Regional Report

Seventy-two Vermont communities add fluoride to their water system to help keep prevent tooth decay. But on town meeting day in Bennington, voters there said they don't want fluoride added to their water.

Perhaps no one is wishing for spring to come soon more than public works officials across Vermont.

More than 26 towns all around the state have been dealing with frozen water pipes, according to an informal survey by Vermont Emergency Management.

The Hartford School District is about to implement some tough new punishments to deal with a growing drug problem in its schools.

A $650,000 retirement payout to a former CEO who headed up a mental health agency in Windham and Windsor counties is raising some eyebrows. Judith Hayward, the former CEO of Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, was on the receiving end of that $650,000 pay-out, and since that figure came to light in an audit, the current human services agency's CEO has decided to travel to Montpelier and explain the number to lawmakers.

Snow, snow, everywhere you look. This past January saw higher than average snowfall totals, and colder than average temperatures to go along with it, meaning that snow isn't going anywhere until it warms up, so Vermont cities and towns are trying to figure out what to do with it all. One environmental group is not happy with what  the city of Vergennes is doing, piling the snow on the banks of Otter Creek.

A ban on industrial wind projects: that's the recommendation by the executive board of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, hoping the full board will agree and include the industrial wind project moratorium in its regional plan.

What's the value of a dormant nuclear power plant?

That's the question facing folks in Vernon now that Vermont Yankee has shut down for good - after more than four decades in operation.

Vernon officials recently negotiated a new tax deal with plant owner Entergy, the first since the shut-down, and that's the subject of today's Friday Regional Report.

VPR's Mitch Wertlieb spoke about the deal with Brattleboro Reformer reporter Mike Faher.

Act 250, Vermont's land use law, has been in the news again lately. The town of Ferrisburgh is raising questions about the process after a second deal to sell a town-owned parcel to a developer has fallen through.

The Vermont Telephone Co. CEO who moved an ancient cemetery in Hartland to clear the way for a new home has received a wastewater permit for the site, but not necessarily the blessings of the many in town who have opposed his plans. The resentments stirred by the three-year battle — one that has variously involved costumed protesters, accusations of graveyard desecration (from both sides) and the exhumation of a cat — remain fresh.
 

Calais voters on Saturday again rejected a move to Australian ballot for funding requests from Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library at a well-attended special town meeting where debate focused on the merits of the town’s voting practices.

Among the election news this week is this bit from Chittenden East Supervisory Union: a proposed school district merger has passed. For our Friday Regional Report, VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Molly Walsh from the Burlington Free Press.

The Selectboard and members of the police chief search committee Monday night revealed that Thetford had formally offered the position of police chief to two candidates, and both of them turned it down, at least in part, because of the compensation package.
 

“A lot of this is about money. ... Your top two people rejected partially because of money,” Vermont State Police Lt. Russ Robinson, a search committee member, said during the Selectboard meeting at Town Hall. “If you have the right person, you might have to pay a little more.”

Seth Meyer / Associated Press

Keene, New Hampshire has been in the news lately, after parties the weekend of the annual Pumpkin Festival got out of hand.

Riots in neighborhoods near the college drew 200 police officers to the area, and 84 people were arrested. Many people were injured.

Paul Miller is the executive editor of the Keene Sentinel. He joined VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Fair season is wrapping up in Vermont, but at the Addison County Fair and Field Days, organizers are trying to get to the bottom of a counterfeit ticket operation that could have cost them thousands of dollars.

Evan Johnson had that story in the Addison Independent and he spoke with VPR's Peter Biello for our Friday Regional Report.

The Burlington Free Press has told its employees that they’ll have to re-apply for their jobs in the next few weeks. That announcement was made by the newspaper’s executive editor Mike Townsend.

As staff writer and political columnist for the newspaper Seven Days, Paul Heintz frequently writes about media issues and has been tracking this story. 

The Bennington Select Board has said yes to a controversial $5.5 million housing project. Keith Whitcomb has been following that story for the Bennington Banner and he joined VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

Mayor John Hollar thinks the city’s parking requirements for businesses wishing to locate in the city are too onerous and may be discouraging development.
 

He raised the issue at a recent meeting of the City Council, in an agenda item that sought to determine whether parking requirements in the city’s zoning ordinance should be reduced or eliminated in the downtown district.

Hollar indicated he thinks the requirements are unfair compared with what existing businesses have had to do.

Daria Bishop

Toxic algae blooms are a chronic issue for Lake Champlain.  But according to some, this year’s blooms are among the worst – and perhaps nowhere is it worse than in St. Albans Bay.

We often hear from state officials and environmental groups about the problem and how to address it, but the Vermonters who live nearest to these blooms and are most affected by them are also weighing in.

The St. Albans Messenger's Elodie Reed reported on the local response to the water quality problems on the bay.

Potential investors visited the now closed prison in Chateaugay New York this week. They came at the request of a local Assemblywoman.

Joe LoTemplio has been following that story for the Plattsburgh Press-Republican and spoke with Peter Biello for our Friday Regional Report.

A leader in the hard cider market is right here in Vermont, and they’re growing. Woodchuck Cider started 23 years ago in a garage in Proctorsville, and this week they opened a new $34 million facility in the town of Middlebury.

VPR's Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Angelo Lynn, editor and publisher of the Addison Independent, for our Friday Regional Report.

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