Vermont Edition

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss some of her priorities this legislative session.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says passing a paid family leave bill this year is one of her top priorities.

We're talking with Speaker Johnson about that bill, plus education funding, water quality, the push for a higher minimum wage and other big issues.

Winter can be a time of hearty stew, spicy chili and other dishes that leave you feeling warm. What recipes do you turn to during cold winter months?
Pexels

The snow and cold of February in Vermont can make winter feel endless. When the temperature drops and you need a hearty meal, what foods and recipes do you rely on to make this time of year feel just a bit warmer?

Alleged EB-5  fraudsters Ariel Quiros (left) and Bill Stenger (at podium) have settled a federal lawsuit.
Vermont Business Magazine

In the ongoing fallout from what prosecutors have called a "Ponzi-like scheme" in the Northeast Kingdom, alleged perpetrator Ariel Quiros has agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Anne Galloway, founder and editor at the news website VTDigger, has been following this story from the very beginning. She joined Vermont Edition for an update on the most recent developments.

Kevin Daignault (center) and his team at Mass General. Daignault's operation was the hospital's 500th heart transplant.
Massachusetts General Hospital, courtesy

Massachusetts General Hospital performed its first heart transplant in 1985, and in late December, a Swanton man became the hospital's 500th heart transplant patient.

Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne has called for the diocese's first synod since 1962.
Sid Hastings / Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is concerned about active membership in the church and the need to attract young people and their families. Now the diocese has called its first synod in more than five decades to decide issues of doctrine as they pertain to attracting new church members.

Hannah Kearney of Norwich won a gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympic and a bronze in 2014.
Bela Szandelszky / AP

As the Winter Olympics begin this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the U.S. team — as usual — will have a significant contingent of Vermonters. It's easy to forget how many world-class winter athletes live in the state. And many of them come from a single Vermont town.

Green Mountain Union High School in Chester is one of the institutions just approved for a loan from the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont was one of the first states in the country to start a municipal bond bank, back in 1970. Now, the state’s bond bank helps cities and towns get low-interest loans for everything from fire trucks to high school renovations. We’re talking about what the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank does, and the ways that it's changing.

silvrshootr / iStock

With more than 50 breweries in the state, Vermont beer makers have made the Green Mountain State a good home for beer lovers. But all those breweries use a lot of water, grain and energy. To help the state's brewers make beer more sustainably, state environmental officials are hosting their second-annual Brewery Day.

The report from Vermont's Opioid Coordination Council highlights some successes in the state's response to the opioid crisis, but stresses the need to increase prevention and do more for Vermonters in recovery.
Moussa81 / iStock

Thousands of Vermonters have been treated for opioid addiction, and prescriptions for addictive painkillers are down. Vermont's Opioid Coordination Council says that these are signs of progress, but more still needs to be done to create a "firewall of resilience" to the deadly opioid crisis in Vermont. 

Facing a $58 million funding gap, Vermont lawmakers and the governor have competing proposals to pay for Vermont's schools in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Miatagirl / iStock

A new plan being developed by the Vermont House Committee on Ways and Means could make some significant changes to how Vermont finances education. The plan would shift some of the burden from property taxes to income taxes.

'Vermont Edition' is broadcasting live Thursday from the 2018 Vermont Farm Show.
Matthew Smith / VPR

The Champlain Valley Expo is hosting more than 150 exhibitors over three days for this year's Vermont Farm Show, and Vermont Edition will be there too, broadcasting live. We'll talk to some of the folks there about what they do - farmers, exhibitors, and whomever else we find.

Rep. Peter Welch offers his take on President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Washington has been abuzz with debates over the budget extension vote, immigration reform related to DACA and net neutrality. Congressman Peter Welch joins Vermont Edition to discuss these topics and offer his reaction to President Trump's State of the Union address.

Isidro Rodriguez, left, is joining with Red Kite Candy's Mike McCabe to raise money for Food 4 Kids through the company’s Candy Lab program.
Isidro Rodriguez, courtesy

A New Hampshire man who's made it his mission to pay off lunch debt at his local schools is joining with a Bradford candy company for a candy-making partnership to raise money for his cause.

As Vermont's workforce ages, the state's labor force is losing workers. Changing that trend, economists and elected officials say, is key to Vermont's future.
Peter Hirschfeld (far left), Ric Cengeri (left center), VPR File / Pexels

Facing an aging population and a shrinking labor pool, the need for Vermont's workforce to change trajectory has been a problem for years.

Vermont Edition looks at what's being proposed by Gov. Phil Scott's administration to realize that change, and the larger trends shaping that struggle.

Bees Wrap is used as an alternative to plastic wrap and sandwich bags and is made by a team in Bristol.
You're So Golden

A Bristol entrepreneur's homemade food packaging product was growing nicely and sustainably until a Buzzfeed video featuring the company went viral last year. Sarah Kaeck, founder of Bee's Wrap, quickly ramped up production as the interest threatened to overwhelm capacity.

Students at Dover Elementary School gathered in the library to discuss Kelly Barnhill's novel "The Girl Who Drank the Moon" and posed with the paper birds they made.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Students at Dover Elementary are trying their hands at making origami birds. Paper birds like these play an interesting role in Kelly Barnhill’s fantastical novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon. The birds in the book are magical, and they can be both helpful and vicious.

GPS systems and navigation apps sometimes face challenges navigating Vermont's roads.
Shannon McGee / flickr

A car that ended up in Lake Champlain made headlines after the out-of-town sightseers behind the wheel said they were steered out onto the ice by the Waze driving app.

We're talking about the challenges for navigation apps in a state like Vermont, with plenty of dirt roads and snowmobile trails, and a lower population of users. 

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for the January 2018 federal government shutdown, citing concerns over DACA recipients, the so-called "dreamers" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Scott Kirkwood / National Parks Conservation Association

Elizabeth Hewitt covers Washington, D.C. politics for VTDigger. She was covering the Capitol as Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for what ultimately became a three-day shutdown of the federal government.

ThomasVogel / iStock

In the wake of the passage of Vermont's recreational marijuana law, Vermont Edition looked at the health impact of smoking cannabis.

Dr. Garth Garrison, a pulmonary disease specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, spoke about what is currently known about smoking, smoking marijuana specifically, and cancer.

A Vermont State Police cruiser watches for speeding drivers on I-89 in September 2015.
Steve Zind / VPR

Vermont lawmakers are taking up a new highway safety bill that could make failure to wear a seat belt a "stoppable offense," as well as introduce tougher penalties for young motorists using cell phones while driving.

The push comes after a third of victims in Vermont's fatal crashes last year weren't wearing seat belts, in what was the deadliest year on Vermont roads in four years.

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