The Frequency

The Frequency is VPR's news blog, and your main source for our digital news throughout the day. This is where we'll keep you up to date on developing stories, big and small, from around Vermont.

Saturday is free ice fishing day in Vermont. Franklin County Stormwater has tips for dealing with ice and snow. Rutland is asking municipalities around the state to sign a resolution regarding siting renewable energy projects.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

State health officials say seven children and one adult at Charlotte Central School have tested positive for tuberculosis.

The news comes after a staff member was discovered to have an active case of the disease earlier in the month.

The New Hampshire Executive Council has approved a $13 million contract for FairPoint Communications to provide Internet and telecommunications services for state government.

The approval came after an earlier decision on the contract was delayed due to service problems experienced by the company’s Granite State telephone customers.  

As part of the contract agreement, FairPoint will hold public meetings around the state to discuss the service issues.

Jim Cole / AP/file

Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon announced Thursday several unprecedented steps that he hopes will create a safer environment on campus. His speech follows concerns about about the rising incidence of sexual assaults and high risk drinking.

Here’s something new: For the first time rumors of big layoffs at IBM are not a big worry for state officials and business and community leaders in Vermont.

For years rumors have often preceded layoffs at IBM and the company’s Essex facility has seen its share of job cuts.  

Now new reports may signal another round of IBM layoffs, but there’s none of the usual local anxiety.

Carolyn Box / AP

The Vermont House passed a bill Tuesday to ban microbeads in beauty products that have been found to cause harm to fish and other wildlife.

The House gave preliminary approval to H.4 with a unanimous voice vote. It was passed unanimously by the House Fish and Wildlife Committee on Friday.

The legislation, first brought to the attention of the House Fish and Wildlife Committee by Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, has broad support across the political spectrum.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Vermonters do a pretty good job of filling their local food shelves with Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas cranberry sauce. But donations can take a sharp drop with the start of the New Year. The Lamoille Neighborhood Food Project aims to address such dips by making donating food as easy as putting an extra can in your cart.

Over the course of last year the Vermont unemployment rate bumped up and down quite a bit from month-to-month, and the December figure of 4.2 percent is actually higher than it's been most of the year.

Chart: Building Bright Futures / Data: Vermont Agency of Human Services, Agency of Education, and Federal Ofce of Head Start

Vermont spent about 15 percent of its state budget on early childhood education in 2013. A little less than half of that expense supported K-3 education, and the rest targeted the needs of younger children. But many working families still cannot afford child care, according to a new report from an early childhood advocacy group.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Did you know most salts won't melt ice when the temperature is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit? Or that cracked corn is a good traction alternative to sand or kitty litter?