Charlotte Albright

Commentator

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Students at Johnson State College are learning to use music as medicine for what the college says is the nation’s only bachelors’ degree in wellness. To bring a real-world perspective to the academic offerings, harpist Linda Schneck recently gave a musical lecture demonstration.

Charlotte Albright

While some communities hit by weekend floods, ice jams, and power outages returned to normal by Monday, others braced for a one-two-punch from the weather. As temperatures dropped and ice re-froze on limbs and lines, the town of Barton, in the Northeast Kingdom, struggled to make progress.

William Staats

Ballots are being cast by mail in a remote corner of the Northeast Kingdom  for—or against—a wind power project.  But it’s not an official election, it’s a survey paid for by a wind power developer who is gauging local support for a controversial project in the tiny town of Ferdinand.

Opponents say the turbines would ruin the scenic landscape, and they have been conducting their own opinion poll by telephone.

Charlotte Albright

As Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca leaves his job at the end of this year, one of his final reports is sparking debate between the Ethan Allen Institute, a think tank that promotes free-market policies, and the Public Assets Institute, which champions publicly funded education.

The first face-off was at Lyndon State College on Dec. 13.  

Charlotte Albright / VPR

For over forty years, in ten different American cities, amateur singers and dancers have joined professional performers to welcome the winter solstice with a holiday variety show called “The Revels.” This year at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center, the theme is “An Appalachian Celebration,” and it features some high-stepping, fast-fiddling Vermonters.

Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont’s Public Service Board is looking into whether the standards it sets for noise created by energy generation, including wind turbines, are stringent enough.  

The Board is not planning to re-set the bar for any wind projects already operating in Vermont, but it does want to re-examine the noise level criteria it has been using for approval.  

Geoff Commons is the public advocate for the Department of Public Service, and represents rate payers before the board.

Vermont Dept. of Motor Vehicles

Starting in January, Vermonters will be able to get a new kind of driver’s license. It’s called the Real ID. Supporters say the new cards will protect federal courts, nuclear power plants and commercial aircraft against terrorism.

Opponents say the cards raise privacy concerns.

Charlotte Albright

For the last few months, local opposition has been building in Lyndonville to a residential home for people with mental disabilities. The facility houses no more than two people who need support during a mental health crisis but do not require hospitalization.  Neighbors say the leased home violates town zoning laws.

The debate highlights a tension between neighbor resistance and the state policy goal of providing services to people in their communities.

Herb Swanson / swanpix.com

As the website for Health Connect, Vermont’s new health insurance marketplace, becomes easier to navigate, employers and employees are finally getting a closer look at the way new policies will affect their pocketbooks.  For some, workplace insurance makes financial sense, but for others, it doesn’t.

Charlotte Albright

The state of Vermont is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, and it’s a problem that could get worse as more people access health care insurance.

One aim of the Affordable Health Care Act and Vermont’s new marketplace, Health Connect, is to insure more Vermonters. And surveys suggest that Vermont has an adequate supply of physicians per capita. But they are not evenly distributed throughout the state, and many are specialists, not primary care doctors.  So Paul Bengtson, CEO of Northern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury, is worried.

Charlotte Albright

A man known as the unofficial mayor of Derby Line has been named Northeast Kingdom Senior of the Year by the Area Agency on Aging for Northeastern Vermont. Joe Queenin accepted the award at the annual meeting earlier this month,

Charlotte Albright

This time of year, charitable pantries have a hard time meeting the need of families who cannot afford to buy food. But certain donations are clearly more useful than others. Some customers get handed a box of canned goods they would never have chosen for themselves, and may not know how to prepare. 

The wild-game supper has traditionally been a way for rural America to share the harvest before winter sets in. Food historians trace the ritual back to Colonial times, when families had to hunt in order to eat well, and some providers were better shots than others.

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Senator Patrick Leahy is the most senior member of the U.S. Senate -- and he also may be its most devoted photographer. Leahy is rarely seen on Capitol Hill without his camera, and he brings it along wherever he travels.

Few photojournalists have his access to national and world leaders behind the scenes. He also enjoys making portraits of everyday people, especially those who live in remote, sometimes dangerous  places. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

There’s a new effort underway in Vermont and New Hampshire to keep veterans out of the criminal justice system.

Or, if they are incarcerated, to provide mental health treatment.

At a recent homelessness summit at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, the focus was on how to make sure that all vets have homes—and that those homes are not jails.

At last count, there were about 111 veterans in Vermont who would be homeless if they were not living in shelters.

Charlotte Albright

North Country Hospital, in Newport, is facing about $42,000 in fines for what Vermont’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors say were “serious” problems relating to the storage and handling of blood borne pathogens.

The inspection was triggered by an employee’s allegation  that the practices had been repeatedly reported to hospital administrators, who failed to take swift action.

Charlotte Albright

Over the weekend, 150 students from 17 schools all over Vermont competed for a chance to take their Lego robots to  a championship round in New Hampshire next month.  The competition is sponsored by a non-profit called FIRST, an acronym that stands for  “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”

Robin Smith / Caledonian Record

North Country Hospital in Newport was cited by the Centers for Medicaid Services for improperly refrigerating drugs and other biological solutions.

The hospital said it quickly corrected the problem.

Charlotte Albright

As winter approaches, firefighters go on high alert. Heating is the number one cause of household fires, followed closely by cooking. Add extra candles, flammable greens, and more indoor smoking, and you could have a crisis. But will your town be able to respond to a fire? That depends on whether there are enough firefighters available, and those rosters are shrinking.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought an optimistic message to Dartmouth Tuesday. Lunching with students before an afternoon lecture, he said he thought the groundwork has been laid for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.  Olmert welcomed recent changes in Egypt and Iran, and said that regional threats to Israel were diminishing, setting the stage for a stable agreement with the Palestinian Authority. 

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