FOMAG Has Cancelled the 2021 Messiah Sing

For those who may not have heard the news already through other media, Friends of Music at Guilford tried to plan a Messiah Sing for this December but with rising COVID statistics, we decided it wasn’t worth the gamble, even with protocols in place. To quote from the FOMAG Facebook post…

Well, we hoped and we tried. We had the venue reserved, we had a conductor and keyboard and soloists. We felt optimistic as things were opening up late summer / early fall. We worked on protocols for preregistration, contact tracing, proof of vaccine, limited seating, even debated about proof of negative COVID tests. We held off on making any go / no-go decisions as long as possible. But those accursed COVID statistics have just been getting worse and worse.

COVID’S Bigger Lessons

It is two years since the emergence of the first versions of the COVID virus. The world was slow to figure out what was going on and even slower to figure out ways to deal with this new deadly disease. Despite all of the technology and science that we have developed over the years, COVID continues to make fools of the humans who are trying to beat it.

On the surface it may seem that the best way to contain COVID and to make it less of a threat to humans is to develop effective vaccines and get those vaccines to as many people as possible. It sounds like a simple plan and it makes sense from a scientific perspective.

Brattleboro Face Coverings Required

At its November 23 meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard passed a resolution that established a rule requiring that face coverings be worn by all employees, customers, and visitors in any store, office, or other indoor setting where the public is invited. The adoption of this rule was made possible by the State of Vermont authorizing municipal legislative bodies to adopt rules requiring individuals to wear face coverings while indoors at locations open to the public. The Vermont Legislature passed a bill to that effect in special session on November 22 and Governor Scott signed the bill into law on November 23.

Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda & Notes – November 23, 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at 6:15pm over Zoom. The Municipal Center (230 Main Street) will be open to the public with limited seating spaced six feet apart and face coverings will be required. The public is encouraged to participate in the meeting over Zoom. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.”  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.

Selectboard Meeting Notes – FY23 Budget Season Begins

selectboard nov 1 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard kicked off their FY23 budget season with an overview of the proposed town budget by Town Manager Peter Elwell. Questions were limited at this meeting, allowing the board and the public to take in a broad overview. Deep dive questions begin next week.

One of the lengthier passages in this meeting was a discussion of prepaid assigned funds compared to unassigned funds and how they both are accounted for legally and financially.

Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – November 2, 2021

Budget season begins with an overview of the proposed budget by the Town Manager to the Selectboard, and this starts at the next regular meeting of the board.

They’ll also approve more repairs for the skating rink, increase the deductible on health insurance for town employees, review their goals, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.

Selectboard Meeting Notes – They Like Us, Union Station, and Great Rates

Selectboard October 5

Promotion of Brattleboro was a primary topic at the regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard Tuesday. Blue Whale Public Relations had some typical Zoom-related delays but otherwise gave a solid report on their early efforts to reach out to the media.

Hybrid meetings will continue for a while longer, favorable financing for the water treatment facility was announced, new stop signs are official, and Union Station might be sold for a dollar in order to save as much as $100,000.

Selectboard Meeting Notes – Safety and Spending

brattleboro selectboard sept 14

The Brattleboro Selectboard is easing into budget season while wrestling with the safety of retuning to in-person meetings. They got an update on the Water Treatment Plant upgrade, paid for some emergency repairs, gave out a liquor license, and discussed Town Manager Elwell’s final Long Term Financial Plan.

There was more – there will be new stop signs coming to some corners, a discussion of ARPA fund possibilities was quick, and a discussion of blinking crosswalks took quite a while.

Empty Bowls Fundraiser for Foodworks Remains Virtual in 2021

BRATTLEBORO, VT — In recognition of increased COVID case numbers, the Empty Bowls Steering Committee has opted to go virtual again this year as opposed to returning to an in-person dinner.  For 18 years now, local potters have created and donated beautiful and functional bowls to raise funds for the food shelf that has now grown to be Foodworks. In that regard, this year is no different.

“We experienced incredible support last year, putting on Empty Bowls in the time of COVID,” explains Groundworks Board Member and Empty Bowls Co-Chair Beth Kiendl. “The tweaks we made last year—shifting to selling bowls in local storefronts—were so successful due to the community support for our work providing emergency food to all who need it in our community.”  

Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – September 14, 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard willl take up a number of water treatment plant issues at their next regular meeting. This includes emergency replacement of a blower and other emergency repairs for wells, a project update, and a loan application. The board will continue discussion of adjusting COVID rules, hear an update on ARPA funding, consider some traffic safety measures, and contemplate Town Manager Elwell’s final Long Term Financial Plan, FY23-27.

Selectboard Special Meeting Notes: Masks Redux

brattleboro selectboard august 17 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a new rule requiring face covering indoors, subject to the approval of Dr. Levine and the Vermont Department of Health. If Levine doesn’t approve, the board strongly recommends, rather than requires, the face coverings. This is all in response to a rapid rise in regional COVID cases, more Delta variant, and a fluctuating CDC rating of viral transmission.

In a related action, the board recommended to everyone who is able, please get vaccinated.

Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting Agenda – New Mask Requirements

The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Brattleboro Municipal Center (320 Main Street). The public is encouraged to participate in the meeting over Zoom. The Municipal Center will be open to the public with limited seating spaced six feet apart and face coverings will be required in the meeting. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.”  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.

Town of Brattleboro COVID-19 Response Status – August 11, 2021 – Masks Required in Town Buildings

Update to the Community from Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell: 

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) has reclassified Windham County from an area of “moderate public transmission” of COVID-19 to an area of “substantial public transmission” of the virus. 

All Town of Brattleboro government facilities remain open to the public at this time, but we have reinstituted the requirement that anyone inside Town buildings must be wearing a face covering. This applies equally to employees and to visitors. It applies equally to vaccinated people and to unvaccinated people. The CDC guidance on this matter is clear: all “people [should] wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.” 

The Delta Variant

I superficially looked at the CDC site, and learned 2 things about delta:

1. CDC sayszz the Delta Variant is one and a half times as contagious as Alpha (which I understand is the first new iteration after original Covid-19. What they mean is that if a person infected with Alpha would (under a particular set of circumstances) infect 2 additional persons; then a person infected with Delta, under the same set of circumstances, would infect 3 people. (Of course a major epidemic management goal would be to get the that number down to .9 or less.).

Only 55.8% In Windham County Are Fully Vaccinated, Says CDC

According to the CDC’s website, 64.4% of the total population of Windham County has had at least one does of a COVID vaccine.  55.8% are fully vaccinated.

Keep this in mind as we crow about Vermont’s high vaccination rates.  We haven’t hit 70% in Windham County yet. We’re much closer to “half way there” than the “almost 100%” people like to assume.