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.

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

One of the goals of House Speaker Mitzi Johnson is to create economic development programs that can revitalize rural parts of Vermont. We're talking with Speaker Johnson about her priorities for the coming legislative session.

The Spirit Sanctuary in Essex, New York hopes to preserve a wildlife corridor by turning it into a "green" burial ground.
The Spirit Sanctuary, courtest

To preserve a wildlife corridor between Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks that could help animals survive a changing climate, a new organization is taking a unique approach: the Spirit Sanctuary in Essex, New York is buying up land for people who want to be buried there.

The Monumental Arch in Palmyra, Syria in 2003, is one of the 100 photographs of pre-war Syria captured by Shaftsbury photographer Kevin Bubriski in "Legacy In Stone."
Kevin Bubriski

Syria—and its nearly decade-long civil war—has been the subject of countless news stories and foreign policy debates. Syrians fleeing violence from war and the Islamic State weigh heavily in the international conversation about refugees and migration.

In 2003, Shaftsbury photographer Kevin Bubriski started documenting what would become some of the final images of pre-war Syria. His stark black-and-white pictures of the architecture, places and people of Syria are collected in a new book called Legacy In Stone: Syria Before War.

Your car's "check engine" light can mean anything from mechanical issues to emissions concerns. We're looking at the end of the state's "conditional pass" and what it means for car inspections going forward.
baloon111 / iStock

This month the Vermont DMV sent out a postcard alerting motorists to the end of "conditional passes" for cars failing emissions tests during inspection, along with a list of ways to get a vehicle "ready" for inspection.

For many, the postcard led to confusion rather than clarity. We're looking at what's changed for Vermont's vehicle inspections and what you need to know about getting your car ready for inspection.

Gov. Phil Scott shares coffee with his legislative colleagues at the opening of the 2019 Vermont Legislature.
Matthew Smith / VPR

In his second inaugural address, Gov. Phil Scott outlined his priorities for dealing with the major challenges facing Vermont. We're talking with Gov. Scott about his agenda and what it means for the Vermont economy, property taxes, education spending and more.

Politico report on fresh allegations of sexual harassment within the the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Herb Swanson / VPR

The 2016 presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has faced accusations of "sexual violence and harassment" by staffers who worked on the campaign. Now new reporting from Politico identifies a senior campaign director who allegedly made inappropriate physical advances on a junior staffer in 2016.

Photographer Matthew Thorsen's pictures have appeared in "Seven Days" for more than 20 years.
Diane Sullivan / courtesy Seven Days

For more than 20 years photographer Matthew Thorsen's pictures were a mainstay in Vermont’s weekly newspaper Seven Days, capturing the people, events and landscapes of the state and defining the paper’s visual style. He was well-known in Burlington's art and music scenes, as much for his quirky sense of style and shock of bleach blond hair as for his photographs.

Thorsen died on New Year's Day after a yearslong battle with cancer. He was 51. 

The focus turns back to Montpelier as the Legislature convenes for a new biennium.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

When the gavel sounds, the new legislative session begins. Vermont Edition will be at the Statehouse as the 75th biennial session of the Vermont Legislature convenes, broadcasting live from the Cedar Creek Room.

Vermont's new chief information security officer, Nicholas Andersen, says the state faces evolving threats to cybersecurity and citizen data held by the state.
bgblue / iStock

The state of Vermont will spend millions of dollars on cybersecurity through 2019 to keep the data you share with the state—like at the DMV or when you do your taxes—protected from threats in cyberspace.

We're talking with Vermont's new chief information security officer, Nicholas Andersen, about what those threats are and how they're evolving. Andersen works in the state's Agency of Digital Services.

Rep. Peter Welch will be dealing a number of controversial issues this week.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press File

Congressman Peter Welch was sworn in for his seventh term in Congress on Thursday. Welch returns to Washington amid a government in shutdown, a House of Representatives now controlled by his party, the Democrats, and a vote for a new Speaker of the House.

Protesters carry signs at a Chicago rally against sexual assault and rape culture in 2015.
Bob Simpson / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Education is proposing new rules for how sexual assault and harassment is handled on college campuses. The changes could limit the types of complaints schools can investigate and potentially allow live hearings where victims could be cross-examined.

The department says it's to protect both accusers and the accused, but victim advocates fear the changes could discourage victims from reporting abuse.

Dr. David Toll in his office at 85 Main St. in St. Johnsbury, where he practiced medicine for decades until age 90.
Matthew Payeur / Empire Imaging, courtesy

Dr. David Toll was a physician who practiced medicine in St. Johnsbury for decades and connected with patients from across the Northeast Kingdom and northern New Hampshire. He saw patients from childhood into middle age and worked until he himself was 90. And over this weekend, he died. He was 93 years old.

An astronaut on the International Space Station performs a spacewalk while tethered to the ISS on Dec. 13, 2018. A radiant blue earth is seen in the background.
Alexander Gerst / European Space Agency / NASA

The past year has held exciting news about space: from a new Mars lander, to important strides in spaceflight, to discoveries of distant exoplanets to observations of 'Oumuamua, the first object from another star ever seen in our own solar system. We're talking about the year in space and what to expect in 2019.

Researchers at UVM and 20 other sites across the country are studying more than 11,800 children to learn how brain development relates to behavior, achievement, mental health outcomes and more.
iStock

Nearly 12,000 children aged nine and ten are now taking part in a decade-long, nationwide study looking at how young brains develop. And 577 of them are right here in Vermont.

We're talking with investigators leading the research at UVM about this landmark study and what they're learning about this pivotal decade in the development of young brains. 

Bill Gardner survived the toughest challenge of his more than four decades as New Hampshire's Secretary of State.
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Bill Gardner has served as New Hampshire’s Secretary of State for more than 40 years, and last week, New Hampshire legislators—not voters—elected him to his 22nd term in office.

But his re-election was no sure thing, and victory came only after a contentious and unprecedented day in the legislature. Tied up in Gardener’s reappointment are questions about election reforms, the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary and even President Donald Trump.

Don't be like this piggy bank and fear the coming year. We're getting a financial check-up with a financial counselor to navigate recent stock market turbulence.
Bob Bosewell / iStock

It's been a tumultuous few weeks in the stock market. We're checking in with a financial counselor to talk about investments, savings and strategies to start 2019 on firm financial footing.

The Rutland City Police Department in September 2015.
Nina Keck / VPR

Victims of human trafficking need help not from police but from social workers—which is why the Rutland City Police Department is hiring a case manager to connect victims to the services they need. 

Whether you're taking photographs with a cell phone, on film, or with advanced digital cameras, we're talking about ways to compose, tweak and improve your pictures.
Yuri Arcurs / iStock

As you look back at the photographs that tell your story of 2018, do they have that special something that elevates them beyond a simple snapshot and into a photograph worth framing? 

We're talking about how to take better photos, no matter what camera you use, and how to best capture the winter landscapes and family gatherings that tempt everyone's inner shutterbug this time of year.

Ronda Randall and her brother Scott Maxwell are amateur investigators featured in the "Bear Brook" podcast who have dedicated themselves to trying to identify the four victims found in two barrels in the woods of New Hampshire.
Courtesy New Hampshire Public Radio

Four victims. Their bodies found in two barrels. No trace of their identities. No suspects in their murders.

That's how the investigation at the heart of New Hampshire Public Radio's recent true crime podcast Bear Brook begins. But over the course of six episodes, and several forthcoming updates, cutting-edge forensic testing and genetic genealogy provides answers to some of those questions—while raising new ones. 

Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets parked on a runway in January 2018.
Lawrence Crespo / U.S. Air Force

Allegations of misconduct, abuse of power and a culture of impunity at the Vermont National Guard. Interviews with more than two dozen guardsmen alleging harassment of women and a toxic "good-old-boys" network. And alleged outrageous behavior among pilots and others high within the Guard ranging from the misuse of fighter jets to conduct that may have imperiled a mission in Africa.

These are among the findings from of a six-month investigation by VTDigger into the Vermont National Guard. 

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