Technology

The Franklin West Supervisory Union includes three rural towns in northwestern Vermont—Fletcher, Fairfax and Georgia. But rural doesn't mean behind on technology; the superintendent of Franklin West has championed technological innovation so much that the district was recently selected to join the League of Innovative Schools. It's the only New England district selected to join thus far.

A Boston-based tech firm responsible for constructing a major component of Vermont’s online health insurance exchange looks to be going out of business.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan announced Monday morning that two police officers have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of a Colchester man in September. He said at the announcement that the officers were cleared without any body camera video of the incident.

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A statewide wireless broadband system paid for, in part, by the federal government is complete, according to the agency that funded the project.   

But state officials say many Vermonters are still waiting for service.

VPR/Steve Zind

Vermont is one of 14 states that allow only hands-free cell phone use while driving, but it is still common to see drivers with a phone in one hand and the other hand on the wheel. 

University of Vermont

When an Amtrak train derailed in Vermont in early October, first responders relied on a drone to produce mapping-grade images for the accident investigation. That's one example of the powerful benefits that drones can provide, their operators say.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

News hounds living near the Canadian border in northeastern Vermont are flocking to a hyper-local online site called Newport Dispatch News. In two short years, it’s garnered a surprisingly international following. 

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Starting today, Vermonters can register to vote from the comfort of their own homes. Secretary of State Jim Condos says the new online voter registration system will improve access to democracy, and will also make elections less vulnerable to fraud.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Schools across Vermont are trying to figure out how to consolidate services and also expand academic opportunities. As controversy swirls about how to preserve school choice, a growing number of students are choosing courses beyond school walls — in cyberspace. 

MyWebGrocer

Climate change: there's an app for that. Or at least there will be, after the HackVT 24-hour Vermont app competition.

Andrew Harnik / Andy Duback / AP / AP

The leader of Vermont's Catholics has a key role in this week's Papal visit to the U.S.

tostphoto / iStock.com

The federal government is working to come up with rules to regulate drones, but as the emerging technology gets more popular, Vermont towns are contemplating whether they need their own policies on drone use to protect their citizens' privacy and safety.

Screen shot / Vermont Health Connect

The state has spent $229,000 to find out what insurance customers think of Vermont Health Connect. The results, not surprisingly, aren’t exactly stellar. But officials say the survey will help them improve consumer satisfaction in the future.

Steve Zind / VPR/file

Under an agreement announced this week, FairPoint Communications moves a step closer to winning changes to regulations that got the company in trouble for long repair delays in Vermont.

There have been a lot of sewage spills lately and the state reports them on a website when it becomes aware of an overflow from a municipal sewage system. But it can be really hard to find out where they are, and the state has no real time alert to let people know when a spill has happened and water might be contaminated.

VPR has been reporting on this problem all summer, so our own web developer Sara Simon got on the case and she's created a twitter bot. It is on Twitter and known as Dirty Water VT.

Officials said Friday the state will pay Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont $1.6 million to cover Vermont Health Connect premiums the insurer did not receive and claims it paid out incorrectly because of technology problems during 2014.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin says a major software fix at Vermont Health Connect will finally solve shortcomings that have plagued the program since its launch in 2013. But state emails show that the technology is still very much a work in progress. And the documents show taxpayers might end up footing the bill for mistakes related to the transition.

The Vermont Telephone Company V-Tel is looking at some fast-approaching deadlines to complete a statewide wireless broadband network.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Vermont’s largest police force is looking to outfit its troopers with body cameras. The move comes after criminal-justice reform advocates nationwide have issued calls for the use of the recording devices. But body cams for Vermont State Police could add significant new expenses to a cash-strapped agency.

James Boase / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Every fisherman has a story about the "one that got away." But Chet MacKenzie is dedicated to making sure that this particular species of fish in Lake Champlain doesn't get away – or disappear. 

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