Quantcast

YCQM - David Coates - Oct. 23, 2011 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - David Coates - Oct. 23, 2011

October 23, 2011 -- David Coates, the chair of the Long-term Disaster Recovery Group, joins Darren Perron and Kristin Carlson to discuss finding the money for flood recovery.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I'M DARE DARREN PERRON DARE. WORK I'M KRISTIN CARLSON.

>> HOW DOES VERMONT RECOVER FROM TROPICAL STORM IRENE AND WHAT DOES IT COST THE STATE AND INDIVIDUAL VERMONTERS?

>> WE EXAMINE THAT ISSUE WITH OUR NEWS MAKER THIS MORNING, DAVID COATES.

>> WELL, DAVID, MAYBE A GOOD PLACE TO START. WHAT IS THIS GROUP?

>> WELL, THIS GROUP WAS ACTUALLY INCORPORATED LESS THAN SIX WEEKS AGO. SO WE'RE BRAND NEW. WE'VE BEEN BORN ABOUT A MONTH I WOULD SAY. AND OUR JOB IS THREE-FOLD. ONE IS THAT WE LOOK AT THE FUNDRAISING NECESSARY IN ORDER TO GET THE VICTIMS OF THIS HURRICANE -- OR I GUESS TROPICAL STORM IRENE, TRY TO MAKE THEM WHOLE. THAT'S ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF IT. HOWEVER, WE ALSO HAVE A LONG-TERM PURPOSE, WHICH IS TO MAKE SURE IF IRENE HAPPENS AGAIN, THAT WE'RE PREPARED TO HANDLE IT.

>> GOD FORBID.

>> GOD FORBID. NOW' WLS HAVE INVOLVED OURSELF IN A PLANNING PROCESS, SO THAT WE ARE WORKING WITH THE OTHER AGENCIES THAT ARE ON THE GROUND, RIGHT OFF THE BAT, AS YOU KNOW THE RED CROSS IS THERE, THE SALVATION ARMY IS THERE. AND THEN YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST RESPONDERS. THEY'RE ALL THERE. SO WE WANT TO COORDINATE ALL OF THOSE EFFORTS AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN AND IF IT HAPPENS AGAIN, AS I SAID, LONG-TERM WE'RE PREPARED. AND WE'RE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW. WE'LL HAVE PLANS DRAWN UP SO THAT WHEN THIS HAPPENS AGAIN, HEAVEN FOR GID IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN, WE'LL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.

>> HOW WAS THE GROUP FORMED?

>> WELL, ACTUALLY THE ADMINISTRATION I THINK STARTED ONE PIECE OF IT AND AFTER THE SPRING FLOODS, THERE WAS ALREADY A PIECE IN PLACE. A GROUP GOT TOGETHER AND THEY FORMED A DISASTER RELIEF GROUP AND THEN THEY TOOK PEOPLE FROM THAT GROUP ALONG WITH THE GOVERNOR'S APPOINTEES OF WHICH I WAS ONE AND THEN WE FORMED THIS NEW GROUP, WHICH WOULD BE THE LONG-TERM PIECE OF IT.

>> HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE, MR. COATES, THERE ISN'T DUPLICATION. THERE'S A NEW POSITION FOR A YEAR-LONG POSITION, THERE'S YOUR GROUP. HOW COULD YOU MAKE SURE THAT THINGS AREN'T BEING DUPLICATED OR MISSED?

>> THAT'S A BIG ISSUE FOR US. AND IT'S A BIG ISSUE FOR ALL VERMONTERS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DON'T DUPLICATE OR MISS. SO THAT'S WHAT WE ARE WORKING WITH THE ORGANIZATIONS. THERE'S PROBABLY -- THE LAST I THOUGHT UP TO 100 ORGANIZATIONS IN THE STATE WORKING IN THE COMMUNITIES, IN ADDITION TO THE LARGER ONES THAT WE KNOW OF LIKE OURSELVES, LIKE THE VERMONT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, THE RED CROSS, SALVATION ARMY. SO WE HAVE SOME SOFTWARE COMING THAT WE THINK IS GOING TO HELP US IN THIS PROCESS. BUT CLEARLY DUPLICATION IS WHAT WE DON'T WANT TO HAPPEN.

>> YOU'VE ONLY BEEN AROUND LIKE YOU SPHIED A FEW WEEKSES, SIX WEEKS OR SO. IN THAT PROCESS, HAVE YOU GUYS NOTICED OR OBSERVED MOVING FORWARD, HERE'S WHAT THE STATE SHOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY FOR THE NEXT DISASTER?

>> NOT AT THIS POINT. NO. I THINK IT'S TOO EARLY. I THINK WHAT WE DID WAS TERRIFIC. THE RESPONDERS THAT GOT OUT THERE, THE FOOD GOT TO THE RIGHT PLACES, THE BEDDING AND EVERYTHING ELSE. I THINK FROM MY PERSPECTIVE ANYWAY, WE DID A TERRIFIC JOB. IT'S JUST THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT NEXT TIME WE EVEN HAVE MONEY AVAILABLE. OUR FUNDRAISING, WHICH IS A KEY PART OF THIS, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE MORE THAN WHAT WE'RE HAVING TO NEED FOR THIS GROUP OR THIS TRAGEDY. BUT FOR TRAGEDIES GOING FORWARD.

>> THIS IS CALLED THE DISASTER RECOVERY GROUP. ARE WE AT A POINT YET WHERE WE CAN SAY THAT THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE IS OVER? ARE WE NOW LOOKING LONG-TERM OR ARE THERE STILL EMERGENCY SITUATIONS?

>> WE'RE LOOKING AT WHAT CURRENTLY HAPPENED RIGHT NOW. WE'RE PUTTING POLICIES IN PLACE TODAY THAT WE THINK WILL HAVE A LONG-TERM BENEFIT. BUT, NO, ANYTHING BUT OVER AT THIS POINT. WE DON'T HAVE CASEWORKERS IN ALL OF THE COMMUNITIES. WE NEED CASEWORKERS. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE DEALING WITH THE INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE BEEN THE VICTIMS OF THESE TRAGEDIES. MOST OF THE COMMUNITIES, THOUGH, AS I MENTIONED, THERE'S AN ORGANIZATION IN SOME CASES TWO OR THREE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE WORKING TO HELP SOLVE THEIR ISSUES ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS.

>> WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES THEN RIGHT NOW?

>> THE PRIORITIES RIGHT NOW ARE -- FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, THAT IS TO GET PEOPLE LIVING IN PLACES OTHER THAN COUCH SURFING, TENTS, IN THEIR CARS. AND THEN, OF COURSE, IT'S THE FURNISHINGS THAT COME AFTER THAT. I THINK THE FOOD PART OF IT HAS BEEN HANDLED REALLY WELL BY THE FOOD SHELVES AND THE SALVATION ARMY AND THE RED CROSS.

>> I THINK THAT SOME FOLKS AT HOME MAY BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT VERMONTERS ARE STILL IN THIS SITUATION, WHERE THEY'RE COUCH SURFING, LIVING IN TENTS, LIVING IN THEIR CARS. CAN YOU SPEAK ABOUT THAT ANECDOTALLY. WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN? WHAT HAS YOUR TEAM SEEN? WHAT'S OUT THERE IN THESE HARD-HIT COMMUNITIES?

>> WELL, I WAS IN RICHMOND EARLIER THIS WEEK. AND WHERE WE WERE SPEAKING, IT WAS IN A FIELD THAT HAD 3 FEET OF WATER PRIOR TO THAT. AS A MATTER OF FACT, ONE OF THE VOLUNTEERS ON OCTOBER 22nd AND WE'RE GOING BACK THERE TO HELP ONE OF THE BUSINESSES CLEAN UP. IT'S ALL OVER. I MEAN, THERE'S STILL MUCK OUT TAKING PLACES. AND I THINK OCTOBER 22nd IS A REASSURANCE TO THOSE THAT ARE IN THIS PROBLEM THAT WE HAVEN'T LEFT, THAT WE STILL CARE ABOUT THEM. AND I HOPE THAT WE CAN GET A LOT MORE DONE, BECAUSE AS YOU KNOW, WE'RE IN THE FALL TIME OF THE YEAR AND WINTER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

>> THAT'S THE CLEANUP AT A THAT THE GOVERNOR PROCLAIMED. WE'RE TAPING BEFORE THAT, SO THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ACTUALLY YESTERDAY.

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

>> CURIOUS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE FUNDRAISING. YOU MENTIONED THAT'S ONE OF THE GOALS OF THE GROUP IS TO RAISE MONEY LONG-TERM. AGAIN YOUR FOCUS IS LONG-TERM. WHERE ARE YOU AT WITH FUNDRAISING? WHAT HAVE YOU RACED?

>> KRISTIN, RIGHT NOW WE'RE AT $11.5 MILLION. BUT WE HAVE $200,000, $300,000, MORE THAT'S COMMITTED.

>> INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESSES?

>> IT'S A COMBINATION. WE HAVE ONE CONTRIBUTION OF $25 THAT IS FROM A 94-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN NEW ORLEANS. AND SHE SAID THIS IS ALL I CAN SPARE, $25. BUT SHE SAID I WANT YOU TO KNOW IN VERMONT I'M THINKING OF YOU. BECAUSE I WENT THROUGH KATRINA AND LOST EVERYTHING WHEN I WAS 89 YEARS OLD. IT'S COMING FROM ALL OVER. I HAD A PERSON SENT $10,000 TO ME. OKAY, NOT IN MY NAME, OF COURSE, BUT TO ME. SAYING I WANT YOU TO USE THIS FOR VERMONTERS HE SAID. HE SAID I JUST SAW IT ON THE NEWS, I KNOW YOU AND I JUST FEEL STRONGLY THAT I WANT TO HELP IN SOME WAY THAT I CAN.

>> HOW WILL THE REQUESTS FOR FUNDS BE HANDLED?

>> WELL, RIGHT NOW THERE'S A PROCESS THAT'S BEING SET UP. WE'RE KIND OF LIKE LAST -- IF YOU HAVE TO REGISTER WITH FEMA. IF YOU DON'T REGISTER WITH FEMA, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO BE OUT OF LUCK IN GETTING ANY MONEYS FROM FEMA AND FEMA CAN PAY UP TO $30,200.

>> AS WE'VE HEARD FROM VERMONTERS, DOESN'T GO THAT FAR.

>> AT LEAST IT'S SOMETHING. OKAY. IT'S BETTER THAN NOTHING. AND WE'LL TALK A LITTLE BIT LATER ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES WITH THE MOBILE HOMES I HOPE. BECAUSE I THINK THAT IS WHERE YOU CAN SEE WHERE THAT HAS A MAJOR IMPACT. YOU THEN HAVE S.B.A. INVOLVED. NOT ONLY WITH BUSINESSES -- NOT ONLY ABOUT BUSINESSES BUT WITH HOMES. YOU HAVE FUNDING AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. AS I SAID, THERE'S MANY AND UP TO 100 THAT ARE RAISING FUNDS TO BE USED LOCALLY. SO ONCE THOSE ARE EXHAUSTED, WE THEN WORK WITH CASE MANAGERS, WHO WILL PRESENT -- WE HAVE AN ALLOCATIONS COMMITTEE THAT IS A STANDING COMMITTEE OF OUR GROUP THAT WILL THEN WORK WITH THE CASE SUPERVISORS, WORKING WITH THE CASE MANAGERS AND THEY WILL DETERMINE HOW MUCH THEY WILL PAY OUT TO INDIVIDUALS THROUGH THIS ORGANIZATION.

>> IS THERE A CAP OF LIKE, YOU KNOW, SAY YOU HAVE IT LOOKS LIKE ALMOST $2 MILLION AT THIS POINT WITH SOME OF THE MONEY THAT'S PROMISED TO COME IN. IF SOMEONE COMES IN AND SAYS I NEED $50,000, ANY SORT OF CAP ON IT? WHAT IF SOMEONE NEEDS $1,100,000?

>> THERE IS NO CAP AT THIS POINT. I CAN TELL YOU -- YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT UNMET NEED, LET ME GIVE YOU THIS OTHER STORY, WHICH IS A GOOD ONE. WATERBURY DID THEIR OWN ESTIMATE IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD NEED. AND THEY LOST OVER 150 HOMES THAT WERE EITHER TOTALLY DESTROYED OR HAD MAJOR DAMAGE. AND IN THAT CASE AFTER ALL SOURCES OF RECOVERY MONEY FROM FEMA, FROM THE STATE, FROM THE LOCAL RELIEF FUNDS, AND INSURANCE CLAIMS, THEY ESTIMATE THAT IT'S GOING TO BE -- THEY'RE GOING TO BE SHORT $6 MILLION. SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT $1.5 MILLION, KRISTIN, THAT IS A DROP IN THE BUCKET, COMPARED TO WHAT I THINK THE TOTAL UNMET NEEDS WILL BE AT THE END OF THE DAY.

>> THAT'S JUST A STARTING POINT THEN.

>> STARTING POINT. RIGHT.

>> THE TOTAL PRICE TAG ON IRENE RIGHT NOW FROM THE STATE IS ABOUT $1 MILLION. I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT TO PUT OUT THERE. YOU HAD MENTIONED BRIEFLY HERE ABOUT THE MOBILE HOME ISSUE. WE'RE HEARING NUMBERS, ABOUT 850 HOMES TAJED OR DE-- DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SOUNDS AS THOUGH HALF OF THOSE HOMES ARE MOBILE HOMES.

>> THEY WERE TAJED. NOW IN SOME WAY, SHAPE OR MANNER. 170 HAVE TO BE REMOVED. THEY'RE TOTALLY DAMAGED, ENOUGH SO THEY CAN'T BE USED. NOW SOME OF THOSE HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMOVED I UNDERSTAND. AND, OF COURSE, IF THEY DIDN'T GO THROUGH THE FEMA PROCESS, THEN THAT'S AN ISSUE. BUT TO REMOVE A MOBILE HOME, THERE WERE ABOUT FIVE KIRCH REGULATIONS OR REGULATORY BODIES YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH. YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH FEMA, YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE INSURANCE COMPANIES. YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE BANKS, IF THERE'S A MORTGAGE. YOU HAVE THE STATE. YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH AND YOU HAVE YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY THAT YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH. AND ONE OF THE FINAL THINGS IS THE TAX ABATEMENT. SO WE'RE LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW ABOUT, OH, SOMETHING IN EXCESS OF 100 THAT NEED TO BE REMOVED AND I THINK I CAN SAFELY SAY THAT A WEEK FROM SUNDAY, TODAY, THERE WILL BE THAT PROCESS STARTED IN THE STATE OF VERMONT. AND I KNOW THERE'S ABOUT SEVEN TO TEN THAT ARE READY TO GO AND THE GOOD NEWS HERE, IF THERE IS ANY GOOD NEWS, IS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BE REMOVED AT AN AVERAGE COST OF ABOUT $1,500.

>> HALF OF WHAT IT NORMALLY WOULD BE?

>> ABOUT HALF, DARREN. BECAUSE THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SALVAGE A LOT OF THE MATERIAL THERE AND THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE ALMOST 80% OF THE MOBILE HOMEOWNERS ARE ON THE FIXED INCOME. THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THAT. SO THAT -- IF THEY DID, IT WOULD BE THAT MUCH LESS THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO USE OF THE FEMA MONEY. HOWEVER, I THINK THROUGH THE VERMONT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, WHICH IS ANOTHER ONE OF OUR PARTNERS, AND THEY'RE DOING A TERRIFIC JOB INCIDENTALLY AND OUR GROUP, THAT I CAN SAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ENOUGH FUNDS AVAILABLE TO REMOVE ALL OF THOSE HOMES. SO THAT GIVES THEM AT LEAST A START.

>> SO ALL OF THE 170?

>> ALL OF THE ONES THAT WILL BE READY TO BE REMOVED, WHICH COULD BE UP TO 140.

>> OKAY.

>> YEAH.

>> OKAY.

>> WHERE ARE THOSE PEOPLE NOW? I MEAN, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, 100 HOMES HERE. MOBILE HOMES JUST ALONE. WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE STAYING?

>> WELL, AS I SAID, THEY'RE COUCH SURFING, THEY'RE LIVING IN THEIR CARS. I KNOW OF ONE INSTANCE, DOWN IN JAMAICA AREA, THEY'RE LIVING IN A CAR. THEY'RE WITH RELATIVES. IN SOME CASES FEMA HAS PROVIDED MONEY SO THEY'RE IN HOTELS OR MOTELS. THAT'S -- AND THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING HIT AS HARD AS ANYBODY.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST UNMET NEED RIGHT NOW? YOU TALK ABOUT HOUSING. CLEARLY AN ISSUE FOR MANY VERMONTERS. BUT WHAT IS THE BIGGEST UNMET NEED, IF PEOPLE ARE AT HOME THINKING I STILL WANT TO HELP OUT.

>> IF THEY WANT TO HELP OUT, AS A VOLUNTEER YOU MEAN? IT'S A COMBINATION OF ALL OF THOSE THINGS. BECAUSE THEY STILL HAVE HOMES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN CLEANED OUT. BUT HAS TO BE DONE A CERTAIN WAY. THERE HAS TO BE TRAINING AND THERE ARE MANY -- THE FAKE-BASED GROUPS, THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE IN THE STATE HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB. THEY'RE ABLE TO GO OUT AND DO IT. BUT IF THE THREE OF US WENT OUT AND TRIED TO CLEAN OUT A HOME, IT WOULDN'T BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO. IT WOULD BE THE WORST I THINK THAT COULD HAPPEN TO THE HOME PROBABLY. YOU REALLY NEED TO GO WITH THE VOLUNTEERS THAT HAVE THE SKILLS TO DO THOSE THINGS.

>> HOW CAN PEOPLE SIGN UP TO GET INVOLVED, TO DONATE, TO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN SHOW THAT VERMONT SPIRIT THAT WE HAVE SEEN PRETTY AMAZINGLY?

>> WE HAVE. ALL ASPECTS OF IT. WELL, THEY CAN GO TO OUR WEB SITE THERE. IS IS A WEB SITE THAT WAS CREATED JUST FOR THE EVENT THAT'S HAPPENING -- IT HAPPENED YESTERDAY. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT. RIGHT. BUT THEY CAN GO ON OUR WEB SITE AND WE'LL GET THEM TO THE PROPER PLACE AND ALSO THE UNITED WAY.

>> THE VERMONT UNITED WAY. THERE'S A NUMBER OF AREAS AND ACTUALLY THEY CAN GO ON CWAX WEB SITE AS WELL.

>> WHERE DO YOU -- WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP? WHAT DO YOU FOLKS DO NEXT AS THE GROUP TO CONTINUE THIS MOMENTUM, THAT YOU GUYS HIT THE GROUND RUNNING?

>> THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF TRAINING LEFT TO BE DONE. WE NEED TO TRAIN THE CASEWORKERS AND THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. THEN WE NEED TO HAVE TERMS -- TEAMS THAT WILL BE ABLE TO DELIVER LONG-TERM CARE. OKAY. AND THAT PROCESS. SO WE'RE GOING THROUGH THAT WITH FEMA. AND WITH SOME OF THE FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE COMING IN AND TRAINING VERMONTERS. WE HAVE MANY TRAINED FROM THE SPRINGS, FLOODS THAT WE HAD. BUT WE NEED MANY MORE AND WE NEED THEM IN EVE COMMUNITY.

>> DAVID COATES, THE CHAIR OF THE VERMONT RECOVERY GROUP. THANKS FOR WALKING US THROUGH WHAT THE GROUP IS UP TO.

>> WELL, THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> YOU'RE WELCOME.

>> AND WE'RE BACK IN JU

>>> A CLOSE CALL FOR A BABY GIRL IN RUTLAND, WHO NEARLY CHOKED TO DEATH.

>> TWO LOCAL COPS RUSHED TO THE BABY'S RESCUE IN WHAT THEY SAY IS A CASE OF RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME. DEANNA REPORTS.

>> Reporter: BABY CHLOE SLEEPS PEACEFULFULLY IN HER MOTHER'S ARMS. LAST WEEK, CHLOE, JUST EIGHT DAYS OLD, GAVE HER MOM SKITE THE SCARE.

>> LIKE I HAD GOT BURN OUT OF HER. BUT IT WASN'T A GOOD BURN. SO I TRIED GETTING, YOU KNOW, MORE OF A BURN. BUT MY TIME WAS RUNNING SHORT.

>> Reporter: GRAY HAD TO RUSH DOWN ROUTE 4 FROM MENDEN TO RUTLAND TO PICK UP HER 3-YEAR-OLD FROM SCHOOL. A DRIVE THAT'S ONLY TWO MILES DOOR TO DOOR.

>> I HEARD HER LIKE VOMIT. >>

>> Reporter: THAT'S WHEN BABY CHLOE STARTED CHOKING. GRAY WASN'T WORRIED UNTIL SHE REACHED A RED LIGHT AND BABY CHLOE STOPPED CRYING. ONCE THE LIGHT TURNED GREEN, SHE SPED OFF TO THE SCHOOL AND RAN AROUND THE SIDE OF HER CAR TO CHECK ON THE BABY.

>> I SAW THAT HE WAS BLUE.

>> Reporter: SHE SAYS SHE FEARED THE WORST.

>> I DON'T KNOW. I WAS VERY, VERY SCARED. SO THE FACT THAT I DIDN'T KNOW IF SHE WAS -- IF SHE WAS GOING TO BE OKAY.

>> Reporter: GRAY WAS IN SUCH A PANIC, POLICE OFFICERS SAY SHE DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE THEY WERE PARKED JUST FEET AWAY. BUT IMMEDIATELY THEY SAY THEY NOTICED HER.

>> SHE WAS ACTUALLY HOPING THE BABY OUTRIGHT. WHICH AGAIN A MOTHER WITH A ONE WEEK OLD ISN'T GOING TO HOLD A BABY LIKE THAT. AT THAT POINT I SAID TO CHRISTOPHER THAT THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG HERE. THERE'S SOMETHING GOING ON.

>> Reporter: THE OFFICERS PARKED IN THE LO -- PARKED IN THE LOT FOR UNRELATED REASONS, CRADLED THE BABY. AND I WOULDED HER DOWNWARD TO ALLOW ANYTHING BLOCKING HER AIRWAY TO COME OUT. GRAY SAYS SHE'S GRATEFUL.

>> THEY'RE REALLY MY HOMETOWN HERO.

>> Reporter: OFFICERS SAY THEY'RE JUST GLAD THEY HAPPEN TO BE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

>> WE ARE VERY BLESSED THAT WE WERE AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. AND THAT WE COULD HELP AMBER AND CHLOE. AND THAT'S WHAT IT'S TRULY ABOUT.

>> Reporter: BABY CHLOE WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL AND WAS GIVEN A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH. DEANNA LE BLANK, CHANNEL 3 NEWS IN RUTLAND.

>> GREAT TO SEE.

>> YEAH. THANKFULLY SO. A VILE -- THERE MAY BE A SILVER LINING TO THE FLOODING FROM IRENE.

>> SOME VERMONTERS ARE LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE AND FOR THE BRIGHT SIDE. TANNING FOR A PRECIOUS METAL. JUDI SIMPSON REPORTS.

>> THE SAND AND THE GRAVEL IS ALL LIGHTER THAN GOLD. I'M PROBABLY GETTING MORE PEOPLE IN HERE LAUGHING AND THINKING THAT I'M CRAZY.

>> Reporter: MIKE STAFFORD HAS BEEN SELLING GOLD PANNING EQUIPMENT FOR YEARS OF THE AND WHILE SOME PEOPLE MAY BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THERE'S GOLD IN VERMONT, HIS CUSTOMERS HAVE PROOF.

>> THERE'S ONE FAMILY WHO SHOPS HERE AND IT'S A MOM AND A DAD AND THE CHILDREN. AND THEY PACK UP LUNCH EVERY WEEKEND. AND GO TO A LOCAL RIVER AND THEY LAST YEAR, FROM APRIL TO OCTOBER, FOUND ENOUGH GOLD TO PAY THEIR PROPERTY TAXES.

>> Reporter: JERRY STARTED PANNING FOR GOLD WITH HIS BROTHER 30 YEARS AGO.

>> HE WON'T USE ANYTHING BUT THE OLD FASHION ONE.

>> IT'S LIKE GOING FISHING WITHOUT SMELLY WORMS AND FISH HOOKS.

>> Reporter: AND WHILE HE WOULD NOT TELL ME HOW MUCH GOLD HE'S FOUND OVER THE YEARS, HE'S NOT HANGING UP HIS PAN ANYTIME SOON.

>> WE JUST DO IT FOR A HOBBY. MY SECOND CAR IS A VOLVO. THAT WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING.

>> Reporter: WHILE THE DEVASTATION FROM TROPICAL STORM IRENE IS STILL BEING TABULATED AND COMMUNITIES STRUGGLE WITH REPAIRS, ALL OF THE EROSION HAS OPENED UP NEW PLACES TO PAN.

>> THE DEVASTATION OF THE FLOOD, YOU KNOW, THAT JUST GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THAT'S AN AWFUL, AWFUL THING. BUT ON THE GOOD SIDE, AS FAR AS THE LOOKING FOR GOLD, IT MOVED THE GOLD. IT MOVED A LOT OF DIRT. IT CLEANED A LOT OF PLACES WHERE YOU HAVE TO DIG BEFORE. SO THERE'S A LOT MORE OUT THERE THAN THERE USED TO BE, AS FAR AS FINDING IS ERR CONCERNED.

>> Reporter: JERRY WOULD NOT TAKE ME TO HIS FAVORITE PANNING PLACE. HE DID HOWEVER SHOW ME THE CORRECT WAY TO DO. GOLD IS HEAVIER THAN WATER.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Reporter: YOU LET THE WATER WASH OVER THE ROCKS AND THE GRAVEL AND THE GOLD WILL STAY BEHIND.

>> IT WILL STAY BEHIND.

>> Reporter: AT LEAST THAT'S THE THEORY. AND WITHIN MINUTES I FOUND WHAT SING A COUPLE OF FLAKES OF GOLD. THAT LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE SPECK OF SOMETHING.

>> IT COULD BE. RIGHT HERE.

>> Reporter: YEAH.

>> ONE SHOULD GET GOLD FEVER, YOU'VE GOT IT FOR LIFE. BELIEVE ME.

>> Reporter: AND HE MAY BE RIGHT. JUDI SIMPSON, CHANNEL 3 NEWS.

>> YOU SEE JUDI'S LITTLE FLECKS OF GOLD SHE BROUGHT BACK.

>> SHE'S LIKE A FEW OUNCES AWAY FROM RETIREMENT HERE.

>> YEAH, RIGHT. IN THE 19th CENTURY, MANY VERMONTERS HEADED WEST FOR THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH.

>> A DIARY DISCOVERED HAS LED TO A LOVE STORY AND THE DOCUMENTATION OF A REMARKABLE VOYAGE FOR A YOUNG VERMONT COUPLE IN THE 1800s.

>> THIS IS A PICTURE ON THEIR FIRST ANNIVERSARY. >> AN AUTHOR FIRST DISCOVERED THE ALFRED DIARY BACK IN 1972.

>> OUT HERE.

>> Reporter: SHE WAS DIGGING THROUGH UNCATALOGED MANUSCRIPTS AT THE CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, WHERE SHE WORKS.

>> I PICKED UP THIS COLD COPY BOOK. I OPENED IT UP. I READ THE FIRST ENTRY AND I KNEW MY WHOLE LIFE HAD HANGED.

>> Reporter: BEGINNING ON THEIR WEDDING DAY AT THE LOCAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN 1849, THE COUPLE KEPT A SHARED DIARY OF THEIR LIFE, OBSERVATIONS AND POETRY.

>> AS A WOMAN, IT WAS A ROMANTIC STORY TO ME. BUT AS A HISTORIAN AND ARTY VISIT OF AMERICAN HISTORY, I REALIZED THIS WAS AN INTIMATE STORY OF SOMEONE FROM NEW ENGLAND, WHO MOVED WEST AND THAT TO ME IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING THEMES OF THE 19th CENTURY.

>> Reporter: ALFRED RICKS WAS HEADMASTER AT THE ACADEMY AND STUDYING TO BECOME A LAWYER. THEY BOARDED IN A HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET.

>> SO WHEN NEXT DOOR AN APARTMENT BECAME AVAILABLE, THEY MOVED. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S SO UNIQUE ABOUT THIS JOURNAL IS THAT ALFRED DESCRIBES THEIR RELATIONSHIP, INCLUDING THEIR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP. HE IS -- HE CLEARLY WRITES WHEN HE GOES TO BED AT NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT. EXCLAMATION MARK. INDICATING THAT HE WAS EXPECTING THEY WOULD BE HAVING INTERCOURSE. THIS IS PRETTY RARE.

>> Reporter: PRETTY RACY FOR A DIARY?

>> VERY RACY. ESPECIALLY 19th SEFNLGRY.

>> Reporter: BUT THE JOURNAL ALSO TOUCHES ON MORE IMPORTANT THEMES OF THE DAY. THE STRUGGLES OVER SLAVERY, WESTWARD MIGRATION, TEMPERANCE AND THE VALUE OF EDUCATION. BUT BY 1850, THE SMALL TOWN LIFE LURED THE RICKS AND MANY YOUNG SINGLE MEN TO LIGHT OUT FOR THE WEST.

>> ALFRED RICKS SET OUT FOR THE CALIFORNIA GOLD FIELDS ON AN OCTOBER DAY LIKE THIS ONE. HIS WIFE FOLLOWED HIM TWO YEARS LATER. NEITHER OF THEM WOULD EVER RETURN TO PEACHHAM.

>> THE FACT THAT A WOMAN LEFT BEHIND ON A MEN'S ADVENTURE, WHETHER IT'S WAR, THE GOLD RUSH OR WHATEVER, SHE WROTE HOW SHE FELT ABOUT THAT. AND WE HAVE VERY FEW SOURCES OF THAT LIFE, OF THAT FEELING, OF WHAT SHE FELT. AND SHE WAS VERY CLEAR THAT SHE WAS VERY UNHAPPY ABOUT IT. [BELLS TOLLING]

>> Reporter: AFTER DECADES OF COMPILING NAMES AND PLACE FROM THE DIARY, LYNN BONFIELD'S JOURNEY LED HER IN THE OPTION DIRECTION OF THE PEACHHAM'S.

>> WELL, A BIG CHANGE FOR A TOP VERMONT ATTRACTION.

>> THE SILVER MUSEUM IS GETTING BIGGER AND WILL NOW BE OPEN YEAR ROUND. JENNA HAS ALL THE DETAILS.

>> YEAR-ROUND OPERATION WILL BE A FIRST FOR THE MUSEUM.

>> Reporter: IT WAS A DREAM OF THE WOMAN WHO FOUNDED THE MUSEUM. AND NOW 60 YEARS LATER, THE WISHES ARE COMES TRUE.

>> AND THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MOMENT FOR THE COMMUNITY, FOR THE REGION, FOR THE STATE OF VERMONT.

>> Reporter: THE MUSEUM IS NOW ONLY OPEN FROM MAY TO OCTOBER. THE NEW CENTER FOR ART AND EDUCATION WILL BE OPEN YEAR ROUND AT 16,000 SQUARE FEET, IT WILL FEATURE ART AND LECTURES. THERE'S ALSO FOCUS ON ATTRACTING SCHOOL GROUPS.

>> AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND TO HAVE AN ENVIRONMENT, A PLACE TO BRING THE KIDS, FOR CLASSES, FOR LECTURES FOR EXHIBITIONS, IT'S GOING TO BE HUGELY IMPORTANT TO HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES IN SHELLBURN AND BURLINGTON.

>> YOU CAN SEE THE GREAT VIEW OF THE ROUND BARN FROM THE BUILDING.

>> Reporter: THE CENTER WILL BE BUILT NEAR THE PARKING LOT, MAKING ACCESS EASIER IN THE WINTER. TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW, THE OLD HAS TO GO. THE BUILDING, WHICH FEATURES MODERN DESIGN, WILL BE REMOVED. ALSO THE HEDGES NEARBY WILL BE RIPPED OUT, MAKING THE NEW BUILDING VISIBLE FROM ROUTE 7.

>> IT IS MODERN. IT IS MODERN. I WOULD SAY IT'S A COMBINATION OF MID-20th CENTURY MODERNISM AND CONTEMPORARY DESIGN:

>> IF YOU CAN IMAGINE TAKING QUILTS OR PAINTINGS OR DECOYS AND PUTTING A FOCUS OF MODERN MUSEUM LIGHTING ON THEM AND TELL DIFFERENT STORIES, BASED ON THE COLLECTIONS THAT THEY HAVE GATHERED SO MANY YEARS AGO.

>> Reporter: THE BUILDING WILL BE ENERGY EFFICIENT AND USE MATERIALS FROM VERMONT, LIKE STONE.

>> IT'S BEAUTIFUL ON ALL SIDES. I CAN TELL YOU. THAT

>> Reporter: THE NEW BUILDING ALSO COMES WITH A $14 MILLION PRICE TAG. THE MUSEUM HAS RAISED ALMOST $11 MILLION THROUGH GRANTS AND FUNDRAISING. OFFICIALS ARE CONFIDENT THEY'LL RAISE THE REST.

>> IT USED TO BE YOU WOULD SORT OF BUILDING IT, THEY WOULD COME. NOW WE'RE MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED WITH MODELING FOR WHO IS COMING WHEN.

>> IT'S GOING TO BE NICE TO HAVE THAT OPEN YEAR ROUND THE

>> SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF FAMILIES WILL ENJOY IT.

>> THAT WILL DO IT FOR US. TAKE IT EASY, EVERYBODY. WE'LL SEE YOU SOON.

>> TAKE CARE.

>> BYE.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.