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.

Burlington man pleads not guilty to human trafficking allegation

A Burlington man is pleading not guilty to federal charges of human trafficking and possessing a firearm as a felon. Naquan Bowie pleaded not guilty to the charges in U.S. District Court in Burlington Tuesday, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Bowie allegedly forced an individual referred to as “Victim M.P.” to […]

Aldrich leaves Vermont Arts Council

Alex Aldrich, the longtime executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, is stepping down. Aldrich who has led the nonprofit state arts agency for 20 years is leaving to work at the real estate company in Montpelier he owns with his wife Sue Aldrich. “Working to preserve and advance the arts in Vermont for the past two decades has […]

Vernon Selectboard chair rebukes residents for complaint to AG

(This article by Bob Audette was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on March 23, 2017.) VERNON — The chairman of the Vernon Selectboard rebuked the members of the Vernon Voters Alliance for creating a “public spectacle,” by submitting a letter of complaint “of misconduct/corruption” to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. “Our complaint concerns the misuse […]

N.H. sheriff will not assist Homeland Security in absence of suspected criminal activity

(This article by Bob Audette was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on March 22, 2017.) KEENE, N.H. — The sheriff of Cheshire County will not help agents from the Department of Homeland Security conduct “raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons.” In a press release to the […]

Vermont congressional delegation to hold town meeting Saturday in Hardwick

Vermont’s congressional delegation will hold a joint town meeting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hazen Union School in Hardwick. U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., will hold the forum to discuss a wide array of issues with constituents. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch […]

New mayor returns familiar faces to Rutland City Hall

The leadership team under new Rutland City Mayor David Allaire is taking shape. “It’s time for a reset, a new beginning,” Allaire said Monday night at the first meeting of the city’s Board of Aldermen since his election over incumbent Mayor Christopher Louras on Town Meeting Day. The new mayor said hIs first task since […]

Senate endorses open meetings for OneCare

he Vermont Senate has endorsed S.4, the bill that would require the board of directors for the state’s largest health care organization to hold open meetings. Senators gave preliminary approval to the bill unanimously on Thursday in a voice vote. The Senate is on track to pass the bill Friday. S.4 affects accountable care organizations, […]

Patrick Kennedy weighs in on marijuana debate

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy is urging a Vermont legislative panel not to move forward with a bill, H.170, that would legalize adult possession of limited amounts of marijuana. Kennedy, son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, urged lawmakers in a letter dated March 15 to oppose the bill “so that Vermont children […]

House endorses bill to find causes of suicide

The Vermont House gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that seeks to find out more about why people take their own lives. The bill, H.184, requires the Agency of Human Services to collect information on suicides and submit a report to the Legislature each year analyzing why people took their lives. The bill seeks […]

Recount affirms Pownal Selectboard result

POWNAL — A hand recount Wednesday affirmed the Town Meeting Day victory of veteran Selectboard member Nelson Brownell for another term. The recount was requested by challenger Michael George, who was eight votes behind after the initial count March 7 — 259 to 251. Assistant Town Clerk Julie Weber said the totals after the second […]

Unemployment 3.1 percent in January

Vermont’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent in January, a slight decrease from the rate of 3.2 percent in December. The unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national unemployment rate, which was 4.8 percent in January. Local unemployment rates were lowest in White River Junction (3 percent), Woodstock (3.1 percent) and Burlington-South Burlington […]

Coppinger to leave downtown Rutland post

RUTLAND — Michael Coppinger is stepping down next month from his post as chief marketer for the city. Coppinger, the executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership for the past 10 years, said he formally submitted his resignation Tuesday at a meeting of the organization’s board of directors. “Ten years is a long time to […]

Burlington retains ‘A’ credit rating; outlook upgraded

BURLINGTON — Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Services has affirmed the city’s A3 credit rating and upgraded its outlook from stable to positive. Last year, Burlington regained an A rating from Moody’s after a series of downgrades in 2012 that Mayor Miro Weinberger has described as pushing its rating to the edge of junk bond status. […]

VSAC president urges IRS to act quickly to fix FAFSA tool

Smack dab in the middle of peak application time for college financial aid, the IRS shut down a tool used to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form online. On March 9, the Internal Revenue Service turned off the Data Retrieval Tool, which prefilled answers to questions for applicants. The IRS said […]