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Maurice L. Harris / The Episcopal Church in Vermont

The Episcopal Church in Vermont has elected its next bishop. 

Shannon MacVean-Brown is the first African American to be elected bishop of the Episcopal Church in Vermont. She will be one of three African American women to hold that title in New England's seven Episcopal diocese.

Denise Stubbs of the Vermont Hemp Nursery stands among some plants at the Cannabis and Hemp Convention.
Emily Corwin / VPR

The Vermont Cannabis and Hemp Convention opened at the Champlain Valley Expo this weekend. The recreational use of marijuana has been legal in the state for almost a year. And this year's convention doubled in size from 63 vendors last year, to 130 this weekend.  Many at the convention said that growth mimics the growth of the industry at large. 

A planner with a spot for each day of the week, set on a purple background
csy302 / iStock

Vermont lawmakers have been putting in long hours at the Statehouse this week, trying to wrap up work on a number of complex policy bills. While the Legislature had been hoping to adjourn this weekend, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said they're going to have to come back for at least a couple days next week.

Exterior of the Vermont Gas building.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Will it matter if a major pipeline company has a larger stake in the parent companies of Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas? Climate activists and opponents of gas pipelines think so.

Congressman Peter Welch makes phone calls in his office in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Costs for generic medications have skyrocketed in recent years, with some increasing by as much as 8,000%. The explosion in drug costs is the leading factor behind the nearly 16% rate hike Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont requested this month for participants in Vermont Health Connect.

Now Congressman Peter Welch is co-sponsoring several bills to reign in prescription drug costs at the federal level.

A room in the Miller building at UVM Medical Center, with a bed and a dummy patient laying in it.
Emily Corwin / VPR

The University of Vermont Medical Center unveiled its new Robert E. and Holly D. Miller Building to reporters on Friday. The building has 128 rooms, serving specialty surgery, cardiology, oncology and orthopedic patients.

The House floor during opening day of the Vermont Legislature on Jan. 9, 2019. We're talking with Republican leaders in the statehouse to get their thoughts as the legislative session nears its end.
Oliver Parini / VPR

Lawmakers are wrapping up the legislative session and we're talking with Republican leaders in the House and Senate about what they want to accomplish in their final days in Montpelier. 

The Vermont Senate has given its approval to a Paid Family Leave bill but the legislation is quite different from a proposal adopted in the House earlier in the session.
Oliver Parini / For VPR, File

By a vote of 19 to 10, the Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to a scaled back Paid Family Leave bill, but the future of the bill this session remains very much in doubt.

Looking up at the front of the Vermont Statehouse.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

House lawmakers gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation that would boost the minimum wage in Vermont, but Senate Democrats say the increase isn’t sufficient to improve the economic standing of low-wage workers in the state.

Justices of the Vermont Supreme Court are interested in finding a solution to the backlog of abuse and negelct cases stemming from the state's opioid epidemic.
Adam Fagen / Flickr

Vermont's opioid epidemic has created a backlog of child abuse and neglect cases in Vermont's courts. The Vermont Judiciary formed a commission to look at how the state handles the most severe cases in the family court. Now the commission recommends diverting these cases to a separate program that concentrates on individuals who are considered high-risk and high-need.

Shacksbury Cider with Japanese labels.
Henry Epp / VPR

In 2015, Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets secured $25,000 from a federal grant to help fund a trade mission to Japan. Leaders of eight small food producers, along with a few government employees, headed to Tokyo for four days in October 2016.

The goal was to drum up new business in an international market. So, a few years later, have those companies made sales to Japan?

A lone feral swine tracked by trail cameras was shot and killed in Lyndonville in March. It tested positive for pseudorabies, a virus that's harmless to humans but potentially deadline to livestock and pets.
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

A lone feral swine shot and killed near Lyndonville in March tested positive for the pseudorabies virus, or PRV. The virus is harmless to humans but can be lethal to domestic pigs, other livestock and pets. And once a pig is infected with PRV, it can continue to spread the virus for the rest of its life. 

We're talking about the Dr. Dynasaur health care program and how it has evolved over the years.
Julianna Funk / iStock

The "Dr. Dynasaur" program has been providing healthcare for children and pregnant women for thirty years, and it's gone through a number of expansions and iterations. We're talking about how Dr. Dynasaur works, who is covered, how the program has changed since its introduction and how it might evolve going forward.

Rich Holschuh, with the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, testifies before the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs. Holschuh said the "conventional narrative" surrounding Columbus Day "does not serve us well."
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Rich Holschuh isn’t sure yet what he’ll be doing on the second Monday in October later this year. But he says the celebration of Vermont’s first Indigenous Peoples' Day will no doubt be a big one.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Tesla’s solar energy company is again in trouble with the state of Vermont.

A tractor rakes a field of asparagus
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

In 2015, the Agency of Agriculture teamed up with the Department of Tourism and Marketing to open a Vermont produce stand at the brand-new Boston Public Market. The two agencies saw the market stall as a way to promote Vermont tourism through the sales of Vermont food products — so what happened with this $25,000 state project?

Bike riders
Will Freihofer

Vermont has expanded its mountain biking trails over the last couple of decades, as a way to boost tourism. Now, a growing trend in cycling is bringing people to the state to ride its already-existing infrastructure: gravel roads.

Nina Keck / VPR

The Vermont Farmers Food Center is a nonprofit in Rutland that’s been working to harness the economic potential of local agriculture. 

The group created Rutland’s indoor farmer’s market and has put teens to work on area farms.

Now they’re focused on using farming as a teaching tool. They hope a new greenhouse and a chance to grow plants will help school kids learn about nutrition, science, and themselves.

Vermont's only native lizard, a five-lined skink, on the move in June 2018. The species is considered endangered in Vermont.
Will Brown / Wikimedia Commons

Vermont's small-bodied snakes are moving, some turtles are basking and vernal pools are beginning to teem with new life. But amid a cool, wet spring, some reptiles and amphibians are still sluggish and vernal pools in higher elevations are still waiting to warm up. We're talking about where Vermont's "herps" are this year and the challenges they face in the near- and long-term.

Voters in Montpelier cast ballots at City Hall. Senate lawmakers have decided to defer action on a proposed charter change in Montpelier that would give non-citzens the right to vote in city elections.
John Odum, courtesy

State lawmakers are tapping the brakes on legislation that would expand voting rights in Montpelier and Brattleboro.

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