Governor Peter Shumlin announced today that Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available to help those Vermonters left without work as a result of tropical storm Irene. President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) have declared the following counties as official disaster areas eligible for individual assistance: Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties. Under this declaration, individuals living, working, or scheduled to work in those counties may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits. ‘Tropical storm Irene has brought unprecedented damage and devastation to our state and to many Vermonters. I am very grateful to the Obama Administration and FEMA for their assistance during this difficult time.’ said Governor Shumlin. ‘Since the storm I have visited the communities impacted, and I am pleased that Vermonters may qualify for this assistance. We are dedicated to helping businesses reopen their doors and to supporting workers while they are unemployed as a result of this storm.’ ‘The flooding from Irene has resulted in temporary and permanent job loss in Vermont,’ said Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan. ‘We encourage Vermonters who have experienced job loss relating to tropical storm Irene to explore their eligibility for this assistance.’ The disaster assistance period begins August 27, 2011 and ends March 3, 2012. The filing deadline for individuals deemed eligible for assistance is October 7, 2011. The first payable week will be the week ending September 3, 2011. An individual must be continuously unemployed as a direct result of the disaster in order to continue to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. If eligible, he or she can collect benefits for the weeks during which they meet the necessary criteria. Individuals who experience temporary job loss as a result of the disaster and who do not qualify for State Unemployment Insurance Benefits, such as self-employed individuals, may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. An individual may qualify to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance if: You were injured in the disaster and are unable to work, whether you are an employee or self-employed.Your workplace was damaged, destroyed, or you cannot work because of the disaster.Your transportation to work is not available.You cannot get to your job because you must travel through the impacted area where means of transportation are not available.You were about to begin working, but could not because of the disaster.You derived most of you income from areas affected by the disaster, and your business is down as a direct result of the disaster.
A recent fundraiser in New York City, organized by former Vermonters, brought over $12,000 for Irene relief here at home. Blue Man Group supported this ‘I VT NY’ event which was conceived by two Vermonters who are now members of the troupe–Isaac Eddy and Zea Barker. The money they raised will be shared between the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund and the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. The huge Brooklyn Bowl complex hosted the evening while Amanda Palmer, an eclectic and very popular rocker in the cabaret and ‘Brechtian’ vein stepped up as headliner. A showcase of Vermont products supported the cause with donations from businesses as diverse as Burton Snowboards, Sugarbush Resort, Courierware, WhistlePig Whiskey, Quaker Hill Granola, Vermont Creamery, and The Center for Cartoon Studies. The Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Vermont came aboard as a major sponsor.‘Once again the farmer-owners at Cabot came through,’ enthused Eddy. ‘Cabot’s involvement was huge. They covered our expenses, guaranteeing that our gate and auction proceeds would all go to the relief effort.’While remarkable progress has already been accomplished, residents rebuilding their flooded homes, businesses and farms are facing a longer term recovery. Donations are still needed and can be made through www.vtfloodresponse.org(link is external). On stage, Palmer’s talents were joined by others, including The London Souls, Sonya Kitchell, D.J. Spirit Bear and Blue Man Group. An impromptu Palmer/Blue Man on-stage rave with Vermont maple sugarmaker Max Cantor, from Deep Mountain Maple in West Glover, was hilarious.The surprise of the evening was when Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, took the stage and paid homage to Palmer, thanking her ‘for being a voice for the people, for standing in solidarity, for being here tonight.’ Then, these two activists sang ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ and ‘If I had a Hammer.’‘Playing with Peter was a revelation,’ Palmer said later. ‘I felt like I was receiving a pure folk transmission.’ Looking back on the evening, Eddy’ feels ‘This was the moment in the night that made the whole event truly special.”Many artists contributed work that helped make this a successful evening. They included Brookfield’s Ed Koren, who designed the poster, and numerous others including photographers Mikael Kennedy, Brian Scott, Elise Rasmussen, and Bob Eddy. Original art was given by Samuel Rowlett, Alec Longstreth, Brett Haines, Amanda Palmer, and Jennifer Kahn.Darkcloud, a Vermont-born Brooklyn street artist, designed t-shirts and other artwork.Long Trail Brewing supplied the evening’s beer. To bring Irene’s impact closer to the NY audience, 30 video monitors throughout the Brooklyn Bowl showed photographs of Irene’s devastation in Vermont. All of them came from the pages of The Herald of Randolph.At the heart of the welcoming area, were Stuart Comstock-Gay and Scott McArdle of the Vermont Community Foundation, which has helped coordinate much of the philanthropic response following Irene.‘The energy of this evening is just incredible,’ said Comstock-Gay. ‘These people are enthusiastic, they are concerned, and they care â ¦ What’s become very clear to us is that when people are given a taste of Vermont, they care about Vermont. Vermont is a beacon of inspiration and hope.’ The cast and crew of Blue Man NYC enthusiastically supported this event because there are so many Vermonters in the group, including Brian Scott and Chris Bowen. –