• Vermont Medicaid sees sixfold increase in spending on urine drug testing

    Flickr photo by Steven Depolo via Creative CommonsVermont Medicaid’s spending on urine drug testing at independent labs has increased sixfold in three years, a spike state officials attribute to more patients seeking treatment for opioid use disorder. 
    In 2016, $2.4 million was spent on 28,000 tests for 4,800 patients. In 2017, $10 million was spent on 120,000 tests for 9,300 patients and in 2018, $15 million was spent for 180,000 tests on 11,500 patients.
    Not included in that spendin
  • UVM Health Network launches $151 million medical records system

    The Epic medical records system is fully up and running at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDiggerWhen pediatrician Anna Hankins tried this summer to contact all of the families whose kids were overdue for a check-up, it required the work of a data analyst and then personal calls to each family. 
    Central Vermont Medical Center, she found, had no more efficient way to do it.
    That changed last weekend, when the University of Vermont Health Netwo
  • VTDigger’s in-depth analysis detailed ‘Who Owns Burlington’

    Dear Reader,
    When it broke on Nov. 3, our investigative series “Who Owns Burlington” brought over 400 readers per second to VTDigger’s website — doubling our usual user rate.
    Residents have cried out as Burlington struggles against an ever-worsening housing crisis with serious impacts to them. Because we listen to our readers, we understand what you care about and we work hard to bring you the important information you need.
    VTDigger performed an in-depth analysis that fo
  • VTDigger needs your support to do more in-depth analysis like ‘Who Owns Burlington’

    Dear Reader,
    When it broke on Nov. 3, our investigative series “Who Owns Burlington” brought over 400 readers per second to VTDigger’s website — doubling our usual user rate.
    Residents have cried out as Burlington struggles against an ever-worsening housing crisis with serious impacts to them. Because we listen to our readers, we understand what you care about and we work hard to bring you the important information you need.
    VTDigger performed an in-depth analysis that fo
  • Advertisement

  • Rutland chief allows officers to view video of Louras shootout

    Rutland Police Chief Brian A. Kilcullen. Photo by Andrew Kutches/VTDiggerRutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said he is allowing city officers involved a fatal shootout with a suspect to view video footage of the incident, even though Vermont State Police have advised against it.
    As a result, it appears state police, who are investigating the shooting, won’t interview those officers since it is that agency’s practice not to interview officers in use-of-force probes if they have
  • Vicki Loner: OneCare is committed to transparency

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by Vicki Loner, who is chief executive officer of OneCare Vermont.
    OneCare Vermont — our state’s accountable care organization — recently presented our budget to the Green Mountain Care Board, which closely and carefully regulates our work. The budget we are submitting is fiscally responsible, and only 1.4% of it funds OneCare’s operations, most of which is used to directly support providers. The remainder of the budget consists of
  • Lili Platt & Evelyn Seidner: Youth take stand on climate action

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by Lili Platt and Evelyn Seidner, Vermont Youth Lobby organizers and students at Harwood Union High School and Burr & Burton Academy respectively.Despite our state’s green reputation, Vermont has not made the necessary action to achieve its climate goals. Since 1990, Vermont’s carbon emissions have risen by 16%, while climate pollution in all of our neighboring states has fallen. Taking in consideration Vermont’s inability to reduce e
  • Lawmakers plan to require UVM board to achieve gender parity

    The University of Vermont board of trustees is facing criticism for its lack of diversity — with concerns that less than a quarter of its members are women and an even smaller percentage are people of color.
    Some state legislators say the issue is critical enough that they plan to submit a bill this upcoming session requiring the board to achieve gender parity by a certain date. Currently, only six of the 25 board members are women. There are three people of color who serve. 
    While co
  • Advertisement

  • John Varney: Plan ahead for power outages

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by John Varney, who is manager of safety and security for Vermont Electric Cooperative.
    Despite VEC’s ongoing efforts to minimize power outages, storms that knock out the electricity are, unfortunately, a fact of life. Below are a few steps you can take ahead of time to increase the chances you and your family can weather power outages more comfortably:
    Build/restock an emergency kit. A good emergency kit with some key items is important to have on h
  • Q & A: Charlotte Potter discusses Yestermorrow design/build school

    Charlotte Potter is executive director of Yestermorrow, a design/build school in Waitsfield.Photo by Glenn RussellVTDiggerWAITSFIELD – Charlotte Potter is executive director of Yestermorrow, a Waitsfield school for designers and builders that turns 40 years old next year.Yestermorrow is the creation of John Connell, an architect who bought the former Alpine Inn and 32 acres of land near the Sugarbush resort in 1990 and started offering classes to people who wanted to learn how to create th
  • Legal expungement clinic offers Vermonters a chance to start over

    Vermont Legal Aid attorney Mairead O’Reilly, left, discusses the specifics of expungement paperwork with another volunteer attorney at Friday’s clinic. Photo by Sarah Asch/VTDiggerMIDDLEBURY — Nearly two decades ago, Greg Newman of Bristol was charged with marijuana possession. Law enforcement officers searched his house while investigating an incident involving another person and discovered a paper bag containing the drug under his kitchen sink.
    \He was charged with drug posse
  • Two cheese titans set to occupy new Hardwick industrial space

    Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., speaks outside the Yellow Barn in Hardwick in 2017. Economic Development Department photoCabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farm are the first confirmed tenants in the multimillion-dollar Hardwick Yellow Barn project, which is pegged to bring more than 105 new jobs and 110 people to the area within the next five years.
    The retrofit of the historical yellow building on Route 15, and the plan for a new industrial facility next door, are expected to cost $8.6 million.
    The pro
  • Public impeachment hearings to begin Wednesday

    Rep. Peter Welch questions former special counsel Robert Mueller in a House Intelligence Committee hearing earlier this year.
    The House is set to begin its open impeachment process Wednesday with testimony centered on a key phone call that Rep. Peter Welch has called the “smoking gun” showing President Donald Trump acted improperly.
    Testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, will focus on the July phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, a
  • Moats: Most serious threat is from anti-democratic forces

    President Donald Trump, shown here with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July 2018,is viewed by some observers as siding with dictators. Kremlin photo via WikipediaEditor’s note: David Moats, an author and journalist who lives in Salisbury, is a regular columnist for VTDigger. He is editorial page editor emeritus of the Rutland Herald, where he won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for a series of editorials on Vermont’s civil union law.We are used to thinking of politics in dua
  • Green Mountain Care Board announces rural health services task force listening session

    In honor of National Rural Health Day, the Rural Health Services Task Force will be holding a meeting in the Northeast Kingdom at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. National Rural Health Day was founded to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related challenges; and promote the efforts of those addressing those challenges.The task force will be having a listening session to hear from the public and local providers about the challenges facing rural health care in Vermon
  • Advisory Council on Child Poverty and Strengthening Families to hold a public forum

    The Advisory Council on Child Poverty and Strengthening Families holding a public forum on 11/21/2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Rutland Middle School, hosted by BROC .Rutland, Vermont. The Advisory Council on Child Poverty and Strengthening Families will hold a public forum in Rutland on Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to gather public input regarding what are the biggest challenges facing Vermonters in poverty today and what will help Vermonters move o
  • Let’s Grow Kids to host FREE Leading Change for Children Advocacy conferences in Montpelier, Johnson and Manchester

    Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) is hosting free Leading Change for Children advocacy conferences in Montpelier, Johnson and Manchester that will bring Vermonters from all walks of life together in support of high-quality, affordable child care.“It’s because of the 30,000 Vermonters who’ve joined this movement that we saw a historic $7.4 million investment in child care in 2019 – a significant increase that’s providing real relief for Vermont families but only
  • Department of Health: It’s time to get your flu shot

    Get vaccinated in time for Thanksgiving and seasonal gatheringsBURLINGTON, Vt – With cases already reported in the state, flu season is upon us and Vermont health officials say now is the time for everyone 6 months and older to get their annual flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks for full protection from the vaccine to kick in, making it a just-in-time step as people prepare for holiday travel and family gatherings.“Getting a flu shot is the best protection we have agains
  • Two farm to school grant programs now accepting applications

    Vermont Schools and Early Care Providers encouraged to applyNovember 7, 2019 | Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is now accepting applications for two grant programs that provide support to Vermont schools and early care providers who want to establish or expand their farm to school programs. Both the Infrastructure Grant program and the Farm to School Child Nutrition grant program are open to any Vermont licensed and registered early care provider
  • Auditor’s office: Remote worker program of ‘questionable value’

    Beth Dow, who moved from Denver in January with her husband, is shown at the couple’s Bennington home. Her husband works at Mack Molding, and the two have opened a store and art gallery in downtown Bennington. They received $5,000 to cover some of their moving expenses, and plan to apply after Jan. 1 for another $5,000. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen/VTDiggerVermont’s remote worker program has paid for an airline ticket, a homeowner’s underground broadband conduit and landscaping,
  • Why VTDigger doesn’t have a paywall.

    Dear Reader, People often ask me why VTDigger doesn’t have a subscription payment program with a paywall like many commercial newspapers around the country. Paywalls block access to stories, forcing readers to pay a fee. Unfortunately, this model is not generating enough revenue to supportmost local online newspapers. VTDigger’s Anne Galloway speaks during VTD’s 10th anniversary celebration at Barr Hill in Montpelier on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Glenn Rus
  • Shelters concerned winter storm ‘tragedy’ may occur during 211’s curtailed hours

    Cots set up in the basement of the St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral on Allen Street in Burlington. Photo by Cory Dawson/VTDiggerVermont is facing an emergency without 24/7 access to the state’s 211 call service to connect people with temporary housing, shelter officials warn, especially as the state is hit with the season’s first winter storm, followed by plunging temperatures. 
    The state is planning to get 24/7 call access back in the next few days, said Sean Brown, deputy commi
  • Shumlin endorses Biden for president during private fundraiser

    Former Gov. Peter Shumlin returned to the Statehouse along with his wife, Katie Hunt, for Gov. Phil Scott’s inauguration in January 2019. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerFormer Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, who backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, is again rooting against his home-state senator, Bernie Sanders, this time endorsing Joe Biden, who swung through the Green Mountain State on Saturday for private fundraiser in Norwich.
    Shumlin introduced the former vice president to a group
  • Verizon’s Halloween outage in Burlington remains unexplained 10 days later

    A culvert washout in Muddy Brook on the Williston-South Burlington border caused telecommunications lines to be cut duringa wind and rain storm on Oct. 31. Vermont Agency of Digital Services photoFor more than three hours on Halloween night, Verizon users in the greater Burlington area were without service. The Burlington fire department lost a line of communication. Police had some digital devices knocked offline. And anyone trying to reach 911 couldn’t get through. 
    Verizon customer
  • Drug case may yield clues into Boston’s man killing in Vermont

    Vermont State Police stop motorists on Friday in search of information about a Nov. 1 shooting on Route 103 in the Rockingham hamlet of Bartonsville. Boston truck driver Roberto Fonseca-Rivera was killed in that shooting. Photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger
    A Boston man shot and killed more than a week ago while making produce deliveries in Vermont stood in a courtroom almost exactly a year ago where he got a break on his sentence for his role in a large-scale cocaine dealing ring.
    Investigat
  • Drug case may yield clues into Boston man’s killing in Vermont

    Vermont State Police stop motorists on Friday in search of information about a Nov. 1 shooting on Route 103 in the Rockingham hamlet of Bartonsville. Boston truck driver Roberto Fonseca-Rivera was killed in that shooting. Photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger
    A Boston man shot and killed more than a week ago while making produce deliveries in Vermont stood in a courtroom almost exactly a year ago where he got a break on his sentence for his role in a large-scale cocaine dealing ring.
    Investigat
  • For one-time cadet, recent assault at Norwich University felt painfully familiar

    JW as a freshman, in his wrestling team headshot, left, and a photo of him taken shortly after the assault.
    JW arrived on campus for his second year at Norwich University on Aug. 27, 2016. Within a week, he was back on a plane headed home to the West Coast. His eyes were bloodshot and badly swollen. One side of his nose was collapsed — he would later undergo surgery to fix it — and he still had splitting headaches from a concussion that left a gap in his memory of the assault.
    JW, wh
  • South Burlington doesn’t want to foot bill for F-35 noise mitigation

    The first two F-35 fighter jets to arrive at the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington do a flyover at the Burlington International Airport on Sept.19.Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDiggerSouth Burlington officials are worried their city might have to foot some of the bill for noise mitigation after the arrival of the F-35s, reviving a decades-long debate about airport governance. 
    While the Federal Aviation Administration is funding 90% of the noise mitigation programs, the funding
  • Ben Edgerly Walsh: State’s climate goals need to be regulated

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by Ben Edgerly Walsh, the climate and energy program director for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
    On Nov. 4, President Donald Trump formally moved to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. This decision leaves the United States alone in the world as literally the only nation not participating in that landmark agreement, signaling to fossil fuel executives that the Trump administration will continue to prop up their dying industry at virtually
  • Meaghan Emery: A word to veterans

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meaghan Emery, of South Burlington, who is the vice chair of the South Burlington City Council and an associate professor of French at the University of Vermont. It is based on remarks she gave Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in South Burlington.
    Nov. 9, 2019, marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I happened to be in Paris on Nov. 9, 1989, a 20-year-old American exchange student, studying at the Sorbonne, walking along the same bo
  • Margolis: Gadflies have taken over state GOP reins

    Gov. Phil Scott and Vermont Republican Party chair Deb Billado on election night 2018. File photos by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerJon Margolis is VTDigger’s political columnist.Donald Trump has lots of Vermont supporters. Extrapolating from the latest voter registration and polling data, some 156,800 registered voters in Vermont approve of how the Republican president is doing his job.A goodly collection of folks by any measurement. Not a single stadium, mansion, or manor in the state could fit
  • Slate Valley school district proposes $60 million building project

    Renovations are planned at the Slate Valley union district high school.Another school board will be asking voters to approve a big construction project this spring.
    The school board in the Slate Valley Unified School District, which straddles Addison and Rutland counties, has endorsed a multi-school project that would renovate the high school, build a union middle school, and add on to one of the district’s local elementary schools.
    The plan is currently priced at $64.5 million, although
  • Consider Bardwell starts picking up the pieces after recall

    Angela Miller of Consider Bardwell. Photo by Rust Glover.Angela Miller, the co-owner of Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, is still reeling emotionally from the blow of a huge cheese recall prompted by a positive listeria reading this fall.But even as Consider Bardwell prepares to destroy $200,000 worth of its high-end goats’ and cows’ milk cheese, the business is stirring back to life.Potential investors have contacted Miller and husband Russell Glover about the farm, which occu
  • Department of Labor highlights career opportunities for veterans during National Apprenticeship Week

    Contact:Kyle Thweatt, Vermont Department of Labor802-461-8807 | kyle.thweatt@vermont.govMontpelier, VT – As the nation recognizes service members this Veteran’s Day, The Vermont Department of Labor wishes to highlight the workforce training and education opportunities, and resources available to veterans transitioning from a military to civilian career. At each of Vermont’s 12 local Career Resource Centers, veterans, and qualifying spouses, are given priority status.
  • Sanders proposes bold veterans agenda

    Campaign Releases Video Chronicling 2014’s Landmark Legislation
    November 11, 2019
    Contact: press@berniesanders.comWASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday released his veterans agenda, called “Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans,” which will guarantee veterans the benefits and services they were promised, protect and expand disability benefits for veterans, guarantee justice for veterans and expand opportunities for veterans. The proposal comes as Americans ar
  • CCV student receives $1,000 legacy scholarship

    Contact:Katie Keszey802-262-6162katie.keszey@ccv.eduMONTPELIER, Vt. — Community College of Vermont (CCV) student Dakoda Carter has been selected as the recipient of CCV’s 2019 Legacy Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. The Legacy Scholarship is given annually in honor of a current or former CCV faculty or staff member whose work has had a profound impact on students and colleagues. This year’s scholarship is given in honor of Pamela Chisholm, who retired in May 2019 after 17 y
  • Gov. Phil Scott proclaims fifth annual national apprenticeship week in Vermont

    ContactKyle Thweatt, Department of Labor802-828-4251 | kyle.thweatt@vermont.govMontpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott and the Department of Labor today celebrated the fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week during a proclamation signing at Benoit Electric in Barre.“As our labor force has declined, Vermont employers are left struggling to fill good paying jobs and too many of our kids aren’t being exposed to the full range of available career opportunities,” sai
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center receives national recognition for meritorious outcomes from the American College of Surgeons

    Media Contact: Peg Bolgioni, Marketing & Public Relations
    802.772.2843 or pbolgioni@rrmc.orgRutland, Vermont: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) has recognized Rutland Regional Medical Center, as one of 88 ACS NSQIP participating hospitals that have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2018.  As a participant in ACS NSQIP, Rutland Regional is required to track the outcomes of inp
  • Strolling of the Heifers to Host Windham County Media Panel: What Can Journalism Offer Rural Communities?

    BRATTLEBORO, VT – How well are state and local media outlets serving our community? Join the discussion at a special Brown Bag Series event from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, November 15 at the River Garden, 157 Main Street, Brattleboro. Strolling of the Heifers will host a Windham County Media Panel to discuss Vermont media coverage as it relates to our community. Topics will include collaboration among media groups and shifts in how our community members access local, regional and world
  • LCBP seeks proposals for road inventory to improve Lake Carmi

    Grand Isle, VT – The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) seeks proposals for an inventory of roads and implementation of a program to reduce phosphorus inputs to Lake Carmi from roads. The LCBP will provide up to $100,000 for this project. The work is intended to help reduce cyanobacteria blooms in the Franklin, Vermont lake, which was designated as a “Lake in Crisis” by the Vermont Legislature in 2018.Lake Carmi suffers from cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae)
  • Newport City Downtown Development – Economic Development Specialist

    Conrad Bellavance, Chair of Newport City Downtown Development (NCDD) Board of Directors, has announced that James Davis, of Lyndon, Vt., has accepted the position of the Downtown Economic Development Specialist.“Jim can hit the ground running in Newport”, said Bellavance. “Jim has many years of experience in business and in the non-profit sector. He has a proven track-record of fundraising, organizational management and development.”NCDD Board member Richard Tetreault sta
  • LCBP seeks proposals for New York farm equipment upgrades

    Grand Isle, VT – The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) seeks proposals for services to retrofit farm equipment in New York in an effort to improve water quality in Lake Champlain. The LCBP will provide up to $50,000 to enhance corn planters and other equipment so they can be used for no-till planting. The project will help to reduce sediment and phosphorus inputs from farms.Reducing phosphorus inputs from soil erosion on farms is a critical step in improving the health of Lake Champ
  • VTDigger doesn’t have a paywall for a reason.

    Dear Reader, People often ask me why VTDigger doesn’t have a subscription payment program with a paywall like many commercial newspapers around the country. Paywalls block access to stories, forcing readers to pay a fee. Unfortunately, this model is not generating enough revenue to supportmost local online newspapers. (The New York Times is an exception because of the size of its readership.)VTDigger’s Anne Galloway speaks during VTD’s 10th anniversary celebratio
  • VEIC plans relocation to downtown Winooski

    Traffic flows around the Winooski traffic circle on Monday, August 12, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDiggerThe Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is planning to relocate its Burlington headquarters to a new development in downtown Winooski.
    VEIC CEO Jim Madej said the lease for the nonprofit’s current Lakeside Avenue space is coming to an end in 2021, the same year Winooski’s latest downtown development is planned to be complete. Burlington-based Nedde Real Estate is currently in
  • Heather Furman: Hunting & conservation — making room for all

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by Heather Furman, the Vermont state director for The Nature Conservancy. It was first published by the Times Argus and Rutland Herald.
    If you recreate in the outdoors and care about the quality of your recreational experience – the vast stretches of green, the opportunity to see wildlife, the health of Vermont’s forests – thank a hunter.  
    Why? Because hunting and conservation have a rich history that has helped shape our lands
  • Mike Mrowicki: Keeping it civil

    Editor’s note: This commentary is by state Rep. Mike Mrowicki, a Democrat who represents Windham-4 (Putney, Dummerston and Westminster) in the Vermont House of Representatives.These are times that are testing our faith in ourselves, each other and our democracy — as well as our tradition in Vermont of keeping it civil.While there have been instances where lines were crossed — around civil unions and firearm reforms — for the most part, we have kept it civil.There are faul
  • As artificial intelligence grows in Vermont, task force mulls state policies

    BRISTOL — For some, artificial intelligence may conjure sci-fi movie plots and fears of sentient robots challenging humanity. Not Bruce Duncan. The greatest threat to the future of AI, he believes, is ignorance. 
    Duncan discussed his concern as he sat only a few feet away from Bina48, a humanoid robot he helped create that’s able to analyze and respond to hundreds of conversation starters. AI algorithms allow her to act, think and respond like a human. 
    Although she’s
  • Satire: ‘You first’ standoff enters second day at Barre stop sign

    BARRE – Police are asking drivers to avoid the intersection of Hill St. and Liberty St. in Barre, as two cars have been attempting to wave each other through the stop sign for almost 30 hours. The back-up began when two vehicles arrived at the intersection simultaneously, and each driver motioned for the other to proceed.“I was there,” says Montpelier resident Jim Patients. “I was the car directly behind the grey Volvo. That’s the one on Liberty. Anyway, I pulled up
  • The Deeper Dig: Sweeping opioid litigation lands in Vermont

    The Deeper Dig is a weekly podcast from the VTDigger newsroom. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
    Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, whose office is pursing three cases against opioid companies, is now recommending cities and towns join a national suit. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
    Vermont cities and towns are deciding whether to join the broad-ranging national litigation against companies ac
  • State rep wins gold in international skating competition

    This article by Madeline Clark was published by the Other Paper on Nov. 7.“Representing the United States of America, Maida Townsend.”At 75, Rep. Maida Townsend won a gold medal in an international skating competition in Lake Placid. Courtesy photoIt was an introduction even Townsend – Chittenden District 7-4 State representative – wasn’t expecting to hear. But sure enough, it’s how she was presented to judges, the audience and her fellow competitors at the In

Follow @NewsVermont_ on Twitter!