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Stories of Vermont

Posted: 31 August 2011 in Uncategorized
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There are many stories emerging from the ongoing disaster in Vermont in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Here’s another of them:

In Rochester:

The White River washed away the town’s electric substation, cutting off power at about 3 p.m. Sunday. A mountain brook at the north end of the village turned into a torrent that swept away one house entirely and undermined the foundation of a second. One section of town, West Rochester, was cut off from the village when a bridge collapsed on Vermont 73, [Sandy] Haas [a resident and the area’s state representative] said.

The town’s water system was working, driven by a generator, but water had to be boiled — an impossibility with no power to homes.

In the absence of help from the outside, Rochester residents helped each other.

“People are really pitching in and taking care of each other. It’s really amazing,” Ross Laffan, a longtime resident, said Tuesday by cellphone. “The townspeople and the fire department have just been awesome.”

He said as many as 300 people came to a town meeting Monday and to a second meeting Tuesday, after they were alerted by volunteers who went door to door.

The town’s general store opened Monday to give away its perishable food.

“There were long lines of people,” Laffan said, “And long lines again this morning.”

Four restaurants were providing meals to residents, and volunteers at the Federated Church collected enough food to offer lunch Tuesday.

In Pittsfield:

With the bridges out in Pittsfield, Vermont, and its 400 residents marooned, Wall Street trader Scott Redler took matters into his own hands: He hired a helicopter and was back home in New Jersey yesterday afternoon.

Redler’s family were weekend wedding guests when Hurricane Irene’s heavy rains pushed the Tweed River over its banks, smashing at least 20 homes. With his 65-year-old mother running out of medicine, Redler,’s chief strategist, found a pilot charging $7,000 for the rescue.

“I wasn’t going to wait for the state or federal government,” Redler, 38, said yesterday from his mobile phone as he waited for the chopper. “I can’t trust them, because I know I’m not a priority.”

There are many stories emerging from the ongoing disaster in Vermont in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Here’s one of them:

Eric Cantor:

Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, is pressing for budget cuts to cover the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Irene and other disasters. . .

“Those monies” for responding to disasters “are not unlimited,” said House Majority Leader Cantor of Virginia in an Aug. 29 interview on Fox News. “We’ll find other places to save so that we can fund the role the federal government needs to play.”

Bernie Sanders:

As Senator Bernard Sanders toured Vermont by helicopter on Tuesday to assess the damage from what he said could be his state’s worst-ever natural disaster, the idea of cutting other federal programs to aid towns pummeled by Hurricane Irene was stoking his outrage.

“To say that the only way you can come up with funding to rebuild devastated communities is to cut back on other desperately needed programs is totally absurd,” said Mr. Sanders, an independent, responding to a call by leading Republicans to balance any financial relief with spending reductions elsewhere. “Historically in this country we have understood that when communities and states experience disasters, we as a nation come together to address those.

“That is what being a nation is about,” he said in an interview.