BURLINGTON, VT — After long months of negotiations, the University of Vermont Medical Center and the UVMMC Nurse’s Union reached a tentative contract agreement on Thursday, September 20th, 2018.
Earlier this year, many of the UVMMC nurses went on a two day strike. The union wanted a 24% increase over three years, but the hospital only offered a 13% increase (according to WCAX). The medical center and the Nurse’s Union have settled on a 16% wage increase over three years.
One UVMMC ICU nurse, Rachel Robert, commented on the working conditions vs. salaries. “For over a year now we’re constantly being called in for overtime and extra hours because there aren’t enough nurses staffed for the unit. We are constantly cycling through staff, which creates safety issues for the patients. It is very sad to see nurses that have been here for 20+ years leaving because they aren’t earning enough to retire on schedule.”
The average nursing salary in Vermont is $65,000 according to the Nurse Salary Guide. This salary is frustrating when compared to surrounding states. Massachusetts’ average nursing salary is $85,000. New York is $83,000. New Hampshire is $70,000. And that’s just in the North East. States such as California have an average nursing salary of over $100,000.
At CVU, the girl’s varsity volleyball team is stacked with six seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman. Leading the team are the three seniors, Julia Daggett, Olivia Werner, and Rayona Silverman, participating for their fourth year.
At Manitou Springs High School, all the way in Colorado, is a team of veteran volleyball players including six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore, and two freshman. Leading their team are four fourth year seniors, Abbie Boren, McKayla Cully, Kylie Middleton, and Belle Brown.
Maddie Kelly, a Manitou Springs student, provided some insight on what a normal season looks like for her. She has been playing volleyball ever since she was in sixth grade and has played on three different club teams. One club team she has participated in was a recreational team through Woodland Park, a town just fifteen minutes from Manitou. “Club season focuses more on skill rather than winning” she comments. She says she feels she gets better through club season, but that school season makes her more mentally tough. “Coach makes us run stairs when we let balls drop or miss our serves… And we all hate running stairs, so we make sure we hustle all the time,” she said. When asked if she prefers club over school season, she responded with, “they both have their quirks.” Volleyball has been such a big part of her life and she is planning on playing college. “Hopefully,” she says about playing in college. She is leading her team with the most consistent digs and aces.
Hinesburg, VT — Fall time in the Green Mountains is a special time. Spectators from all across the world are drawn to Vermont to catch the vibrant colors of fall.
Image courtesy of Zachary Hark
This year’s foliage is even better than people believed. The Weather Channel came out with an article on October 4th, 2018 by Linda Lam, a Weather Channel meteorologist, about a weather pattern that caused warmth in the east and snow in the west. Lam said, “these weather changes have impacted fall foliage.”
If we continue emitting the amounts of greenhouse gasses that we do today, it is projected that by 2060, we will die from lethal heat stress, according to the American Geophysical Union. We clearly need to make a change in our lifestyles, preferably a drastic one, if we want to be able to continue calling planet earth home. Former Mormon bishop David Hall believes the problem of global warming can be combatted with his invention of a completely sustainable design called The New Vistas. However this design appears very cult like and does not seem like the appropriate method to address the world’s environmental issues.
In blue, properties bought by NewVista. In red, the Joseph Smith Memorial. All data is approximate. CREDIT NICOLE ANTAL / DAILY UV, by way of VPR.net
David Hall plans to build The New Vistas in southern Vermont; more specifically in the intersection between the towns of Turnbridge, Royalton, Safford, and Sharon. It is a non-profit organization, committed to building an entirely self-sustainable community. According to the New Vistas website, the goal is to “provide housing and employment opportunity within an ecologically and economically sustainable infrastructure, and conserve real property for fully sustainable development.” People who want to join this community must sell off all their assets with the proceeds going to the Foundation. In exchange, that person can live in The New Vistas. Everyone who joins the community will be entirely equal. He plans on 20,000 residents in this first community, but he expects it to grow, and eventually be home to 1 million people in Vermont alone. His goal is to eventually create a continuous empire of 5,000 acres, made up of many communities.
People living here are limited to the opportunities granted within the small walls of their community. They are literally shut out from the real world; living in an alternate fantasy world. It sounds like a mix between Divergent and The Matrix. While this does seem like an enticing program because it supposedly will have little to no impact on the environment, it is very different from anything Vermont has seen before, which makes some people uncomfortable.
HINESBURG, Vermont — Ski resorts around Vermont are beginning to prepare for a snowy winter while students at Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) tune and wax their skis. Last year marked one of the lowest annual snowfall seasons Vermont has had, taking a toll on some of the major ski areas around Vermont, especially Mad River Glen. Unfortunately for Vermont’s population of trout, the lack of precipitation affected much more than just ski resorts.
Vermont’s many rivers and streams have been known to support thousands of healthy trout with the necessary habitat and food. This is slowly changing as Vermont’s weather patterns are beginning to devastate trout populations throughout the state. According to statistics released by weather.gov, last winter saw one of the lowest recorded annual snowfalls of only 29 inches. In 2010-2011, the annual snowfall was 128.4 inches.
Vermont’s rivers are home to three species of trout: brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Trout are some of the most fragile and sensitive species of fish and require cold, well oxygenated water- and a lot of it. Trout are most healthy in water temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, trout move to slow and deep waters where they hold (stay in one spot and are not active) until water temperatures increase in the spring.
When one imagines Vermont, the mind may wander to lush green rolling hills, farms covered in neatly wrapped hay bales, and black and white spotted cows grazing peacefully. Tall, slow moving tractors dot the mountains, and the only sound is the wind blowing through neatly planted rows of corn and hay. Under this postcard view is a disturbing truth: our Vermont farmers and farms are vanishing quickly.
Here are some facts:
2.4 million acres in Vermont in 2015 were currently used as arable fields, pastures, wilderness, managed woods and natural habitats. This is called “Current Use,” which means the owner gets set in a lower tax bracket so that they don’t have tax debt. This amounts to one third of Vermont’s land being under land conservation.
Fall is arguably the most beautiful season in Vermont. People here certainly take advantage of all that fall has to offer. From small businesses, to corn mazes, there is always something to do. On one gorgeous autumn weekend, our intrepid reporter explored Chittenden County, and compiled some of the best things to do during this incredible time of year.
On October 11, water levels on Lake Champlain had dropped over four feet, according to My Champlain Valley. As of now on November 4, the water levels are still dropping. The Lake is rapidly approaching what could be one of its all-time lows. Boat launches are dry, small rocky islands are becoming exposed, and swamps are being replaced by mudflats. Due to the low water levels in McNeil Cove, the boat launch channel has become so clogged with sediment that dredging has become necessary. The photos below document that process.
Fall in Vermont is more that just the beauty of the leaves, it is also a highly marketed industry. If you search google for ‘Fall in Vermont’, or anything similar to that, you can find a plethora of websites advertising an amazing natural phenomenon. This phenomenon is one that most Vermonters take for granted. This amazing spectacle draws many people from all over each year. People come from all over, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the painted trees. If you pay attention, you can see license plates from places ranging from New York State to Washington, which is an awfully far trek to see what, to most Vermonters are just some leaves.
Many Vermonters, myself included, grumble about the ‘leaf peepers’, as we refer to them. Drive down almost any dirt road that’s not too far off the beaten path in mid-October (which according to many is prime leaf season), and you can find a car with out-of-state plates pulled haphazardly off to the side of the road with people ogling out the windows. If the residents of the car do not have their faces squashed against the glass, they will most likely be in some other inconvenient position trying to get a good photo, someplace like the middle of the road.
The 2015-2016 winter was a bitterly disappointing season, according to many native Vermonters. Most people- from avid winter fans, to the people that hate the cold- were immensely disappointed in the winter and the effects it holds on the climate and economy today. Over the 2016 summer, Vermont was suffering from a drought. Compared to the average of around 39.9 inches of rain for northern Vermont, this summer hasn’t been good at all. Andy Nash, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Burlington, says that in most places we would need up to eight inches of rain to get soil back to normal.
Photo Courtesy of Froghollow.org
The hot and dry summer, combined with an upsetting past winter, will have many effects on Vermont. The Vermont Ski Areas Association reported 3.2 million ski visits, a 31 percent decline from 2015, when there were 4.7 million visits to ski resorts. This is definitely in partdue to the dismal ski weather. Only 72 inches of snow fell at the top on Mount Mansfield, and an average of 29 inches statewide this past winter. For Mt. Mansfield, this is a remarkable decline; in 2015, 146 inches fell, making the 2015-2016 winter’s snowfall the lowest since the early 90’s, and one of the lowest in history. In 2007 a record amount of 327 inches of snow fell. While 2007 was an exception, Vermont is really struggling from the effects of a dismal winter.
Champlain Valley Union High school is ranked as the 38th best High School out of 26,407. American High Schools are known for their Strong School spirit and their competitiveness. They want to compete with other schools to be able to compare their selves with them. This competitiveness goes from regional to rivalries across the country.
To actually measure how high a High School ranks compared to others, some associations started to create rankings. According to Bestcolleges.com in 2015 we were the 38th best public High School in the United States. That means that we are better than 99.86 % of all schools. We were the only school in Vermont to crack the list. So you can see that this is a remarkable accomplishment.
The rankings capture how much each High School does to invest in the academic excellence of its students. The Association sees this as the factor that ultimately explains why a school deserves to be called a leader in education. The Investment is measured based on a variety of factors including everything from SAT scores to athletics and even hey quality of the lunch in the cafeteria.
Gas, when leaked from a methane pipeline, can cover a city before it’s noticed. It can coat a house without the owner realising it has company. It visits everywhere without being let in. As long as the gas is there it can harm the people in the house. It can affect daily life. When the gas is spotted a whole town can clear that day. It can move thousands of people in hours.
Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline is proposed to be beyond the electric line. Trails and a sledding hill for Geprags Park are on the right. Photo courtesy of Burlington Free Press
In California 65,000 lbs of methane gas an hour is leaking from a pipe. This caused a several thousand person evacuation of thousands of homes. There is also a no fly zone above this because of the possibility that the methane could ignite. The leak could affect even more people because the gas is still leaking today. The gas being leaked has been going for months. It is a massive leak; one of the biggest in history.
California has a methane pipeline that carries natural gases around the state. These pipelines carry methane that can make a massive impact on the environment.The gas is invisible to the naked eye.
At the leak’s peak, it was spewing at about 72 million standard cubic feet of methane a day, which emitted the same amount of global warming pollution as driving 9 million cars a day, according to Tim O’Connor, who runs EDF’s oil and gas program in California.
I didn’t know how to respond at first. Which is a typical response, I suppose, when someone points out something that you have become comfortable enough with to take for granted. It takes a moment to step out of your rut, routine, your body, your perspective and to see what whoever did the pointing out is seeing. Only then, once you have comprehended that what you experience everyday may be something novel to another, once you have completed that superimposition into another’s shoes, can you generate a response.
“Huh,” I said, eventually, eloquently. “I guess you’re right. This is pretty great.”
The boy that had spoken, a quiet young man with sunshine glinting off the thick black frames of his eyeglasses and fresh mud on his skate shoes, nodded his approval at my affirmation of his remark.
“This is awesome,” he had said as he walked through the woods with his classmates and teachers, leaves, acorns, twigs snapping under our shuffling feet. He added that he had “never done anything like this at school before.” The month was August, the skies were clear, and the boy had arrived in Vermont only weeks before. It was the third day of his freshman year. Hailing from a city ten hours south and west of the forest through which he now strolled, the boy seemed to feel and resemble a city mouse freshly transplanted into the country. As it were, he was surrounded by twenty-four country mice, two dozen fourteen year olds, most of whom had grown up locally, all of whom had clearly done this before in school. An observer of this youthful troupe would have noticed a subtle, though not imperceptible, difference from the young man who strode alongside me to the rest of his peers. Maybe it was his skinnier than typical jeans, the fashionable glasses, or something less tangible that set him apart. A less than easy gait through unfamiliar territory, an apprehension, or maybe, a sense of wonder absent from the rest.
Hinesburg– In the state of Vermont, a new law went into place that bans the use of any handheld device while driving. The hope for this was to reduce the number of accidents caused by talking on the cell phone and using other devices.
So far, the law seems to be working. Last year, according to the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, there were 70 traffic deaths caused by people using any handheld device. As of December