News Roundup: Dept. Of Health Reports 1 New COVID Case As Gov. Lifts All Pandemic Restrictions

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of the top coronavirus news and more for Monday, June 14th.

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1. Vermont Department of Health reports 1 new case of COVID-19-19 on Monday

State health officials reported only one new case of COVID-19 on Monday.

Two people are hospitalized with the virus.

Meanwhile, Governor Phil Scott announced today that 80.2% of the state’s eligible population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, making Vermont the first state in the country to hit this milestone.

Scott said he was pulling all COVID-19 restrictions and would not renew the state of emergency when it expires on Tuesday.

– Karen Anderson

More from VPR: Governor Scott lifts all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Vermont

In September, all Green Mountain Transit buses require a mask.

While mask requirements have been dropped in many communities, if you ride the Green Mountain Transit bus, expect to wear face-covering for a few more months.

GMT announced on Friday that passengers will have to wear masks on buses until September 13th.

This applies to all passengers with the exception of children under 2 years of age. However, there is no mask requirement at any outdoor bus stop.

GMT continues to limit the number of passengers in its vehicles. And bus transport is still free – as it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

– Henry Epp

More from VPR: Commuting Through COVID: As passenger numbers decreased during the pandemic, the state focused on security

State houses vaccination clinics for residents of the RV park

As part of a greater effort to get 80% of all eligible Vermonters vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Health and EMS agencies are pushing for RV park residents to be vaccinated.

On Friday, Tina Sweet – who was accompanied by her dog Orian – was among those who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination at a walk-in vaccine clinic at Windemere Mobile Home Park in Colchester.

She says she was on the fence about the syringe because she is a survivor of Hodgekin’s lymphoma but has learned that clotting complications are not common.

“But I figured if they come here I might as well come and do it,” said Sweet. “I have a sister who lives in Kansas. And if I ever want to fly there, I have to be vaccinated. That was the easiest for me. “

The clinic on Friday was hosted by the Glover Ambulance Squad. Signs lined the sidewalk and led to a grassy area with an ambulance and a portable exam room.

Ambulance chief Adam Heuslein says the clinic is one of many the team has offered in RV parks in northern Vermont.

He said they are trying to make the recording more convenient.

“So people are very happy we are set up here, and when you look at this place, we’re in a trailer park here, right across from a dunkin ‘donuts that bounces all morning,” he said.

The cadre said they administered around 50 to 60 COVID-19 shots this week.

– Elodie Reed

3. Rival developer files two more lawsuits against the CityPlace Burlington project

The lengthy redevelopment of a shopping center in downtown Burlington faces additional legal challenges – this time from a different developer.

Redstone, a development and property management company, filed two lawsuits against the developers of the CityPlace Burlington project this week. Seven days first reported the new lawsuits.

The lawsuits, one in state court and the other in federal court, raise similar questions – that Redstone’s property rights are being violated by the redevelopment of the mall, which includes building two new streets in the city. Redstone says in court records that one of the proposed streets is through his property.

In a statement to Seven days, one of CityPlace’s developers said he believed his team would prevail and the project would move forward.

– Liam Elder-Connors

4. The US Treasury Department provides COVID relief to county governments, but in Vt. they have very little power to spend

The U.S. Treasury Department is providing millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds to county governments across the country.

But here in Vermont, the county governments have very little authority, and it is not yet clear what will happen to all the money that is supposed to go into the state.

Addison County is expected to spend around $ 268,000 this year.

However, the latest COVID-19 relief package is more than $ 7 million for the Champlain Valley district.

That’s more than 26 times the amount of money the county typically spends.

“We’re very concerned about this,” said Karen Horn of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

She said that in Vermont, each county has two assistant judges. And as the COVID-19 aid package is now formulated, it will be up to you to decide how all of the federal aid money will be spent.

“It’s a huge amount of money, and it’s not necessarily money that the district’s assistant judges can handle,” Horn said.

Federal agencies say the money will need to be used for public health, infrastructure, or critical workers. But Vermont counties do not oversee any of it.

Horn says the state’s congressional delegation is trying to find an alternative formula for distributing the money.

– Howard Weiss-Tisman.

5. Senator Leahy says he supports a 20 percent increase in funding for the EPA

Senator Patrick Leahy says he hopes federal funding for environmental protection projects for Lake Champlain will increase significantly.

Leahy, chair of the Senate Grants Committee, says the Biden government has committed to increasing spending on a variety of programs designed to reduce pollution of the lake and its tributaries.

Leahy says he’s also pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at these programs with a long-term perspective.

“Lake Champlain, if in a year we stopped what we were doing to keep the pollution out and keep it clean, it could come back very quickly,” Leahy said. “And that will be an ongoing thing.”

Leahy said he supported a proposal by the Biden government to raise funding for the EPA budget by an additional 20%.

Leahy Calls for Federal Funding to Test Vt Schools for PCBs

Senator Patrick Leahy says he will ask the federal EPA to allocate funds to test dozen of Vermont schools for unsafe amounts of highly toxic chemicals known as PCBs.

This problem forced Burlington High School to close and classes were relocated to a former department store downtown.

Leahy says it’s important to get federal funding to help determine how widespread PCB contamination is in schools across Vermont. PCBs were banned in the United States in 1979.

“I hope they will because we will find more,” he said. “Some of them will be in small towns where it will be very difficult to do this. And these are cities where they obeyed the rules; They did what they were supposed to and now they are being hit by it. I think that’s a big problem we’re facing. “

Leahy said the pollution at Burlington High School was so severe that it was recommended that the facility be demolished and replaced.

– Bob Kinzel

6. Nature Conservancy Opens Art Installations in Vt. Properties with New Artist in Residence Elizabeth Billings

The Nature Conservancy has opened a series of art installations on three of its Vermont properties designed to connect visitors with the country.

The installations were created by Elizabeth Billings, the Conservancy’s first artist in residence.

Billings’ facility in the Raven Ridge Natural Area in Monkton is made of strips of blue bark scuffed cloth that extend from tree to tree. Billings says the cloth itself is made of natural and destructible material.

“But it is also intended to draw your attention to the fact that we are all fleeting and the earth,” said Billings. “We are in a very precarious place.”

In addition to Raven Ridge, the installations can be seen in LaPlatte River Marsh in Shelburne and Equinox Highlands in Manchester. You stay for the rest of the year.

– New reeds

7. National Refugee Resettlement Program hopes for pilot program in Brattleboro

A refugee resettlement group wants to test a new program in Brattleboro based on community support for the new families.

Brattleboro city manager Peter Elwell says executives from local housing, transportation and education organizations have already started discussing the plan.

“There is broad support for this. The types of organizations and community leaders that need to be involved vary widely, and they have to be many of us, ”Elwell said. “And we have to coordinate well.”

The Ethiopian Community Development Council hopes to open an office in Brattleboro this summer and the first families could arrive before the end of the year.

Tsehaye Teferra is the founder of the Ethiopian Community Development Council. He says Windham County is one of two regions in the country that will test a new program to host refugees in rural communities.

“So we want a group of eight to ten people who can come together and agree to sponsor this family,” Teferra said. “So this is the program that we really want to promote and test and try in Brattleboro.”

Teferra hopes that around 75 families will be able to settle in Brattleboro in the next few years.

Read or hear the full story.

– Howard Weiss-Tisman

8. Vermont has had a gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak like no other since 1991

The Vermont Department of Agriculture says the state is seeing a major infestation of gypsy moth caterpillars this year, which are defoliant many of the state’s trees.

The state has not seen such a major outbreak since 1991.

Gypsy moths are an invasive insect that first came to the United States more than 100 years ago and have since expanded their range.

The caterpillars prefer oak, but they eat many types of leaves, including maple and pine.

– Karen Anderson

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