Vermont Edition

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Monday, Feb. 18, 2019

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Talk of changing the gubernatorial term of office from two to four years has surfaced again in Montpelier. We'll hear the pros and cons of making a change from former Vermont Governors Madeleine Kunin and Howard Dean.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Back in 1870, Vermont made a bold move. It doubled the length of the gubernatorial term of office from one year to two. Is it time to double it again? And what would be the repercussions for the length of terms in the State House and Senate?

The Vermont Ethics Commission was formed in late 2017. Now the commission is seeking to expand its oversight and power to investigate complaints of misconduct.
MicroStockHub / iStock

Vermont's ethics commission is supposed to keep state government accountable. But the commission can't investigate complaints of misconduct, nor can it enforce any penalties. We're looking at ethics oversight in Vermont and whether the commission should be able to investigate complaints on its own.

Amy Mulherin, a teacher in the Winston Prouty toddler program in Brattleboro, gets two of her students dressed to go outside and play in the snow.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

High-quality child care in Vermont can be tough to find and tougher to afford. And elected officials from the governor on down seem to agree that this is a serious problem for the state. So what's being done to address the issue? We're looking at the state of child care in Vermont. And going through some of the ideas on the table to make that care more accessible and affordable.

A group of students gather around a laptop computer
Meg Malone / VPR

The historical novel Refugee weaves the stories of three refugee families fleeing their homes in different parts of the world and during different time periods: Germany in the 1930s, Cuba in the 1990s and Syria just a few years ago.

Cows and other animals or all sorts, and impressive farm equipment, are on display at the annual Vermont Farm Show.
Patti Daniels / VPR FILE

Since 1931—with a couple of exceptions—farmers have been getting together at this time of year for the Vermont Farm Show to socialize with other farmers and learn what's new in the agriculture world.

We'll be surrounded by hay bales and hay balers, horses and horse power when Vermont Edition broadcasts live from the annual Vermont Farm Show at the Champlain Valley Expo.

"Meal kits" aim to make cooking meals at home easier and less time-consuming. We're looking at the promise and reality of meal kits and Vermont-grown alternatives.
Unsplash

"Meal kit" services are an increasingly popular way to put dinner on the table, delivering everything you need to prepare a meal in a single box of ready-to-cook ingredients.

But what about finding time to cook and confidence in the kitchen? Do meal kits really save time, and do they help you eat fresh and local? We're talking about meal kits and Vermont's home-grown alternatives.

Gov. Phil Scott stands with House Speaker Mitzi Johnson behind him on the day of the budget address.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

In his budget address, Gov. Phil Scott outlined his key spending initiatives for the coming year. This includes a proposal to finance a long-term plan to clean up Lake Champlain - and the state's other major lakes and streams - with existing revenues. We're taking a closer look at the Governor's budget priorities.

The Eye on the Sky team includes (from left) Steve Maleski, Mark Breen and Lawrence Hayes.
Courtesy Fairbanks Museum

It's hard to believe, but listeners have been transfixed by the Eye on the Sky weather forecasts on VPR for more than 37 years. It was December 1981 when the partnership between the station and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium began. Senior Meteorologist Mark Breen shares a behind-the-scenes look at the Eye on the Sky operation.

Volunteers help block, split and stack firewood as part of the wood bank firewood program at the United Way of Lamoille County.
United Way of Lamoille County, courtesy

January's Brave Little State looks at the pros and cons of heating with wood. About 38 percent of Vermont homes burn wood for some kind of heat. Almost a fifth of all households rely on wood as their primary way of staying warm.

But when Vermonters who heat with wood face the choice of heating their home or putting food on the table, it often falls to donation-based and volunteer-staffed wood banks to offer enough wood to help out.

Paid family leave programs provide a percentage of salary and job protection for those taking time off to care for a newborn, a family member or loved one.
mikyso / iStock

Last year Governor Phil Scott vetoed a paid family leave bill. This year, Scott and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu have unveiled a voluntary plan that would involve state employees from both states. The Legislature has also made the issue a priority for this term.

5G networks would require new antennas on existing telecommunication towers.
Emanuele D'Amico / iStock

The promises of 5G - the fifth-generation cellular technology - are incredibly fast speeds and the ability to connect thousands of devices at once. But according to the state's chief of telecommunications Vermonters hoping the technology will bring much-delayed broadband and cellular coverage to rural areas of the state will be disappointed.

Drag queens Nikki Champagne, left, Shani (center), and drag king Trey Goodlay are among a new generation of drag performers playing with gender in novel ways.
James Buck / Kristen Scott / Inner Beauty Photography

Vermont’s drag scene has been around for decades, but now a generation of drag queens and drag kings are breaking stereotypes and finding new ways to play with gender on stage. We're talking about how Vermont's drag scene is evolving with new kinds of drag performances.

 A plow driver uses a broom to clear off his truck in Burlington.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Parts of Vermont saw as much as 18 inches of snow over the weekend. Big snow storms like this can pose a challenge for cities and towns with already strained budgets. We're talking about how municipalities work to keep roads safe and clear while facing challenges like high salt prices and aging equipment. 

We're talking about racism in Vermont with a panel sharing their thoughts and experiences.
FotografiaBasica / iStock

Former State Rep. Kiah Morris reported a long campaign of racist harassment directed at her and her family. It's put a spotlight on the issue of racism in Vermont. We're hearing from a panel of Vermonters to talk about their experiences and thoughts on racism in our state.

An aerial shot of the House floor on the opening day of the Vermont Legislature in 2019.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

Vermont's House of Representatives is one of the few House chambers in the country that doesn't use an electronic voting system to tally roll call.

Chittenden Rep. Jim Harrison wants to change that and is sponsoring a bill to implement an electronic voting system as early as next year. 

Gabriel Sohier Chaput, known online as "Zeiger," was unmasked in a series of May articles from the Montreal Gazette. The stories came together from the research and reporting of two Concordia journalism students, Shannon Carranco and Jon Milton.
Southern Poverty Law Center

One of the most influential neo-Nazis in North America, responsible for recruiting a network of white supremacists online, was operating secretly in the city of Montreal. But the bombshell reporting published in May by the Montreal Gazette came to the paper by an unusual path: after months of research and reporting by a pair of journalism students at Concordia University, Shannon Carranco and Jon Milton.

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.

We're talking about what we can learn from winter wildlife tracking.
Per / flickr

It's the time of the year when tracks in the snow tell stories about the wildlife we live with, from foxes going after voles to the telltale wing prints left by a dive-bombing owl. We're talking winter tracking. And we want to hear about your sightings and questions.

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.

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