Telegraph Pandemic Digest for April 21

Between press conferences, daily updates, press releases and other advisories, covering the Covid-19 pandemic can be daunting for a small staff. To keep you informed without going down a rabbit hole with every story, we’ll offer you a news digest of information that doesn’t make it into regular news articles. There are a variety of topics with links for web pages and documents you can follow if you need more information. We will continue to cover our communities in the best way we can but we would like to hear what you think of the idea of this digest and whether it fits your needs. Thanks for reading The Chester Telegraph.

Food distribution at Hartness Airport

The Vermont National Guard and Vermont Foodbank will distribute food for those in need at Hartness State Airport in Springfield from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday April 27. Those in need of food will be given a seven day supply of Meals Ready to Eat for each member of their household.

Vt. courts relax rules, require masks

In a further amendment of procedure, the Vermont courts have suspended certain rules to give trial courts greater flexibility in presiding remotely through remote audio or video technology, and in setting hearings with remote audio or video participation.

The courts have also required that anybody entering a judiciary building must be wearing a cotton mask covering the nose and mouth. If the person does not have a mask, one will be provided by the court. This rule applies to all who work in the Judiciary as well as participants, lawyers, members of the media, and members of the public. Any person who removes a mask inside the building will be required to leave.

Click here for more information about the changes.

Chester organization distributes fresh produce

Five road of cars line up for the April 18 food distribution at CAES

In the second week of the program Chester Helping Hands distributed 500 boxes of assorted produce to people who had pre-ordered and then picked up the food on Saturday April 18 at Chester-Andover Elementary School. Chris Meyer organized the event, Frank Kelley handled traffic and Lee Whiting was the liaison with Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruits and Vegetables of Boston. The price for each box was $25.

To order, contact the group on its Facebook Page.

Gov. Scott issues flag policy to honor Covid-19 victims

On Friday April 17, Gov. Phil Scott today announced that U.S. and Vermont state flags would be lowered on the 19th of each month through the end of 2020 to honor those who have died from Covid-19. Sunday April 19 marked one month since the first two deaths from the disease.  As of the April 17 announcement of the policy, 35  Vermonters had died. Today, the Department of Health announced the 40th person had died.

DMV launches online license renewal

Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles announced a new online system for license renewals. This new service comes in response to the state’s attempt to move to online, mail and phone transactions with the DMV to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“Online license renewals allow Vermonters to maintain valid licenses and IDs while promoting social distancing practices and going forward this provides Vermonters with a significant convenience,” said Scott.

According to a press release, the DMV “strongly encourages” Vermonters to renew online. Renewal notices will continue to be mailed to all license holders and will include the URL for the online service and a unique PIN needed for the online form. The online renewal form can be found at with online support available through the DMV website.

Okemo TV looks to support community

Okemo Valley TV is helping support people looking for ways to stay informed and keep connected with their community with a mixture of technology, outreach, and creativity.

“We’re adapting and doing as much as we can to be of service during this time”, says Executive Director Patrick Cody in a press release. “It just means doing this differently. Our facility (in the Ludlow Community Center) is shut down at the moment and we’re working remotely, but we can still make TV!”  The station is using video conferencing – mainly Zoom – to record shows, commentaries, and meetings. Cody says he wants everyone to use us, because Okemo TV can help. “We’re here to support any person or organization wanting to get out news, information, or entertainment.”

Town governments and others have relied on the station to host and record meetings with video conferencing software. The station has also helped Springfield Medical Care Systems, the Okemo Chamber, churches, libraries and others.

Okemo Valley TV also televises Senate President Tim Ashe’s daily update on the state’s response to the Covid-19 crisis every day at 1:30pm and 6:30 on the Education / Government channel.

Okemo Valley TV operates two channels on local cable TV systems-  on Comcast Xfinity and in high definition on VTel. On Comcast, they are on channels 8 & 10 in Ludlow, Plymouth, and Cavendish, and channels 20 & 21 in Mount Holly. Comcast is moving the channels to 1076 & 1086 in all Towns, a transition which is currently in process but not yet finalized. On, VTel Okemo Valley TV is on channels 166 & 167, systemwide. Program schedules – daily schedules and weekly “grids” can be found on the station’s website (

Arts Council Provides Emergency Relief to Artists

The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $47,000 to the Vermont Arts Council to support emergency relief for Vermont artists hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19.

The funds will supplement the council’s Rapid Response Artist Relief Fund, which was established March 24
to provide grants of up to $500 to artists who are experiencing financial hardship due to the loss of a job
or cancellation of concerts, festivals, theatrical performances and other arts events because of Covid-19

Private donations to the Fund can be made at

In the week since the fund opened, the council received 183 requests funds from Vermont artists with 164 grants totaling $64,435 awarded to artists. While applications temporarily closed in order to process requests and ramp up fundraising efforts, the application will re-open for a new round of funding requests on April 22. Guidelines and the application are posted at

Covid-19 resource guide

A new Covid-19 resource guide, aimed at individuals living in southeastern Vermont, is now available. This resource list is a compilation of currently known programs and activities relevant to people living in southeastern Vermont.  The resource can be found on the Windham Regional Commission’s website by visiting  If you are in immediate need of assistance, call Vermont’s resource line by dialing 2-1-1 about help and resources.

This resource guide is meant to be a living document that will be updated on a regular basis. Updates and suggestions are welcome through an electronic form on the guide webpage. For more information, contact, Margo Ghia at or Chris Campany at

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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