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.”


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – August 2020

It’s now August. 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 July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


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.


VT Governor Scott Announces Housing Assistance Programs

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Vermont State Housing Authority and the Vermont State Housing Finance Agency today announced $30 million in housing assistance to those affected by COVID-19. The programs, first proposed by the Administration and amended and passed by the Legislature, utilize federal CARES Act funding to provide relief for those tenants unable to pay rent, landlords suffering from a loss of rent payments and those lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying their mortgages.

“Landlords, renters, homeowners and those experiencing homelessness have all been impacted by this virus and need assistance, which is why we’ve worked closely with the Legislature to provide this relief,” said Governor Phil Scott. “As we continue to fight this virus, keep Vermonters safe and restart our economy, we know our recovery starts with everyone having a safe and secure place to call home.”


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Collaborative Proposal for Police Reform Presented To Board, RTM Remains On Hold

selectboard july 7, 2020

The Brattleboro Selectboard didn’t get to new business until after 11 pm. Old business of Representative Town Meeting scheduling, second thoughts on an already-approved budget, and competing proposals for police reforms filled the lengthy meeting.

In the end, no new RTM was set, the board was told the budget cannot be changed but can be ignored selectively, and competing proposals for police reforms will fill a new meeting schedule for July 21.


Vermont Expands Travel Policy July 1

Montpelier, Vt. – As state data and expanded testing and tracing capacity continue to support reopening, Governor Phil Scott today announced he will expand the number of states covered under Vermont’s county-by-county quarantine-free travel policy, which allows direct travel from designated counties without a 14-day quarantine requirement.

In early June, the Governor, in close consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, opened up travel to and from counties in New England and New York with less than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents without a quarantine requirement. Effective July 1, this policy will be expanded to counties below this threshold in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. Quarantine requirements remain in place for those traveling to and from other regions.


Time To Retool

Now that it is clear that commerce, trade and most of life as it existed prior to COVID will never be the same, it is time to figure out ways to reconstruct the world so we can move on. Rather than re-opening restaurants with changes that reflect government policies, owners should be looking ahead a year or two and developing new business plans.

No doubt there are many forward thinking business owners who are sitting down and making plans for how to move beyond basic survival and how to thrive in the new world that has been thrust upon us. Large retail stores and supermarkets can probably do well with a few simple measures in place such as requiring that employees and customers wear masks and that crowds be controlled.


Masks for Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney & Vernon Schools

Masks are needed for schools in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney & Vernon

Cloth masks will be needed for students, teachers, school staff and bus drivers for the reopening of school in late August. 
Hundreds of masks are needed in all sizes, from kindergarten through adult. 
Can you sew masks for this need?
Can you donate tightly woven 100% cotton quilting fabric or ⅛-¼ in. woven elastic?
Can you make a monetary donation to help purchase needed materials?


Vermont Changes Unemployment Insurance Rates & Benefits

June 23, 2020  Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Labor today announced changes to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program that will reduce employers’ UI tax rates and increase the maximum weekly benefit amount for UI claimants.

“This tax relief will help reduce the burden on employers who’ve had to make difficult decisions to protect the health and safety of their workers and help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “We know Vermonters made a tremendous economic sacrifice in order to respond to this virus, and we will continue to pull every lever we can to help workers and employers recover from this pandemic.”


VT Governor Scott Raises Occupancy Limits to 50% As of June 26

Montpelier, Vt. – As state data and expanded testing and tracing capacity continue to support reopening, Governor Phil Scott today announced the state will raise occupancy limits for event venues, arts, culture and entertainment venues, as well as restaurants.

Beginning June 26, these venues can expand capacity for events and dining to 50% of approved occupancy size or one person per 100 square feet of customer facing space. This change will allow for indoor events of up to 75 people and outdoor organized events of up to 150.