An effort to force the state’s largest utility to refund money to customers when it’s sold is gaining some headway in the statehouse. There will be a rally today in Brattleboro to protest the continued operation of VT Yankee. A bill to push recycling has been caught up in a Vermont Senate committee in a debate over expanding the bottle bill and adding a ban on plastic grocery bags. Essex police say the search of an area off Vermont Route 15 in connection with the disappearance of a couple is over for now. Irene is being retired from the list of storm names because the 2011 hurricane did so much damage. Phish drummer Jon Fishman will lead what is expected to be the World’s Largest Cowbell Ensemble today at 4 on Church Street in Burlington.