WGDR Interview: VT AFL-CIO President Van Deusen on the CoronaCrisis & Rebuilding Through A Green New Deal

The Coronavirus public health crisis is rapidly becoming an economic crisis for the working class. In this interview (WGDR 91.1 FM) Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen discusses the steps already taken to address the needs of working people, what still has to be done in the here and now, and the need for a Green New Deal to rebuild society after the immediate danger passes.

Click on the below video link to listen to the full interview:

Essential Information: Brattleboro Food Co-op and Covid-19

The Brattleboro Food Co-op is well considered an essential local business and is open for business with limited hours and curbside pickup for groceries, sundries, fresh and frozen foods, wellness supplies, and more during this Covid-19 epidemic.

As a central local business focused on food and health, the Co-op feels it is important everyone in the Bratt community knows the Co-op is making every effort to keep its staff and customers safe and comfortable during this crisis. The store hours have changed temporarily to 2pm-7pm daily so customers can come into the Co-op to do their own shopping. The Co-op has also created a Curbside Pickup service for those who are compromised and don’t want to go into the store. Customers can call the Curbside Hotline at 802-246-2800 to place an order for pick up curbside either that same day or the next day.

Amtrak Vermonter Shut Down North of New Haven

According to Amtrak, no Vermont service on the Vermonter, or Ethan Allen Express, until further notice:

“Vermonter (Washington – St. Albans): No service north of New Haven (Monday-Saturday) and no service on Sundays.

Ethan Allen Express (New York – Rutland, VT): No service north of Albany”

Reflections In The Time of Pandemic

We are focusing our efforts on self-preservation and prevention during this time of pandemic. But we will all have more time on our hands for reflection and I urge people to stand back a little and try to take the bigger view whenever possible. It will help with the state of your mental health and it may provide some comfort, even if fleeting.

Most of us have had little experience with the process of death and dying and that inexperience tends to create fear. In past generations death was a part of life that everyone watched play out in their family. They had a chance to understand what lay ahead and they learned acceptance of that inevitability.

Information About Alternative Disinfectants and Hand Santizers

Because rubbing alcohol, disinfectant spray, and hand sanitizer are still difficult or impossible to find, here are two ideas:

1. Grain alcohol –  BE CAREFUL,   IT IS VERY FLAMMABLE!  and it’s not cheap ($19- $21), but these are unusual circumstances!

Everclear Vodka is 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) available at NH Liquor Stores. Here is link to the current supply on hand at each store, and what’s on order:    https://www.liquorandwineoutlets.com/products/detail/1692/everclear_151

The Return of Paper Towel Emergencies

Back in my childhood, paper towels were regarded as an expensive commodity, to be used rarely, if at all, and only on the most spectacular of spills. For a spill to be worthy of a paper towel, a Paper Towel Emergency had to be declared unanimously  by all present. Otherwise, we were supposed to use the kitchen sponge or a dish cloth to wipe up the offending area.  

Volunteers Sought for Sewing Masks

Hello Neighbors! Some of our nation’s hospitals are just a few days away from running out of Personal Protective Equipment such as N95 masks. Let’s get together and sew some masks for our local hospital and medical workers. They won’t be N95 masks, but they’ll be better than tying a bandana or scarf around your face. Who’s interested in helping our community get through this wave of Covid-19 by making masks with me? Calling all sewists, seamstresses, tailors, crafters, those with sewing machines, hand-sewing skills, hot glue guns, etc. Also, organizers, material contributions, project sponsors and more welcome! Let’s make this happen!

VT AFL-CIO On Combating the Coronacrisis: Where We Stand – Where We Need To Be

Montpelier, Vermont – In the seven days since the Vermont AFL-CIO put forth a list of demands to State government on behalf of ALL working class Vermonters, we have seen meaningful progress. The following steps have either already been taken, or are in the process of being implemented:

· Our Labor and Health: An overwhelming number of Unionized employees of Towns & Cities continue to receive full pay and benefits even if ordered home (and in many communities older or health compromised workers have been afforded the right to go home with said pay, even when their job responsibilities are important to base line operations);

There’s Something Very Unifying About A Global Crisis

Cruise Ship

There’s something very unifying about a global crisis — a great inescapable event that affects us all at the same time.  Such crises seem rare but in modern times, they happen often.  We have world economic crises, a global climate crisis, and a crisis of faith in our leaders that’s led to widespread social uprisings around the world.  These sorts of crises affect everyone to some extent, but the effects are hard to gauge.  Some people are affected disproportionately, others not at all.

Groundworks Responds to COVID-19 and Seeks Volunteers

In preparation—and following the guidance recommended for homeless shelters and programs—Groundworks has taken a number of preventive and precautionary steps in response to COVID-19.  Our goal is to protect our community’s most vulnerable neighbors by responding with an abundance of caution, while not contributing to feelings of panic or fear.

Groundworks is working closely with State partners to ensure a strong local response to keep our shelter guests safe.  Our staff at both shelters are engaging in additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and we have limited access to restrict any external guests at any of our program sites. 

Dosa Kitchen Temporarily Closing After Service Sunday

Beloved customers, your health and safety is what matters most to us. For this reason, Sunday will be our last day of regular hours for a while. Helping to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 by closing is our act of community solidarity to help flatten the curve. We will take appropriate steps for resuming our regular schedule with the guidance of health officials.

On Sunday we will be offering our regular menu plus grab-and-go items such as sambar soup, turmeric bone broth, dosa batter and curry and rice boxes. Support us and your health by stocking up, or consider purchasing a gift certificate that you can use later (consider this for as many downtown businesses as you can!).

Brattleboro VFW $6.50 Lunch Specials Open to the Public 3-16 to 3-20

The Brattleboro VFW located at 40 Black Mountain Road is open to the public for lunch. Lunch is served Mon-Fri from 11:30 – 1:30. Specials listed below are only $6.50 a plate. Hand made burger, fries, sweet potato fries, wings, onion rings, soups and sandwiches are also available. Take outs available by calling 257-0438

COVID 19 and the U.S. Health Care System

There may be a bright side to the current COVID 19 pandemic, at least in terms of showing how the current U.S. for-profit health care system fails people when they get sick. In the political debate about a Medicare for All plan the defensive posture is to tell people not to support it because they will have to give up their current health insurance.

Last time I checked I couldn’t find people who tell me they love their current health insurance plan and that they would never give it up. As things stand now for people who have private insurance that they pay for in part, or in whole, contracting a serious case of COVID 19 could mean bills anywhere from $10,000 to one million dollars depending on the type of insurance they have or don’t have.

Brattleboro Winter Farmers’ Market Update

Because of the concern with COVID19 spreading via public gatherings, a number of our vendors will not be coming to the market this week. We were going to officially cancel the market, but at least one intrepid farmer, Elizabeth Wood from New Leaf CSA insisted on coming down to sell veggies to you, and she will be joined by Mary Ellen from High Goose Farm with all those healthful black currant concoctions, and likely Orchard Hill Breadworks as well. I’m sure others will be there too. Check our Facebook page -@brattleborowinterfarmersmarket – for updates.

So when you come to the market on Saturday, you will find a smaller version of us, and you will not find a terminal to run credit, debit or EBT card sales. Plan accordingly and be prepared with cash or check, or the tokens and coupons you already have on hand.

Should Brattleboro Hold Representative Town Meeting?

With the flurry of cancellations and postponements in the area, would it be smart to postpone Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting?

On one hand, Brattleboro hasn’t had any confirmed cases. And there is a bit of time pressure on representatives to pass the budget before the fiscal year ends. Perhaps it would be best to get this out of the way early and hold it as scheduled.