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Town Meeting Day preview: From ballots to bridges to bees

Students at Woodbury Elementary School in Washington County cast votes in a mock Town Meeting Day in February.
Andrea Laurion
/
Vermont Public
Students at Woodbury Elementary School in Washington County cast votes in a mock town meeting in February.

It’s almost time for Vermont’s Town Meeting Day — the Super Bowl of local democracy. Tomorrow voters across the state will weigh in on local issues, and get to vote in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

We checked in on some of the issues being voted on in towns and cities across Vermont, from Greensboro to Winooski. We also heard about a relatively new tradition that has cropped up in many Vermont communities—the mock town meeting. About 50 students at Woodbury Elementary School in Washington County gathered in their cafeteria-gym to vote last month on which activities they would pursue and how to spend some school money. Carpentry and cooking beat out maple tree tapping and sewing, and playground equipment got more votes than a footbridge.

Our guests included:

  • Jeff Coslett, Cambridge select board chair, discussed the town's vote on moving to an Australian ballot
  • Jon Rauscher, Winooski public works director, on the city's $4.6 million bond to pay its share of the Main Street Bridge replacement
  • Jane Hoffman, member of the Greensboro Conservation Commission, on the vote to declare the town a "pollinator-friendly community"
  • Jack McCullough, Montpelier mayor, on the city's vote on just-cause evictions
  • Isabella May, a 16-year-old Brattleboro High School student, on voting for the first time

Broadcast at noon Monday, March 4, 2024; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Tedra joined Vermont Public as a producer for Vermont Edition in January 2022 and now serves as the Managing Editor and Senior Producer. Before moving to Vermont, she was a journalist in New York City for 20 years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.
Andrea Laurion joined Vermont Public as a news producer for Vermont Edition in December 2022. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Before getting into audio, Andrea worked as an obituary writer, a lunch lady, a wedding photographer assistant, a children’s birthday party hostess, a haunted house actor, and an admin assistant many times over.