John Dillon

Senior Reporter

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.


Ways to Connect

John Hall / Fish & Wildlife Department

Bald eagles are soaring again in Vermont. The magnificent birds were pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting, habitat loss and pesticide poisoning.

Waves crash on a beach with houses along the ocean, under a gray wintery sky.
Michael Dwyer / Associated Press File

As the planet warms, many areas around the world may become uninhabitable. On the east coast of the United States, especially in population centers like Boston and New York, rising sea levels and increased coastal flooding are likely to force people to move inland to places that are higher, drier and relatively affordable – places like Vermont.

ATV riders on a greenery-filled trail.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Riders of all-terrain vehicles in Vermont are increasingly asking for access to town roads. ATV clubs have found a warm welcome in a dozen or more towns statewide, as local officials look to boost businesses that may be hurting from a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberto Masnovo / Thinkstock

The COVID-19 pandemic made the state's broadband inequities glaringly clear. Despite a big push by the state last year, thousands of people, especially those in Vermont's most rural areas, could not get online to go to school, work or access health care. The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act could change that.

Little brown bat
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

The Fish and Wildlife Department and a state science advisory panel disagree over how to protect endangered bats in Vermont from a large-scale pesticide spraying program.

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.

A murky brook under a road bridge with grassy banks.
Nat Shambaugh, Courtesy

A new report by a retired state scientist shows the apparent unintended consequence of the successful push by dairy farmers to reduce nutrient runoff into Lake Champlain.

A pipeline on a dirt path in a green field.
John Van Hoesen / VPR File

State regulators say Vermont Gas failed to comply with its permit and didn't follow its own construction standards when it built its 41-mile natural gas pipeline to Addison County.

lakeshore cliff
The Nature Conservancy, Courtesy

A popular state park on Lake Champlain is about to get bigger, thanks to a purchase of waterfront land by The Nature Conservancy.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation say the president's transportation infrastructure plan is a giveaway to Wall Street investment firms.
tomazi / iStock

Act 250, the state's main development review law, turned 50-years-old last year, and critics, including Gov. Phil Scott, say the law is showing its age. Scott signed an executive order this month, saying it will bring more consistency for developers. But some lawmakers are pushing back.

Frank Petrosino and Heidi Smith
John Dillon / VPR

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s easy to forget that there are other terrible diseases in the world, ones that we know very little about. Consider amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — ALS.

One cow cleaning another cow
Elodie Reed / VPR

A committee devoted to cleaning up Lake Champlain is asking some tough questions about Vermont’s signature dairy industry.

Lowell wind turbines
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

State officials are working to address a problem involving the physics of electricity, the surge in solar development and a local transmission grid that is seriously strained.

snowy barnyard
John Dillon / VPR File

Neighbors of a large Addison County dairy farm want to stop its expansion. But the farm — which faces state fines for environmental violations that date back to 2016 — argues adding more cows won't increase water pollution into Lake Champlain.

A man in a hard hat in a bucket truck next to a white barn with a tree and mountain in the background
Elodie Reed / VPR

The pandemic has shifted even more of our lives online. So what's being done to address Vermont's internet inequities?

That's what Maggie Eppstein of Hinesburg asked Brave Little State, VPR's people-powered journalism project.

glass mountain
State of Vermont, Courtesy

Attorney General TJ Donovan is close to wrapping up an investigation into charges that the state’s largest solid waste district illegally dumped glass for years instead of recycling it as claimed.

A woman at a podium
Screenshot / Facebook

Updated 6:42 a.m.  11/4/2020

Democrat Molly Gray will be Vermont's next lieutenant governor, according to unofficial returns.

A photo showing a view of a leaf underwater and trees above water
Elodie Reed / VPR File

Northern Vermont's Green River Reservoir is a haven for wildlife and quiet water enthusiasts. It's also under threat because of a long-running dispute over how the water level is managed.

A beach on a cloudy day.
John Dillon / VPR

Call it the cyanobacteria summer for Lake Champlain and Burlington’s beaches.  The hot, dry weather came early and hung around for months. The heat made for perfect swimming days, but people seeking relief with a dip in Lake Champlain in Burlington were out of luck.

Gov. Phil Scott smiling with Mitzi Johnson in the background
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus File

Gov. Phil Scott has allowed a commercial tax-and-regulate system for marijuana sales to become law without his signature.