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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Cannabis
Cannabis Organization Heady Vermont Is on Hiatus

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 11:00 AM

Heady Vermont sponsored a party in Johnson in 2018 to mark Vermont's legalization of marijuana use. - FILE: SARA TABIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Sara Tabin ©️ Seven Days
  • Heady Vermont sponsored a party in Johnson in 2018 to mark Vermont's legalization of marijuana use.

Heady Vermont, the cannabis industry group that expanded in 2019 into a new 3,000-square-foot headquarters in Burlington, is on an indefinite hiatus, said founder Monica Donovan.

Donovan said that no events or publications are planned, and she doesn't know if she'll continue with Heady. "I’d love to, but won’t know positively for a while," she said by text on Wednesday.

The 5-year-old membership organization published a weekly "News Roll Up" and organized events for businesses and consumers, including an annual trade show at the Champlain Valley Expo. At its peak last year, it had an all-female staff of six. But the pressures of the pandemic shutdowns were too much for Heady, said Kathryn Blume, the former communications director, who left last summer as work dwindled.

“Events were one of our primary income streams, and if you can’t have events, that makes things really hard,” said Blume, who now works in communications for NurseGrown Organics CBD in Underhill. “Also, the fact that it took so long to get the tax-and-regulate bill passed meant that a lot of businesses who would have been business partners for us were on hold as well, and then the financial uncertainty of the pandemic was, I think, a perfect storm.”

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Media Note: VPR Announces New 'Vermont Edition' Cohosts

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 4:11 PM

Mikaela Lefrak and Connor Cyrus - VPR
  • VPR
  • Mikaela Lefrak and Connor Cyrus
Vermont Public Radio announced Thursday it has hired two journalists to replace longtime "Vermont Edition" host Jane Lindholm.

Connor Cyrus and Mikaela Lefrak will become cohosts and senior producers of the popular news program, the Colchester-based station said.

Cyrus is a morning reporter at WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I. A graduate of Lyndon State College, he previously worked at WCAX Channel 3 and radio stations in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Presque Isle, Maine. 

“One of the reasons I became a journalist was for opportunities like this one: the chance to make a difference and guide the conversations on the important topics in Vermont," Cyrus said in a statement. "And I’m thrilled to be returning to Vermont for everything the state has to offer.”

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Media Note: Paul Heintz Departs Seven Days to Lead VTDigger Newsroom

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2020 at 8:04 PM

Paul Heintz - MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • Paul Heintz
Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz is leaving the newspaper to become the managing editor at VTDigger.org, the competing news organizations announced Wednesday evening.

"We’re surprised and very sorry to see him go," Seven Days publisher Paula Routly wrote in an email to staff. "But we congratulate him on this new chapter in his journalism career and look forward to competing with him."

Heintz, a Dartmouth College graduate, has worked at Seven Days since 2012, including stints as political editor, Fair Game columnist and most recently as a staff writer.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Media Note: Veteran Journalist Dave Gram to Revive Seven Days' Fair Game Column

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Dave Gram - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Dave Gram
Longtime Vermont journalist Dave Gram will revive Seven Days' weekly political column, Fair Game, in 2021.

Gram spent more than 30 years covering Vermont for the Associated Press and VTDigger.org. He most recently hosted "The Dave Gram Show," a two-hour daily talk program on WDEV Radio.

He was let go from that gig last month after station managers deemed him too opinionated on air — an assessment Gram linked to his personal criticism of President Donald Trump. Gram will have more freedom to opine in Fair Game, which has traditionally been a deeply reported hybrid of news and opinion.

“Here’s hoping I’ll be able to pull back a few layers of the proverbial onion as we grapple with the politics and economics of emerging from the pandemic and the Trump era,” he said. “I’m excited, grateful and humbled at the opportunity to join the team.”

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Media Note: VTDigger Announces Staff Departures

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 12:19 AM

VTDigger.org founder and editor Anne Galloway - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR ©️ Seven Days
  • VTDigger.org founder and editor Anne Galloway
Online news site VTDigger.org announced the departures of two employees Tuesday — longtime political columnist Jon Margolis and managing editor Colin Meyn.

Veteran journalist Margolis penned his final column Tuesday. He explained that he recently turned 80, and it struck him as “unseemly” for someone his age to be a political analyst in today’s climate.

“Such work is better suited for younger people who are more energetic and less jaded, people who have more to learn because they know less,” Margolis wrote.

In an interview with Seven Days, Margolis, a former political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said his decade-long stint as a columnist for VTDigger was one of the most enjoyable of his career. But the switch to remote legislating made tracking down news tips tougher, while insightful pieces by VTDigger’s young Statehouse reporters made his political analysis redundant, he said.

“I’m going to miss the collegiality, I’m going to miss the challenge, and I’m going to miss being able to vent my spleen once a week,” Margolis said.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Media Note: WDEV Cancels Dave Gram's Talk Show

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Dave Gram - COURTESY OF DAVE GRAM
  • Courtesy of Dave Gram
  • Dave Gram
WDEV Radio has canceled its daily morning program "The Dave Gram Show" and fired its host, saying he was too opinionated on air.

Gram, a veteran journalist, claims station managers took issue with his criticisms of outgoing President Donald Trump. He was told of the show's immediate cancellation on Friday afternoon.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Media Note: Lindholm to Leave ‘Vermont Edition’ for New Role at VPR

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 4:02 PM

Jane Lindholm (left) and producer Melody Bodette - JAMES BUCK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • James Buck ©️ Seven Days
  • Jane Lindholm (left) and producer Melody Bodette
For nearly 14 years, Vermont Public Radio’s Jane Lindholm has asked probing questions of her guests on seemingly every topic imaginable. Now, the “Vermont Edition” host is preparing for a new role at the station — and VPR is pondering how to revamp its midday public affairs program.

The station announced Tuesday that Lindholm plans to leave the show at the end of January, following a national search for her replacement. Bob Kinzel, who typically hosts the show once a week, will continue to do so, according to news director Sarah Ashworth.

Lindholm expects to spend much of her time expanding "But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids," which she created in 2016. Melody Bodette, a VPR veteran who has produced the show on a part-time basis, will become a full-time senior producer. The two will also team up to produce special projects for the station, including documentaries and live events.

"Fourteen years is a long time to do anything, so I'm ready for some new creative challenges," Lindholm said Tuesday. "Also, it's really hard to juggle two shows that are both competing for attention and both deserve attention."

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Media Note: Local Couple Sells Williston Observer to Local Couple

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 6:11 PM

The latest issue of the Williston Observer - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The latest issue of the Williston Observer
The Williston Observer has new owners for the first time in more than two decades.

Williston residents Susan and Rick Cote purchased the Observer earlier this month from Marianne and Paul Apfelbaum, who bought the weekly paper from its founding ownership group back in 1994.

The paper, which is mailed for free to every home and business in town, announced the sale in a page-two story on Thursday that quoted Marianne Apfelbaum as saying that she and her husband had been hoping to sell the paper to locals.

"I think people are going to be very happy with a smooth transition of the paper to new owners who are equally as committed to community journalism and serving the community as we are," Marianne Apfelbaum told the paper. She could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

UVM Student Media Outlets Decry Changes to Adviser Position

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 9:36 PM

The University of Vermont campus - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • The University of Vermont campus
The editor of the Vermont Cynic, the University of Vermont’s student-run weekly newspaper, has condemned changes to its student media adviser position, alleging that the move, implemented without student leaders’ advice or consent, threatens the independence of UVM’s three media outlets.

In a scathing editorial published September 22, Cynic editor-in-chief and UVM senior Sawyer Loftus called the administration’s changes “a disgusting administrative abuse of power.”

In addition to providing advice to student journalists at the Cynic, the media adviser also offers guidance to WRUV 90.1 FM, the student-led campus radio station, as well as UVMTv, the on-campus television network.

The previous media adviser, Chris Evans, left UVM in July after 14 years to teach journalism at the University of Illinois. During Evans’ tenure, the advisory role fell under UVM’s Department of Student Life, which oversees nearly 300 student clubs on the Burlington campus. Like other cocurricular groups, the Cynic, WRUV and UVMTv are largely or entirely funded by student activity fees.

Last month, the administration appointed Jenny Grosvenor, a former journalist and currently a senior lecturer in the UVM College of Arts and Sciences, to fill Evans’ vacancy. As UVM Provost Patricia Prelock explained in an email to Seven Days, the college recently launched a new minor in reporting and documentary storytelling, so moving the adviser job into the college “support[s] our goal of providing students with a more integrated academic experience, creating options for coursework to advance their skills in journalism.”

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Media Note: Vermont Public Radio, Vermont PBS to Merge

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 4:28 PM

VPR president and CEO Scott Finn - FILE: GLENN RUSSELL
  • File: Glenn Russell
  • VPR president and CEO Scott Finn
Updated at 6:17 p.m.

Vermont's two statewide public broadcasters plan to merge next year, creating what would likely become the state's most financially robust media organization.

The boards of Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS unanimously approved the merger plan on Wednesday, they announced in a joint statement. The arrangement, which is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, is slated to take effect next July.

"We think that together we'll be able to serve Vermont better. We'll be able to tell more stories on more platforms and reach more people," VPR president and CEO Scott Finn, who will lead the combined entity, said in an interview. "We have the same mission and complementary skills and abilities. That's why people feel that it makes sense."

The new organization will be legally incorporated as "Vermont Public," according to Finn, though its leaders have not decided whether to publicly rebrand the radio and television stations under its umbrella. "We don't want to mess with success, and we're going to be very cautious about that," he said.

Similarly, Finn said, it's too soon to say what programming and operational changes might result from the merger, though he made clear that nothing would change until the deal is sealed next summer. "Over time, you'll see us able to do more for the community," he said. "It won't happen tomorrow, but over time I think the community will be able to notice the difference."

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