News Features

Vermont Center For Geographic Information - VCGI

Vermont is again ranked as the state with the highest average internet speed according to the latest Akamai Quarterly State Of The Internet Report

In the past officials have cited the report as proof that Vermont is doing well in its broadband efforts, but there’s no shortage of people who are skeptical of the report’s findings based on their own broadband speeds.

The Shumlin Administration has asked federal regulators to look into why radiation monitors failed recently at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Yankee reported the failures to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this week. A plant spokesman has said the monitors sent false readings and four have since been replaced.

The Department of Public Service, which represents consumers in utility issues, has asked the federal agency to dig deeper. Deputy Commissioner Darren Springer said the monitors are a key piece of equipment at the nuclear plant.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Congressman Peter Welch discusses his role in trying to restrict the surveillance operations of the National Security Agency in an interview with VPR's Bob Kinzel. Welch also talks about his efforts to prevent President Obama from taking military action in Syria without specific approval of Congress.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin

There’s been some urgency for Congress to pass a new student loan bill because the previous program expired on July 1.  As a result, loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Under a compromise bill, student loan interest rates would be tied to 10 year Treasury Bonds and could go as high as 8 percent over a period of several years. Backers of the plan argue it will stabilize interest rates and that’s it’s unlikely that the rates will ever reach the interest cap.

Sarah Rutledge

Woodstock Poet Partridge Boswell’s first collection of poems, Some Far Country, features poems on a variety of themes, from grief to ugly Americanism to parental anxiety to perceptions and realities of Africa. The poems leave you feeling breathless, embarrassed, sad, vulnerable, and in awe of the world around us.

VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen

Although it’s been nearly two years since Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont, there are still people who are in the process of recovering. The state’s Disaster Case Management Program has about 180 cases open.

About half of those involve repairing or rebuilding flood-damaged homes.

Cheryl and Patrick Boucher’s house, next to the Wells River in Groton, is jacked up high and surrounded by rocks and rubble dug out from beneath it.


A mosquito carrying West Nile virus was among those caught in a trap in Leicester earlier this month. This is the first time the virus has been detected in Vermont in 2013.

briantf / Flickr

Mon 7/22/13 Noon & 7PM Gardeners are normally excited to get some rain and heat.  This summer has been a little different.  Horticulturist Charlie Nardozzi joins us to offer some advice on how to deal with this weather. We'll also address summer pests and planting for the fall. Send your gardening questions to or leave your comments below.

AP/Toby Talbot

Vermont’s Disaster Case Management Program, which helps people recover from Tropical Storm Irene, was supposed to wrap up its work at the end of August, by the second year anniversary of the flood.

But the program just got word FEMA will extend the program’s funding.

Bob Costantino, who directs the program, says there are still people recovering from Irene who are calling, for the first time, looking for help.

“People tended to say initially  ‘I don’t really need the help, help my neighbor’”, said Costantino. “And then people saw later on that they did need help.”

VPR/Susan Keese

Plans for a new Connecticut River bridge between Brattleboro and Hinsdale, New Hampshire, have languished in the planning stage for decades.

Now, despite serious obstacles, local officials in both states are renewing their efforts to advance the project.

The Brattleboro-Hinsdale crossing consists of two bridges connected by an island in the middle of the Connecticut River.

It may not draw the same size crowd as this week's Comic-Con in San Diego, but for Vermont maple producers, Maplerama is where it's at.

Maplerama is a three-day trade show for Vermonters who tap trees and make maple syrup, candy and sugar. This year it's sponsored by the Orleans County Maple Producers, and the three-day event will cover a lot of Orleans County territory.

Amy Mosher

For almost ten years RAFFL, the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, has been promoting locally produced foods and farms to bolster the region’s agricultural economy.  

Now RAFFL is teaming up with the Chaffee Art Center for a first ever Farm and Food Art exhibit. 

Headlining the show are painters Amy Mosher and Betsy Hubner.  

VPR/Neal Charnoff

People traveling the back roads of Calais may not expect to come across a venue for highbrow theater.

But in fact, Unadilla Theater is celebrating its 30th year by opening a second performance space amidst its flower gardens and mountain vistas.

And these are not your typical summer plays: Unadilla specializes in presenting the classics. This season, theatergoers can choose from works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Irish playwright Sean O’Casey, and even an opera from Mozart.

AP/Toby Talbot

State utility regulators are considering sanctions against Green Mountain Power for violating sound limits at its Lowell wind project last winter.

GMP says the problem was caused by snow build-up on the turbine blades. It says the violations were extremely limited and that monitoring now shows that it’s in full compliance.

Don Nelson and his wife Shirley live just below the Lowell ridgeline. He doesn’t have sound monitoring equipment at his farmhouse, but he describes a thunderous noise from the turbines one weekend in early November last year.

VPR/Susan Keese

Brattleboro celebrated an important part of it’s history and future Wednesday when ground was broken on a $24 million reconstruction of the iconic Brooks House.

The historic building was gutted by an electrical fire in April, 2011.

Governor Peter Shumlin led the first symbolic sledgehammer blows inside the old hotel where Kipling played poker and Eleanor Roosevelt  liked to stop for lunch.

VPR/Nina Keck

 Check out the progress of Joseph Michael Kai-tsu Liu Roqueni's journey here.

For many runners a 26-mile marathon is the ultimate distance goal.  But for a Canadian man who’s running through Vermont on his way to Argentina, 26 miles is all in a day’s work. 

When Tropical Storm Irene raged through Vermont it shattered homes and businesses, roads and bridges. 1,400 households were displaced.  Many people were left with nothing, except the muddied remnants of their belongings. Some lost their homes and their jobs. The storm had eroded the foundations of many people’s lives. But others reached out to help.

Interactive Map Of FEMA Funds Distributed/Allocated In Vermont

Mapping The Money / VPR

FEMA has spent more than $185 million dollars in Vermont to assist with Tropical Storm Irene recovery.  The total is significantly higher than any other sources of recovery funds.

Interactive Map Of Irene FEMA Funds Distributed In Vermont

According to information compiled by VPR, towns, rather than the state, received the lion’s share of the money.

$142 million was spent on individual assistance and for local infrastructure repairs. The largest portion was to fix roads and bridges.