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An Amish enclave in the Northeast Kingdom

While Vermont leaders tie themselves in knots trying to draw new people to the state, a group of Amish families has quietly left Pennsylvania and Ohio to settle in the Northeast Kingdom.


Local control at any cost

Holland, Vermont is anchored by its elementary school. But this week, residents voted decisively to close it. And it's not the only town considering drastic measures to head off a forced merger.


How TV watchers shift their worldviews

Spoiler alert: fans of modern TV dramas may be getting more of their political views from those sources than they think. Shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Battlestar Galactica” are densely plotted serials that immerse viewers in fantasy worlds.


Life on the line

Derby, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec, have historically been tight knit communities despite the international boundary between them. But heightened border security measures have frustrated residents, driving the two towns farther apart.


BONUS: Leahy remembers McCain, an unlikely ally

Sen. Patrick Leahy was one of Sen. John McCain’s closest colleagues during the decades the two served together in the U.S. Senate. But their positions were often far apart. “Were we ideological soulmates? Of course not,” Leahy said.


When waste hits waterways

Throughout the summer, heavy rains have caused sewer overflows in most of Vermont’s largest cities. In late July, 9.7 million gallons of stormwater and wastewater spilled from Rutland’s sewers into the East and Otter creeks.


BONUS: Christine Hallquist in conversation

Christine Hallquist, the Democratic nominee for Vermont governor, said Friday that she and the governor have similar positions on raising new revenue. “I’m going to say we have the same general position on taxes and fees. However,


From ‘Fan Club’ to ‘Roseanne’?

Bradford Broyles, a filmmaker and GOP operative, has spent the last year and a half quietly publishing a video series lampooning Republican Gov. Phil Scott for drifting towards the political center. Now, Broyles is training his lens beyond Vermont.


Upcoming elections will test Vermont’s voting laws

Daniel Jones was 22 when he shot and killed a drug dealer in a Burlington alley in 2002. He was an addict, he says, and the killing was an accident. Now 16 years into his 25-year sentence at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport,


Scott's challengers take the stage

Ahead of Vermont’s August 14th primary elections, lesser-known candidates hoping to unseat Gov. Phil Scott have used recent debates to distance themselves from the incumbent. “He’s been running [the state] on division," says Christine Hallquist. "That’s not the Vermont I know and love.” The four Democratic contenders have significantly lower name recognition than the governor. But they face the added challenge of differentiating themselves from each other. All four hold similar progressive...


Longshot candidates go for governor

Two candidates on the ballot in Vermont's gubernatorial primaries have notably nontraditional backgrounds. Keith Stern, who runs a produce market in White River Junction, has little prior political experience. Ethan Sonneborn has less: he's a 14-year-old rising ninth-grader at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School. Both are struggling against anonymity. Recent polling data shows that Sonneborn has the lowest name recongition of five Democratic contenders, and Stern is facing well-known...


EB-5 cleanup leaves investors anxious

The two latest steps in the fallout from Vermont's EB-5 scandal have been a mixed bag for the state. Last week, the federal government notified officials that the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center would be immediately shut down, a direct result of the state's failure to stop a massive fraud scheme. Days later, the state announced a civil settlement against the developers at the center of the fraud. While the settlement provides some restitution for the city of Newport, which is still...


UVM nurses strike for staffing relief

For three months, nurses at the UVM Medical Center have been negotiating with hospital administrators for higher wages and better staffing ratios. When the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement this week, the nurses took to the picket lines. "The energy has been really high, but also emotional," said Molly Wallner, a registered nurse at UVM who walked out Thursday morning. "It does feel sad to feel like we can't be there for our patients today." Hospital administrators maintain that...


Vermonters raise voices towards the southern border

As the Trump administration's immigration enforcement policies continue to spark backlash around the U.S., Vermonters are examining how one of the country's northernmost states relates to policies affecting the southwest border. Last year, a federal law enforcement tipline based in Williston received an uptick in calls under the Trump administration — including citizen reports of suspected undocumented immigrants. Civil liberties advocates worry that programs like these turn neighbors...


How cannabis case law will shape legalization

July 1st marks the first date that Vermonters will be allowed to possess and grow marijuana under state law. According to Tim Fair, a Burlington attorney specializing in cannabis-related cases, the legal implications of that move extend far beyond what’s specified in statute. “Every cannabis case so far in the history of the United States has been taken with the concept of cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and illegal contraband,” Fair says. “Now, with legalization, that...


Lessons learned from the '61 standoff

As the budget standoff in Montpelier reaches into the summer, a common refrain among analysts is that it’s the closest Vermont has come to a government shutdown since 1961. That year’s legislative session lasted a record 210 days, as a governor who pledged to avoid tax increases faced off against a Senate leader with his own priorities. Stephen Terry, a Vermont journalist who co-wrote a book about 1960s state politics, says the dynamics that year were muted compared to today. Terry says a...


More mergers loom under school plan's next phase

As schools around Vermont go quiet for the year, the effects of the state's 2015 consolidation law are increasingly visible. Earlier this month, the Agency of Education kicked off phase two of Act 46, recommending that 43 districts that haven't yet volunteered to merge do so next year. State Board of Education Chair Krista Huling reiterated this week that the plan is meant to provide educational opportunities through larger governance systems. But, she said, "not everybody's happy with...


Marijuana offenders face clean slates

In the coming week, state’s attorneys in two counties will hold "Expungement Days," offering assistance to Vermonters looking to clear their records of misdemeanor marijuana convictions. The initiative comes weeks ahead of the July 1 start date for the state's new policy that legalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana. "Why should a person be saddled with a conviction for a lifetime, for behavior that will be legal as of this summer?" asked Windsor County State's Attorney David...


Lottery winners' suspicious sums

A VTDigger investigation published in April revealed a pattern of unlikely lottery wins by retailers and their relatives. Total payoffs for some individuals have reached into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Collectively, at least 117 retailers won nearly $1.8 million. For reporter Katy Savage, tracking down those winners didn't come easily. The Vermont Lottery Commission would name the towns, but not the stores, where prizewinners purchased their tickets. So Savage took to the phone,...


"A lethal combination" in the Lumumba homicide

The apparent murder of Anako Lumumba, a 33-year-old South Burlington nurse who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Leroy Headley, has set off an interstate manhunt. It's also renewed a statewide conversation about firearms and domestic violence. Lumumba had sought two relief-from-abuse orders against Headley in 2017. But both were vacated before being finalized, limiting law enforcement's ability to intervene. Auburn Watersong, the policy director at the Vermont Network Against Domestic...