Behind The Scenes
7Apr/140

Continued funding of LIHEAP a must [an editorial]

[ Here's a sneak peek at an upcoming editorial.]

When it comes to keeping the most vulnerable among us warm, more money is needed.

That’s the message Washington lawmakers are sending to the House Appropriations Committee, regarding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In a letter this week, Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Peter King, R-N.Y., the leading House advocates for funding LIHEAP, used this past winter to illustrate how important any and all assistance is to those in need, and called for the program to be funded at $4.7 billion for fiscal year 2015.

“LIHEAP helps to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food and medicine,” the let­ter reads. “The record breaking and life threatening cold that has swept much of the nation this winter is a reminder of the importance of this program. A strong LIHEAP program is necessary to effec­tively meet the critical needs of our constituents, especially as ener­gy costs remain high, the economy is still rebounding, and record numbers of families turn to the program for assistance.”

A bipartisan group of 137 lawmakers signed on in support.

Over the past several years, LIHEAP has lost about 30 percent of its funding. For some context, here’s a couple of things to consider: — This past winter, Vermont received $18.3 million in federal LIHEAP funding.

— Almost 28,000 households received some form of heating assis­tance this past year.

— In addition, the state appropriated an additional $9.7 million for the program.

It’s clear, the need is there.

The omnibus Farm Bill passed by Congress this past February included $8.6 billion in cuts over the next 10 years in the Supplemen­tal Nutrition Assistance Program. But it could have been worse, as U.S. House Republicans had initially sought $40 billion in reductions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told VTDigger he was disappointed by the cuts, characterizing the reductions as “both morally and econom­ically wrong to cut assistance to families in a very difficult econo­my.”

For all practical purposes, according to a VTDigger report, “the new bill eliminates what is known as the ‘heat and eat’ program in northern states. It requires 17 states to come up with additional monies to fund food stamps for people who are eligible for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program.”

Late last month, the 2015 Vermont budget was approved by the House. In it, the Appropriations Committee allocated $6 million in state funds toward LIHEAP, which aims to cover 2,100 homes that would have lost some food aid benefits under the “Heat and Eat” pro­vision in the bipartisan Agricultural Act of 2014.

“The Republican-controlled House’s intent was to cut back the num­ber of families that need assistance,” Vermont Secretary of Adminis­tration Jeb Spaulding told the Bennington Banner. Spaulding said Vermont would have looked for any way to ensure the continued food aid of those citizens that the Farm Bill intended to cut from SNAP benefits, “(but) we are always looking for ways to improve the lives of our citizens.”

We applaud Welch, King and the other lawmakers looking to address these egregious cuts. It’s clear many tough choices need to be made as states and the country continue to address economic challenges. But surely there are better ways to enact such cuts, rather than slashing aid to people who could very well find them­selves in a life or death situation next winter.

“Continuing lower levels of funding for LIHEAP will have a devas­tating impact on millions of American families already suffering during the economic downturn,” the Welch/King letter states.

What can it say for us, as a society, when we are unable or unwilling to continue helping those among us in greatest need?

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7Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 7, 2014

*What's a budget? Click the image for a definition.*

*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 7). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
5Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 5-6, 2014

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*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 5). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

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4Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 4, 2014

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*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 4). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
3Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 3, 2014

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*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 3). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
2Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 2, 2014

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*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 2). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

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1Apr/140

My Appearance on Live & Local [04.01.14]

podcastQuick post to promote my latest appearance on Live & Local (WKVT 1490AM and 100.3FM in the Brattleboro area). I was the in-studio guest, today, to discuss the news of the week and journalism in general with host Chris Lenois. Discussion included: Famous April Fool’s pranks in the media, the Brattleboro Selectboard’s trip to Montpelier and letters to the editor about shopping local.

Listen to it here.

1Apr/140

Reformer newsroom budget for April 1, 2014

*What's a budget? Click the image for a definition.*

*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (April 1). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
31Mar/140

Reformer newsroom budget for March 31, 2014

*What's a budget? Click the image for a definition.*

*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (March 31). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
29Mar/140

Reformer newsroom budget for March 29-30, 2014

*What's a budget? Click the image for a definition.*

*What's a budget?
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This a list of stories the newsroom staff is working on in the Reformer newsroom, today (March 29). Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper or appear online today — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading