Warren Select Board members gathered over Zoom on April 14 to discuss COVID-19-related issues in Warren and in The Valley.
Emergency management director (EMD) Jeff Campbell spoke first, informing the board that The Valley EMDs are working to create a list of seniors over the age of 70 in the entire Valley, and plans on reaching out to them to make sure they are healthy and informed. “We’re reaching out to make sure they are getting communicated with,” said Campbell.
Campbell addressed the motivation behind making a senior list. “Right now it’s just a matter of doing our best to educate people,” said Campbell, referring to the fact that some seniors in The Valley may be less active on Facebook and other online platforms that carry recent information about coronavirus and coronavirus-related aid in The Valley. “We want to make sure they know about the community fund,” said Campbell.
After select board member Bob Ackland brought up the issue of getting in touch with second-home owning seniors, the conversation shifted to the exodus that some out-of-staters have made to their second homes in the Valley.
Ackland pointed out a recently released Vice news article based on the “war” between full-time Mad River Valley residents and second-home owners. However, select board chair Andrew Cunningham said he believes the “war” is over.
“I think we’re passed that burn session we’ve seen in the past few weeks regarding out-of-staters in The Valley,” said Cunningham. He said full-time Valley residents can be assured that second-home owners are doing a great job of following social distancing guidelines. “Second-home owners are playing by the rules,” said Cunningham.
Maintaining positive relationships with second-home owners in Warren is important for the select board. “Our second-home owners contribute 65 percent to our taxes,” said Ackland. “The value of the nonresident for us is really going to be our lifesaver.”