News Features

AP/Toby Talbot

Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch come together for a rare joint interview in a 90-minute live broadcast of Vermont Edition live from NPR's studios in Washington, D.C.

We'll examine government gridlock from the perspective of Vermont's congressional delegation, and hear them discuss how they advance the interests of Vermonters and their own political convictions while serving in Congress.

VPR's Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm co-host this special broadcast from Studio 32 at NPR's new world headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A renovated University in Vermont building earned the highest LEED rating of any building in the state, university officials announced Monday.

The Aiken Center, home to UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, earned a platinum LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. There are only five other buildings in the state with a platinum rating. Two others are on college campuses - one at Middlebury and one at Champlain College.

The Aiken Center received the highest LEED score of any of Vermont's platinum buildings with 60 of 69 potential points.

Former Governor Madeleine Kunin with Rep. Sarah Buxton.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Former Governor Madeleine Kunin doesn't want to be known as the only female governor in Vermont's history. She announced Monday that the state is joining 13 others in Emerge America, a San Francisco-based 501c(4) non-profit seeking to get more women Democrats into elected office.

"There's room on the statehouse walls for another portrait," Kunin said, referencing the tradition of mounting a portrait of each governor in the statehouse. She hopes another woman's portrait will join her's there.

VPR/Ric Cengeri

The iconic U.S. Route 66 stretches over 2,400 miles from Grant Park in Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier in California. Vermont Route 66 is a little shorter and has inspired far fewer songs and folklore. It’s a little less than 10 miles long, running from East Randolph to Randolph.

In this special series, VPR's Ric Cengeri set out to get some kicks on Vermont Route 66.

Part One: Farms of Orange County

AP

A drug nicknamed “Molly” that has been showing up at music concerts and on college campuses this fall is also turning up locally.  

Short for “molecule,” “Molly” includes the ingredient found in the club drug Ecstasy, but it can also contain other substances that make a dangerous mix.

Users say it is easy to get, relatively cheap,  and makes them euphoric and energetic.

Green Mountain Club

When you imagine hiking the Long Trail, the sound of traffic speeding by probably doesn’t come to mind. But hikers who’ve trekked from Camel’s Hump north to Mount Mansfield know the stretch of the trail in Bolton, through the Winooski River Valley.  Here, Long Trail hikers cross Route 2, Interstate 89 and the Winooski River on an unpleasant road detour out of the woods.

Town of Colchester

The start of Vermont's next legislative session is still months away, but the select board in Colchester is acting now to state its position on a bill regulating shoreline development.

AP/ Toby Talbot

Ever since the possibility of a U.S. strike on Syria in response to that country’s apparent use of chemical weapons, the conflict has leaped into the spotlight of the news cycle.

But Syria was relegated to more of an afterthought until talk of a U.S. attack, even though the conflict has been raging for over two years now and has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives.

In the summer of 2012, the Vermont Health COOP was launched with great fanfare. But it failed to win state approval in a timely manner and this meant that the COOP wouldn’t be ready to sell policies on the state’s new health care exchange beginning in January.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, notified the COOP that it was cutting off all funding for the group because CMS concluded that the business model for the COOP now faced “insurmountable obstacles.”

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

State Police arrested 35 suspected drug dealers today in a large-scale sweep of Franklin County.

Announced just before 9 a.m., Operation Northern Lights targeted 50 drug dealers in and around St. Albans. Police were out in force, searching for 15 more suspects through the afternoon.

The operation targeted mostly dealers of heroin and other opiates, police said. It was the culmination of a series of undercover drug buys by the Vermont Drug Task Force. Officials said they planned to charge all 50 targeted suspects with felonies.

Castleton State College officials say the campus investigation of six members of their football team allegedly involved in a scheme to steal merchandise from a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Rutland should wrap up by Thursday.  The college will then decide what if any disciplinary hearings are warranted.

“What we’re trying to decide is if their behavior - as we know it - affects the operations or the relationship to the community of the college,” says Dennis Prouix, Castleton’s Dean of Students.

VPR/Steve Zind

The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont has released a new report it says documents a dramatic increase in the surveillance that Vermonters are subject to since September 11, 2001.

The ACLU says there’s too little oversight of how the information is used and it’s calling on the legislature to take steps to regulate some activities.

Vermont Electric Cooperative announced today it will issue $850,000 in patronage capital distributions to its members. It's the first time the Co-op has made such a distribution in its 75 year history.

Congressman Peter Welch is warning that a Republican plan to shut down the federal government over the future funding of the Affordable Care Act could have a very negative impact on the national economy.

Welch says if the GOP decides to take this course of action, it will destroy any hope to develop bi-partisan solutions to some of the country’s biggest problems.

AP/Toby Talbot

An effort by the Vermont Health CO-OP to offer an additional option to consumers seeking health insurance through the state’s new health care exchange has failed.

The Vermont Health CO-OP Board announced late Monday that it is dissolving its operations after the federal government decided to pull its financial support from the organization.

VPR/John Dillon

Vermont Gas Systems has reached an agreement with the state Agency of Natural Resources to minimize the impact of a proposed new pipeline on wetlands and other sensitive areas.

But environmentalists are still concerned that the pipeline will increase greenhouse gas emissions. Their concerns were on display outside a Montpelier hotel where the Public Service Board opened hearings on the pipeline project.

The three officials; Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, Chief Engineer Richard Tetrault , and Operations Director Scott Rodgers all had extensive experience guiding Vermont through the aftermath s of Tropical Storm Irene two years ago.

Vermont Transportation Secretary Brian Searles says Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper asked for assistance from Vermont because the circumstances of the flooding in Colorado are similar to the conditions in Vermont in 2011.

Helen Holmes, 59, of Townshend, has been missing since Sept. 6, 2013.
Courtesy / Vermont State Police

Ten days after Townshend resident Helen Holmes went missing, police don’t have any leads.

Police began the search for Holmes at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 when she missed an appointment and they were asked to check on her. The last time she was seen was at 9:00 that morning at her home. In more than a week of searching, police haven’t turned up any new leads.

Customs and Border Protection conducted a helicopter search of the Jamaica and Townshend areas on Saturday, but haven’t been able to find Holmes or her red Subaru Forester.

The City of Montpelier has big plans for the lot at 1 Taylor Street, where the old Vermont Transit bus station used to be. Plans call for a multi-modal transportation center, a welcome center, a bike and pedestrian path, and public access to the Winooski River. The city has secured partial funding for the project through the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. One thing the city did not have, up until this point, was the land.

VPR/ Charlotte Albright

The Vermont Legislature has a challenging assignment for schools this fall. By January, a working group of educators must decide how to implement a new law requiring secondary students to design “personal learning plans.” The aim is to match schooling  with a student’s career goals.

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