Vermont Research Newsletter: Transportation, lottery tickets, vaping and more…

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Transportation & GHG emissions

The transportation sector continues to be the primary contributor to GHG emissions in Vermont, according to the 2020 Annual Energy Report by the State Department of Public Service. In 2018, transportation accounted for 46.7% of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions. See this new public transit report from VTrans and Sustainable Transportation Vermont for some solutions.

Women wage earners
Women are the primary earners in 47% of Vermont families, according to Change the Story VT’s updated report on “Women, Work, and Wages in Vermont.” The report focuses on women’s economic status and includes statistics on the gender wage gap in Vermont, exploring factors that lower women’s earnings.

Vermont’s worker relocation program 
As states wrestle with how to attract a mobile workforce, a new report names Vermont as a leader in new economic development strategies.  Vermont’s remote worker recruiting program that offsets moving costs and provides grants for local co-working spaces, is touted in the report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government on “Where the Mobile Workforce is Living.”

Continuing your education
Advance Vermont has launched a new interactive data dashboard to foster the number of Vermont students who continue their education after high school, illustrate equity-related gaps, and prompt action. The dashboard includes 26 indicators of post-secondary success in areas including affordability, enrollment, completion, and more. This new tool is aimed at policymakers, education and training providers, and workforce development professionals.

Vaping crisis continues
The rate of vaping among Vermont youth continues to increase, according to The Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2019, half of Vermont youth said they had used an electronic vapor device, increasing from 34% in 2017. Additionally, vaping as the primary method of marijuana use increased from 2% in 2017 to 17% in 2019. Vaping also appears to be more popular with females, a switch from 2017. The use of traditional cigarette use among youth continues to decline.

Organ donor rates rise 

When the Vermont DMV implemented a system of proactively asking each individual at the time of licensing whether they wanted to become an organ donor, registration rose from 7% to around 54%.Donor registration is currently stalled at 54%, below national averages of 58%. Montana has the highest percentage of any state at 93%.

Machine-made snow impacts
What is the impact of machine-made snow on the watershed? A study which was recently made publicly available finds that the lack of acidity in thawed machine-made snow may lead to a decrease of toxic inorganic aluminum typically observed during the spring. Machine-made snow is less acidic than natural snow due to the presence of recycled surface and groundwater, the study finds.

Gambling can pay
Buying scratch-off tickets could be a worthwhile investment, according to a new study in the Journal of Math Horizons. While the lottery is generally stacked against uninformed ticket buyers, if a scratch game like Vermont’s Sweet Dough Doubler is played at the right time, the expected value would rise above the cost of buying a ticket.

Organic milk profitability
Switching to organic milk production has been identified as one way to improve farm profitability for Vermont’s dairy farmers, according to new research. The research suggests that shifts in farm management practices can improve farm profitability outcomes by reducing feed costs, improving milk quality (and thus price), and leveraging debt.

Guns in Vermont households
43% of Vermonters keep a firearm in their home, according to the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, recently released by the Vermont Department of Health. Of these Vermonters, 17% keep the firearm loaded and almost two-thirds of those keep that loaded firearm unlocked in their home.

Phosphorous reductions
Vermont reduced total phosphorus load in the agriculture sector by 2,698 kilograms this past year according to the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2019 Performance Report. This is over twice the amount of 2018 and nearly 4 times that of 2016. Additionally, the estimated total phosphorus load reduction of wastewater drained into Lake Champlain continues to increase, with an estimated 16.4 metric tons of phosphorus diverted in 2019.

Helmet use
87% of Vermont youth said they always wear a helmet or do so most of the time while skiing or snowboarding, a significant increase in recent years. Still, one in five students claim they have experienced concussion-like symptoms within the past year. Additionally, 23% of students of color reported having a concussion in the past year, the highest of any subgroup in the study.

Landslide puzzle solved
The Vermont Agency of Transportation recently solved a 50-year-old puzzle regarding the cause of frequent landslides on a road section of Newport, VT. The area of focus was a section of Route 191, which, since 1971, has experienced continuous slope movements of 3 inches per year despite stabilization measures. While stabilization had been focused on the upper slope areas, investigators found that the landslides are actually the result of artesian water pressures about 600 ft. downslope from the road.

Town meeting around the corner
How can you prepare for town meeting this year? Vermont League of Cities and Towns is leading a workshop designed for moderators, select board members, town clerks, town managers, and administrators. Geared toward both new moderators and seasoned veterans, the workshop will focus on the statutory requirements for town meeting, Robert’s Rules of Order, recent pertinent court cases, and best practices for making it through Town Meeting Day unscathed.

New Books

Hinesburg writer Meg Little Reilly has a new book drawing from her Washington D.C. experiences. The southern Vermont native spent ten years in the Obama Administration before returning to the state. The book is a compelling family drama with a hopeful and optimistic ending. See the Center’s interview with Meg here.

For more new books see Seven Day’s Short Takes on five books from Vermont writers.

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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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