Vermont Edition

The minimum wage bill passed by the legislature would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. The current minimum wage is $10.50 an hour.
Photo by Angela Evancie, illustration by Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

The Vermont legislature has passed a bill that would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. But Gov. Scott has opposed the legislation and it's a target for a veto. We're talking about what's in the bill and the debate over how it would impact the state's businesses and low-income workers.

Matt Lloyd is scheduled to donate a kidney to his wife, Brandi, who has a genetic condition that leads to kidney failure.
Courtesy Brandi and Matt Lloyd

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, is a day that Brandi and Matt Lloyd have been waiting for a long time.

That's the day the couple, from Mooers, New York, are scheduled to undergo surgery. Matt will go first and have one of his kidneys removed. Then Brandi's surgery will follow.

Her diseased kidneys will be removed and Matt's donor kidney will be placed in her body. If all goes well, they should each have one functioning kidney by the end of the day and be on their way to recovery.

An impasse on Gov. Scott's education plan could lead to the calling of a special legislative session.
Meg Malone / VPR FILE

Strong disagreements between Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders in Montpelier mean that the future of the budget, and many other bills at the Statehouse, is still very much up in the air. So where is all of this headed?

Newly exiled Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Kazakhstan in 1953 (left); Solzhenitsyn  with his sons in Cavendish in August 1976; Solzhenitsyn at his self-made writing table in Cavendish during the 1980s.
Cavendish Historical Society, courtesy

His novels earned him the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature and exile from the Soviet Union, but in Vermont Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is also know for the nearly 20 years he lived and worked in the town of Cavendish. We're looking at the Russian writer's works, his time in the state and what his novels say to readers in 2018.

"The Long Shadow" by Beth Kanell is set in the Northeast Kingdom in the run-up to the Civil War.
images courtesy of Beth Kanell

A new historical novel geared to a teenage audience tells the story of a young woman in the Northeast Kingdom in the run-up to the Civil War. Author Beth Kanell says she wrote the novel in part to challenge Vermonters on how they think about the state's history in relation to slavery. 

Gov. Phil Scott joins "Vermont Edition" to share his thoughts on key issues still being debated in the legislature.
Henry Epp / VPR FILE

It's that frantic time in Montpelier when lawmakers and the administration face the crunch to pass a budget as well as other lingering bills. We talk to Gov. Phil Scott about the continuing budget standoff and what he would like to see on his desk before the end of the biennium.

Facing a $58 million funding gap, Vermont lawmakers and the governor have competing proposals to pay for Vermont's schools in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Miatagirl / iStock

How will Vermont fund its schools? Gov. Scott's new plan would use nearly $60 million dollars in one-time funds to keep property taxes down, but Democrats in the legislature balked at a plan they say has a number of problems. 

As the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses rises, we're talking about the growing risk and what may happen next.
Erik Karits / iStock.com

The CDC is warning of a spike in tick-borne diseases nationwide. Here in Vermont, Lyme disease is a huge and growing problem, and increasingly, other tick-borne illnesses like anaplasmosis and Powassan virus are a threat as well.

A family photo of Suzanne Bombardier, the 14-year-old victim of a 1980 cold case murder.
Antioch Police Department

People around the country have been fascinated by the story of the Golden State Killer, the research by the late true-crime writer Michelle McNamara, and the arrest of a suspect in the decades-long mystery back in April. But one Vermont College of Fine Arts student's writing about a different California cold case generated interest of its own that caught investigator's attention and eventually an arrest.

LGBTQ Vermonters can face unique challenges and needs in rural areas.
ukayacan / iStock

Vermont has been seen as a leader in equal rights for LGBTQ people, but queer Vermonters living in rural areas can face unique challenges, from accessing healthcare to aging well as a queer senior to finding support networks. We're talking about the needs and experiences of LGBTQ Vermonters in rural communities. 

A Great Blue Heron spotted on Lake Champlain with a small trout for breakfast.
Rob Swanson

Lately, you may have had the experience of waking in the wee hours of the morning to a cacophonous symphony of bird chirps and calls: a telltale sign that spring migration is in full swing and our feathered friends are returning to Vermont.

Now that they're here, it's time for Vermont Edition's spring bird show.

Vermont author Kimberly Harrington writes about the intersection of parenthood, work and social media in her new memoir.
Isaac Wasuck

Towards the beginning of her new book of essays, Vermont author Kimberly Harrington includes a short satirical piece titled "Just What I Wanted, a Whole Twenty-Four Hours of Recognition Once a Year." It's a good read for this time of year, as we approach the beloved/dreaded holiday known as Mother's Day. (It's Sunday, May 13, in case you were wondering.)

Yvan Plouffe shows off some of his pottery creations. He took up the craft 10 years ago at the age of 70.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Charlotte's Yvan Plouffe is a retired dairy farmer who sugars, tends to his plum and peach trees, and raises 10,000 roses every year to hand out all around town. He also does woodwork, metalwork and pottery, the latter of which he took up just ten years ago at age 70. And he lives in a house he built himself, along with most of the furniture inside of it.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

As Vermont's sole statesman in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Peter Welch deals with consequential issues that affect his home state and the country.

Contra and other forms of country dance have a lasting appeal. We're talking about the history behind the tradition.
Sterling College / Flickr

It's a centuries-old tradition with a wild history and deep New England roots. We're talking about American country dancing, including contra dance. We'll hear from the author of a book that traces the story of this tradition, and we'll talk about how and why it still appeals to so many people today.

VPR President & CEO Robin Turnau.
Daria Bishop

Robin Turnau, who has served as president and CEO of Vermont Public Radio since 2009, is stepping down from her position on May 4th. She first started working at the station in 1989 as a membership and volunteer coordinator.

Succeeding Turnau as CEO and president is Scott Finn, formerly of West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Before her departure, Turnau spoke to Vermont Edition about her time at VPR and where she thinks that the station is headed.

Ryan Mercer / Associated Press

In February, Jack Sawyer was accused of a thwarted shooting plot involving Fair Haven Union High School. Already the case against the 18-year-old Poultney man has taken many twists and turns. We'll look at what has transpired so far in the case and how it's grabbed the attention of the entire state.

Eight students sit in a library holding up copies of Firoozeh's Dumas' novel "It Ain't So Awful, Falafel."
Meg Malone / VPR

At the Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In fact, about a third of the students speak a language other than English at home. 

Last fall, a group of Orchard fifth-graders gathered to discuss It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, a novel about an Iranian-born girl living in California in the late 1970s and early 1980s – much like author Firoozeh Dumas.

Then Governor-elect Philip Hoff sits on a couch with his wife Joan at the White House talking with President John F. Kennedy.
John Rous / Associated Press

"One hundred years of bondage - broken!" That's what Phil Hoff  shouted to an exuberant crowd of supporters in Winooski when he was elected Governor in 1962, ending more than a century of Republicans holding that office. Hoff died last week at 93. We're talking about his career and the enormous changes that it marked in the state's political landscape.

PIlls on a tabletop.
Tomas Nevesely / i-stock

Several dozen Vermont towns are taking part Saturday in a national project to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs. 

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