It's always 

a good time 

to

contact us

with suggestions, 

ideas, comments, or 

questions.            


Email is best but you 

can also  call or write a 

letter via US Mail, carrier 

pigeon, or whatever works 

for you.

We want to hear from you to 

better serve you.



Click the link for

contact info 

above,to find out how to get

in touch.



Thanks!


Mike and David


Where to find Help
      

 Call 2-1-1...


it provides all people in Vermont free access to what resources are available in your community.
(This service is also online at www.vermont211.org)


For State Help Programs,try the Agency of Human Services, "Screen Door" online access tool...you can  find out what kind of help that fits your needs and where you can find it.

http://www.screendoor.vermont.gov/


Over 60?

INTERESTED IN FREE, NUTRITIOUS FOOD?

CALL NOW! 1-800-214-4648 - to download an application

http://www.vtfoodbank.org/OurPrograms.../CSFP.aspx

Apllications are also available at the Putney Food Shelf or by calling Mike at 802.387.8787



Note: Each eligible person receives his or her own food box. People can participate in other commodity programs at the same time, but they cannot be enrolled at more than one CSFP site.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
- 60 years of age or older, living in Vermont and income-eligible.
- A child under 6 years of age and not already in the WIC program.
- A woman who is pregnant or post-partum for less than a year and
not already in the WIC program.
- Individual and/or household income will be used to determine eligibility.
- Each household member may be eligible, and will need to complete an application form


 

 

The Second Migration

by David Deen

In springtime, we cheer on our Connecticut River migrating fish including salmon, shad, American eel, sea lamprey, shortnose sturgeon, and blue back herring. They are all on our idols list. Some of us go to viewing windows at the fish ladders and we read newspaper or magazines articles about the spring migration. We celebrate or bemoan the numbers reported in those stories. Spring migration is the aquatic equivalent of maple sugaring, both signaling the earth’s annual reawakening from winter.

The problem is that those springtime events are only half the story and somehow, we do not in equal measure pay attention to the important fall migrations out of our river into the salt water and most are unaware that many of our purely fresh water fish now embark on their migrations to upstream spawning locations.

Here are some brief thumbnails about the species that use our Connecticut River aquatic highway to migrate down river to salt water every fall.

Thousands upon thousands of 3-4-inch American shad juveniles spawned in the spring head out to the ocean and spend 4-5 years maturing into adults while repeat spawners await the next spring freshet that signals them to return to the river to spawn again.

Like the shad, Blueback herring and alewife juveniles born in the watershed head out to sea to reach maturity before they return to their natal headwater streams.

American eel adults that have spent 20 years maturing upriver head out to sea for their 1,000-mile perilous swim to spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea found south beyond Bermuda. These 3-4 foot long adults have never migrated there before and little is known of how the springtime returning glass eels find the river where they will grow since they have never been there either, yet find it they do.

Mud dwelling Sea Lamprey juveniles are five-inch-long diatom and detritus eating worm like larva. After five to 10 years as larvae they become transformers migrating down the river and to the sea to reach maturity in salt water. They hopscotch from muddy bottom to muddy bottom until they transform into a swimming fish. Lamprey do not attack other fish until they reach salt water and to complete the story, once they reenter fresh water they do not feed at all. This is the case in a true fresh to salt and back to fresh water migratory run as in our CT River.

Atlantic salmon adults migrate to the sea in fall after spawning with some adult fish if they are in a natural setting holding over staying in place until the following spring. This is a small migration now that the Salmon Restoration Program is in hiatus.

The river’s Shortnose sturgeon with its territory separated into two parts, one above and one below Holyoke Dam, do not go to the sea, but migrate both up and downriver to wintering grounds. Those below the dam move to the estuary area while the upriver population moves up toward the Turner Falls dam.

There are fish in the lower reaches not found up river in VT and NH that are also part of this fall migration. They are sea run trout and the ubiquitous striped bass where both adults and juveniles move down river to wintering grounds in the estuary and Long Island Sound.

These migrations are all affected by the hydroelectric dams. As relicensing now underway moves forward, more efficient and less threatening means of moving these fish past the dams alive and undamaged are part of the ongoing negotiations. It is important to note that when the dams were first licensed we knew little of what is needed for safe passage and quite honestly, as a society we did not care about safe passage either. Times have changed over the ensuing half century and we hope those earlier unenlightened times will never come back.

The species that use the salt water as part of their life cycle are the long trip travelers of the fish world but even fresh water fish migrate just as predictably just not as far.

Fresh water brook and brown trout are fall spawners and their preferred spawning locations usually lie in upriver reaches in small streams. These locations offer the proper flow of water, the proper gravel bottom into which to dig their redd/nest that will hold the eggs in place overwinter and offer the juveniles hiding crevasses within the gravel until they can swim efficiently.

Once the juveniles are mature enough they will migrate to rearing areas with better food sources and larger habitats downstream. Biologists have tracked migrating fresh water trout as far as 26 miles from rearing to spawning locations. Obviously, a dam or perched culvert along the way places impassable barriers in the way of this migration. We are just starting to pay attention to this problem with landowners, NGOs, municipalities and states beginning to remove useless deadbeat dams to open these fresh water back roads for successful migrations.

So, there may be less ballyhoo for the fall migration and there are no viewing windows for it and few stories about it but it is the vital second half of nature’s cycle of aquatic life. So, let’s give a hip, hip, hurrah for the fall migrations.

 


April, Comings and Goings



   April has been anything but the warm 

breath of Spring we've been hoping for.


And, for those of us who live on dirt 

roads, it's  been one of the worst mud 

seasons I can remember. 


It's been tough going and that 

about describes this legislative session as 

we head towards adjournment.


Concerns are plenty, including  those who 

haven't experienced the economic boom,

 this president talks about. And, even

 more have felt the farce in the Tax reform

 bill, with most of the tax breaks going to

 millionaires and corporations, while

 working class Americans are seeing

 lower refunds, if any. It's been especially

 cruel to some Gold Star military families

(Those who had a family member killed in

 action) with some  reporting that their

 Survivor death benefits are being taxed 

at a rate that's so high, it negates the 

benefit. Let's hope Congress fixes that.


Closer to home, we are continuing to

push for an economy that works for all,

not just a  Select Few. That's why we are 

working to pass an increase in the 

Minimum Wage and Paid Family Leave.

This is also a boost to women, as most of 

the workers earring minimum wage are 

women and women in the workplace, will

 benefit from from Paid Family Leave.


Common Sense Gun Reform is also an 

item we're working hard on with a 24 Hour 

Waiting Period bill for sale of hand guns. 

States that have passed such bills have 

shown reduction in Suicide and Domestic 

Violence with guns. 


We also are continuing on our Climate 

Actions, with long standing 

efforts like the R.G.G.I., and adding new

 elements. Current actions include, but 

are not limited to, these 6 Domains;


-R.G.G.I.    Regional Greenhouse Gas 

Initiative, is a consortium of 9 Northeast

 states involved in a Cap and Trade 

endeavor. Originally, this was to be a 

national plan, but national politics 

precluded it. Vermont and these other

states created their own regional plan that 

continued to lower carbon use and

encourage the use of off-sets.


-Thermal efficiency: With much older 

housing stock, weatherization and high 

efficiency heating/cooling units help

 address one of the largest parts of 

Vermont's carbon footprint/


-Electric efficiency; Efficiency Vermont 

working together with our electric 

providers and consumers and businesses 

alike, has been working for decades 

on energy efficiency and conservation. 

Most notably , they expanded from simple 

High efficiency light bulbs to energy audits 

and individualized conservation plans

and  Cold weather  electric heat pumps, 

which can work in Vermont, even in 

temps down to single number cold.


-Transportation: with the recent VW

 settlement money, we are going to 

expand  electric charging stations across 

Vermont as well as create subsidies to 

help with purchases of Electric vehicles. 

EV are an essential part of reducing

 emissions.  Public transportation in rural 

areas continues to be quite the dilemma

and we will continue to work on options, 

such as Light Rail and the current Ride 

Share Vermont program, which 

coordinates car pools


- Forest and Agriculture; With 2/3 of

 Vermont land forest, our trees provide a 

large part of our ability to sequester 

carbon. Similarly our agricultural land can 

also sponge carbon, which is why our 

states RAPS(Required Agricultural 

Practice) support Regenerative Soils

programs among other ways to provide

for both carbon reduction & Clean Water.


-Alternative and Renewable Fuels; this is 

an area that has been providing that 

mutually beneficial combination of 

economic opportunity with green jobs and

environmental benefits. 


Solar, small scale wind and cogeneration  

continue to lead the way to a vibrant 

Green Economy  and lowering our 

carbon footprint.   

Vermont also boasts a largely Green 

electric portfolio with much of our electric 

production coming from Hydro in New 

York State and Quebec Province.


We have ambitious goals necessitated by 

the magnitude of our CO2 rising much 

faster than predicted.


To those who say, what difference can 

Vermont make, I respond, that little old 

Vermont has made a great impact 

historically by setting an example for 

others.


From Abolition to Marriage equality, 

Vermont has been  trailblazer, setting an 

example other states have followed.


By showing that a Clean Green Economy 

is the way forward to a cleaner planet and

economic growth, Vermont can , again, 

be a leader in creating a better today and

brighter future for our children, 

grandchildren and generations to come.






Breaking The Cycle of Childhood Trauma

by Rep. Mike Mrowicki

Windham 4 District

Ken Burns’ latest historical video narrative, “The Vietnam War,” reminds many of us of that historical era, the French and U.S. actions, and the proof of philosopher and essayist George Santayana’s words, “Those without a sense of history are doomed to repeat it.”

The documentary also reminds us of the systemic and righteous mendacity of U.S. leadership, oblivious to the huge ripples of suffering it was inflicting on peoples across the world. Suffering that continues today.

And, for what?

Even today, as a culture, we seem oblivious to the ravages of war’s effects, and also oblivious to how trauma keeps on ravaging those afflicted.

The fact that we ignore trauma as a root cause to many of the societal ills we face in our world, despite a growing body of research, also proves Santayana’s words. We continue to see rises in generational poverty, children with special education needs, addiction, mental health care needs, incarceration, chronic health challenges, and homelessness. And, in all too many cases, untreated trauma is at the root.

Twenty years ago, when the first research paper on the topic was published, it affirmed what many who worked in the field knew: that childhood trauma was prevalent and had real effects.

Now, mindful of a growing body of research that has taken place in the meantime, Vermont legislators and policymakers in Montpelier are seeking to better inform their fellow legislators and the general public as to the prevalence and effects of childhood trauma.

Trauma effects spin like a snowball rolling downhill, keeping people trapped in poverty. The behaviors that result from that trauma lead to chronic psycho-social and health problems and, often, to early death. This cycle is accompanied by huge human suffering and astronomical monetary costs.

Pretty bleak stuff, on one hand. On the other hand? The hope that anything we shine light on starts the process of change for the better.

Despite the good work that is helping, the societal problems we face now need societal solutions — and that means a cultural shift.

The Vermont Agency of Human Services has started formulating a plan to look at adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a public-health problem in the same comprehensive way that smoking was addressed 50 years ago.

At the time, 52 percent of people in the United States smoked, but an effort across the board emerged to challenge the status quo and, in turn, led to the measures to cut smoking rates. Currently, about 18 percent of people in this country smoke, and those numbers continue to decline.

The Act 43/ACEs Childhood Trauma Legislative Working Group — convened around the legislation (“An act relating to building resilience for individuals experiencing adverse childhood experiences”) that went into effect on July 1 — has been holding hearings to pull together a picture defining the problem.

We’re looking at best practices in addressing childhood trauma and, mostly, better informing legislators and the general public as to the prevalence and widespread, long-lasting manifestations of childhood trauma.

Alongside that though, we are asking the tough questions about evaluation and outcomes: What works, or doesn’t?

Obviously, if all the services we offered were as effective as we’d hope, the populations of the homeless, special ed, addiction/mental health, chronic health care, etc. would not still be rising.

We need to make sure monies we’re spending are being used wisely, and identify the holes in a system that need filling, if we want to stem the flow of those needing such a wide array of services because of what happened to them as a child.

We hope the testimony being heard will contribute to the body of work, help us build support for more comprehensively addressing this root cause of so many societal ills, and help put Santayana’s prophecy to rest.
We can learn from our history. We can stop the cycle of trauma that feeds those other negative behavior cycles.

We hope to add another way of looking at our world today: that things are not getting worse, but more is being revealed.

And that we would do well to hold on to one another and instead of being in denial of harsh realities, continue pulling back the veil together, and shining the light of hope.