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10 posts categorized "Weather"

January 25, 2012

USDA's New Plant Hardiness Zone Confirms Vermont Is Getting Warmer


Vt"Hot enough for ya?" Get used to hearing that remark a lot more than you used to, or so say climatologists and atmospheric researchers. As this week's Seven Days cover story "Totally Uncool" points out, Mother Nature's warning signs are now big and obvious enough for even us nonscientists to notice.

The newest evidence? Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled its new, 2012 Plant Hardiness Zone map. The Vermont map confirms what local growers have been saying for years: The Green Mountain State is becoming more temporate and now more resembles the climate of Virginia in the 1960s.

What's worse, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their present rate, by 2080 Vermont will look and feel more like northern Georgia. The good news? More peach cobbler. The bad news: Say goodbye to real Vermont maple syrup.

Continue reading "USDA's New Plant Hardiness Zone Confirms Vermont Is Getting Warmer" »

November 18, 2011

The Alchemist Pub and Brewery Will Not Reopen

Foodnews-alchemistFollowing months of mounting challenges, Jen and John Kimmich have decided not to reopen The Alchemist Pub and Brewery.

The 10-year Waterbury landmark was devastated this summer by Tropical Storm Irene, which flooded the basement and filled the dining room with waist-high water. According to an email from Jen Kimmich, "Our basement was the lifeblood of our business — our brewery, our beer, all of our food and our offices were in the basement. Moving forward, we have come to the realization that rebuilding our basement brewery is not a viable option."

Despite months of work with the brewery's insurance company, the couple recently learned that none of the contents of the basement were covered.

Instead, the Kimmiches are focused on rebuilding the 23 Main Street pub, without the brewery. "John and I are determined to rebuild as fast as possible to contribute to the vitality of downtown Waterbury. We are in talks with a few different restaurateurs to take over the space," says Jen Kimmich. "We will find the best fit for Waterbury, someone who can continue to run the pub in a warm, friendly and accessible manner, and provide employment opportunities to our staff."

The seven-barrel brewery that formerly filled the basement downtown will be moved to the recently opened Alchemist Cannery and Tasting Room at 35 Crossroad, also in Waterbury. "Once we have installed the brewery, John will be hard at work to supply the community with his creative and tasty small production beers," says Kimmich. Hopefully, she says, those brews will be served on tap at the pub that takes over for the Alchemist. Look for more information in next Wednesday's Seven Days.

Eva Sollberger visited the former pub four days after Irene and captured footage of volunteers ripping out the bar.

September 05, 2011

Waterbury Cleans Up After Irene [VIDEO]

Last week, Eva Sollberger took her video camera to Waterbury to record the flood-recovery efforts. She captured footage of volunteers ripping out the bar at the Alchemist Pub and Brewery, and talked with Jeremy Ayers, who sells his pottery at Burlington's Artists Market. Says Eva, "Community spirit is high as neighbors and volunteers join together to dig in and clean up."

September 02, 2011

Construction Workers Stranded by New Flash Floods, Rescued by Helicopter

Chopper NYSP From the Vermont State Police press office comes this pulse-pounding tale about a road crew rescued from a new round of flash floods yesterday.

According to the state police, construction workers Kenneth Clark, 43, and Robert Butler, 25, both from Danby, were repairing a section of storm-damaged Route 7 in Clarendon on Thursday afternoon when new rain — and new flash floods — left them stranded on a dirt island with no way out.

From the VSP press release (apologies for all CAPS):

AT APPROXIMATELY 1721 HRS, VERMONT STATE POLICE DISPATCH RECEIVED A CALL FOR ASSISTANCE CONCERNING (2) CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WHO BECAME STRANDED AND ISOLATED ON A SECTION OF THE COLD RIVER AT THE RT7 OVERPASS IN CLARENDON, VT.
THE MEN WERE WORKING ON A SECTION OF RT7 WHICH COLLAPSED DURING THE STORM SUNDAY AFTERNOON. EARLIER THIS AFTERNOON OTHER PORTIONS OF RUTLAND COUNTY ENCOUNTERED A HEAVY RAINSTORM AND FLASH FLOODING CAUSING BOTH MEN TO BECOME STRANDED ON A PORTION OF EARTH LOCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER.
CLARENDON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND RESCUE PERSONNEL WERE CALLED AND RESPONDED TO THE SCENE.  RUTLAND TOWN FIRE DEPARTMENT, VERMONT STATE POLICE, RUTLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S AND RUTLAND CITY TECHNICAL RESCUE ALSO ASSISTED WITH THEIR RESPONSE.
DUE TO THE DANGEROUS RIVER CONDITIONS AND THE INABILITY FOR RESCUE PERSONNEL TO REACH THE TWO MEN, A REQUEST FOR AIR SUPPORT WAS REQUESTED FOR NEW YORK STATE POLICE (NYSP)AND THE VERMONT NATIONAL GUARD.
A NYSP HELICOPTER AND CREW ARRIVED ON SCENE APPROXIMATELY 45 MINUTES AFTER THE INITIAL REQUEST AND REACHED BOTH MEN, HOISTING THEM TO SAFETY WITHOUT INCIDENT. BOTH MEN DID NOT SUSTAIN INJURIES DURING THE INCIDENT.
THE VERMONT STATE POLICE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE NYSP, VERMONT NATIONAL GUARD AND ALL EMERGENCY RESPONSE AGENCIES WHO ASSISTED IN THIS EVENINGS INCIDENT.
Photo Courtesy of Vermont State Police

August 31, 2011

Putting Snooki on Hold to Save Vermont


215594_10150581311000297_624280296_18426137_3821723_n The "Jersey Shore" and disaster relief go together like spray tans and muck boots. Which is to say, not at all. But somehow, the folks behind the Tropical Storm Irene relief website vtresponse.com are making it happen. Inexplicably, the team connecting Vermont storm victims with eager volunteers are also the people in charge of a fledgling business called Reality Venture Capital. Their company name is a bit deceiving — a deep-pocketed venture capital firm they are not. At present, they run reality television fantasy leagues. Yep, that's right. Fantasy leagues are no longer the dominion of armchair quarterbacks. Reality tv fans can get in on the mix, too.

Sarah Waterman (who we recently wrote about here), 27, and Matt Sisto, also 27, are the masterminds responsible for creating the reality tv fantasy league concept. And don't let any reality tv fantasy league biters tell you differently. The business began as a hobby, says Sisto, who with a friend started assigning points to various reality show themes — vomiting, crying, hooking up, the word "situation," etc. Within three years, the idea grew into an online enterprise for the general reality tv-addicted public.

At present, they run a fantasy league for the "Jersey Shore," and they are just about to launch two other leagues — one for the "Real Housewives" series and one the upcoming Kim Kardashian wedding. So far, they have about 30 players, who get points when the characters they pick to be on their team do or say certain reliably predictable reality show things like getting drunk or telling someone that they're "not trying to make any friends."

The leagues, which are free to join, make money via web ads. Recently, they've been working on their business plan and getting all their legal ducks in a row (there has been some unwanted encroachment from sports blog Grantland, the pair say). But then Irene rolled in and soaked and flattened much of southern Vermont. That's when Waterman, a veteran Hurricane Katrina volunteer with a masters desgree in public administration, kicked into action. The pair, along with "social media ninja" Katie Kent, quickly set up vtresponse.com to serve as a one-stop shop for people looking for Irene resources. 

Continue reading "Putting Snooki on Hold to Save Vermont" »

August 30, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene Hits Vermont [VIDEO]

Like a true coward, I covered Tropical Storm Irene from the safety of my living room. I watched the WPTZ and WCAX news crews getting soaked to the bone reporting on the flooding and devastation across Vermont. 

I vigilantly monitored my Facebook feed all day/night on Sunday and saw shocking images that have since become iconic, the Bartonsville covered bridge collapsing (284,202 views on YouTube and counting) and a car being propelled down a river in Bennington (174,559 views and counting). 

Initially, some Vermonters felt the national media was not giving us much attention. After these striking images hit the internet, national articles began covering Vermont — from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, and all the way to the Daily Mail in England. We were the first story on Google News and VT flood videos were trending on YouTube.

Imagine if these brave photogs and videographers had not faced a deluge of wind and rain to capture these images? Would Vermont's flood be the current hot national news topic? I am very grateful to these fearless shooters who allowed me to include portions of their videos in this week's Stuck in Vermont.

Continue reading "Tropical Storm Irene Hits Vermont [VIDEO]" »

Federal Disaster Coordination Has Vermont Roots

Stafford When President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration Monday designed to bring federal support to the water-ravaged Green Mountain State, he did so under the so-called "Stafford Act." It was named for former Vermont governor and U.S. Sen. Robert T. Stafford.

The ironies don't end there.

Stafford championed federal funding for higher education (does low-interest "Stafford loan" ring a bell?), and the environment, including hazardous-waste sites and the Clean Water Act. He was also ... a Republican. And, like former Gov. Jim Douglas, a Middlebury College grad.

Listening to some of the national GOP voices calling for an elimination of FEMA or placing restrictions on federal funding of disaster relief, you can see the ideological shift from Stafford's days in the GOP to now.

Continue reading "Federal Disaster Coordination Has Vermont Roots" »

August 29, 2011

After Irene: How You Can Help Vermont

Shem2 Many people have been asking how they can help Vermonters who have suffered the most from the historic flooding Tropical Storm Irene caused on Sunday. Here are some resources with information on donation and volunteer efforts.

Before we get to the rest of the list: If you're looking to volunteer somewhere, or if you need assistance, visit VTResponse.com first. They've been doing amazing work linking up volunteers. That site should be your first stop if you want to lend a helping hand. (We've covered their story here and here.)

If you know of any relief efforts that aren't listed here, let us know in the comments. We'll update the list periodically.

Photo of flooding in Richmond by Shem Roose

Continue reading "After Irene: How You Can Help Vermont" »

August 28, 2011

Irene's Impact on Vermont: A Crowdsourced Map of Storm Photos and Videos (Updated 9/1)

Yellowhouse

UPDATE (9:45 pm): Parts of Vermont were simply devastated by Tropical Storm Irene today. Torrential rains have led to flooding in the state's rivers and streams. Historic covered bridges have been washed away. The National Weather Service expects floodwaters to crest in Montpelier overnight, and says it could be worse than the floods that inundated Montpelier in May. Numerous other Vermont towns are underwater or cut off from surrounding areas due to washed-out roads, too.

If you'd like to lend a hand to help local emergency shelters provide relief, please dial 2-1-1. And Twitter users are coordinating relief efforts using the hashtag #VTresponse.

We're still collecting photos and videos from Irene's aftermath for our interactive map. Click here to send us yours. And scroll to the bottom of this post to see the map so far.

 

Continue reading "Irene's Impact on Vermont: A Crowdsourced Map of Storm Photos and Videos (Updated 9/1)" »

August 23, 2011

Vermonters Freak Out Over Earthquake

XKCD

Comic by XKCD.com

So, I don't know if you've heard, but there was an earthquake today. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia was felt all over the East Coast and into parts of the Midwest. It was kind of a big deal in Washington, D.C., actually. The Smithsonian Castle sustained a bit of damage, and three of the pinnacles on the National Cathedral broke off. (But no, the Washington Monument is not leaning. And yes, Fox News said that.)

Yep, that's the same shaking we felt all the way up here. Seems kind of wild that we could feel a Virginia-centered quake in Vermont, right? Turns out it's because the rock here is "colder and denser," which allows earthquake shaking to travel a longer distance than out West. So now you know.

Continue reading "Vermonters Freak Out Over Earthquake" »

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