News Features

Governor Peter Shumlin says a new federal grant will help upgrade track conditions along the state’s western rail corridor.

The governor says the project will also allow the future expansion of Amtrak’s passenger service from Rutland to Burlington.

The new $9 million federal grant is part of an $18 million project to rehabilitate roughly 20 miles of track between Rutland and Leicester. The plan is to replace 9 miles of track, and upgrade 11 farm rail crossings which slowdowns traffic on this section of the corridor.

AP/Toby Talbot

When someone writes the history of health care reform in Vermont, he or she would do well to look closely at the Green Mountain Care Board hearing last week on Fletcher Allen Health Care’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget.

There are 14 hospitals in Vermont and they and the doctors that work for them spend upwards of $2.1 billion a year to keep Vermonters healthy. Fletcher Allen accounts for a billion dollars or so of that amount, nearly half the system. No other hospital comes close to its size and influence.

VPR/Taylor Dobbs

A group of about 25 anti-war activists marched through Burlington Thursday afternoon, making stops at the offices of Vermont's delegation to Washington. Congregating at Senator Patrick Leahy's office at noon, the group moved to Senator Bernie Sanders' office and then the offices of Congressman Peter Welch.

"We want him to speak out," Marshfield resident Joseph Gainza said at Welch's office. The protest wasn't as much chanting as an organized set of pleas; Welch's state director, Patricia Coates, took notes as the protestors made their various concerns known.

Three people, including a Dartmouth student, have been arrested following a drug raid by the Hartford Police Department on September 2.

Police say they found a substantial amount of cocaine, mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, and evidence of drug manufacturing at a home on Sykes Mountain Avenue.

Dartmouth student 23-year-old Ebaa Abdelfadeel, originally from Amherst, New York, was arrested along with 23-year-old Daniel Roberts for possession of a felony amount of cocaine and intent to distribute.

General Dynamics announced to employees Thursday that the company will cut 35 jobs at its Williston location by the end of 2013. Rob Doolittle, General Dynamics' Staff Vice President for Communications, confirmed that the company told employees Thursday morning that 35 jobs at the company's 275-person office on the IBM campus in Williston will be cut.

Doolittle said the cuts just affect the company's Williston location.

"I can't rule out other changes, but we don't have anything else to announce today," he said.

Hospital Leader Says NH Lags Vt. In Health Care Changes

Sep 5, 2013

The leader of the region’s largest hospital system said Vermont is well ahead of New Hampshire when it comes to creating a sustainable health care system, and that patients in the Granite State may be at a disadvantage when a key provision of the federal health care reform law goes live next month.

Vermont has done much more to plan for the Oct. 1 launch of the online insurance marketplaces known as health exchanges, Jim Weinstein, president and CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, said in a meeting Wednesday with the Valley News editorial board.

The Vermont Bowl Company, in Wilmington was flooded during heavy rains on Sunday and its two stores are still closed.

The company was also hit by floodwaters two years ago during Tropical Storm Irene.

Vermont Bowl Company Vice President Tom Fox says on Sunday the water came so fast and in such a short period of time, the culvert on the east side of his business was overwhelmed. Same thing with the culvert to the west, underneath Route 9

VPR/Steve Zind

Unlike neighboring South Burlington and Winooski, the Burlington City Council has never taken a position on the proposal by the Air Force to base F-35’s at the Vermont Air Guard facility at Burlington Airport.

Now the plan’s opponents want Burlington to do something the other communities are unable to do.

All 3 members of Vermont’s Congressional delegation remain undecided about President Barack Obama’s plan to order limited air strikes against Syria.

President Obama argued that air strikes are needed as a response to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and he said his administration has no plans to put “boots on the ground” in Syria.

Congressman Peter Welch said the situation poses an ethical dilemma for many members of Congress.

The Vermont Department of Health says a horse in Highgate has been euthanized as a result of becoming ill from Eastern equine encephalitis.

State epidemiologist Erica Berl said this is evidence that there’s a cause for concern of potential risk to humans.

"Finding EEE in a horse means that people should be aware that the virus is present. And it’s present enough to cause illness in a mammal," Berl said.

The health department says that residents of Highgate are now considered to be at high risk for EEE. People in Swanton are at increased risk.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

The outdoor swimming season may be winding down, but volunteers with the nonprofit organization White River Partnership still have a couple of more weeks before wrapping up a 13th season of water quality testing at popular swimming holes. Volunteers have been testing water quality at swimming holes and the mouths of major tributaries around the White River Watershed every other Wednesday since May 29. Their last day of 2013 testing will be September 18.

In the next few months, Vermont’s TV and radio airwaves, and many newspapers, will be saturated with a marketing campaign that officials say is critical to the success of Vermont Health Connect.  The initial phase of the project will cost roughly $500,000.

Beginning in January, all individuals, and businesses with fewer than 50 employees will have to go through the exchange in order to purchase insurance.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Labor Day weekend  is traditionally a season finale for drive-in movie theaters. But at least two in Vermont could close for good. The movie industry will stop distributing 35 millimeter  films in January, and move into digital production.  But the cost of digital projectors is through the roof for most small drive-ins, including the Fairlee Drive-In on Route 5.

At about six every night during  the summer, Peter Trapp drives from his farm in Piermont, New Hampshire to the Fairlee theater next to a motel he also owns.

As a new school year gets underway in Vermont, thousands of students are newly eligible to receive free lunches.

A law passed by the legislature provides students who previously received reduced price lunches with the free meals. 

Under the old reduced lunch program meals cost 40 cents.  Now that all students from income eligible families will receive free lunches, the state expects greater participation. 

Laurie Colgan is Child Nutrition Program Director for the Agency of Education. 

City of St. Albans

St. Albans voters will go to the polls September 10 to cast ballots for or against a proposed $13 million parking garage in the heart of the city. If approved, the project would be paid for using "tax increment financing," also known as TIF. St.

VPR/Nina Keck

Debate continues to swirl in Middlebury over a proposed land swap between the town and the college.  Proponents say the deal will help the town afford a new municipal office and recreational facility.  But opponents are angry at the way it was worked out and say valuable town property will be lost.

Town officials have struggled for years over what to do with the municipal town offices - located in a hundred year old red brick building many in town consider an eyesore.

AP / Charlie Neibergall

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean made waves when he spoke at an AFL-CIO conference in Iowa last month. Gov. Dean also has another speech scheduled for September 23 at the Saint Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

The speaking engagements have many speculating as to whether Dean might be considering another run for President of the United States.

Dean says that’s unlikely, but did have several comments about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Care Exchange right here in Vermont. He says the system that will be put into place has problems:

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Staffers at Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, a gallery and chapel for dog lovers, have been  working hard all summer to keep the business going. It hasn’t been easy to carry on after the two founders took their own lives, but the future looks brighter now. 

Stephen Huneck, artist and founder of Dog Mountain, committed suicide in 2010, and his wife Gwen did the same earlier this summer. But visitors are still showing up at the pastoral compound,  many with dogs.

Annie Russell / VPR

The Center for Disease Control issues a Breast Feeding Report Card every year. The 2013 report shows that breast feeding is on the rise.  Over seventy five percent of American mothers breastfeed their infants to start. In Vermont, it’s even higher than that, at eighty four percent.

But there’s a sharp drop in breast feeding after about three months. A lot of times, that’s when women head back to work.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Public Post analysis on wind towers in the Northeast Kingdom, a lack of municipal volunteers around the state and the fate of an 1879 school building in Weathersfield.

Public Post updates from Waterbury, Pittsford, Derby Line and more: