VPR News

The latest newscasts and reporting from VPR News.

On Town Meeting Day this year, 35 cities and towns voted down proposed school budgets - the highest number in a decade. But students in those towns still have to go to school in the fall, so school boards, administrators and voters have to find a workable solution.

For some of those budgets, solutions have already been passed. Others have gone back to the drawing board a second time. Many cities and towns still have to have a re-vote. Here's what's happening with each of the 35 school budgets that failed on Town Meeting Day 2014.

Alden Pellett / AP

Along with the annual onslaught of April showers comes the emergence of Vermont's native amphibians and reptiles. Many come out in search of the vernal pools where they breed.

In Cornwall, the conservation commission has noticed the town has no record of vernal pools, and the commission is asking residents to help change that by reporting any of these seasonal ecosystems on their property. In an article on the town website, the conservation commission states:

The U.S. Department of Education has announced its 2014 slate of Green Ribbon Schools and three honorees are Vermont public schools. Champlain Valley Union High School, Camels Hump Middle School and Lake Region Union High School were nominated for the recognition by the Vermont Agency of Education in February.

City of Vergennes

The citizens of Vergennes have set the top three priorities for their city, in an effort to take a big picture approach to planning for the future. More than 100 people turned out to a community meeting last week. It was the second event in a three-month "Community Visit" facilitated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD).

William Wood

Vermont’s fifth season, mud season, is here in all of its rutted and sloppy glory.

But if you’re among those struggling to keep your car on the road and your muffler in one piece, we’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: For an increasing number of back road residents, mud season isn’t so bad anymore.

Legislative leaders are ramping up the pressure on Gov. Peter Shumlin to provide answers on how he plans to finance his single-payer health plan.

The pressure includes detailed questions about how the plan could affect the economy, and a proposed deadline for the financing plan to be delivered.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A tax bill in the statehouse has fraternities and sororities in Burlington on the defensive.

The bill would revoke a long-standing tax exemption for the owners of fraternity and sorority housing and require them all to pay taxes based on the appraised value of the property.

For the 10 fraternity and sorority houses in Burlington, those payments add up to $278,120 a year, and the students in those groups say the bill threatens their presence in the university community.

About 40 years ago a group of women in Brattleboro got together to create a safe haven for other women in their community who were suffering from abuse.

The Women’s Crisis Center changed its name a few years ago to the Women’s Freedom Center. VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Shari May, community outreach advocate for the Women’s Freedom Center.

The late 1960s and early 1970s marked a time of great change around civil rights issues, including women’s rights.

A bill moving through the Legislature sets ambitious new broadband goals for Vermont. 

If the goals are met, it would mean high speed fiber optic service for every Vermont location  within the next 10 years. But it's not clear how that goal will be reached, or how the improvements will be paid for.

Until now the state has set incremental targets for broadband coverage – beginning with the goal of simply providing some kind of service to every Vermont address.

Toby Talbot AP

Anya RaderWallack, the principal architect of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s single-payer health care reform initiative, announced Monday that she has agreed to advise Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on health reform issues across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Vermont leads the nation when it comes to per-capita enrollment in the new health insurance exchange. But for many customers, the transition to Vermont Health Connect has been anything but smooth. And thousands of Vermonters are now stuck in a sort of insurance limbo as the state works to iron out wrinkles in the system.

Nearly a sixth of the state’s population will soon be getting its health coverage through plans sold on the new online exchange. And officials in the Shumlin Administration say they’ve exceeded their enrollment targets.


Runners are gathering again for the Boston Marathon Monday, and it's no exaggeration to say that this year's running of the nation's oldest and most prestigious marathon will be like no other before it, due to the tragedy that will be on the minds of runners and spectators alike, and which occurred just one year ago.

Susan Keese / VPR

Workers facing unemployment in May when Bennington’s Plasan Carbon Composites closes got a crash course Friday in the art of job hunting. More than 50 people showed up at the Bennington Career Center for a day of workshops sponsored by the Vermont Department of Labor.

About 160 workers, two thirds of them Vermonters, will lose their jobs when Plasan Carbon Composites leaves the state. The company makes carbon composite components for high-priced sports cars. It announced in February it was moving to Michigan to be closer to the automotive industry.

Annie Russell

Pollution from storm water runoff is a challenge that has long-faced the state of Vermont. Waterways like Lake Champlain can be damaged by storm water that has picked up chemicals and other harmful material.

There are a few measures homeowners can take to reduce their storm water runoff. Building a rain barrel is one.

At the Shelburne Town Offices, about a dozen families are learning to build rain barrels. The barrels will collect excess storm water- that’s water that normally runs off through gutters and into storm drains.

The Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations is investigating the death of a second child in Vermont within the past few months, raising ire among some lawmakers about the lack of information shared with them by state officials.

Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the special Senate Review Panel on Child Protection, learned Wednesday through the media of the death of a 14-month-old boy in Winooski on or around April 4.

Chittenden County Sen. Chris Pearson, left, wants Vermont to join a coalition of states seeking to affirm the United States' role in reducing global carbon emissions.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/file

Leaders of Vermont's Progressive Party say they'll likely focus on House and Senate races this year instead of putting forward a gubernatorial candidate. 

In the 2010 and 2012 elections, Progressive Party officials established three goals for Democratic candidate Peter Shumlin.

They wanted him to support a single payer health care system, work to close down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, and support economic development policies to help working Vermonters.