Mitch Wertlieb

Host, 'Morning Edition'

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.

An avid Boston sports fan, Mitch has been blessed with being able to witness world championships for two of his favorite teams (and franchises he was at one time convinced would never win in his lifetime): the Boston Red Sox in 2004, 2007, and 2013, and in hockey, the Boston Bruins, who won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011.

Mitch has also been known to play a music bed or two during Morning Edition featuring his favorite band The Grateful Dead.  He lives in South Burlington with his wife Erin, daughter Gretchen, and their dog Fezzik. He (Mitch, not Fezzik) has been host of Morning Edition on VPR since 2003.

 

Ways to Connect

Georgia Lord looks downfield while preparing to launch a soccer ball.
Williams College, Courtesy

A Manchester woman who played soccer at Burr & Burton Academy and at Williams College has turned a campus work-study job into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: being part of a national broadcasting team at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Japan.

a child in a helmet on a small sled
Kim Lux

Hurtling down a track made of ice at 65 miles an hour may sound appealing to some young athletes, but only a select few can handle the speed and pressure of the fastest sport on ice. And 14-year-old Wolfgang Lux, from Swanton, is one of them.

A banner advertises a state-run vaccination clinic across the top of the entrance to the industrial-looking Holiday Inn in Rutland.
Nina Keck / VPR File

Vermont is inching its way closer to its 80% vaccination goal, which means the Scott Administration could lift all COVID-19 restrictions this weekend. How are you feeling about returning to "normal"? VPR's Bob Kinzel and Mitch Wertlieb host today's hour to take your calls and thoughts.

A sign reading rutland raiders with two r's in an arrowhead shape
Nina Keck / VPR

There is an old saying in sports popularized by the late Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra: "It ain't over till it's over." And it appears the controversy over a name change to the Rutland district school sports mascot and imagery may not be over just yet. 

The charred forest floor of a Vermont forest after a wild fire in Killington, Vermont in May 2021..
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, courtesy

A wildfire near Killington burning since mid-May was finally declared "out" just this week.

A trio of portraits of Alexander Twilight, Martin Freeman and George Floyd.
Twilight and Freeman portraits: Special Collections and Archives at Middlebury College / Photo: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press

Vermonters often take pride in a state history that has strong ties to the abolitionist movement. The state’s history includes stories like that of Alexander Twilight, the first Black American to earn a college degree from an American university. But do Vermonters remember the contributions of Black and Indigenous people fully and honestly?

A headshot of Irén Hangen Vázquez holding her cello.
Elizabeth Auclair / National Endowment for the Arts

A classical cellist and Burr and Burton Academy senior became Vermont's Poetry Out Loud state champion back in March. And now Irén Hangen Vázquez's verse will reach an even larger audience with a chance this week at winning a nationwide poetry recitation contest.

A group of people standing shoulder to shoulder on an outdoor gazebo.
Northeast Kingdom Organizing, Courtesy

Demand for high-quality mental health care has grown more urgent since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Calls for that support are growing louder in the Northeast Kingdom, where residents in a community organization say local and state mental health officials are not providing an adequate level of mental health care.

A woman holds storyboards before an audience as illustrations hang on the walls behind her.
Center for Cartoon Studies, courtesy

Young-adult author Jo Knowles works closely with students at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. That may be surprising, given that Knowles is not a visual artist and has no experience in cartooning. But she draws on her experience as a writer to help others tell good stories, whether through prose or a good cartoon.

Wooden cubes with speech bubbles linked to each other with lines.
cagkansayin / iStock

Hey, c'mere a second. Have you heard about this new research out of Dartmouth that shows gossip may actually be beneficial? Word is, a postdoctoral researcher worked with a psychology and brain science professor to find out if gossip gets an undeserved bad rap.

Two mean wearing red shirts. The man on the right is in a racing wheelchair.
Disability Rights Vermont, Courtesy

For two decades, Ed Paquin has worked to protect Vermonters with disabilities against abuse, neglect and violation of their rights. A former state House representative and past president of the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights, he's retiring as the executive director of Disability Rights Vermont on Friday, May 7.

A black and white photograph of poet Kerrin McCadden with the cover of her latest collection of poetry, American Wake.
Black Sparrow Press, courtesy

Vermont author Kerrin McCadden is back with her first book of poems since the 2020 release of Keep This To Yourself, which featured verse about the loss of her brother to an opioid overdose. Her new collection is called American Wake, and touches on similar themes of loss, but also celebrates her family's rich Irish history, and her efforts to connect the thread of that past with the present. 

A photo shows a man using a cell phone with the focus on the bright screen illuminating his fingers as he touches its screen.
Jenny Kane / Associated Press File

By October, Vermont will be among more than 30 states that will require a full 10-digit number to make even local calls. It’s part of the effort to make a nationwide 988 suicide prevention lifeline, and mental health experts hope the change could save lives.

A photo of Montpelier High School senior Peyton Smith.
Matt Smith, courtesy

A baseball game scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Montpelier High School will see the Solons take on the Oxbow Olympians. But before the first pitch is thrown, the field where the game takes place will be renamed to honor the memory of Montpelier senior Peyton Smith. Peyton died at the age of 18 in October from an aggressive form of pediatric bone cancer.

Four photos depicting, clockwise from top left, an RV parked on a road near green grass, two women hugging in the snow, three people smiling for the camera, two women snowshoeing in winter.
Pam Monder, courtesy

It was a cross-country road trip, a Vermont version of Cannonball Run. Or, as the two sisters involved might put it, a sisterly ninja rescue mission in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The cover of the new memoir The Long Tail Of Trauma next to a photo of author and journalist Elizabeth Wilcox.
Green Writers Press, Courtesy

In a new memoir, journalist Elizabeth Wilcox tells both her own story, and her mother's, by recounting the neglectful and isolating experiences her mother endured when separated from her family during World War II. In telling that story, the Fairlee author revisits decades of dialogue with her mother about her undiagnosed PTSD, and the transformation that came from understanding her own trauma. 

A small figure in snowy mountains with pastel blue and purple sky in the background
Hillary Gerardi, Courtesy

It's a 66-mile journey that traverses 26,600 feet in elevation. It requires skis, skins, crampons and more. But for St. Johnsbury native Hillary Gerardi, a world-class "skyrunner" and mountaineer, the grueling trail through the Swiss Alps known as the Haute Route was more than an adventure: it was making history as part of the first team of women to complete the route.

Water and blue sky
John Dillon / VPR File

More than 3,700 people have signed a petition asking Vermont to designate Lake Memphremagog a “lake in crisis.” It's a unique label that can bring extra attention and resources to a lake the state deems severely impaired. But the environmental nonprofit Memphremagog Watershed Association says the “crisis” designation is not what's best for the lake.

A photo of Dan Barnes, looking into the middle distance with water behind him, paired with a screenshot of his vaccine finder website.
Dan Barnes, Courtesy

Thousands of Vermonters now have to reschedule their COVID-19 vaccine appointments after Vermont suspended its use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday. But even before the pause, many have found it discouraging that signing up for a shot, and actually getting inoculated, can be two very different things. One Vermonter has taken it upon himself to help people wade through the options to find a shot sooner.

An ASL interpreter signs that research shows vaccines are safe, in a sign language public safety warning from the CDC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In 2016, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill creating the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind Advisory Council. Now the state has acted on one of the council's key recommendations: hiring someone to be a single point of contact for the estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Vermonters who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

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