Archive for 'News'

May 15

President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.

Every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them. The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven—responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.

WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.

Oct 16

A new Wal-Mart is opening in St. Albans, Vt., nearly 25 years after the company said it wanted to build a store in town.

Wal-Mart first got town approval to build a store in 1993. But the project never got off the ground after the Vermont Natural Resources Council and others successfully blocked the store from opening, causing Wal-Mart to give up the fight in 1997.

When local landowners wanted to rekindle the project in 2004, Wal-Mart said go ahead — but at their own expense.

The project again faced opposition from the Vermont Natural Resources Council, but this time the state supreme court sided with Wal-Mart.

The 146,000-square-foot store is opening Wednesday.

Oct 16

This bill, which will reauthorize the Rehabilitation Act, was passed out of the Senate HELP committee on July 31st.  The proposed changes within S.1356 are a bipartisan effort to strengthen employment opportunities, research and independent living services. We are focused on three significant changes to current law:  the creation of an Independent Living Administration (ILA), moving Vocational Rehabilitation to the Department of Labor and Section 511 of the Rehab Act.

Most disability advocates agree that the creation of an ILA is long overdue. However, moving VR and especially Section 511 have become contentious among some of our allies. Everyone can agree that paying subminimum wages to our brothers and sisters with disabilities in sheltered workshops is unconscionable, but many believe that Section 511 has the “potential” to funnel people into just those circumstances.

We support Section 511 because while not perfect, it is a vast improvement over current law because of the barriers and checkpoints it creates to prevent people from being automatically directed towards sheltered workshops. Current law does not prevent that from happening.

The problem is not Section 511. The problem is Section 14(c). Section 511 moves us in the right direction, creating meaningful obstacles to prevent people with disabilities from being shuffled into segregated, noncompetitive, subminimum wage employment. Attention should instead be focused on Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This anachronistic and discriminatory legislation continues to be an embarrassment to justice and inhibits the ability of our brothers and sisters to live independently.

It is important to remember that language for Section 511 is offered by Senator Tom Harkin, one of the most respected champions of disability rights this nation has known. Section 511 stands as the most realistic and effective solution in this tough political climate to decrease the number of workers with disabilities who are currently being used and degraded.

We stand with Senator Harkin in support of Section 511 and believe this section will do more to keep people out of sheltered workshops and subminimum wage employment than doing nothing at all.

Oct 16

In my early 20s I didn’t think much of swimming: it was boring, repetitive, slow. While it had been fun to mess about in a pool with friends as a teenager, for an adult who wanted a workout it held little appeal. Instead I ran. I ran for miles along the beach, cutting up to the cycle path when I met the rocks. I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t do it. I had friends who swam, but I always felt that running was far superior.

I was wrong.

A year and a bit ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune form of arthritis. A consultant told me to stop running, for a while at least. I ignored her, and one night in a fit of childishness threw on my running clothes and ran two miles to prove I could.

And I did it, I had defied her, but that night my knees seized up. They literally stopped being able to bend. I walked the two minutes to my surgery stooped over, sticking my legs straight out in front of me like a half-arsed goose-step imitation. I felt ridiculous, sheepish, culpable.

Running was out. Even turning a door handle was out: my wrists had frozen in sympathy with my knees. My body was on strike and I promised it never to be so stupid again, if it would only come back to me. I was filled with darkness, self-loathing and a horrible jealousy. I envied runners, I envied friends who could leap up stairs two at a time as if it were nothing, and I knew something had to change.

That change was swimming. My GP and consultant both recommended it, and a friend gently coaxed me with promises of beautiful Victorian baths with ceilings like the Musée d’Orsay until I gave in.

 I was amazed. Swimming returned a freeness which I thought I had lost, and I discovered how wrong I had been about it for all those years. You can get a brilliant cardiovascular workout in a pool and I was quickly away, swimming lengths as freely as I had once run.

 My joints improved outside the pool as well. I could feel my fitness returning and even my knees started giving me some slack.

Like many able-bodied people, exercising with disability was not something I had given much thought to before, but I started to wonder about the enabling powers of swimming, the way in which it is open to those who couldn’t otherwise exercise. Suddenly swimming seemed to me wonderful, an egalitarian form of exercise, one that  does not exclude.

People with a variety of experiences have told me how exercise has helped them. Swimming was mentioned many times. Elizabeth, who has fibromyalgia, told me that being in warm water in a hydrotherapy pool is excellent, but there isn’t one near where she lives, so instead she walks gently in the park.

Another friend, Catherine, who has ME, tells me she’s always found swimming to be great exercise: “It’s nice and gentle if you want it to be, but you can also go really fast. I always feel fresh and revitalised afterwards.”

She cautions that exercise can be used as something to beat disabled people over the head with. “There is a huge misconception that disabled people and ill people are lazy or need a push,” she says. “The number of times I get told my condition is due to lack of physical fitness or conditioning frustrates me.”

Disabled people who wish to exercise still face obstacles and prejudice. One friend, Jessica, wrote to me that “disabled people are not able to benefit much from exercise as little provision [is] made to facilitate it”.

I decided to find out what provisions were made for disabled people at Edinburgh Leisure. Heather Williams, disability sport coordinator for the company, tells me that all Edinburgh Leisure venues have hearing loops and pool hoists and that most have lift access. They also run quieter sessions with extra lifeguards for those with disabilities.

She talks about Jump In, a scheme giving eight weeks of free swimming lessons to young people with additional support needs. “It’s had a really good impact,” she tells me, adding that physiotherapists have commented on the difference the programme has made to patients. “It also increases feelings of independence and 86.4% of participants reported a rise in water confidence.” She says about children with cerebral palsy: “They’re quite restricted on a day-to-day basis but water gives them freedom.”

Claire Craig runs Healthy Active Minds, an exercise referral programme funded by NHS Lothian that aims to improve the wellbeing of adults with mild to moderate mental-health problems. She talks enthusiastically about the programme and the ways in which it has helped people, sending me a report demonstrating that 99% of participants enjoyed taking part and 87% said that exercising had helped them increase their goals. Swimming is popular, as are gym sessions: “things they can do in their own time”, says Claire. “I would love to see it develop – to look at enduring mental-health conditions and the people we’re not able to support. I’d like to increase the capacity so we can include more people”

I hope they can as well. Exercise, while not a cure or a universal panacea, can help a great many people if appropriately facilitated. For me, swimming was healing mentally and physically. I still can’t run properly without my knees punishing me, but maybe that will come back one day; for now, swimming has returned my ability to exercise and fulfilled the need to get my heart racing.

Oct 16

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa delivered the following statement on S.1356, the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 during a recent executive session in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. NCIL thanks Senator Harkin for his steadfast dedication to America’s Independent Living Program the rights of Americans with Disabilities.

Today we will mark up the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, a bill to reauthorize our nation’s primary workforce development system. Our actions today are crucial and long overdue – the last reauthorization of this law expired in 2003. With this mark-up we have the opportunity to strengthen the foundations of the existing system while modernizing it further to help workers get the service and skills they need and to help our businesses grow.

I am proud that the bill we are considering today is a strongly bi-partisan product, representing years of hard work by our committee. In particular, I would like to recognize the tireless and always-constructive efforts of Senators Murray and Isakson, who led this process for our committee and have been long-time champions of reauthorization.

I also want to thank the Ranking Member of the Committee, the distinguished Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander and his staff. We worked together in good faith to update amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, title V of this bill. We both share a strong commitment to helping individuals with disabilities achieve success in the labor market, and to improving outcomes for transition-age youth with disabilities. I am pleased to have worked with him in this effort and am glad we have a product before us today that we both can be proud of.

I know that members on both sides of the aisle have interests that may not be represented in this bill. At the end of the day, that’s what bi-partisanship is all about. We each gave a little to reach an agreement to move us forward. In the end, it’s this bi-partisanship that will set our work apart. I think we all recognize that it is past time to update the law. It’s important to help ensure job seekers have access to the services they need. This bill will also help our businesses grow and strengthen our regional economies. On a broader scale, this work is critical to America’s overall economic strength and ability to compete in the global market place in the long term.

As we have worked to modernize WIA, we’ve worked to maintain a balanced system that ensures a strong role at the local level to meet the evolving demands of regional labor markets. The bill that Senators Murray and Isakson have brought before us today strikes the right balance in achieving those goals. That’s why the changes this bill makes to strengthen accountability are critical.

For jobseekers and workers, a reauthorized bill means access to the training and employment services they need to find good jobs or advance. I appreciate that this bill responds to the calls for a more streamlined system in a thoughtful way. It requires states to develop and submit one unified plan to the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Labor, covering all of the programs authorized under WIA – job training, adult education, employment services, and vocational rehabilitation – streamlining administrative processes at the state level in a thoughtful way. It eliminates several unfunded programs and provides for an innovation fund that will help the system to identify and replicate the most effective strategies for workforce development. It also includes provisions to support better data and evaluations that can be used across all core programs, including common definitions and performance indicators.

Finally, I would like to focus on the improvements this bill makes to vocational rehabilitation programs and other provisions under the Rehabilitation Act, amended by WIA. We have a number of provisions designed to improve services to young people with disabilities while they are in school and as they are entering the workforce for the first time. These include a new definition of pre-employment transition services, a requirement that states spend at least 15 percent of their State VR allocation on transition-age youth, and strengthened national technical assistance to the states to help them do a better job serving this population.

Last Friday, we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a sad reality that, today, more than two decades after the employment non-discrimination provisions of the ADA took effect, more than two in three working age adults with disabilities are still outside the labor force—not working and not looking for work. For young adults with disabilities between ages 25 and 34, the gap in labor force participation rates is currently nearly 41 percentage points: 83.1 percent of young adults without disabilities are in the labor force, compared to just 42.2 percent of young adults with disabilities). Because of this gap, we pay special attention to youth with disabilities in the VR title, providing them with more opportunities than ever to experience competitive integrated employment and to reinforce high expectations for youth with disabilities. I am confident that the changes we are proposing for the VR title of WIA will help to close this gap in the coming years.

Another significant change in the VR title involves realigning some of the critical programs that serve people with disabilities in order to provide for better coordination and collaboration across federal agencies. Specifically, our draft moves the Rehabilitation Services Administration from the Department of Education to the Department of Labor; it moves the independent living program from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services; and it moves the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services. These changes, coupled with other provisions in the overall bill, will result in better coordination between vocational rehabilitation and the broader workforce investment system; and also better coordination and emphasis on the importance of independent living and disability-related research in the agency – HHS – that is best equipped to guide those efforts.

This is a very good bill and I am proud of our efforts. We owe it to America’s workers, businesses and communities to produce a bi-partisan workforce development law that supports States and regions while providing opportunities for advancement to the most vulnerable, especially those who face barriers to employment or the classroom.

Jan 06

The empty, mismatched buildings off South Main Street that are the Waterbury State Office Complex could be a bustling neighborhood, with shops, housing and nightlife.

That is the vision of the doers and dreamers who responded to the state’s call for ideas on what to do next with the flooded 100-acre campus.

 Three firms are interested in investing in redevelopment of the Waterbury State Office Complex into a mixed-use government, commercial and residential area, according to proposals they submitted to the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

The department issued a request for “any and all alternative use proposals for the site” in mid-October, with a due date of Nov. 3. It received 10 responses from architecture and engineering firms, project management and strategic planning consultants, and a state employee, as well as from the three developers.

The submissions are now being read and discussed by a committee of representatives from the affected state agencies, plus Skip Flanders, a Waterbury village trustee and an Elm Street resident. They’ll deliver their views to the Shumlin administration and the Legislature, where a decision for the future will be made.

 

Sep 19

BURLINGTON, Vt – To help entire communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene’s flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Vermont Emergency Management are working to make sure people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs have equal access to disaster assistance programs.

“We are committed to making the process of recovery available equally to all residents of Vermont,” said Craig Gilbert, Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA. “Our goal is to ensure everyone, including people with disabilities, have accurate and accessible information about federal and state recovery programs.”

In order to achieve this goal, FEMA coordinates efforts with state and local agencies as well as volunteer organizations to identify needs and locate appropriate resources. FEMA has a Disability Integration Specialist on site in Vermont to coordinate the various elements of the programs.

FEMA provides physical access to facilities and reasonable program modifications as needed. For example, brochures are translated into large print or Braille, access ramps provide entry into Disaster Recovery Centers and assistance is offered to complete forms. Also, sign language interpreters, amplified phones and other assistive technology are available by request.

FEMA’s TTY line (800-462-7585) and 711 or Video Relay Service (800-621-3362) can be used to answer questions or register people who are deaf, have a speech disability or hearing loss. Residents can also register with FEMA by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call

800-621-FEMA (3362). Help is available in most languages.

Those looking for the nearest disaster recovery center can check online at https://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/drcLocator.jsp or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 or for 711/Video Relay Service, 800-621-3362.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585; or call

800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to [email protected]gov. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed on-line at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Sep 15

Five days a week, Jason Woo washes dishes at McMenamins Kennedy School. He's struggled past his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder to find work through the state's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

After leaving her job at an adult club this July, the 28-year-old Woods has floated from motel rooms to storage units, living on Social Security disability insurance derived through her diagnoses of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She wants a regular job and plans to someday attend beauty school.

“I have no confidence that I can do anything, so school would be a start,” Woods says. “According to the government, I’m forever disabled.”

Woods is among the hundreds of thousands of people in America receiving Social Security income to offset mental illness, a number that social workers and college administrators say is growing to include the functional-but-troubled young adults who peopled stores and restaurants as cashiers and servers before the recession made even entry-level jobs scarce.

“It’s primarily economic desperation,” says Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. “People on the margins, they take a shot at disability.”

Before the start of the recession in 2007, more young adults with mental illnesses found basic jobs like Woo did, according to the Oregon Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“I didn’t want to hang out for a few years and wait for SSI,” Woo says. “I like to work and get paid.”

The Social Security Administration’s annual statistical reports track an increasing number of people younger than 65 who receive SSI for mental disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia. Between 2004 and 2007, the number grew in Oregon by 10.9 percent – from 26,542 to 29,432. During the next three years of the recession, the tally rose by 18.8 percent to a total of 34,956.

Michael Webb, Social Security spokesman, says the increases are inconclusive.

“While there is a general consensus that a poor economy increases disability applications, there is not statistical data available that would substantiate a claim that young able-bodied individuals are applying for disability regardless of the stated impairment,” he says. “In order to be considered disabled, you still have to meet our criteria.”

A job – any job.

In the midst of a poor economy, George Knox, coordinator of Portland Community College’s Office of Student Employment and Cooperative Education, sees many students looking for a job – any job.

“We have a lot of angry people,” Knox says. “We have students coming in desperate, trying to pay rent, maybe even trying to get a meal. In a normal year, you might see one or two of those people. I’m seeing one or two of them a week.”

Knox says that today’s competitive job market means employers are more selective. Young people visibly struggling with mental illness are often overlooked, he says.

 

“Everything’s heightened, harder,” Knox says. “Even during the job search. Everyone’s frustrated who’s looking for work right now, and it’s going to show up during the job search. If you’re also dealing with mental issues, it’s even harder to maintain a level of professionalism.”

According to some in the mental health field, economic difficulties faced by young adults with mental illnesses are compounded by treatment needs that can’t be met by private health insurance. Many young adults turn to SSI not only because jobs are hard to find, but also because the private health care system fails them.

 

Tamara Sale, coordinator of Early Assessment and Support Team in Portland, a community program, points to insufficient health care as a problem driving many young people to apply for SSI.

“We’ve developed a system where kids are forced on disability when they don’t want to go there,” she says. “The problem is that private insurance doesn’t cover counseling and a psychiatrist and occupational therapy and vocational support and family support.”

She believes that the state’s occupational rehabilitation office could be strengthened to provide troubled young adults with incentives.

Total disability

Woo found his job in 2008 through occupational rehabilitation. Six months earlier, he tried to kill himself by cutting his mouth in the front yard of his parents’ Northeast Portland home and was hospitalized.

“I was hearing things for a long time. People saying negative things about me,” he remembers. “It was getting really bad and I couldn’t live with it anymore.”

He’d cashiered at Plaid Pantry before his hospitalization and quit. By the spring of 2008, he was taking four new medications, and he was confident that he could work, despite severe side effects – twitchings in his leg and body shakes, weight gain and a lack of energy.

“I think things have gotten better,” he says. “I have more mind focus, working.”

He lives in a group home with other mentally ill adults, paying $318 a month for rent. Cascadia Behavioral Health’s Shelter Plus Care program matches the remainder of his basic bills.

“I’m, like, the only person in this building who has a job,” he says.

According to Robert Drake, professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth College and a national leader in the research of severe mental illnesses and vocational rehabilitation, Woo and other young adults with mental illness require jobs to live happily. The process of qualifying for disability payments and the assurance of federal funds only entrenches young people in their diagnoses, he says.

“You have to claim the totally disabled role in order to get support,” he says. “Most young people with mental illness want to return to work or school, but the mental health system and disability system are not lined up to help them.”

The model of a disability system that cripples recipients is present on a local level, some Portland-area workers say. David Kohler, program manager at Cascadia Behavioral Health’s urgent walk-in clinic, oversees Multnomah County’s worst mental cases, clients in crisis with nowhere else to go.

“Ideally, there would be the hope of recovery – having a life worth living, relationships, working, doing quote normal things,” Kohler says. “There are some folks that are so beaten down, and then they get their SSI and think, ‘Good, now I have this income, I can afford my studio apartment and I’m done trying. I’m not going to fight anymore.’ ”

Kohler believes SSI could be more effective as a step to recovery if the application process were faster and simpler, lending itself to early intervention. Applicants typically try three times before obtaining benefits, an effort that can take years of phone calls, letters and interviews.

Ask Julie Briggs, a veteran social worker at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Northwest Portland.

“So many people would have benefited if they’d gotten help sooner and their illness hadn’t progressed so far,” she says. “Most people on SSI are pretty disabled. They’re on SSI for a reason. There are not many people cheating the system.”

A program running through Central City Concern called BEST – Benefits and Entitlements Specialists Team – exists to help those struggling with chronic mental disorders get SSI before lives of long-term homelessness and illness drags them under.

“We do see a lot of people who to apply because they can’t find work,” says Kascadare Causeya, BEST program manager. “We ask our agencies to screen them out. So many of our clients really need SSI. They’re not able to follow through with jobs.”

‘Made me lazy’

Amber Lapp, a 32-year-old living in East Portland with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, tried for six years to get SSI benefits before she was granted disability status in 2008, qualifying for an income of about $670 a month – that’s about the maximum stipend collected by adults with mental illnesses in Oregon, with $515.77 as the average.

Lapp worked limited hours as a teacher’s aide at a Montessori school in Southeast Portland in 2007, but she says on-the-job challenges were devastating and aggravated her condition.

SSI’s criteria that recipients demonstrate an inability to work truly describes her, she believes.

“I don’t fit in very well,” she says. “If I’m in a situation where I’m expected to be consistent, I can’t do it. I’m also supersensitive. I can’t mend things with my co-workers. I can’t function when I’m misunderstood.”

Her mother, Carol Lapp, helped her through her first SSI application in 2002 and two re-applications. According to Carol, Amber is better off receiving income through SSI instead of getting rent money from the family.

“SSI makes her more confident,” Lapp says. “She was too comfortable with me giving her money.”

Lindsay Woods feels she doesn’t know how to make money. She was a cashier at Michael’s craft store in Northeast Portland for a year and half between 2001 and 2002. After she lost her job, she turned to SSI.

“I want to get undiagnosed,” Woods says. “But the economy being what it is right now and me having no education, I can’t get a good job. My mental illness – for the most part, it’s nothing I can’t really handle. The SSI money just made me lazy.”

By Alison Barnwell

The Portland Tribune

Sep 13

FEMA and the Vermont Center for Independent Living would appreciate your continued participation in the conference calls to discuss the impact of Tropical Storm Irene on individuals with disabilities and identified needs or concerns within the community.

The next two conference calls will be held on:

Friday, September 16th at 10am. The conference call number and pin include the following:

  • Conference Call Number: 1-800-320-4330
  • Conference PIN Number: 175651

Wednesday, September 21st at 10am. The conference call number and pin include the following:

  • Conference Call Number: 1-800-320-4330
  • Conference PIN Number: 175651

In order to ensure we have enough phone lines, please send your contact information (organization and e-mail) to [email protected]. We will be setting up captioning for the call. Please send other requests for accommodations.

Sep 06

1. The general feeling at this point is that the Waterbury Complex will be shut down for at least 4-6 months due to contamination and the need for recovery, at the least.  Significant amount of sewage waste (including oil) was contained in the water which flooded the complex. That and release of asbestos still present make for a toxic/hazardous environment. Indeed there is a possibility that the complex will be condemned and there will be the need for demolition and rebuilding, but THAT HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED YET. Thorough cost-analyses and benefit/cost considerations, etc. must be undertaken before a decision is made.

2. Waterbury State Office Complex employees are being temporarily relocated for now; intermediate (i.e. 6 month) housing is being sought and decided upon. (It is possible that the temporary housing could be one and the same as the intermediate housing.)

For now:

a. VABIR offices in Williston: 1/3 of DVR staff: Diane, James, Hugh, Jan, Cecile, Jerry. DVHA  offices on Hurricane Lane in Williston: Doug, Patrick, Susan Wehry, Bill Kelly (Business office director) and supporting staff.

b. Montpelier: Susan Seymour (for now); might be moved to the Barre VR offices

c. at DBVI offices: Fred Jones and Wendy

d. Karen Blake-Horne: Morrisville office

e. Trish Damery: 2 days a week from home; otherwise, Barre VR office

3. The AHS e-mail and Internet system has been incorporated into the State system (planned for some time, but sped up under circumstances). ALL e-mails will heretofore use the format: firstname.lastname.state.vt.us (e.g. [email protected]). The old format might redirect, but that is not certain. ALL E-MAILS SENT DURING THE OUTAGE MUST BE RE-SENT TO AHS STAFF (PREFERABLY, USING THE NEW FORMAT).

4. Routine business will be handled with minimum expected delays; however, it is possible that extensions and exceptions will be made under the circumstances. (For example, if signatory processes for grants and contracts are underway, but delayed, business will probably proceed as normal.)

5. All “snail” mail bound for Waterbury should be addressed as usual. The Middlesex postal station will re-route mail to the appropriate offices.

1.    The general feeling at this point is that the Waterbury Complex will be shut down for at least 4-6 months due to contamination and the need for recovery, at the least. Significant amount of sewage waste (incl. oil) was contained in the water which flooded the complex. That and release of asbestos still present make for a toxic/hazardous environment. Indeed there is a possibility that the complex will be condemned and there will be the need for demolition and rebuilding, but THAT HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED YET. Thorough cost-analyses and benefit/cost considerations, etc. must be undertaken before a decision is made. 

2.    Waterbury State Office Complex employees are being temporarily relocated for now; intermediate (i.e. 6 month) housing is being sought and decided upon. (It is possible that the temporary housing could be one and the same as the intermediate housing.)

 

For now: a. VABIR offices in Williston: 1/3 of DVR staff: Diane, James, Hugh, Jan, Cecile, Jerry.

         DVHA offices on Hurricane Lane in Williston: Doug, Patrick, Susan Wehry, Bill Kelly (Business office

         director) and supporting staff

         b. Montpelier: Susan Seymour (for now); might be moved to the Barre VR office

         c      “       at DBVI offices:  Fred Jones and Wendy

         d. Karen Blake-Horne: Morrisville office

         e. Trish Damery: 2 days a week from home; otherwise, Barre VR office

 

3.    The AHS e-mail and Internet system has been incorporated into the State system (planned for some time, but sped up under circumstances). ALL e-mails will heretofore use the format: firstname.lastname.state.vt.us (e.g. [email protected]). The old format might redirect, but that is not certain. ALL E-MAILS SENT DURING THE OUTAGE MUST BE RE-SENT TO AHS STAFF (PREFERABLY, USING THE NEW FORMAT).

 

4.    Routine business will be handled with minimum expected delays; however, it is possible that extensions and exceptions will be made under the circumstances. (For example, if signatory processes for grants and contracts are underway, but delayed, business will probably proceed as normal.)

 

5.    All “snail” mail bound for Waterbury should be addressed as usual. The Middlesex postal station will re-route mail to the appropriate offices.