Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

News Roundup: Two More Vermonters Have Died From COVID-19

A blue background with the words Vermont News Roundup with a green Vermont icon over the "R"
Elodie Reed

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about coronavirus, safety during the Fourth of July and more for Friday, July 2.

Want VPR's daily news in podcast form? Get up to speed in under 15 minutes withThe Frequency every weekday morning. How about an email newsletter?Add our daily email briefing to your morning routine.

As Vermont's pandemic state of emergency has ended and coronavirus restrictions lifted statewide, we will no longer be reporting daily case numbers at the top of this newsletter. Click here for the latest on new cases, and findthe latest vaccination data online any time.

1. State officials report two more people have died from COVID-19

Vermont health officials reported the second death in as many days from COVID-19 Friday. That's after the state went nearly a month without any virus-linked deaths.

The coronavirus has now claimed 258 lives in Vermont since the pandemic began.

Also today, a total of seven new infections were reported, with four people hospitalized because of the virus.

To date, 82.2% of Vermonters 12 and older have now gotten at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

- Matthew Smith

Vt. hosting July 4th COVID-19 vax clinics

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says a number of walk-in clinics issuing the COVID-19 vaccine, including some at Fourth of July celebrations, will be available throughout the weekend.

More than 452,000 of Vermont residents, or more than 82%, have already received at least one dose of vaccine.

Scott says even with the state's high vaccination rate, as many Vermonters as possible need to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Venues include a skate park, a church, and a flea market. On Sunday, the July 4th holiday,10 pop-up clinics are scheduled throughout the state.

- Associated Press

N.H. closes state-run vaccination sites

New Hampshire took a step closer to getting back to pre-pandemic life this week as the state closed its emergency and information centers, and its state-run vaccination sites.

The State Emergency Operations Center, activated in March of last year, procured and distributed 42 million items of PPE, supported testing and vaccinations, and coordinated quarantine and isolation for first responders and health care workers, among other functions.

The Joint Information Center was also a central point of contact for news media.

Though New Hampshire's state-managed COVID-19 vaccination sites closed Wednesday, the vaccine is still being offered at doctor's offices, clinics, and pharmacies.

- Associated Press

2. Study: Vt. has lowest gender wage gap in country

Vermont has the lowest gender wage gap in the country. That's according to a recent study by the National Women’s Law Center, which shows that women in Vermont, on average, make nine cents less on the dollar than men.

The state’s gender wage gap is half the national average of 18 cents.

The states with the next-lowest gender wage gap are Hawaii and Maryland, with an average gap of 11 cents. In Utah and Wyoming, however, the gender wage gap is more than 30 cents.

In Vermont, the average median salary for women is just over $46,000, and for men it's about $51,000.

The data are not broken down by race or ethnicity, though other studies have shown that nationally, the gender wage gap is considerably greater for women of color.

- Anna Van Dine

3. Human impacts, climate change both can impact cyanobacteria blooms

Vermont has seen an increase in the number of cyanobacteria blooms reported in its lakes and ponds in recent years.

But researchers with the Department of Environmental Conservation say there isn’t enough data yet to say conclusively why.

Blooms, which happen more often later in the summer, sometimes produce toxins that are harmful to people and dogs.

Peter Isles, an aquatic ecologist with the state, says most research agrees that climate change could make blooms worse, but that human impacts upstream are more important.

“So you have climate moving in one direction, and hopefully we have management kind of moving in the other direction to compensate,” Isles said. “And so it’s, you know, a bit hard to say where things will fall out, this depends on what we do.”

If you see a bloom, you can share that information through the cyanobacteria monitoring program online.

- Abagael Giles

Financial Regulation Dept. report examines climate change’s impact on insurance rates

A report released Thursday by the Department of Financial Regulation sheds light on one human consequence of climate change: the potential for higher home and auto insurance rates.

Over the last decade, hail caused 40% of weather-related property damage in Vermont, in terms of total losses. And as the climate continues to change, those losses could grow.

That’s according to a new report that looks at how climate change is impacting insurance claims.

The study, carried out by the Vermont-based weather modeling firm Northview Weather, LLC, found that Vermont’s climate will continue to get warmer and wetter over the next three decades. That could mean more severe weather events, and higher insurance rates.

Commissioner of Financial Regulation Michael Pieciak says regulators have "an important role to play" in reducing the impacts of climate change on citizens.

The department plans to develop new guidance for insurance companies to measure climate-related risk.

- Abagael Giles

4. Residents rally to save Norwich dairy farm

Residents in the Upper Valley are rallying to save a Norwich dairy farm that could go out of business.

WCAX reportsthe 6-acre Norwich Farm Creamery is the last dairy farm in town, and locals are raising money to buy it.

The farm's owners are struggling after a 2015 deal to work with Vermont Technical College to educate future dairy producers fell through after just one year. That failed program is now the focus of an ongoing lawsuit.

Now the newly-formed Norwich Farm Foundation is leading fundraising efforts to buy the farm. The group has submitted five offers, all below the $1-and-a-quarter-million-dollar asking price for the farm, but organizers say they're confident they can reach a deal.

- Matthew Smith

5. Fire chiefs warn Vermonters to be careful with fireworks, open fires during Fourth of July

Some fire chiefs across the state, especially in the Upper Valley, are eyeing moderate drought conditions as a possible safety hazard this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

State and federal officials are even doing some prescribed burns to get rid of tinder-box dry grasses and brush.

And though there are fewer dry, grassy and wooded areas in the state’s largest city, Burlington Fire Department Battalion Chief Jared Grenon says it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings if you decide to use fireworks.

“Be cognizant of any dry area around you that you don't catch some of the grass on fire or any buildings that are close by, and follow any of the safety practices that are listed on the fireworks themselves,” Grenon said. “And make sure that you follow the proper ordinances that are put in place to keep you safe.”

Grenon also pointed out that outdoor burning is prohibited in the city, and if you live in a town that does allow outside fires, you should still keep your guard up.

- Mary Engisch

6. Cat and person hike all 48 4,000-footers together

A cat has made it to the summit of New Hampshire's 48 tallest mountains, spending parts of the journey peering out from the comfort of her owner's backpack.

Floki has grown from kitten to cat in the nine months since she and owner Mel Elam, of North Conway, started their journey to the top of the state's 4,000-footers.

Last on their list was Mount Washington, the highest summit in the Northeast at 6,288 feet, which they reached last Saturday.

Elam adopted Floki from a shelter last year after losing another beloved hiking companion, her dog.

- Associated Press

Elodie Reed compiled and edited this post.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a message or tweet us@vprnet.

We've closed our comments. Read about ways toget in touch here.

Latest Stories