Pat Bradley

North Country Bureau Chief

Ways to Connect

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nuclear power plant should not have been given a new operating license because its federal water quality permit was out of date.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.

WAMC

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.

A leader of Vermont's efforts to reform its health care system says the state's efforts to provide insurance for nearly all of its residents likely will continue, even if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to strike down President Barack Obama's health care law.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Anya Rader Wallack crossed the Connecticut River on Monday to meet with doctors at New Hampshire's Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Trudeau Institute

The Trudeau Institute has received a five year federal grant to study how aging affects the immune system’s response to influenza vaccines.

New York State has dropped its appeal of a court decision that classified Lows Lake in the Adirondacks as wilderness.

Ryan Delaney/WAMC

Vermont officials say the total cost of recovering from Tropical Storm Irene is estimated at $733 million and the federal government is expected to pay about three quarters of that amount.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state expects it will have to pay about $110 million for its share of the repair costs.

Spaulding and other top state officials gave a briefing Thursday on the efforts to recover from the biggest natural disaster in almost a century.

A legal challenge to New York’s participation in the regional program to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been thrown out by a state court.

WAMC

A panel of state lawmakers met on Wednesday to tackle some major health and mental health issues facing Vermont as it moves toward a single payer health system.

The Health Access Oversight Committee, comprised of both House and Senate members, held a day-long session to review numerous health and mental health issues. The Committee meets when the Legislature is not in session to assure that there are no barriers to health care.  
Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chair Senator Claire Ayer is co-Chair of the Oversight committee.

The state of Vermont recently announced that education officials there will not seek a waiver from requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s proposed 2013 budget continues to be controversial. Initiatives in that budget include changes to the Medicare and Social Security systems by creating a voucher system for privatized insurance, increasing eligibility ages, raising payroll tax caps and capping program growth levels.  One group is concerned that political rhetoric about the changes is misleading voters.

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