Many Vt. Irene victims still await buyouts - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Many Vt. Irene victims still await buyouts

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STOCKBRIDGE, Vt. -

"At my age, which is 82, it's basically having to start all over again," Dottie Casciotta said.

Casciotta says fresh starts can be great, but the road to recovery after Tropical Storm Irene has been a bumpy ride. Casciotta says she purchased her Stockbridge property in 1967 and imagined it would always be a place for her family to call home.

"I always thought that I would be here, and when I wasn't here anymore that they would still be able to enjoy, plus my grandchildren! But of course that's not possible. I think that was the hardest thing," she said.

Two years ago Wednesday, the tropical storm hit and devastated hundreds of homes across Vermont. Casciotta was out of town for the storm, and says coming home to the wreckage was devastating. Her house was still standing, but she lost everything inside.

"That was quite painful in that almost all of the pictures I had were beyond saving at all," Casciotta said.

Two years have passed and Casciotta is still waiting for a buyout. More than anything, she says, she wishes she could renovate and move back home. In order to have a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout, no houses can be rebuilt where the flood hit.

Casciotta isn't alone; out of 99 buyouts in the state, there are still 19 pending applications. Although time has passed, there are still 155 open cases with the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

"We just stood there and watched the brook come up and flood us," Glenn Eldredge said. "I wasn't scared... You are just numb."

Eldredge, another Stockbridge resident, says since Irene, he has been moving forward. The home he raised a family in was filled with 5 feet of water. He was able to salvage his woodworking tools.

"Here I am two years later, happier than I was two years before," Eldredge said.

And the rest, he says, will only be a memory of the past he is ready to leave behind.

Both Casciotta and Eldredge say it was help from the community that got them where they are today. They expect to hear about a buyout within 6 to 8 weeks.

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