Vermont official fact-checks mobile carriers' coverage maps, proves they're lying like crazy

America's major cellular carriers publish maps showing that virtually the entire state is well-covered, with solid signals and 5MB/s internet speeds, but Vermonters know that this is totally untrue. Read the rest

Lake monster license plate to raise money for clean water

Champ, the lake monster that reportedly lives in Lake Champlain, may soon appear on Vermont license plates. Representative Dylan Giambatista (D-Essex Junction) introduced legislation to create the plate to raise money for the state's clean water fund and raise awareness about water conservation. From WCAX:

"For me, it involves thinking out of the box about how are we gonna fund our challenges," (Giambista says). One way we could do it is to offer a license plate. I would call it a 'Be a Champ' water license plate..."

The bill creates a conservation plate -- several styles already exist that feature deer and loon. But Giambatista says it could also be a special issue plate. like the Vermont Strong ones issued after Tropical Storm Irene that helped raise a million dollars for recovery efforts.

"We would want to put Champ on it because we want folks to be a water champ and to focus the conversation about water quality in this state. We gotta go to what people know, so let's start with a beloved figure like Champ. Let's get the conversation started and let's raise money for a good cause," Giambatista said.

Read the rest

Ben and Jerry's has a Flavor Graveyard for the 'dearly de-pinted'

There's a plot of land in Vermont where ice cream flavors go when they die. Located next to the Waterbury home of Ben & Jerry's plant and headquarters, the Flavor Graveyard is the final resting place for the company's discontinued flavors such as Wavy Gravy, White Russian, and (32) more.

Travel + Leisure:

“Ben & Jerry’s is known for outrageous, chunky, funky flavors,” said Flavor Guru Eric Fredette in a company press release. “But experimentation comes with risk, and not everybody likes our edgier ideas. Like everything else, ice cream flavors have a beginning and an end.”

This year, visitors who take a Ben & Jerry's factory tour, along with a visit to the Flavor Graveyard, between Oct. 29 and 31 will be treated to a sample of a limited edition pumpkin pie ice cream available only in Waterbury.

You can also visit their virtual burial ground and, if you wish, submit a request to "resurrect" any of the dead flavors. Zombie Schweddy Balls, anyone?

Read the rest

Vermont offers remote workers a $10,000 subsidy to relocate to the state

If your boss is willing to let you work from home and you don't mind shoveling snow in the winter, Vermont wants you and will pay you $10K over two years to defray moving costs. The state boasts great outdoor recreation, a high standard of living and a rapidly aging, shrinking tax-base. (Thanks, Fipi Lele) (Image: Chinissai, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Comcast sues Vermont over the state's insistence that it actually provide decent internet

Comcast enjoys an effective monopoly over internet service in Vermont and it's about to get an 11-year extension to its permit to use billions of dollars' worth of public rights of way in the state, and in return, the state has asked Comcast to roll out at least 550 miles of new cable for "under-served" Vermonters over the 11 years. Read the rest

No, Russia didn't hack Vermont's power grid

Despite what you might have read in this alarming story in the Washington Post, Russia did not hack Vermont's power authority. Read the rest

Free steampunk workout videos

Vermont, the little Holland of the United States, has been a leader in pot decriminalization, gay marriage, and socialist presidential candidates. One of the perks of living here is the annual free workout video that arrives in the mail. These elaborate DVDs go to all Vermont teachers (my wife's a librarian), paid for by the teacher's union and designed to get Vermonters through the harsh winters.

Our friends in Burlington worked extra hard this year to come up with a steampunk, time-travel theme. Props include a Tardis-like vehicle with a cockpit made from a wicker chair, fire extinguisher propulsion system, and voltmeter control panels. After a brief intro, some kind of evil time lord takes us through many sets of jumping jacks, pushups, and burpees. As goofy as the premise is, the workout is so intense I'm always praying for a Dalek invasion to end my misery.

Facebook page

Read the rest

Senator Leahy mystified

PIPA sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) can't figure out why people don't like it: "Hiding behind the black box of self-censorship does not resolve the problem that is plaguing American business and hurting American consumers." (Thanks, decius!) Read the rest

PIPA sponsor in the hotseat today at 12:00 Eastern

pziselberger sez, "Senator Lahey, sponsor of PIPA [ed: the Senate version of SOPA], will be on Vermont Public Radio's 'Vermont Edition' January 12 at noon. This is an opportunity to share your outrage over PIPA with the author of the bill." Read the rest

Vermont cop tases and tases a mentally ill homeless 59 year old woman

A cop in Barre, Vermont repeatedly tased Ann Osborn, a 59-year-old mentally ill homeless woman who was standing in a parking lot with her arms folded. "I could see that this was not getting any results so I pulled out the cartridge and went for a drive stun to Osborn's left thigh. This did have some affect and she screamed a little bit and went down on her buttocks, in the shrub area, next to the store at which time the Taser slipped off her thigh... Before Osborn could get up I was able to apply a second drive stun to her right thigh. This again kept her down and she began to scream. I advised her to roll over and place her hands behind her back, which she did and the Taser came off her leg losing contact again. Now Osborn was still screaming without the Taser being on her, and would still not put her hands behind her back. I again applied the drive stun to the back of her left thigh. Osborn finally complied, put her hands behind her back at which time I was able to get the handcuffs on her and take her into custody."

(Thanks, Keyan!) Read the rest