Brave Little State

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public Radio should be covering, before they're even assigned? That's the idea behind Brave Little State.

  • 28 minutes 36 seconds
    What 'old streams' can teach us about flooding (encore)

    Here we are again. Exactly one year after historic floods ravaged Vermont, parts of the state are again dealing with devastating flooding following heavy rains. We turn back to a 2023 episode about how understanding why these floods are so destructive is not as simple as measuring rainfall. 


    Last year, reporter Lexi Krupp took on what turned out to be a very timely question from Gus Goodwin of East Montpelier. He wanted to know: 


    “What does an old stream look like? Does Vermont have any? And can we manage for them?”


    We’re revisiting that episode as Vermont assesses the damage from yet another round of flooding. You can find the web version of this episode here


    For the most up-to-date flood coverage, you can visit vermontpublic.org


    This episode was reported by Lexi Krupp and produced by Josh Crane with help from Mae Nagusky. This re-run was produced by Sabine Poux. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s executive producer. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons. Other music by Blue Dot Sessions.

    Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Mark Davis, Mikaela Lefrak, Bill Keeton, Mary and Greg Russ, Ellen Wohl, Will Elridge, Skip Lisle and Elizabeth Trail.

    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    11 July 2024, 11:41 pm
  • 29 minutes 14 seconds
    What were Vermont’s ‘poor farms’ like?

    For about a century, a farm operated on a hillside in Hardwick. At one point, it was said to have one of the finest herds of cows in town. But life for those working the farm was less rosy. They were known as “inmates” — though they hadn’t committed crimes. This was Hardwick’s “poor farm.” 


    Vermont towns used to be required by law to provide welfare locally. That’s where poor farms came in. A listener from Shelburne wants to know if there’s anything we can learn from this approach — in spite of its problems:


    “What were Vermont's 'poor farms' like, and could parts of the poor farm model of local aid be adapted for the needs of today?”


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported by Elodie Reed and produced by Sabine Poux. Editing and additional production from Burgess Brown and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s executive producer. Theme music by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to Zoe McDonald, Lexi Krupp, Erica Heilman, Liz Gauffreau, Tara Reese, Kent Osborne, Carlotta Hayes, Eric Jonathan, Jackson Miller and all the folks we spoke to at Heartbeet Lifesharing


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    20 June 2024, 7:56 pm
  • 23 minutes 22 seconds
    Why is it so hard to get a primary care provider?

    Hours and hours of calls. Months-long waitlists. Vermonters are spending a lot of time looking for primary care providers — and those providers are struggling, too.


    Question-asker Jen Kaufman is a doctor practicing in Vergennes who got into primary care because she likes spending time with patients. But she’s cut back on her hours seeing patients to manage her workload. She wants to know: 


    What is the state of primary care in Vermont and where is it anticipated to go? Why is it so hard to get a primary care provider?


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    If you can, help us keep Brave Little State free for everyone by making a gift to Vermont Public at this link. It isn’t possible to make this show without your support. Thank you!


    This episode was reported by Lexi Krupp and produced by Burgess Brown. Editing and additional production from Sabine Poux and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s executive producer. Theme music by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Bobbie Groves, Alex Spieler, Jon Holmer, Gary Drown, Paul Capcara, Jessa Bernard, Susan White, Stuart May, Yalda Jabbarpour, Margaret Gadon, Leigh LoPresti, Fay Homan, John Saroyan, Jess Moore, Sheila Keating, Kristin Barnum, John Olson and Stephanie Pagliuca. 


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network. 

    6 June 2024, 7:55 pm
  • 26 minutes 28 seconds
    Why doesn't Chittenden County have better public transit options?

    Chittenden County has been using buses to move people around for almost a century. But with ridership down and the bus system heading toward a fiscal cliff, one listener wants to know — is there a better way?


    In the not-too-distant past, Burlington and its surrounding towns dreamt big transit dreams: more efficient buses, commuter trains and light rail. In 2024, those dreams remain unrealized or abandoned, and we’re fighting to keep the system we do have alive.


    Winning question-asker Nathaniel Eisen wants to know what happened. He asks: 


    Why doesn't Chittenden County have better public transit options?


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported and produced by Sabine Poux, with editing from Burgess Brown and Mark Davis. Our managing editor and senior producer is Josh Crane and our executive producer is Angela Evancie. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions. 


    Special thanks to Charles Dillard, Gregory Rowangould, Marshall Distel, Chris Cole, Patrick Garahan, Corey Dockser, Bobby Lussier, Jordan Mitchell, Richard Whiting, Patty Wight, Irwin Gratz, Caroline Losneck, Winston Lumpkins, Zack Barowitz and Paul Detzer and Elodie Reed.


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    23 May 2024, 9:20 pm
  • 30 minutes 17 seconds
    The Montpelier Molar Mystery

    There’s a tooth embedded in a retaining wall alongside East State Street in Montpelier. Who put it there?


    This question has been keeping Brave Little State producer Burgess Brown up at night. He and question-asker Elvira Dana channeled their best Holmes and Watson to crack this cold canine case right open. And they enlisted the entire town of Montpelier for help along the way. 


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported and produced by Burgess Brown, with editing from Sabine Poux and Brittany Patterson. Our managing editor and senior producer is Josh Crane and our executive producer is Angela Evancie. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions. 


    Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Ann Lee, Lexi Krupp, Tim Heeney, Kevin Marlier, Jason Kass, Gideon Kass, Natalie Kass, Dan Groberg, Paul Carnahan, Tom McArdle, Corinne Cooper, Steve Gray, Mike Doyle, and many many other Montpelierites for their help.


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    9 May 2024, 8:29 pm
  • 23 minutes 8 seconds
    Mud Season Madness (encore)

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Vermont’s messy transition from winter to spring always brings its fair share of surprises and obstacles. And this year has been no exception: The mud came early, and it came often.


    Keith Gadapee is on the front lines of battling mud season as road foreman for the town of Danville — which has more dirt roads than anywhere else in Vermont. We spoke to Keith back in 2022 for an episode we called “Mud Season Madness” and put your pressing mud questions to the expert. We dug out that episode for an encore and checked back in with Keith as this year’s roller coaster of a season comes to a close.


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported and produced by Sabine Poux and Angela Evancie, with editing and additional production from Burgess Brown. Angela Evancie is our executive producer, and our managing editor and senior producer is Josh Crane. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to April McCullum and Sophie Stephens.


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    18 April 2024, 6:51 pm
  • 21 minutes 21 seconds
    What’s up with the Vermont wave?

    If you live in a rural part of Vermont, you know it — the one-finger lift or full-hand gesture from the steering wheel. Everyone has their own take on the so-called “Vermont wave.”


    Who gets a whole-hand wave and who doesn’t? When exactly do you do it and what does it mean? Reporter Nina Keck set out with question-asker Mica Tucker to learn the unwritten rules of the road and find out: “What’s up with the Vermont wave?”


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported by Nina Keck and produced by Burgess Brown. Editing and additional production from the rest of the Brave Little State team: Sabine Poux and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s executive producer. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to Brittany Patterson, John Delgadillo and Sophie Stephens. 


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    4 April 2024, 8:53 pm
  • 18 minutes 43 seconds
    ‘Recognized’: An update

    Two Abenaki First Nations headquartered in Canada contest the legitimacy of Vermont’s state-recognized tribes. How are Vermont lawmakers responding? 


    Last October, Brave Little State published “Recognized”: a three-part investigation into contested claims that Vermont’s four state-recognized tribes are not legitimate. The Abenaki First Nations making those claims have called on Vermont lawmakers to reconsider the state recognition process. 


    Reporter Elodie Reed followed up on her original reporting and shared her findings with The Frequency podcast host Mitch Wertlieb. We’re resharing their conversation here.


    You can find a transcript of that conversation here.

    You can listen to the entire “Recognized” series here


    This story was reported and produced by Elodie Reed, with help from Mitch Wertlieb. The Brave Little State team is Josh Crane, Burgess Brown and Sabine Poux. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s Executive Producer. 


    We’ll be back soon with more people-powered Vermont journalism. As always, our show is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.


    P.S. This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the response of Vermont's state-recognized tribes to scrutiny of the state recognition process. Additional context has also been added about genealogical documentation cited — but not made public — in state recognition applications.

    28 March 2024, 7:43 pm
  • 27 minutes 23 seconds
    Investigating far-right extremism in northern New York

    This week, a story from our neighbors at North Country Public Radio. If All Else Fails is a recent podcast about the growing presence — and threat — of far-right extremism in northern New York, and the voters and local law enforcement that are engaging with the movement there.


    You can learn more about the series here. That’s also where you can find photos from NCPR’s reporting, and listen to the rest of the series.


    Heads up: The show contains some harsh language and some listeners might find certain parts of this episode disturbing.


    This episode was reported by Emily Russell and Zach Hirsch for North Country Public Radio, with grant support from Grist and the Center for Rural Strategies. A big thanks to NCPR for letting us share their show here.


    The Brave Little State team is Josh Crane, Burgess Brown and Sabine Poux. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s Executive Producer. 


    We’ll be back soon with more people-powered Vermont journalism. As always, our show is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

    21 March 2024, 2:54 pm
  • 21 minutes 39 seconds
    What impact does the VAST trail have on Vermont's economy?

    The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, better known as VAST, maintains more than 6,000 miles of snowmobile trails across the state. Today, snowmobiling is one of the top contributors to Vermont’s winter economy. But for a sport so dependent on reliable snow, the future is uncertain.


    The majority of VAST trails are on private land. One of those landowners is winning question-asker Barb Huibregtse of Danville, who asks: 


    “What is the impact of the VAST trail on Vermont’s economy?”


    Find the web version of this episode here.


    This episode was reported by Howard Weiss-Tisman and produced by Sabine Poux. Editing and additional production from Burgess Brown and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s Executive Producer. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to Augie Melendez, Brian Henderson, Joan Cwirka, Kevin McDonnell and Zachary Amerling.


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.


    Correction: We removed a statistic that said that the number of days with an inch or more of snow in Vermont had dropped 40% since 1960, because we could not verify where it originated. According to data from NOAA, the total days of snow cover greater than one inch in Vermont was actually the same in 1960 and 2016, with variability from year to year. The story has been updated with additional reporting.

    7 March 2024, 7:39 pm
  • 34 minutes 15 seconds
    What is the Upper Valley?

    A smattering of Vermont and New Hampshire towns on either side of the Connecticut River are known collectively as the “Upper Valley.” We set out to learn more about the origin of that phrase, and what makes the Upper Valley a geographic and cultural outlier.


    Our mission comes from question-asker David Watts, of Norwich:


    “What is the Upper Valley? And how did it get its name?”


    Find the web version of this episode here.

     

    This episode was reported and produced by Josh Crane. Editing and additional production from Burgess Brown and Sabine Poux. Angela Evancie is our Executive Producer. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Special thanks to Bob Green, Sophie Stephens, Mark Davis, Bill Kane, Pat Boerum, John Lowe, Richard Hastings and Kat Blanchard.


    As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:



    Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.


    P.S. A previous version of this story indicated that the Claremont Eagle Times shut down in 2009 and reopened under new ownership in 2022. The Eagle Times did shut down in 2009, but reopened under new ownership later that same year. It was sold again in 2022. We’ve updated the audio to reflect this, and also fixed our pronunciation of the town of “Topsham.”

    23 February 2024, 4:21 pm
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