The Frequency

Cities and towns all over Vermont are contending with freezing water pipes. Two Upper Valley towns are voting on consolidating elementary schools. Five cities are holding mayoral elections.

Burlington officials are working to strike the balance between two fundamental aspects of government: Keeping speech free and keeping government resources off the campaign trail.

Two Upper Valley towns will consider consolidating elementary schools on Town Meeting Day. Tuesday, March 3, voters and Bridgewater and Pomfret will vote on combining their kindergarten through sixth grade students into a jointly operated school, using the Pomfret School building.

A list of potential budget cuts totaling about $29 million was revealed Thursday by the Shumlin administration and key lawmakers that may be used to help close a budget gap in the 2016 fiscal year that has grown larger during this legislative session.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Champlain College is one step closer to a new mixed-use development near the heart of downtown Burlington.

The new building is set to replace what is currently a parking lot with a 104-unit student housing development with underground parking and commercial space on the ground floor.

“This will add 104 units, 290 beds in the downtown corridor, walking distance to our campus on our existing shuttle bus route,” said David Provost, Champlain’s senior vice president for finance and administration.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Bennington Sen. Dick Sears isn’t generally known for his delicacy. When troubled by circumstance, or the person who brought it about, Sears will, from time to time, lend voice to his dissatisfaction.

And so it was on Wednesday morning, when the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed an epic verbal smack down on Ed Cutler, the president of Gun Owners of Vermont.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont said Tuesday that thousands of its customers may have had their personal information compromised by a data breach at another insurance company.

According to a news release, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) customers in question are those who were treated in the 14 states in which Anthem, Inc. operates.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Members of Vermont’s congressional delegation are pressing their colleagues to prevent a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security this week.

The department’s funding will stop at the end of the day Friday if no resolution is reached, but Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have so far not allowed a vote on a “clean” budget bill.

The budget itself is not the point of contention, said Rep. Peter Welch.

Montpelier is the latest community to suggest water customers consider taking precautions against freezing pipes. The city is warning that incidents of frozen water pipes are on the rise, after many consecutive days of below-zero temperatures.

Molly Riley / AP/file

State Auditor Doug Hoffer has concluded his inquiry into a state contract with MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber. And he says he believes that Gruber likely overstated the number of hours a research assistant worked on the project.

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