COVID-19


DAIRY FARMERS AROUND the state have been flooding the Agency of Agriculture with photos like this one, asking why grocery stores are placing limits on milk purchases while at the same time farmers are dumping excess milk.
WEYBRIDGE — Even as some grocery stores continue to limit the amount of milk that customers are allowed to purchase, Vermont’s dairy farmers have dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk before processing, according to data collected by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) as of March 31. “It’s tragic that this is happening,” said Diane Bothfeld, director of Administrative Services and Dairy Policy for VAAFM. “We’re aware of it and we’re working with the Vermont Retail Grocers Association to reach out to their members to take (purchase-limit) signs down.” VAAFM...

LILY BRADBURN, LOCAL food access coordinator for the non-profit Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects, deliveries a box of food to a person whose reserves are running low. HOPE has been limiting traffic to its Middlebury food shelf in response to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Montross
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury-based non-profit Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) is also adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization, which offers food, clothing and financial assistance to area people in need, is currently operating its food shelf via phone orders. People call up to specify their needs, then pick up their food outside HOPE’s Boardman Street headquarters the next day. “We are still providing food to schools, so families with little or no resources can have something to eat,” HOPE Executive Director Jeanne Montross added through an email. “...
VERGENNES — Twenty-two civic leaders from five Vergennes-area communities on Wednesday morning met virtually to discuss COVID-19 issues, including the towns’ upcoming cash crunch, ongoing difficulties in obtaining personal protective equipment, and the challenge of enforcing the social distancing necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Officials from Vergennes, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Waltham and New Haven agreed that June 1 payments due to school districts could pose a problem to their communities.  Many of the property taxes that fund their school operations are collected through monthly...
I would love to say I live in the moment, present and awake, but that’s not always true. I think about the future almost constantly. My goals, though they may be ever-changing, are a fixture in my psyche. When I hike a mountain I enjoy the trail, the details of moss and chaga, but the thought of the summit is what pulls me forward and upward.  As people we are trained and socialized to have goals, to work, be productive and forward thinking. We are often defined by these things, which are related to but very much outside of ourselves, like our jobs, what we are studying or what we aspire to...

Source: Vermont Department of Labor
MONTPELIER — A Vermont Department of Labor report issued Thursday showed that — no surprise — claims for unemployment insurance in the Green Mountain State skyrocketed in the first week of April. Claims in Addison County were more than double what they were for the same time last year. The DOL’s weekly report on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims through the division of Economic and Labor Market Information showed that for the week ending April 4, 2020, the department processed 16,474 initial claims and 21,953 continued claims. That means that together the total number of Vermonters seeking...
The COVID-19 pandemic will affect every political institution in the United States. While the magnitude and duration of these effects is still to be determined, normal political practices will not resume for at least several months, if not longer. Legislatures at both the state and national level must consider remote voting. The Vermont House has authorized its leaders to establish such a system, and the Senate was scheduled to do the same this week. Developing a secure voting system is less of a challenge than continuing to hold in-person meetings of legislative bodies, many of whose members...
Despite the current crisis, the Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) remains open, providing all services to the residents of Addison County. The agency continues to staff residential homes and provide in-person care that is considered essential. CSAC, in cooperation with Porter Hospital, is providing remote emergency services to people in crisis. Our crisis line is 802-388-7641 and staff is available 24/7.  The Board of Directors for CSAC wants the community to know how thankful we are for the dedication and continued work that staff has been providing to so many of our county’s most...
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center on Tuesday said it will require all visitors to the Middlebury campus to wear cloth masks beginning Wednesday, April 7. It is also instructing employees at the hospital to wear masks — even ones that don’t come into close contact with patients. With the increased need for such masks, Porter is renewing its call for more donations of masks. “Porter Medical Center is deeply grateful for our community response to our efforts to meet the needs of our patients and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Porter spokesman Ron Hallman. He noted that over the...
The office of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday put out information on how Vermonters (and all Americans) can get the $1,200 federal stimulous money promised in a $2 trillion federal aid package signed into law recently. "While these are difficult times, it heartens me to see the spirit and resilience of my fellow Vermonters," Sanders said in the newsletter. "Every day I see acts of kindness — people selflessly protecting and helping our most vulnerable community members. If we all do our part, we will get through this together." The newsletter gave the following information and direction...
I’ve seen several articles lately in which mental health professionals explain the emotions that humankind is experiencing right now — when the worldwide death toll from the COVID-19 virus continues to rise and the social distancing guidelines under which we have been placed stretch out indefinitely — as grief. Collective grief. If this is the case, then it looks like I’ve reached the anger stage. I don’t consider myself an angry person, but I suppose we are all angry people; some of us just deal with or bury our anger better than others. My own anger is usually hidden deep beneath layers of...

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Addison County Independent