Vermont Daily Today

Thursday, October 29, 2020 Edition

Shelburne leads all towns, cities with 69% ballot returns

New interactive map tracks mailed ballot returns in real time

By Valentina Czochanski, Community News Service,with material contributed by Vermont Daily

October 29, 2020 – For the first time ever, every registered voter in Vermont received a ballot in the mail. According to town clerks across Vermont, those ballots are being returned in record numbers. 

As of October 29, 69% of the registered voters in Shelburne had returned their ballots. Other towns with more than 60% return rates include Williston, Plainfield, Dummerstown, and Brattleboro, Norwich, Jericho and Strafford. On the lower end were Newport Town and Newport City, both under 30%, and Plymouth with 20%. 

This information was culled in “real time” from a new, interactive map created by Community News Service, a news operation staffed by UVM student journalists and overseen by professors and veteran Vermont journalists. Vermonters can learn how many ballots have been returned to their town or city by clicking on the interactive map. 

Absentee ballots will not be tabulated until Election Day. However, Town Clerks may open the ballot envelopes and prepare the ballots for tabulation. MORE…..

Vermont boxed in on Covid-19 travel map – almost

Unless you’re going to quiet Washington County NY, every out-of-state travel destination crosses or is located in quarantine zone

By Guy Page

October 29, 2020 – Halloween weekend is turning into a scary time for people thinking about traveling out of state. According to the State of Vermont Covid-19 interstate travel map updated Tuesday, Except for Washington County, NY across the southwestern corner of Vermont, crossing Vermont’s Quebec, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York borders for “non-essential” travel will require a 14-day quarantine upon return. 

Vermonters can enjoy visiting the childhood home of suffragette Susan B. Anthony in Battenville. Or they can go to Hampton to see Ascension Rock, where the followers of preacher William Miller gathered to await the Second Advent on October 22, 1844. Washington County is chock full of interesting local history. But it’s so close yet so far from the restaurants and shopping centers of Lake George, located in neighboring Warren County, which is “in the yellow” (400-799 cases per million) of Vermont’s travel map posted Tuesday. Walloomsac, actual site of the Battle of Bennington, is located in Rensselaer County. MORE…..

ST J prison locks down, takes no new prisoners after one guard tests positive

Resumption of volunteer, church services in state prisons won’t be happening soon

October 29, 2020 – An officer at the Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the 10/23 Newport Dispatch.

Records show the officer was last in the facility on October 12. Earlier this month, testing of more than 2000 inmates in and outside Vermont yielded no positive cases. 

Vermont Department of Corrections and Vermont Department of Health officials say NECC went on full lockdown on Thursday pending the outcome of contact tracing and mass testing scheduled for October 26.

All intakes are also being diverted from NECC, and contact tracing is underway, initiated with the Rapid Response Team.Other staff identified as having close contact with the positive individual are quarantining and were scheduled to be tested. MORE….

Fall wildlife foods scarce – but no famine predicted

Vermont Fish & Wildlife is reporting that several important fall foods for wildlife are less abundant this year. 

“Fish & Wildlife staff routinely survey mast stands around the state in late September and early October, and this year they are finding that beechnut counts are very low, following 2019 when the numbers were some of the highest recorded since 1998,” said State Wildlife Biologist Forrest Hammond.  “They also found little sign of deer, turkey and bear feeding in the beech stands.” 

Hammond said that wild apples and berries are also less abundant than last year, but that in most areas of the state biologists report that acorns are more abundant than most other fall wildlife foods.  He noted that wild turkeys, deer, bear, and grouse are concentrating their feeding more in oak stands this year. 

However, this food shortage is not a predictor of a “dark winter” of famine for Vermont wildlife, Hammond said. MORE…..

Central VT candidate paying for Election Day sign wavers

A Lamoille-Washington County House seat candidate will pay “reliable, honest and upbeat” supporters $15/hour to wave signs for her in Elmore, Woodbury, and Worcester on Election Day.

Shannara Johnson, GOP candidate seeking to replace incumbents Dave Yacavone or Avram Patt representing Morrisville and surrounding towns, has a problem: too many rural polling areas to cover on a cold November Election Day. 

“Now, I know it’s bloody cold out there, so I’m not expecting you to work for free,” Ms. Johnson wrote in a recent email. “I will pay $15 an hour to people who take 2- to 4-hour shifts waving signs for me on Tuesday, November 3. If you want to support me, could use some cash, and have time to help out, it would be great if you reply as soon as possible so I can organize the shifts.” She can be reached at

Categories: Vermont Daily Today

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