Local Police budgets
While much recent attention has focused on urban police forces, such as the move to cut the Burlington police budget, town spending on police services has also grown. Student researchers with the Legislative Intern Policy Center collected data from 140 towns on how much they spend on police services. Some towns spend a lot and some spend very little. Per capita town-level spending ranges from almost zero to above $400. Read the report here.
Largest Police Budgets Per Capita (click table to see all)
Appreciation for natural areas increases Some Vermonters may have a greater appreciation for natural areas as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, according to a recent study. In a sample of interviewed participants around Burlington, 25.8% had either never, or very rarely accessed their local natural areas before the pandemic. However, as a result of the restrictions, 69.0% of the respondents reported that they had increased or greatly increased their visitation rate to these areas, and 80.6% of respondents considered that the importance of these natural areas and access to them either increased or greatly increased as a result of travel restrictions.
Speaking of telework surveys…
During the pandemic, we have heard of many people who have come (or returned) to Vermont to “shelter in place” – sometimes bringing their remote job with them. In collaboration with the Vermont Futures Project, a new survey asks people if they think they might stay in Vermont when things return to more normal. Why or why not? What could Vermont do to make it more likely that you would stay?
Local media is under assault, with ad revenues sucked up by Google and Facebook, and national chains buying up radio stations and local papers. Perhaps one of the biggest untold stories of the 90s is the rapid change of the media landscape. More than 1300 counties are now media deserts – with no local news. Vermont has not been immune and under some accounts, there are 100 fewer news reporters in the state than there were twenty years ago. In a series of podcasts, we tell Vermont’s evolving media story with one foot in the past and an eye to the future. Veteran radio journalist Bob Kinzel joins us for the first episode; Media Landscape Story 1: "What are these people doing?!"
Opioid prescriptions drop
Between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, Vermont experienced the largest decrease in opioid prescribing among oncologists, at -43.2%, according to a recent report by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The national opioid prescribing rate declined by 19.3% among oncologists and 20.4% among non-oncologists. The study raises concerns about whether opioid prescribing legislation and guidelines intended for the non-cancer population are being applied inappropriately to patients with cancer and survivors.
Scudder Parker's new book of poems
Vermont writer Scudder Parker has a new book of poems. Tom Slayton writes in VT Digger: “Parker is a careful and accomplished connoisseur of nature, and his poems often skillfully weave what he sees with what he knows and what he feels as he watches a blue-headed vireo or is lost in treetop-filtered sunlight.”
Emily Bernard's "The Purpose of a House"
University of Vermont professor of English, Dr. Emily Bernard writes about her daughters' relief from race-related stress at school in The Purpose of a House, published in the most recent edition of The New Yorker. Bernard writes, "I was glad to be able to keep my children safe from more demoralizing experiences at school. Still, memories crept in. It was as if, not having to deal with it in the day to day, my daughters were suddenly free to experience their wounds in a deep way for the first time."
Speaking of Women
Student researchers at UVM collected 197 news stories related to the Vermont legislature from VT Digger and Seven Days from Jan & Feb 2018, 2019 and 2020. The researchers coded all those quoted or cited by gender, and type of source. And yes, men are quoted more than women.
Census Count Lagging Vermont is one of the worst-performing states so far in the 2020 Census count. Counts are used for Federal and local voting district reapportionment, distribution of Federal funds, Fill out the form at 2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.
Good things in a dark world
Meg Little Reilly as part of our “Writers Series” on her new book, “The Misfortunes of Family.”