Flooding pics, water rising at Union Village Dam, new FedEx bot -- it's Daybreak, 4/16

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Though a little dramatic to start: Cloudy, chilly, blustery.  The clouds will scatter and the temps will rise all the way to, oh, maybe 50 -- but it'll still be gusty throughout the day. Good drying weather, though, which we obviously need. The low that brought local flooding yesterday and overnight has shifted off to the east, and behind it a high is building in from the west -- meaning that tomorrow, finally, might be calm. Cold tonight, with temps dropping below freezing just before dawn.

Lots of flooded roads yesterday, with warnings about the White and West Leb overnight. Though the rain stopped, flood watches were still in effect for the Connecticut in West Leb, and for parts of Grafton County. Road closures around both states due to rising water, including some seriously dramatic water levels in Quechee, Sharon, and elsewhere. South Royalton was almost cut off for a time, with the only way in or out over a road in full mud-season.

Sometimes a graph is worth a thousand words. This one, from the National Weather Service, charts the Ompompanoosuc's level at the Union Village Dam in Thetford over the last few days. As eye-popping as any photograph. (Thanks to Jonathan F. for the tip.)

Towns in NH (but really, both states) are grappling with how to pay for students who tuition out for secondary education. The VN's Sarah Earle is up with a longish explainer on how the Mascoma towns and others are struggling with tuition agreements. Croydon--similar to some towns in Vermont--contracts with any school a parent chooses, and now it's trying to figure out how to pay for an influx of newcomers apparently moving there to take advantage of school choice. (VN, subscription reqd)

New UNH study shows how wildfires change stream chemistry. For your inner wonk. Researchers at the ag experiment station at UNH, along with colleagues in California and Ohio, found that the after-effects of wildfires in Yosemite lasted for years, with implications for watersheds' productivity. Why does this matter here? Because summers are drying out in northern New England, too, and fire is a growing possibility. Also, says the UNH lead, Yosemite and New Hampshire are both made of granite, and so what dissolves into streams and rivers is similar.

NH Senate plans to boost number of caseworkers at DCYF. Remember last week how the state's Division of Children, Youth and Families said it's groaning under its caseloads? Senate Democrats want to add 77 new casework positions to the agency. Not surprisingly, the DCYF board of advisors likes the idea. Even then, says the agency's director, caseloads won't drop to where he thinks they should be.

There's a bipartisan consensus developing behind clean energy in New Hampshire. Reality has a way of doing that, says Dan Weeks in a Concord Monitor commentary. He happens to own a solar services company, but as he points out, warmer temps have boosted the tick population, "which do not discriminate between Democrats and Republicans," and property values along the seacoast are dropping, regardless of the owners' politics. These days, 90 percent of adults in the state, including 78 percent of Republicans, want public funding of renewable energy research. (Concord Monitor, same  paywall deal as VN)

Vermont labor department finds fraud in the unemployment insurance program. So far it's found eight cases in which claimants' personal information was used to get unauthorized access to the unemployment insurance system. The department is asking "anyone with an account in the unemployment insurance system [to] be extra vigilant in monitoring their online account and credit activity, until this situation is resolved." State police are investigating.

VT needs about $60 million to fund clean water projects. And doesn't know where it's going to find the money. A variety of plans are moving forward in Montpelier, and if you've got some time today at noon, VPR's Vermont Editioncan fill you in.

In the mood for a drive to Manchester NH city hall? FedEx will be unveiling its delivery bot for city officials tonight. The battery-powered robot, designed by local inventor Dean Kamen's DEKA Research & Development Corp., can navigate streets, sidewalks, potholes, pedestrians and front steps to get your package to you. FedEx wants to use Manchester to pilot the bot; the city hasn't yet given its okay.


You might want to think about Carla Kihlstedt's Understory, in the Hood.This takes a little explanation. Kihlstedt is a violinist, singer and composer who for the last year has been working with Dartmouth STEM profs to create new musical work. Understory is performed by the 50 members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who will embody the white-pine forest that used to cover Hanover. The audience "will be encouraged to walk through this 'forest' in the Hood atrium to hear from the individual 'trees' while also perceiving the 'forest' as a community" -- while the "trees" sing, speak, recite Abenaki poetry.... Starts at 5:30, free, no tickets needed.

Or you could go do some embodiment of your own at Sayon Camara's drumming workshop. At Ancient Healing Arts Yoga in WRJ's Tip Top Building. Camara is a djembe player from Guinea, in West Africa, who teaches and performs around the region and the country, and leads drummers' tours to Guinea. Could there be a better way to build some heat on a chill day? Starts at 6.

Go do good work out there today. See you tomorrow.


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