Regional Report

Turmoil involving some town officials and the town’s police force has continued to roil this month.

Sgt. Bridget Tweedie filed a written complaint with Selectboard member Donn Downey earlier this month, accusing him of “blatant disregard” for Vermont’s public records law when he discussed emails between himself and the interim police chief during a public Selectboard meeting.

Tweedie also took issue with Downey providing the emails to the Valley News prior to the meeting.

The town of Bennington continues to look at ways to attract more businesses to town.

And a new study looked at whether or not the housing stock is a factor.

Keith Whitcomb Jr has been following that story for the Bennington Banner and he spoke with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

The city of South Burlington has long planned to build a more densely-developed pedestrian-friendly city center.

Now a developer has proposed building it—but the problem is the city would have to sell an elementary school.

April Burbank has been following that story for the Burlington Free Press, and she joined VPR’s Peter Biello for our Friday Regional Report.

People in southeastern Vermont are bracing for an economic fallout once the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closes later this year.

But Entergy, the corporation that owns Yankee, will  provide a $10 million payment to the state of Vermont to help deal with the loss of hundreds of jobs when the plant shuts down.

The question is how will the state spend the money? Howard Weiss-Tisman has been following the story for the Brattleboro Reformer and he spoke with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report

While the co-chairmen of the Selectboard have expressed support publicly for Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg, other board members on Tuesday wouldn’t say how they would vote on Rieseberg’s contract renewal.

Co-Chairman Alex DeFelice said the board likely would start discussing the three-year contract extension during executive session at the June 10 Selectboard meeting. The renewal happens automatically on Sept. 23 unless the board votes to stop it.

Bus drivers in Bennington voted this week on whether to join the Teamsters Local 597 union, but the close results and some other factors have left it unclear as to whether the drivers will actually be able to join a union.

Keith Whitcomb, Jr., reporter for the Bennington Banner, spoke with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Voters in Waterbury this week re-affirmed their support for a nearly $3 million bond to build a new town office. The former town office was made unusable by Tropical Storm Irene.

Josh O’Gorman, who has been covering this story for the Vermont Press Bureau, joined VPR to discuss the project.

Plans to renovate the police and fire stations in Bratttleboro are likely on hold, the select-board decided this week.

Reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman has been following that story for the Brattleboro Reformer and he spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

moodboard / Thinkstock

Vermont’s problem with heroin and opiate abuse has been making headlines lately. At Middlebury College, the campus newspaper has been focusing on a different drug problem: Adderall use among students.

Earlier this week, a long running lawsuit by a couple opposed to Green Mountain Power’s Kingdom Community Wind Project was dropped after the couple settled with the utility out of court.

Don and Shirley Nelson are selling their Lowell farm to the state's largest electric utility for $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit over the ownership of land that is part of Green Mountain Power's 21-turbine industrial wind project.

The Nelsons were among the most vocal critics of the GMP's plan to build the Kingdom Community Wind project on a ridgeline near their home.

It was not just a victory, but a stunning, sweeping victory this week for Quebec Liberals and new Premier designate Phillipe Coulliard.

The snap elections called for by the outgoing Premier Pauline Marois dealt a blow to the separatist Parti Quebecois, which favored Quebec sovereignty and independence from Canada. VPR's Mitch Wertlieb spoke with reporter Kevin Dougherty, Bureau Chief of the Montreal Gazette, for our Friday Regional Report.

Earlier this week, Burlington's Development Review Board rejected a proposed project that would have brought 115 units of Champlain College housing to the city's downtown.

April Burbank of the Burlington Free Press has been following the story, and speaks with VPR's Peter Biello for our Friday Regional Report..

The interesting part of Vermont’s town meetings is that every municipality does it differently. And in the case of Brattleboro, the town holds a representative town meeting.

But there were concerns in Brattleboro this year, after there were a lot of empty slots for town meeting representatives this year. Those positions were filled at a caucus earlier this week.

Folks in Middlebury have been grappling with an issue that has divided the town: how to replace the aging town offices, and whether or not to accept an offer from Middlebury College to help with that project.

John Flowers is a reporter for the Addison Independent, and he spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Regional Report: Rockingham Library Director Search Re-Opened

Feb 28, 2014

There won’t be a new library director at Rockingham Free Public Library for a while.

The library board of trustees agreed Tuesday, after much wrangling, to reopen the search, with a deadline for new applications set for April 11.
 

The board also took the unusual step of saying that any of the 19 earlier applicants were welcome to reapply, while at the same time agreeing to send a letter to applicants saying that they didn’t “meet our needs at this time.”

Last fall, a deal was reached with a Burlington resident who had challenged the proposed Champlain Parkway. Now another challenge to the project is in court.

Joel Banner Baird has been following that story for the Burlington Free Press and he spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

The Emergency Room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington has been seeing an overflow of a mental health patients waiting for treatment. The problem has gotten so bad that the hospital is going to renovate to accommodate the extra population.

The problem isn’t unique to Bennington, but the hospitals response may be indicative of what other towns and cities in Vermont have to do as the crisis worsens.

An long running dispute between the city of St. Albans and the Town of St. Albans is back in the news this week.

The town of St. Albans wants to open a lawsuit against the city regarding water and sewer services while also seeking renewed negotiations with the city to provide service.

Michelle Monroe has been covering that story for the St. Albans Messenger and she spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Regional Report: Connecting Boston And Montreal By Rail

Jan 24, 2014

Rail enthusiasts and regional planners turned out to a hearing Wednesday night to advocate for more frequent stops along two passenger rail routes to connect Boston with Montreal and southern Connecticut, while several attendees with Claremont ties urged for that city to be included in the loop.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

What is fast food? You might think the answer to that is obvious, but it becomes less so when you consider conflicts over bringing nationally-known chain franchises to certain places in Vermont.

That question over what constitutes a fast food joint is now before the Development Review Board in Manchester, which is considering a proposal that would allow a developer to open a Starbucks in town.

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