Ricka McNaughton Writing, Photography

A Note about Links:
In cases where it might  be cumbersome for readers to access a story from another publication's archives, or if there is no existing electronic archive, I've provided a reprint.    




Vermont's Nuclear Fallout Jitters - from Chernobyl to Fukushima
The acclaimed historical PBS/SkyUK TV miniseries Chernobyl (aired starting in May 2019) makes dramatically topical again the arguments for and against nuclear energy. Unofficially, the Federal EPA's first notice of the Chernobyl meltdown came from a vigilant Vermont public health physicist, Paul Clemons, whom I interviewed shortly afterward. This more recent article recounts Vermont's rapid responses to monitor nuclear drift from both Chernobyl and again in 2011 when Japan's better-built Fukushima nuclear power plant failed to withstand a tsunami following a 9.0 earthquake in 2011.
This second article appeared in The [Montpelier, VT] Bridge April 2011)     

Long Before Stealth Helicopters
You don't have to have an interest in military matters to be intrigued by an ultra-rare volume published in 1532, cheerfully revealed to me by staff at Norwich University's (Northfield, VT) Special Collections Library. The book contains some fantastical illustrations of field artillery machines so bizarre that's it's hard to imagine they ever left the drawing board. They look as though Dr. Seuss could have had a hand in their design, had he been of the period. (Article includes images.)  Barre-Montpelier [VT] Times-Argus August 2011

Before GMP, 91-year old Houghton Cate Had His Own "Smart Metering
In rural North Calais, Vermont, electricity didn't arrive until the 1930's. So Houghton Cate, a life-long tinkerer, successfully built his own electric plant using. The [Montpelier] Bridge, August 2011

Electrical Power Plays of the 1930's, and a Miracle.  Notes on an anonymous diarist of the 1930's who described the citizen activism that brought the Washington Electric Co-op into existence, and the corporate skullduggery that tried to prevent it. 

The [Montpelier] Bridge, August 2011

Despite One Dam Thing or Another, Small Hydro-power Slowly Resurges
What's working for and against the redevelopment of Vermont's old dam sites.   

The [Montpelier] Bridge, August 2011


"Dwight & Nicole" -- On Top and Still Free to be Fabulous  
"The Voice" TV Show Star and Her Powerhouse Partner to Play Barre's Flying Stage
A profile piece from an interview preceding the concert.  
​ ​
A Debt to Dinosaurs
The artistic evolution, so far, of Owen Bissex, and his feel for biological forms and their ancient origins.  

Capture and Release
A profile of Kurt Budliger, of Middlesex, VT, an internationally award-winning nature photographer and environmentalist. ​

Hogan's Heroes
Cornelius "Con" Hogan has been a candidate for Vermont governor, a top state agency manager, an international child welfare consultant, a heavy hitter in the realm of health care reform, a farmer and a banjo player, to name a few of his endeavors. He's written a trio of "Met along the Way" books featuring vignettes about well-known public figures and colorful characters of his acquaintance. Good dinner table stories artfully moved to the printed page.  


The $59 Million Dollar Question
Is the Vermont Treasurer's Office doing enough to return other people's money? On the annually publicized Unclaimed Property list are many recognizable claimants who could be easily notified of funds owed to them. Why haven't they been united with their money?  In some cases, the answer may surprise you.  Seven Days  May 2013

Got Earthquake Insurance? 
What's about as interesting as gazing at a pile of dryer lint? Perhaps it's reading through the fine print of your homeowner's insurance policy. But there's a lot at stake. Parts of Vermont were recently shaken by a minor earthquake - large enough to rattle and damage some homes.  Few people realize that most HO policies don't cover damage from an earthquake without the purchase of an additional rider.   


Senator Edgar May, Author of Change
Long before he became better known to some people as the brother of Vermont's first woman governor, Madeleine Kunin, then-journalist Edgar May put on a disguise, became a social worker, wrote a series of constructive pieces on an ailing welfare system and won a Pulitzer Prize. The he got a surprising offer from Washington. 

Hope Begins in the Dark
A Montpelier woman speaks out about her struggles with her young daughter's rare disease and her own determined new role in a literal race for the cure.  

Heavy Rescue: Eye on the Sky
A specially trained military-based corps of firefighters provides rescue services to the entire Burlington International Airport. Who knew.    

A Surge in Drownings Brings Up the Important Work Vermont State Police Divers Do 

A record year of accidental drownings shed light on the risks Vermont State Police divers take, both for the living and the dead.  Plus: Gary Gaboury, A Sacrifice Remembered  ​


Related series of articles combined:
The Re-Fueling of Plainfield;  Who is Skip Vallee?  An 11th Hour Showstopper  

As Plainfield, Vermont, pushes forward with a small town business and arts Renaissance, anti-competition maneuvers by Skip Vallee, gasoline wholesaler/retailer and owner of a chain of convenience stores, have provoked local ire. But few people in Plainfield have ever met Skip Vallee. He granted an email interview for this piece. 

Vallee's actions once promoted Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders [now a presidential candidate] to call for an investigation into high gasoline prices in Chittenden County, a good chunk of which is Vallee's turf.  

Vallee's later battled to block a Bernie-backed proposal by mega-retailer COSTCO to sell inexpensive gas at its Colchester (VT) location.  In a weird repainting of political stripes, Vallee, a former Bush-appointee and national level Republican fundraiser, took out attack ads in which he cast the liberal Sanders as a big business corporate crony and enemy of the environment.  

Less Fear and Loathing
A community paper asked a group of local writers to pen a "birthday wish for the country, focusing on an American experience -- whatever the year's July 4th birthday called to mind. This 2010 piece warns that social media has produced the most effective distribution system for hate the world has ever known.  


All Creatures (Oddly) Bright and Beautiful
A recent white-headed cardinal sighting and a legendary bear in White Bear Minnesota provoke questions about the fascination humans have with animals that have rare genetic color mutations. White Bear Press Pubs [White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights region, MN]  

Farmers of the Forest
​An overview of the current business of logging in Vermont; a profile of one local farmer of the forest.

Montpelier's Jeff Roberts
A big cheese as a promoter in the international scene of artisan cheese making, Jeff Roberts speaks about why Vermont's artisan cheesemakers are some of the world's best.  

From Industrial Boneyard to Recreational Boon 
A look at how historic granite quarry infrastructure became the Millstone Hill trail system in Barre Town (VT) 



Producer, Co-founder of "TOWN BRAINTAP" 
See www.townbraintap.net  or see PDF: ABOUT TOWN BRAINTAP 
A Vermont community "edu-tainment" series featuring  way-out-of-the ordinary talks and presentations.  
Our consumer satisfaction guarantee: More fun than paying bills or shoveling snow; healthier than sitting at home contemplating the zombie apocalypse. 

Examples: These are some archives of co-host slots at WGDR RADIO, promoting the work of local writers and artists.  You can listen via the links provided below. 

Show synopisis:  Close to the date on which poetry lovers around the world celebrate the birthday of poet Robert Burns, Jim Cross and guest co-host Ricka McNaughton bring you a conversation with two Scotland-born writers Len Irving and Roberta Harold.  https://soundcloud.com/wgdr/whats-next-01-28-13-interview

Show synopsis: Yale film school grad, newspaper editor and and mountain guide in Central Asia before settling on a commercial career in international photography, Theo Kaye talks with Jim Cross and guest co-host Ricka McNaughton about his acclaimed work.