Northeast Kingdom

Patti Daniels / VPR

Linda Michniewicz runs her hands over a Thai lemon basil plant and admires the lettuce that’s growing in the garden at her office in Barton, where she’s the program director for Northeast Kingdom Community Action Head Start and Early Head Start. Their central office is on a residential street, and the backyard of their building gives the eight-person staff enough space to try out gardening at work.

Charlotte Albright / VPR file

There’s a hiring spree going on in the ski resort town of Burke in the Northeast Kingdom. A new hotel and conference center due to open in December will need as many as 200 workers. The rush is on to find them as construction moves ahead.

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It appears a troubled broadband service provider is still operating in Vermont, but officials say there’s a great deal of confusion over who’s operating it.

Herb Swanson /

A young man from the Northeast Kingdom village of Wheelock is making history at Dartmouth College. He’s only the ninth Wheelock resident since 1830 to benefit from a remarkable fact. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Three communities — Newport, Rutland and Barre — are facing big budget cuts for services aimed at helping at-risk youth. Federal funds for a grant program called Youth In Transition have been reduced, so the state is making some tough decisions about how to spend what remains of the grant.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

The fate of Concord High School was on a ballot — again — on Tuesday. Last April voters decided to end the secondary program and keep only kindergarten through eighth grade. But a petition drive forced yet another vote in a deeply divided town.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Opposition is building to a plan by Community National Bank to close two of its downtown locations in the Northeast Kingdom. Over 100 petitioners are asking the bank to reverse its decision, and there will be a public meeting about it this week.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A solar company based in Waterbury is urging residents of northeastern Vermont to harness the sun.

SunCommon got its start as a spin-off from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group only three years ago. It’s already installed 1,200 residential systems and eight larger community arrays of panels for 300 members in several communities, including Milton and Barre. Now it’s looking for more customers in the southern part of the Northeast Kingdom.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

As spring returns, controversy swirls over a dam in East Burke. The land trust that owns the dam wants to tear it down. But other residents see the dam as an historic buttress to the local economy. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Community National Bank is planning to shutter two branches in Caledonia County – one in Lyndonville and another in St. Johnsbury. Both branches that will close are located in retail districts. The company says it needs to consolidate, but some customers are unhappy.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

The Northeast Kingdom town of Concord will close its high school at the end of this term. More than half of all registered voters weighed in on an issue that has deeply divided the town for many years.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A new business is mushrooming in St. Johnsbury. Literally. 

At Mushroom King, a new venture at the former site of a lumber kiln, shiitake, oyster and reishi mushrooms are sprouting. The farmers, Bob and Lisa Brown, hope to sell the thousands of pounds of exotic fungi to local restaurants and to a produce distributor.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Construction will begin in Newport on May 14 for a biotechnology research and manufacturing center that will be one of the first of its kind in the nation.

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Here's some good news for Vermont homebrewers thinking of turning their hobby into a business. The Vermont Small Business Development Center is offering a free class in Hardwick this month on "The Business of Craft Brewing."

Charlotte Albright / VPR

The village of Island Pond, in the Northeast Kingdom, is becoming the maple sugar capital of North America. An out-of-state company called Sweet Tree has bought about 7,000 acres and tapped 100,000 trees this year. But they say they don’t want to make the stuff you put on pancakes.

Between Catamount Arts' PoemTown celebration and a full slate of events offered by Northeast Storytellers, National Poetry Month will be a busy time in St. Johnsbury. April events range from poetry slams to a Robert Frost remembrance and are open to all, from poetry novices or aficionados.

Monika Rivard / Rebel Yell

It’s a romantic notion: heading out to a cabin in the middle of woods, completely detached from civilization, ready to create whatever it is you were born to create.

Two Vermonters have taken this dream and turned it into reality with Rebel Yell, a cabin in the Northeast Kingdom set on 140 acres of solitude where artists can write, record and be creative without distraction.

Jay Peak shutdown its upper mountain Thursday after the temperature dropped to minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit.

Jay Peak resort has signed a settlement agreement that environmentalists say will improve water quality in streams damaged by development.

For the last decade or more, construction projects at the four-season resort have caused sediment to flow into streams. That's led to violations of state water quality standards.

Herb Swanson /

When the weather gets tough, the tough go swimming. Outdoors. In the winter. In bathing suits. And we’re not just talking about a quick penguin plunge. Hugging the shores of Lake Memphremagog, Newport has landed on the global map of places where swimmers race each other in pools carved out of frozen lakes.

Ice swimming has been popular for decades in Europe and Asia but it’s just catching on in America. And Phil White, a former attorney from Newport, wants to be first on the ice block.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A non-profit animal shelter in the Northeast Kingdom town of Victory is facing closure because the town has decided to remove its tax exemption.  The rancorous dispute raises questions about who has the authority to grant tax exemptions, and for what reasons.