Brittany Patterson

News Editor

Brittany Patterson joined VPR in December 2020. Previously, she covered energy and environment for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Ohio Valley ReSource collaborative. She also teaches audio and video news writing at West Virginia University.

A marijuana plant.
Brennan Linsley / Associated Press File

This week, the process of setting up a legal cannabis marketplace in Vermont took a long-anticipated step forward as Gov. Phil Scott named his picks for the state's Cannabis Control Board, which will set the rules for marijuana sales.

road sign
Michael Dougherty / VT Digger

Essex County in the northeastern corner of Vermont has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate of any county in the state. What's going on?

The Greenland ice sheet.
Joshua Brown / University of Vermont

It’s not often that things that happened a million years ago are news today, but a new study published this week about Greenland’s ice sheet seems to be the exception to that rule.

Vaccination clinic sign
Brittany Patterson / VPR

In the last few weeks, Vermont has started offering COVID-19 vaccines to K-12 public and private school teachers and staff, early educators and child care workers, as the state pushes to get kids back into classrooms full time this spring. At one recent vaccination clinic for educators, teachers expressed excitement and relief as they received their shots.

Vermont Senator Becca Balint in Legislature
Maria French, Courtesy

Friday marked the halfway point for Vermont’s legislative session, also known as "crossover day." It marks the deadline for bills to be passed out of committee, which can help signal which measures stand a chance of passing the full body.

A needle going into the arm of a person with brown skin
Sean_Warren / iStock

As Vermont works to expand who can get vaccinated for COVID-19, state officials say they are committed to ensuring those disproportionately affected by the virus, including those who are Black, Indigenous and people of color, have equitable access to the vaccine. But what does equitable mean, and is the state's plan achieving it?

JAG Productions / Courtesy

For the past five years, JAGFest, a festival celebrating Black theater, has brought a group of artists to Vermont in the middle of winter to develop, workshop and perform new works. This year, as with so many things, an in-person workshop and festival were not possible due to COVID-19. So, the producers adapted by tapping into another medium.

A worker installs fiber optic lines in Norton.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the glaring inequities in broadband internet service in Vermont. Reliable and affordable internet is essential for virtual schooling, work and accessing health care. Now, three different ideas — from three widely different entities — are being considered as ways to boost high-speed internet access.

Chee standing by door in natural light
Robert Gill, Courtesy

Writer and Dartmouth professor Alexander Chee is the author of two novels — Edinburgh and Queen of the Night — and a collection of essays: How To Write an Autobiographical Novel. The self-described Korean American queer author has lived in Bradford, Vermont for four years, and this month, he was awarded a $50,000 fellowship from the organization United States Artists.

An attic with exposed wood framing and white insulation on its floor
MediaProduction / iStock

Gov. Phil Scott wants to spend $25 million in federal funds to weatherize thousands of homes, especially those of low- and middle-income Vermonters.

Man walking toward big rig truck.
Shawn Dumas, Courtesy

The border between the U.S. and Canada has been closed to most traffic for more than 10 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there is one group of people who have continued to cross it regularly throughout that time: truck drivers.

A young woman in a mask, faceshield and gloves administers a shot to a man in a mask
Elodie Reed / VPR

The state of Vermont opened its first COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the public Wednesday, giving shots to Vermonters aged 75 and older.

A police car flashes its blue lights.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Black and Hispanic drivers in Vermont are stopped, ticketed, searched and arrested at significantly higher rates than white drivers. That’s a key finding from a new report released this month that analyzed more than 800,000 traffic stops from 2014 to 2019.

Two toddlers on sleds in the snow.
Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Courtesy

Most of us were quite glad to see the end of 2020. But despite a cosmic plea for 2021 to be different, it turns out that just because it’s a new year, that doesn’t mean everything is magically better. 2021 has gotten off to a rocky start. Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The pandemic is still raging. Yet despite the ongoing challenges, the resiliency of the human spirit continues to find ways to survive.  

Dr. Mark Levine stands at a podium next to a screen
Screenshot / ORCA Media

After an exposure to COVID-19 at two of the state's recent coronavirus press breifings, Health Commissioner Mark Levine is among a handful of state officials in quarantine. For Levine, that means launching the second phase of Vermont's vaccine rollout, which begins next week for residents aged 75 and older, from home.

Attorney General TJ Donovan at a podium
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

State attorneys general, especially Democratic ones, have repeatedly challenged executive orders issued by the Trump administration in court. As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, those top law enforcement officials, including Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, will likely see their work change.

People in a tree holding flags with a crowd below and the Washington monument in the background
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Are Vermonters treating the Capitol riot as an act of white supremacy? And is there a shift from how this predominantly white state has handled structural racism in the past?

A gray sign with blue letters reads Brattleboro Police Department against a snowy background
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Two communities at opposite ends of Vermont are pushing forward with efforts to reform their police departments. The moves come in the wake of last year's national reckoning with racial equity and policing, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer.

Today, we're checking in on where things stand in these efforts – in Brattleboro and in Burlington.

gloved hands holding a syringe
Hans Pennink / Associated Press

The rollout of coronavirus vaccines around the country continues to go slower than expected, but a third vaccine may soon be on the way. An inoculation developed by Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca is now being used in the United Kingdom, and its being tested, in part, in Vermont.

Montreal city in the snow
swissmediavision /

On Saturday night, the province of Quebec will impose an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, to remain in place for the next four weeks, as the government aims to slow down climbing coronavirus case numbers.