HEARD ON THE STREET: 10.19.17

Angeleno’s Closing

After thirty-five years serving up pizza in Montpelier, Angeleno’s, on Barre Street across from St. Augustine’s church, is closing its doors for good this Saturday night (October 21). The owners hope folks will stop by for one last slice and to reminisce. They also urge everyone to support locally owned Montpelier restaurants.

 

Children’s Integrated Services Advocacy Builds for 2018

Advocates made substantial progress during the 2018 legislative session on increasing awareness about the importance of the prevention and early intervention services of Children’s Integrated Services (CIS), as well as highlighting CIS in the discussion about program funding within the Agency of Human Services. While the Fiscal Year 2018 budget did not include increased funding for CIS, both the House Human Services Committee and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee supported increased funding to CIS in their budget memos to their respective appropriations committees..

The Vermont Family Network and the Parent Child Center Network — organizations working on the issue — convened stakeholders in an advocacy call in July to work on crafting a compelling story for CIS investment and to make plans for advocacy in 2018. For more information or to get involved, contact Pam McCarthy at pam.mccarthy@vtfn.org.

 

Emergency Housing Funding Allocated

In July, the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) and the Department for Children and Families (DCF) announced that they would be able to fully fund the state’s General Assistance Emergency Housing Program. This comes after the Agency issued a warning to community agencies in late June that only three months of funding were possible. The earlier warning was driven by concern over $1 million in overspending for the last fiscal year.

For Fiscal Year 2018 (FY ’18), AHS now anticipates spending more than what the legislature appropriated during the 2017 legislative session. Although DCF had requested $3.3 million, the legislature cut the amount by $150,000 and appropriated a one-time sum of $600,000 to set up seasonal homeless shelters in Rutland and the Barre/Montpelier area.

Governor Scott’s administration approved the budget overage in order to fully fund the community-based investments in emergency housing that serve as better alternatives to motel vouchers. For more information, contact Erhard Mahnke at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org.

 

Preliminary Vote in Congress Cuts Afterschool Funding

The House Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Congress recently voted to approve a federal spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018 that includes a $191 million cut to 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. If ultimately approved, the cut would bring funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs below the current authorized level to the lowest level of federal afterschool funding since 2007. It means approximately 939 Vermont children and youths could lose access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs next year.

Although this bill has a long way to go, Vermont Afterschool is asking advocates to contact Vermont’s members of Congress to thank them for their support of afterschool and summer learning programs. For more information, contact Holly Morehouse at hollymorehouse@vermontafterschool.org or Cassie Willner at cassiewillner@vermontafterschool.org.

 

Vermont Early Learning Challenge Extended

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education have approved Vermont’s Early Learning Challenge application, extending the use of funds awarded in 2014 for a four-year cycle into a fifth year. The extension allows for current projects to continue supporting the early childhood system until December 31, 2018. For more information, contact Julie Cadwaller Staub at Julie.CadwalladerStaub@vermont.gov.

 

Vermont Opioid Deaths Rose 41% Last Year

An Oct. 7 New York Times article described the difficulties New Hampshire’s medical examiners are having conducting autopsies fast enough to keep up with the exploding number of opioid deaths in the Granite State. New Hampshire has more deaths per capita from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl than any other state, the Times reported.

How is Vermont faring compared with its neighbor to the east? Perhaps a bit better, but the news is not good here either. In 2016, Vermont experienced 106 accidental or unknown opioid deaths, up 41% from 2015, according to the Vermont Department of Health.

In Vermont there were 51 deaths involving fentanyl in 2016, up from five in 2010, and 51 deaths involving heroin, up from zero in 2010.  Prescription opioid deaths, at 38, were at the same level as in 2010 (the total numbers add up to more than 106 because some deaths involve more than one drug). The average age of those who die in Vermont from an accidental or undetermined opioid-related cause is 40, according to the Health Department. Men account for two-thirds of the deaths.

Some opioid-related deaths may not even be counted in the statistics. According to the Times article, drug users in their 20s and 30s are increasingly dying of heart-valve infections, known as endocarditis, that result from dirty needles.  The chief New Hampshire medical examiner told the Times that his state has “seen more endocarditis in the last two years than we have in the previous 15 combined.”

Vermont is making a push to improve treatment and recovery for opioid addicts in the state, of which there were an estimated 8,250 in 2015.  State officials recently announced that – after a coordinated effort by state, local, and community partners — the wait list for opioid treatment services in Chittenden County has been eliminated and that faster treatment in other counties is now available.

For information about opioid substance abuse programs in Washington County, contact Central Vermont Addiction Medicine at 802-223-4156 (emergency off-hours line: 802-229-0591).

 

Local Downsizing Group To Meet Oct. 28

The Montpelier Downsizing Group, an informal group of local residents interested in downsizing their living situations, will meet Saturday, Oct. 28, to hear from several speakers about new projects and ideas in the Montpelier area, including co-housing. Speakers will include Liz Genge of Downstreet, Roni Coleman of Homeshare, and Larry and Barbara Floersch, who are planning to build a small, one-story, energy-efficient home. The results of a recent survey of local residents interested in downsizing will also be discussed.

The meeting will he held Oct. 28 from 10:30 am to noon in the Hayes Room of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. The event is free, and the public is welcome to attend. For more information or to get on the group’s e-mail list, contact MontpelierDownsizingGroup@gmail.com.

 

Vermont Alliance for Retired Americans

The Vermont Alliance for Retired Americans (VARA) invites the public to attend the group’s annual conference on Saturday, October 28, at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center, on Barre Street.  The meeting will begin at 8:30 am with registration, followed by welcoming remarks from VARA President Jane Osgatharp, and an update on the Medicare for All national health insurance program legislation before congress.  Legislation introduced in the Vermont House and Senate will be explained by Deborah Richter, MD.  She will be followed by additional speakers and a discussion panel.   The VARA annual business meeting will bring the day to a close at 3 pm.

Registration for the conference, including morning coffee and VARA membership, is $15 ($20 for two). Lunch is $10. To make a reservation to attend or for more information, contact Jane Osgatharp, President, Vermont Alliance for Retired Americans, 10 Nelson Street, Montpelier, VT 05602; annajaneo@aol.com; Tel. 802-229-0850.

 

Vermont Health Connect Open Enrollment

Open enrollment for health insurance through Vermont Health Connect runs from November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017. For more information call 855-899-9600, or visit the Vermont Health Connect website: https://portal.healthconnect.vermont.gov/VTHBELand/welcome.action

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