We’re still in this together

As we continue confronting the new health enemy, as Vermonters we need to stand tall and be proud that, as a state, we’ve done a pretty stellar job in staying safe and keeping each other safe by following the protocols outlined by Governor Scott.

Congratulations to each and every one of you who has been steadfast in doing what we all were asked to do. Let’s all continue to be vigilant and celebrate our success in our own homes and look forward to the day when we can all celebrate together again—maybe six feet apart, but together.

A group of Charlotte citizens came together two weeks ago in a virtual brainstorming session to see how they could work together to help all Charlotters. They created a list of opportunities that help our residents cope with the current situation. This is an updated version.

If you would like to be involved and join this group, please email Margaret Woodruff or Cindi Robinson. The goal of the group is to share information and to communicate that with all of you.

Who is in this group?
Chris Davis, Town Emergency Management Director
Cindi Robinson, Food Shelf
Cindy Tyler, Karen Doris, Food Shelf
Margaret Woodruff, Susanna Kahn, Library
Betsy Lloyd, Elizabeth Skypeck, CCS Food Service
Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, Jim Hyde, Charlotte Congregational Church
Debra Kassabian, Mike Dunbar, Charlotte Crossings
Ruah Swennerfelt, Transition Town Charlotte
Carol Blanshine, CCS PTO
Carolyn Kulick, Lane Morrison, Senior Center
Dr. Andrea Regan, Charlotte Family Health Center
Vince Crockenberg, Charlotte News
Mike Yantachka, Vermont State Representative
Karen Tuininga, Transition Town Charlotte, Seed Library and Compost Project CCS
Tracey Shamberger, Age Well
Trina Bianchi, Charlotte Grange

Charlotte Food Shelf (please note change of hours)
The Charlotte Food Shelf is in the basement of the Charlotte Congregational Church. From the parking lot, enter through the vestry door. Food is available by curbside pickup on Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. If you need food or have questions, call Karen Doris at (802) 425-3252.

Free food available to all Charlotte children, 0-18 years
Meals are available to Charlotte residents’ children 0-18 yrs. Lunches include an entree, serving of fruit, vegetables and milk. Meals (for Charlotte) are ordered online. Go the CVSD website, and click on the menu icon at the bottom of the page.

Online orders are accepted online from Friday at 11 a.m. to Monday at 8 a.m. For Monday pick up. Even if you haven’t pre-ordered with the school, call the number below they will do their very best to provide them with food. Pick up is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at CCS—the West entrance, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  At each pick up, two breakfasts and two lunches are available for each child.

Contact-free delivery, if needed, can be arranged by contacting Elizabeth Skypeck at (802) 343-5982 or Naomi Strada at (802) 425-6651 in advance.

The food distribution program is scheduled to run thru 6/30/2020. For more information, email Elizabeth Skypeck.

Carol Blanshine is a member of the Charlotte Central School PTO and can be reached via email if you have questions for her.

Looking for help with the internet and communication?
Susanna Kahn, the technical guru at the Charlotte Library, is available for phone or online consultations/instruction/assistance. Need to access Zoom, but unsure how to start? Want to FaceTime with your grandkids, but have no clue how to do it? Susanna can be reached via email or by phone at (802) 425-3864 (The number is for the Charlotte Library; leave Susanna a message with your contact information.

From the Charlotte Library
Lots of resources and program information are available on the Virtual Library page.

Tech Help with Melissa Mendelsohn, Orchard Road Computers
Tuesday, May 5
Mac Users: 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Windows Users: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Q & A with Melissa and Susanna Kahn from Charlotte Library. Frustrated that you can’t figure something out on your laptop? Wonder why loading programs is taking forever? Melissa and Susanna will answer your questions and troubleshoot in live Zoom sessions for Mac and Windows computers. Register by emailing Susanna.

Transition Town Charlotte, Seed Library/Compost Project at CCS
Transition Town Charlotte is a group that supports community resilience (definitely something we need now!) through relocalization, reskilling and networking. Check out their their website.

If you have questions on how this group might be able to help you deal with a challenge you are facing now, feel free to email Karen or to call her at (802) 539-2935.

Charlotte Seed Library is a program at the library that offers information about saving seeds and general home gardening and food production. If you are thinking about starting a garden this year and would like information, this is a great resource. Send an email or visit the Charlotte Seed Library.

Can you drive and are willing to deliver meals to seniors?
Meals on Wheels could use more delivery volunteers. Contact Erica Marks, director of volunteer services at (802) 662-5249 or via email. The Shelburne and Charlotte coordinator is Shona Unsworth at (802) 985-9707 or via email.

From Tracy Shamberger, Age Well Vermont
In addition to Meals on Wheels, Age Well can do grocery shopping and run errands for essential items. While their team of volunteers have temporarily suspended face-to-face visits, they still provide and coordinate services for clients. Information about their Helpline and other services is below.

They also can use the help of volunteers and donations. A gift of any size will help reduce hunger and isolation for our older residents.

From Chris Davis, Charlotte’s Emergency Management Director
Keep up the great work of staying safe at home, and, those that are able to return to work, do so safely. We need to continue to observe safe distancing of at least six feet around non-family or close friend groups, and we should wear a face covering when we are near other people in public to slow the spread of the virus.

Here is some specific information received April 20 from the Vermont Department of Health, and the State Emergency Operations Center:
E-mail and internet scams are present and they are targeting towns so we should be careful with any suspicious e-mails. There was also an incident of a false VT Alert on texts in southern VT. It shows up as Vermont “e” Alert. This is a fake, and if we see anything like this they said to contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has slowed and the Health Dept. feels that they have flattened the curve. They stress that the virus is transmitting just as it has before, especially with asymptomatic individuals, so we should continue to follow all Vermont Dept. of Health recommendations.

Antibody tests are still not ready to be released in Vermont, but the DOH is working with the FDA on that.

COVID-19 tests are available after calling a person’s healthcare provider or the Vermont Department of Health at (802) 863-7240. Calls are answered 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Find answers—whether you are a health care provider looking for lab results, a returning traveler, calling from a long-term care facility or work in child care services affected by COVID 19.

For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-(866) 652-4636.

Other excellent information regarding all things COVID is on the Vermont Department of Health website.

Mandatory health & safety requirements for all business operations
(from the Vermont Department of Health website on 4/17/20)
All businesses must follow Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines:

  • Employees shall not report to, or be allowed to remain at, work or job site if sick or symptomatic (with fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
  • All employees must observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on the job.
  • Employees must wear non-medical cloth face coverings (bandanna, scarf, or non-medical mask, etc.) over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. In the case of retail cashiers, a translucent shield or “sneeze guard” is acceptable in lieu of a mask.
  • Employees must have easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer during duration of work, and handwashing or hand sanitization should be required before entering and leaving, job sites. All common spaces and equipment, including bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces and doors, tools and equipment, and vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected at the beginning, middle and end of each shift and prior to transfer from one person to another.
  • No more than two people shall occupy one vehicle when conducting work.
    Business operations deemed “essential” may continue to operate under pre-existing guidance with the addition of the mandatory health and safety requirements for all business operations above.

To safely reopen certain operations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and not defined as essential, the state has authorized the following services operating with a single worker (such as appraisers, realtors, municipal clerks, attorneys, property managers, pet care operators, and others) to operate if they can comply with mandatory health and safety requirements, with no more than two persons present at one time.

We will continue to meet and brainstorm about available resources. If you know of any that we have not listed, or if you have a different need, please feel free to contact Trina Bianchi, Cindi Robinson or Margaret Woodruff. As we start to see the start of life being renewed, please remember that this isn’t over and we need to be patient, careful and cognizant of staying safe and staying well. Stay well, stay safe!

Need internet access?
Is your internet access too slow or non-existent? There are a few hot spots in our town where, from the parking lot, you can access the internet without charge. From your car, truck, bicycle or on foot with your laptop, phone or iPad, you can connect to the internet in the parking lot at the Charlotte Library, Charlotte Senior Center and at CCS (Charlotte Central School). Further east, you can also access it at Spear’s Corner Store.