Al Letson visits Vermont, post Tropical Storm Irene.
State of the Re:Union host Al Letson explores Vermont after the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, before a full recovery, as small towns across the state take stock of their traditions and decide how much they can hold on to the past as they build a new future. State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: Vermont airs Sunday, September 2 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-1.
Vermont is a state known for its iconic small-town American imagery and tight-knit communities where everyone knows everyone else. For the past 200 years, an annual Town Meeting Day attracts people from every town to debate and vote on local issues. So when the floodwaters rose during Tropical Storm Irene last year, Vermonters had a template for small-scale democracy and decision-making to work from. Together, each town confronted its own disaster -- townspeople called daily town meetings, and dreamed up ways to keep cut-off, and flooded towns connected with the outside world for food, clean water and medicine. When the skies cleared and the clean-up began in earnest, people across Vermont found themselves buoyed by strong traditions, but confronting a world that looked completely different.
State of the Re:Union was created by Al Letson as an entry in the Public Radio Talent Quest, which started with more than 1,400 hopefuls. The contest aimed to identify a new generation of Public Radio on-air talent. After four rounds and voting from both a select panel of judges and the public at large, three winners were selected. For his pilot episode, Al and his team created “Welcome to D.C.” Two of the three winning shows were awarded with a year’s worth of funding to produce new episodes, including State of the Re:Union.