John Dillon

Senior Reporter, New England News Collaborative

A veteran Vermont reporter, John joined VPR in 2001. Previously, John was a staff writer for the Sunday Times Argus and the Sunday Rutland Herald, responsible for breaking stories and in-depth features on local issues. He has also served as Communications Director for the Vermont Health Care Authority and Bureau Chief for UPI in Montpelier. John was honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2007 for his reporting on VPR. He was the lead reporter for a VPR series on climate change that in 2008 won a national Edward R. Murrow award for continuing coverage. In 2009, John's coverage of an asbestos mine in northern Vermont was recognized with a regional investigative reporting award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

 

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Cables plugged into a machine.
Kynny / iStock

Consolidated Communications has agreed to upgrade its network to prevent a repeat of equipment failures that disrupted emergency 911 services three times over the last three years.

The spent nuclear fuel at Vermont Yankee is being moved from the cooling pools, shown in this photo, into dry cask storage.
Toby Talbot / AP/file

When you think about renewable energy, does a nuclear power plant come to mind? Probably not. But in a roundabout way,  Vermont utilities are using nuclear energy to meet the state’s renewable energy standards.

AP/Toby Talbot

Vermont’s on and off again winter has overloaded some of the state’s aging waste water treatment systems, resulting in hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage spilling into rivers and streams.

Four adults stand with snowshoes on.
John Dillon / VPR

The state’s largest wetlands area stretches 15 miles along the Otter Creek in Addison and Rutland counties. Local groups have started talking to the state about how to provide greater protection for the Otter Creek wetlands, as the Trump administration seeks to roll back national wetland protection rules. 

A ridge in Swanton Vermont in the distance, site of proposed wind project.
Melody Bodette / VPR File

The state has agreed to reimburse a wind developer most of the cost of a permit fee for a project now on hold.

Farmers stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at their annual banquet at the 2019 Vermont Farm Show.
John Dillon / VPR

After four years of low milk prices — which has led to the loss of dozens of Vermont dairy farms — experts say to expect little improvement in 2019. As the downward spiral continues, policymakers are increasingly looking for ways to control the milk supply to stop the price freefall.

Steve Zind / VPR

Concerns that Chinese technology may threaten U.S. cybersecurity have surfaced in Vermont.

A ridge in Swanton Vermont in the distance, site of proposed wind project.
Melody Bodette / VPR File

The Vermont Supreme Court says the state has to repay a wind developer all or part of a $100,000 fee required for environmental review of a project in Swanton that is now on hold.

The developers had paid the fee, but asked for the money back after an adverse ruling from the state Public Utility Commission.

Herb Swanson / swanpix.com

The push for renewable energy has been strong in Vermont. So strong that the grid in northeast Vermont sometimes gets so overloaded that renewable energy projects are ordered offline.

A row of six phones, each served by a different carrier with a variety of wires.
John Dillon / VPR

Two state officials devised a data collection project this fall to challenge cell carriers' claims that between them they cover virtually the entire state.

All Things Considered host Henry Epp talked to VPR reporter John Dillon about the goal of improving cell service around Vermont, and the MacGyver-like problem solving that went into the state's challenge. 

Corey Chase, a state telecommunications infrastructure specialist, holding a cell phone and sitting at a desk.
John Dillon / VPR

A Vermont Department of Public Service employee drove more than 6,000 miles around the state this fall to test the adequacy of wireless coverage. What he found is now part of a detailed challenge before the Federal Communications Commission that officials hope will bring federal dollars into the state to improve the wireless network.

Multiple brown cows standing in a row before hay, one has its head up.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Farmers needing government loans confront empty offices and unanswered calls as the partial government shutdown drags into the fourth week. State officials are also concerned that the shutdown will result in a delay in developing a program designed to help struggling dairy farmers.

We got questions and comments from many of you after our discussion of Ben & Jerry's social mission with Will Allen. Here's some of what we found out.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR/file

A court has refused to dismiss legal claims that Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. uses deceptive labeling and marketing to mislead consumers about its commitment to a clean environment and humane farming.

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

State regulators have questioned whether the Vermont Gas Systems Inc. pipeline in Addison County should continue to operate if it’s shown that a licensed engineer never approved the pipeline plans.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson joins us to talk about her legislative agenda.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

The 2019 legislative session will inevitably include partisan fights and scathing floor debates, but on opening day at least, a spirit of unity prevailed in Montpelier.

An aerial view of an damanged bridge with a construction vehicle nearby.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Act 250, Vermont’s major land use and development review law, is approaching the mid-century mark. And a commission that has spent the last 18 months looking at its future says the law need to be updated to reflect more current environmental threats, such as climate change.

Courtesy / Washington Electric Co-op

A boom in renewable energy around New England has led to higher rates for a small Vermont utility. The reason has to do with the declining value of an energy commodity know as "renewable energy credits."

Federal immigration authorities searching for people in the country illegally have found a willing partner in state motor vehicle departments, according to immigration activists.

In a dozen states and Washington, D.C., undocumented people can still get a license to drive. The idea is that roads are safer if everyone using them has passed a driver's test.

But that licensing process may put undocumented people at risk of deportation.

The Vermont Gas pipeline to Addison County has been completed, but state regulators are looking into allegations of shoddy construction.
John Van Hoesen / VPR File

Concerns over safety continue to plague Vermont Gas Systems and its Addison County pipeline, with the state questioning whether a licensed professional engineer signed off on the project.  

The control room at Green Mountain Power. The Public Utility Commission says GMP can raise rates by 5.43 percent next September.
Toby Talbot / AP

Green Mountain Power customers will pay slightly less for their electricity next year before rates rise 5.43 percent in September, according to a ruling from state utility regulators.

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