Brave Little State

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public Radio should be covering, before they're even assigned?

That's the idea behind Brave Little State, a podcast where you ask the questions, you decide what VPR investigates, and then you work with us to find the answers.

So tell us: What question do you have about Vermont, our region or its people that you want us to explore? Submit it below, or leave us a short voicemail at 802-552-4880.

Our latest episode, available now, and broadcasting on Monday, Nov. 18 on All Things Considered: Will Burlington's Champlain Parkway Ever Get Built?

In other news: Our show is expanding! We're going twice-monthly so we can answer even more audience questions about Vermont. 

The winning question for our next episode is: "What will it take to create an effective public transit system that enables Vermonters to dramatically reduce automobile use?" — Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, Montpelier

Subscribe for free, and never miss an episode:

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Brave Little State is made possible by the VPR Innovation Fund, and powered by Hearken. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons. All questions asked make it to the question archive unless they don’t meet our guidelines for decorum, fairness or obvious conflicts of interest.

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Explore an interactive map of our on-the-ground reporting:

Map credit: Elodie Reed & Noah Cutter

A woman stands with her hand on a tower of filing cabinets.
Emily Corwin / VPR

When Norwich resident Max Porter drives to Burlington to visit his mom, he gets off Interstate 89 and onto Interstate 189, a tiny spur of highway that ends at a crossroad, and cement barriers.

A woman stands in the center of children on a blue rug.
Elodie Reed / VPR

The smell of fish sticks, crayons, and the sweet-yet-slightly-grubby smell of small children. If you’re a parent, you know what we’re talking about. If you’re not? Welcome to child care.

Buses at a station.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Are you a train lover? A bus devotee? A carpool zealot? A regular person who also dreams of improved public transit? Brave Little State wants to hear from you.

A painting of a farmhouse with a dog outside.
Susan Abbott, artist / Courtesy Laura Johnson

In this bonus episode, Brave Little State speaks with the woman whose family named Star Pudding Farm Road, and made the property so special.

Bales of plastic containers.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Are people following Vermont’s new recycling laws, and where does our recycling end up? That’s the question Julie Ste. Marie of Troy put to Brave Little State.

The exerior of a building at Green Mountain College
Nina Keck / VPR File

Tell us: What do you want to know about Vermont's colleges and universities?

A street sign.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Near Manchester, in East Dorset, there are a road, brook and notch all bearing the same name: "Mad Tom." Where did this name come from?

A road sign.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Did you know Brave Little State has a hotline where you can call and leave a message? That’s where we heard from West Windsor resident Nan Carman, who's had a burning curiosity about Sawnee Bean Road in Thetford for the past 40 years.

A road sign.
Anna Van Dine / VPR

Katie Sullivan, who lives in Albany, Vt., is curious about a road name in a town just south of her, in Marshfield. “How did Star Pudding Farm Road get its name?" she asks. "Is there a Star Pudding farm?”

A green road sign.
Michael Hudson, Courtesy

Brave Little State got a funny question a while back from Michael Hudson, in Putney. He wrote, “For the love of God, please tell me the origin of Putney’s Hi-Lo Biddy Road!”

A map.
Atlas of Bennington County, Vermont 1869 by F.W. Beers, Courtesy Dorset Historical Society

Brave Little State takes on more of your questions about mysterious Green Mountain byways in our Second Annual Brief History of Vermont Road Names.

A screen grab of the Brave Little State Instagram feed.
Brave Little State's Instagram feed / @bravestatevt

We celebrate the show's third birthday with a trip down memory lane to some favorite moments from our archive.

Chain-link fence surrounds an overgrown area in downtown Newport where buildings once stood.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

A development project gone wrong. A community living with the fallout. And an uncertain path forward.

Ecologist Bob Zaino measures the diameter of a sugar maple in Gifford Woods State Park.
Angela Evancie / VPR

This month on Brave Little State, a question from listener Andrew Wild about Vermont’s most elderly woods.

A black-and-white photo of Sinclair Lewis sitting in a lawn chair at Twin Farms
Vermont Historical Society, courtesy

This month on Brave Little State: Exploring the literary luminaries of Vermont, and why so many writers seem to thrive in the Green Mountain State.

Michael and Stacy Lee stand in the front yard of their white, one-story ranch just after sunset in early spring.
Angela Evancie / VPR

We know the predictions are dire; we know there are urgent conversations to be had about policy. But to answer this listener question, we stay focused on the present.

And illustration of a neighborhood.
filo / iStockphoto.com

What are the causes of Vermont’s tight housing market — and why aren’t things getting better?

Congressman Peter Welch poses for a portrait outside his office at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Sure, you might occasionally see Vermont's U.S. House representative when he's back in the Green Mountains — but what does Peter Welch's life on Capitol Hill look like?

Congressman Peter Welch makes a phone call from his office at Capitol Hill building in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Normally our show answers your questions about Vermont, our region and its people. This month, we decided to do something a little different.

Emmet Moseley loads a log into his wood stove.
Emily Corwin / VPR

In the winter, Coco and Emmet Moseley keep their farmhouse cozy and warm with an antique wood stove — and Coco is wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of their heat source.

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