GMUW Expands Tatum’s Totes to Newport Area

Tatums Donation_LauraThis is an exciting time for GMUW as, effective immediately, we are partnering with the Department of Children & Families to expand the Tatum’s Totes Program to the Newport District.  This is in addition to our collaboration with DCF in the Barre District.


Conversations with the DCF Resource Coordinator in the Newport office have indicated to both of us that children and youth in foster care in that area are in just as desperate need of personal items as in the rest of the state.  Many are placed in foster homes without advance warning, arriving with only the clothes on their backs.


Newport Tatums Delivery_May 2016To provide just a bit of security and self-confidence for these children and youth, the Tatum’s Totes Program was born in Rutland by a couple who lost a baby son to SIDS and then decided to become foster parents.  Seeing firsthand how little the foster child they took in arrived with, they took it upon themselves to work with the Rutland District DCF office and start the program.  Backpacks, tote bags or diaper bags are filled with personal hygiene items, age-appropriate clothing, a fuzzy blanket, and stuffed animal, diapers and some games and given to the child before being moved to a new home – something he can call his own.


Donations of money and new items to put in the backpacks are being accepted for this expanded program in the Northeast Kingdom.  GMUW is eager to help children transition into foster homes with as little fear and worry as possible.  We welcome your support and calls to our Derby Line office at 802-647-2148 or our Barre office at 802-745-0101.  A full description of this program and the items being collected for the backpacks can be found at


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Letter Carriers 24th Annual Food Drive

The National Association of Letter Carriers 24th Annual Food Drive on May 14, 2016 was a huge success for our local food shelves.  A phenomenal 19,518 pounds of food were donated by people in our five counties, which were then distributed to 24 different food shelves.  This is approximately 600 pounds more food than was donated last year.  The receiving food shelves are St. Monica’s Catholic Church and the Hedding Methodist Church in Barre, Montpelier Food Pantry at Trinity Church and Christ Church Food Pantry in Montpelier, CERV in Northfield, Marshfield Food Shelf, Middlesex Food Shelf, Twin Valley Senior Center in East Montpelier, Randolph Area Food Shelf, Duxbury Elf Shelf, Waterbury Food Shelf, Williamstown Food Shelf, Worcester Food Shelf, Hardwick Food Pantry, Kingdom Community Services in St. Johnsbury, Lyndon Area Food Shelf, NEKCA in the Northeast Kingdom, Orleans Food Shelf, United Church of Newport, and the Jay Food Shelf.
This NALC drive is the largest one-day event for the benefit of food shelves across our nation bringing in over 71 million pounds of food for the hungry.  The need is critical.  According to Steve Doherty of the U. S. Postal Service, “One in six Americans is unsure where their next meal is coming from.  Nearly 16 million children feel the impact of hunger on their overall health and ability to perform in school, and 5 million seniors over age 60 have to decide between daily meals or paying for rent or needed medications.”
Thank you to all who supported this very important food drive and helped to Stamp Out Hunger.  Green Mountain United Way is happy to assist the postal workers in coordinating the food drive each year, especially when we see how generous our neighbors are.  Stay tuned for information on next year’s drive scheduled for May 13, 2017.

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GMUW Reports NALC Food Drive a Huge Success

You’ve done it!  On May 14th, many of you participated in the 24th Annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive for local food shelves and helped to contribute more food than last year.


Green Mountain United Way helped coordinate the drive with letter carriers in its five county service area of Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington.  In just one day, 19,518 pounds of non-perishable food items were donated – nearly 600 pounds more than last year.  That food was immediately distributed to 24 of our community food pantries here in northeastern and central Vermont.  In the greater Barre/Montpelier area, food was distributed to St. Monica’s Catholic Church, the Hedding Methodist Church, the Montpelier Food Pantry at Trinity Church, the Christ Church Food Pantry, the Marshfield Food Shelf, the Middlesex Food Shelf, the Twin Valley Senior Center, CERV in Northfield, the Williamstown Food Shelf and the Worcester Food Shelf.


This NALC drive is the largest one-day event for the benefit of food shelves across our nation bringing in over 71 million pounds of food for the hungry.  The need is critical.  According to Steve Doherty of the U.S. Postal Service, “One in six Americans is unsure where their next meal is coming from. Nearly 16 million children feel the impact of hunger on their overall health and ability to perform in school, and 5 million seniors over age 60 have to decide between daily meals or paying for rent or needed medications.


Thank you to all who supported this very important food drive and helped to Stamp Out Hunger.  This is just one of the many initiatives that GMUW is actively involved in to make a positive difference for the people of our area.  If you were not aware of this annual drive, keep the second Saturday in May of 2017 in mind and on your calendars.


For more information about your local United Way, please contact them at 802-622-8056 in Barre.



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“See Something, Say Something” Campaign





May 23, 2016 – As the summer season brings people outdoors in groups to enjoy the warmer weather and festivities, we want to encourage folks to get out and enjoy!  Summer events are part of what make Vermont special!


However, law enforcement authorities would like to remind those attending any large or small group event around the state, that these events are an ongoing safety and security concern for organizers and police.  We’d like to invite folks who attend these events to enjoy, but also be wary of suspicious activity.


The Vermont Intelligence Center would like to announce a revamped tip program.  Called “See Something, Say Something”, it is an awareness campaign and a tip hotline aimed at giving citizens the information and tools to report suspicious activity, at any time or place.


“See Something, Say Something” is a brand utilized by many states across the country.  The message is simple: please speak up if you witness any unusual behavior.  We need all Vermonters to speak up to keep our communities safe.


To report suspicious activities, a new tip hotline has been established in Vermont at 844-848-8477. can also be utilized for internet based reporting.  In both reporting methods a person can remain anonymous if they wish. Phone calls and web tips are forwarded to the Vermont Intelligence Center, which is the state’s Fusion Center.


Folks are also encouraged to call 911, if an immediate police response is needed.


Vermont law enforcement agencies, Vermont Intelligence Center and first responders wish to reassure citizens that authorities are ever vigilant.  This is our commitment, and pledge, every day of the year.  But we have strength in numbers, and law enforcement welcomes the vigilance of the public.  Officers will be out in force around the state at major events to protect participants.  However we encourage anyone who witnesses strange or unusual behavior at these events or elsewhere around the state, to alert officers on scene, utilize the “See Something, Say Something” tip line, or call 911 immediately.


Please alert law enforcement if: 


–          If you see a package, backpack or any other item left unattended.

–          If you witness someone taking pictures of infrastructure items, access points, or other security related activities.

–          If you witness the same car and/or person parked in a sensitive location.

–          If you see behavior that strikes you as odd or out-of-place.


We encourage the public to keep this theme in mind year-round.  While major events with large gatherings are a concern, so is every event or place in Vermont, large or small.  Law enforcement cannot be everywhere all the time.  But our citizens are, and we hope if you “See Something”, you will “Say Something”.


Links to more information about the “See Something, Say Something” program:

Vermont Intelligence Center – See Something, Say Something

Vermont Intelligence Center | Vermont State Police


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Tourism Sector Moves On From Winter

Mon, 05/23/2016

by C.B. Hall Vermont Business Magazine With a frustrating ski season receding into the past, Vermont’s tourism sector is turning attention to how well it will fare as the rest of 2016 unfolds. Were there underlying factors this winter, beyond the weather, that are poised to take a bite out of summer travel, too? Or will tourism rebound as the gray landscape takes on a vernal green?

“I think we’re really going to see some great numbers,” Nick Longo, Burlington International Airport’s director of planning and development, told VBM.

Vermont is counting on a strong summer tourism season, as the state shakes off a dismal winter and the economy keeps slowly growing. Vermont Fish & Wildlife photo. ABOVE. An early morning round. Okemo Valley Golf Club photo.

His optimism matched that the industry-wide assessment that Vermont tourism is fundamentally strong. But there’s good reason to stay on top of the numbers. The Vermont economy is substantially more dependent on tourist spending than the U.S. economy in general is: The accommodations sector represents 3.29 times the share of the Vermont economy that it does of the national economy, according to federal statistics. In 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, tourism accounted for $2.49 billion, or more than 8 percent, of the state’s economic output, according to a “benchmark report” prepared by Ken Jones, economic research analyst at the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD).

Traffic at Longo’s airport took a big hit when the Great Recession arrived in 2008. Those figures bear scrutiny, since, even with that downturn history, enplanement and deplanement numbers have not recovered.

In fact, enplanements have gotten worse every year since 2008, going from 749,000 to 594,000 in 2015, with the 2014-2015 drop coming in at 2.9 percent. Deplanements have slid every year since 2009, falling 1.7 percent between 2014 and 2015. US border-crossing statistics recorded a 10.4 percent drop in entries into Vermont from Canada from 2014 to 2015, in terms of total passengers in private vehicles.

Some have wagged a finger of blame at the slide in the Canadian dollar, which was valued at 79 US cents as of press time.

“That’s significant both in tourism and some sales and use figures,” Williamstown-based economic analyst Tom Kavet said. “You used to hear a lot of French in some of the retail outlets in Burlington. That’s a thing of the past.”

But Longo felt that Canadians, who provide 30 percent of his airport’s traffic, and whom interviewees for this article termed a very loyal clientele, came through the airport in good numbers this ski season, and surmised that BTV’s long-term traffic decline may stem from a shift from the airways to the highways, as people take a harder look at their discretionary spending.

Using Vermont’s largest airport, he said, “gets really expensive if you’re talking about a 400-, 500-dollar plane ticket for a single person.”

Crucial April tax revenues were nearly $17 million below their targets. While the headline grabber was a plunge in the vital Personal Income tax, the Sales and Rooms & Meals consumption taxes were also down for the month. Combined they were below expectations by about $1 million for what is a relatively quiet month anyway, but also down almost $6 million for the fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Much of that, of course, is because of the dismal winter season.

Some of the blame for the personal income tax revenues is a problem with personal income taxes filed using some consumer electronic filing services, including Intuit’s TurboTax. The state Tax Department said in May that some 19,000 returns resulting in about $2 million in taxes are affected. This would only be for those who itemized deductions on their federal return (1040EZ users would not be included). Taxpayers have until June 30 to re-file without penalty or interest, according to the Tax Department.

In contrast to the poor revenue results, labor numbers suggest that Vermont has shaken off the winter doldrums and moved on.

The April unemployment rate dropped another tenth to 3.2 percent. More importantly than Vermont having the fifth best rate in the nation (New Hampshire is number 2), is the labor force increased, the number of employed increased, the number of unemployed fell. All three of those key indicators were not only better than they were the previous month but also versus the same time last year.

Also hovering over the state’s tourism industry, as it moves into summer, is the recent filing of federal civil fraud charges against the owners of the Northeast Kingdom’s Jay Peak and Q Burke resorts, Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger. It appears that the filing itself will have only limited effect from the tourist’s standpoint, however.

A statement posted on Jay Peak’s website, and attributed to “Andrew,” informed the resort’s patrons that: “We here at Jay Peak will be working with Leisure Hotels and Resorts (LHR) to continue managing Jay Peak same as it ever was [including] day to day operations of the mountain, indoor waterpark, golf course, lodging or any of our amenities that continue to be available on a daily basis here… We are anticipating our busiest summer on record… and we look forward to keeping on. It is an awkward time for us on the ground as well and we appreciate you giving us some room to figure all of this out. “

At Q Burke, a press release issued in late March, as a related payment dispute unfolded with the general contractor, PeakCM, that built the yet-to-open Q Burke Hotel and Conference Center, assured patrons that “Q Burke Mountain Resort will open for the upcoming bike, ski and ride winter seasons.”

But the 116-suite hotel and conference center is another matter.

Asked how the scandal would affect the Caledonia County resort, Jones noted that, “Burke’s a little different [from Jay Peak], in that the new [hotel] up there has not yet opened. I’m uncertain as to how they move forward with opening that… I hold out hope, but it is uncertain at this point.”

PeakCM’s president, Jerry Davis, had withheld a certificate of occupancy and filed a lien against the resort, pending payment of $5.5 million that he says the resort owes him. The shuttered luxury complex has had to cancel wedding reservations for the upcoming season. The hotel has now come under federal receivership as the other Jay-Burke developments already have.

But by early May, the certificate had been gained, the beds made and the tables were set.

The federal receiver can open the Burke Hotel anytime (he’s dropped the Q from all Burke properties), but said it won’t open until the fall. There are also pending liens that must be dealt with.

He is especially bullish on the future of Jay Peak. Michael Goldberg said business will be “better than ever,” as long as the state gets snow this winter. He said Jay has been profitable through the entire EB-5 funding fiasco. Goldberg said the management team he brought in has already found thousands of dollars in efficiencies at Vermont’s most northern flagship resort.

Meanwhile, at Amtrak’s Vermont stations patronage dropped 4.2 percent last year, while the rail carrier’s passenger count nationally declined a small fraction of a percent. The lackluster ridership figures followed many years of steady growth in US train travel, and observers have pointed to low gas prices as the culprit.

Visitors relax in the famous rocking chairs at Burlington International Airport. VBM file photo.

That interpretation, like Longo’s comments on the decline in BTV’s traffic, suggests that cost differentials are manifesting themselves in a shift in modal habits among tourists – but interviews for this article found no hint of any underlying trouble for the state’s tourist destinations, at least.

At the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, vice president of tourism Tori Ossola, like Longo, saw better times ahead. She noted that the chamber’s bulk and retail distribution of road maps and vacation guide books was “on track with last year.”

Asked about the impact of the cheap loonie, she passed on the opportunity to find a scapegoat.

“The one thing about our tourists, they are pretty loyal – especially our Canadian guests,” she said.

Like other interviewees, she pointed out that winter tourism has come to entail a lot more than skiing. That diversification proved the saving grace at several major ski resorts this winter.

In Manchester, by way of example, any economic impacts from the nearly snowless winter are difficult to discern. A new boutique hotel calling itself Taconic – A Kimpton Hotel, opened in December. General manager John Burnham reported winter occupancy “slightly below our expectations, but that’s simply because of the snowfall.”

But, citing the Robert Lincoln mansion in Manchester Village as an example, he chimed in with Ossola on how a diversification of attractions helps out.

“Hildene actually had one of their busiest years, and that’s because normally people who come up in the winter are up on the mountains. But this year, because of the ski conditions they were down here looking for other things to do.

He termed the summer outlook in Manchester “very promising.”

Ground has been broken on a new Hampton Inn and Suites in Manchester, and a start on a new destination, Aeolus Mountain Spa, is expected soon. That will bring room capacity to almost 1000 in Manchester and neighboring Dorset, whose populations total just under 6,500.

Marketing innovations in themselves can cushion the blow from many unpleasant factors, last winter’s lack of snow among them. Ossola mentioned fine-tuning in the Department of Tourism and Marketing’s (DTM) ad campaign. When the early-winter weather meant the state marketers were advertising a lot of bare slopes, “the state suspended its winter campaign . . . until conditions improved in January,” she said. “They’re more able to turn them on or off to accommodate what’s happening on the ground here.”

Turning the advertising faucet off and on represents only one technique that the DTM has been utilizing in order to boost tourism receipts.

“What we have begun to do over the last several years is really invest marketing dollars in some of our distance markets, with direct air travel to Vermont, and we’ve started to see growth with some of those markets,”  DTM deputy commissioner Steven Cook said. “Particularly we’ve seen growth from Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, DC. And the reason for that is, we’ve really been trying to increase the length of stay of our visitors.”

“Because Vermont is a drive market for many of our consumers we typically see about a three-night average for overnight visitors,” he elaborated. “We’ve been working towards increasing that length of stay by reaching into fly markets where consumers tend to stay longer.”

Another key to marketing a vacation in Vermont is branding – the leavening of the product with a distinctive and valued feature that competitors can’t duplicate. The aura of Vermont as embodying an agrarian, independent spirit allows the state’s food producers, for example, to charge more for their products than producers in another state might get.

The same logic offers a tool for the tourist industry, too, as it vies for the favor of travelers.

“The Vermont name carries the thought of quality and authenticity,” Cook said. “It’s very, very prevalent in a lot of the work that we do… We focus on the highest areas of interest that we find our consumers are looking for. Those areas are, really, outdoor recreation, culinary, beautiful scenery, and authentic people.”

The mechanics of Vermont’s tourism marketing set the state apart even more.

“We were the first and we continue to be the only state that has implemented a social media program in which we have a different Vermonter managing the social media channel on behalf of the state every week – every single week… We have everybody from managers of small farms to people who operate lifts at ski resorts to authors to librarians. Authentic and interesting people. It’s been a huge value to us and the travel industry.”

Gasoline prices well below their peaks of five years ago amount to positive marketing factors, too – at least for now.

“With the gas prices and disposable income – it is a complete benefit to the people of this state and all of New England… I think you’ll see that in next summer and fall,” economic analyst Kavet put it.

“Because there is a slow growth in the economy in general, I’m very confident that the 2015 benchmark report is going to show an increase in travel and tourism activity in Vermont, over the 2013 report,” ACCD analyst Jones said.

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Researchers Seek Mothers With MS For Survey


Top MS News

Brought to you by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

From Our Website

Infertility Treatments May Significantly Increase MS Activity

A new study finds that women with multiple sclerosis who undergo assisted reproduction technology (ART) infertility treatment are at risk for increased disease activity. 
Read more

Natural protein may protect against inflammation

Increasing the level of a naturally-produced protein, called tristetraprolin (TTP), significantly reduced or protected mice from inflammation, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. 

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Study authors find brain lesion, taste problem link

A new study finds that the more lesions spotted on an MRI, the worse the taste function of the patient with multiple sclerosis. They also found that women did better than men on taste measures.

Read more

Researchers seek mothers with MS for survey

Researchers seek mothers with MS who have at least one child aged 6 to 18 to participate in an online study. This should take between 30-45 minutes to complete. Once the survey is complete, you will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 cash prize.

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-Return to Top-

MSFocus Magazine Exclusives

How health insurance led me into a MS relapse

Your health insurance has a direct effect on your quality of health care. It is important to realize that mistakes do happen often whether it is through coding, billing, or preauthorization. Educate yourself on your plan and your rights and above all else, become your own advocate to ensure that you are getting the healthcare that you need.

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Five common symptoms of MS and how to cope

Living with multiple sclerosis means understanding symptom outbreaks and being able to explain the disease and its symptoms to outsiders. If you suffer from MS or know someone who does, here are tips on how you can cope and explain common symptoms of MS.

Read more

More Stories of Interest

Authors find two new disability measures

In a new study, researchers established two new observer-independent measures of disability. A motor performance index discriminated MS patients according to disability, and mean of range of motion was found to be extremely sensitive in measuring motor impairment within patients. The authors said that if confirmed in larger studies, this sensitivity will be of crucial importance for monitoring disease course and treatment effects in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients.

The authors set out to investigate the feasibility of gait analysis in MS, by using commercial wearable inertial sensors, and to establish novel and sensitive observer-independent measures of disability. They conducted a cross-sectional study of 80 MS patients and 50 healthy controls. Lower-limb kinematics was evaluated by using a commercially available magnetic inertial measurement unit system. Mean and standard deviation of range of motion (mROM, sROM) for each joint of lower limbs were calculated in one minute walking test. A motor performance index (E) defined as the sum of sROMs was proposed.

What they found was that hip mROM was extremely sensitive in measuring lower limb motor impairment, being linked with muscle strength and altered in patients without clinically detectable disability. On the other hand, E index sorted out patients according to disability, being altered only in patients with moderate and severe disability, regardless of walking speed. It was strongly linked with fatigue and patient-perceived health status.

The results were published in the journal PLoS One.

Study: Psychosocial intervention boosts coping styles

A new study highlights the issue of the difficulties of living with MS, including its negative effect on social relationships. The authors argue that a psychosocial intervention is needed to increase the adaptive way by MS patients cope with their disease and to provide patients with the best care and quality of life.

The researchers set out to measure the differences between MS patients and healthy controls in coping styles, exploring which of the MS clinical features influence the adaptive responses. The authors enrolled 94 healthy controls and 135 MS patients, according to the McDonald 2010 criteria. Coping strategies were assessed using the Italian version of the questionnaire “Coping Orientation to the Problems Experienced.”

They found that MS patients are less inclined to use coping strategies that involved seeking social support and problem solving than healthy controls. In MS group, women are found to be more socially oriented than men and social support worsens with increasing of disease duration. A relationship between level of disability and avoidance strategies was also found.

The findings were presented at ECTRIMS in Barcelona.

Migraines common regardless of socio-economic status

A new study found that headache, especially migraine, is common among MS patients regardless of socio-economic status and treatment setting. Female MS patients with walking disability and longer disease duration tend to get migraines. Hispanic MS patients have a higher likelihood of suffering from chronic migraines.

Researchers looked at prevalence and type of headache across a multiethnic MS population, and relationship between MS-related clinical factors and migraine. They conducted a study of 233 MS patients at two clinical sites, one at a county hospital, and the other a private academic center clinic. They collected demographic data, MS characteristics, and headache histories using validated survey instruments including Headache Impact Test and Patient Health Questionnaire-9.

They found that headaches were common, regardless of socio-economic status, the most common type being migraine. Chronic migraine was more common among Hispanics than Whites. Headache’s effect on daily life, measured by Headache Impact Test score and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score were significantly higher in the public sector. Women and those with an ambulatory disability were found to be more likely to suffer from migraines.

The findings were published in the journal of Clinical Neurology & Neurosurgery.

Researchers seek participants for spasticity study

Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Limited is currently recruiting participants for a phase 3 study on the efficacy and safety of baclofen ER capsules in subjects with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

The primary efficacy outcome is the proportion of subjects who become a treatment failure during double-blind randomized withdrawal and determining the safety profile when administered over more than 12 weeks. The secondary outcome measure is a subject global impression of severity assessment.

Men and women, 18 years and older, are eligible to participate. Inclusion criteria consists of women of child-bearing potential practicing an acceptable method of birth control for the duration of the study as judged by the investigator for at least three months prior to study entry or postmenopausal for at least one year or surgically sterile (bilateral oophorectomy or hysterectomy); if female, negative pregnancy test; known history of spasticity due to MS prior to starting baclofen; a stable daily dose of baclofen IR, ranging from 30 to 60 mg/day; able and willing to comply with the protocol, including availability for scheduled clinic visits; and the giving of written informed consent.

Exclusion criteria consists of a history of hypersensitivity to baclofen; in relapse or history of unstable course during the 30 days prior to the screening visit; concomitant neurologic conditions causing spasticity; has received an investigational drug or device within 30 days that would interfere with the study goals prior to the screening visit; unable to comply with study procedures in the opinion of the investigator; has had major surgery within three months prior to screening visit that may affect spasticity assessments such as abdominal surgery, back surgery, or lower leg or knee surgeries.

To learn more about the study, contact Dr. Shravanti Bhowmik at Refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01457352.

Website to watch

According to their blog, “Movie writers would never dream up a fairytale of two people with multiple sclerosis falling in love and living happily ever after. But Jennifer and Dan have been living this truest of love stories as a married couple since 2005.” Together, the Digmanns have been living and loving with MS since they were married Sept. 10, 2005. Jennifer was diagnosed in 1997 with secondary-progressive MS. Dan was diagnosed in 1999 with relapsing-remitting MS. Their writings are as much about their marriage to MS as it is about their marriage to each other.

Their blog has a very professional appearance, which is part of a larger site the Digmanns maintain, is updated monthly and is very readable. While the blog includes an extensive blogroll, if there is a shortcoming for the site visitor, it is the lack of an obvious archive. Each post comes with a “Filed Under” listing at the end, but there is no separate archive list to filter posts by month or subject. But that’s a comparatively minor inconvenience for a site that is fairly easy to navigate. The larger site also contains a link to their book and speaking engagements.

News From The MSF

Keeping your cool

Applications for the Cooling Program will continue to be accepted through June 1. You can apply online or through the mail. All applications are confidential and will be reviewed by the grant committee. For more information on the MSF Cooling Program, or to access these services, call 888-MSFOCUS (673-6287).

Awareness kits available

Did you receive a 2016 National MS Education and Awareness Month® Awareness Kit from MSF? If not, they are still available. Call our support line at 888-673-6287 or email and we will send it to you. It includes valuable information on overcoming some of the major obstacles associated with living with MS. MSF is dedicated to helping you move Beyond MS.

New on YouTube

The MSF is featuring a series of talks by Dr. Ben Thrower on our YouTube channel. The presentations were recorded at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Dr. Thrower covers a variety of topics, from walking to MS pain to MS 101. The series will continue on You Tube for the next six months. Find us at

  We Value Your Feedback!

Email your comments and suggestions to

  MSF Is Here to Help!

For support services or to learn more about available programs, call 888-673-6287 or email

Editor’s Note: The intent of this newsletter is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

The MSF maintains a strict privacy policy. We never sell, lease, or exchange email subscriber information wtih other non-profit organizations or commercial enterprises.


©2014 Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


MSFYi Internet Newsletter | | | 6520 N. Andrews Avenue | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

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Vermont 2-1-1 Earns National Accreditation!



Vermont 2-1-1

Emergency Housing in Vermont

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 286 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for April here.

Vermont 2-1-1 Earns National Accreditation!

Two months after celebrating its 11th year of providing service, Vermont 2-1-1, a United Ways’ statewide telephone information and referral program, has another reason to celebrate. Read more…

Vermont 2-1-1
Monthly Call
Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

The Vermont 2-1-1 call center closed out this year’s tax season in April with over 2,100 referrals to tax filing assistance programs. The growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help low- to moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials such as food and housing.  We were pleased, again this year, to provide space in the call center during the tax filing season for the Chittenden County Tax Scheduler. Vermont and Federal income taxes prepared amounted to 3,536 and total refunds amounted to over $4 million. 

Vermont 2-1-1’s provision of public information for Vermonters concerned about PFOA continued through April. Call data reflects the ongoing concern of residents impacted by the detection of Perfluorooctanoic Acid in Bennington County. Referrals made to the Environmental Protection and Improvement category indicate the public’s present need for reassuring information and referrals regarding Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA. During this month of ongoing investigations Bennington County, Vermont 211 received 60 calls regarding water quality issues from residents and area employees.

The number of emergency housing calls remained high in April with over 280 requests for emergency shelter.  Vermont 2-1-1 provides after-hours provisional housing for the Department for Children and Families and the cold “spring” weather meant a continuation of requests for emergency housing information.  An additional 739 “scripted” calls for information on cold weather exception were handled without the caller needing to speak directly to one of our information and referral specialists.  The number of Vermonters needing help with non-emergency housing related issues also remained high in April and included referrals to service providers for rent payment assistance, subsidized rental housing and housing authorities.

April marked the last phase of Vermont 2-1-1’s participation in the National Alliance for Information and Referral Systems Accreditation process. After undergoing a lengthy national standards and best practices evaluation, Vermont 2-1-1 has earned its National Accreditation from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS).


Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.

‘Tis the Season

Looking back at the first months of 2016, many of you (discounting the winter sports enthusiasts amongst us, of course) may still be basking in memories of a very mild winter. But the consequences of that milder weather will soon be upon us with increased risk of mosquito-borne and tick-borne illnesses. For over a decade now, Vermont 2-1-1 has actively partnered with the Vermont Department of Health, functioning as a “health information help line” to augment VDH’s health/disease education programs and to support its public health advisories initiatives. Call Specialists at Vermont 2-1-1 are able to provide callers with the most current information about these “summertime threats” to public health and about the preventative measures to be taken in order to avoid contraction of West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Lyme Disease, and the Zika Virus.

Search the 2-1-1 database with the following terms:

And follow these links:

VDH – Tickborne Diseases

VDH – Mosquito-Borne Diseases

CDC-  Post-Treatment
Lyme Disease Syndrome

CDC – Main Page

Help Me Grow Update

In April, Help Me Grow Vermont (HMG VT) was selected as a participant in the Help Me Grow National Center’s Protective Factor Evaluation Pilot. This 8 month pilot begins in May and the project will help to identify strategies that will enhance components of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors through the HMG VT call center. We are very excited to be a part of this pilot and to be part of a project that will help to improve incorporating the Strengthening Factors framework in other Help Me Grow Affiliate states. The Strengthening Families framework is a research-informed, cost-effective strategy to increase family stability, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect by building five protective factors within families:

  1. Parental resilience
  2. Social connections
  3. Knowledge of parenting and child development
  4. Concrete support in times of need
  5. Social and emotional competence of children 

For more information on the Strengthening Families Framework and the Five Protective Factors, please check out the links below:

Strengthening Families – Protective Factors PDF

Strengthening Families Page at the Center for the Study of Social Policy

Help Me Grow National – Strengthening Families PDF

Help Me Grow VT also has the data for the first quarter for 2016. Here are the highlights:

1. Increase in calls from 122 (last 4 months of 2015) to 1482. Top concerns of callers were; basic needs, child care and parent support (this includes parent support groups, advocacy and parent education)

3. Increase in children connected to services from 7 (last 4 months of 2015) to 17

4. Increase in children pending services from 5 (last 4 month 2015) to 9





Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA


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Green Mountain United Way Day of Action Volunteer Projects

Day of Action is United Way’s Annual Volunteer Day on Tuesday, June 21. Contact Carrie at Green Mountain United Way at 802-622-8056 or cstahler(at)gmunitedway (dot) org with questions or to participate. We ask that you contribute a 4 hour shift (other options are possible, please email or call for more information). Detailed information will be provided to those who register for projects.

Register online at

NSBatCrsVTTrl#1212-01Project #1 – Volunteer Morning at OUR House in downtown Barre Tuesday, June 21 at 9am – TBD (timeline is dependent upon quantity of volunteers)

Use your volunteer time to make a difference in your community. For the Day of Action 2016 Green Mountain United Way is hosting a clean-up at OUR House in downtown Barre. We’ll be staining their handicap ramps, painting exterior doors, sweeping and cleaning the parking area, lawn, and street-facing flower bed. No special skills are needed and painting materials and snacks will be provided.

About OUR (One Unified Response) House: A Children’s Advocacy Center and Special Investigations Unit committed to providing a safe and supportive environment to assist child victims, adult survivors, and non-offending family members in the discovery, intervention, healing, and prevention of child sexual abuse. OUR House serves Washington County, in central Vermont.


Project #2 – Volunteer Afternoon at Sexual Assualt Crisis Team (SACT) Offices and Shelter in downtown Barre Tuesdsay, June 21 (timeline is dependent upon quantity of volunteers)

Use your volunteer time to make a difference in your community. For the Day of Action 2016 Green Mountain United Way is hosting a clean-up at SACT in downtown Barre. We’ll be power washing their building, mowing the lawn, sweeping porches & parking area, and trimming bushes and plants outdoors and doing general spring cleaning inside their shelter’s shared spaces. No special skills are needed, bring a push broom, pruners, and garden or leather gloves if you have them. We will start our work at OUR House then transition to SACT to continue the day.

About the Sexual Assault Crisis Team: a non-profit volunteer organization founded to serve the needs of female and male victims of sexual violence in Washington County. They offer 24-hour services and support to victims of sexual violence. Their goal is to eliminate sexual violence and work toward changing public attitudes about sexual assault.



Project #3 – Trail Maintenance with Mad River Riders in the Mad River Valley – Saturday, June 25 at 9am

Join the Mad River Riders out on the beautiful mountain bike trails of the Mad River Valley for a day of trail maintenance. Mad River Riders will provide experienced trail builders to lead you as you help rake, trim and clean up trails in preparation for a season of riding and the arrival of the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival on these volunteer-built and maintained trails. Most of this work will entail raking with iron rakes and leaf rakes, but some rock moving might be involved as well.

All work will take place outdoors, so please be prepared to assist in any of Vermont’s many potential weather conditions. Remember to wear good boots, preferably with a protective toe, and to bring gloves and safety glasses. We will be raking, benching and installing drainage and rock armor. Please bring rock and leaf rakes, benching tools, such as grub hoes, rock picks and pulaskis. Extra hand tools will be available. If there is heavy rain, (snow, sleet, etc.) this day will be rescheduled.

About Mad River Riders

The Riders’ 45+ mile network features the most popular Mad River Valley trailheads for biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, including the beginner-friendly Blueberry Lake trails in the Green Mountain National Forest and classic technical trails in Camel’s Hump and Phen Basin State Forests. Mad River Riders has been creating opportunities for getting outdoors in the Mad River Valley for 30 years.


Download Flyer HERE:  GreenMountainUnitedWayDayofAction2016 (2)

Download Team/Company Sign up sheet HERE:  DayofActionVolunteerSignUp


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Campout for Wildlife!


The National Wildlife Federation


Happy Campers Protect Wildlife

Dear Friend of Wildlife,

It’s official. We’re ready for camping season.

Thankfully, the 2016 GREAT AMERICAN CAMPOUT kicks off June 25th!

With Memorial Day weekend nearly two weeks away, now is a great time to dust off your supplies and get ready to get outside. We’re extending our season of camping through October, and hope that you can get out and connect with the Great Outdoors more than once before the season is through.

Take the pledge to join your fellow happy campers who are getting outside for wildlife today!


Join the Conversation
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© 2016 The National Wildlife Federation, all rights reserved
The National Wildlife Federation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization

PO Box 1583, Merrifield VA 22116-1583




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Green Up Day Collects Over 50,000 Bags Of Trash

Mon, 05/09/2016 – 12:23pm

Vermont Business Magazine As the hills across Vermont turn a brilliant spring green, volunteers across the state once again spent the first Saturday in May helping to clean Vermont roadsides of trash as part of the Green Up Day annual tradition. Green Up Vermont extends its gratitude to its generous sponsors, including Green Mountain Power as it concludes its third and final year as the signature partner.

Green Mountain Power has supported this effort as signature corporate partner of Green Up Vermont for three years now, helping to sustain the organization and its activities during difficult financial times.

Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power said, “We are so honored to support Green Up Vermont once again as we all pitch in and do our part to clean up and green up the Green Mountain State. It’s heartwarming to see Vermonters young and old join together out of love for this special place.”

“Green Up Vermont is the most important rite of spring in our state and we are very pleased with this year’s effort,” said Green Up Vermont President Melinda Vieux. “This event would not be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors, in particular Green Mountain Power who stepped up when we really needed them to help us keep this event going strong. And of course we couldn’t do without the thousands of generous Vermonters who helped us collect tens of thousands of bags of garbage, tires, and other debris from our roadways and natural and public spaces.”

During this annual tradition, first started by Governor Deane C Davis in 1970, Green Up Day volunteers help clean up about 13,100 miles of roads, collecting over 50,000 bags of trash. In addition to the volunteer teams, the Vermont Agency of Transportation sends out crews to clear debris from about 2,700 miles of state highways and interstates.

“Congratulations to Green Up Vermont on another successful day. Between the sponsors, area businesses, community groups, Scouts and others, thousands of our friends and neighbors participated and we want to say thank you,” Powell concluded.

Green Up Vermont would like to recognize the following Green Up Day Partners for their generosity this year: Subaru of New England, Casella Waste Systems, SerVermont, Co-operative Insurance Companies, National Life Group, OMYA, WCAX, 802 Creative, American Chemistry Council, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, GW Plastics, Skinny Pancake, VAST, and VELCO.

Vermonters can help Green Up Vermont in many ways, including volunteering on Green Up Day, organizing community teams, and making donations to ensure this great tradition continues. Donations can be sent to Green Up Vermont, P.O. Box 1191, Montpelier, VT 05601-1191, or made securely online at (link is external).

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