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.

 


 Many Rivers To Cross; 

The 2019 Vermont Legislature


-Rep. Mike Mrowicki


Women’s Reproductive Freedom.

Ethnic Studies.

Fair and Impartial Policing.

Indigenous People’s Day.

Firearm Waiting Periods. 

Checks and Balances of Government.


These are just a few of the headline issues from the wide array of work from 2019, the first year of this Biennium of the Vermont Legislature.

While each House Member serves on one committee(2 for Senate) our work also entails staying on top of what all 26 House and Senate Committees are up to. And that, is both the best, and the hardest parts of work in the Legislature.

Serving on the Government Operations Committee, the breadth of the work can entail any part of state government, though much of it is basic nuts and bolts work, of town government.

Elections, however, are also a big part of what we look at. Getting closer to 2020 and the Decennial Census that informs the next Legislative Redistricting, we’re starting looking down the road at this. 

An aspect of restricting, that there seems to be consensus on, is changing how Chittenden County elects it’s 6 Senators. The proposal is to create two Senatorial districts and spread the Senators over a wider geographic area.

Another bill we started looking at, is to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local elections. There was not consensus, though, even  from students. Some were totally ready to start voting, and others said, we’re not ready. So, we’ll add that to the list of complex bills that need more time and we’ll finish in the second year of this Biennium.

This session has also, unfortunately had us spending a lot of energy trying to buffer us from the chaos coming from the White House.

We’ve pushed back from the Trump chaos in many areas, and nowhere is the contrast more sharp than what we’ve done in Vermont, and what’s happening in other states (like Alabama, Missouris, Georgia, etc.regarding Women’s Reproductive Freedom.


Those efforts are not really about stopping abortion, because wealthy women will always have access to abortion. This is another attack on the poor and allowing women to make choices about themselves, by themselves. And it’s important that ,as a man, I stand up as an ally to women who want to continue having this right. That’s why I was proud to vote for both bills in our two track plan, to put Roe v. Wade both in state statute and the Vermont Constitution.

Lastly, while Weather is not Climate, it creates the headlines and trends we see as evidence of Global Warming, and the legislature has been taking this seriously for years.

Since Gov. Shumlin made Climate Action a priority, in his administration, starting with bringing Bill McKibben to address the whole Legislature, we have been acting. On our own and with other states, even as the federal government, now led by the climate denier-in-chief, has curtailed or reversed actions previously undertaken.


Here’s a brief sketch of some of the domains we have — and will — continue to work within, to reduce our carbon.

-RGGI — The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative 

-Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry

-Thermal Efficiency and Conservation 

-Alternative/Renewable Energy 

-Transportation

We’re producing actions. $120 Million in this budget year alone Compared to most other states, these are indeed bold actions, even in little old Vermont. 

Please know,  we are pedaling as hard as we can on this and all the issues we undertake. We look forward to working together, with all Vermonters and doing even more in January ,the second year of this Biennium of your part time citizen Legislature.


Rest assured, we’re working hard to help create a strong healthy Vermont that works for all, not just a select few.




Here's a rough sketch of highlights of the

 2019 Session. A more robust report is on 

the Legislative updates page of this 

website.


You can also find more Legislative 

information on current actions and 

established laws at the legislative 

website;      www.leg.state.vt.us



GENDER EQUITY/WOMEN

  • H.57: Codifying Access to Abortion - PASSED

  • PR.5 - Awaits action by 2021-2022 Legislature

  • H.330: Repeal of the Statute of Limitations on Childhood Sexual Abuse - PASSED

  • H.132: Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence - in conference committee

  • H.19: Sexual Exploitation of People in Law Enforcement Custody - SIGNED


RACIAL JUSTICE

  • H.3: Ethnic Studies - SIGNED

  • S.68: Indigenous People’s Day - SIGNED

  • H.207: Montpelier Charter/Non-Citizen Voting - Passed House, no action in Senate

  • H.518: Fair & Impartial Policing - PASSED

  • All House members participated in implicit bias training


LABOR

  • H.523: Misc Retirement - SIGNED

  • H.321: Firefighter/EMT aggravated murder - SIGNED

  • H.16: Binding arbitration for public employees and municipal first responders - PASSED


CLIMATE CHANGE

  • H.63: Weatherization Bill ($2.25m) - PASSED - (Creates “all-fuels efficiency” to target thermal and transportation efficiency opportunities as well as what we’ve done with electric efficiency)

  • Budget - Weatherization $, EV Incentives ($2m), EV $ for State Fleet ($500k), Park & Ride expansion ($2.6m) - PASSED

  • S.96: Clean Water - PASSED (additional $7.5m this year for $50m total; $12m next year for $55m total)

  • S.113: Plastic Bag Ban - PASSED

  • BGS Weatherization (State Buildings - $300k in Budget)


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/INCOME INEQUALITY

  • H.533: Workforce Bill - PASSED

  • H.513: Broadband ($1.5m in budget; $1.3m new money in the USF) - PASSED

  • Child Care (wrapped into budget with $7.4m additional money appropriated)

  • S.108: Employee Misclassification - in conference committee

  • $2m increase for Reach Up participants in budget


VETERANS

  • S.111: Burn Pits - PASSED

  • H.394: Veteran Remains - SIGNED


HEALTHY COMMUNITIES


  • Taxation of E-Cigs (H.47 - SIGNED)  / Tobacco 21 (S.86 - SIGNED) / Internet Sales (H.26 - SIGNED)

  • S.49: PFAS - SIGNED

  • S.55: Toxics - PASSED

  • S.40: Lead Remediation in Schools/Childcare facilities - PASSED

  • S.37: Medical Monitoring - PASSED

  • S.169: Waiting Periods - PASSED

  • S.146: Substance Abuse Prevention Bill - PASSED - (coordinates substance abuse prevention across state government)

  • H.524: Association Health Plans, Health Insurance Marketplace stabilization & ACA codification - PASSED - (Codifies key provisions of the ACA into Vermont law)






from the 2018 Session: 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.