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Vermont News Updates For Monday, June 22

Latchis theater marquee
Howard Weiss-Tisman
On Friday, June 19, Brattleboro's Latchis' Theater reopened for the first time in three months with a showing of The Wizard Of Oz.

Vermont reporters provide a round-up of ongoing local coverage of the coronavirus, the heat wave and more for Monday, June 22.

Want VPR's daily news in podcast form? Get up to speed in under 20 minutes with The Frequency every weekday morning. How about an email newsletter? Add our daily email briefing to your morning routine.

The latest coronavirus data:


Vermont Department of Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

The Vermont Department of Health on Monday reported four new cases of COVID-19, all in Chittenden County.

No one is currently hospitalized with the illness in Vermont. So far, 926 people have recovered from known cases of the disease, and 56 people have died.

Eight people are hospitalized with COVID-19 like symptoms that are under investigation, and the state reports that 58,607 people have been tested so far.

- Amy Kolb Noyes and Abagael Giles

Vermont lawmakers are poised to approve education bill that relies on deficit spending

Vermont lawmakers are poised to approve an education bill that relies on more than $100 million in deficit spending in order to avoid a massive increase in property taxes.

Chittenden County Senator Chris Pearson said the legislation will ensure that adequate funds are in place for next school year.

"There will have to be all sorts of options on the table. Some will want new revenue, some will want school cuts. We'll have to wrestle through that down the road," Pearson said.

"And that delays the impact for another day of what the COVID impact has meant for our education funds," Pearson said.

COVID-19 has led to a shortfall in the sales tax revenues that support education funding. And lawmakers would have had to increase property taxes by nearly 15% in order to cover the gap.

Gov. Phil Scott has called for reductions in school spending to narrow that deficit. But lawmakers said COVID-19 will likely add even more costs to school districts next year.

Lawmakers said they'll figure out a way to pay down the education fund deficit in next year's legislative session.

- Peter Hirschfeld

Middlebury College to hold some classes on campus come fall

Middlebury College will hold some classes on campus this fall.

College President Laurie Patton announced Monday that it will be up to individual professors to decide if they want to hold classes in-person, remotely, or a combination of the two.

Students will be moving in over a ten-day period, beginning Aug. 18. They must quarantine at home for 14 days before traveling to campus.

The school is planning a 12-week semester beginning September 8. There will be no October break and on-campus classes will end prior to Thanksgiving. Classes will resume online in late November, and exams will be administered remotely.

Similar schedules have been announced by other colleges and universities in Vermont.

- Amy Kolb Noyes

State officials remind Vermonters to follow public health guidances

State officials are reminding Vermonters to continue to follow public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases have recently surged around the country, as many states reopen their economies.

Vermont, which has slowly allowed more sectors of the economy to reopen, has not seen new cases spike - though the state is still working to contain an outbreak in Winooski and Burlington.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said Vermonters need to keep practicing social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands to keep the virus in check.

"We can't lose track of the fact that the virus hasn't gone anywhere, and we need to continue to be vigilant, cautious and protective of the most vulnerable in society and in our own families," Levine said.

Monday, the health department reported four new cases of COVID-19, all in Chittenden County. So far, 965 people have recovered from the virus, and 56 have died.

- Liam Elder-Connors

State health officials say they're making progress on Chittenden County outbreak

An outbreak of COVID-19 in Winooski and Burlington is still not fully contained, but health officials say they're making progress.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the number of cases has risen slightly to 110.

"Until we really don't have anything new associated with it, it's not 100% over," Levine said. "But clearly we've received incredible compliance by all who've been affected by this, and there's every indication it's going in the right direction."

Levine said there will be pop up testing offered in Winooski until Wednesday, and in Burlington from Wednesday until Friday.

Levine said the health department is also investigating two new clusters near Rutland and Windham Counties. He said the health department will offer pop up testing in both those counties this week.

- Liam Elder-Connors

Department of Health investigates two new case clusters in Windham, Rutland counties

The state health department is investigating two new clusters of COVID-19 in Rutland and Windham counties.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the department is in the early stages of examining those institutions.

"[I am] only aware of two affected individuals in the Rutland County... but aware of others that might have symptoms, so obviously we're waiting, testing there, and in Windham county, [there are cases in] two adults and four children," Levine said.

Levine said the state will offer pop-up testing in both counties this week.

- Liam Elder-Connors

Inmate at South Burlington women's prison tests positive for COVID-19

A new inmate at the state's only women's prison has tested positive for COVID-19. State officials said the infection at Chittendent Regional Correctional Facility was detected on Saturday.

Sec. of Human Services Mike Smith said the person did have contact with prison staffers and other inmates.

"Contact tracing is underway at that facility," Smith said. "The department of health and corrections are coordinating on a mass testing of the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility."

This is the second coronavirus infection detected in a new inmate at a state correctional facility. Last week, a man extradited from Florida tested positive at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility. Smith said mass testing at that facility found no additional cases.

- Liam Elder-Connors

Brattleboro expands outdoor dining by closing parts of some streets

Brattleboro is the latest town to close down part of its streets so restaurants have extra space to serve people.

Stephanie Bonin is director of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, and she said seeing people share a meal can help the community get beyond the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Looking at public spaces in a different way isn't just about commerce, " Bonin said. "It's also about being able to spotlight us as a community, seeing each other again."

Brattleboro used money from its revolving loan fund to install concrete barriers in front of the restaurants so there is additional outdoor space for customers.

Read the full story.

- Howard Weiss-Tisman

Heat wave sets new records

The heat wave is setting new records in Vermont, according to the National Weather Service.

Around 1 p.m., it was 93 degrees at the Burlington International Airport, breaking the previous record high for this date set in 1921.

And today is the fifth day in a row with temperatures above 90 at the airport. That breaks the record for consecutive days above 90 in June.

- Amy Kolb Noyes

Vermont State Police recover body from Winooski River in Middlesex

Vermont State Police have recovered a body from the Winooski River in Middlesex.

Police said two people saw human remains in the water Friday afternoon, but officials determined the location was too difficult for recovery at night. The state police scuba team removed the body Saturday.

- John Dillon

Wolcott resident to appear in court Monday over alleged UPS truck shooting

A Wolcott resident is scheduled to appear in court Monday after police said he shot at a UPS delivery driver on June 19.

According to the Lamoille County Sheriff's Department, 65-year-old Philip Teal shot the UPS truck with a rifle, cracking the windshield, as it drove by his house on School Street.

Teal was cited for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

- Amy Kolb Noyes

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