An update from Wendy Pratt:
Here is an update in Rochester and the valley since our 1 p.m. town meeting (yesterday).
Select Board chairperson, Larry Strauss, ran the meeting. The church was full. He reported the following:
We are closer to having a land link and it’s being worked on in all 4 directions. There are conflicting reports on which road will be the first out of the valley. Some say that 125 is now open and you can get to Middlebury, but others have said it’s a one-way emergency only route. We have been told that they are doing great work on Camp Brook road and that should be open soon and there are Verizon and CVPS crews just waiting to come in.
There is supposed to be a FEMA drop today with cots, blankets, and emergency meals. They will be taken to the school which is housing people who can’t get to their homes or they were destroyed.
They worked hard all day to get the Hancock bridge passable and that is open now. They are working to get the route 73 connection with a foot bridge opened up. Someone thought that Plunkton road was open and you could get to Warren that way.
Fuel is going to be a problem. Peter Parrish and crew was working to get a generator up and running to allow people to get fuel at the Skip Mart. JD’s was the only place in the valley previously, but they were expecting to be out today.
There was very conflicting stories about power, but CVPS has made it into Rochester now and is starting to assess the damage. One guy at the meeting actually said it was going to be 3-6 months (yes that’s what he said) before power was restored. Others said that they just didn’t know.
There were 6 medical evacs out of town today and anyone with medical issues are asked to go through the town clerk’s office with any information. Apparently their phone is working.
The school generator is back up and running but with limited propane. People are invited to stay there and anyone who can supply bedding is encouraged to bring it in. The Federated Church is offering lunches and has milk to distribute.
Rochester Café has been providing free breakfasts and the Huntington House dinners. Mac’s gave out perishables last night and was open today for cash business. The Skip Mart has been open, and so has the Hardware and Credit Union. The Bank was going to try to open at least partially. JD’s has been open through the whole thing. I’m not sure about Hubbard’s, but I think they have been.
There were efforts to get Dr. Jewett in by 4-wheeler to man the clinic. That looked like a good possibility.
Dave Aldrighetti, from Bethel, and crew with meds and got a round of applause during the meeting.
Annie and Kathryn Schenkman have been coordinating with Gifford to deal with getting medications in and they were doing another drop this afternoon.
It was asked was people could do to help work on the roads, but there really isn’t anything right now except to stay out of the way of those that are working.
They are investigating possibilities on getting the cell tower up and running but Larry stressed that some of this was out of the town’s hands since we don’t own the tower.
The State Police arrived by 4-wheelers by way of Hunger Mountain during the meeting and they will be going around to assess the damage and coordinate efforts to organize help groups, etc.
The National Guard has apparently done fly-bys but has not come into the valley and the state police told us they are being directed by Vermont Emergency Management and they didn’t have any information on if and when the National Guard would come to help.
All updates will be posted at the Town Clerk. There will be another town meeting today at 1 p.m. with further updates.