Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Community solar hot water power session coming up

Ripton will host a meeting about solar hot water tech on September 27.  It's part of our community's engagement with alternative and sustainable energy.

Here's flyer information:
The Ripton Energy Asssistance Program is partnering with VPIRG, Vermont's largest environmental non-profit, to bring the new Solar Addison County program to Ripton. Solar Addison County is finally making it easy and affordable for homeowners and businesses all across Addison County to heat their water with the sun. For all of us who have ever wanted clean, renewable energy, that's made in Vermont, this is a great opportunity. If you'd like to learn more about how solar hot water technology works, to ask questions about the program or process, and see if this could work for you, VPIRG and and the REAP steering committee are putting on a public info session on Tuesday September 27th.
More information:
Solar Addison County Info Session

Tuesday, September 27th, 7:00 pm

Ripton Community Building

(thanks to the REAP Steering Committee)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ripton Art Show coming up!

The 2nd Annual Ripton Art Show is coming up this weekend:


Ripton Community Church

Opening Reception 4-6PM

A showing by 15 area artists: Yinglei Zhang, Mary Swanson, Klara Calitri, Lisa Whitman, Jean
Cherouney, Tal Birdsey, Ginger Birdsey, Bridget Nardiello, Molly Hawley, Patty LeBon Herb,
Phoebe Stone, Rebecca Purdum, Sarah Wesson, Linda Hampton Smith and Richard Weinstein

Music by Rick Hawley, gourmet food provided by Lisa & Joe Durante


Proceeds benefit the Ripton Community Church.
For more information call 388-9681

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Federal assistance for hurricane relief

(Very useful information received in email - thanks to Sally Hoyler)

As of today, FEMA has approved $4.3 million in assistance -- $4.2 million in housing assistance and $165,228 for other needs such as replacement of personal property. More than 2,000 Vermonters have registered for assistance, a number that will increase. To date there have been just over 700 homes confirmed as severely damaged or destroyed, and assessments continue.
There are 30 inspectors in the field and 750 property inspections have been completed. In addition, three disaster recovery centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until further notice: in Barre at Barre Municipal Auditorium, 16 Auditorium Hill; in Brattleboro at Living Memorial Park Skating Rink, 61 Memorial Park Drive; and in Waterbury at the Waterbury Fire Department, 43 South Main Street. The recovery centers are staffed with disaster recovery specialists from various federal, state and local agencies and organizations who can provide information and answer questions about storm-related assistance. Additional centers will be opening soon.

The White House has approved individual assistance for homeowners and businesses in eight counties: Addison, Chittenden, Orange, Bennington, Washington, Rutland, Windham and Windsor.

Assistance for losses sustained anytime after the storm may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster. Even those with insurance may be eligible for help from FEMA if their insurance policy does not cover all their needs, FEMA said.

Step 1: Register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There are several ways to register:

Apply online anytime at

Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY at 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to assist with the application process.

By smartphone or tablet, use, or for devices with the Android operating system, a FEMA App can be downloaded at

When applying for aid you will receive a nine-digit registration number that can be used for reference when corresponding with FEMA.

It is helpful to have the following information handy:

Current telephone number;

Address at the time of the disaster and current address;

Social Security number, if available;

A general list of damages and losses;

If insured, the name of insurance company, agent and policy number; and

Bank routing number for any direct deposit.

Step 2: Receive a property inspection.

Within a few days after registering, eligible applicants will be telephoned to make an appointment to have their damaged property inspected. The inspectors, who are FEMA contractors and carry identification badges, visit to make a record of damage. They do not make a determination regarding assistance. There is no cost for the inspection.

Step 3: All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding the status of their requests for federal assistance. Some will also receive an application for a low-interest disaster recovery loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Anyone who has questions about the letter from FEMA should call the helpline (800-621-3362 or TTY, 800-462-7585).

Those who receive an application packet from the SBA should complete and submit the forms. No one is required to accept a loan but submitting the application may open the door to additional FEMA grants.


An additional resource for those whose homes have been damaged is their local Homeownership Centers. These centers are funded, in part, with Community Development Block Grant funds from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. They make low or deferred interest loans for home repairs and can help pay for damages that are not covered by insurance, FEMA or SBA disaster loans.

Renters who have been displaced can contact the organizations listed above, local housing nonprofits, housing authorities or search for available apartments on, or by contacting:

Central Vermont Community Land Trust HOC – 802-476-4493 or

HOC of Chittenden County – 802-862-6244 or

Gilman Housing Trust HOC – 802-535-3445 or

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont – 802-438-2303 or

Windham and Windsor Housing Trust HOC – 802-246-2109 or

In addition, The Department of Banking, Insurance, Health Care and Securities is available to assist with questions related to floor insurance at (800) 964-1784 in state or (802) 828-3302.

In response to the storm, the ACCD is:

· Creating a Housing Task Force, headed by Jennifer Hollar, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development to work with VEM and FEMA to develop a housing recovery plan and guide its implementation.
Working with our fellow housing agencies, Vermont Emergency Management and FEMA to identify vacant apartments that could be available for temporary housing.

Requesting a waiver from the Treasury Department that would make vacant apartments in many federally-supported properties available to any displaced Vermonter regardless of income.

Seeking additional housing and development resources in the form of block grants and Section 8 vouchers from HUD, in coordination with the congressional delegation.

Establishing a Housing Task Force of state agencies and federal and local partners to work with FEMA to develop a housing recovery plan and to guide its implementation.

Running a call-center at the Agency of Commerce to collect damage information from mobile home park and apartment owners at 802-828-3211 to provide to FEMA.

Accompanying FEMA today as they tour impacted areas and assess housing needs. Senior ACCD officials are traveling with FEMA today.

Reaching out to the private sector and the philanthropic community to help fill the gaps. T

This is a lot of information and if you have any questions, please let me know or call Ashley at 828-3806.

Very truly yours,


John F. Campbell

President Pro-Tempore

Vermont State Senate

The State House

115 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05059

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Ripton farm considers

Two Ripton farmers reflect on raising animals.  That's Sebastian and Kate from North Branch Farm and Gardens, and their thoughts range from practical matters (one fine sandwich recipe) to different ways of eating locally.

They sell in the Middlebury farmer's market, and can also be found at home if you call ahead first (388-2059).
Check out the article, and their Website, and their products!

Be careful of flood-damaged crops: Dept of Health

What crops are safe to eat, in the wake of hurricane Irene?  Vermont's Department of Health issues this advisory:
Throw away ANY food that has come into contact with floodwater.

Throw away any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with floodwater. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Also discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with floodwater because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
For canned goods that came into contact with floodwater, remove labels, wash thoroughly with soap and hot water. Then place in a weak bleach solution made with 1 tbsp. unscented liquid chlorine bleach for every gallon of water from a known safe source and leave for 15 minutes. Re-label with marker.
If refrigerator and freezer doors are kept closed as much as possible during a power outage, a refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours, a half-full freezer will keep the temperature for about 24 hours.
Do not cook and eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs or other refrigerated foods that have been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more.

Wash hands thoroughly with clean water and soap before and after handling food items.

Never taste food to determine if it is safe. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if it has been at room temperature for more than two hours it can make you sick. Bacteria multiply very quickly at room temperature.

If you have any doubt about any food item, throw it out.

For more information about food safety after the flood –Go to the Health Department’s website, call 800-439-8550 (toll-free) or 863-7220 – or dial 2-1-1.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ripton Fire Department in the storm

Reflections from a Ripton volunteer:

Hurricane Irene was a true disaster for the state of Vermont. Here in Ripton we were very lucky, due in part to the mitigation work done since 2008. Moreover, Riptonites generally are prepared for these instances.

What the Ripton Fire Dept accomplished during the storm:
  • Pumped water out of basements.
  • Flagged hazards.
  • Removed trees from roads.
  • Maintained safety around downed power lines.
  • Checked on those with high health risks.
  • Served as information center when all phones were down.
  • Prepared to treat and stabilize patients in the event that Ripton remained inaccessible to any transport.
  • Provided medical and fire coverage for Hancock, Goshen and Lincoln in those places that were accessible by our emergency vehicles.
  • Surveyed road damage.
  • Mitigated road damage where we could.
  • Reported road damage to road commission.
We are still providing coverage to Hancock, until they no longer need us.
Our two cadets distinguished themselves during this emergency. Our newest cadet provided phone coverage at the station, freeing up firefighting personal to go out in the field. Our older cadet helped out in the field, helping to run the machinery to pump out flooded basements.

Ripton Fire Department continues to be in touch with Emergency Management and FEMA.

Amazing photos of Vermont after Irene

Some amazing, spooky photos of Vermont after the hurricane:

(thanks to Tammy Snyder)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Irene recovery: answers to questions

Bernie Sanders has posted a fine frequently asked questions page about Irene recovery.
For example,
If my property or business was damaged in the storm, or if I have immediate needs such as food or shelter, what should I do first?

I have heard that the President has declared a "Major Disaster." What does this mean for Vermonters?

What does FEMA "Individual and Household Assistance" cover?

How do I apply for FEMA Individual Assistance?

What help is there for renters and homeowners through the Small Business Administration, and how do I apply?

Should I wait until I am approved for disaster assistance before making repairs to my home?

Should I move back into my home if it is damaged?

My basement is still flooded. What should I do?

My land is facing immediate damage by a river or stream, is there help available?

A propane tank washed into my front yard by the flooding. What should I do?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another post-hurricane resource

There's another fine Web resource for our post-Irene needs. It's from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

Resources offered or requested by Vermont municipalities relating to Irene
flood damage. Contact Cory Gustafson at if you would like to
add city/town resources or needs to this list.