Nina Keck


Nina has been reporting for VPR since 1996, primarily focusing on the Rutland area. An experienced journalist, Nina covered international and national news for seven years with the Voice of America, working in Washington, D.C., and Germany. While in Germany, she also worked as a stringer for Marketplace. Nina has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards: In 2006, she won for her investigative reporting on VPR and in 2009 she won for her use of sound. She began her career at Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Ways to Connect

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 13, 2018, when 18-year-old Jack Sawyer walked out of Dick's Sporting Goods in Rutland, Vt., with a brand-new pump-action shotgun and four boxes of ammunition.

The next day, Valentine's Day, Sawyer took his new gun out for target practice.

Around the same time, about 1,500 miles away in Parkland, Fla., a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Nina Keck / VPR

The Vermont Farmers Food Center is a nonprofit in Rutland that’s been working to harness the economic potential of local agriculture. 

The group created Rutland’s indoor farmer’s market and has put teens to work on area farms.

Now they’re focused on using farming as a teaching tool. They hope a new greenhouse and a chance to grow plants will help school kids learn about nutrition, science, and themselves.

A sign for the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport sign
Nina Keck / VPR File

Two regional airlines are competing to provide passenger service for Rutland Southern Vermont Airport — and both companies promise state-of-the-art planes.

Rutland artist Bill Ramage stands in front of his own art at Gallery 77 in Rutland.
Nina Keck / VPR

An art exhibit now showing in Rutland includes watercolors, portraits, abstract oil paintings, photographs, mixed media, video installations — even an elephant-sized pair of bright green boxer shorts. The show spans two floors and 12,000 square feet of gallery space, showcasing Vermont artists who have one thing in common: age.

Nina Keck / VPR

Local and state officials were at Rutland Regional Medical Center Monday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new $23.9 million medical office building.  The new construction is coming at a time when many hospitals in the state are struggling financially. Rutland hospital officials acknowledge they're taking a calculated risk.

A wood baby crip with pink wallpaper and a teddy bear.
zclobes / iStock

Family and friends of 6-month-old Harper Rose Briar will hold a fundraiser in Rutland Monday to offset funeral and legal bills.

The Pittsford infant’s death in January was ruled a homicide. Stacey Vaillancourt, the baby’s daycare provider, faces felony manslaughter charges for allegedly administering unprescribed allergy medicine. She pleaded not guilty.

While experts say this tragedy may be a first in Vermont, infant deaths from drugs like Benadryl are not uncommon.

Greg Schillinger looks at the camera in the Rutland High School library.
Nina Keck / VPR

You may remember a favorite teacher or coach from high school, but what about your assistant principal? In many schools, it's probably a job known for dealing with behavior problems and handing out detention.

But Rutland High School associate principal Greg Schillinger sees his role very differently — and he's now one of three finalists for National Assistant Principal of the Year.

Kids enjoy the trails at Pine Hill Park,
David S. Jenne

In 1921, Rutland businessman and former mayor Henry Carpenter donated 273 acres of land to the city for a park.

Over the years adjoining land was added, and today Pine Hill Park covers more than 300 acres.

While city residents have enjoyed the greenspace and the park's swimming holes for years, it wasn’t until the early 2000s, that mountain bike enthusiasts began carving out an ever-growing network of trails.

Nina Keck / VPR

It’s been almost 50 years since there has been a hotel in downtown Rutland. Because of the recent federal government shutdown, it's taking longer than expected to find out if the city will get a new one.

Nina Keck / VPR

In the year since Jack Sawyer was arrested for allegedly plotting to shoot up Fair Haven Union High School, improving school security has been a statewide priority. 

Many believe school resource officers play an important role - patrolling the hallways and forming relationships with students.

But some school districts are having trouble finding them.


Rutland filmmaker David Giancola’s latest movie premieres Friday at the Paramount Theatre. Axcellerator is a sci-fi-action comedy with lots of special effects, plenty of familiar backdrops and even a local celebrity or two.

The exterior of a building at Green Mountain College.
Nina Keck / VPR

Many students, faculty and people living near Green Mountain College say they are saddened but not necessarily shocked by the news that the 185-year-old school will close in May.

Stefanie Schaffer does a plank on a mat as part of her core exercises for physical therapy. She has two prosthetic legs.
Nina Keck / VPR

An explosion on a small tour boat turned a dream vacation in the Bahamas into a nightmare for one Rutland family. Doctors gave 22-year-old Stefanie Schaffer a 50 percent chance of survival, but now after six months — and dozens of surgeries — she's back home in Rutland reclaiming her life.

Henry Bouchard feeds brook trout at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in North Chittenden.
Nina Keck / VPR

The hundreds of thousands of fish and fish eggs at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in North Chittenden didn’t get the memo about the government shutdown — but they still need care every day.

Nina Keck / VPR

State lawmakers are expected to consider allowing a retail cannabis market during the upcoming legislative session.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s medical marijuana industry has been quietly growing since 2013 when the first dispensary opened to serve seriously ill patients.

A person helps another person put snowshoes on.
OliverChilds / iStock

Feel like you’ve overindulged this holiday? Need an excuse to get outside and stretch your legs?

Consider taking part in a free, guided, family-friendly hike on New Year's Day.

A variety of blue-and-white decorated snowflake cookies.
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters, courtesy

For many people the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without baking and decorating cookies. But a growing number of creative bakers, known as cookiers, are taking their art to a whole new level.

Nina Keck / VPR

Fair Haven Union High School made national news last February after a former student was arrested for allegedly planning to shoot up the school. 

So when a group of parents in charge of fundraising efforts for Fair Haven Union’s Project Graduation decided to raffle off a pair of rifles it raised some eyebrows.

Kids and adults line up to spectate at the women's World Cup ski event at Killington.
Andrew Shinn

More than 30,000 spectators gathered to watch the best women alpine ski racers in the world compete this weekend in Killington. 

A view of downtown Rutland on a fall Saturday.
Nina Keck / VPR

Imagine your cousin calls and tells you he wants to move to your town. If you like your cousin, you might say, "Come visit! I’ll show you the sites, pass around your resume and have you meet some of my friends."

It's not a cousin connection, but a new program in Vermont called Stay to Stay works much the same way.