Regional Report

People in Bellows Falls have been upset about the nearly five-year closure of a bridge over the Connecticut River that connects their community to Walpole, N.H.

The Vilas Bridge was closed in 2009 after a semi-annual inspection found deterioration of the bridge deck.

Bellows Falls residents started a grassroots effort to get the bridge re-opened. They’re concerned because cars have been re-routed to another bridge less than a mile away, and that means traffic don’t pass by a number of small businesses.

They haven’t got the green light yet, but this week the company that wants to build an extension of a natural gas pipeline from Chittenden to Addison Count filed their application for Phase Two of the project.

Vermont Gas still needs a go-ahead from the Public Service Board, which could rule next month on the expansion that would go through some Addison County towns to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, New York.

A Brattleboro yogurt company that’s been held up as a local success story is expanding again…this time in Arizona.

Commonwealth Dairy just opened a new facility in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Brattleboro Reformer reporter Bob Audette speaks with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

The Selectboard in the town of Middlebury will vote again on a proposed town office and municipal gym project.

That’s because there have been complaints of potential conflict of interests among some selectboard members who have ties to the college.

Bruce Edwards has that story in the Rutland Herald and he joined VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

AP/ Toby Talbot

The suicide of a Mount Abraham Union High School Student earlier this month has raised questions about the extent to which bullying is a problem in that school—and whether efforts to prevent it are working. Addison County Independent reporter Zach Despart joins us now for our Regional Report to tell us more about this story.

The story you’re listening to is serious, and real, there is an element of science fiction horror to it that upon first blush, may make it seem like a tale intended for spooking folks as we draw closer to Halloween. It’s not.

Frost Papers At Center Of Legal Battle

Oct 4, 2013

A Hartland man pleaded guilty yesterday to illegally taking letters written by the 20th Century poet Robert Frost that were left in a desk donated to the Listen Center three years ago.

Facing the prospect of a trial on a felony embezzlement charge, Tim Bernaby, 44, on Tuesday accepted a plea deal on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful taking of personal property for taking two letters and 13 Christmas cards written by Frost, most of which were addressed to his former secretary. The charge carries a $100 fine.

Sixteen suspected drug dealers in Bennington County were arrested Wednesday as part of what law enforcement is calling “Operation Strike Two."

That comes after Bennington’s "Operation County Strike," in January that took in more than 40 suspects.

Elizabeth Conkey reported on the arrests for the Bennington Banner, and she speaks with host Mitch Wertlieb about the situation.

The October 1 enrollment date for states to put the Affordable Care Act into play is rapidly approaching.  There are still many questions, however, about how this is all going to work. Each state has taken a different path to rolling out the plan, and one stark contrast is between neighbors Vermont and New Hampshire.

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.

AP/ Toby Talbot

The small town of Chittenden could soon be home to a very big sugaring operation this spring.

The project would span nearly 2,800 acres for maple syrup production. Josh O’Gorman, who’s been covering the story for the Rutland Herald, joins host Mitch Wertlieb for this Friday’s Regional Report.

O’Gorman says Chittenden resident Patrick Dupois recently purchased the large section of land and plans install over 80,000 maple syrup taps this spring alone.

AP/ Toby Talbot

Technology is being implemented in the health care industry in a variety of ways including text message appointment reminders and using robots during surgical procedures. At the Veteran’s Affairs medical center in White River Junction, more patients now have the option of consulting with their doctor over video chat.

After Grant Berick’s dog died, to ease his grief, he began creating more than 100 rock sculptures in the river in Bondville. The sculptures were a stunning sight, columns of stacked rocked of different shapes and sizes popping up throughout the river. The sight didn’t please everyone, however. Last week, another local man knocked them down one by one.

A complicated altercation between police and a family in the Old North End neighborhood of Burlington included an alleged attack on a police officer. The incident may also reveal tougher scrutiny from Burlington’s housing authority.

A woman involved in the July 1st incident is being evicted from her apartment. She may also lose her affordable housing voucher.

Robin Smith / Caledonian Record

Facing their second straight year of deficits, North Country Hospital in Newport laid off 19 staff on Tuesday.

Reporter Robin Smith covered the cuts for the Caledonian Record this week, and joins VPR for Regional Report.

Smith says other than two doctors and four clinical staff, the cuts are being made in administrative positions at the hospital.

Sarah Priestap- Valley News

There has been ongoing concern about a chemical that was used in the Army’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The chemical, Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a solvent that had been used at CRREL for nearly three decades until 1987, when it was labeled a carcinogen.

Harris County Public Library / Flickr

For this week’s Regional Report, we turn to Washington County in New York where the sequestration budget cuts impacted a Head Start program.

The education program suffered a 5.2 percent budget cut this April. Those effects are being felt now, with one center just over the Vermont border in Cambridge, New York closing its doors. Head Start also eliminated a six-week summer program.

Concern over concussions and other serious injuries in young student-athletes led to a bill signed into law this week by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. The law will help treat and prevent concussions on high school sports fields across Vermont.

The new law is set to take effect July 1, 2015, giving the state time to research concussion rates in various sports. Football, hockey, lacrosse and wrestling will fall under the umbrella of “collision” sports. The law will require more training of coaches and referees, and will bring in medical professionals to advise where needed.

AP/Eric A. Besette

The new Lake Champlain Bridge connecting West Addison, Vermont with Crown Point, New York was re-opened in 2011.

The former bridge on the site was imploded in 2009, after the foundation was determined to be unsafe. For months after the demolition, people had to use a temporary ferry during the construction project.

In the months after the bridge re-opened, some of the lights on the $76 million bridge stopped working.

Reporter Lohr McKinstry has been following that story for the Plattsburgh Press Republican

A land sale in East Montpelier is attracting a lot of attention, and it’s because the buyer of the property is Governor Peter Shumlin, and the seller is now publicly expressing remorse about the sale.

Peter Hirschfeld has been covering the story for the Vermont Press Bureau, and he joins VPR's Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Click listen to hear the interview.