News Features

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Homelessness is a problem in the United States that affects every state, and Vermont is no exception.

But a model of handling homelessness called Housing First is getting a lot of attention lately, because it not only helps get people off the streets, it also saves money.

Kent McFarland / Vermont Center for EcoStudies

The tiny Northern Saw-whet owl is migrating south right now and naturalists are tracking them as they pass through Vermont. On Outdoor Radio this week, we’ll visit a banding station in Montpelier to hear how these elusive birds are captured and banded.  

Ted S. Warren / AP

State officials have been working for months with the RAND Corporation to study the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana in Vermont.

This week, Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding took comments from a number of Vermonters all over the state in a televised public hearing.

And the one take-away from the meeting was that whatever the state decides about legalization, somebody's going to be upset.

To hear Laura Subin tell it, the big winners in Colorado's movement toward legalization weren't the first ones you'd think of.

With a record low voter turnout rate in the 2014 general election and a weird (and ongoing) finish to the race for governor, there's plenty to catch up on.

Live Blog: VPR's 2014 Election Coverage

Nov 5, 2014
Angela Evancie / VPR

Voters across Vermont cast ballots Tuesday, and all but one major race has been called. It's still unclear who will hold the governor's office, though Gov. Peter Shumlin holds a small lead over Republican challenger Scott Milne.

3:13 p.m. Nov. 5 Gov. Peter Shumlin has declared victory for himself at a press conference in City Hall Park in Burlington. Shumlin said the results were "a disappointment" and said he would reflect on the message Vermonters sent in this election.

Screenshot / YouTube

Burlington Police officials are conducting a review of an incident over the weekend that was caught on video.

In a video posted to YouTube user Cody Weinberger (no relation to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, according to the mayor’s office), two men who appear to be police officers are seen near the intersection of Main Street and South Winooski Avenue, near the popular bar Nectar’s and Mr. Mike’s Pizza.

Warning: This video contains explicit language.

Sage Van Wing / VPR

Maddie Magnant of South Burlington tells us what she loves about each of Vermont's distinct — sometimes lovely, sometimes taxing — seasons.

Spring? "I love animals." Summer? "I'd have to go with some of the kids classics: ice cream, swimming in pools." Fall? "Red, gold, tiger orange, jade." Winter? "I can finally have some time to myself."

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Over the past century, Bag Balm has become a staple in barns, bathrooms and kitchens all over America. The yellow, gooey salve in a bright green and pink tin is used for everything from softening cows' teats to quieting squeaky bedsprings. Bag Balm even soothed the legs of dogs that searched the Twin Tower rubble after 9/11. 

Mark Perkins, who’s been mixing and packaging the stuff for over 17 years, gives a quick tour at the Lyndonville assembly line and tells the ointment's creation story.

Imagery: Google / Map data: Google

The groundwater sitting below IBM’s massive campus in Essex Junction still bears the chemical stains of the plant’s past. The company announced this week its selling the plant , but it still bears responsibility for the clean-up.

The offending compound is called TCE – short for tetrachloroethylene – and back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, IBM used it by the truckload. David Mears, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, says TCE turned out to be toxic stuff.

The taxi-ish company Uber has launched in Burlington. Will convenience win out, or is Uber's hyper-competitive philosophy a bad fit for Vermont?


Among the 435 representatives in the US House, only one represents the interests of the Green Mountain State. That position has been held by Democrat Peter Welch since 2007. This year he faces a challenge from Republican Mark Donka and Liberty Union candidate Matthew Andrews. His opponents argue that it’s time for new blood in Washington. All three candidates meet in a live hour-long debate on VPR.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

There's a plant that produces a berry you can use to make a lovely, citrusy tea. Intrigued?

It’s sumac.

Now, before you start itching and scratching and thinking of the poisonous variety, please pay close attention. VPR recently had the opportunity to go foraging for a specific edible variety of the plant with Vermont’s self-described Johnny Appleseed of sumac, Stephen Marshall of North Ferrisburgh.

So, what is the difference between the poison sumac and the edible Staghorn sumac?

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Talking turkey is more than an expression for hunters who take to the woods for their dinner. To bag a tom or a hen turkey, you need speak their language. 

Listen to these tips from Phil Salzano, Vermont's reigning state champion turkey caller.

The Attorney General is called the top legal officer in the state, which includes everything from defending state laws in court, to protecting consumers to reviewing the actions of police.  Incumbent Democrat Bill Sorrell and Republican challenger Shane McCormack meet in a live hour-long debate on VPR. (Liberty Union candidate Rosemarie Jackowski was invited but is unable to attend.)

By now you are no doubt familiar with the news that several West African countries are suffering from an outbreak of the potentially deadly Ebola virus. That awareness, depending on how you react to media coverage of the epidemic, may have morphed to concern, anxiety, or — hopefully not — panic, after a man in Dallas came down with the virus following his travels to Liberia and back to the U.S.

Chittenden Historical Society

Kayakers love the quiet beauty of the Chittenden reservoir, a 750-acre waterway surrounded almost entirely by national forest.

On Saturday, Green Mountain Power, which operates the dam there, will host its annual clean-up day and local historians will be on hand to talk about how the hydroelectric facility came to be. 

VPR Governor's Debate

Sep 23, 2014
Angela Evancie / VPR

VPR's gubernatorial debate was broadcast live on Tuesday, September 23, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm moderated a debate among Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone, Libertarian Dan Feliciano, Republican Scott Milne and Democratic incumbent Peter Shumlin.

Vermont has a whole lot of craft breweries these days. Is there really a market for all this booze?

Angela Evancie / VPR

“It’s hard for me to acknowledge progress I’ve made sometimes,” Meghan said, “but when I look back and think of who I was and where I was at and what my life was like on a day-to-day basis 301 days ago, it’s like a 180.”

It was early May, and Meghan was sitting in a food court in a mall in Burlington. Stale pop music played through the overhead speakers, and groups of teenagers occasionally wandered by. A routine mid-week scene, but Meghan was celebrating; 300 days earlier, she woke up and, for the first time in a long time, didn’t go straight for the heroin.

Wilson Ring / AP

On Tuesday, the Slow Money Vermont network will launch in Montpelier.

The concept of Slow Money was pioneered by Woody Tasch, the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered.

Slow Money is groups of people collaborating to invest in small food businesses near where they live.