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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Storm Damage Tops $4.5 Million for Vermont

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 11:13 AM

A large tree crushed a car and took down power lines in Burlington's Lakeside neighborhood. - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • A large tree crushed a car and took down power lines in Burlington's Lakeside neighborhood.
The preliminary bill from last week's wind and rainstorm that left a third of Vermonters without power stands at $4.5 million, state officials announced Tuesday.

Wednesday, Vermont officials and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin traveling Vermont to verify the damage. Their preliminary assessment will determine if the state qualifies for a federal disaster declaration, which would bring money to fund recovery efforts.

For Vermont to qualify for aid, FEMA must verify more than $1 million of damage, which includes restoration costs for public utilities.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Scott: Vermont Outages Could Last Days, More Damage Possible

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 4:58 PM

Gov. Phil Scott discusses storm damage Monday - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Gov. Phil Scott discusses storm damage Monday
One-third of Vermonters were without power Monday after an unusually widespread wind and rain storm overnight, state officials said.

There are no storm-related injuries or fatalities, Gov. Phil Scott said, and no hospitals or nursing homes were affected. However, numerous roads remained closed, 70,000 homes and businesses remained without power, and it could take until the weekend to fully restore service, officials warned.

Forecasts of strong winds Monday night could cause more outages and deliver a knockout blow to an already wobbly electrical grid. Officials described the gusty, soggy conditions as a potential "multiday" event.

"This isn't over," Scott said during a press conference at the Department of Public Safety in Waterbury. "This is just the first day."

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Montpeculiar: Scott Declares ‘Powder Day’ — For Non-Vermonters

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:34 PM

Downhill in some powder - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • Downhill in some powder
Chances are, unless you work at a school or took one of your precious vacation days, you got up this morning, dug your way out of 11-plus inches of fresh snow and went to work.

But if you are from out of state and were in 
Vermont to ski or snowmobile over the weekend, Gov. Phil Scott wants you to take a “powder day.”

He didn’t come out and say so, but the underlying presumption is that employers of out-of-state visitors are supposed to give them a bonus day off because it snowed in Vermont in winter.

“I’ve proclaimed Monday an official powder day,” Scott said in a statement issued Sunday night. “And, while I can’t grant official pardons out of state, I certainly hope all will be granted a ‘snow day’ pardon. Visitors can feel free to tell their boss Vermont’s governor asked them to stay.”

Vermonters, meanwhile, are not included in the “declaration.” So just keep toiling away at your job and ignore any thoughts of skiing through fresh powder.

The somewhat whimsical declaration was meant to draw attention to the fact that the skiing will be about as good today as Vermont has seen in two years, maybe longer.

The governor wants out-of-staters to stay, eat and buy another day’s lift ticket because that’d be good for Vermont’s economy. Never mind the economy of the state or province they came from.

It’s a curious suggestion from a governor who speaks often of the value of a strong work ethic.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Despite Rain and Even Snow, Vermont's Drought Persists

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 4:50 PM

The view of downtown Burlington from the Lakeside neighborhood shows Lake Champlain’s widening shoreline. - CHARLOTTE SCOTT
  • Charlotte Scott
  • The view of downtown Burlington from the Lakeside neighborhood shows Lake Champlain’s widening shoreline.
The rain and snow have helped a little. But Vermont remains in the grip of its worst drought in more than a decade, and officials say threats to drinking water supplies could linger into the winter.

According to a Thursday update of the federal United States Drought Monitor, most of Vermont is experiencing a “moderate” or “severe” drought. The Northeast Kingdom has received a little more rain and is considered only “abnormally dry.” (The Drought Monitor labels the worst droughts “extreme” and “exceptional” — conditions that parts of Massachusetts, the deep South and Southern California are experiencing.)

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Vermont Eyes FEMA Assistance for Snowstorm Cleanup

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM

During the first big storm of the season, dense snow decimated power lines and felled trees throughout Vermont. A week after it hit, Gov. Peter Shumlin is asking for a damage assessment to determine if the federal government might help pay for the damage.

Power outages affected more than 100,000 households, and according to the Shumlin administration, public and private utilities have collectively spent millions of dollars repairing the damage. 

Vermont Public Radio reported that 1,700 homes were still without power as of Monday morning. More than a foot of wet, heavy snow has continued to hinder repair efforts. 

For FEMA to agree to foot part of the bill, there needs to be at least $1 million worth of damage statewide, and counties need to meet individual thresholds. Shumlin's request identifies four counties in need of help: Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille and Orleans.

In a statement, Shumlin expressed confidence Vermont would qualify — "We believe FEMA will agree that the state and public utilities meet the thresholds for assistance.” If the federal agency concurs, it could cover up to 75 percent of costs. 

State officials want FEMA to make their "preliminary damage assessment" soon — this Tuesday or Wednesday — before another storm, expected late Wednesday, confuses the evidence. 

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This Week's Issue: Aging Prisoners, Woodstoves and Public TV Trouble

Posted on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 5:03 PM

A new issue of Seven Days hits the newsstands today. Here's what you'll find inside:

Get all these stories and more in print, online or on the app.

Cover photo by Tom McNeill

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wintry Blast Prompts State and Nonprofit Groups to Find Roofs for Homeless

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Before yesterday, Wayne Dow hadn’t slept under a roof since early springtime. Homeless for many years and sleeping most recently near the Barge Canal in Burlington’s South End, the  60-year-old said today that he had planned to spend the whole winter outside. But on Thursday morning, “I got up and just said, ‘Alright, Nature, you win!’”

So after Dow (pictured, right) peeled off his icy crust of a blanket yesterday morning, he contacted the Committee on Temporary Shelter. COTS assigned him a bed in a Church Street homeless shelter. As he explained this, he was smoking a cigarette outside the COTS daystation on Buell Street. He’d just had lunch there — ham and potatoes au gratin — and was heading to the pharmacy to pick up cold medicine.

That Dow sought shelter was understandable. Thursday, Burlington temperatures were hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit. Friday, the National Weather Service recorded a high in Burlington of negative two degrees and the temperature was expected to plummet overnight to 15 below. And that was before factoring in the wind chill. (The ink in this reporter’s pen froze several times during the reporting of this story.)

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This Week's Issue: Winter Preview and Solar Woes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

The leaves are falling off the trees — time to break out the hot chocolate and sit down with this week's winter preview issue of Seven Days. It includes a trip to the Putney theme park/timewarp Santa's Land, as well as these news and politics stories: 

Get this week's issue in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover illustration by Sean Metcalf

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Bloom Season" Is Upon Us

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Fall is right around the corner. But until the leaves turn red and gold, people around Lake Champlain must contend with changing colors of a different sort: For the last two weeks, pea-green blooms of algae have been popping up in Missisquoi, St. Albans and Malletts bays.

“Mid-August through September is, unfortunately, what we in the business call ‘bloom season,’” says James Ehlers, executive director of the nonprofit Lake Champlain International.

Scientists have determined that early summer rain brings nutrients like phosphorus into the lake, and long stretches of sunlight facilitate photosynthesis, resulting in the pea-green film, Ehlers explains. 

“It’s not unlike April showers bring May flowers,” he says.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bernie Sanders
This Week's Issue: Parks, Prostitution, PATRIOTs and Pipes

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 3:01 PM

In this week's wood pulp-and-ink edition of Seven Days:

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