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Ferrisburgh news for Apr. 9

FERRISBURGH — There has been such a change in our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new normal of schooling at home, working from home, or not working at all is creating uncertainty and stress for us all. Fortunately, there are several services that are designed to help us though this crisis so that we can emerge on the other side with our health and economics and community intact as much as possible. The following is a summary of a few of these services that will assist us here in Ferrisburgh or in communities statewide. 
Vermont 211 is maintaining a comprehensive and extensive data base of services — just call 211. 
There is a newly established Ferrisburgh Community Forum that can be accessed at tinyurl.com/FerrisburghCF. This is a listing of locals who can offer skills and services to our community during the stay-at-home period. Sheila Schwaneflugel started this up as a way to keep our community connected, so visit the document and add in any ways you can be of service. For more information, contact Sheila at [email protected]
We all need health care and health insurance, and if you need additional insurance coverage during this period, Vermont Health Connect has its website open and ready with a special enrollment period for those who may now be eligible for insurance benefits. Go to vtlawhelp.org/vhc-coronavirus.
For food assistance and other economic supports, visit the Department for Children and Families at dcf.vermont.gov. These programs are working to be readily available to Vermonters at this time. Child care has been set up for the children of healthcare workers and others who are designated as essential personnel. Also note that Vermont’s WIC food and nutrition program is ready to accept new families and is enrolling women and young children by phone interviews at healthvermont.gov/family/wic. 
The Vermont Department of Taxes continues to carefully monitor the evolving situation and is following changes at the federal level and adhering to guidance from the Vermont Department Health. See the department’s information on relief for Vermont taxpayers at tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus. Check this link periodically as the guidance may change. 
While you are in stay-at-home mode, don’t forget to take the census on line at census.gov. This is so important for us and our community. It affects school lunches, highway funding, federal health and welfare assistance, and so much more. 
The Counseling Service of Addison County is continuing with their client appointments by using telemedicine. They are available by phone at 388-6571 or after hours at the crisis support line at 388-7641. Many of us are experiencing a significant amount of stress during this time, so be aware of Vermont’s crisis lines, such as texting VT to 741741 or calling 833-888-2557 from 3 p.m.-6 a.m. In Addison County, WomenSafe is always available for those who are dealing with domestic or sexual violence. Their staff can be reached every day and at any time at 388-4205. 
During this time of “distancing,” a perfect solution is a walk or hike in our beautiful natural areas, such as the Ferrisburgh Town Beach or Mt. Philo State Park. Or consider birding at Dead Creek or Little Otter Creek Town Beach. There are good descriptions of these areas at Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s website, vtfishandwildlife.com. 
For safety reasons, the Ferrisburgh Town Clerk’s office is closed to the public but is still operating on a limited basis. If there is anything you need, call or email the town clerk at 802-877-3429 or [email protected]. There is also have a drop box that is right by the office’s door. For dog licenses, mail the dog license fee and rabies certificates to the town offices at 3279 US Route 7, Ferrisburgh, VT 05456. The fees are $9 for spayed/neutered dog licenses and $13 for the others. The office will also email or fax tax bills and other items as needed to residents. 
The Rokeby Museum is not open to visitors, however parents and teachers can still access their teaching materials for home-based lessons. Educational kits include speeches of historic abolitionists, including the famous speech by Frederick Douglass when he presented in Ferrisburgh in 1843, and Jesse’s Story, about the two fugitive slaves who escaped life in North Carolina and came to Vermont. All these materials are available (there is a small fee for some of the materials) at Rokey.org or by calling 877-3046. 
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has temporarily suspended its programs and hopes to open on May 23. Visit their website to learn of upcoming late spring events and exhibitions. You might also be interested to learn that the museum’s beloved Philadelphia II actually sank into the lake this past January. Visit lcmm.org to watch the video and read the description of the successful recovery effort of this replica vessel as orchestrated by the Museum with support from Ferrisburgh Road Foreman Jon Bull and his staff. 
It is so unfortunate that our schools have closed for the remainder of the school year — so many learning and sports and extracurricular activities have been cancelled in this era of pandemic. However, the learning has not stopped. Our teachers have worked hard to transition to all online education by providing ongoing lessons with take-home packets and also by virtual learning sessions. The distance learning plans and other updates can be found at vuhs.org. The most up-to-date information about our district’s response to Covid-19 is on the ANWSD at anwsd.org
The ANWSD food service continues to provide breakfast and lunch during school days. The school buses are running their usual routes two hours later than normal. If families would like meals for their household, meet the bus as it stops at your house. Families may also go to any of the ANWSD schools at 10 AM every weekday and pick up meals. For questions please call 453-7002. There is no cost for these meals. 
The Bixby Library is closed to in-person traffic but continues to offer remote services. Their free wifi will be active and patrons can use the wifi from outside the building. Bixby staff will maintain communication through the Bixby website, Front Porch Forum, Facebook and postings at the library. If you have already set up an account through the Green Mountain Library Consortium, you can check out eBooks and audio books through gmlc.overdrive.com. If you haven’t, you can log in with your library card, which begins with 2VSQI. Call 802-877-2211 or email Laksamee Putnam at [email protected] for help in accessing your library card information or setting up your ebook and audiobook listening. 
Bixby is offering book and movie pickup to all library patrons on Thursdays. Email [email protected] or call 802-877-2211, on Mondays from 12-5 p.m. or Thursdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. to ask for specific titles or ask them to pack up a selection of books or movies. They will check out your books and arrange a pick up time on Thursdays. Bixby is also creating care packages of free books and setting them out every Monday. They ask that you don’t open them and don’t touch every package. Just pick up, open at home and share on our Facebook page what you got. And please don’t worry about returning books until this crisis has passed. Many thanks to the Bixby staff for helping us to keep on reading during our pandemic home stays. 
Those of you who attended Town Meeting Feb. 29 heard the presentation by both the Town Buildings committee and the recently formed Friends of the Union Meeting Hall (FUMH) on the plans to restore the Ferrisburgh Union Meeting Hall. The FUMH is working in partnership with the town to plan and fund the repair of this magnificent building and the Town Green on which it is located. Built in 1840, this graceful Gothic building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and listed on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail. It was once the cornerstone of our Ferrisburgh community. 
Over these past weeks, the Friends and town Building Committee have been meeting with restoration experts and getting cost estimates for necessary work, and creating fundraising plans. Just a few of examples of what needs to be done are stabilizing the roof, adding an additional handicap exit, and, in a year or two, restoring the beautiful windows. Most importantly the Friends are planning on many programs and events to fully use the building and the Green year round, and build community spirit. 
Events and gatherings of course are now deferred until the COVID-19 pandemic eases. However, the town is drafting a grant to be submitted soon to raise some funds to make the building fully handicap accessible. If you have stories about the building and friends or family who used the building, or ideas as to how to support the funding, please email to [email protected].
You can find the most up to date health information on COVID-19 at the Vermont Department of Health website, tinyurl.com/qmsoz53 and also at cdc.gov. There is also a great listing of local resources and services on the City of Vergennes’s website vergennes.org/covid-19-information. 
Also, reach out to our Governor, elected senators and representatives with your concerns and suggestions. Senator Ruth Hardy has regular updates on her blog at: ruthforvermont.com/2020/03/14/covid-19-update. Our Ferrisburgh elected officials are:
Representative Diane Lanpher: [email protected] 
Representative Matt Birong: [email protected] 
Senator Chris Bray: [email protected] 
Senator Ruth Hardy: [email protected] 
NOTE: We are always interested in including a variety of Ferrisburgh-related news in this column, so if you have news that would be of interest, contact Sally Kerschner at [email protected]. You are able to access these columns and other information about Ferrisburgh news and events by viewing the Ferrisburgh Town Website at ferrisburghvt.org. 

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