Vermont Research Newsletter: Teen pregnancies, Snakecotten, moose and more… Inbox x

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Teen pregnancy and nighttime driving
Vermont is the only state that doesn’t have mandatory nighttime-driving curfews and this may increase teen pregnancies, a new study finds. According to the research, states with stricter laws controlling new drivers have decreased fertility by 3–4% among mothers between the ages of 16 and 18. The researchers suggest that restricting the freedom and mobility of minor drivers can reduce the number of teen pregnancies.
Tourism Matters
Vermont ranks 3rd for the importance of the leisure and hospitality industry in the state’s overall economy, after Nevada and Hawaii, a new study reports. Employee earnings in the leisure and hospitality industry are below the average employee earnings in the U.S. and have increased more slowly than employee earnings in the overall U.S. economy.
Snakecotten’s Vermont invasion
Froelichia Gracilis, also known as Slender Snakecotton, is an invasive plant to Vermont, native west of the Mississippi River. With the advent of the railway system, the plant began making its way east beginning in the early 1900s. Today, highway systems have replaced trains as the invasive’s mode of transportation, with the plant lining highways across the eastern United States. It was first spotted in Vermont in 2001 along I-89 in Windham County. A recent article details the spread of Slender Snakecotton, to Vermont and other New England states via highways.
Crayfish mercury levels
A recent study tested baseline mercury bioaccumulation in the crayfish populations from the White River, Vermont. The data shows increasing mercury concentrations in crayfish tail muscle samples from downstream sites, suggesting the need for further investigation to determine the watershed-level processes that may be contributing to the development of this pattern. Still, the crayfish mercury levels were found to be well below the EPA action level concentration.
Composting risks
What are the risks of composting? A recent article studies the risk associated with the transfer of antibiotic and antimicrobial-resistant genes, bacteria, and pathogens through food waste on a Vermont poultry farm. The research finds that the risk of incorporating novel or multi-drug resistance from human sources appears to be minimal, with a reduction in pathogens throughout the composting process.
Moose declines & hunting
Regulated moose hunting was first initiated to control the moose population, however, recent declines in the moose population have raised questions about the policy. In 2018, the number of moose hunting licenses in Vermont reached a record low, at 13. Currently, there are an estimated 2,200 moose in Vermont. A recent article explores the government’s options for the future of moose hunting, since forbidding the practice entirely will have detrimental effects for both the hunters and the residents who live in hunting areas, but continuing the practice as is may lead to the extinction of moose in Vermont.
How old is Lake Vermont?
Lake Vermont, the geographical predecessor of Lake Champlain, was a freshwater glacial lake created when the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated about 13,500 years ago, creating an ice dam which separated it from the saltwater Champlain Sea. About 12,000 years ago, the ice dam failed and the lake dropped 300 feet before being flooded by the Champlain Sea. A recent article challenges previous geological timelines of these events, as proposed by geologists in the 20th century.
Fewer ticks in the mountains
There are 10 times more ticks in the Champlain Valley than in the Green Mountains, according to a recent study. The study, which tested for Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent in the ticks, didn’t find any difference in Lyme Disease prevalence between the two regions.
Aging populations
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the top-three highest median ages of all US states. A recent article details the economic impacts of population decline which include negative impacts on schools and hospitals, as well as a diminished tax base and impacts on the business environment. Immigration, according to the article, may be the key to reversing these negative effects.
Teen pot smoking declines with legalization 
Vermont is one of ten states to have legalized recreational marijuana. A new study finds an 8 percent drop in the number of students who used marijuana in the previous 30 days in states where recreational marijuana is legal and a 9 percent drop in the number of high school students who said they had used marijuana at least 10 times in the previous 30 days in those same states. This data suggests a correlation between decreased teen marijuana use and legalizing recreational marijuana.
Hate crimes increase
From 2013-2017, reported hate crimes in Vermont increased 177%, according to a recent article. This made it among the top five states for increased percentage. Race, religion, and sexual orientation accounted for the largest targeted populations. The entire country saw an average increase of 22%, with African-Americans being the most targeted population.
Opiate overdoses – Vermont’s policies are working
Rural states frequently have varied access to medical services and a new study explores the significant barriers to treatment in rural northern New England in the opioid crisis. The research shows that Vermont’s comprehensive set of policies and practices for drug treatment and harm reduction appeared to be associated with it having the lowest fatal overdose rates. However, Vermont has high Hepatitis C infection rates. This is primarily associated with stigma and a lack of awareness of infection status or risk, the study finds.
Podcast: Politics and Proverbs
When it comes to proverbs, Wolgang Mieder is one of the leading experts in the world. And proverbs are present in politics. With a presidential campaign looming we asked Dr. Meider to scour candidates speeches for their use of proverbs. Listen here. Listen here.
Vermont Trout Streams:
A Fly Angler’s Guide to the Best

Bob Shannon, the owner of the Fly Rod Shop in Stowe, teamed up with cartographer/geographer Peter Shea to write their new comprehensive reference book, Vermont Trout Streams: A Fly Angler’s Guide to the BestThe guide includes over four hundred trout stream locations, hand-drawn maps, fly/stocking patterns, and local tips.
Northern Vermont in the War of 1812
Northern Vermont in the War of 1812, a new book by Vermont author and historian Jason Barney details the critical role that Vermont played during the war of 1812. While Burlington was a major military base and harbor for American vessels, Barney looks into the roles of local militias composed of farmers, blacksmiths, and merchants from Swanton to Isle La Motte and their role in the war. Read a preview here.
“The Vermont We Cannot See”
Photographers Lisa Dimondstein, Julie Parker and Sandra Shenk used infrared photography to capture unique photos of Vermont in their new exhibit, “The Vermont We Cannot See“. Infrared photos are taken by removing the camera’s infrared filter and replacing it with one that blocks visible light. The exhibit is located at Axel’s Gallery on Stowe Street in Waterbury and will run through September 16th.
Whales Tails Return to Randolph
After 20 years, artist Jim Sardonis has constructed a new Whales Tails sculpture in Randolph where the first installation (now in South Burlington) originally resided — thanks to support from the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation and many local champions. Stop and visit! And read more about the backstory here in the Randolph Herald
Copyright © 2019 Center for Research on Vermont, All rights reserved.
The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research — focused on research in the Vermont “laboratory” — research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to an understanding of the state’s social, economic, cultural and physical environment.

Send your news items to Newsletter Editors Eliza Giles or Richard Watts.

In a collaboration with VT Digger, the newsletter is now published online. CRVT is responsible for the content. The newsletter is published on the 1st and 15th of each month.
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