Plan For Homeless Vermonters

VERMONT - As vermont begins to ease covid restrictions. Tourism in the state is looking to go back to normal. But emergency pandemic housing for the homeless is currently filling up many of the hotels.

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Vermont's Rise in Spring Temperatures

Vermont - In the last 40 years, Vermont has seen an increase in the average spring time temperatures. Although this number isn't too big, the effects it has in our yearly climate can already be seen. Everything from droughts, to flooding, to even shortened maple sugaring seasons. 


According to Climate Central, the average spring time temperature in Vermont has risen 2.8°F since 1970 and Vermont is avergaing about 14 days of above average temperatures during the spring. But, what exactly will this mean for the state as a whole? According to Dr. Janel Hanrahan Atmospheric Science professor at NVU-Lyndon, if you were to ask a person on the street about a rise in temperatures either 1 or 2° degrees most people wouldnt care. If you were to add 1 or 2° every year it can start to have an affect on agriculture and wild life in the state. One point that Dr. Hanrahan did note is "the way it's hapenning is not uniform. What's hapenning is that you have these extremely warm days but, you also have extremely cold days". For example this year in early April we already had days that hit 75°F which was well over 20 degrees above average. Few days following that we went back down to below freezing temperatures. Heat waves in the late spring can also be problematic for people in Vermont because you could have days with temperatures above 90°F which for most people in the south that wouldn't be such a problem considering they mostly have air conditioning. But, in Vermont most people don't have air conditioning and thats when it can become a health problem. 

In the agriculture sector these extreme swings in temperatures can impact farms whether it is an apple orchard or peach trees. When you have multiple days in a row where temperatures exceed 70°F trees will start to bloom thinking its later in the spring and its time to fruit. Then, when temperatures drop back down into the freezing mark and it starts to snow, it can really damage these trees. The flowers will die and not be able to bear fruit. Dr. Hanrahan explained "I have this big tree in my backyard that bloomed all these big beautiful flowers and then we got six inches of snow and now I have a tree with dead flowers and this is not a big deal for this tree in my backyard but it can be if you have lets say an apple orachard". 

The last thing that can get affected is extreme weather. This year we are already dealing with moderate drought conditions according to the drought monitor provided by the University of Nebraska. Droughts and floods are two extremes that can happen either in separate years or in the same year. We could have one year with above average snowfall and once spring time comes around with the snowmelt, rivers can rise and if you combine that with heavy rainfall can be a perect disaster which was the case back in the spring of 2019. You can also have an abnormally dry year with little snowfall and once spring time comes around a drought develops, the ground hardens and cracks from lack of rainfall. It could take one storm with rainfall over an inch to start having flooding concerns. Since the ground is hard and cracked, it could take a while before the soil becomes saturated enough for the water to seep down so, the water just sits on top and if you have heavy rainfall that will start to pool. Vermont's climate is changing every year and we are already starting to see the affects of climate change. 

J&J Come Back To The State

BARTON-After a long wait for a vaccine that was put on hold for several weeks, Governor Phil Scott announced the vaccine has finally become available in the state of Vermont.

Read more: J&J Come Back To The State

Vermont's Climate Council

Vermont - The Vermont Climate Council was formed in 2020 as part of a bill that will tackle climate change in the state of Vermont. The council will focus on reducing green house emissions in the state as well as better tracking it's green house emissions. 


 

In September of 2020, the Vermont Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. This bill will require Vermont to "lower its climate-damaging emissions while creating jobs, improving community resilience, and reducing burdens for rural and marginalized communities to access clean energy, transportation, heating, and housing", according to the Vermont Natural Resource Council. However, the road to assemble the council was not an easy one. Once the bill passed the Vermont House and Senate, Governor Phil Scott vetoed the bill. On September 22, 2020 the House and the Senate overwhelmingly voted to override the Governors vetoe. The House voted 103-47 and the Senate voted 22-8.

The Vermont Council holds weekly meetings where they discuss their agenda and plan for the next couple of years. The group is made up of different subcommittees. This includes: Agriculture and Ecosystem, Cross-sector Mitigation, Just Transitions, Rural Resilience and Adaptation, and Science and Data subcommittee. Dr. Jason Shafer, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon is part of of the Science and Data subcommittee. The Science and Data subcommittee helps to advise the works using the latest science and best methods. Dr. Shafer stated " The council has worked with other state agencies to solicit a request for proposals for partner/vendors to help the state develop policies, frameworks, and recommendations to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, including better tracking of its carbon cycle in various areas (e.g., transportation,buildings,electricity)".

According to Dr. Shafer, he was selected by the state to represent this subcommittee. All others were also selected. He also noted that Vermont is somewhat of an early adapter of a climate council but other states like California and Maine have similar efforts. The group is responsible for updating the states planning every three years. In five years, there will be continued evaluation of these plans to see what is working and what is not. 


Vaccine Plans For Out Of State Students

VERMONT - With increasing covid infections, more vaccinations, and rapidly changing safety guidance it has all led to some confusion over whether out-of-state students attending Vermont colleges are eligible for vaccine clinics in Vermont.

Read more: Vaccine Plans For Out Of State Students

A Plan for ReOpening

VERMONT - As more and more vaccines get distributed, Vermonters can start looking forward to the state opening up fully.  Governor Phil Scott and his team have put together an exit plan which will help Vermont reopen by July 4th.

Read more: A Plan for ReOpening

Fatal Crash On Interstate 91

HARTLAND - A Trucker from Troy Vermont was killed in a crash on Interstate 91 early Monday morning near White River Junction.

Read more: Fatal Crash On Interstate 91

Radar Coverage in Vermont

Vermont - In late March, Vermont was hit by a rare tornado that destroyed several homes and injured two people. Radar coverage in the western half of the state is not a problem but as you get over the green mountains, radar coverage starts to get blocked. This posed a question if it is necessary to implement a new radar tower to improve the coverage in the eastern half of the state since storms happen all throughout the state. 


 

 

Trying to put out warnings for the eastern half of the state can be quite tricky as the signal gets blocked by the mountains. The only radar tower in the state currently stands at the Burlington International Airport where the National Weather Office is located. Radars have five different tilt elevations used to look at storms. It starts at 0.5° which is what the beam antenna is angled at above the ground. The beam itself is 1° wide. So, with that in mind it starts scanning at 1.5° and continues through 2.4°, 3.4°, and 4.3°. Once you start getting to the higher elevations, you're able to see further but, now you are looking at a storm from higher up not knowing what could be happening at the surface. "Although we have beam blockage at 0.5° and 0.9°, our warning forecasters rely on the higher elevation scans to effectively issue convective warnings across central and eastern Vermont. We also use adjacent radars, such as KGYX (Portland, Maine), to help with coverage" said Pete Banacos, Science and Operations Officer at NWS Burlington. This can be difficult because if you have a severe thunderstorms, it will have rotation associated with it but, that rotation may not reach the surface, so warning these storms can be tough.

Currently, the NWS doesn't have any plans to build additional radar sites. But, It would definitely benefit Vermont to add an additional radar site. According to Pete Banacos, "The original cost of the WSR-88D (radar) network was approximately $3.1 Billion to build 122 radars". That comes out to be a little over $25 million per radar. In comparison, President Biden's stimulus package was $1.9 trillion dollars. That would pay for about 75,000 radar towers. 

Radar coverage did not play a role in the March 26th tornado in Middlebury. Middlebury has unobstructed view in radar coverage so seeing the storm coming was not a problem. What caused this tornado to be missed by warning is how fast this tornado spinned up and how short-lived it was. According to Pete, the National Weather Service estimates that the tornado was on the ground for 60 seconds and a total path length of 0.6 miles. Radar's receives a new scan every 3 minutes and this tornado happened between radar scans so, it wasn't visible on the radar. In that short amount of time, the tornado destroyed 4 houses and injured 2 people. The tornado was officially rated an EF1 tornado with max wind speeds of 110 mph.

 

 

Vermont Schools Receive Covid Relief Funds

VERMONT - Last week, President Biden announced another wave of federal Covid relief money for schools. This time, a package worth $81 billion dollars will help cover Covid relief and school reopenings for K-12 schools across the country.

Read more: Vermont Schools Receive Covid Relief Funds

Three Foot Distancing In Classrooms

VERMONT - Since Vermont schools re opened in September after having to move remote in March due to the ongoing pandemic. Most schools in the state re opened with a new hybrid learning style, just one-way schools have been navigating during the pandemic. But, Vermont officials and Vermonters want students back in the classrooms full time as soon as possible.

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Zebra Mussels Found in Moss Balls

VERMONT - The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is asking that anyone who has recently purchased an aquatic moss ball dispose of it immediately. Zebra mussels, an invasive species to the northeast waters, have been found in numerous moss ball products. Only one specimen has been found on Vermont store shelves since the discovery earlier last week.

Read more: Zebra Mussels Found in Moss Balls

Ice Out Day In Vermont

VERMONT - As temperatures begin to heat up, our lakes and ponds in Vermont are starting to lose their layers of ice. The day a lake or pond has no ice from shore to shore is known as the 'ice out' date.  And The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking for your help to notify them when the 'ice out' day occurs.

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School Staff Vaccinations

VERMONT - On March 2nd Governor Phil Scott announced school staff and childcare workers are officially eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Last week some received their COVID vaccine, and more are receiving their vaccines in the weeks to come. This is all a part of a goal the Scott administration hopes to accomplish by the end of April; to get all schools back to in person learning.

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School Staff Get Vaccination Approval

VERMONT - Governor Phil Scott announced Tuesday, Vermont school staff and childcare workers are eligible to receive vaccinations. Scott and his administration suggested the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine could get students back in the classroom sooner.

Read more: School Staff Get Vaccination Approval

Winter's Unsung Hero

VERMONT- Winter in Vermont means cloudy days, cold and snowy weather, and winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Most people in Vermont prepare for the winter months by stocking up on wood for their stoves, getting winter tires, and most importantly stocking up on salt for their driveways.

Read more: Winter's Unsung Hero

Governor's Reflects on Pandemic Impacts on Kids

VERMONT - The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone's lives throughout the state of Vermont, but most importantly, those who are in school.

Vermonts children have seen an increased number of visits to pediatrician offices for mental health needs, increased depression rates,  and increased time spent online have been some effects felt by those hit most by the pandemic.

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NVU Reacts To VSCS Unification

VERMONT - With the Vermont State Colleges System looking to move toward a new unified model in the next couple of years, students and administration are wasting no time in getting involved.

Read more: NVU Reacts To VSCS Unification

Travel Guidelines Modified for the Vaccinated

VERMONT - For months since the pandemic began, folks have had to  quarantine when traveling to Vermont from out of state. As of today, Governor Phil Scott made a small change to the travel restrictions he put in place months ago.

Read more: Travel Guidelines Modified for the Vaccinated

All Out-of-State Travel Quarantine

VERMONT - Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced at Tuesday's press conference that the Cross-State Travel Map will be suspended and all travel to or back to the state will require quarantine. With the exception of essential travel, travel to Vermont will require a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative COVID-19 test.

Read more: All Out-of-State Travel Quarantine

New Guidelines Set for Care Facilities

VERMONT - As COVID cases continue to rise throughout the US, Vermont continues to be an example for having one of the lowest rates in the country. While this may be positive news, the Center Medicare And Medicade, or CMS, developed new guidelines for nursing homes and long term care facilities that were announced at Governor Scott's Tuesday press conference.

Read more: New Guidelines Set for Care Facilities

Dr. Fauci Praises Vermont

VERMONT - Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Governor Phil Scott at his weekly press conference and praised Vermonts battle with the coronavirus. Fauci called Vermont a model for other parts of the country. Should Vermont see a second wave, Fauci encourages Vermonters to keep doing what we all have been doing.

"Even when you are in as good shape as Vermont is, you got into good shape by certain things that you've done. Don't get careless, be prudent and careful in your interactions in the community. It's gonna be challenging as you get into the fall and winter, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're gonna have a problem if you do the kind of prudent public health measures that you've been doing," said Fauci.

Fauci praised Governor Scotts handling of managing the virus across the state.  Vermont currently has one of the lowest infection rates in the country.  Fauci noted that while Vermont is different than other states because of its population, the regulations that have been put in place will make a long term difference in the spread of the virus.

Fauci encouraged families to be vigilant with their children as schools open further, as cold and flu season are bound to make an appearance.

"Please, you've done so well.  Don't let your guard down.  This virus is a formidable foe.  If you give it the opportunity to reemerge its ugly head, whether you're in the beautiful rural area of Vermont or the middle of Manhattan or the Bronx, the virus is going to take advantage of that," explained Fauci.

Governor Phil Scott Files for Re-Election

VERMONT - Governor Phil Scott announced he filed for, and will be seeking re-election Thursday. He is looking to, and hopes to gain votes from Vermonter's in August and November. Even as normal times continue to be a work in progress.  

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Governor Phil Scott Looks to Further Vermont's Re-Opening

VERMONT - During the Governor's Wednesday press conference, he indicated that the virus remains very slow spreading in the state. One of the big announcements the Governor Phil Scott had, is the hope to enlarge groups gathering from 10-25 come June. 

Read more: Governor Phil Scott Looks to Further Vermont's Re-Opening

Electricity use Plans to Peak This Summer Amid COVID

VERMONT-The state is anticipating a surge in electrical use this summer as people are expected to continue to work online, and remotely into the Fall. However, the state hopes to be able to meet the necessary electricty demands, that they are being asked of.

Read more: Electricity use Plans to Peak This Summer Amid COVID

Governor Phil Scott Continues Phase 1 of Opening Vermont

VERMONT-Governor Phil Scott said he will continue to re-open Vermont in phases-from his press conference today. Vermont is still on Phase 1, of 3 phases. Fairgrounds, and fairs will not open this season. However, the next steps of re-opening the state will include the re-opening of hair salons,churches, and farmers markets.

 

Read more: Governor Phil Scott Continues Phase 1 of Opening Vermont