Matthew F. Smith

Producer, Vermont Edition

Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as a producer for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined VPR in October 2017.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years in China and the U.S. before pursuing a career in journalism.

At the New York State Capitol in Albany, legislators have been debating the budget, a plastic bag ban and funding for clean water projects.
Izumi Jones / Unsplash

The New York state legislature is dealing with many of the same issues as lawmakers in Vermont; in Albany there's been debate as lawmakers work on putting together a plastic bag ban and coming up with the right source for clean water funding. And then there's the budget that just passed and awaits a signature from the governor.

Blue-green algae blooms in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

Vermont lawmakers agree the state needs millions of dollars' worth of clean water projects. But there's less agreement on where Vermont will get the roughly $60 million it needs to fund them. We're talking about clean water plans advancing in Montpelier and what the options are to pay for them.

A prototype of the SheFly hiking pants shows the zipper that extends nearly to the back of the pants.
SheFly, courtesy

You’re out in the country when nature calls. For some people, dealing with that bodily function can be as simple as unzipping a fly. But for others, it’s a lot more complicated. Enter SheFly Apparel — a new company started by a trio of Middlebury College students that is bringing some much-needed enhancements to women’s hiking attire. 

A maintenance crew walks towards Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets in South Burlington in April 2010. The final four F-16s departed Vermont on Saturday, April 6, making room for a fleet of 18 F-35 jets set to arrive this fall.
Toby Talbot / AP

After more than 30 years, the last F-16 fighter jets flew out of Vermont Saturday, April 6. Now the Vermont Air National Guard is preparing pilots, mechanics and more for the arrival of a new fleet of F-35 jets this fall. We're looking back at the F-16s' years of service in Vermont and getting an update on the controversy and costs surrounding the coming F-35s.

What does your life in Vermont look like in the year 2050? We're imagining Vermont at the mid-century and asking you to share what has - and hasn't - changed.
hanibaram / iStock

We're jumping ahead to the year 2050 to imagine what life will be like in Vermont by mid-century, and looking back from an imagined future to talk about how Vermont can address climate change and other challenges. 

Boston Red Sox's David Price (left), catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Chris Sale celebrate after winning the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 28, 2018.
Mark J. Terrill / AP

Baseball season is underway, and in Vermont Edition's baseball show we'll look at how teams across the league are stacking up and discuss some big rule changes under consideration that Major League Baseball hopes will shake up — and speed up — the sport.

Some 3 billion American chestnut trees succumbed to a fungal blight in the early 1900s. Now an organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking approval to release a genetically engineered chestnut tree into the wild.
Public Domain via Pixabay

The once-ubiquitous American chestnut tree is now functionally extinct, nearly erased from the landscape by a blight that killed roughly 3 billion trees over 50 years. Now a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking federal approval to release a genetically engineered blight-resistant chestnut into the wild. But is a genetically engineered tree the right way to restore a virtually extinct species?

The month-long "University of Irasburg" is drawing from the town for both teachers and students for classes ranging from conversational Spanish to ways to cook a bear.
Judith Jackson, courtesy

They are a popular trend mixing the important with the ephemeral; "pop-up" shops offer a brief chance to buy boutique wares, while "pop-up" restaurants may only serve meals for a single day. Now in April the Northeast Kingdom town of Irasburg is recruiting students — and teachers — for the month-long "pop-up" University of Irasburg

A white-tailed deer photographed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We're looking at the proposed changes to deer hunting in Vermont by 2020.
Scott Bauer / USDA

Hunting rules usually change due to shifts in the animal population hunters are harvesting. But in 2020, Vermont’s deer hunting rules are changing for a different reason: a long decline in the number of hunters. That's leading the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to propose changes from bag limits to antler point restrictions to season structure. We're looking at the proposed changes.

In September 2018, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin joined "Vermont Edition" and a live audience to discuss her new book, "Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties."
Anna Ste Marie / VPR

During VPR's March Membership Drive Vermont Edition is featuring special episodes showcasing some of the best recent shows and collecting interviews with notable Vermonters. Few are more notable than the only woman to ever lead the state, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House on Sunday, March 24, 2019, just days after delivering his findings in the Russia investigation and the Trump presidential campaign.
Cliff Owen / AP

The findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller mean talk of impeaching President Trump are likely over, according to Garrett Graff, a Vermont-based reporter who’s followed Mueller's career for years. 

We're talking about the debate over life without parole in Vermont.
powerofforever / iStock

Life in prison with no chance of parole is the harshest punishment possible in Vermont. Some see it as a necessary sentence for the worst crimes, whiles others see it as an unforgiving punishment devoid of hope for rehabilitation. We're talking about what life without parole means for public safety, rehabilitation and deterrence, and for the cost of the justice system in Vermont.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, flanked by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, speaks at a February 2019 news conference amid border security negotiations.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Thursday in Washington, Sen. Patrick Leahy voted to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration on the southern border. We're talking with the Senator about that resolution, security and humanitarian concerns at the Southern border, Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential run and more.

On "Vermont Edition" we're talking about growing grains and hops, malting barley locally and how nearby farmers are increasingly contributing to brewing up Vermont-made beverages.
aetb / iStock

You've heard of farm-to-table. But what about farm-to-pint-glass?

Vermont Edition looks at locally-grown hops and grains used in some Vermont-made beers and spirits, why local ingredients can inspire — or bedevil — small brewers or distillers, and how Vermont's climate and soil can give hops and other ingredients distinctive flavors you can taste right in the glass.

Helen Lyons can be heard hosting mornings on "VPR Classical" weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Matthew Smith / VPR

Morning listeners to VPR Classical likely noticed a new voice on the air over the last month.

Helen Lyons, a classically-trained soprano who’s performed in genres from opera to chamber music in the U.S., Europe and Asia, joined VPR in February as the new morning host.

Vermonters receive an estimated 145,000 robocalls every day. We're looking at what's behind the rapidly increasing numbers of robocalls.
Kirillm / iStock

Vermonters gets an estimated 4.5 million robocalls each month. Calls from scammers and marketers to an 802 number have doubled in just the last two years. We're looking at what's behind the rise in robocalls and ways you can protect yourself from the flood of unwanted calls.

A sample driver's privilege card from the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. Losing the ability to drive can have far-reaching repercussions in Vermont.
Department of Motor Vehicles

Life in a rural state like Vermont can require a lot of driving, and a suspended driver’s license can be a significant hardship. But the demands of work, family and other obligations often mean that many still drive even when they're not supposed to. We're looking at what leads to a suspended license in Vermont and how getting a DLS charge can lead to more citations, larger fines and bigger trouble.

Col. Greg Knight was selected by legislators as the next Adjutant General for the Vermont National Guard in February.
1st Lt. Mikel Arcovitch / Vermont National Guard

Col. Greg Knight will be the new Adjutant General for the Vermont National Guard. He takes over the position on Friday, March 8.

Knight takes the helm of the reserve militia as it faces 400 empty positions and in the wake of a months-long VTDigger investigation alleging sexual harassment and other misconduct within the Guard.

Underhill residents gather at Town Meeting Day in 2018. "Vermont Edition" looks at how access to voting has changed in Vermont over time and how the question of "who gets to vote" continues to broaden.
Jim Beebe-Woodard

Town Meeting Day reminds Vermonters of how we vote in our unique form of local democracy, but the question of who gets to vote — in elections and at Town Meetings — continues to change. We're talking about how.

Rebecca Byars, left, and Peter Pardoe of Valley Improv perform at the Woolen Mill Comedy Club in Bridgewater. The ideas of improv are increasingly leaving the stage and being applied at work and with other large groups.
Collen Doyle / Woolen Mills Comedy Club

Improvisational comedy is about making it up as you go along, but the ideas of improv are increasingly finding their way to workplaces and other groups to increase teamwork, foster collaboration and spark new ideas. We're looking at improv in Vermont and how its ideas apply at work and in daily life.

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