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VT Law School Continues Aid to Irene-Damaged Communities

September 2, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT—Heading into the Labor Day weekend, Vermont Law School students, faculty and staff will continue volunteering to help Vermont residents affected by Tropical Storm Irene, including offering legal aid and assistance filling out FEMA applications.

"Vermont Law School is determined to do whatever it can to help in our local community and across the region," said VLS Dean Jeff Shields.

Photo of James Olaleye

VLS student James Olaleye '13 cleans up storm damage in South Royalton.

Since the storm struck Sunday:

• Hundreds of VLS students, faculty and staff have helped to clean up homes damaged by floodwaters in South Royalton and other communities. The students also are delivering food, beds and other supplies. Two students have suffered minor injuries during the cleanup.
• VLS's Land Use Clinic and South Royalton Legal Clinic are helping residents to fill out FEMA applications in the VLS library from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 6-9. From Sept. 10-30, clinic hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The South Royalton Legal Clinic also will provide civil legal assistance. For more information, call 802.831.1028. Residents should bring their Social Security number, address, contact telephone number, insurance information, total household income, bank routing and account information (if they want FEMA funds directly deposited into their bank account) and a description of losses caused by the disaster. If residents need additional legal advice, VLS volunteers will put them in contact with someone who can assist them.
• VLS has assigned two of its staff—Sarah Buxton, a member of the Vermont House of Representatives, and Peg Trombly, a former chairman of the South Royalton Select Board—to work full time on relief efforts in local communities for the foreseeable future. Another staff member, Abby Armstrong, a long-time volunteer in her hometown of Sharon, has been assigned to aid Sharon town officials this weekend.
• The VLS faculty has loosened class attendance requirements, so students can continue to volunteer during normal class time and make-up assignments later.
• VLS is allowing additional staffers to volunteer for short-term community relief efforts while continuing to receive their school paychecks.
• Eight faculty and staffers whose homes are cut off have been put on paid administrative leave. Faculty and staffers whose commutes have been extended to several hours because of road closures are being allowed to work flexible schedules.
• VLS is offering counseling to VLS students, staff, faculty and their relatives who need support.
• VLS is soliciting cash donations for Operation Revive Royalton to aid South Royalton and Royalton residents affected by Irene.
• Alumni and Reunion Weekend on Sept. 16-18 will continue as scheduled but with opportunities for alumni to volunteer for Irene relief efforts.
• VLS has created a web page for post-Irene updates.
• VLS has established the VLS Relief Fund to accept financial contributions to aid VLS students, staff and faculty whose homes have been destroyed, damaged or cut off by floodwaters.
• VLS has created an email address—contributions@vermontlaw.edu—for students, staff and faculty to match volunteer needs and services.
• Many VLS students, faculty and staff will be volunteering in various communities this weekend and are available to comment. They include Sarah Buxton at 802.233.0274 or sbuxton@gmail.com and third-year students Meredith Crafton at 206.280.7011 or merecrafton@gmail.com and Janssen Willhoit at 802.431.5118 jwillhoit@vermontlaw.edu.

VLS's classes started Wednesday, two days late, because of an electricity, telephone and Internet outage. All systems have been restored. Floodwaters caused an estimated $500,000 in damage on campus to two buildings, three riverside parking lots, the outdoor classroom and Internet servers.

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations
Office: 802.831.1106, cell: 540.798.7099, home: 802.649.2235, jcramer@vermontlaw.edu

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