MSAC and Community Services Updates

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Walk - Canceled!

AARP Tax-Aide Clinics
MSAC is hosting the AARP tax clinic again this year as a State-approved, non-group, low-contact service! Clinics begin Monday, Feb. 8. We are taking signups over the phone at 802-223-2518. Regulations and availability are changing frequently, so on your initial call we will take down your name and information and call you back with more details. We are trying to accommodate as many as possible given the season’s pandemic limitations, so make sure to put your name on the waiting list! This clinic is for most low-to-moderate income clients to fulfill their tax obligations and claim credits or refunds to which they are entitled. However, tax returns for those who have income from complex sources such as rental property, businesses with employees or inventory, capital gains from the sale of assets other than marketable securities whose basis is known or unusual investment income are not eligible.

No In-person classes or groups will gather at MSAC during Winter quarter (through at least March)
The Governor’s emergency order was extended, so no group gatherings are allowed at MSAC for at least another month. Even if the guidance changes at some point this Winter class quarter, city staff have decided we should NOT host any classes or drop-in groups inside in-person this winter. The risks are too great. One-on-one services including foot care clinics and tax clinics will be maintained, per state approval. We thank our community for your understanding and support. We look forward to the time when we can resume normalcy and bring back in-person groups—so vital to the MSAC mission. 

MSAC appeal insert to be included in next City water bill
If you receive water/sewer bills from the City of Montpelier, please be on the look-out for an insert about MSAC’s good work and our latest appeal for community support. If you didn’t have a chance to contribute at the end of 2020, here is a great chance. We also encourage Montpelier property owners to share their inserts with friends or neighbors not on that mailing list! Tax-deductible donations are always welcome and appreciated by drop-off to our side door lockbox, by mail to 58 Barre Street, or by online secure credit/debit card payment at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/746/Donate. 
 
 
Parks Winter Trails for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing
The Parks & Trees Department collaborates with Onion River Nordic Ski Club, the North Branch Nature Center, and a number of other groups to maintain winter trails throughout the city. We update our trail conditions every morning on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MontpelierParks. Our Winter Trails Map can be found on the Parks web page at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/211/Park-Maps. Trail conditions this week are pretty good despite the thin snow cover, with open areas being in particularly good shape. If you’re interested in local skiing, please check out these resources and consider joining the Onion River Nordic Ski Club.

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Supporting Towns Funding Requests 2021 and Volunteers Needed to Advocate! (No petitions) 
Each year, MSAC submits a funding request to appear on the town ballot of six surrounding communities: Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown and Worcester. Typically, the amount of these requests is based on the number of residents who participated in MSAC programming throughout the past fiscal year and the increasing costs of MSAC operations. However, this year we decided that it would be inappropriate to ask for an increase in funding for these reasons: our offerings have changed in the pandemic, all towns are facing budget challenges, and collecting petition signatures is not a safe prospect this year.

We are submitting level funding requests in five of the supporting towns. The exception is Worcester, where we have decreased our request in response to conversation at last year’s town meeting and recommendation of their Social Concerns Committee. We have put forth requests for a total of $39,500 from the six surrounding towns for fiscal year 2022.

How can you help? We still need our requests approved by voters on Town Meeting Day. As March draws closer, we will be looking for residents of these towns to post to Front Porch Forums and to submit letters to the editors supporting MSAC. Best of all, talk to your friends and neighbors about the impact and value of MSAC in your life, and then vote! Want to help? Questions / concerns / other ideas? Please contact Becca at bjordan@montpelier-vt.org.

City of Montpelier Budget Workshops and Public Budget Survey about FY22
Jan. 21 | via Zoom
MSAC is part of city government! The City Council meetings scheduled this month will include budget workshops, discussions and public input sessions. To view agendas and find links to connect, visit this website: 
https://www.montpelier-vt.org/129/Agendas-Minutes. The city has also launched a Public Budget Survey online, still available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SMJZ68Q

Try something new (or again!) with MSAC this Winter! You can find the Winter Program Guide and Registration forms you need here 

  • There is still a lot of space remaining in many of our classes, and a new year is a great time to try something new with our amazing instructors who share their skills, passion and care with the community to bring us affordable and diverse offerings!
  • If you’d like to flex your creativity, how about Painting, Drawing or Rughooking?
  • Want to write more? How about Making Poems or Creative Writing?
  • Like discussing current events of global significance? Try Great Decisions (starts 1/27)!
  • Do you know you need more movement in your life? How about Bone Builders, Pilates, or Somatic Movement?
  • Love or curious about Tai Chi or Qigong? Ellie has a new approach with Qigong to Enhance your Tai Chi!
  • Is Yoga your thing, or have you been wanting to try? We have seven yoga classes at various vigor levels to meet your needs!
  • Most of our affordable, diverse classes are open to younger members of the public - spread the word! 
  • 21 Winter classes have recently or will soon start online, and several may pivot to in-person (masked, distanced, health-screened) if State COVID guidance allows after January 18 (Painting, Drawing, Rughooking and Gentle to Moderate Yoga).

Montpelier Village Update and Survey Available 
MSAC’s Village initiative remains poised to continue its progress in the year ahead. The year ended with a number of projects being successfully implemented, including Fall Chores outdoors and most recently the Wellness Calls starting up, as well as the newly formed partnership between MSAC and a group of Montpelier High School students belonging to Club Action who began helping with technology assistance questions. An electronic survey to gauge interest in the next steps of the Village is available by visiting the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/village_engagement. If you would like to learn more about the Village model or explore ways to get involved, please contact Andrew Gribbin at msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org or 262-6287.
 

MSAC Volunteer Laura Morse recognized as a Local Hero by Times Argus!
Laura Morse is one of the friendly faces who distributes FEAST To-go curbside on Tuesdays and Fridays, a role she began while assisting Norma early in the pandemic and has continued into this winter.  Additionally, Laura leads Bones Builders online and Arthritis Foundation Exercise classes for MSAC, (the latter on hold during COVID), serves on our Advisory Council and other committees, helps plan trips and drive the van, and makes crafts – all as a community-oriented, kind and devoted volunteer! To learn more about Laura’s service, click here for the full story in the Times Argus, written by Spaulding High School student Indira Dzano, a Green Mountain United Way volunteer.

sunflower 2020, MSAC’s Literary Magazine, Released Online! 
2020sunflowerword thumbnail Opens in new windowsunflower 2020 is an online issue this year with 25 prose and poetry selections written by 17 MSAC members. The issue encompasses a broad range of creativity including topics such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, doing a jigsaw puzzle, traveling to England, playing tennis, nuances of fruitcake, questions concerning racism, navigating and reflecting on the pandemic, and more. The 2020 issue is dedicated in gratitude to our amazing MSAC staff and volunteers whose resilience, fortitude and loving effort have kept our Center vibrantly alive in spite of the many challenges brought on by these unprecedented times. To view the document in its entirety, along with three earlier issues also posted there, please visit this page.  

MSAC Partnering with Montpelier High School and CVCOA to offer Technology Assistance to Older Adults
Andrew Gribbin, AmeriCorps Aging in Place Coordinator at MSAC since September, is leading local efforts to create deeper partnerships with the high school and Central VT Council on Aging to learn best practices, train trainers, share resources and assist older adults with the three challenges many face in connecting online effectively: procurement of devices, internet connection, and technical training. Older adults seeking assistance with technology are encouraged to contact Andrew at 262-6287 or msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org.  

Check out our Helpful Resources webpage and new additions!
We've posted some new resources on our "Helpful Resources" page recently and wanted to encourage you to check them out. In addition to a lot of other links, you'll now find:   COVE's 2020 Aging in Vermont Resource Guide & Directory,  Finding Help: VT's Abuse, Exploitation & Neglect in Later Life Help Guide and MSAC 2020 Wellness Call Volunteers Training Resources Guide. 

Montpelier Park Maps (including Winter Trails) Available Online to View/Print!
Heading out for some fresh air and exercise alone, with your household members, or safely distanced with a friend? Did you know there are over a dozen different maps available on the Parks website? Included are detailed trail maps for Hubbard Park and North Branch River Park, plus orientation/directions for finding Dog River Field & Beach, Elm Court Park, Elm Street Playground, Gateway Park, Mill Pond Park, Montpelier Recreation Field, Peace Park, Turntable park, Barre Street Playground, Blanchard Park, Summer Street Park, and best of all for this season, Winter Trails in Montpelier Parks and on the North Street Ridge! It’s a great time of year to explore new parts of our beautiful region, and the Parks and Rec crews continue to maintain beautiful outdoor resources for Montpelier area residents’ enjoyment!