GMUW Promotes 24th Annual NALC Food Drive

The 24th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive, appropriately named the Stamp Out Hunger campaign, is planned for Saturday, May 14, 2016, across the entire nation.  This is the biggest one-day food drive in the U.S. that last year brought in nearly 71 million pounds of food at a time when food pantries everywhere are very low on staples for food insecure families.  Since this drive began in 1992, a staggering 1.4 billion pounds have been donated.  The NALC, U.S. Postal Service, the United Way and several other organizations partner each year to make this a successful food drive.

Green Mountain United Way works closely with the NALC to market this event and to make sure that people in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties are aware of it and are encouraged to participate.

Family-Circus-Food-Drive-2016-RGB-revised-300w

Unfortunately, in this so-called land of plenty, families are going to bed hungry every night. In Vermont, nearly 13% of households are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to meet basic needs and not enough money to buy food.  They often substitute quality for quantity, buying less nutritious, higher calorie, but lower cost foods.  This often leads to obesity and poor health.

The beauty of this drive is that local postal workers collect the food along their delivery routes and turn the food over to our local food shelves to help our neighbors here at home. In May 2015, approximately 19,000 pounds of food were collected in the GMUW five counties that were delivered to 24 food shelves, also in those five counties.

The process is really quite simple. On the morning of May 14th, place your non-perishable food items in a bag near your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up.  If you do not have a letter carrier, just bring your items to your post office and they will be happy to see that they get delivered to the nearest food shelf.

Please remember that non-perishable foods are what are needed, for example, canned vegetables, soups, beans, rice, pasta, cereal, and peanut butter. Do not include outdated items as the food shelves will have to throw these out as per government regulations.

Plan to do your share on May 14th by providing a bag or two of food that will help make a difference for food insecure families in your neighborhood.  For more information, call any one of the Green Mountain United Way offices in Barre at 802-622-8056, in St. Johnsbury at 802-745-0101 or in Derby Line at 802-647-2148.

Read More

Vermont in Top Five for Emergency Preparedness and Health Security

Vermont in top five for emergency preparedness and health security

National assessments related to Zika testing, safe drinking water, show mixed trends

Vermont Business Magazine As with nearly all of New England the Northeast, Vermont’s overall health security and preparedness is above the national average. Vermont stands at 7.3 for the 2016 Index release. The national average is 6.7. The annual assessment of health security and preparedness shows the nation is relatively well-prepared for managing an emergency, although performance on some measures in specific states can be improved. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released results of the 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index, which show the United States scoring 6.7 on a 10-point scale for preparedness — an improvement of 3.6 percent since the Index began three years ago.

Maryland had the highest score at 7.6 and New York was next at 7.5, followed by Minnesota (7.4), New Hampshire (7.3) and Vermont (7.3). Louisiana (5.6), Mississippi (5.8) and Alabama (5.9) were lowest.

(link is external)“In order to keep Americans safe, we need to know how well equipped every state in the nation is to prevent and manage widespread health emergencies,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds and directs the Index. “Every sector needs a yardstick to clearly show where progress is being made and where improvement can occur. America’s health security is no exception.”

Using more than 100 different measures—ranging from flu vaccination rates, number of hospitals, and presence of food inspection programs; to infrastructure and planning measures such as participation in drills by public health laboratories, percentage of people covered by wireless 911, and hazard planning for public schools—the Index provides a composite score that reflects the most comprehensive picture of health security preparedness available.

(link is external)

The Index found that the nation’s health protections are not distributed evenly across the U.S., with a preparedness gap of 36 percent between highest and lowest states in 2015. A total of 18 states achieved Preparedness Index levels that significantly exceeded the national average in 2015, with many of these leading states located along the Eastern seaboard or clustered in the Upper Midwest and Southwestern United States. Conversely, 16 states lagged significantly below the national preparedness level in 2015, including clusters of states in the Deep South and Mountain West regions.

Some states with comparatively low levels of preparedness are located in geographic regions that face elevated risks of disasters, indicating a need for focused improvements in high-risk and low-resource areas.

Other findings:

· Laboratory testing capabilities relevant to Zika have trended upward but are not universally available across the nation.

· Laboratory testing capabilities relevant to drinking water have trended downward in the Index.

· Fully compliant public drinking water systems trended downward.

· Changes in employment patterns and practices have mixed effects on health security.

“State and local public health agencies are on the front lines in responding to public health emergencies,” said Stephen Redd, MD, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. “The Index is a tool that can help us all see where investments since 2001 to build public health emergency response capacity have paid off and where more investment and work is needed.”

Based on a model informed by experts in public health, emergency management, government, academia, health care, and other sectors, researchers collect, aggregate, and measure preparedness data from a wide variety of sources. The final measures fall into six categories, each of which is assessed independently.

· Incident and Information Management, or the ability to mobilize and manage resources during a health incident, scored 8.4 on the 10-point scale, the highest-scoring domain in the 2016 Index and a 2.4 percent improvement since the Index began in 2013;

· Health Security Surveillance, or the ability to collect and analyze data to identify possible threats before they arise, scored 7.5, an improvement of 7.1 percent since 2013;

· Countermeasure Management, or the ability to mitigate harm from biologic, chemical, or nuclear agents, scored 7.0, an improvement of 6.1 percent since 2013;

· Environmental and Occupational Health, which measures the ability to prevent health impacts from environmental or occupational hazards, scored 6.4, a decline of 4.5 percent since the Index began, but flat compared to last year;

· Community Planning and Engagement, which measures how communities mobilize different stakeholders to work together during times of crisis, scored 5.4, an improvement of 8.0 percent since 2013; and

· Health Care Delivery, which includes the state of health care systems during everyday life, as well as in emergency situations, scored 5.1, a decline of 1.9 percent since 2013, but flat compared to last year.

“Health security is a shared responsibility across many different sectors and stakeholders—not just government, and not just health care,” said Glen Mays, PhD of the University of Kentucky, who leads a team of researchers who manage the Index. “By combining 134 measures from more than 50 different sources, we gain a more complete picture of preparedness as a whole that can inform future directions and priorities.”

Originally developed by the CDC as a tool to drive dialogue to improve health security and preparedness, the Index remains a collaborative effort, involving more than 35 organizations. Feedback from state preparedness directors, state health officials, and others helps shape the Index each year.

For more information about the National Health Security Preparedness Index, visit nhspi.org (link is external).

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The Foundation is working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org (link is external). Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter (link is external) or on Facebook at rwjf.org/facebook (link is external).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 4.25.2016

Read More

Dale Carnegie Course: Free Preview Session!

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.35.26 AM

Dale Carnegie Course: FREE SESSION
Look around you at successful business people, world leaders, professional athletes and famous entertainers. You’ll find a disproportionately high number of Dale Carnegie Course graduates. In fact, the Dale Carnegie Course has transformed the lives of over 8 million graduates.??????This renowned course has been helping participants master the capabilities demanded in today’s tough business environment. The program will help to strengthen interpersonal relations, manage stress, and handle fast-changing workplace conditions. Graduates are better equipped to perform as a persuasive communicator, creative problem-solver and focused leader. And they develop a take charge
attitude that allows them to initiate with confidence and enthusiasm.
By attending this free session you will learn techniques to remember names, become a better conversationalist and create a professional vision for your future. Attend this free session of this world famous program and get the power for you to move far beyond your comfort zone as you stretch for and attain ambitious new goals.

 

Register today for a session of our Dale Carnegie Course…FREE.


98px_register-now--purple

Who Should Attend
Employees at all levels in a corporation who seek to maximize their performance, develop stronger leadership skills and add more value to the organization.
98px_register-now--purple

REGISTRATION DETAILS
Dates:
THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016
1:00PM – 4:30PM

Location:

 

KEURIG GREEN MOUNTAIN FACILITY
685 MARSHALL AVENUE
WILLISTON, VT

Price: 00.00

98px_register-now--purple

 

Read More

Game On! Venture Vermont Challenge 2016

Vermont State Parks e-newsletter                                April 2016
Entrance to Branbury State Park

 

Greetings Everyone!
Welcome to the Spring edition of the Vermont State Parks newsletter. Winter is
 still trying to fade into our memories as we scramble to get our state parks and trails ready for the summer recreation season. There’s a lot of work to do but we are certainly up for the challenge. We always look forward to your visits and we’ll be ready for you!
In the meantime, get a jump on summer by getting outside and hiking on some of the lower elevation trails, exploring some of the spring-time wonders of the woods and, of course, making your camping reservations. Our reservation records tell us this could be a very busy season so don’t delay any longer. Dust off that camping equipment, get it all organized and ready     

to go. Summer will be here before you know it! 

See you out there.

Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks

 

The Outdoor Observer 
Spring 2016
By: Rebecca Roy
The first warm spring rainy night in Vermont is known as “The Big Night,” because amphibians begin to wake up from their winter resting spots, they crawl out of the leaves, pull their bodies out of the mud, and start heading for a spot to lay their gelatinous eggs. In Vermont we eagerly wait for any small signs of spring, and nothing says spring is here like the quack-like calls of wood frogs filling the woods. I started hearing them a week ago in the Vermont woods.
 

 

Wood Frog in Springtime

 

 

Usually you hear wood frogs first in the earliest weeks of spring, they are closely followed by spring peepers, and then other frogs begin joining the symphony. Other amphibians, such as salamanders, do not make any noise, but you may see them trying to cross the road on The Big Night. They too need to find a nice seasonal vernal pool to lay their eggs. All amphibians lay their eggs in water, because amphibian eggs hatch into tadpoles. That is a distinctive characteristic of amphibians, they begin life in water. Many frogs also live in water as adults, but wood frogs are terrestrial.

Wood frog coloration matches their habitat for camouflage, they are brown like the leaves they hide in. One distinctive feature for identification is a darker brown “mask” over their eyes. They spend their days looking in leaves on the forest floor for insects, worms, and slugs to eat. Their tadpoles, hatching later in the spring, are gregarious. Scientists discovered that sibling wood frog tadpoles tend to gather up together in their vernal pools.

Woodford State Park- A good place for frog-spotting
Wood frogs are the only frog species that can live north of the Arctic Circle. They have interesting adaptations for dealing with cold weather. They spend the winter huddled under leaves on the forest floor, they stop breathing and freeze completely. They have special antifreeze in their bodies that prevents ice crystals from forming inside the cells of their bodies. Instead, ice forms outside of the cells, which prevents damage to their cells. They spend all winter this way, and begin to thaw when those warm spring rains start again.
Take a walk in the early spring woods, and listen for the calls of the wood frogs, and other frogs of spring. Great places to hear wood frogs right now include Little River, Lake Carmi, Woodford, and Jamaica State Parks. 

 

 

April Showers Can Bring April Flowers, Too
Despite the (shall we say) variable conditions so far this month, it’s exactly that time of year to head into the woods and look for growing things! Spring ephemerals are the first flowers you will find in the woods, and favor deciduous hardwood forests. They are usually not large but hardy, and well adapted to withstand cold and variable conditions of early spring. Ephemerals bloom early, often before the snow has completely gone, and complete their life cycle before the trees leaf out, taking full advantage of full sunlight on the forest floor and insulation provided by least years’ leaves on the ground.
Dutchman’s breeches at Niquette Bay State Park by Thomas Moran
Here are some spring ephemerals to watch for, and suggestions on where to look:
Hepatica: This tiny, fresh-smelling flower is one of the very first to appear in the woody areas in spring. Hepatica grows low to the ground and can be pink, white, purple, or blue. If you look closely, you will see that hepatica is furry! These tiny hairs on the stem are another protection from early spring temperatures. You can find hepatica at Niquette Bay.
Trout lily: This is a common spring ephemeral, and can be found in large colonies. The name comes from the coloring of the yellow flower and brown speckled leaves. Try to find trout lily at Coolidge State Park.
Trillium. Trillium is a spring ephemeral that can tolerate extreme cold, and comes in many colors, including red and white. Unlike hepatica’s pleasant smell, red trillium has an unpleasant odor, which explains why it’s sometimes called “stinking Benjamin”. Look for trillium in Gifford Woods State Park.
Painted trillium at Camel’s Hump State Park
Bloodroot: A white flower, sometimes with a pinkish tinge. Bloodroot likes moist, well-drained soils in shady woody areas, and can grow in large colonies. Bloodroot has a history as a medicinal plant, and as a natural dye. It has been spotted near the trails around Branbury State Park and in the adjacent Green Mountain National Forest.
Dutchman’s breeches: Common to a large part of the eastern U.S, this distinctive flower likes well-drained soil and often grows along limestone ledges. Bees especially like dutchman’s breeches, and in fact the feeling is mutual. The flower heavily relies on bumblebees for pollination, since the bee’s long legs and snout are strong enough to get inside the “pants” of the Dutchman. Look for this one at Niquette Bay.
Places to go:
Common sense warnings:
  • Stay on paths and try not to disturb plant colonies.
  • Clean up after your pet. The nitrogen and phosphorus in dog poop doesn’t “fertilize” fragile plants- it can kill them!
  • Don’t pick flowers. Not only is it illegal to do so State Parks, it destroys the seeds that would cause the plans to grow year after year.
For extra credit, keep one eye out for invasive plant species such as buckthorn, barberry and shrub honeysuckle. that also bloom early, but unlike spring ephemerals take a full season to complete their life cycle.

 

Mud Season Survival Tips 
 
Breaking news: it’s still Mud Season in Vermont! At least on the trails, anyway.
 Our infamous 5th season is the nemesis of hikers, walkers, bikers, and everyone who dislikes muddy cars, pets,boots and children (a large group of folks, certainly). This also means issuing our yearly warning about being careful to avoid muddy trails at this time of year. without damaging vegetation and causing erosion.
Trail at Jamaica State Park
Mud Season Golden Rules:
  • If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn around.
  • Plan spring hikes in hardwood forests at lower elevations. Avoid spruce-fir (conifer) forests at higher elevations.
  • Camel’s Hump and Mt Mansfield trails are closed from snow melt (now) until late May. Stay below 3000 feet during these times of year.

 

Luckily there are plenty of other options for hiking and walking that we can all enjoy this time of year.  Paved park roads are good options. Mount Philo and Mt. Ascutney have paved summit roads, so you can still enjoy a summit view without getting muddy boots.

 

Trailfinder.info is also a great resource and trails database for all kinds of activities: hiking, walking, mountain biking, and so on, for all of Vermont and the Upper Valley.
Mud is also an underrated construction material. Consider that mud formed into bricks and dried is a common and practical construction method in many parts of the world. The remains of mud-brick ziggurats (a type of terraced pyramid) built thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia are some of the oldest structures in the world- and are still standing today. Take a moment and consider how much mud is freely available this time of year, and how few pyramids Vermont has currently. Pyramids never go out of style, am I right?
Finally, it’s good to keep things in perspective. Parts of Eastern Europe have two mud seasons- one in spring, the other called by seasonal heavy rains in fall. Local travel becomes notoriously difficult or impossible, and in fact the local translation of the seasons is simply “time without roads.”

For more information about mud season hiking, visit the Green Mountain Club’s website at:

 
and our blog:
Stone pavilion on top of Mt. Ascutney

 

Game On! Venture Vermont Challenge 2016

 

 
 
 
The 2016 Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge kicked off this month on April 1st. Every year, families from all over Vermont participate in the outdoor scavenger hunt, earning points while taking part in fun and exciting outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, identifying plant and animal species, and more. Last year, there were over 250 participants who played in the parks, got outside, and discovered new things about Vermont’s natural landscape.
If you’ve done Venture Vermont in the past, we have all new activities for 2016. This year you have the opportunity to:
  • learn 3 new bird calls
  • find and photograph animal homes
  • construct a musical instrument from natural materials
  • make your own slip & slide

 


To join in, download a scorecard from our website and check off different activities as you complete them. Remember to take photos of yourself doing all of the activities. When you reach 250 points, you are eligible to receive a VIP token and free day use in the parks for the rest of the current season and the following year. Good luck! 

 

 

 

Schedule Some Free Time: Vermont Days 2016

 

 

 
Vermont Days will be held June 11th and 12th this year! Day use is free at all State Parks so come and hike, picnic, swim, play, and relax all weekend. Also catch the Green Mountain Brass Band perform at Sand Bar State Park on Sunday, June 12th from 2-4 pm.

Other Vermont Days activities include free fishing in every body of water in Vermont on Saturday June 11th, free entry to Vermont historic sites, and free admission to the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier!

For more information about Vermont Days’ activities and events, visit: http://www.vermontdays.com/

Hangin’ out at Alburgh Dunes State Park
by Raven Schwan-Noble

2016 Parks Operating Dates 

Can’t wait until Memorial Day? Some of our parks are open earlier! Here’s the full list of our early bird openers:

April 29- Oct. 10: 

Wilgus State Park

May 7th- Oct. 10th:
Niquette Bay State Park

May 13th- Oct. 10th:

Jamaica State Park

May 13th- Oct. 17th:
Grand Isle State Park

May 15th- Oct. 15th:
Elmore State Park

Calling All Park Performers!
 
There are still openings for park performers this season! 
Townshend State Park jam session by Matt Parsons
 
We are always looking for parks performers for our Summer Series Events. If you are a musician, storyteller, crafter, birder, yoga instructor, or crafty sort, or if you know someone who is, please let us know! 
Contact: Lucy.Dartt@vermont.gov

 

Thanks to our Photo Interns!
 

 

 

Thomas Moran grew up in Rhode Island but went to school at UVM. Photography and cinematography have recently become big part of his life. Thank you Tom, for the lovely picture of dutchman’s breeches at Niquette Bay

 

 

 

 

Raven Schwan-Noble has a love of photographing life around her. Born in Southern California, she has called Vermont home for the last 42 years. A graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, Raven is rarely seen without her Canon 40D camera. Thanks for the shot of Alburgh Dunes, Raven! 
 

 

See more of Raven’s work at ravensviewphotography.com

 

 

Matt Parsons is a native Vermonter. He has been going to the parks with his family his whole life. He has many fond memories of times in the parks, and says he is proud to live in a state that recognizes the importance of its’ natural resources. Thanks for the photo of Gary playing guitar at Townshend, Matt!

 


Quick Links 

Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge

Branbury State Park 

Brighton State Park

Coolidge State Park

Elmore State Park

Gifford Woods State Park

Grand Isle State Park

Jamaica State Park

Lake Carmi State Park

Little River State Park

Mount Ascutney State Park

Mt. Philo State Park

Niquette Bay State Park

Quechee State Park

Sand Bar State Park

Smugglers’ Notch State Park

Stillwater State Park

Townshend State Park

Wilgus State Park

Woodford State Park

Vermont Days

Vermont History Museum

Green Mountain Club

Camping Tips & Tricks

Hiking

Reservations

VT State Parks Blog

General Info

Early Blooming Trillium
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” – Robin Williams
 
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks.  See you out there!
-Vermont State Parks 
Vermont State Parks | 888-409-7579 | parks@state.vt.us 
 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
 Montpelier, VT 05620

Read More

Vermont Students Recognized for Achievement in Financial Literacy Programs

From coin identification to how our banking system works—Vermont students were challenged this year, through two financial literacy programs, to learn more about how our economy works. State Treasurer Beth Pearce recognized student achievement in the Reading is an Investment program and the Be Money Wise financial literacy poster contest. Both programs are administered by the Treasurer’s office.

 “We started these programs to raise the financial literacy of Vermont’s youth,” said Pearce. “These programs provide teachers, school librarians and parents with tools they can use to introduce financial concepts to children. The aim is to start an educational process in students that encourages them to learn money management skills and build their knowledge of how the economy works.”

Students were recognized for their work in the Reading is an Investment program. The program was used this year in 138 Vermont elementary schools. This is the sixth year of the program, which promotes both financial literacy and reading literacy through classroom and library instruction and through a personal reading program. There were 5,664 students who completed the reading challenge this year and had their names entered in a random drawing to win one of twenty $250 college savings accounts provided by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Reading is an Investment is underwritten by the TD Bank Charitable Foundation, the Windham Foundation and Comcast.

Students winning college savings accounts are: Lea Krause, Addison Central School; Eliana Dolloff, Albany Community School; Ryu Wright and Steven Collette, Bennington Elementary School; Aden Moore and Ashton Taylor, Bradford Elementary School; Carson Hooks and Maxwell Campbell, Chamberlin Elementary School; Jazmine Curley, Chester-Andover Elementary School; Tenley Whitehouse, Ferrisburg Central School; Libby Bowley, Lakeview Union School; Makiah Richardson, Lunenburg Elementary School; Parker Eidsheim, Mallets Bay School; Taylor Lacoste, Manchester Elementary School; Ainsley Meyer, NewBrook Elementary School; Archer Henderson, St. Albans Town Educational Center; Gabrielle Spaulding, Sheldon Elementary School; Cade Tessier, Swanton Central School; Rebecca Butler, Underhill ID Elementary School; and William Collins, Washington Village School.

Manchester Elementary School and Washington Village School each won a four-foot-tall Vermont Teddy Bear for their school libraries. The schools were chosen from a random drawing of 35 schools which had one-third or more of the student body complete the reading challenge. There were three schools that had 100 percent participation in the reading challenge. Those schools and their librarians are: Barstow Elementary, Heidi Webster; Bethel Elementary, Janet Whitaker; and Lakeview Union Elementary, Carol Rowell.

This was the ninth year for the annual Be Money Wise Poster Contest, open to students in third through twelfth grades. The contest is held in partnership with the Vermont Bankers Association, which provides $100 to the student winner in each division and $100 to the students’ schools for supporting financial literacy. The theme this year was, “I Am a Money Maker!”

Winning first place in the elementary school division was Marin Hemmett of Williston Central School. Second place was won by Tommy Jacques of Christ the King School in Rutland. Third place was won by Joseph Paquette of Richford Elementary School. The middle school division was won by Williston Central School student Hailey Chase. Homeschooled student Isabella Gaffney placed second and Browns River Middle School student Cassandra Bourdeau won third. In the high school division, first place was won by Milton High School student Carol Fagan and Essex High School student Jordan Appenzeller placed second. The judges did not designate a third place winner in the high school division.

Fifteen students received honorable mention recognition. Their posters were placed on display for the day at the State House in Montpelier onApril 7. Those students placing in the honorable mention category were: Ari Randall and Gordan Clark, Avalon Triumvirate Academy; Jordan Parenteau, Browns River Middle School; Emma Cosgove and Ethan Courcelle, Christ the King School; Alexis Donna, Essex High School; Batula Mohamed, Integrated Arts Academy; Brittney Sabolevski, Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School; Katelyn Prescott, Lothrup Elementary School; Kristen Potter, Milton High School; Troy Kane, Richford Elementary School; Allison Bushey, St. Albans Town Educational Center; and Nina Zimakas, Ashley Davidson and Seph Niquette, Williston Central School.

Winning posters from this year’s contest may be viewed on the State Treasurer’s Office financial literacy web site at MoneyEd.Vermont.gov. Also available at this site are lesson plans and activities for the Reading is an Investment program.

Read More

National Walk at Lunch Day – April 27, 2016

Happy Spring!

Here at the Vermont Department of Health, we are always looking at data to gauge how we are doing, and to see where more work is needed. This month we learned that in 2013, 42% of Vermont adults were not sufficiently active or were inactive when compared to the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended amount of physical activity of 150 minutes per week. This is an area that needs attention from us all as we support Vermonters in building healthy habits. We also learned that half of adult Vermonters who engaged in physical activity in 2013 chose walking as their primary form of exercise. We are pleased that walking, a simple and effective way of staying healthy, is the choice of so many!

In this month’s newsletter you will find many ways to get active at work, school and in your community, including walking and biking. Take advantage of the spring weather and get outside!

Walk at Lunch

April 27th, 2016 marks the 10th year of National Walk at Lunch Day – an event hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield  to promote physical activity during the work and school day. Walking has multiple benefits for both physical and emotional health. Read more…
     Schools Update:

 

Looking for a healthy way to start the day? Jump-start your morning by biking to school with your child! Join schools around Vermont in celebrating National Bike to School Day on May 4th, 2016. Don’t forget that your skin and head need protection, too! Wear your helmet and sunscreen and be sure to include this in your Bike to School Day.

  • The new Safe Routes to School (SRTS) website has launched. Check out all the great resources to sustain you program. New to SRTS? They have something for you, too, from resource guides and promotional materials, to technical support.
  • Way To Go week is a two week challenge for your school to go toe-to-toe against carbon pollution and win by shifting from private vehicles to greener modes. Bike, walk, carpool or ride the bus to victory! The 2016 challenge will take place  between September 26th and October 7th, which overlaps with International Walk to School Day. One lucky school will win an AllEarth Solar Tracker valued at over $30,000. Check out challenge eligibility here.
  • Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge 2016 is on. Are you ready for the challenge? The annual Vermont program involves an outdoor scavenger hunt for children and adults alike, and includes activities such as identifying amphibians, mapping GPS coordinates, and making camp supplies out of found materials.

Explore Vermont’s Parks This Spring
Spring is one of the best times of year to enjoy the outdoors in Vermont no matter what your age or ability. With warmer temperatures and longer hours of daylight, mornings, afternoons and evenings are options for getting outdoors and being active.

Vermont towns offer a wide variety of free recreational opportunities. Take a few minutes to look up on-line or call your local town office to find out about parks, fields, playgrounds, beaches, and trails that are available to explore. Make a pledge to yourself to check out a new spot or two this spring, and invite friends or family members to join you. If you live in a small town without a recreation department, consider exploring neighboring towns or going to a Vermont state park . Some state parks have trails open now for hiking and all parks will officially open in May.

A great resource to use all year round is the Vermont Trail Finder. Click the type of activity you want to do (walk, hike, bike, snowshoe, ski, even paddling!), level of difficulty, and location throughout Vermont and New Hampshire and get a very detailed description of the trail, often with maps and photos!    
Know someone who might enjoy this email? Share it with them.
Did someone share this email with you? Sign up to receive more of our emails.

Read More

GMUW Hires Director of Funding and Program Development

Carrie_Stahler_Photo 2016

Green Mountain United Way is pleased to announce that Carrie Stahler of Montpelier was recently hired to serve as Director of Funding and Program Development.

Stahler comes to GMUW from High Mowing Organic Seeds of Wolcott where she was Marketing Programs Coordinator. She has also in the past run her own marketing and design firm, Siren Marketing and Design, and was employed by Onion River Sports as Marketing Director from 2006 to 2012. She has a degree in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Carrie volunteers as a Board member of Montpelier Alive, Montpelier’s downtown association, and is very happy to return to central Vermont to serve her community as an employee of the local United Way and as a volunteer in the community.

I’m excited and inspired by the work being done by Green Mountain United Way and look forward to bringing my skills to a talented team of people working to improve the lives of everyone in central and northern Vermont,” says Stahler.

She and her husband have two children who all enjoy gardening, hiking and biking.


For more information about GMUW, please visit www.gmunitedway.org.

Read More

No Time Like the Present to Take Charge of Your Money

 

Vermont 2-1-1, a program of the United Ways of Vermont, is a health and human service helpline providing information and referrals 24-7.


Vermont 2-1-1

Emergency Housing in Vermont

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.


Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 244 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for March here.

 

Vermont 2-1-1
Monthly Call
Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl


March, yet another cold weather month! The March call total of 2,929 shown on this month’s statistical report may, at first glance, appear to show a significant decrease in the number of calls to 2-1-1. However, this “call count” only tells part of the story! In addition to the 2,929 incoming calls – calls answered by a 2-1-1I&R Specialist – 1,045 additional “scripted” calls for information on cold weather exception were handled without the caller needing to speak to one of our information and referral specialists. Therefore, the true call total for the month of March is 3,974, a total that reflects the year-to-year March call volume of right around 4,000.

Vermont 2-1-1 continues to respond to all after-hours calls for the Department of Families and Children, Economic Services benefits center. The majority of these calls are requests for the General Assistance/Emergency Assistance (GA/EA) motel voucher program. March calls for assistance with emergency housing-related issues totaled 244.  Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists provisionally house a caller in a hotel/motel when the caller is eligible according to the rules put forth by the State. In addition to providing provisional housing to eligible callers, our contact specialists also provide, for every caller, a needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services, including: homeless shelters, housing organizations, rent and security deposit assistance, food, clothing, transportation, health and mental health services, and domestic violence services.  

The 2016 Point-In-Time Count, released by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed an overall decrease in homelessness by 28% compared to the 2015 Point-in-Time Count. Of the households counted statewide 156 had children, or 20% of total households counted. That is a decrease of 22% from last year. To view the full 2016 statewide report, click here.  

Vermont 2-1-1 is partnering with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Department of Health to assist with public information provision for PFOA inquiries and for data collection on water quality issues Bennington, North Bennington and Pownal.  A spike in referrals made to the Environmental Protection and Improvement category is due to calls from residents of the area impacted looking for information and referrals regarding Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA.

 

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.

No Time Like the Present to Take Charge of Your Money


Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialists are in the field learning about community resources all the time. Check out this resource corner to learn about the latest updates, timely information and stories from the field.


April is National Financial Literacy Month, the focus of which is to enhance the financial wellness of Americans by improving their financial literacy.  This month’s theme not only addresses what isn’t working for many, but also provides resources for what does work to improve personal financial literacy.

According to The National Foundation for Credit Counseling, one in four adults doesn’t pay their bills on time and three out of five don’t use a budget.  One in three carries credit card debt from month to month and the same proportion hasn’t put money away for retirement.  Not surprisingly, money management experts have found that the majority of consumers face financial challenges that significantly affect daily life. Check out the related Financial Literacy Month website which offers 30 steps to achieve control of personal finances.

Vermonters can turn to Vermont 2-1-1 to find programs that provide money management and credit counseling as well as debt recovery resources. Visit Vermont 2-1-1’s website and try these search terms:

Financial Management Workshops

Personal Financial Counseling

Credit Counseling

Mortgage Delinquency and Deficit Counseling

Debt Consolidation Services

 

Read More

Drowsy Driving…

The Associated General Contractors of Vermont

PO Box 750, 1 Graves Street

Montpelier, VT 05601

Tel: (802) 223-2374

FAX: (802) 223-1809

E-mail: info@agcvt.org 

 


April 18, 2016

Vermont Highway

Fatalities

2016 Year-to-Date: 15

2015 At this time: 6

2014 At this time: 10

2013 At this time: 11

Source: Vermont AOT

 

Project RoadSafe is funded by a grant from  

the 

Governor’s Highway Safety
Program

 

A Pledge to End  

Distracted  Driving

I pledge to:

 * Protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.

* Be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is

distracted.

* Encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.

 

Talk with us about traffic safety: contact 

Norman James (njames@agcvt.org

 

Add A Name to Our

Mail List

Contact:

Norman James, Manager

Project RoadSafe

njames@agcvt.org 

 

A preventable collision is one in which the driver fails to do everything

reasonable to avoid it.

 

Studies show that 40% to 50% of traffic crash fatalities could have been prevented by wearing seat belts. Aren’t
you glad you use yours?

 

Just

Drive

Safely

 

Equipment Operation and Servicing

Ensure that construction vehicles and equipment operating onsite are maintained in safe operating condition at all times by developing and
implementing the following:

** A scheduled maintenance program for
all roadway construction vehicles and equipment.

** Safety features (reverse alarm, video
camera) are installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications, which operate as intended, and function properly.

** Inspection of all vehicles, equipment,
and safety devices at the beginning of each work shift. Defective vehicles, equipment, and safety devices should be reported immediately and removed from service until repairs are made.

** Installation of collision avoidance
or proximity warning systems are made on construction vehicles and equipment.

 

Talk with me about defensive driving:

contact Norman James (njames@agcvt.org)

 

A recent ad in a newspaper in another state:

 

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEEDED

Please
DO NOT apply if you oversleep, have court often, do not have a baby sitter every day, and have to get rides to work later than our workday begins, experience flat tires every week, have to hold on to a cell phone all day, become an expert at your job
with no need to learn or take advice after the first day. Must be able to talk and work at the same time. Must also remember to come back to work after lunch. Should not expect to receive gold stars for being on time.

____________________________

Attitude Drives Behavior

__________________________________________________________

 

Drowsy Driving…

  According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 adult drivers (age 18 or older) reported falling asleep while driving
in the 30 days before they were questioned. The CDC says drowsy driving is the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue and can affect your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep.

  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes across the country are the direct result of driver fatigueeach
year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. NHTSA also says these figures may be the tip of the iceberg because it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness since there is no test to determine
sleepiness as there is for impairment.

  Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace death in the United States. Off-the-job crashes are especially costly, accounting for 80% of motor-vehicle
crash health-related fringe benefit costs and 92% of employer crash-related health care costs.

  The CDC says drowsiness:

  • Makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road
  • Slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly
  • Affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions
  • Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% to 45%)
  • Adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children (59% to 45%)
  • Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month (36% to 25%)
  • Sleep deprivation increases the risk of sleep-related crashes; the less people sleep, the greater the risk

__________________________________________________

 

 A Free Driver Safety Class

   * Does your company have a motor vehicle fleet (two or more vehicles) with above average insurance premiums?

   * Do you feel your fleet has more than its share of motor vehicle crashes?

   * Does your company have a safe driver program?

If these questions cause concern, contact Norman James at AGC/VT (njames@agcvt.org) to talk about a free driver
safety class for your drivers.

___________________________________________

 

Motor Vehicle Deaths Take A Jump in Vermont

  According to data from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (Vtrans), the highway death toll in Vermont took an unofficial 23% increase in 2015 over 2014. Data
from Vtrans show 57 people were killed on Vermont’s highways last year compared to 44 motor vehicle deaths in 2014, which was the lowest annual death toll since the 1940s, some 70+ years ago!!

  Vermont was not alone in recording a huge jump in roadway fatalities. Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate motor vehicle deaths were
8% higher across the nation in 2015 than they were in 2014 – the largest year-over-year percent increase in 50 years.

   The National Safety Council estimated 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million people were seriously injured on U.S. roads in 2015. That means 2015 was likely
the deadliest driving year since 2008.

   Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council said Americans apparently take their safety on the roadways for granted. She said, “Driving
a car is one of the riskiest activities any of us undertake in spite of decades of vehicle design improvements and traffic safety advancements. Engaging defensive driving skills and staying alert can help reverse this trend in 2016.” 

_________________________________________________

 

 Drive Like You
Really Care!!

 

FMCSA Proposes New CDL Training Rule

  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a new rule aimed at to expanding training requirements for entry-level commercial drivers.

  The proposed rule would require first-time commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants, drivers seeking a license upgrade or an additional endorsement, and previously
disqualified CDL holders seeking to reacquire a license to undergo training that meets certain standards. If the rule is approved the compliance date would be 3 years after the effective date of the final rule.

  According to the new rule, the training would consist of a combination of behind-the-wheel and classroom elements, with the specifics depending on the type of
license the applicant is seeking. There is no proposed minimum number of hours that driver trainees must spend on classroom training, but the training must cover all required curriculum topics appropriate for the type of license or endorsement the applicant
is seeking.

  Drivers seeking a necessary for operating a combination tractor-trailer vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more, would need to obtain at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel
training, including a minimum of 10 hours of operating the vehicle on a practice driving range.

  Drivers seeking a CDL necessary for operating a heavy straight truck such as a dump truck or box truck or a school bus, city transit bus, or motorcoach, would
be required to obtain at least 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training, including a minimum of 7 hours of practice range training.

  According to the proposed rule, the driver training must be given by a provider listed on the FMCSA’s proposed Training Provider Registry (TPR).

__________________________________________________

 

Attitude Drives Behavior

__________________________________________________________

 

Follow the Four-Second Rule for Safety Spacing

  Nobody wants to be a tailgater on the road, or to be followed by one, but how do you know how close is too close? There is an easier method than trying to imagine
one car length for every 10 mph, and all it takes is counting to four, like this: 

    1) Note when the vehicle ahead passes a checkpoint such as a sign, driveway, pole, or parked vehicle.

    2) Start counting seconds (one thousand one, one thousand two…) as the vehicle in front passes the checkpoint.

    3) Stop counting when your vehicle reaches the checkpoint.

    4) If it takes less than four seconds, you are following too closely and must increase your following distance. If it takes four or more
seconds to pass the checkpoint, you have a safe following distance.

  This should give you enough time to react in case you must stop quickly under normal conditions and at all speeds. Add at least another second for wet roads,
and two, three or more seconds for snow, ice or fog. Too many seconds is never a problem, so if you’re not sure, feel free to add a few extra seconds.

__________________________________________________

Associated General Contractors of Vermont | (802) 223-2374 |
njames@agcvt.org |
http://www.agcvt.org/

PO Box 750, 1 Graves Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of fatal occupational injuries. RoadSafe, produced by The Associated Contractors of Vermont, is an electronic newsletter concerning
workplace driver safety. The purpose of RoadSafe is to distribute data, facts, and other materials to help employers create, maintain, and/or improve their workplace driver safety policies and programs.


Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Read More