Vermont News Briefs

VTDigger’s beat reporters cover health care, politics, education, energy, the environment, business and state finances. We offer brief Vermont news stories on issues are are keeping tabs on.

Copley cuts ribbon on new surgical center

Copley Hospital in Morrisville celebrated the opening of its new $12.5 million surgical facility this week. It had been in the permit and construction process since 2014. The hospital received a permit, called a certificate of need, from the Green Mountain Care Board in February 2016. Construction started on the 19,560-square-foot surgical center in the […]

Man extradited on charges of smuggling guns via border library

A Canadian man is facing federal charges in Vermont for allegedly smuggling about 100 handguns into Quebec that had been stashed in a library straddling the international border. Alexis Vlachos, 40, of Montreal, was recently extradited to Vermont, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office, after indictment by a grand jury in […]

UVM Health Network recruiting, training more psychiatrists

Vermont’s largest hospital system is expanding the number of psychiatrists on staff and doubling the number of child psychiatrists its academic medical center trains in a given year. The University of Vermont Health Network, which controls three hospitals in Vermont and three in upstate New York, is actively recruiting until it has eight psychiatrists at […]

Unemployment rate stays at 3.1 percent

Vermont’s unemployment rate stayed flat in May, after preliminary data in April showed the rate’s first uptick since 2009. The unemployment rate remains at 3.1 percent in May, compared to a nationwide unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. Vermont is tied with Wisconsin and Iowa for the eighth-lowest unemployment rate in the country, behind Colorado (2.3 […]

Vermont homeless count up by 11 percent

More than 1,200 Vermonters including more than 300 children were homeless on January 24, according to the latest annual report designed to measure homelessness. The annual Point-In-Time Count Report, released Tuesday, showed 1,225 homeless Vermonters, an increase of 11 percent over 2016. There were 306 homeless children, representing 25 percent of the total. More than […]

Hermitage Club makes first payment in tax agreement

(This story by Chris Mays was first published in the Brattleboro Reformer on June 13, 2017.) WILMINGTON — The Hermitage Club is avoiding a tax sale that would have seen some of its properties sold during a public auction. “The Hermitage Club paid its Wilmington tax payment per the agreement at end of business today,” […]

Eight companies submit bids for Burlington Telecom

BURLINGTON — Eight companies submitted letters of intent to buy or become a partner in Burlington Telecom, the city’s municipally owned communications network. Burlington is required to sell the company as part of a 2014 settlement with the telecom’s main creditor Citibank. The city will keep a larger portion of the proceeds if the sale […]

Two dead in Brattleboro from apparent heat exposure

(This story is by the Brattleboro Reformer, in which it first appeared June 13, 2017.) BRATTLEBORO — Two elderly Brattleboro residents appear to have died of heat exposure, according to the Brattleboro Police Department. On Monday officers responded to two separate residences where they found an 87-year-old woman and an 87-year-old man dead outside of […]

Depoy, Soucy, Terenzini make the cut to fill vacant Senate seat

RUTLAND–The selection of the next state senator from Rutland County is now in the hands of Gov. Phil Scott. The county Republican Party held a caucus Thursday night to vet the three GOP candidates who hope to replace Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, who resigned after he was appointed to lead the Green Mountain Care Board. […]

Cell service comes to Grace Cottage Hospital

TOWNSHEND – A Massachusetts company is boosting cellular service at Vermont’s smallest hospital. CoverageCo has installed equipment that allows for cell phone use at the hospital or in the vicinity – an area that has had little to no service until now. There are limitations: For instance, AT&T customers can’t access the new system. But […]

Police investigating infant’s death in Colchester

COLCHESTER — Town police say emergency personnel responding to a call Wednesday discovered an unresponsive 7-month-old child they were not able to resuscitate. The infant was pronounced dead after being taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center, according to the Colchester Police Department. Police say their initial investigation does not indicate criminal activity, but […]

Justice reform group to get new executive director

A new director will take the helm of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform. The group’s current executive director, Suzi Wizowaty, announced this week she will step down at the end of the month. The advocacy organization, founded in 2013, calls for a reduction in incarceration rates and has been an outspoken critic of Vermont’s out-of-state […]

Donovan says he’ll uphold climate accord’s goals

Attorney General TJ Donovan said he has joined 18 other attorneys general in support of the international climate pact that President Donald Trump pulled out of last week. The Paris Agreement, as the compact is known, was signed by nearly every country in the world in December 2015. It aims to prevent carbon dioxide pollution […]

Major solar installation will power Vermont customers

Construction is slated to begin next month on a 5.7-megawatt solar array in Grand Isle that will be the largest in the state that’s selling its energy within Vermont, according to the developer. Gregg Beldock, CEO of Shelburne-based Bullrock Corp., said at least one larger solar installation has received a permit in Vermont, but he […]