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

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.

 


    The -Almost- End of 


 Legislative Session Report



Veni, Vidi, Veto

At the Boston Marathon several years ago a woman in running garb, named Rosie Ruiz, snuck out of the sideline of onlookers  a few miles from the finish line. She was ahead of any other woman in the pack and finished the race, with arms raised, as the winner. A short time later, an easy investigation confirmed that she was an imposter who jumped in at the last minute.

That's the best I can do to describe the Governor's action on the Budget this year.

With the Legislative session almost over the Governor once again brought forth a last minute plan to "supposedly " save $33m M in a $5.5 Billion dollar budget. Rightfully so Democrats are saying, "not so fast," especially when it comes to the "fuzzy math” in his proposal. 

While the Governor has been sitting out most of this Legislative session (except for the Gun Safety bills), Democrats have been busy trying hard all session to off-set the chaos coming from Washington and Vermont. 

 As the White House increased the income gap between highest earners and everyone else, in Vermont we strove to build an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy few. The Legislature passed an increase to the Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave and eliminating the tax for Social Security recipients who make less than $60k/ year. Democrats worked for an environment  that addresses the global challenge of global warming. We passed a bill to address systemic racism in Vermont. And, we recognized our schools for doing great work for our kids - saying our schools don’t deserve to be the Governor’s  scapegoat for blaming high taxes on.

 More so, we trusted our local communities to make school decisions that are right for them, balancing fiscal responsibility with a quality education for our children. And, when they brought budgets in lower that than suggested by the Governor we said, good job.

 The Governor’s reaction? Not good enough, as he tried to move the finish line after schools crossed the one established earlier.

 Now, the Governor wants to dictate to local school boards a Forced Student -Ratio plan on all schools, even though there is no evidence to support the numbers the Administration is insisting upon. Bottom line is, this is as bad an idea as the Governor’s  private prison plan that we rejected. 

We worked time after time to have a partner in Government, but time after time the Governor declined. Here’s just a few bills we passed and the Governor’s response:

 

Protecting children from Chemicals in consumer products.

Vetoed.

Protecting families from falling further behind by increasing the minimum wage.

Vetoed

Protecting families from lost work or wages because of a sick child or parent.

Vetoed

Providing appropriations for running of Government.

Vetoed

 

The list is longer, but I think you get the point. Veni, Vidi , Veto is not a governance plan. It IS a formula for destroying government -  which seems to be mirroring the chaos that’s coming out of the White House.

 

We will keep trying to work together, but it seems more and more like the policies we are seeing in Washington that cause concern are showing up in Vermont. That’s not the way to run a government that people depend on to provide basics like roads, bridges, schools, and health care.

 

Vermonters deserve better. It’s our quality of life that defines Vermont, and putting people first is how we’ll maintain that quality of life.People over profit. People before Politics. People first.

 

There’s more work to do, and Democrats will keep pushing to move Vermont ahead.

We want to  keep our quality of life in Vermont, and move into a better future for us and generations to come; building a strong , healthy Vermont.

                                                   - mike mrowicki



Public safety is our first priority as public

servants.

And, our children-and their parents- need to feel free from fear of going to school.

We've just passed some common sense firearms legislation that brings Vermont laws into the 21st century.

The debate continues, though as to whether they pass constitutional muster, especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. (I will also note that the Vermont Constitution also grants the right to bear arms. However, case law has consistently stated supremacy of the US Constitution over state constitutions. Also, McDonald v City of Chicago, reinforced that Federal Laws also apply to state and local governments)

The debate will likely continue on, and here's a contribution to the debate that was published earlier in April by the Brattleboro Reformer.



The conservative case for

well-regulated firearms

Posted Sunday, April 1, 2018 8:06 pm   Brattleboro Reformer

By Mike Mrowicki


The debates on whether to regulate firearms are proceeding, nationally and in-state. And, it appears the best case for the Constitutionality of "well-regulated" measures to help prevent Gun Violence, arises from the words of none other than arch-conservative Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia.

Scalia was, arguably, one of the most conservative Supreme Court Justices to sit on the US Supreme Court. Yet, within his writing of the majority opinion in the landmark 2nd Amendment Case, Heller v. District of Columbia (2008), he opens the door, and sets the framework for the well-regulated Laws we are working on in Vermont. This case, along with McDonald v. City of Chicago, definitively affirm the 2nd Amendment right to own a firearm for the purpose of self-defense. (McDonald v. City of Chicago also affirmed that the 2nd Amendment also applies to state and local, as well as federal government).

In Scalia's majority opinion of Heller v. D.C., he also wrote that the Second Amendment did not confer a "right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

 

In Scalia's majority opinion of Heller v. D.C., he also wrote that the Second Amendment did not confer a "right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

His opinion went on to affirm government's right to regulate firearms, including: Banning dangerous and unusual weapons (the military M-16 was an example); prohibiting firearm possession by felons and the mentally ill; forbidding firearm possession in sensitive areas such as schools and government buildings; and imposing conditions on the commercial sales of firearms.

This is the Constitutional framework Vermont legislators are using to craft well-regulated firearms legislation.

We have a problem in Vermont. We are no longer the safest state in the U.S. Vermont isn't even the safest state in New England, in regards to gun violence. You're now more likely to get shot in Vermont than Connecticut, where they've enacted stronger gun violence prevention laws. And, in cases of domestic violence, that likelihood is even greater, as we were all reminded by the most recent domestic violence killing of a mom in front of her child, in South Royalton earlier this month.

Well-regulated, common sense measures can help to reduce gun violence. That's why, following the Constitutional leading of Justice Scalia on the Second Amendment, I'm voting for "well-regulated" laws in helping reduce gun violence in Vermont.

State Rep. Mike Mrowicki is a Democrat who represents Dummerston, Westminster and Putney in the Vermont House of Representatives. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.



Keeping Up With Statehouse News 

With the 2018 Legislature here, if you’re interested in following The People’s work in the People’s House, it’s as easy to track as going online to;  www.leg.state.vt.us

At the Legislative website, you can see the House and Senate Calendar for the day,and the Journal of the previous days activities.
If you want to listen in to activity on the floor, there is a link on the website, and at the Vt. Public radio website, where 
You can listen to Streaming of proceedings in each body of the Legislature.

Along with that are the listing of all of the House and Senate Committees.If you click any of those links,
It will take you to the commmitee webpage, which lists the committee Calendar for the week, the bills that will be discussed, and witnesses scheduled to testify.

Also, on the main page of the Legislature’s website, is a search option to look up any bill.
You can also type in the name of any legislator and see the list of bills they are sponsoring.

Last but not least, you can also visit the Statehouse.
The People’s House is open to the People, and you can go into any room of the Statehouse and be part of the Legislative process.
If you contact your local legislators-us- we can meet you here.

Thanks,


David Deen     Mike Mrowicki

- Vt. State Reps. Windham 4 District



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.


Hate Has No Home Here!

STATEMENT ON THE TERRORISM IN CHARLOTTESVILE,VA.

While White  supremacists / domestic terrorists  such as we've just seen in Virginia have been around since the War to End Slavery in 1861, public outrage and a collective sense of decency have relegated them to the shadows.

The racist expressions and support by this President and his Administration,  have brought them out of the darkness and empowerd them.

We join our voices in shining light on this insult to decency and democracy.
We urge all to stand and be counted. 
It is the best way to send those who would destroy America and it's ideals of inclusion , back into the darkness.

Let the hills of Vermont  and America, ring with our words, Hate Has No Home Here!

-Mike and David