Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) and a representative from Hawaii have co-sponsored a bill allowing FEMA to spend emergency money on mental health and drug addiction treatment. “Following a summer of climate emergencies across the country, including in Vermont and Hawaii, Americans are suffering the cost. While the physical damage is clear, disaster-stricken communities need resources to cope with the mental and emotional damage they endure,” Balint said in a release yesterday.
Current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants are authorized to provide professional counseling services to victims of major disasters.The proposed Addressing Addiction After Disasters (AAAD) Act also allows FEMA to provide services for substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder.
“States like Vermont and Hawaii are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. In the aftermath of disasters when stress and emotions run high, it’s important we show up to support our communities with the resources they need,” said Balint.
At last! Montpelier City Hall can accept your payments in person, again – Montpelier residents anxious to pay their tax, etc. bills in person can breathe a sigh of relief – the City of Montpelier Finance Department has reopened.
After two post-flood months in their temporary location at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center, the City of Montpelier Finance Department will be relocating back to City Hall.
Beginning Friday, September 22, all payments can be made at the Clerk’s Office in City Hall located at 39 Main Street.
“We’ve got a long way to go to rebuild, but we’re happy to be back in our City Hall space again,” said Finance Director Sarah LaCroix. “We’re so thankful for our community’s ability to adapt and be flexible while we move workspaces,” She said.
Access to the building is limited to the front doors only.
Blanchard Block businesses re-open in Montpelier – In happier re-opening news, most of the first-floor businesses in the Blanchard Block on State Street, including Bear Pond Books and Zutano, have reopened for business. The Blanchard Block is located on the east side of the Main Street, between the State/Main intersection and the fire department.
Most of the businesses on the other side of Main Street, and most on both sides of State Street, remain closed. The Kellogg-Hubbard Library is anticipating reopening by mid-to-late October, after the installation of a new sprinkler system.
State increases business flood damage $$ from 20% to 30% – State of Vermont Business Emergency Gas Assistance Program (BEGAP) awards are increasing effective Thursday, Sept. 21 to get more money to flood damaged organizations, and the change is retroactive.
Until now, organizations that suffered less than $1,000,000 in physical damage were eligible for BEGAP grants equaling 20% of net uncovered damages (damages less insurance proceeds, donations, or other grants), with a maximum payout of $20,000. The new formula gets rid of that $20,000 cap and increases payouts to 30% of net uncovered damages, and the change applies to all BEGAP grantees – past, present, and future.
Clean Heat Standard advisory group members sought – The Vermont Public Utility Commission is seeking applications for membership on advisory groups to inform the design of Vermont’s potential Clean Heat Standard program, created by Act 18 (the Affordable Heat Act), the Commission will appoint these members of the public and representatives of various organizations to serve on either the Technical Advisory Group or the Equity Advisory Group. Letters of interest should be sent via email to email@example.com.
Big Wind developer backs off East Coast projects – As published on Stephen Heins’ Substack page: “Danish renewables company Ørsted is known as an offshore wind pioneer, and it has more installed generating capacity in the segment than any other company in the world. It has an ambitious project pipeline in the United States, where it hopes to install gigawatts of capacity off New Jersey and New York. But as inflation and interest rate hikes bite into its projected margins, it has warned that it may have to delay or walk away from some of these multibillion-dollar projects – and judging by its recent announcements, some of its capital will be going into onshore solar instead.”