VPR News

People sit around the table during a Vermont House Appropriations Committee discussion.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Lawmakers were hoping to begin testing the water at Vermont schools and daycare centers for lead this academic year. But as lawmakers are having a tough time deciding what level of lead triggers remediation and how much state money to put toward the work, it looks unlikely testing can start before school lets out in June.

Solar panels installed in Rutland, Vermont, facing the sky
Wilson Ring / Associated Press File

Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, announced last week that it has set the goal of getting all of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030. The plan also called for the company to shift to 100% carbon-free energy by 2025.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux stands before stacks of cardboard boxes
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Saturday is the semiannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, when people are encouraged to bring their unwanted medications to "take back" locations set up by local law enforcement agencies.

A new poll by NPR and Ipsos finds a third of Americans have been touched directly by the deadly opioid epidemic that still kills more than 100 people every day. "One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

A school of alewives circle in Nobleboro, Maine. This spring Lake Champlain saw a mass die-off of alewives because they are not suited for significant water temperature changes.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Dozens of aquatic invasive species are already established in Vermont’s waters — from zebra mussels to milfoil to alewife. For swimmers and anglers, they’re a nuisance, but for our native aquatic life, their presence can cause dire consequences. We’ll discuss the threat of invasive species and why it's so challenging to prevent their spread.

Emily Corwin / Vermont Public Radio

Increasing numbers of Vermont seniors are finding long-term care in other families’ homes. The Medicaid-funded program known as Adult Family Care has become critical for Medicaid patients with dementia and other complex needs, who get turned away from traditional nursing facilities and don’t have families to care for them.

At the end of May, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth will permanently shut down. Forty-six years ago it began generating electricity, high-paying jobs and intense controversy over safety and environmental impact.

Pilgrim went into service just one day after its sister plant: Vermont Yankee. Both reactors were the same make and model: a GE Mark I reactor. And since 2002, they have been operated by the same company: Entergy.

Faced with a flood of addicted inmates and challenged by lawsuits, America's county jails are struggling to adjust to an opioid health crisis that has turned many of the jails into their area's largest drug treatment centers.

In an effort to get a handle on the problem, more jails are adding some form of medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, to help inmates safely detox from opioids and stay clean behind bars and after release.

The federal government is expanding an investigation into malfunctioning air bags to include an additional 12.3 million vehicles with air bags that could fail to inflate in a crash.

Emily Corwin / Vermont Public Radio

As baby boomers age and the workforce shrinks, experts fear there will not be enough people or money to care for all our elders. In many ways, that reality has already arrived in Vermont. 

In recent years, dozens of Vermont seniors have ended up waiting in hospitals after being turned away from nursing homes. According to officials at hospitals across the state, many Vermonters wait months for placement in a nursing home. Some wait a year or more. 

More than a decade ago, Anaïs Mitchell was running late for one of her shows. The singer-songwriter, in her 20s at the time, was trying to get from one gig to another and found herself lost. Along the drive, a song lyric popped into her head. "The lines that came were, 'Wait for me I'm coming. In my garters and pearls with what melody did you barter me from the wicked underworld,'" she remembers.

The Columbine memorial honors and remembers the 13 victims of the shootings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.
BanksPhotos / iStock

Twenty years ago, two high school seniors at Columbine High School in Colorado shot and killed 12 students and a teacher. They wounded more than 20 others.

It was a moment that shook that community and the entire nation. We look at how things have changed for schools, teachers, students and communities in the years since.

The interior of the VPR talk studio with a microphone, chair and VPR logo on the wall.
Meg Malone / VPR

Republican Gov. Phil Scott and lawmakers in the Vermont House want to pour more than $10 million into Vermont's childcare system, to address issues of affordability and availability. However, leaders in the Senate say they aren’t ready to commit to the funding plan.

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.

Barre mother Nina Lemieux sits with her three kids, Billie, Brightlynn and Boston (from left). Shortly after Lemieux's daycare provider shut down unexpectedly in 2017, Lemieux lost her job, her savings and her apartment.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

House lawmakers last month approved a substantial increase in funding for childcare services, but leaders in the Senate say they aren’t ready to commit to the proposal.

The Supreme Court has accepted three cases that ask whether federal anti-discrimination laws should apply to sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, putting the court on track to consider high-profile LGBTQ issues after its next term begins this fall.

Scientists are ramping up research on the possible health effects of a large group of common but little-understood chemicals used in water-resistant clothing, stain-resistant furniture, nonstick cookware and many other consumer products.

Updated at 9:53 a.m. ET

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is joining the large 2020 Democratic presidential field, touting a record of military service, bucking his party and arguing for younger leadership.

"The greatest generation saved our country from tyranny. It's time for our generation to step up and do the same," Moulton said in an announcement video posted early Monday.

U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie - pictured here on Feb. 26 providing testimony to a House Appropriations subcommittee
Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

Robert Wilkie, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visited the VA hospital in White River Junction on Friday. Wilkie spoke to VPR by phone about a number of issues affecting the state's veteran population.

Shrewsbury resident Jonathan Gibson testifies at the Vermont Statehouse while others are seated behind him.
John Dillon / VPR

When the power goes out, can you still call 911 in case of an emergency? As people in Shrewsbury discovered recently, the answer is: maybe not. Now a legislative committee and state utility regulators are looking into this and other issues with 911 services.

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