Good evening and I hope you have been keeping cool and taking in the sunshine! I love this time of year and seeing my garden exploding and spending time outside with TJ on free evenings. I have spent some time today reading about civil rights icon John Lewis who passed away this weekend. What a remarkable history. Here is a quote of his that spoke to me and is applicable to us all in these tumultuous times:
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”
― John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
This week felt intense and dramatic with news coming out of Manchester about a new kind of COVID test and dozens of presumed positives. A little further down you will see the latest update from the Department of Health which came out this afternoon. As of this afternoon there are only two confirmed cases from hundreds of tests. I’ve also included a link to a recent CDC study with two unknowingly infected hairdressers. They and their customers wore masks and the end result was ZERO customers infected. Coronavirus could be ‘under control’ in weeks if everyone wore masks, CDC director says
This is the last week for the added federal unemployment benefit.While it is possible that another federal unemployment benefit may pass, it does not appear likely that will happen before the current benefit expires. A reminder that workers who lost their jobs or are laid off due to COVID-19 are likely eligible for state unemployment. Many employers are also looking for help – I would be happy to try and connect you if you are looking for work. If you are ineligible for unemployment and unable to go back to work due to child or eldercare needs brought on by COVID019, there are a number of state benefit programs to assist which can be accessed by calling 211.
One of the most common complaints from citizens to their representatives is about the condition of the roads. One of the biggest factors having to do with the condition of the roads are the number of people that live in the town. This is counted every ten years during the census. The census count is taking place this year. For a number of reasons including federal confusion, COVID-19 and a push to gather information online – we are behind in counts. If you are living in Vermont – please make sure you have completed the census and ask your family and friends if they have completed theirs. The deadline has been extended until October 31st.
Visit the 2020 Census Help & FAQs page for more information.To complete the 2020 Census over the phone with a Census Questionnaire Assistance representative, call 1-844-330-2020.
Framework for hybrid learning released by AoE and the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union also released their current plan for the purposes of receiving public comment.
SAVE THE DATE: On Thursday July 30th at 7:00 pm I will be hosting a moderated online forum to hear your thoughts on the upcoming school year and answer questions on tax implications. I hope you will join us to listen or ask questions.
Sunday July 19th, 2020: Update on Positive Antigen Tests Reported from Manchester Area
Health Department so far finds no indication of COVID-19 spreading in the community
BURLINGTON, VT – Thirty-five of 63 people with a positive antigen test for COVID-19 reported to the Health Department by Manchester Medical Center since July 10 have had a PCR test.
Of those 35, 33 were negative and 2 were positive by PCR test.
The Vermont Department of Health treats all positive antigen tests as presumed positive cases, and has been reaching out to each person to give public health guidance to isolate, trace their contacts, and recommend a confirmatory PCR test.
As of July 18, all but 7 of the 63 people who had positive antigen tests have been contacted. Among those interviewed, most are not symptomatic, and have not been linked to other possible cases.
“Although the Health Department’s investigation is not complete, it appears that a majority of the positive antigen results have not been confirmed by subsequent PCR testing,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “We have not yet found connections that would lead us to believe there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Bennington or Windham counties.”
PCR testing was offered to the public last week in Manchester and Londonderry. All 405 specimens analyzed by the Health Department Laboratory were negative.
“This is a good indication that COVID-19 is not spreading in the community,” said Dr. Levine. “It does not mean, however, that people should relax their prevention practices: wearing a mask, keeping a 6 foot distance, frequent handwashing, and staying home when sick.”
Vermont Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Cares Act | Sole Proprietor Stabilization Grant Program Set to Launch
The current pandemic and necessary resulting public safety measures have taken a toll on businesses of many kinds in the State of Vermont, including Sole Proprietors. In order to provide some relief to the economic pain that Sole Proprietors have had to endure, the launch of an economic relief grant program has been announced which will provide grants of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 to qualifying Sole Proprietors through a Lottery draw. The program is funded through $1.5 million from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG Program, and passed through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD). The application window will open Monday, July 20, 2020 and grants will be awarded through a lottery system on August 14, 2020.
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) will be administering funds for the counties of Windham, Bennington, Rutland, Addison, Washington, and Lamoille. Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) will be administering funds for the counties of Windsor, Orange, Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Chittenden. This Program will use the Vermont based software development firm, Storm Petrel, LLC, and its Tempest-GEMS grant management application.
Among eligibility criteria businesses must:
· Be a Sole Proprietor, do not issue W-2s to any employees.
· Be a for-profit entity.
· Have a physical establishment (mailing address only is not sufficient) in the Vermont city/town of application.
· Provide goods or services to multiple clients or customers.
· Have annual gross revenues greater than $25,000.
· Have been legally established prior to or as of January 1, 2020.
Program breakdown, full eligibility requirements, application materials and timelines, as well as technical assistance and FAQs can be found at: https://www.vermont-cdbg-cv.com/
This program requires an applicant to have a DUNS # prior to registration for access to the grant management application. To request a free DUNS # go to https://www.dnb.com/. Potential applicants who meet all program criteria are strongly encouraged to start the DUNS # application process prior to the pre-application start date of July 20, 2020.
The registration window will be open from July 20, 2020 until July 27, 2020 and the Grant Application submission window will be open from July 20, 2020 until July 31, 2020. The lottery will take place on August 14, 2020.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham