Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has added a new face to his administration. Eleven days after Irene rocked our region, a former top aide to Gov. Jim Douglas-- who at one point led the state transportation agency-- will now lead Vermont's storm recovery.
"Neale, from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank you for taking this mission," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Neale Lunderville will take a temporary leave from his post at Green Mountain Power. For the next four months he'll spearhead efforts to get Vermont families back in their homes, businesses back on their feet and state infrastructure back on track. And it's going to take a lot of money.
"We need to look in every possible rabbit hole for every available dollar. We need to shake every tree. We will look in state budgets. We will look in federal budgets," Lunderville said.
On Thursday the governor said Vermont is now facing hundreds of millions of dollars in road damage. At its worst, 450 miles of state roads were shutdown; 57 miles are still not functioning. That includes 34 state roads.
"These closures don't get any easier to resolve as they get less numerous, as a matter of fact just the opposite is true," Vt. Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said.
But tremendous progress has been made. Crews have been able to reconnect the 13 communities that were originally cut off after the storm. The governor is now concentrating on the state's east-west corridors. Transportation officials say Route 9 will reopen this weekend and Route 4 will accommodate two-way traffic by next weekend. But transportation officials say in order to get the roads open so quickly they've had to implement many temporary fixes.
"It means that Vermonters can expect in damaged roads like Route 4 and Route 9 to be traveling on highways more reminiscent of their great-grandparents' highways than highways of 2011," Shumlin said.
Lunderville's appointment to the Shumlin administration is sparking political concern. Some critics say the governor's relationship with Green Mountain Power is already too close. But the governor's response is that Irene is oblivious to party lines. However, during Lunderville's tenure any decisions involving GMP will be handed by Vermont Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding.
Friday, May 24 2013 5:38 AM EDT2013-05-24 09:38:41 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:52 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:52:17 GMT
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around. Route 15 in Underhill became a dead end -- between Poker Hill Road and Cilley Hill Road. Gushing waterMore >>
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:44:21 GMT
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Peter Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they now planMore >>
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they plan to fight the governor for the property.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-24 00:00:29 GMT
Steve Stitzel is a lawyer with three decades of tax sales experience. His firm represents towns from Bennington to Newport. He says in recent years towns have gotten tough on tax collections. "BudgetsMore >>
There are several steps before a home is sold in a tax sale. Once it is sold, homeowners still have a year to try to get back their property. And many do find a way to pay their back taxes and stay put.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, are now facing federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations. Other colleges facing complaints include Swarthmore College, University of Southern California,More >>
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, face federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations.More >>