Category Archives: Tropical Storm Irene

Morrisville psychiatric facility set to open

MORRISVILLE — Vermont’s newest psychiatric facility is ready to take patients.
Green Mountain Psychiatric Care Center is set to open and be ready to receive patients on Wednesday.
The facility represents part of the state’s efforts to reorganize its mental health system following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, which flooded and forced the closing of the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury.
The state also is going ahead with plans to build a 25-bed psychiatric hospital in Berlin and expand or create smaller facilities around Vermont.

“Scar tissue” from Irene yet to heal, Wilmington waits on Sandy

By Kevin O’Connor | STAFF WRITER
WILMINGTON — Most of the 1,876 residents here in the Vermont town hit hardest by Tropical Storm Irene — still rebuilding a year after more than $13 million in ruin — weren’t happy to hear about this week’s arrival of Hurricane Sandy. But local bookseller Lisa Sullivan hopes the latest squall is just another chapter in a larger story of resilience.
Sullivan can tell you how she was inside Bartleby’s Books Aug. 28, 2011, when the nearby Deerfield River, normally 2 feet deep, swelled to more than 25 feet in a matter of hours — washing away her business just four months after fire destroyed its sister Book Cellar store in Brattleboro.
But Sullivan can also recount how, surviving hell and high water, she and her husband and supporters repaired her Wilmington storefront in time to reopen for holiday shopping last Black Friday, when the shop rebounded with its two single largest sales days ever.
Harnessing such spirit, downtown Wilmington opened for business Monday, even as electricity sputtered on and off and construction crews hammered away at neighboring landmarks such as Dot’s, a still-decimated diner deemed “a national treasure” by Gourmet magazine. Continue reading

Irene recovery fund pays out $2M to victims

MONTPELIER — A private fundraising group set up to help Vermonters recover from Tropical Storm Irene has paid out more than $2 million to flood victims.
There is another $2 million remaining in Vermont’s Long Term Disaster Relief Fund, but officials say they could still be short of the money required to meet the ongoing demand for assistance following last year’s flood.
So far, the fund has helped 195 applicants working to rebuild their homes and their lives after the storm.
Doug Bishop, the head of the fund’s allocation committee, says there are still several hundred cases being worked on throughout Vermont.
Bishop tells Vermont Public Radio that in some instances, case workers are just hearing from people seeking assistance.
The group is still actively fundraising.

Town rebuilds Fenway replica ball field

CAVENDISH — Volunteers in the southern Vermont town of Cavendish are putting the finishing touches on reconstructing a mini Fenway Park that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene.
Selectman Mark Huntley says Greven Field was destroyed when the Black River overflowed its banks and tore through the complex when Irene churned through Vermont in 2011.
After the town’s homes, businesses and roads were repaired, townspeople turned their attention to the field, a pint-size replica of the 100-year-old Fenway Park. The floodwaters destroyed the field, and its 16-foot-high Green Monster left-field wall was knocked over and covered with silt.
Huntley tells Vermont Public Radio the town is now transforming the field into a recreation center, with a volleyball net and a basketball court behind the reconstructed Green Monster.

Shumlin invites town clerks to Irene event

From the Vermont Press Bureau:

When Gov. Peter Shumlin says everybody is invited to tomorrow’s Irene commemoration in Randolph, he means everyone.

Shumlin last Thursday issued a personal email invitation to every state employee, as well as every town clerk inVermont.

The “We Are Vermont Strong Commemorative Gathering,” at the Chandler Centerfor the Performing Arts in Randolph, will feature music, video, art and lots of food. The concert hall opens at 6:30 p.m.

Town clerks might have a bit of a scheduling conflict. Tuesday is primary day and, in their roles as top local elections officials, clerks will likely have their hands full until 7 p.m., the statutorily mandated closing time for polling stations. Then they’ll have to count all the ballots.

Shumlin spokeswoman Sue Allen said the governor understands not every clerk will be able to make it. But she said he wants them to know how much their hard work over the past year has been appreciated, and that he’d love for them to be a part of the commemoration.

As for state employees, she said no one is required to attend. If they want to leave work early to go, she said, it’ll have to be on their own time, not the state’s.

Read the invitation here:

Year after Irene, celebration and mourning

For some, there will be block parties and parades. For others, a moment of silence. For still others it will be another day of struggling to clean up the mess.
A year after the remnants of Hurricane Irene unleashed the state’s worst flooding in recent memory, many Vermonters plan to pause on Tuesday and the days surrounding it to reflect on how far the state has come since the storm.
The biggest unifying event may be 30 seconds of bell-ringing Gov. Peter Shumlin has requested at churches and town halls for 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Landlocked Vermont suffered the worst damage along Irene’s trail of destruction, which left more than 65 people dead from the Caribbean to Canada. Among the most indelible images of Irene are cars tumbling in roiling waters and covered bridges crumbling against muddy waves.

Covered bridge reopens early

DUMMERSTON — A covered bridge in Dummerston that underwent repairs has reopened earlier than expected
The Brattleboro Reformer reports contractors have fixed an erosion problem after several delays and the bridge reopened Tuesday.
The 140-year-old bridge is structurally sound. The project involved repairs to the span’s “wing walls,” described as support walls for approaches.

Rochester remains scattered by Irene still not reinterred

ROCHESTER — Two dozen sets of human remains washed out of the ground by the remnants of Hurricane Irene sit at the edge of Rochester’s Woodlawn Cemetery, awaiting the work that will return them to the earth.
In locked concrete vaults impervious to the elements, the remains have been at the base of a wooded hill since they were collected from the open air after Irene hit Aug. 28, 2011, and turned the tiny Nason Brook into a raging river, digging into the bank at the back of the cemetery and washing out 50 graves.
More than two dozen sets of remains are still missing, washed downstream into the White River.
Sue Flewelling, of the Rochester Cemetery, is determined to see remains reinterred as close as possible to where they were first buried. The town is waiting on bids from contractors who will finish closing the gaping hole left by Irene, making it possible for the vaults to be reburied.
“If we’re lucky, we can get the ones that we have reinterred by the end of October,” Flewelling said.
She still doesn’t know how much it will cost to repair the cemetery. The town is expected to award a contract for the repairs within the next few days. Work is supposed to be done by Oct. 1.

Woman films how Irene damaged her town

PITTSFIELD — A Vermont filmmaker has put together a documentary of how Tropical Storm Irene has affected her town.
Marion Abrams has filmed recovery efforts from last year’s storm and flooding in Pittsfield.
Vermont Public Television is broadcasting the hour-long film, “Flood Bound.”
Abrams said something amazing happened after Irene hammered her town. Residents helped each other out by schooling children, cutting hair, cooking, teaching yoga, and other services.
She told Vermont Public radio she wanted people to understand and see how people faced their fears and came together.

Gov to visit 22 towns to mark Irene recovery

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin plans over four days to visit 22 Vermont communities impacted by Tropical Storm Irene to mark the anniversary of the storm.
Shumlin on Tuesday announced events that will be held to celebrate Vermont’s recovery from the flooding on Aug. 28, 2011, and to acknowledge that more work needs to be done.
A free statewide event will be held on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, with music, storm videos, artwork and photography.
Shumlin also is asking churches and town halls to participate in a statewide bell ringing for 30 seconds, starting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28.
For a list of other events and information on the recovery, visit