Vermont Edition

AP/Toby Talbot / Vermont Adjutant General Steven Cray

Vermont is the only state in the country that has its adjutant general elected by the Legislature. In 48 states, the governor selects the person to fill the role. In South Carolina, they are elected by the voters. The position was vacated by Adjutant General, Michael Dubie who was chosen by President Obama to serve as Deputy Commander of the United States Northern Command.

The Legislature chose Air Guard Brigadier General Steven Cray. The other candidates were retired Army Col.Michael Bullock, Army Col. Darryl Ducharme and South Burlington patent lawyer James Leas.

Breaking The Tie

Feb 20, 2013
AP/ Andy Duback

The role of Lieutenant Governor is unique in state government. The so-called 'Lite Gov' presides over the Senate, takes on the role of Governor if the Governor is absent, and casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate. There's not often much opportunity to exercise the latter two of those duties, but last week was an exception. Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott broke the tie two separate times in the Senate's discussion of the end of life bill.

We'll talk with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott about the votes last week and his agenda for the this legislative session.

AP/Toby Talbot / Winooski Mayor Mike O'Brien announces the formation of the Vermont Mayors Coalition at the State House.

Vermont's mayors are taking a stand. Last fall, several got together to support Governor Peter Shumlin's re-election bid. In January, they spoke out on gun control and more recently, they've called for reform of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Districts.This has led to the formation of the Vermont Mayors Coalition.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache and Rutland Mayor Chris Louras explain why the mayors are speaking out on state-wide issues and what they hope to accomplish.

AP Photo / This is a circa 1840 photo of Alexander Twilight. Twilight was the first African-American to earn a college degree in the United

Welch On The Sequester

Feb 15, 2013
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite / Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and others finish a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, to

President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. But before Congress can take up anything else, they have to re-negotiate the debt ceiling and keep sequestration cuts from going into effect on March 1st.

Congressman Welch discusses these and other issues facing Congress.

Also on the program, VPR's John Dillon provides analysis of the week's news.

Courtesy of John Anderson / Winooski Dome

Some Vermonters somewhere were struck by moments of inspiration. They burned the midnight oil to hammer out the fine details of their plans. And then they unleashed them upon the public.

And so we were introduced to the Winooski Dome. The Green Mountain Parkway was born. A possible silk worm industry was proposed. And canals were envisioned stretching from the Connecticut River to Lake Memphremagog and across the state to Lake Champlain.

Buddhism in Vermont

Feb 12, 2013
Flickr/ Karen Yaeger

By some estimates, there are more Buddhists per capita in Vermont than in any other state. There are a certainly quite a few Buddhist education and retreat centers throughout the state, including a nunnery in Bristol.

Buddhism has been popular with Westerners since the early 1970's, and there is also a large Tibetan population in the state who practice their own form of Buddhism.

AP/Toby Talbot / Matt Myers, coordinator of the Rollover Protective Structures program for the UVM Extension Service, sits in a tractor with a

The UVM Extension program is celebrating its one-hundredth birthday on February 15, 2013. A lot has changed in this agriculture-based service over a century, but Extension is working to stay true to its mission of applying university research to community problems. Kurt Reicheldt opens the archives to explore the early years of Extension history in Vermont. And, we talk with Extension Dean Doug Lantagne and community development specialist Mary Peabody about the next challenges ahead for the Extension service.

Sweet on Soda Tax?

Feb 8, 2013
A new law will redirect uncollected bottle deposit money from the beverage industry to clean water programs
AP/Jacquelyne Martin

This morning, the house health care committee will begin hearing testimony about the SSB tax. This bill would implement a penny per ounce tax on sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages. Vermonters consume an average of 50 gallons of soda a year per person.

Last year, New York City passed a law restricting sales of large-sized sugary soft drinks, but Denmark abandoned its controversial sugar and fat taxes. Attempts to tax sugar-sweetened beverages in the US have failed in more than 30 states and at the federal level.

Bernie Sanders is runnning for his third term in the U.S. Senate.
Toby Talbot / AP

Senator Bernie Sanders has been vocal in his opposition of the proposed wind power moratorium in the state. He's also been outspoken about high gasoline prices that Vermonters are paying and about the new filibuster rules in the Senate.

We hear from Senator Sanders on these issues as well as gun control and Veterans' and seniors' benefits.

AP/Toby Talbot / In this Jan. 2, 2008 file photo, Wayne Holland of the Suburban Propane company delivers oil in Barre, Vt.

There are at least four homes in Vermont that stay warm all through the winter without burningany wood, or spending a dollar on heating oil. These are certified passive houses.Using the energy of the sun and ultra-efficient building techniques and materials, it's possible to build a home today that uses very little energy.

We'll learn about these innovations in energy efficient construction with Peter Schneider of Efficiency Vermont, Jacob Racusin of New Frameworks Natural Building, and Craig Peltier of Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

flickr/BethanyWeeks / The Martes Pennanti or Fisher

People fear their blood-curdling scream. Some blame them for the disappearance of their house cats. Their name can't even be agreed upon fully. Such is the cross that the fisher (known by some as the fisher cat) must bear. But how much of what we know about the fisher is fact and how much is fiction?

State biologist Chris Bernier and Deputy Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Kim Royar set the record straight on this elusive little predator and member of the weasel family.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite / Baltimore Police Chief James Johnson, left, is thanked by Senator Patrick Leahy, right, after a hearing on what lawmakers should

The Violence Against Women Act has in been place for 18 years, providing funding and resources to reduce domestic violence. Last year, Congress declined to renew the law, but it's up for debate again this week. On the next Vermont Edition, we'll talk with Senator Patrick Leahy, the Act's lead sponsor, and with Attorney General Bill Sorrell. (Due to technical problems, our interview with Karen Tronsgard Scott, executive director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence will air on Feb 5, 2013.).

VPR Kirk Carapezza

The Vermont Senate Health and Welfare and judiciary Committees have been holding hearings this week on whether to allow terminally ill patients to get a prescription to legally end their own lives. Supporters call it Death with Dignity, opponents refer to it as Physician Assisted Suicide.

Ed Paquin, President of the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights, and Dr. Diana Barnard, a family practice and palliative care physician,present both sides of this contentious issue.

Also on the program, VPR's John Dillon provides analysis on wind power issues.

Flickr/Urban Sea Star / University of Vermont Childcare Center

Governor Shumlin has made providing child care for low-income Vermonters a priority in his budget this year. He says affordable child care will give Vermont's children a head start, and help workers get back into the job market.

AP FILE / Fever, cough, muscle aches and stuffy nose are just some of the symptoms that accompany the annual flu virus.

The flu came early and fierce this season, and Vermont doctors are still seeing new cases in their waiting rooms. Wednesday on Vermont Edition, we learn if flu season is on the wane in our region, and how effective the state's prevention efforts have been. Our guests is Chris Finely, the Health Department's chief immunization officer. We also check in with doctors at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, and Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

flickr/Robert Scott Photography / Governor Shumlin hopes to raise $17 million by taxing break open tickets.

During his budget address last week, Governor Shumlin said the state should tax break open tickets. He believes these unregulated lottery-style tickets could generate $17 million for the state annually. It is believed that as many as 250 million of the tickets were sold in bars and clubs in Vermont last year. But many in the state have been left to wonder just what a break open ticket is.

Toby Talbot / AP File Photo

The Agency of Human Services is charged with addressing the thorniest social problems facing Vermonters: poverty, prisons, child abuse, elder care. Monday on Vermont Edition, our guest is the leader of that agency, Doug Racine. We'll look at the major challenges this agency is trying to address, and the money it takes to do the work.