Friday, January 6, 2012

Cavendish Update 1/6/12 News/Events

Information can also be posted on the Cavendish VT Facebook Page

This post has been made possible by a contribution from Carmine Guica.

The 1/6/12 Cavendish Update Contains the Following
1. Cavendish Related News
2. Hazard Mitigation Plans
3. Letter from BRGN
4. A New You for the New Year-Live Authentically
5. Black River Visual Assessment
6. Cavendish Calendar 1/6-1/13/12

1. Cavendish Related News
Shaw’s Reopening: "Shaw's Supermarket in Ludlow will be closing its temporary (tent) location at 7 p.m. on Monday January 16th and will celebrate its Grand Reopening at 7 a.m. on Friday January 27th. During this 10 day closure the temporary store will be removed from the parking lot, making way for a totally renovated and expanded store.

VT Public Service Board Approves CVPS Rate Increase of 4.8%: As requested by Central Vermont Public Service in November, the Vermont Public Service Board has authorized a 4.8 percent rate increase under the company’s alternative regulation plan. The change will take effect with bills rendered on Jan. 2. Press Release

FEMA SBA Provide $72M to Vermont: Federal authorities have provided more than $72 million in financial assistance to Vermonters who were impacted by this spring’s floods and Tropical Storm Irene in August. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that figure includes $23.1 million in FEMA aid to individuals and families, $31.2 million in U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans, and another $18 million in FEMA aid to the state, towns, and other entities for infrastructure repair. Press Release

Gap Between Rich and Poor Vermonters Widens: Three years after the start of the Great Recession, the gap between Vermont’s wealthiest and everyone else had widened, and thousands of Vermonters had sunk into poverty, according to a new report- State of Working Vermont 2011- released by Public Assets Institute. The governor’s goal of rebuilding the middle class is an important start, but Montpelier must begin to create a state that works for everybody, the report says. The report shows that Vermont’s 6.2 percent unemployment rate for 2010 was the sixth lowest in the country and the second lowest in New England. The wage gap between male and female workers is the sixth smallest in the nation—but only because women’s wages have fallen less than men’s. Press Release

VT Minimum Wage Set to Rise to $8.46: Starting January first, the state's minimum wage increased 31 cents, from $8.15 an hour to $8.46. VPR

Vermont Legislature Opens: On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Vermont general assembly opened for 2012. To follow the session, research bills and committees, go to

School Financing Law Gets Good Grades: It's been 15 years since the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the state's system of funding education was unconstitutional because it didn't provide equal educational opportunity for all students. Last spring, lawmakers commissioned a report to see if recent financing plans, known as Act 60 and Act 68, have met the goals of the Court decision. Lawrence Picus, a professor at the University of Southern California is the chief author of the report. Picus found that Vermont has one the lowest student teacher ratios in the country and one of the highest per pupil spending rates largely because the state has so many small schools. He also says the state has achieved school financing equity. According to the report, Vermont student performance ranks among the highest in the country, although when compared to the other New England states, these test scores are about average. Picus also found little relationship between schools that had the largest performance gains and their per student spending rates. One of his concerns is that despite high per pupil spending, Vermont students are not the highest academic achievers. VPR and the Burlington Free Press

$8 Million Raised for Irene Recovery, Little Distributed: In his State of the State address Thursday, Governor Peter Shumlin proposed a special "Vermont Strong" license plate to help raise money for Tropical Storm Irene recovery. Each plate will sell for $25. As VPR's Steve Zind reports, the money raised will add to the more than $8 million already donated to Irene relief. But much of that has not yet been distributed. (Zind) The estimated $8 million to $10 million in Irene recovery donations received so far includes funds raised by the Vermont Community Foundation, dollars donated to the Governor's Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group, and the donations given to numerous local relief funds. VPR

Improved Mobile Broadband in Ski Areas: Improved mobile broadband coverage and voice performance is expected in Ludlow. AT&T announced that it has completed a key initiative in its ongoing efforts to enhance the wireless capacity and performance of its mobile broadband network throughout the popular ski season towns of Killington, Stowe, Bolton, Ludlow and Wilmington. Market Watch

2. Hazard Mitigation Plans
The Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission (SWCRPC) posted the following information to the Cavendish Facebook page.
The SWCRPC is currently in the process of helping our member towns update their Hazard Mitigation Plans. The purpose of these plans is to identify hazards that are likely to occur within the town and the areas or structures that would be the most vulnerable to these hazard events. Hazard mitigation activities reduce or eliminate the effects of natural and human caused disasters to people and property. Hurricane Irene has given us a clear reminder of the importance of these plans in reducing the cost of disaster events in our region. The RPC assists member towns in identifying potential mitigation strategies to reduce the threats or risks posed by these hazards. Town officials, emergency responders, businesses, local and regional agencies, and all other members of the community are encouraged to participate in this process. Each towns’ draft Hazard Mitigation Plan can be found here. [Cavendish’s can be found at] If you would like to comment or learn how to become more involved in the development of these plans please contact your town or our planning commission at

3. Letter from BRGN
The Board of Directors, the staff and the clients at Black River Good Neighbor Services would like to extend our thanks to all of our supporters for standing by us during the past year and for helping us make this year a success in meeting our mission. The year 2011 will mark several milestones in our history. We were challenged this year in our efforts to continue uninterrupted operations while moving our entire store, office and food shelf into new quarters. We did it with wide spread community support, and we did it well. Now we are in a fabulous recycled building next to the new community center and we never missed a day of service to our clients.

We also faced a daunting challenge of coping with a catastrophic flood and helping hundreds of people with the aftermath. We received more donations to that cause than we could ever have expected. Money came from as far away as Australia. We rolled up our sleeves, cleaned the mud out of the store, and set about distributing cleaning supplies, food, water, clothing and financial aid to whoever needed it. We set up a whole new bookkeeping system and bank account for flood relief and we are still helping people pay for the cleanup. This one isn’t over and won’t be for quite a while.

Meanwhile the holidays descended upon us and we are determined to make sure that everyone who needs us during this season and throughout 2012 will get our help. So from all of us at Black River Good Neighbor Services, thank you for your support, have a great holiday, and have a safe and Happy New Year!

Peter J. LaBelle, President

4. A New You for the New Year-Live Authentically
Make real and lasting changes to live your life, your way in the unique and powerful Live Authentically course. A new course will be available in the New Year on Saturday mornings from 9:00-12:00 in Cavendish beginning January 21st . To register, contact Martha Mott at 226-7848 or . For more information, go to or follow Live Authentically on Facebook.

5. Black River Visual Assessment
Calling all volunteers! Some of you may remember (hopefully fondly) the first-ever Visual Assessment that we did back in 2005. Folks walked or paddled sections of the main stem of the Black River, taking notes and making observations and capturing on film things like culverts and eroded banks, as well as scenic areas and wildlife.

It’s time to do it again! Tropical Storm Irene dumped loads of rain on August 28, 2011, the floodwaters raged and carved new courses for many area streams.

The prep-work will be underway next week: seeking donations and grants to fund the project, gathering tax maps and landowner addresses, reaching out to potential volunteers via town meetings and posting flyers, researching the names of some of the lesser-known tributaries.

The paddling, walking and data-gathering will occur during the summer, weather and safety conditions permitting.

Then comes the work of collecting, collating and assembling the materials for printing, scheduling workshops to introduce the final Visual Assessment booklet to the public, and more.

There are many reasons for conducting a Visual Assessment of a river. For one thing, we can pin-point locations of trash and debris that may have been left behind by the floodwaters. This can be slated for removal by the BRAT during our annual RiverSweep cleanup or by other agencies better equipped to retrieve and dispose of potentially hazardous waste, such as propane tanks.

Another great reason to do a Visual Assessment: we’ll use the information gathered to select important sites for future water quality monitoring. Swimming holes, popular fishing spots, above and below waste-water treatment facilities, and anywhere that the river smells or looks odd.

Far-reaching goals for the data include learning where culverts may have failed during Irene or choke-points where road crossings seem to be too narrow to accommodate future heavy flows. We can look for areas where sediment is entering the river system from degraded tributary streams or from dirt roads.

A Visual Assessment is also a perfect opportunity to get out the river and be part of its cycle, to experience the connection between upstream and downstream, to really understand the dynamic and powerful way in which rivers do the work of moving water and sediment.

There are many ways to help, from stuffing and labeling envelopes to paddling or walking a stretch of stream yourself; from assembling the final booklet that we produce to collating materials turned in by volunteers. Any time or elbow-grease you may have to offer would be most appreciated!

Donations may be mailed directly to me at the address below; if you would like your gift to be tax-deductible, please make it out to "CRWC" (write "BRAT" in the memo) and mail it to the CT River Watershed Council, 15 Bank Row, Greenfield MA 01301. FMI: 101 Perley Gordon Road, Springfield, VT 05156 (802) 885-1533

6. Cavendish Calendar 1/6-1/13/12
January 6 (Friday): Okemo Valley Chamber’s Legislative Breakfast, 8:30-10 am, Newsbank Conference Center, 397 Main St. Chester. FMI 228-5830.

January 7 (Saturday): Winter Farmers Market at the Ludlow Teen Center (Goodmans American Pie), Main Street Ludlow. FMI:

January 9 (Monday): Select Board Meeting, 6:30 pm at the Cavendish Town Office. Agenda posted to blog as soon as it is received. LPC-TV tapes meetings and makes them available on-line and Comcast Cable TV.

January 10 (Tuesday): CTES PTO Meeting 6:30-7:30 at the school
• Bone Builders Class at the Cavendish Baptist-- Class from 10:15-11:45. FMI: Linda at Green Mountain RSVP & Volunteer Center of Windsor County at (802) 885-2083, or Anne Oakes or Andrew Ohotnicky at (802) 228-5236, Dot Ramsdell at (802) 226-7870

January 11 (Wednesday): January Okemo Valley Chamber Mixer, 5:30-7:30 pm at Outback Pizza in Ludlow. FMI 228-5830.

January 12 (Thursday): Bone Builders Class at the Cavendish Baptist-- Class from 10:15-11:45. FMI: Linda at Green Mountain RSVP & Volunteer Center of Windsor County at (802) 885-2083, or Anne Oakes or Andrew Ohotnicky at (802) 228-5236, Dot Ramsdell at (802) 226-7870
• Sit & Knit" at the Six Loose Ladies yarn shop, Pollard Building, Proctorsville Green, 2:00 -9:00 PM. Open to knitters, spinners, crocheters, hookers. Free. FMI: 226-7373

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