New England News Collaborative

Catamount Solar is installing an 8.7 kilowatt system in a homeowner's yard in East Montpelier. Kestrel Marcel of Catamount Solar is connecting the optimizers, which are a converter technology that helps maximize the energy harvested from the panels.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

After years of encouraging solar development, Vermont seems to be attracting the attention of national solar companies.

A new type of energy-efficient construction is drawing attention in the U.S. It’s called “passive housing” -- residences built to achieve ultra-low energy use. It’s so efficient that developers can eliminate central heating systems altogether.

Remember Rhode Island’s disastrous deal with former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling? The state invested $75 million of taxpayer dollars in Schilling’s video game company 38 Studios and lost it all before a lawsuit clawed back most of the money. It was one of the worst financial decisions in Rhode Island history. Yet the company that served as the state’s financial adviser on the deal has continued doing business throughout the state.

Update at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday: Iranian cancer researcher Dr. Sayed Mohsen Dehnavi and his family were put on a flight back to Iran Tuesday night, per U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Original story:

An Iranian researcher coming to work at Boston Children’s Hospital as a visiting scholar has been denied entry to the United States.

On a sultry weekday morning, patrons escaped the heat and gathered at the Essex public library in Essex, Conn. for a weekly book discussion.

“So what did you all think of the book?” asked librarian Emily Boucher. She was leading the discussion of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 novel “The Remains of the Day.” Library copies of the book were littering the table — copies on loan from other public libraries, sent via the state’s interlibrary loan system — a system which library patron Bob Phoenix routinely relies on.

Alex Ciccolo has been in federal custody since July 4th, 2015. The 24-year-old Adams, Massachusetts, man is charged with attempting to commit domestic terrorism.

Honey bees have been having a tough time lately. Pests and disease have plagued many hives, killing off the pollinators and forcing people looking to save the bees to get creative.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan comes to a close this weekend. The final days of the holiday are meant to be a sacred culmination of weeks of prayer and daily fasting from sunrise to sunset.

But in the wake of recent violent acts against Muslims, many in the Boston-area Islamic community are coming together not only to pray, but also to seek comfort and safety.

Students from Lynda Siegel's ESL class are learning water safety through a free course at the Greater Burlington YMCA.
Doug Bishop/Greater Burlington YMCA, courtesy

For many Vermonters, swimming is learned early and central to summer fun. But for children who are new to the United States and still learning English, swimming can be a completely foreign concept.

Commercial fishermen in Northern New England face their fair share of challenges. Along with declining fish stocks and tight catch regulations, the occupation also remains one of the most dangerous in the country.

With that ever-present risk in mind, dozens of fishermen turned out in New Castle, New Hampshire recently for a day-long safety training exercise.

A man arrested by federal immigration officials after a workers’ compensation meeting is out of federal custody after more than a month in jail.

Thirty-seven-year-old Jose Flores was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents immediately following a meeting arranged by his employer. Flores’ lawyers question whether his arrest was retaliation by the employer, looking to get out of the workers’ comp claim. Advocates fear his arrest could prevent other workers in the country illegally from reporting workplace accidents.

Nine months ago, Joyce Chance left a refugee camp in Uganda where she had spent the last eleven years. Chance, who was born in Congo, boarded a plane with her two kids, and came to the United States.

A refugee resettlement agency in Concord, New Hampshire picked them up at the airport, and moved them into a one-room apartment.

A growing number of homeless veterans are women. But there are few places that specialize in helping them get back on their feet.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont wastewater plants along the Connecticut River are waiting to hear from the Environmental Protection Agency. Even without specifics, managers at the larger plants know they will be required to adjust the amount of nitrogen in their treated wastewater, considerably lowering the levels, potentially at a high cost.

By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce new limits on the amount of nitrogen that wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire can release into the Connecticut River.

Commencement ceremonies took place this weekend at UNH, after a tense few weeks at the school, with a series of racial incidents prompting  community-wide conversations about campus diversity.

This weekend’s ceremony offered a chance to reflect but also to look forward. 

Thirty-eight-year-old Jose Flores and his longtime partner, Rosa Benitez, have been living in Massachusetts for almost seven years. The Honduran nationals both entered the United States by illegally crossing the Southern border.

Benitez, 40 and with tired eyes, says she and Flores had to leave Honduras because of the violence.

‘I Came Here To Fight For My Family’

In New England, all states except for Rhode Island and New Hampshire have bottle bills. Those are recycling programs built around a system of deposits and refunds, aimed at reducing litter and protecting the environment. But when it comes to old aluminum, it’s not just environmentalists who want to see more recycling -- there’s a real business case to be made for it, too.

A couple years ago, Manchester police lieutenant Nicole LeDoux and two colleagues decided to crunch some numbers. They found that in a single year, 400 Manchester kids had been at either domestic violence incidents or overdoses when police were called.  LeDoux is a fast talker who oversees the juvenile and domestic violence units. “I remember sitting,” she said, “and being like ‘man, that’s a lot of kids. How do we deal with that?’” 

New England states are considering the idea of sticking with daylight saving time year 'round. Proposals to make the switch are being taken up by several legislatures, including Maine's.

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