Pat Bradley

North Country Bureau Chief

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Vermont Governor's Office

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law the state’s next step in a multi-year effort to revamp Vermont's health care system and make it a single payer system similar to Canada's.

Vermont’s governor has signed into law the nation’s first ban on the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

There's no drilling currently happening in Vermont, which is believed to have little to no reserves of oil or natural gas.

Lawmakers passed a preemptive ban on the practice and Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin signed the law Wednesday in a ceremony at the Statehouse in Montpelier…

Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law the next step in a multi-year effort to revamp Vermont’s health care system and make it more like Canada’s.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

The bill Shumlin signed on Wednesday calls for setting up a regulated health care marketplace — or "exchange" — in keeping with the federal health reform law passed two years ago.

The Governor says it helps the state as it tries to move to a single payer system…

Courtesy Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law the nation's first statewide ban on the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Governor Peter Shumlin signed H.464 to ban the drilling method. Lawmakers had considered a moratorium, but after testimony and debate, moved a bill forward to ban the practice.  Governor Shumlin says it’s a critical move to protecting a critical resource.

Courtesy NYS Library

The Plattsburgh Public Library kicks off its Summer Reading Program today.  It’s part of a statewide effort to get more children to read.

The New York State Library is part of a consortium between most states that have pooled resources to create a summer reading program for children.  New York State Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education and Acting State Librarian Jeffrey Cannell says it’s critical that reading skills  be maintained.

Vermont's top fiscal officer says the state's General Fund took in $10.6 million more than expected last month, making it possible for the state to end the fiscal year with a surplus.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports… 

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said general fund revenues were 6.3 percent ahead of expectations.

So far this fiscal year, general fund revenues are four-tenths of one percent ahead of expectations.

Spaulding says the results were largely because of strong corporate income tax filings.

DOD Joint Strike Fighter Program / Department of Defense

The U.S. Air Force is considering five sites across the country to host their new generation of fighter jets.  One of its preferred sites is the National Guard base in South Burlington, Vermont. Both supporters and opponents packed a hearing last night to voice their opinions on the plan.

A federal board has approved a rail company's plan to resume freight traffic along a 30-mile stretch of unused tracks in the Adirondacks.

The Vermont Attorney General's office has received approval to hire a special investigator to target child pornography cases.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Cindy Maguire of the attorney general's office tells the Bennington Banner that person will be devoted to building cases against people generating or sharing child pornography over peer-to-peer networks.

WAMC

Vermont House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a budget for fiscal 2013, and that means the Legislature will likely adjourn sometime Saturday.

The FUND for Lake George has issued a report calling for mandatory controls to prevent the spread of invasive species into that Adirondack lake.

The not-for-profit group released the report Thursday calling for mandatory boat inspections and decontamination programs before allowing boats onto Lake George.  The intent is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, according to FUND For Lake George Executive Director Peter Bauer.

Following a court ruling, the Vermont Public Service Board is re-hearing whether the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant’s owner, Entergy Nuclear, should be given a state permit to operate an additional 20 years. And Entergy wants a year and a half to file its documents.

This Saturday people across the region will join a global effort to link severe weather events to global climate change.

Vermont's governor has allowed a ban on the use of tanning beds by young people to become law without his signature.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports… 

Governor Peter Shumlin said Wednesday that he did not approve of the legislation because of concerns about how it would be enforced.

Owners of establishments with tanning beds caught allowing people younger than 18 to use them would face fines.

Courtesy CityofGlensFalls.com

Glens Falls has received a high ranking from Forbes magazine for its overall employment levels.

Picture of solar panels
WAMC

The largest solar installation in the city of Burlington is now on-line and has been dedicated by the state’s Episcopal Diocese. The 35 solar trackers were installed at the Rock Point School, a small boarding school owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.  The 147 kilowatt array will provide about 66-percent of the power for the campus.

Vermont lawmakers have completed the arduous process of redrawing legislative district maps for the next 10 years.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Reapportionment happens once a decade to accommodate shifts in population, and in keeping with those shifts during the past decade, Burlington is gaining a House seat, while Rutland County is losing one. Other changes are being made as well.

WAMC

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch was at Vermont’s largest university Monday to hear students’ debt and loan concerns.
The federal Stafford Student Loan interest rate will double on July first if Congress does not pass a measure to stop the increase.  Vermont’s sole Congressman was at the University of Vermont to compile stories from students about their debt.

Members of the U.S. House and Senate, led by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, held a conference call recently with Postmasters across the country to discuss legislative efforts in Congress to protect the postal service.

Vermont's U.S. Representative Peter Welch is compiling stories about student debt.  WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports... 

Welch was at the University of Vermont on Monday where he met with students, some of whom are working multiple jobs and studying full time as they accumulate student loan debt.

Courtesy TownofInlet.org

A major wastewater collection and treatment facility project will move forward in the Adirondack town of Inlet thanks to a grant from New York State.

The U.S. Department of Labor has withdrawn a controversial proposal that farmers across the region said would harm the future of family farms.

Another Republican is entering the race for governor of Vermont.  WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports...

Roy Newton, a Rutland area publisher, announced Wednesday that he plans to be on the GOP primary ballot in August.

Newton is challenging Sen. Randy Brock for the Republican nomination. Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin has not said whether he will run for reelection.

WCAX-TV reports that Newton is the founder of the Vermont Ski Museum and runs several small publications in the Rutland area, including the Rutland Sun.

Agriculture officials in Vermont are concerned that two to three days of predicted hard frosts could damage some early crops.        

The Vermont Senate Finance Committee has approved a miscellaneous tax bill which includes a new seven-point-five million dollar tax on the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is hailing what he calls good news on the corrections front: Vermont has seen a reduction in its prison population, while its crime rates also are down.  WAMC’s Pat Bradley reports…

Numbers released on Wednesday show Vermont's inmate population has dropped by more than 140 since 2008, to 2,059 people behind bars. It had been projected to grow by 26 percent between 2008 and 2018.

WAMC

The Vermont Legislature is wading through a sea of pending bills as they try to move towards an adjournment that’s already been delayed.

Courtesy American Lung Association

The American Lung Association has released their annual State of the Air report.  While there has been some improvement in air quality, air across the Northeast is still too polluted.

Getty Images

Backers of marijuana decriminalization have failed in their effort to bring the measure to the full Vermont House for a vote.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

The measure had been held up in the House Judiciary Committee, with House Speaker Shap Smith opposed to it.

On Tuesday, Representative Oliver Olsen, a Jamaica Republican, called for a vote in the House to pull the bill out of committee and bring it to the floor for debate. That motion failed on a vote of 119 to 21.

A bill has been introduced in the state Senate by Senator Betty Little and in the Assembly by William Magee to give the authority for training and credentialing search and rescue volunteers to state  forest rangers.  Senator Little says with only 112 forest rangers, the agency must rely on properly trained volunteers to aid in searches.

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