opinion pieces after a Leas identified himself as a “freelancer” to a U.S. Air Force spokeswoman.

A freelancer is commonly understood to be a professional journalist who is not on the staff of any one news organization, but writes news articles for multiple publications and is paid on a per-article basis.

The chancellor of Vermont State Colleges told food service contractor Sodexo on Tuesday that it can’t implement changes that would reduce the number of full-time employees at VSC campuses.

In a letter to Sodexo, VSC Chancellor Timothy Donovan said that, “There is simply too much uncertainty for us to approve the proposed change at this time.”