News Features

With today’s announcement about the closure of Vermont Yankee, residents in Windham County say the news is a mixed bag.

Some in the local community welcomed the news, while others are worried.

Besides generating electricity, Vermont Yankee also fuels the local economy. Laura Sibilia of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation said the closing is disheartening after years of a poor economy on top of the injuries from Tropical Storm Irene.

“It’s a little like, oooh! Enough with the body blows please!’”

VPR/Charlotte Albirght

Reporters, including many who’ve been covering Vermont Yankee for decades, showed up at Tuesday’s press conference at company headquarters in Brattleboro with slightly stunned expressions.

The media room at the offices of Vermont Yankee on the outskirts of Brattleboro has seen hundreds of press conferences, but none—in 41 years—quite like this one.

Police cruisers were parked outside. The media door was locked until shortly before three serious top officials from the Entergy Corporation sat down at a nondescript table.

AP File Photo

Entergy Corporation said today it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon and that the plant will close at the end of 2014.

"Citing Economics, Entergy To Close Vermont Yankee By End of 2014"
 John Dillon's report recapping all the developments of the day: 

AP Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh

Vermont Yankee will close by the end of next year, ending years of litigation over the plant’s future.

But Yankee says financial pressure not lawsuits or legislative mandates are forcing the shutdown.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he got the call from Entergy Tuesday morning, shortly before the news release went out announcing the company’s decision to shutter Vermont’s only nuclear plant.

VPR/Melody Bodette

Tropical Storm Irene’s impact on Vermont’s farms was seen in silt covered fields of corn and water-damaged farm equipment.

In the end, the storm damaged roughly 20,000 acres of farmland and killed a small number of animals. The unseen impacts were just as severe. State officials estimate agricultural losses of more than $10 million.

Two years later, some farmers are still working to recover financially and to restore productivity to their land.

AP/ Toby Talbot

A federal budget squeeze threatens to cut off funding for equipment that researchers use to predict floods and pinpoint the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Champlain.

Ten stream gages in the Champlain watershed are scheduled to be turned off next month unless another funding source is found.

VPR

If you’ve been raising chickens in your backyard to collect the eggs, you know that after two years or so, the eggs are fewer and farther between. If you don’t want to run a chicken retirement operation, it might be time to make some chicken soup. But what to do with a feathered bird that looks nothing like the cleaned carcass you buy in the grocery store?

Frank Pace is the butcher for the Farmhouse Group Company, a consortium of restaurants in the Burlington area. He took us into the busy kitchen at Guild & Company Steakhouse for a demonstration on plucking and butchering.

Tech4Tomorrow

It can be difficult to operate in our modern world if you don’t speak the language of technology. For some people, just learning to open an email account is challenging, not to mention online banking, or any of the other official things we have to do on the internet these days.

A new non-profit in South Burlington is offering classes to make it easier for people of all ages to navigate new technology. Neel Desai, who graduated from South Burlington High School last spring, is the founder of Technology for Tomorrow. He spoke with VPR's Vermont Edition.

VPR/ Susan Keese

Newfane residents celebrated the second anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene Sunday with a parade through the town’s two hardest hit villages.

Fire Trucks, floats, and tractors, pulling pe-schoolers and moms, followed a brass band through the covered bridge between Williamsville and South Newfane.

After the flood two years ago, the three mile parade route along the Rock River was a wasteland of shattered houses and uprooted trees.

A federal tax reform under consideration in Congress could substantially increase the cost of roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure funded by bonds, according to State Treasurer Beth Pearce.

Among the revenue-generating tax reforms in the budget proposal unveiled by President Barack Obama earlier this year is a plan to reduce the federal tax exemption on interest earned on municipal bonds.

VPR/ Steve Zind

It’s been two years since Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont, and while much of the damage has been repaired, scars visible and otherwise remain.

That’s the case for folks like Raelene Lemery of Stockbridge. Irene destroyed the road to her home, flooding her basement. She couldn’t get to her house and so the water in the basement left mold in its wake.

That led to the loss of clothing, furniture, cabinets, appliances, and items of emotional value including photos of her son, who died in a motorcycle accident when he was 18. 

State of Vermont

Public Post analysis on mosquito spraying, economic development and criminal justice.

Public Post updates from Hartford, Montpelier, Arlington, Williston and more.

VPR’s Public Post pores through municipal public documents, posted online, to bring you local news from Vermont’s cities, towns, villages and gores. When we find something interesting or otherwise newsworthy, we send out a tweet. We follow up on the bigger stories at the VPR News Blog.

As more and more medical information is shared on mobile devices and cloud-based services, a research team from Dartmouth is researching ways to safeguard that personal data.

A new wind development project in the Northeast Kingdom is running into snags. Concerns about the strength of the transmission grid in the area are raising doubts about the wisdom of erecting any new turbines.

VPR’s John Dillon has been reporting on this proposed project in Eden and discusses how a weak transmission network could curtail wind projects in the Kingdom.

Springfield voters rejected a landlord ordinance, the Vermont Veterans Home will not lose its federal funding, libraries in the state will launch a videoconference service, lawmakers approved new rules on motel stays for the homeless and the shoreland commission worked to balance environmental and property rights.

These were some of the voices in the news this week.

Springfield Voters Reject Landlord Ordinance, 8/21/13

AP/ Toby Talbot

Vermont State Police are cracking down on driving under the influence with a new initiate called “Operation Sober Summer."

But recent reports in the Burlington Free Press suggest that some of the stops are based not necessarily on evidence of impaired driving, but rather by a quota system. Friday's Regional Report takes a look at this story.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

You probably know Jonathan Goldsmith, even if you don’t immediately recognize his name…he is, after all, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

VPR/ Charlotte Albright

The cash-strapped Woodstock Union Arena, a popular sports complex owned by the High School, has received a short term reprieve that will allow it to stay open. 

Woodstock resident Greg Camp says the arena, which includes a popular hockey rink, is a valuable magnet for families living in Woodstock, moving there, or tuitioning their children to its schools.

VPR/John Dillon

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders joined consumer activists on Thursday to call for mandatory labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms.

The labeling legislation is pending in the state Senate. An outreach effort by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group yielded 30,000 signatures in support of the bill.

VPIRG celebrated the end of its summer-long, door-to-door campaign on the GMO issue with a rally on the Statehouse steps.

Canvass Director Leah Marsters said a 60 person crew went all over the state to collect signatures.

Max Kraus

The Opera Company of Middlebury is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a benefit concert Saturday, August 17th.  

The recital will feature Tenor Yonghoon Lee, who sang in the company’s first two productions, and recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut.

The Company also played a significant role in the restoration of Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.

Executive Director Doug Anderson says that it's been a challenge running an opera company during a recession.

Pages