Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WVTK Local & State News October 31, 2012


Despite new outages that continued to occur yesterday morning, Green Mountain Power expected to restore service to most customers affected by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy by midnight last night.  Some individual outages in the most rural and hard-hit areas are likely to last into today, as there are hundreds of outages affecting small numbers of customers, but an army of workers is making steady progress on more than 43000 outages wrought by the storm.  GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said “The merger of GMP and Central Vermont Public Service, along with the massive influx of resources we obtained from out of state, have paid big dividends in restoring service so quickly - working as one company, we’ve been able to move large numbers of people to the worst-affected areas.”  GMP said power is expected be completely restored in Franklin, Chittenden, Addison, Orange, Essex, Caledonia and Washington counties as of last night.  Most customers in Rutland, Windham, Windsor and Bennington counties should also be back online as well, but pockets of outages will likely last into today. As of 10 PM Tuesday, Green Mountain Power has now restored service to all but 1,427 customers affected by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. For updates you can visit GMP’s Website

A few minor power outages from Hurricane Sandy were all that hit the North Country overnight Tuesday as the storm fizzled out.  Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties operated their Emergency Operations Centers for 24 hours, and all three reported few problems as the storm moved through.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says he and other officials are grateful the state escaped passage of Superstorm Sandy without more significant damage.  Shumlin said Tuesday the state is now willing to offer support and assistance to other states hit harder by the storm, including sending two Vermont National Guard helicopters to New Jersey. He said he also would be in contact with Gov. John Lynch in New Hampshire and Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut.  Shumlin also said he was pleased Vermont was fully prepared for the storm. He said Vermont learned its lessons from last year's Tropical Storm Irene and he was grateful for help from other states in its aftermath.

The National Weather Service says the maximum wind gust reported in Vermont during Superstorm Sandy was 72 mph atop Mount Mansfield.  A gust of 61 mph was reported in Lyndon Center and there was a 60 mph gust in Underhill.  The Weather Service says several locations reported gusts in the mid-50s.  On Monday officials had forecast the possibility of gusts reaching 100 mph on top of Mount Mansfield and up to 80 mph at other locations.  But the storm sped up unexpectedly prior to making landfall in New Jersey, changing the forecast for Vermont and sparing the state more severe damage.

American Red Cross volunteers from Vermont and New Hampshire are heading south to help with relief efforts from Superstorm Sandy.  A half dozen volunteers from the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross will be leaving today to help with the operations of shelters in other states.  An estimated 258 Red Cross shelters opened Tuesday night assisting nearly 11,000 people as the storm pummeled the East Coast with high winds, rains and a surge of seawater.  The volunteers will head to a staging area in White Plains, NY where they will get their assignments.

Amtrak is expected to offer modified Downeaster service between Portland and Boston starting today following the storm.  Amtrak's Downeaster canceled several runs Monday night and Tuesday morning between the two cities after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.  The Adirondack service to and from Montreal, Qu├ębec, and the Ethan Allen Express to and from Rutland are cancelled today because of track damage in New York.

The Addison County Chamberof Commerce has announced to its members a partnership with Group Transportation Services that offers a transportation management program. The program enables members to save time and money on a range of shipping and receiving services. To demonstrate its saving potential, GTS offers a free initial analysis to any ACCOC member. The results of the analysis identify tangible and intangible savings to potential clients.  You can contact the Addison County Chamber Of Commerce for more information. 

The Paramount Theatre will present the Middlebury Actors Workshop production of Shakespeare's "Richard III", on Friday November 9th at 8 PM.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and are available online at www.ParamountLive.org and through the Paramount Theatre Box Office located in downtown Rutland. Charge by phone orders can be placed by calling 802 775-0903. The production is partially supported by a grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Village of Port Henry and all associated departments will be closed on Monday November 12th in observance of Veterans Day.  Due to the closure, the regularly scheduled meeting of the Port Henry Village Board has been canceled and rescheduled for 7 PM Tuesday November 13th at the Village Hall.  The public is welcome to attend.

With two lawmakers in opposition, Essex County is approaching an override of the state’s 2 percent tax cap.  A local law is required if the County Board of Supervisors wants to exceed the tax cap, which would be adjusted to 2.5 percent for Essex County.  According to County Manager Daniel Palmer Because of state mandates, the county would have to lay off more than 100 workers to meet that cap.  With a budget that’s up $13 million so far over last year, the tax cap would allow just a $383,600 tax-levy increase. The final vote on the cap override is at 10 AM Monday November 5th in the Old County Courthouse at Elizabethtown.

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Open House with the North Country Small Business Development Center on Tuesday November 13th.  Services provided by the North Country SBDC will be available at the Chamber office typically on the second Tuesday of each month.  According to Matt Courtright Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, the open house will be from 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM for the month of November due to the Small Business Seminar being held that morning from 8:00 – 9:30 AM.  That seminar will discuss different marketing options and best practices to get the most of your advertising dollars. In addition, the Facebook seminar, which was scheduled for Tuesday, October 30th is being rescheduled due to the weather. For details on all seminars and open houses just visit www.ticonderogany.com

A 21-year-old Vermont man is facing charges of poaching two deer in Fair Haven earlier this month.  A police officer and a game warden were patrolling for illegal hunting on the night of October 19th when they say they spotted a vehicle with a light shining into a field and witnessed the driver fire a rifle at a deer.  Authorities arrested 21-year-old Joshua Newton of Poultney.  Police say they found a rifle with a fired cartridge casing in the vehicle. The next day evidence was found in the field indicating the deer had been wounded. The animal was not found.  Newton also is accused of shooting a deer a week earlier and leaving it in the field.  If convicted, he faces fines and restitution of up to $5,000.

Ticonderoga’s downtown Halloween Fest is coming up!  Hundreds of ghosts, goblins and other creatures are expected for the fright fest Wednesday, October 31st.  Sponsored by the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership, local businesses and organizations displaying a pumpkin in a window will welcome children in grade 5 and younger along with their families for trick-or-treating from 3 to 4:30 PM.  Montcalm Street will be closed to traffic from Sunshine Laundry to the 1888 building during the event for the safety of all participants.  All the details can be found HERE.

Ticonderoga’s veterans will be honored with the sixth annual Veterans Memory Walk. The event will be held Sunday November 4th at 1 PM at Mount Hope Cemetery.  Veterans Day is Sunday, November 11th. Mount Hope Cemetery sits on the site of a colonial log fort that guarded the mills at the lower falls on the La Chute River and the portage between Lake George and Lake Champlain. Following the program refreshments will be served at the Hancock House in Ticonderoga.  For additional information, contact the Ticonderoga Historical Society at tihistory@verizon.net or 585-7868.


Although tens of thousands of Vermonter lost power from the winds of Hurricane Sandy, the state is considering itself lucky.  On Tuesday, Green Mountain Power was dealing with several thousand outages, but once those are back on line, crews will be leaving Vermont to help others in the Northeast.  Other Vermont power companies are planning the same thing.  Governor Peter Shumlin says it's time to remember the other states, which kicked in last year when Tropical Storm Irene hit and to pay it forward.  Meanwhile Rutland, the city anticipated to have the most damage when Hurricane Sandy hit Vermont, spent much of yesterday cleaning up.  Local leaders say the city actually dodged a bullet with Mayor Chris Louras saying the storm was not over-hyped, and there were lessons learned about being prepared.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York State will rebuild better and smarter in the wake of the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy.  Cuomo says New York has to rethink how it builds its infrastructure and transportation, saying weather is getting more extreme.  The governor didn't use the words "climate change," but did say, "anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality."  President Obama previously approved a disaster declaration for New York, which will help with the rebuilding costs.

U.S. Forest Service officials in Vermont and New York are urging extra caution for those who may want to venture out in the woods in the days following the storm. The Forest Service says overhead dangers may remain present even after the weather clears, with branches or even whole trees set to fall. Another concern is that streams and rivers may be swollen.

A special Vermont state panel that has the authority to spend money when lawmakers aren't in session is set to vote on nearly $8 million in funding to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter.  It would be the second year in a row that the state has had to step up to fill in where the federal government has left off in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.  The Vermont Emergency Board is set to meet Wednesday to approve about $7.9 million in state funding for the program, to alleviate concerns that while federal support is being level-funded, heating fuel costs are rising.  The Emergency Board is made up of the four legislative money committees, as well as the governor.

New York corrections officials say they plan to closely monitor sex offenders released on parole during Halloween.  The monitoring program, in its seventh year, places special conditions on those parolees.  The corrections agency's community supervision staff is responsible for 2,440 sex offenders on parole statewide.  Special conditions require the parolees starting early Wednesday afternoon, or following the end of their workday or program, to remain at home until 6 AM Thursday morning.  They are also prohibited from participating in any Halloween activity, wearing any costume or mask and opening their door to trick-or-treaters.

From Fox 44 and ABC 22 News Your Voice in Vermont & New York:

A native Vermonter is missing and feared lost in the Atlantic Ocean. 63-year old Robin Walbridge of St. Johnsbury was the Captain of the "HMS Bounty," a tall sailing ship used in several major movies.  The "HMS Bounty" left Connecticut Thursday, and was headed for Florida, but Monday morning, the ship was swallowed by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. On board, 16 crew members... one from Vermont, Captain Robin Walbridge. I spoke with his sister by phone Tuesday.  "My gut tells me my brother's no longer with us, and he's gone out doing what he loved," Lucille Walbridge Jansen said.  After the Bounty took on water, "the waves were between 18 and 32 feet high," Walbridge Jansen said.  And the engine failed, everyone except Walbridge abandoned ship. 14 people were rescued, one was found dead.  Captain Walbridge is still missing.  "Even if they never find him, his heart and desire was to be buried at sea," his sister said.  The experienced boater knew the waters would be rough, even took a course recommended by the Hurricane Center, "he was watching over everything, making sure everything was safe," Walbridge Jansen said.  Most of Walbridge's family has moved out of Vermont, but we did find one of his cousin's who lives and works in Barre. She didn't want to do an on-camera interview, but did talk with me off camera and says as long as search and rescue crews continue their efforts, she'll continue to have hope.  Walbridge was born in St. Johnsbury, and graduated from Montpelier High School in 1967. Because of Sandy, the school was closed when I stopped by Tuesday, but I found a custodian who let me in and led me into the library. As we turned the pages, we found Robin Walbridge.  His family is clinging to the hope that this isn't his lasting image.  If Robin Walbridge is still alive, he's been floating in the Atlantic Ocean since about five Monday morning.  The Coast Guard plans to continue their search.

If there's a candidate on the ballot you'd like in office, you better be registered to vote.  Today is the last day you can do so in Vermont. The election is a week from yesterday, and if you haven't registered, all you have to do is contact your town clerk.  In presidential election years, voter turnout is typically 70-percent in Vermont.  Secretary of State, Jim Condos said, "every vote really does count, the last election cycle in 2010, we had two members of the House of Representatives, here in Vermont that won by one vote.”  Next Tuesday, polls close at 7 PM. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WVTK Local & State News October 30, 2012


Middlebury Police & Fire personnel continue to closely monitor Hurricane Sandy.  Town Public Works personnel are on stand-by to clear downed trees and branches on Town roads. For residents clearing downed trees and branches, please follow the advice of Vermont Emergency Management: "if you come across a downed power line, never touch it - all power lines should be treated as if they are live at all times. When clearing downed trees be sure they are not in contact with power lines as trees can conduct electricity and you can be electrocuted."  River levels will also continue to be monitored as a precaution. Rescue and evacuation teams are on standby, if needed.

Hurricane Sandy caused big power outages in New York and New Hampshire, less reported in Vermont.  As of midnight Tuesday, Vermont had 12,192 outages. The bulk of outages are in Washington, Windham, Windsor and Rutland counties.   NYSEG is reporting more than 100,000 people are in the dark, mainly in New York City.  There were only a handful reported in the North Country.  In the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, Colebrook had some outages.  The rest of the state was also reporting outages.

Vermont Emergency Management says the opening of state offices will be delayed until 10 this morning.  Essential personnel for the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, Institutions and Transportation Maintenance, should report to work as normal.    Employees should be advised to monitor the Vermont.gov website, the DHR website and the DHR hotline (802-828-0352) for further developments.

As Hurricane Sandy targets the area, the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross has announced the opening of three shelters. One is open in Rutland at the Leahy Center at the Rutland Regional Medical Center on Allen Street.  Other shelters in the state include Wilmington at Twin Valley High School and Winhall at the Mountain School.

Some of Vermont's state colleges have closed or canceled classes due to Hurricane Sandy and its impacts.  Castleton State College closed as of noon on Monday and was slated to reopen at 7 AM Wednesday. Huden dining hall at Castleton was to remain open, and students were advised they could go there in the event of power outages affecting the campus.  Lyndon State College was closed at least until 11 this morning.  Vermont Technical College classes were cancelled, but dorms and dining halls were to remain open.  There were no plans to close Johnson State College, but students were urged to check the websites there - as well as at the other schools - for updates.

Travel in our area will still be a little tricky today as most flights in and out of both Burlington and Plattsburgh have been cancelled for today.  Also Amtrak has canceling all train service across the Eastern Seaboard.  Airport officials say you should contact the airline directly to see if your flight has been cancelled.  Officials add, services should be back to normal by Thursday.

The United Way of the Adirondack Region would like to increase its presence in southern Essex County.  Officials of the agency, which serves Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties, visited Ticonderoga recently to explain their program and ask for input from local leaders.  The United Way of the Adirondack Region includes 41 partner agencies that provide human services to the North Country. In 2012 United Way assisted more than 80,000 people in Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties.

Governor Peter Shumlin’s blue-ribbon panel begins this week to re-examine the way Vermont makes decisions about commercial-scale renewable energy projects, including mountaintop wind turbines, wood-burning power plants and fields of solar panels.  Supporters would like the permit process to produce quicker, more certain project approvals. Skeptics and opponents want a larger voice for local opposition and greater weight given to environmental concerns.

The gym at Barstow Memorial School was election headquarters for students yesterday, buzzing with politics despite a storm brewing outside that curtailed the campaigns of many local and national candidates.  The school’s mock election was held from 1 to 2:30 in the afternoon., and despite a canceled appearance by Sen. Bernard Sanders students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade rushed into the gym, excited about a scavenger hunt for answers to questions about who is running, the country’s election history and casting ballots of their own.

As the election approaches, the Vermont secretary of state's office is offering information online about the statewide candidates.  The guide has biographical sketches and position statements on the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.  The secretary of state's web site also lists the location of the Vermont polling places and when they will open on Election Day.  The deadline to register for voting is Wednesday.

The state's Labor Commissioner is having to answer some tough questions, after a report comes back highly critical of the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, VOSHA.  Commissioner Annie Noonan says the goal is to run the program correctly, following the report which revealed "severe deficiencies" in VOSHA's investigations into work-place fatalities, including overlooking safety violations.  Auditors concluded VOSHA investigators did not have sufficient training or supervising, with their bosses having even less.  Noonan says since the report's release, the Vermont staff has been retrained.

New York State will be eligible for FEMA funding to help cleanup from Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.  President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration for the Empire State yesterday as Sandy continued to cause havoc throughout the region.  State workers were told to go home early yesterday in downstate areas to prepare for the storm.

Aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo continue to put final touches on a plan that would allow New Yorkers to use the Internet to obtain a variety of licenses.  The plan would save taxpayers about 100-million dollars annually upon full implementation in roughly a year's time.  When finished, New Yorkers would be able to conduct nearly all of their state business online.  Cuomo's plan also calls for software developers to create smartphone "apps" to better bring the Empire State into the 21st century.


Most state employees reported to work later than usual today and some schools and colleges will be closed as Vermont assesses the damage from hybrid storm Sandy.  Gusty winds blew from the southern part of the state through the Canadian border as the leading edge of the storm arrived in the state Monday evening and overnight, knocking down power lines and closing roads.  The center of the enormous storm made landfall at 8 PM near Atlantic City, NJ after it was reclassified from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone.  While Sandy wasn't expected to dump the huge amounts of rain on Vermont that Tropical Storm Irene did last year, rainfall of 3 to 4 inches was possible, especially in southern Vermont, bringing with it the threat of localized flooding.

Winds from Tropical Storm Sandy weren’t as widespread as feared.  A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington spent the day Monday tracking weather from the state’s Emergency Operations Center.   As Sandy approached the coast it surprised forecasters by picking up speed, which helped reduce the danger to Vermont.  Even though there were still significant gusts of wind in Vermont, but they were not as strong as they could have been. More than 20 thousand Vermonters were without power for at least part of the storm, due to the winds.  The greatest concentration of outages occurred in Vermont’s four southernmost counties.

Green Mountain Power said as of 7:30 this morning crews have restored service to 28,693 of the 36,000 customers affected, while 7,344 remain without service.   Bennington, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties, were hit hardest, with heavy damage in many areas.  GMP crews have been assisted by hundreds of line and tree workers who came from as far away as Florida, Mississippi and California.  The company asked customers with routine business to put off calling the company until the cleanup is complete, so customers with outages can easily contact the company.

High winds are forcing Lake Champlain Transportation officials to reduce its ferry service from Vermont to New York.  The ferry from Charlotte, Vermont and Essex, New York will depart once per hour instead of every 30 minutes.  Ferry service between Grand Isle and Plattsburgh will continue as normal despite the storm.  Also, Amtrak has canceled its Northeast Corridor service north of New York indefinitely.

Hurricane Sandy even disrupted the schedules of local political candidates.  Republican gubernatorial challenger Randy Brock ended up with less time on a radio program yesterday to allow for a statement from President Obama about the storm.  And Beth Pearce, the Democratic candidate for treasurer postponed an endorsement by former Governor Howard Dean yesterday.

Vermont game wardens have charged a Starksboro man with killing a moose out of season.  25-year-old Shaun E. Rublee is accused of shooting the animal, which was found on Guthrie Road in Lincoln on October 5th.  Vermont's firearms moose hunting season runs from October 20th to 25th.  Game wardens said they searched Rublee's home and seized eight bags of moose meat, moose antlers, tools, a rifle and several rounds of ammunition.  Rublee faces fines and restitution of up to $2,500 and 60 days in jail or both.

Ticonderoga’s downtown Halloween Fest is coming up!  Hundreds of ghosts, goblins and other creatures are expected for the fright fest Wednesday, October 31st.  Sponsored by the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership, local businesses and organizations displaying a pumpkin in a window will welcome children in grade 5 and younger along with their families for trick-or-treating from 3 to 4:30 PM.  Montcalm Street will be closed to traffic from Sunshine Laundry to the 1888 building during the event for the safety of all participants.  All the details can be found HERE!

Monday, October 29, 2012

MIDDLEBURY HURRICANE SANDY PREPARATIONS


HURRICANE SANDY PREPARATIONS
OCTOBER 29, 2012
4 p.m.

Middlebury Police & Fire personnel continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Sandy. Weather forecasts continue to predict that prolonged heavy winds with strong wind gusts will be the primary concern in our area and may result in damage from falling branches and trees.

Town Public Works personnel are on stand-by to clear downed trees and branches on Town roads. For residents clearing downed trees and branches, please follow the advice of Vermont Emergency Management: "if you come across a downed power line, never touch it - all power lines should be treated as if they are live at all times. When clearing downed trees be sure they are not in contact with power lines as trees can conduct electricity and you can be electrocuted."

With high winds anticipated, anything outdoors which can become airborne should be taken in as a precaution: flags, political signs, sandwich board signs, etc. Though small in size, these items can be hazardous in high-wind conditions.

River levels will also continue to be monitored throughout the storm as a precaution. Rescue and evacuation teams are on standby, if needed.

Although we do not believe it will be needed at this time, the emergency shelter at the Municipal Gymnasium is prepared to accommodate those in need of shelter due to potentially hazardous conditions or storm damage.   Buses from Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) are on stand-by to assist with evacuations, if needed.

Emergency response personnel will continue to monitor the weather throughout the night. Emergency updates will be issued as necessary and will be posted the Town's website, www.middlebury.govoffice.com
and on the Middlebury Police Department's Facebook page:


Additionally, Vermont Emergency Management has provided the following contact information:

In case of an emergency: 911
For shelter information, evacuation information, and other disaster resources: 2-1-1
Road Closures: 5-1-1 or www.511vt.com
If you see a downed power line: contact your local utility
VEM Web Site: http://vem.vermont.gov
For more preparedness tips visit: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness
Weather Forecast: www.weather.gov/btv

Vermont Emergency Management on Facebook:

Sandy Update (VT Emergency Management)


Sandy Update – 3 Shelters Open/Delayed State Opening

WATERBURY, VT – Due to weather conditions, the opening of all State of Vermont offices will be delayed until 10:00 a.m.  on Tuesday, October 30th.  All employees designated as essential personnel for reduced workforce situations, including Corrections, Public Safety, Institutions and Transportation Maintenance, should report for work as normally expected. 

Employees should be advised to monitor the Vermont.gov website (http://www.vermont.gov/portal), the DHR website (http://humanresources.vermont.gov/services/emergency_closing ) and the DHR hotline (802-828-0352) for further developments.

The Red Cross has also opened three shelters:
  • Rutland, VT -- As of 7:00 p.m. tonight, the Leahy Center at the Rutland Medical Center, 160 Allen Street, Rutland, VT will be open.  This is a Red Cross operated shelter.
  • Wilmington, VT -- As of 4pm this afternoon, Twin Valley High School, 1 School Street, Wilmington, VT, has opened as a shelter.  This is a Red Cross operated shelter.
  • Winhall, VT – At this time, a shelter has been opened at the Mountain School, 9 School Street, Bondville (Winhall), VT.  This is a community-operated shelter that has opened utilizing Red Cross cots and blankets and will be receive Red Cross support as needed.

The following are numbers should be used by the public in the specific circumstances outlined.

In case of an emergency: 9-1-1
For shelter information, evacuation information, and other disaster resources: 2-1-1
Road Closures: 5-1-1 or www.511vt.com
If there is damage to your home, if you see road damage, or if you need any resources: contact your town.
If you see a downed power line: contact your local utility

Web Resources:

VEM Web Site: http://vem.vermont.gov
For more preparedness tips visit: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness.
For road closures call 511 or visit: www.511vt.com.
Vermont Emergency Management on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement

The Latest From GMP (October 29, 2012 – 4 PM)


October 29, 2012 – 4 p.m.

Early Sandy impacts hint at damage still to come
Nearly 1,000 workers geared up for repairs   

Nearly 1,000 Green Mountain Power employees and contractors have moved from preparation to restoration as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy have begun to whip into Vermont, knocking down trees and power lines and threatening substantial damage as it moves northward. 

As of 4 p.m., outages affecting 4,500 GMP customers have already been restored, with 5,900 without service at this time. Forecasters say more heavy winds are still in the offing, and that number is expected to grow considerably tonight.

The power-packed storm, described by the Weather Channel as “the largest Atlantic hurricane of the past quarter-century” in terms of sheer size, is expected to wreak havoc across much of the Eastern Seaboard and Vermont before winding down on Tuesday.

“We expect things will get a lot worse before they get better,” GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker said.  “We’ve been picking up lines and restoring service pretty quickly as damage occurs this afternoon, but we still face a serious, dangerous storm this evening and through the overnight hours.  We expect a lot more outages to occur, but we will repair service as quickly as it is safe to do so.”

To prepare for the storm, GMP:
·         Brought in more than 250 outside line workers and tree trimmers from as far away as Florida, Colorado and California.  They arrived Sunday and Monday.
·         Arranged for mobile kitchens to be available to feed workers in the hardest-hit areas as quickly and efficiently as possible.
·         Enhanced outage reporting options including the mobile website m.greenmountainpower.com, and added a “Power Out” button on its Facebook page to allow customers to report outages from places with power.
·         Topped off fuel tanks on hundreds of vehicles, generators and radio communication sites.
·         Organized hundreds of employees, such as lawyers, accountants and other back-office personnel, into support roles.

“We’ve had several major storms, including Irene, over the last 10 years that have given us tremendous experience and insights into how to attack major storm damage,” Baker said.  “On the plus side, each storm has provided lessons that help us get better and better at storm recovery.”

GMP continues to caution customers to use great care in the aftermath of the storm to ensure their safety and the safety of utility crews.  Tips include:

·         Call 911 for any life-threatening emergencies.
·         Treat any downed line as if it is live.  Report the line to your local utility and fire    department, stay at least 50 feet away from the line, and keep children and pets away as well.
·         If using a generator, read and follow the owner’s manual before starting it.  Never operate a generator inside any structure or near a structure.  Use a transfer switch to ensure electricity is not accidentally fed onto a line where line crews must work.
·         Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
·         If power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances except one light so you’ll know when service returns.  Then, turn equipment back on slowly.
·         Never use grills inside garages, sheds or other buildings, as the fumes can be poisonous.

Customers may report outages by calling 1-888-835-4672, visiting GMP’s Outage Center page at www.greenmountainpower.com or by clicking the “Power Out?” button on GMP’s Facebook site.
The latest statewide outages numbers are always available at www.greenmountainpower.com and  www.vtoutages.com.

MIDDLEBURY HURRICANE SANDY PREPARATIONS


HURRICANE SANDY PREPARATIONS
OCTOBER 29, 2012
Noon

Middlebury Police & Fire personnel continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Sandy. Current predictions have the storm veering to the west through central and western New York before turning north and dissipating over central Canada. As of this morning, estimated total rainfall for the Champlain Valley is less than originally forecast, making the wind associated with the storm a bigger concern at this point.  

With wind gusts of 40 miles per hour or more, branches and trees may be blown down. Town Public Works personnel are on stand-by to clear downed trees and branches on Town roads. For residents clearing downed trees and branches, please follow the advice of Vermont Emergency Management: "if you come across a downed power line, never touch it - all power lines should be treated as if they are live at all times. When clearing downed trees be sure they are not in contact with power lines as trees can conduct electricity and you can be electrocuted."

With high winds anticipated, anything outdoors which can become airborne should be taken in as a precaution: flags, political signs, sandwich board signs, etc. Though small in size, these items can be hazardous in high-wind conditions.

Although we do not believe it will be needed at this time, the emergency shelter at the Municipal Gymnasium is prepared to accommodate those evacuated from their homes or in need of emergency shelter due to potentially hazardous conditions or storm damage.  Buses from Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) are on stand-by to  transport residents during an evacuation, if any.


Emergency response personnel will continue to monitor the weather throughout the day. Another update will be issued at 4 p.m. Updates are also available on the Town's website, www.middlebury.govoffice.com 

and on the Middlebury Police Department's Facebook page:

Sandy Update (Monday)


Sandy Update – Monday Morning

WATERBURY, VT – The Vermont State Emergency Operations Center opened with state and federal personnel at 7:00 Monday morning.  The team is tracking the storm and is ready to respond should any communities need assistance.

Governor Peter Shumlin declared a State of Emergency for Vermont in advance of the storm on Sunday.  The designation will allow the state to use National Guard and other federal resources if needed.

The National Weather Service reports that wherever the storm makes landfall, the main threat from the storm will likely be high winds beginning during the day Monday.  NWS says 60-80 mile per hour wind gusts are expected along the Green Mountains and in the Northeast Kingdom.

Localized flooding is also possible where the rain is heaviest.  Flooding is possible anywhere, but NWS says the southern half of Vermont is the most susceptible. The forecast can be found at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/

The Vermont Emergency Operations Center will be fully staffed on Monday morning and will remain open as long as necessary.  State preparedness activities include:
  • Conference calls were held this morning with legislators and city Mayors.
  • Vermont State Police have put all personnel on road duty and will put more and more Troopers on the road as the storm ramps up.
  • 540 maintenance workers from the Agency of Transportation are in the field with chainsaws ready to clear roads.
  • Chainsaw crews from the Agency of Natural Resources are on standby to help with clearing of debris.
  • Swiftwater and technical rescue crews will be staged as necessary.
  • State police mobile command posts are on standby for quick deployment when needed.
  • State utilities have brought in extra line crews from out of state to help with restoration efforts.
  • The National Guard is prepared to assist with tree clearing, swiftwater rescues, or any other missions deemed necessary.
  • The Red Cross is prepared to open shelters should homes lose power for extended periods – a listing of shelters will be shared with the media once they open.

If you come across a downed power line, never touch it – all power lines should be treated as if they are live at all times.  When clearing downed trees be sure they are not in contact with power lines as trees can conduct electricity and you can be electrocuted.

If you lose power and use a generator make sure it is always run outdoors and is not blowing exhaust back into your home.  Make sure smoke & carbon monoxide alarms are working and have fresh back up batteries in them.

Other suggested preparedness actions in advance of power outages for the public:

  • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries.  A battery powered radio is an important source of critical weather and emergency information during a storm. 
  • If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water.  Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water.  Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored).  During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unnecessarily.  Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator.  Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • Make sure your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.
  • Be extra cautious when you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move downed lines, and keep children and pets away from them.  Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences.  Always assume a downed line is a live line.  Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.

VEM Web Site: http://vem.vermont.gov
For more preparedness tips visit: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness.
For road closures call 511 or visit: www.511vt.com.
Vermont Emergency Management on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement

WVTK Midday Report October 29, 2012


The Middlebury Police Department has prepared for Hurricane Sandy.  If storm conditions warrant, an Emergency Operations Center will be set up in the Police Department, with representatives from the Dept of Public Works and the Fire Department on-site to provide a coordinated response to emergency conditions.  Updates on preparations on the storm and emergency alert notices are available on the Middlebury Police Department's Facebook page.

The Red Cross is ready to help those who get displaced by the storm.  They already have shelters designated.   In Essex County, N.Y., the town of Jay Community Center will open when the storm hits which should be later today.  In Clinton County, they plan on opening one in Keeseville, but have not announced a location.   New York has called in help from as far away as California and Illinois to help staff those shelters.

While Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall just below New York City, Vermont is certainly going to feel the effects of the storm, especially the wind.  Governor Peter Shumlin yesterday declared a State of Emergency for Vermont, which allows the state to use National Guard and other federal resources.  Shumlin stressed Sunday this is not another Irene, and with the high winds expected that will mean power outages over the next few days.  The National Weather Service says 60- to 80-mile-per-hour gusts are expected along the Green Mountains and in the Northeast Kingdom.

Public transportation in and out of Vermont is pretty much at a standstill, if you're flying or traveling by rail.  Airlines began canceling flights last night for thousands of planes flying out of their northeast hubs.  Also starting today Amtrak is canceling all train service across the Eastern Seaboard, including Vermont, and is also not offering any alternative service.

Political leaders statewide are telling resident to remove campaign yard signs.  With the very high winds due today from Hurricane Sandy, that could take a simple yard sign and turn it into a projectile, which could smash a window or hurt someone.

GMP is making final prep for storm’s arrival.  Green Mountain Power storm managers, line crews and support staff are making final preparations this morning as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy churn north.  Behind the scenes, employees have arranged housing and meals for the army of outside crews, while others have planned everything from damage assessment to delivery of poles, material and equipment to hard-hit areas.  The latest weather forecasts suggest the storm will begin to affect southern Vermont by early afternoon, with potentially hurricane-force winds starting late this afternoon or early evening.  Forecasters say there will almost certainly be extensive damage as high winds whip across higher terrain, through mountain passes where they will pick up speed, and onto valley floors.

National Grid secured crews and started monitoring the track of Hurricane Sandy as of last night.  A spokesman says that crews were resting and will be working as soon as Sandy passes through.  According to National Grid, thousands of employees have gathered to respond to damage from the storm.

The skippers of the Lake Champlain ferries that run between Vermont and New York are monitoring the weather as winds from Hurricane Sandy are expected to arrive in the Champlain Valley.  Lake Champlain Transportation Company Operations Manager Heather Stewart says the ferries between Charlotte and Essex and Grand Isle and Cumberland Head are operating normally today.  She says the main office is in contact with the skippers and service can be suspended as warranted.  The National Weather Service says wind gusts can be expected to reach 55 miles per hour later Monday or overnight.  Stewart says they take big storms seriously. She says a lot will depend on the direction of the winds.

A state education panel is considering just how long a typical school day and school calendar should be.  The new Education Quality Standards Commission will have its first meeting next week on Wednesday.  The 17-member panel will meet at the Education Department's office in Berlin, considering everything from new graduation requirements to how much time kids should spend in school.  They'll pass along their findings to the state Board of Education.

The Middlebury Arts Walk committee invites the community to attend a fundraising event, Middlebury Arts Rock, on Friday, November 9th at Two Brothers Lounge. The event will feature live blues music from The Bob MacKenzie Band.  Held on Arts Walk’s usual second Friday of the month, the evening will feature music, a silent auction, light snacks, and a cash bar. The cost is $10 per person and tickets can be purchased at the door. This event is to help raise funds towards the 1-to-1 cash match of a grant that was recently awarded by the Vermont Arts Council. With the grant the Middlebury Arts Walk committee plans to promote and grow the 2013 Middlebury Arts Walk season.  In lieu of attending the November 9th event, direct donations can be made to the Arts Walk committee by visiting its website (www.MiddleburyArtsWalk.com) and clicking on the PayPal link.

WVTK Local & State News October 29, 2012


Based on lessons learned in Irene and other emergencies, the Middlebury Police Department is preparing for potentially heavy and prolonged rain and wind associated with Hurricane Sandy.  Police officials have contacted the Fire Department, Vermont State Police, Vermont Emergency Management, CERT, MVAA, the Public Works Department and the Humane Society to coordinate response to the storm.  The emergency shelter at the Municipal Gymnasium is also on standby for storm evacuees, if needed.  If storm conditions warrant, an Emergency Operations Center will be set up in the Police Department, with representatives from the Dept of Public Works and the Fire Department on-site to provide a coordinated response to emergency conditions.  Town Officials are planning to touch base first thing on Monday morning to assess the situation.  Updates on preparations on the storm and emergency alert notices are available on the Middlebury Police Department's Facebook page.

As the North Country turns its attention toward the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, people are taking steps to prepare. The Red Cross is currently mobilizing numerous resources to respond to Sandy, including calling their 2,500 volunteers in 17 New York counties to gauge who is available for emergency response, transporting relief supplies and staging more than 100 emergency response vehicles to respond wherever the need should arise. They are also preparing to open 18 emergency shelters throughout northeastern New York.

Staff at Vermont Yankee say they're making sure the nuclear power plant is ready for Hurricane Sandy.  Staff say they're preparing for high winds and rain.  They have been securing equipment around the plant.  They're also reviewing staffing plans and emergency communications.  If power to the plant is lost staff say there are back-up generators to keep safety systems running.

Vermont Gas Systems and the Town of Middlebury will hold a public informational meeting on Thursday November 8th at 7:00 PM at the VFW on Exchange Street in Middlebury.  Vermont Gas Systems will present the latest plans for construction of the planned natural gas pipeline to Middlebury in 2014 and 2015 including the proposed general areas of service, and routes of proposed future extensions to Rutland and Ticonderoga.  Vermont Gas will also have information on the procedure for permitting and right of way acquisition.  For additional information citizens may call: Steve Wark, Director of Communications, Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (802) 951-0373, wark@vermontgas.com.  Fred Dunnington, Middlebury Town Planner 388-8100 x 208,  dunnington@townofmiddlebury.org.

Vergennes Union High School will host an opening ceremony and public demonstration of their new composting facilities November 3rd from 1 - 3 PM. Community members and VUHS families are encouraged to come with bags of leaves, which students will add to the pile to contribute carbon to the compost. Vergennes students now have a new opportunity to learn about food systems and waste management. The school will start converting all of its food scraps and organic waste into fertilizing compost this week now that it has complete a new composting facility at the school. 

Consumers and businesses in Essex County are expected to experience improved mobile Internet coverage and voice performance as a result of continued investment and innovation by AT&T. The company has completed a key initiative in its ongoing efforts to enhance the wireless capacity and performance of its mobile Internet network in Lake Placid. The network enhancement adds new layers of frequency, also known as “carriers,” to cell sites in Essex County to more efficiently manage available spectrum and increase mobile broadband capacity.

Officials say a 44-mile section of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail across northern Vermont has received the final permit needed to begin construction. The project received $5.2 million in federal funding in 2005, but it's been on hold during an environmental review process. Eventually the project will run 93 miles from Swanton to St. Johnsbury.

The state of Vermont is taking applications for grants to help protect and restore the state's watersheds. This year, $120,000 is available for grants of up to $15,000. The money is available to municipalities, government agencies and nonprofit and citizen groups for work such as protecting or restoring water quality, shorelines or fish and wildlife habitats.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is warning boaters of the need to wear personal flotation devices when boating on the New York side of Lake Champlain during the cold-weather months.  The New York state boating law applies to all people on motorboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats and sailboats less than 21 feet from November 1st to May 1st.  The law doesn't apply in Vermont, but Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry is encouraging anglers’ and boaters to be cautious and safe while on any watercraft as the water temperatures decline.  The department is also reminding anglers and boaters that children under 12 must wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times while boating on any body of water in Vermont.

A new commission has been charged with reviewing quality standards in Vermont schools. The new 17-member Education Quality Standards Commission will hold its first meeting in November with the ultimate goal of developing recommendations to be adopted by the state Board of Education. The recommendations could include new graduation requirements and the amount of time students spend in class.

Even if all the races in New York's state Senate are clearly decided on election night, control of the chamber could remain unknown well past November 6th. That's because the upstart Independent Democratic Conference holds four seats, potentially threatening the Senate majority now held by Republicans. The four members of the conference are closely aligned with Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Jeremy Davis will present a program on his book “Lost Ski Centers of the Southern Adirondacks” at the Hancock House in Ticonderoga this Friday at 7 p.m.  The Adirondack region has long been a favorite of skiers.  In this presentation, ski historian Davis will chronicle the history of these vanished ski areas with photographs and memories from those who enjoyed them, while also paying homage to restored and classic skiing opportunities still available in the Adirondacks. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own ski memorabilia, photos, and their memories to share with the group. For more information contact the Ticonderoga Historical Society.

The readers of Conde Nast Traveler have named Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa as the number one resort in the Northeast.  In its rating of the 20 best properties in the region, the AAA-rated Four Diamond resort, and accompanying Four Diamond restaurant, The View, on the shores of Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, received the highest honors.  The Lake Placid Lodge and Whiteface Lodge also ranked in the top five among the respondents. The magazine’s Readers’ Choice Rating scored the Mirror Lake Inn at 94 out of 100 points. The listing is found in Conde Nast Traveler’s Best in the World issue, soon to appear on newsstands.

From Fox 44 and ABC 22 News Your Voice in Vermont & New York:

In less than a day Hurricane Sandy will make its presence felt across Vermont. With the storm threatening the entire New England region, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin issued a state of Emergency. He held a press conference today at the Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury on the state's preparations.  The governor said that sandy would be a completely different storm than Irene .  "In Vermont we do not expect the kind of flooding that we saw from Irene. It's not going to be that kind of weather event," Gov. Shumlin said.  Instead wind gusts from 60 to 80 mph are likely to pound the state. One of the main threats during the storm will be fallen trees that land on power lines and cut off electricity. Yard signs could become flying missiles, which is why it would be a good time to take them down now.  One Emergency Management officer said that Rutland would be the "ground zero" of the storm in Vermont.  The Northeast Kingdom and across the spine of the green mountains are also likely to see strong winds lasting for 10 to 12 hours when Sandy hits. It's why emergency personnel and electric company crews are preparing across the state.  "We've deployed our emergency management folks to handle any challenge they may face," Gov. Shumlin said.  After the governor declared a state of emergency at noon Sunday the Vermont National Guard is ready and waiting to help too. Federal aid would also be available if there is severe damage but the Shumlin administration is not expecting that to happen, even though a state of emergency was declared.  "That does not mean that I'm expecting the worst. What it means is that we're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," Gov. Shumlin said.  The governor did not say that schools should be canceled in the coming days but that each school district should determine on their own whether it's worth keeping students home. In North Country New York State Bushton-Moira Central School District, Crown Point Central School District, St. Lawrence Central, Ticonderoga Central, Ticonderoga Elementary, Middle and High school will all close at 1 PM.

One of the state's iconic bike paths has suffered damage during severe weather before.  The Colchester causeway has been under repair for more than a month and is now open to the public. But for a long time the path was unusable as parts were destroyed during spring flooding in two thousand eleven. This year however Localmotion is betting that the causeway will standup against sandy.  “It’s a much more resilient trail..piece of structure than it was before...and I think it'll do just fine.”  this week there will be an official ribbon-cutting opening to the causeway for its users.

New York residents can call 1-888-769-7243 or 1-518-485-1159 for inquiries related to citizen preparedness information.  New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome M. Hauer announced that the state's Hurricane Sandy Helpline is operational for New York State residents in anticipation of the storm's landfall.  Residents can call 1-888-769-7243 or 1-518-485-1159 for information about preparing for the hurricane and its impact.  Information will also be available for referrals to county emergency management offices and American Red Cross shelters and road closures.  Language translation services are also available by request. 

Amtrak says it is canceling service across the northeastern U.S. on Monday as Hurricane Sandy threatens to create a wet, windy mess in the region.  Amtrak said in a news release Sunday that it was canceling all service north of New York at 7 PM. Nearly all service across the Eastern Seaboard will be canceled starting Monday.   Amtrak says it has not yet determined when train services will resume. Alternate transportation is not available.  Some trains will continue to run in Florida and the Carolinas.   The news release says customers can receive a refund or voucher for future travel.  For Amtrak alerts, click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Update - Sunday


Sandy Update - Sunday

WATERBURY, VT – Vermont State agencies continue to prepare for the impacts from Hurricane Sandy.  Governor Peter Shumlin has declared a State of Emergency for Vermont in advance of the storm.  The designation will allow the state to use National Guard and other federal resources if needed.

The National Weather Service reports that wherever the storm makes landfall, the main threat from the storm will likely be high winds beginning during the day Monday.  NWS says 60-80 mile per hour wind gusts are expected along the Green Mountains and in the Northeast Kingdom.

“I want to stress – this is not another Irene,” Governor Peter Shumlin said.  “The main concern we have here is the wind.  The wind will be strong enough to easily take down trees and power lines with them; so Vermonters should prepare for power outages over the next couple of days.” 

Localized flooding is also possible where the rain is heaviest.  Flooding is possible anywhere, but NWS says the southern half of Vermont is the most susceptible. The forecast can be found at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/

The Vermont Emergency Operations Center will be fully staffed on Monday morning and will remain open as long as necessary.  State preparedness activities include:
  • Chainsaw crews from the Agency of Natural Resources are on standby to help with clearing of debris.
  • Swiftwater and technical rescue crews will be staged as necessary.
  • State police mobile command posts are on standby for quick deployment when needed.
  • State utilities have brought in extra line crews from out of state to help with restoration efforts.
  • The National Guard is prepared to assist with tree clearing, swiftwater rescues, or any other missions deemed necessary.
  • The Red Cross is prepared to open shelters should homes lose power for extended periods.

“Vermonters should continue to prepare for every contingency,” the Governor said.  “Clear storm drains, gutters, and culverts so water can drain properly – and make sure there’s nothing in the yard that can be blown around in high winds.”

If you come across a downed power line, never touch it – all power lines should be treated as if they are live at all times.  When clearing downed trees be sure they are not in contact with power lines as trees can conduct electricity and you can be electrocuted.

If you lose power and use a generator make sure it is always run outdoors and is not blowing exhaust back into your home.  Make sure smoke & carbon monoxide alarms are working and have fresh back up batteries in them.

Other suggested preparedness actions in advance of power outages for the public:

  • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries.  A battery powered radio is an important source of critical weather and emergency information during a storm. 
  • If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water.  Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water.  Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored).  During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unnecessarily.  Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator.  Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • Make sure your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.
  • Be extra cautious when you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move downed lines, and keep children and pets away from them.  Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences.  Always assume a downed line is a live line.  Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.

For more preparedness tips visit: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness.
For road closures call 511 or visit: www.511vt.com.
Weather Forecast: www.weather.gov/btv
Vermont Emergency Management on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement