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‘That’s How We’re Running Town Meeting’

Thu, 25 Feb 2021 4:29am

Plans for a pandemic Town Meeting Day. Plus, painting a portrait of Alexander Twilight, possible compensation for certain farming practices, a large conservation project, and COVID-19 numbers.

A Most Unusual Year For Town Meeting Day

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 10:36am

By Erica Heilman

If you want to understand how civil affairs are conducted in Vermont, it's important to know about the annual tradition of town meeting.

A Push For Drug Decriminalization

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 4:45am

An argument for decriminalizing drug use in Vermont. Plus, vaccinated visitation, vaccines for those 65 and up, and the plan in Quebec.


VPR News Podcast

Local news, reporting and newscasts from Vermont Public Radio

Vermont Edition Podcast

Vermont Edition brings you news and conversation about issues affecting your life. Hosts Jane Lindholm and Bob Kinzel consider the context of current events through interviews with news makers and people who make our region buzz.

New Report Assesses Financial Viability Of Vt. Community Access TV

Mon, 22 Feb 2021 10:01am

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Public, educational and government access, or PEG access television, has for decades served community-produced cable programming to the Vermont public: graduation ceremonies. town meetings, the governor's twice-weekly COVID-19 press briefings. However, shifts in consumer behavior — away from cable in favor of internet streaming — have brought PEG access' primary financing mechanism, payments from cable companies, into question. This hour, we hear what a new report says about the financial viability of PEG access in Vermont.

Checking In With Republican And Progressive Statehouse Leaders

Thu, 18 Feb 2021 8:06am

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Gov. Phil Scott wants lawmakers to invest more than $200 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds in a number of one-time projects -- not ongoing programs. This hour, we talk with Republican and Progressive leaders at the Statehouse about their priorities for the session, including the use of this money.

A Virtual Show: How Vermont's Arts Communities Are Working Through The Pandemic

Wed, 17 Feb 2021 9:30am

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Many of us miss seeing a movie in theaters, feeling the rhythm of a live concert inside your body, or gathering with friends to have a laugh at a comedy club. This hour, we hear from arts organizations and performers about how they've been dealing with the pandemic. From taking a hiatus to going virtual, we talk about what's working and what's not, nearly a year in.

Eye On The Sky Podcast

The Eye On The Sky is Vermont's weather service. It is a production of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium and Vermont Public Radio.

Brave Little State Podcast

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.

What Do I Need To Know About Moving To Vermont?

Fri, 19 Feb 2021 1:17pm

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This one goes out to our future neighbors. With your help, we answer a question from soon-to-be Vermonter Samantha Spano, of South Florida.

A Vermont Town & City Pronunciation Guide

Thu, 11 Feb 2021 4:34pm

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Not sure how to say Calais, or Topsham, or Beebe Plain? With your help, we've built a guide for all those tricky names on the Vermont map.

Ask Bob: Leahy And The Impeachment Trial

Fri, 05 Feb 2021 5:54pm

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The Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is set to begin on Feb. 9. And Vermont’s own Sen. Patrick Leahy will preside.

It Was A Pandemic 'Escape Community' In 1918. And Now?

Thu, 21 Jan 2021 5:42pm

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The small town of Fletcher did notably well during the 1918 flu pandemic. How did they manage that, and how are they managing COVID?

If You're Worried About Climate Change, Where Should You Live?

Thu, 07 Jan 2021 6:10pm

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A listener question with some local implications. We pass the mic to our friends at New Hampshire Public Radio's Outside/In.

NEXT New England Podcast

<p><strong>NEXT</strong> is a weekly radio show and podcast about New England, one of America's oldest places, at a time of change. It's based at Connecticut Public Radio in Hartford and is hosted by Morgan Springer.</p> <p>With New England as our laboratory, NEXT asks questions about how we power our society, how we move around, and how we adapt. It's about trends that provide us challenges and present us with new opportunities. New England has old rules and customs, with well-worn pathways forged centuries ago, and its population is aging fast.</p> <p>Through original reporting and interviews, on NEXT we ask important questions about the issues we explore: <em>Where are we now? How did we get here? And what's next?</em></p>

Disparities In New England’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout; Biomass Plant Proposed In ‘Asthma Capital Of The Country’

Thu, 11 Feb 2021 9:17am

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This week on NEXT, we’ll hear the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout across our region — including concerns over inequities in distribution — and get expert answers to some of our questions about life after vaccination. Plus, what’s next for a proposed wood-burning biomass plant in Springfield, Mass., a city beset with high asthma rates. And we’ll learn what it’s like to work as a ski patroller during the pandemic. See for privacy information.

The Promise Of Ropeless Fishing To Save Endangered Right Whales; How Connecticut Is Working To Diversify Its Juries

Thu, 04 Feb 2021 10:13am

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This week on NEXT, why one New England state is vaccinating young researchers before older adults. Plus, a look at ropeless fishing and the hope to save the endangered North Atlantic right whale. We’ll also hear from Connecticut’s Supreme Court chief justice about racial inequities in jury selection — and what his state is doing about it. And how the pandemic led one New Englander to create an unusual fictional crime thriller. See for privacy information.

An Insider’s Look At The ‘Troubled Teen’ Industry; Advancing Racial Justice In The Transition To Clean Energy

Thu, 28 Jan 2021 10:47am

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This week on NEXT, what student loan forgiveness under the Biden administration would mean for borrowers in Maine. Plus, an interview with Shalanda Baker, a new deputy director at the U.S. Department of Energy, on the role of energy justice in the transition to clean energy. And we hear from an insider about what happens at behavioral treatment programs for “troubled teens.” See for privacy information.

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Faces Challenges In New England; The Lasting Impact Of Pop Star Selena

Thu, 21 Jan 2021 11:18am

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The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the first of their kind to use mRNA. This week on NEXT, how this new experimental technology could help fight diseases like cancer and cystic fibrosis. Plus, some of the challenges of vaccine distribution in New England. And a new podcast, “Anything For Selena,” explores the Mexican American pop star’s legacy and what it shows us about belonging in America. See for privacy information.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids Podcast

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to!

What Are Robots Doing On Mars?

Tue, 16 Feb 2021 7:54pm

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On Thursday, February 18th, a robot called a rover is expected to land on the surface of Mars, and begin collecting information scientists hope will help us learn if life ever existed on that planet! We answer your Mars questions with Mitch Schulte, NASA program scientist for the Mars 2020 mission. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript NASA has a number of ways that you can watch the landing live on February 18th at 11:15 a.m. PST / 2:15 p.m. EST / 19:15 UTC. The rover is called Perseverance, which means not giving up, continuing to work toward a difficult goal even when challenges are placed in your way. And it is quite a challenge just to get to Mars! The rover was launched on a rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida more than 6 months ago, by NASA, the U.S. Space Agency. And it has been traveling through space ever since, on a path to Mars. And now, people all over the world are eager to watch it land on Mars and get to work. And it’s not just Perseverance that is going to land on Mars. There’s also a helicopter, called Ingenuity, which means cleverness, creativeness and resourcefulness all rolled into one. Ingenuity, the helicopter, is basically a drone—there’s no one inside driving it around, just as there are no people onboard the rover. But ingenuity is the first helicopter to ever test-fly on another planet!

Cool Beans: How Chocolate And Coffee Get Made

Fri, 12 Feb 2021 8:30am

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How is chocolate made? Why can't we eat chocolate all the time? Why is chocolate dangerous for dogs? Why do adults like coffee? In this episode, we tour Taza Chocolate in Somerville, Massachusetts to learn how chocolate goes from bean to bar. Then we visit a coffee roaster in Maine to learn about this parent-fuel that so many kids find gross! And we'll learn a little about Valentine’s Day. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slides | Transcript "How is chocolate made?" - Samarah, 8, Johnson, VT "Chocolate actually comes from cocoa beans--which is no bean at all--they are seeds of the cacao trees," says Ayala Ben-Chaim of Taza Chocolate. Taza is a "bean-to-bar" chocolate maker. That means starting with raw cocoa beans and going all the way through the process to turn those beans into a chocolate bar you can buy in a store. (Some chocolatiers get chocolate that's already mostly made and they just add stuff to it and shape it.) The tree that those cocoa beans come from is called the Theobroma cacao tree, which grows in warm tropical parts of the world--within 20 degrees of the equator. Taza Chocolate sources (buys) cocoa beans from farmers in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize and Bolivia. It takes about five years from when it's planted for a cacao tree to produce cocoa pods. "Cocoa pods are a little bit funny to look at. They look like a gourd growing off of the tree, or like a lumpy tiny American football. The cocoa pods grow off of the branches of the tree like apples, but they also grow right off of the trunk of the tree," Ben-Chaim explains. "The next step in the process is fermentation. Fermentation is so important in chocolate making. And this is one of the things that is so surprising about chocolate making. After the beans ferment, they spend a week drying in the sun on wooden planks. At this point they look like almonds. Next, they are packaged and shipped to wherever they'll be made into chocolate. The first thing the chocolate maker will do is roast the beans at 200 degrees for about an hour, which gives them a nice toasted flavor. "We also start to separate the thin outer shell that surrounds the inner part of the cocoa bean. Our next step is to separate that shell from the inner part of the bean, called the nib. We do this by winnowing the cocoa beans, using a machine," says Ben-Chaim. "At Taza Chocolates we use a traditional Mexican milling style using a molino - or mill - to grind the cocoa beans down," Ben-Chaim says, demonstrating. "Over time, those cocoa nibs will be turned into a cocoa liquor, which is smooth and chocolaty. Imagine a chocolate waterfall. It looks beautiful, it smells chocolaty and delicious and yet it is not very tasty because we're missing a really important ingredient, and that is sugar." Sugar is added to the chocolate liquor, then the sweetened chocolate is ground again, and other ingredients are sometimes added, like spices or coffee or fruit. At this point some chocolate makers will conche the chocolate, which blends and mixes the chocolate at a high temperature over many hours, which makes it smooth and creamy. Taza doesn’t conche their chocolate. The next step is tempering. Tempering the chocolate makes it glossy and brittle. Then the chocolate is poured into molds and cooled. Then it's wrapped up and ready to take home. Also in this episode:  we visit 44 North Coffee  to learn more about the mysterious beverage that so many adults like to drink--coffee!

Why Are Cactuses Spiky?

Fri, 29 Jan 2021 4:22pm

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What makes a cactus a cactus? And what are you supposed to call a group of these plants--cacti, cactuses, or cactus?! We'll find out in today's episode, as we learn more about the cactus family with Kimberlie McCue of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. She'll answer kid questions about why cactuses are spiky and how they got those spikes, as well as why teddy bear cactuses aren't actually cuddly! Download our learning Guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript Those prickly spines that are so characteristic of the cactus family are actually modified leaves! Cactuses don't have the kind of leaves like a maple or oak tree. But they might have had leaves that were at least a little more like that way way back in the past. Over time, those leaves evolved into the spiky spines we see on cactuses today because they help the plants survive in hot, dry environments. Why are cactuses spiky? -Noah, Iowa "They can be a defense mechanism to discourage herbivores - animals that eat plants - from eating the cactus. But, also, spines create shade!" explains Kimberlie McCue. "Early in the morning, there will be fog that comes off the water. Those spines provide a place for the water to condense, form little droplets of water that run down the spine, to the body of the plant, down to the ground and to the roots." Cactuses are also extremely important parts of their desert environments, as they hold soil in place and provide shelter for birds and other animals. Those insects and birds in turn help pollinate the cactus flowers. Cactuses are also an important local food source for humans. Unfortunately, cactuses are in danger from people who poach (illegally take) wild plants from their environment. Kimberlie McCue says one way to help make sure cacti stay healthy and plentiful is to be careful when you buy cactus plants. Check to see where the plant seller got the cactus and make sure they're taking care to be ethical stewards of these plants before you buy.

What's A Screaming Hairy Armadillo? How Animals Get Their Names

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 3:22pm

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Why are whale sharks called whale sharks? Why are guinea pigs called pigs if they're not pigs? Why are eagles called bald eagles if they're not bald? You also ask us lots of questions about why and how animals got their names. So today we're going to introduce you to the concept of taxonomy, or how animals are categorized, and we'll also talk about the difference between scientific and common names. We'll learn about the reasoning behind the names of daddy long legs, killer whales, fox snakes, German shepherds and more! Our guests are Steve and Matt Murrie, authors of The Screaming Hairy Armadillo, and 76 Other Animals With Weird Wild Names. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript There are some animals whose names don't really seem accurate-like daddy long legs...which certainly aren't all daddies! Or bald eagles that very clearly have plenty of feathers on their heads. Or guinea pigs, which aren't actually pigs! homo is our genus and homo sapien is our species name. homo sapien. The species name for a common black rat is rattus rattus. An Asian elephant is elephas maximus. canus lupus. That would stay the same no matter what language you're using. But in English we tend to call it a wolf; in Spanish you'd call it un lobo, and in Welsh it would be blaidd (pronounced "blythe"). Even within the same language, an animal can have lots of common names. Here in Vermont, where I live, we have an animal called a groundhog. But most people around here call it a woodchuck. And others call it a land beaver, or a whistle pig! Common names were often in use long before animals go their specific scientific names.

Hopes And Dreams For 2021 From Kids Around The World

Fri, 01 Jan 2021 9:00am

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As the new year dawns, what are you hopeful for in 2021? Even though the change of the calendar year is mostly symbolic, New Year's Day is often a time for looking back on the year that just passed and setting goals for the year ahead. We asked you to share your hopes and dreams for 2021, from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to your own personal goals. In this episode, more than 100 kids from around the world offer New Year's resolutions. We'll also hear from Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo, climate activist Bill McKibben and Young Peoples Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript Here are just a few of the hopes and dreams you sent us: "My environmental wish for 2021 is that we can stop so much pollution. My personal wish is to learn Urdu and to convince my brother to get a cat or dog!" - Maya, Toronto, Ontario "My wish for 2021 is that the coronavirus will stop and the vaccine will come out and we can do things we haven't done this year and we can have our birthday together this year!" -Zain "I want to learn how to ride my bike by myself. - Adelaide, 6, California "What I want to happen for the new year is that I want people to start being responsible and no coronavirus. I want people to stop polluting. I want people to wear more masks. I want people to be kind to animals." - Jedi, 8, Ohio My new year’s resolution is for sloths to take over the world and for people to use less plastic. - Sloan, 7, Wisconsin

Outdoor Radio Podcast

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies and VPR unite the sounds and science of nature in this monthly feature. The program is hosted by biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra, who share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for wildlife education and conservation.

Outdoor Radio: Invasive Zebra Mussels

Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:39am

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Zebra Mussels are an invasive species in Lake Champlain. Not only do they consume a great deal of the food supply in the lake, but they also attack native mussel species by sticking to them and robbing them of fresh water and food. The Zebra Mussel can reach a density of 100,000 per square meter, covering exhaust and intake pipes for water treatment and power plants.

Outdoor Radio: On The Hunt For Invasive Worms

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 9:17am

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There are 19 species of worms in Vermont. Three of them are considered invasive; they are known as snake worms or jumping worms. These busy, invasive worms change the forest floor and the content of the soil, making it difficult for new growth to take root. This affects the habitat and food source of wildlife and the future of the forest itself.

Outdoor Radio: Little Bee On A White Flower

Fri, 28 Aug 2020 8:00am

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Fen grass-of-Parnassus has a beautiful white flower that blooms from mid-August to mid-September in Vermont. It is the sole food source for a rare species of bee, which are only referred to by their Latin name, andrena parnassiae.

Outdoor Radio: "Backyard Biodiversity"

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:17am

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In these times of social distancing, when people can feel disconnected from one another, it's important to realize that nature is just outside your door. From bird songs to green frogs' croaking chatter, stay connected to the outdoors by exploring your own "backyard biodiversity."

Outdoor Radio: Red-winged Blackbirds "A True Sign Of Spring"

Wed, 29 Apr 2020 12:13pm

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Birdwatchers know that when they see the Red-winged Blackbird return, spring is on its way. These birds are numerous and everywhere. The males are stark-black with a red epaulette, a striking flash of color on their wings, that they use to attract mates and ward off other competing males.

VPR Classical Timeline Podcast

Join VPR Classical host James Stewart on a journey into the events, characters and concepts that shaped our Western musical tradition. We'll start at the very beginning and trace the steps of music through history. This music, and its history, is ours.

183 - George Walker (1922-2018)

Mon, 22 Feb 2021 10:01am

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June 17th 1997, was “George Walker Day” in Washington DC as established by Mayor Marion Berry. It was a day to commemorate the life, music and legacy of one of the most accomplished American composers of late 20th Century, George Theophilus Walker.

182 - William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Mon, 15 Feb 2021 9:24am

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William Grant Still Jr. was called the “Dean of Afro-American Composers.” His career was full of “firsts”; milestones that broke through the racial and social barriers that were so prevalent in the United States.

181 - Scott Joplin (1868-1917)

Mon, 08 Feb 2021 10:22am

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Much like mazurkas evoke Poland and waltzes remind us of Vienna, the “rag” will forever be tied to the United States. Composer Scott Joplin was called “The King of Ragtime.” Though his works were popular during his lifetime, Joplin did not have an easy life or kingly riches.

180 - The Singing Revolution Part 4 - Independence

Mon, 01 Feb 2021 10:13am

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We’ve been telling the story of the Estonian "Singing Revolution," how a people used song to affect real, political and historical change.

179 - The Singing Revolution Part 3

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 10:08am

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We’ve been telling the story of the Estonian “Singing Revolution” and how non-violent, musical protest changed the course of a culture and a nation.

JOLTED Podcast

A five-part podcast about a school shooting that didn’t happen, the line between thought and crime, and a Republican governor in a rural state who changed his mind about gun laws.

Update: One Year Later

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 8:00pm

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How the events of last year changed Vermont schools and law enforcement. Also - where's Jack?

Part 5: Threat Assessment

Wed, 26 Sep 2018 10:11pm

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How do you know if a young person is plotting a school massacre? And what do you do then?

Part 4: The Reversal

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:11pm

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How a Republican governor who had been rated "A" by the NRA decided that Vermont, one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation, needed gun control laws.

Part 3: Thought, Or Crime?

Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:40pm

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When does planning a school shooting become attempted murder? The question went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Part 2: How We Got Here

Wed, 05 Sep 2018 10:02pm

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Who is Jack Sawyer, and why did he want to kill his former classmates?

My Heart Still Beats Podcast

A six-part series from Writers for Recovery and VPR, featuring conversation about addiction and original writing from the recovery community around Vermont.

Bonus Episode: Voices From The Series

Thu, 16 May 2019 5:55pm

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What role does storytelling have in addressing the opioid crisis? In March, Vermont Public Radio hosted a gathering at the Turning Point Center of Burlington to talk through that question with the team behind My Heart Still Beats .