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Brave Little State

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public should be covering, before they're even assigned? That's the idea behind Brave Little State, a monthly podcast where you ask the questions, you decide what Vermont Public investigates and then you work with us to find the answers. Be brave. Ask questions.

  • How do Vermont libraries stay alive and vibrant?
    Vermont is home to almost 200 independent and locally funded libraries. This means they each must evolve to meet the unique needs of their communities with sometimes limited resources. That got listener Diane Church of Fairlee wondering:“How do our public libraries manage to stay alive and vibrant in this age of technology?”Vermont Public’s Sabine Poux and Andrea Laurion visit two of Vermont’s libraries to see how things are going. Find the web version of this episode here. This episode was reported by Sabine Poux and Andrea Laurion, and it was produced by Burgess Brown. Editing and additional production from Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is our Executive Producer. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Catherine Delneo, Oceana Wilson, DeAnna Romstad, Max Maylin, Carol Plante, Sarah Lloyd and Paul Dunn.As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • What relationships are possible between Burlington and her sister cities, Bethlehem and Arad?
    Burlington has sister cities all over the world — including in Nicaragua, Mississippi and Japan. Winning question-asker Peg Clement is curious about the city's relationship with two, in particular: Bethlehem, in the West Bank, and Arad, in Israel. Find the web version of this episode here.The Burlington-Bethlehem-Arad sister city committee holds public meetings on the first Monday of every month in Burlington’s Miller Center. You can find more information here.Additional resources:NPR: Special Series: Middle East crisis – explainedAl Jazeera: What’s the Israel-Palestine conflict about? A simple guideVox: What are Israel and Palestine? Why are they fighting?The Washington Post: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A chronologyThroughline: A History of HamasThroughline: Palestine (from May 2021)The Ezra Klein Show: The Sermons I Needed to Hear Right NowThis episode was reported and produced by Sabine Poux, Burgess Brown and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is our executive producer. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Sandy Baird, Prudence Doherty, Chris Burns, Rob Bliss, Emery Mattheis, Jonah Spivak, Jim Rader, and the CCTV Center for Media & Democracy.As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • Why do people like Phish? (Encore)
    We journey into the weird world of Vermont's favorite jam band to explore the culture of "phandom” and Phish’s early roots in our brave little state.We originally released this episode in 2021. In it, Ethan Weinstein of South Woodstock asks: “Why do people like Phish? And how did they become such a big part of Vermont music culture?”(Heads up: There’s a bit of profanity in this episode, and some discussion of drugs and drug culture.)To see photos of Phish from their early Vermont days, check out our web post. You’ll also find a Phish starter kit with resources to further your Phish education, should you so desire.Josh Crane reported this episode, with editing and production from Myra Flynn and Angela Evancie. Mix and sound design by Josh Crane. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music. Thanks to Phish Inc. for permission to use some of the band’s music. Special thanks also to Jonathan Heller, Billy Glassner, Paul Brill, Stephanie Jenkins, Jay Curley, Anne Rothwell, Jenn Moore, Beth Montuori Rowles, Anna Van Dine, Mary Engisch, Peter Engisch, Laura Schoenfeld, Steve Zind, Patti Daniels, Chris Albertine, John Van Hoesen, Mitch Wertlieb, Alex Burns and everyone who left a voicemail on our Phish hotline — Chris, Chris, Christina, Jonathan, Jim, Antonia, Ron, Philip, Andy, Stephanie, Molly, Robb, Shannon, Bryant and Nina.Music featured in this episode, in order of appearance:"Orejitas" by Blue Dot Sessions“Gotta Jibboo” by Phish“Ghost” by Phish“Hardboil” by Blue Dot Sessions"BLS Theme" by Ty Gibbons“Sargento” by Blue Dot Sessions“Halley’s Comet” by Phish“Trois Gnossiennes 3” by Blue Dot Sessions“Wilson” by Phish“The Queen of Cones” by Blue Dot Sessions“Tyrano Theme” by Blue Dot Sessions“The Curtain With” by Phish“Maldoc” by Blue Dot Sessions“Auld Lang Syne” covered by Phish“Leaves” by Phish“Cran Ras” by Blue Dot Sessions"Ferus Cut" by Blue Dot Sessions"BLS Theme" by Ty GibbonsAs always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on which question we should answer nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgMake a gift to support people-powered journalismTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a member of the NPR Network.
  • How are towns hit by summer floods doing?
    Volunteers were still pumping water out of basements from the July floods when another round of flooding hit this week. Vermonters on the front lines say the frequency of these events point to the need for more durable solutions.On this episode of Brave Little State, a question from Sophi Veltrop, of Woodbury:"How are towns hit by 2023 flooding doing? What locally-driven solutions are helping those most harmed and setting the stage to rebuild better?"Reporter Pete Hirschfeld talks to some of those who were hit hardest over the summer, from a family whose home is still uninhabitable to a woman on dialysis who lives alone. He also explores how local recovery responses are filling the gaps where state and federal relief have fallen short — as Vermont barrels toward a future filled with more severe, and more frequent, flooding events.Find the web version of this episode here.Pete Hirschfeld reported this episode. It was produced and edited by the Brave Little State team: Sabine Poux, Burgess Brown and Josh Crane. Angela Evancie is our executive producer. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.Special thanks to Lexi Krupp, Tom Drake, Sarah Henshaw, Rev. Dr. Wendy Jaine Summers and Meghan Weyland.As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • What’s the deal with Act 250?
    Vermont’s pastoral, small town charm didn’t just happen out of thin air. It’s been legislated. And it’s especially baked into one really important Vermont law — Act 250. But as Vermont changes, there’s an increasing push for Act 250 to change with it. That’s why Danielle Laberge of Wells submitted this winning question to Brave Little State: “What's the deal with Act 250, Vermont's signature land-use law? Why is it important and what's changing?”Reporter Sabine Poux digs into the story of Act 250, from its origins in the 1960s to a present-day battle over how it should be implemented. This isn’t just a story about a law. It’s a story about our shared values, and how we want our state to change — or not — over the next 50 years and beyond. Find the web version of this episode here.Sabine Poux reported this episode. Editing and additional production from Josh Crane and Burgess Brown. Angela Evancie is our Executive Producer. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.Special thanks to Sophie Stephens, Pete Hirschfeld, Bruce Post, Mikaela Osler, Marjorie Strong, Prudence Doherty, Katherine Sims, Peter Gregory, Caleb Elder, Todd Heyman, Christine and Mark Hughes, Brian Shupe, Mary Kasamatsu and Mimi Aoun.As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • What effect has noncitizen voting had in the Vermont cities where it's legal?
    In recent years, Winooski, Montpelier and Burlington made it possible for all legal residents to vote — including asylum seekers, refugees and green card holders like our winning question-asker, Charlotte Blend. Charlotte has been excited to vote on local issues and she’s curious about the impact of the rule changes in the towns where it’s now legal. Reporter Mikaela Lefrak talks to new Vermont voters — and a lot of city clerks — about how the at-times controversial changes in local election policy have affected three Vermont cities, from their councils and school boards to their residents. Find the web version of this story here.This episode was reported by Mikaela Lefrak and produced by Sabine Poux. Editing and additional production from the rest of the Brave Little State team: Josh Crane and Burgess Brown. Digital support from Sophie Stephens. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s Executive producer. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.Special thanks to Martin Austermuhle, Elaine Wang, Liz Edsell, Tracy Dolan and Anna Tadio.As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • Raising biracial kids — and preserving heritage — in Vermont
    We met Sweeney Grabin at a Brave Little State mixer last year, right after she moved to South Burlington with her husband and her baby, Maya. She wants to know how other parents with biracial kids are maintaining their heritage in one of the country’s whitest states.Myra Flynn turns to old friends and her own experiences to answer Sweeney’s question.You can find a full transcript of this episode here. Also, check out Myra’s show, Homegoings, for more deep dives into race and identity.Myra Flynn reported this episode. The Brave Little State team is Josh Crane and Sabine Poux, with additional support from Sophie Stephens. Angela Evancie is Brave Little State’s Executive Producer. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions, Jay Green and Myra Flynn.Special thanks to Corey Dockser, Marlon Hyde and Erin Baker.Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • Who gets to decide who is Abenaki? Vermont’s four state-recognized tribes — and the state recognition law — have different definitions and criteria for what it means to be Indigenous than many Indigenous Nations. In this episode, we look at this disconnect, and lay out what’s at stake, including power, money and authority. This is Chapter Three of “Recognized,” a special series from Brave Little State. Chapters One and Two are available right now in this podcast feed. Find a transcript of the series here.And to learn more about our approach to this story, you can read our editor's note, here.***“Recognized” was reported by Elodie Reed. Sabine Poux is our producer. The senior producer and managing editor is Josh Crane. Additional editing from our executive producer, Angela Evancie, as well as Tristan Ahtone, Brittany Patterson, Myra Flynn and Julia Furukawa. Julia Furukawa, Corey Dockser and David Savoie contributed reporting to this episode. Extra support from Mark Davis and Sophie Stephens. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.There are lots of other people who contributed to this series along the way — too many to name everyone here. You can find a full list on our website..As always, our show is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the showBrave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • After the original group of self-proclaimed Vermont Abenaki failed to gain federal recognition, Vermont lawmakers created a state recognition process of their own. One theory in particular informed the state’s consideration: that Abenaki peoples hid in Vermont to avoid persecution, including statewide eugenics policies. In this episode, we look at recent evidence, as well as older reports, that cast doubt on this narrative.This is Chapter Two of “Recognized,” a special series from Brave Little State. Chapters One and Three are available right now in this podcast feed. Find a transcript of the series here. And to learn more about our approach to this story, you can read our editor's note, here.***“Recognized” was reported by Elodie Reed. Sabine Poux is our producer. The senior producer and managing editor is Josh Crane. Additional editing from our executive producer, Angela Evancie, as well as Tristan Ahtone, Brittany Patterson, Myra Flynn and Julia Furukawa. Julia also contributed reporting to this episode. Extra support from Mark Davis and Sophie Stephens. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.There are lots of other people who contributed to this series along the way — too many to name everyone here. You can find a full list on our website..As always, our show is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the showBrave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.P.S. A previous version of this story described Gordon Day as a historian. We have updated the audio to describe him as an anthropologist.
  • Two Abenaki First Nations in Canada contest the legitimacy of the four groups recognized by the state of Vermont as Abenaki tribes. This is a dispute that goes back at least two decades, and has gained more prominence in recent years. In this episode, we trace Abenaki history up to 2003, when Odanak First Nation first denounced Vermont groups claiming to be Abenaki.This is Chapter One of “Recognized,” a special series from Brave Little State. Chapters Two and Three are available right now in this podcast feed. Find a transcript of the series here. And to learn more about our approach to this story, you can read our editor's note, here.***“Recognized” was reported by Elodie Reed. Sabine Poux is our producer. The senior producer and managing editor is Josh Crane. Additional editing from our executive producer, Angela Evancie, as well as Tristan Ahtone, Brittany Patterson, Myra Flynn and Julia Furukawa. Julia Furukawa and David Savoie contributed reporting to this episode. Extra support from Mark Davis and Sophie Stephens. Theme music is by Ty Gibbons; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.There are lots of other people who contributed to this series along the way — too many to name everyone here. You can find a full list on our website..As always, our show is better when you’re a part of it:Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the showBrave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.P.S. A previous version of this story described Gordon Day as a historian. We have updated the audio to describe him as an anthropologist.
  • Why are so few Hollywood movies and TV shows filmed in Vermont?
    The smash hit Netflix series Wednesday takes place in Jericho … and was filmed in Romania. Megan Matthers of Sutton wants to know — why? Mae Nagusky learns about the barriers keeping Hollywood from setting up shop here, and why things used to be different.Check out the web version of this story here. This episode was reported and produced by Mae Nagusky. Editing and additional production from Josh Crane, Sabine Poux, Angela Evancie and Myra Flynn. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music. Other music by Blue Dot Sessions. Our executive producer is Angela Evancie.Special thanks to Eric Ford, Tim Kavanaugh, Cemi Guzman, Sarah Witters, Myles Jewell and Hyon Joo Yoo.Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.
  • What’s the deal with Vermont’s fire towers?
    Wesley Davis grew up in the woods of Mount Holly. But there was always one place where he could get high above the trees: the fire tower on top of nearby Ludlow Mountain, at Okemo. He’s been curious to learn more about the history of these remote towers scattered across Vermont peaks ever since.Reporter Sabine Poux searches for answers in the early 1900s, when timberland owners and railroads ruled the Vermont landscape. And, she arrives at the doorstep of a couple that found a lifetime of artistic inspiration as fire tower lookouts in southern Vermont.We compiled a map of Vermont fire towers past and present. Find it here.Sabine Poux reported this episode, and did the mix and sound design. Josh Crane produced and edited it. Additional support from Sophie Stephens, Corey Dockser and Joey Palumbo. 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 Mark Haughwout, Ron Kemnow, Peter Hayes, Alan Thompson, Keegan Tierney, Prudence Doherty, Juls Sundberg and Liam Elder-Connors. And thanks to Danielle Kovacs and the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center at the University of Massachusetts for UMass Amherst Libraries for finding the copy of Visitors, Hugh Joudry’s radio play.Ask a question about VermontVote on the question you want us to tackle nextSign up for the BLS newsletterSay hi on Instagram and Reddit @bravestatevtDrop us an email: hello@bravelittlestate.orgCall our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880Make a gift to support people-powered journalismLeave us a rating/review in your favorite podcast appTell your friends about the show!Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.