The Vermont Economy

VPR Steve Zind
VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Six months ago, Elmore residents John and Kristen Howell struck up a partnership with The Elmore Store owners Warren and Kathy Miller. They started selling pizza made from local ingredients out of the cramped general store.

Steve Zind / VPR

A century ago, home life in Vermont revolved around the wood burning cook stove. Meals were prepared, bread baked and hands warmed from the heat it produced. 

Stoves with names like Gold Coin, Priscilla and Charm Crawford may have faded into obscurity, but they still have an allure for some people, including Bill Wilber, who makes a living restoring them.

The Agency of Transportation has experienced some mild sticker shock for road and bridge projects this year. And the high cost of materials has contributed to a $16 million overrun.

It isn’t unusual for road and bridge projects to come in over budget. And Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles says the higher-than-expected costs for this year’s capital program are well within the norm.

iStock / Thinkstock

Homelessness is a problem in the United States that affects every state, and Vermont is no exception.

But a model of handling homelessness called Housing First is getting a lot of attention lately, because it not only helps get people off the streets, it also saves money.

Steve Zind / VPR

There’s an experiment underway in state government, and it involves the science of staffing. The state of Vermont, which employs as many as 1,500 temporary employees at any given time, is taking efforts to reduce reliance on short-term workers by allowing for more permanent hires.  

Bob Kinzel / VPR

In the last few months, the price of many generic drugs has increased dramatically. There are a number of cases where the price jumped more than 1,000 percent overnight.

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More than 46 million Americans are expected to travel some distance to get to Thanksgiving dinner this week. That's the most since before the great recession. And while the traffic and weather may not be cooperating, at least gas prices are down.

Toby Talbot / AP

Ridership on Amtrak’s Vermonter is at its highest level ever.

Vermont rail officials say track improvements have cut travel time to New York, which has helped attract riders. There are also plans to restore service to Montreal.

Union organizing efforts by adjunct faculty at Champlain College and Burlington College came to a successful conclusion Monday.  A union vote at a third college will be announced next week.

The majority of adjunct faculty at the two colleges voted to join the Service Employees International Union, which has been organizing at colleges around the country. 

Naomi Winterfalcon, who helped organize the union effort at Champlain College, says the union "seemed like a pipe dream at the beginning of the semester."

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Ever since the repeal of Prohibition, the state of Vermont has had control over the sale of hard liquor. But a new report from the state auditor suggests that perhaps it’s time to privatize Vermont’s retail booze industry.

Judging by the statistics at least, finding the holiday spirit apparently involves a trip to the local liquor store. 

The 35-day period between Thanksgiving and New Years will be responsible for about one-quarter of annual profits for the distilled-spirits industry, according to data from the national Distilled Spirits Council.