A Last Look Back At 2011
12/29/11 12:00PM By Steve Zind
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2011 provided us with no shortage of events that will reverberate long into the future: from natural disasters like the spring floods and Tropical Storm Irene, to a change in governors and a dramatic new vision for health care in Vermont, to controversies over energy policy.
We talk with reporters John Dillon of VPR, Terri Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free Press and Peter Hirschfeld of the Vermont Press Bureau about the most important and the most memorable stories of the last year.
Top 10 Vermont stories of 2011, as voted by members of the Vermont Associated Press:
1. Tropical Storm Irene - including damage to road networks, response of isolated communities, the relocation of 1,500 state employees from a flooded office complex, and the evacuation of Vermont State Hospital patients.
2. Vermont's historic passage of a health care reform law that put the state on the path to have the nation's first statewide, single-payer health care system.
3. The future of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, an federal court ruling that is expected by the end of 2011. The case will likely be appealed, possibly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
4. Peter Shumlin, the Putney Democrat, was sworn in as governor in January. Shumlin succeeded Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who had served eight years as governor.
5. Middlebury attorney Beth Robinson was sworn in as the newest justice on the Vermont Supreme Court. Robinson came to prominence in the court the case that led to the creation of Vermont's civil union law in 2000.
6. Green Mountain Power, Vermont's second largest electric utility, moved to buy the state's largest utility, Central Vermont Public Service Corp. The deal now awaits regulatory approval.
7. GMP began construction on a 21-turbine commercial wind-power project on Lowell Mountain.
8. Lake Champlain, swollen from a record winter snowfall and spring rains, reached record levels, inundating lakeside homes and some roads.
9/10. A tie. Burlington's Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss decides not to seek re-election. And Pete the Moose, the animal that drew legions of supporters after the state said it had to be destroyed to protect moose and deer from a potential fatal brain disease, died while under anesthesia for hoof trimming.