It’s a beautiful day here in The Green Mountain State. I’m sitting out on my deck enjoying perfect weather. I have power, internet, water, and food. Truly, life is good.
That’s not the case for a lot of Vermonters. As I’m sure you heard, people all over the state have lost their homes. They’re stranded on “mountain islands,” with no access to the outside world. Businesses are destroyed. Road and bridges,completely gone.
This used to be a road near my house:
If you read my last post, then you know I was afraid I’d be stranded, too. We parked our car on the other side of a deteriorating roadway, so we were able to walk to it and drive away. And now that they’ve repaired the dirt road that’s our other means of access, we’re fine. The road’s pretty bumpy and adds a bit of time to any trip out, but that’s minor.
There’s work going on everywhere. As I sit here, I can hear the sound of heavy equipment half a mile away. The National Guard is around, as are FEMA and the Salvation army, and there are tons of volunteers. And though the grocery store in Ludlow will be closed for months, they’re putting up a large tent in the parking lot, from which they plan to sell staples. People are coming together to do what needs to be done. It’s the human spirit at its very best. Vermonters are a hardy lot, and the generosity and ingenuity they’ve displayed through this is amazing. I’m proud of my friends and neighbors.
All the same, there is much heartbreak. An artist in Wilmington loses her life’s work. A young couple I know lose their entire farm. Three people in the state lose their lives. These are only a few examples. It seems petty to think about skiing. But skiing is an important part of life around here, and a major player in the state’s economy. So here’s what’s going on, in that department:
In my neck of the woods, Killington was the hardest hit. The biggest problem is Route 4, the main artery leading to the resort. In many areas, the road was entirely washed away, leaving 20-foot drops. Here’s an example:
How this can be repaired before ski season, I have no idea. It goes on and on, too. I know the road is a top priority, but jeez louise, look at it. Makes my heart hurt.
Until just a couple days ago, about 400 people were stranded at Killington, and helicopters were used to bring in supplies. That’s improved with the recent opening of a temporary road that’s allowed people to leave. Even better, I just learned that Killington is making temporary housing available for those in need. Kudos to the resort.
Killington says their infrastructure received only minimal damage, so they’ll be open for the 2011/2012 ski season. This is good news for skiers — provided they can get there.
Okemo fared a bit better. According to FirstTracks Online Ski Magazine, the resort’s Snowstars conveyor lift and F-10 conveyor were buried under four feet of mud and silt. The parking lot, a sewer line, numerous driveways and offices were also damaged, and there was a landslide above the resort’s Sachem chairlift. And though the resort’s primary access was damaged, it’s now being repaired. The resort is hosting a benefit concert for local hurricane relief tonight. Kudos to them, too!
Many people have asked how they can help the people here in Vermont. Here are a few ways you can do that. There is much to be done here and people are in need, so please don’t hesitate to give.
- Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund: helps businesses throughout the state get back on their feet.
- Black River Good Neighbor Services: provides emergency supplies to people in need in the Okemo valley area.
- American Red Cross, VT
- VTResponse: a clearinghouse of volunteer efforts throughout Vermont.
- United Way of Chittenden County
- Donate $10 to the Vermont Foodbank to pay for food that will go to food banks in communities most impacted by Irene. Text the word FOODNOW to 52000 to make a $10 donation that will show up on your next cellphone bill.
- Vermont 211
- Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund
- NOFA-VT Farmer Emergency Fund
- Mad River Valley Community Fund
We appreciate any and all help.
Vermont will be the example to the rest of the country on how to survive with dignity through great adversity. Obviously there are some income differences between Vermont and New Orleans, but I think it also shows that local government in Vermont may have been operating more cohesively all along than a lot of other places. “People coming together to do what needs to be done” is such a key component, and New Englanders have been doing that for a very long time – and usually without looking over their shoulder for a TV camera unless they’re avoiding it, lol.
Continued prayers for you all.