Pat Bradley

North Country Bureau Chief

Ways to Connect

The head of the Vermont Health Department was publically tested for HIV Tuesday.  It’s part of the Department’s effort to encourage individual HIV testing across the state

Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen was at  Fletcher Allen Health Care Tuesday to get some blood drawn, while State Epidemiologist for Infectious Diseases Patsy Kelso accompanied him to have a swab test taken.  Kelso says she and Dr. Chen wanted to show how simple and straightforward it is to be tested for HIV.

It’s been just over a year since spring flooding and nearly a year since Tropical Storm Irene devastated parts of the region. While the physical evidence of last year’s storms may have faded,  there are still many people dealing with the aftermath.  Project Hope crisis counselors continue to work in Essex and Clinton counties aiding in the psychological recovery from the storm.

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The second week in July is Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York. There are numerous activities across the state to raise citizen awareness about plants, animals and aquatic invasives.  On today’s Community Corner,  a walking tour of the Point Au Roche  Nature Center north of Plattsburgh identifies some terrestrial and aquatic invasives.

Blue green algae blooms are popping up all over Lake Champlain and other lakes across the region this summer.  And scientists are trying to figure out why they appear to be more numerous this year.

Nina Schoch

A just released study of mercury in Adirondack loons has found that the contaminant is having an impact on the population of the birds.  

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders says there’s something wrong at the gas pumps in Vermont’s most populated area of the state. He wants the federal government to investigate why people in the Burlington area are paying much more for gas than other areas of the state.

New York’s current 14-thousand square mile 23rd Congressional District encompasses the northern tier of the state.  On today’s Community Corner the District’s Representative Bill Owens discusses a number of issues, including the recent passage of the federal transportation bill.

The federal transportation bill included an amendment co-sponsored by Democratic Congressman Bill Owens to maintain funding for off-system rural bridges.

Congressman Owens will hold a telephone town hall to answer constituent questions on Tuesday evening.

A former power plant site in Burlington, Vermont will not be redeveloped as the prior mayoral administration had proposed.

Two teenagers from northern New York are spreading the word about the importance of organ transplants.  What makes their effort different is that the brothers faced a rare circumstance:   both siblings needed heart transplants. On today’s Community Corner, student athletes Brock and Connor Marvin talk about their experiences and their  advocacy for organ donation.

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Vermont's congressional delegation says the farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate that includes a program aimed at stabilizing milk prices is a good step forward.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

A provision of the voluntary program is designed to stop the dramatic swings in prices, by discouraging the oversupply of milk and allowing farmers to buy insurance that pays out when prices plummet.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, but did limit the federal government’s funding plan for the expansion of Medicaid.  That is causing concern, and some confusion.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act is welcomed in Vermont, where efforts to transition to a single payer system relies on funding in the law.

Vermont is trying to build the first single payer health care system in the country.  Governor Peter Shumlin says the Supreme Court decision means the state will be able to use 400-million dollars a year in federal subsidies to help pay for low and middle income insurance programs.

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Republican Matt Doheny won a primary contest Tuesday in New York’s new 21st Congressional District.  He is traveling the district on a “post primary blitz” and was in Plattsburgh this morning to announce that a former rival is now joining his team.  

A federal district court has upheld the EPA’s ability to set standards for regulating greenhouse gas emissions.  

The November ballot races were determined Tuesday as primaries were held across New York.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Courtesy NRC and Entergy Corp.

A U.S. appeals court has rejected an argument by the state of Vermont that the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant should not have been given a new operating license because its federal water quality permit was out of date.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the state had multiple opportunities to argue the Vernon plant lacked a valid permit under the Clean Water Act during the proceedings that led up to the plant's relicensing last year.

The North Country region has received a one million dollar grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for smart growth and sustainability planning.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his 2011 State of the State Address the Cleaner Greener Communities program - an initiative to encourage regional sustainable growth planning. A consortium of municipalities and organizations in the North Country will receive one million dollars to develop a smart growth plan.  NYSERDA Spokesperson Kate Muller.

City Budget Passes

Jun 26, 2012
WAMC

The Burlington, Vermont City Council has unanimously passed the city’s fiscal year 2013 budget.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s fiscal plan balances the budget without a tax increase.  Moody’s last week downgraded the city’s debt rating due to concerns over lawsuits regarding Burlington Telecom and the liquidity of the city’s enterprise operations. Mayor Weinberger says steps were taken in the budget to address the downgrade.

There is a Republican primary in New York’s new 21st Congressional District.  Matt Doheny, who has run for the office before, is being challenged by newcomer Kellie Greene.  On today’s Community Corner,  Greene, who is considered the underdog in the Republican primary,  talks about why she decided to run.

Republican candidate Kellie Greene was raised in the Oswego area of the 21st Congressional district.  She holds business and theological degrees and has never run for office.  Until now.

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The U.S. Senate has passed the 2012 Farm Bill, prompting praise from regional advocates and Congressional representatives.

The Vermont Department of Education has restored funding that had been cut over a decade ago for an anti-harassment program focused on gay youth.

The state of Vermont has restored funding for a group that fights discrimination against gay people to run an anti-harrassment program in schools. More from North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley...

Funding for the Outright Vermont program was cut in 2000, amid a heated debate over civil unions. The group had been operating its school program with private grant funding, but now Outright Vermont says state funding has been restored.

Over the last year, Outright Vermont has made 152 presentations in Vermont schools, reaching more than 4,000 students and educators.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to back an Environmental Protection Agency rule that will control mercury and other air pollutants discharged from coal-fired power plants.

Fifty-three Senators moved to block a resolution offered by Senator James Inhofe that would have blocked implementation of the EPA mercury rule. Before the vote, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in favor of the rule, saying it will create jobs, and improve the environment and human health.

New York Legislators are working through a sea of bills in an attempt to adjourn the session today.  But as they wrap up their work, environmental advocates are already saying it is one of the worst sessions for environmental stewardship in years.

Vermont is getting a $5 million federal grant for a new automated system that will allow it to better gather and report on information from every school in the state.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Officials say with the new system the state will be able determine, for example, how many students have taken geometry by ninth grade or attended full-day kindergarten.

A new survey finds increased optimism over Vermont’s economic future.

The Vermont Business Roundtable released the results of it most recent CEO Economic Outlook Survey on Tuesday assessing the 6 month economic outlook of 120 company leaders across Vermont. The key findings from the second quarter of 2012 found an expected 7-percent increase in stable company sales; an expected 5-percent increase in stable capital spending and an expected five percent decrease in stable employment levels. King Arthur Flour CEO Steve Voigt is Chair of the Business Roundtable.

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The New York State Senate has voted to cap property tax assessments on farm lands.

Vermont Statehouse
Photo by Pat Bradley

More than 1,600 people in the area of South Burlington, Vt., have signed a petition in support of locating new Air Guard jets at Burlington International Airport.  WAMC’s Pat Bradley reports…

The petition presented Monday urges the South Burlington City Council to reconsider its opposition to basing the new jets locally.

The Council voted last month against basing the F-35A at the Vermont Air Guard base. It sent questions to the Air Force related to a draft environmental impact statement related to elevated noise levels.

Environmental groups in Maine and Vermont have issued a report critical of what they say is a potential plan for tar sands oil to be piped across northern New England.

Warren County has passed a first of its kind law in New York making the transport or introduction of aquatic invasive species into any county water body illegal.

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