Governor Scott Did What He Should Have. Is That Exceptional?

It’s true that, given the limited extent of impact and damage in Vermont from the virus, Scott has done a proper job. However he only did what any of us would do. If you recall, one of his earliest public statements was that he was in completely uncharted territory with the pandemic. He didn’t know anything more about it than any of us in the state. So he called the state’s medical team together, got a bit of an education and followed their advice. I’d like to think that all of our governors would have done the same. He was very lucky in this particular crisis to have had the federal government step in fairly quickly with a huge cash infusion that gave us all time to understand and assess the situation and choose our actions under less stressed conditions.


Donald Trump’s October Surprise

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has Covid-19. That this happened on a full moon was weird, almost spooky and very Octoberish.

I noticed no other omens however.  Last night, we watched Stella Dallas on tv and then checked news wherein we saw that Trump was on a short list to have Covid-19.  In one of those “this changes everything” ways, that news instantly blew up all conventional thinking about everything.  Not that it was unexpectable — but definitely unexpected.  We were expecting him to try to keep the White House by force, not catch Covid and potentially die.  Like I said, Octoberish.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – October 2020

It’s October now. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


The End of Restaurants as We Know Them?

Sadly, one of the sectors of the economy taking a major hit during the pandemic is the restaurant industry. Many places have gone out of business and those that remain are struggling to figuring out a way to create a new kind of business model that promotes financial viability.

When restaurants ramp down and close there are all kinds of ripple effects in the economy. People lose jobs and supporting industries, which include farmers, also feel the pinch. If one looked at the pandemic solely from an economic viewpoint that would mean that opening all public businesses would be the highest priority.


Selectboard Meeting Notes: Community Safety Review Facilitators Chosen, Committee Stipends Set

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a proposal for a Community Safety Review facilitation team. They chose a local proposal, created a committee, and decided on how much to pay for stipends.

Other issues before the board involved the Department of Public Works, some grants, and gathering data on housing to aid town planning.


Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – September 14, 2020

Five proposals for community safety review facilitation have been received, twenty six applications to be on the committee are in hand, and the perhaps re-organized Brattleboro Selectboard will decide next steps at their next Tuesday meeting. Committee members will be interviewed and appointed at a special meeting.

Grants and bid awards are also on the agenda, as is the purchase of a new salt shed. You can add other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – September 2020

Welcome to September. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Helpful Brattleboro Election Information for August 11 State Primary

Good morning,

Below is information that might be helpful to know for August 11th State Primary elections.

Polling place for all three districts in Brattleboro is the American Legion, 32 Linden St., from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. 

Due to COVID-19, masks will be required (and provided if needed) to enter the American Legion for voting, and hand sanitizer or gloves will also be provided. If you are unable to wear a mask and did not vote absentee, there will be a space outdoors for you to vote. Due to social distancing and reduced capacity indoors, please be prepared for potential wait times.


Vermont Economic Recovery Grant Program Expands Eligibility for Businesses

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Department of Taxes today announced expanded eligibility for Economic Recovery Grants for Vermont businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the original eligibility criteria, a business was required to have at least one W-2 employee who was not an owner of that business. Starting today, August 3, businesses with at least one W-2 employee – now including those who are an owner – are also eligible and encouraged to apply.

“Businesses of all sizes are doing everything they can to survive under the difficult circumstances caused by this pandemic, and it’s our responsibility to step up and support them in the recovery,” said Governor Scott. “We are hopeful these new requirements will provide some additional relief as we continue to rebuild together and emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”


Vermont School Re-Opening Date Is Tuesday, September, 8, 2020

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott has signed a Directive officially setting Tuesday, September 8 as the universal reopening date for Vermont schools.

“Schools should take this extra time to make sure systems are ready and effective, so we can deliver for our children, and build confidence in the public education system’s ability to be flexible and responsive,” said Governor Scott. “I know none of this has been easy, and I appreciate and have faith in educators and school boards, because I know they are 100% committed to giving kids the educational opportunities and support they need.”

Originally announced on Tuesday, the directive requires all public and independent schools to open for in-person or remote instruction on September 8, with an exception for schools primarily serving students with disabilities, which can restart operations prior to September 8. The Secretary of Education will have oversight and authority in the implementation of the order and local school officials and governing bodies are required to consult with, and abide by, the direction of the Secretary of Education.


The Great Vaccine Hype

Listening to news reports one might think that the only way that we can move from pandemic mode to some degree of post-pandemic normalcy is to have a vaccine to rid us of COVID 19. Any vaccine that is developed will not magically make COVID 19 go away. It might help a little, but a magic bullet cure is unlikely.

The sound bite, short-attention span world is not suited to explaining complex issues such as how vaccines are developed and how they work. Instead, the world sees hope when a lab developing a vaccine sends out premature press releases of success so their stock value can increase.

There are well established scientific protocols in place for vaccine development and they all require years of trials and research. Sometimes vaccine development efforts are successful and sometimes they are not. When a vaccine is developed and made available to the public it takes years for us to see the big picture of how the vaccine works.


Vermont Strengthens Mask Requirements

Montpelier, Vt. – As the state continues its sustained efforts to encourage mask use as a tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Governor Phil Scott today announced strengthened mask requirements in public places and congregate settings.

“Based on national and regional data on how the virus is spreading – and rather than waiting like other states have – I feel we need to act now to protect our gains, which have allowed us to reopen much of our economy,” said Governor Scott. “That’s why today I signed an Order, which will strengthen our current mask mandates, so that we do not take steps backwards and we can stay open into the fall as people move more of their interactions indoors,” Governor Scott added.


Brattleboro Selectboard Special Virtual Meeting Agenda – RTM

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, via GoToMeeting.   It is anticipated that the Board will enter into executive session at 5:30pm to discuss contracts and confidential attorney-client communications made for the purpose of providing professional legal services to the body.  The Board will reconvene the business meeting at 6:15pm.   In keeping with Governor Scott’s “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order, this meeting will be held with no physical location using GoToMeeting.  The attached agenda contains information about how to access the meeting remotely.  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.


COVID 19 Update

It is clear that the United States is doing a deadly poor job of controlling the pandemic. There are too many people who think that having a beer and mingling in crowds is more important than saving lives. And there are too many people in power who have turned the pandemic into a political battle.

As of July 20, 3,834,208 Americans have been infected with COVID 19 and 142,601 have died. The U.S. has had 24% of the 606,173 deaths worldwide.

Most other countries have slowed disease spread because they have had organized government efforts to provide citizens with the tools to stay safe. There is no national effort in this country and that means the numbers will continue to rise and more people will die, despite the best efforts of individual states.


Town of Brattleboro COVID-19 Status Report

WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• Here are links to 3 important COVID-19 financial relief programs offered by the State of Vermont for renters, landlords, and sole proprietor businesses: 

o Emergency Mortgage Assistance- https://www.vhfa.org/documents/images/vt_map_flyer.pdf 

o Rental Housing Stabilization Fund – https://www.vsha.org/rental-housing-stabilization-program/ 

o Vermont Sole Proprietor Stabilization Fund – https://www.vermont-cdbg-cv.com/ 


Education Reimagined

The challenges to re-opening the public educational system are rivaling the challenges of providing health care during the pandemic.

This country has a historical commitment to provide public education through grade 12. It has struggled with budget constraints and political pressure to provide the best education possible for students, but the pandemic has forced the system to the breaking point.

Some politicians want to open the public school system by September, but their plans lack detail and they will put a lot of people’s lives at risk. Despite the threats from one of the most ignorant and intellectually challenged presidents this country has ever seen, governors know that they will be able to move more carefully because ninety percent of their funding comes from local and state budgets. That provides a bit of a financial safety valve but little comfort for a safer future for this country’s students.