The State's new plan to expand health care coverage, Catamount Health, is scheduled to begin November 1. Those who could be eligible for Catamount Health can apply beginning October 1. The cost of Catamount coverage is based on household income and in general you need to be uninsured for the previous 12 months to qualify. I encourage everyone who may be eligible to consider applying for coverage and learning more about the program. We need universal health care coverage, and while Catamount doesn't accomplish that, it will provide more health coverage to more people. There is more information about Catamount at http://hcr.vermont.gov/ or you can call 1-800-250-8427.
BURLINGTON CELEBRATES THE SOUTH END ART HOP!
For the 15th year, the South End Art Hop will happen on Friday September 7 and Saturday September 8. This unique celebration of local art organized by the South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA) has garnered national attention and is a major late-summer event for artists, residents and tourists. There will be more events throughout the month, including displays at several venues across the South End. Find out more about the Art Hop at http://www.seaba.com/ .
SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH
September is National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month. Recovery Month recognizes substance abuse recovery efforts across the country. Its goal is to promote the societal benefits of alcohol and drug addiction treatment, laud the contributions of treatment providers and promote the message that recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in all its forms is possible. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem. Alcohol and drug dependence cut across age, gender, race, and socio-economic class.
The South End Art Hop and the observance of Recovery Month will come together as The Turning Point Center of Chittenden County, located at 61 Main Street, will be an Art Hop venue for the first time. The mission of the Turning Point Center is to provide a safe, supportive, and substance-free environment for those interested in recovery. The Center will be open to the public during the Art Hop to view their new, permanent art gallery which has been created to showcase the work of artists-in-recovery. The Turning Point Center will also host a workshop for all ages during the Art Hop on Saturday, September 8, from 9:30 am to 11 am, titled "Collage-Making for all Ages" and presented by Diane Hulphers, an artist-in-recovery.
FREE CREDIT SCORE DAY SEPTEMBER 19
The CASH Coalition of Chittenden County is offering a Free Credit Score Day event on September 19 from 3 to 7 pm at 294 North Winooski Avenue in Burlington. Open to those with household incomes of less than $40,000, the first 50 participants will get their credit scores for free, together with the opportunity to review their credit report one-on-one with a credit counselor.
The CASH Coalition is committed to assisting low- and moderate-income residents in asset-building and financial literacy. The Coalition is made up of non-profit organizations, businesses and all levels of government, including the City of Burlington through the CEDO office. I'm pleased the City continues to support efforts like this to increase financial literacy in our community.
ADA RESTORATION DAY -- ROAD TO FREEDOM BUS TOUR
The Road to Freedom bus tour is a national awareness campaign intended to visit all 50 states and to publicize the benefits of the ADA and the need to strengthen protections for individuals with disabilities through the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. The Road to Freedom tour will be visiting Burlington on Thursday, September 13. For more information about the Tour, you can call the Vermont Center for Independent Living at 1-800-639-1522.
RETIREMENT TASK FORCE REPORT ISSUED
The "Report of the Special Task Force on the City of Burlington Employees Retirement System" has been released. I'd like to thank all the task force members for their time and work leading to this report. The report is available on the City web-site at http://www.ci.burlington.vt.us/ . The recommendations of the task force will require discussion, consideration and action by the City Council. There are significant decisions to be made to ensure a sustainable and fair municipal retirement system and it's important that we pay attention to and move forward on this issue in the days ahead.