The specific focus for much of my work this week was on rural economic and healthcare needs. It included a panel convened on Friday by Community Health and Wellness Center (CHWC) highlighting the critical need to draw (and retain) primary healthcare providers in our area.
The plan Nuvance announced at the end of September to limit services at Sharon Hospital remains very much front of mind, and we began to deepen the conversation this week, when Nuvance presented the plan to the Northwest Hills Council of Governments (a consortium of 21 towns in the northwest corner). Many thoughtful members of the community joined this meeting (held via Zoom) and kicked off the agenda with public comments that were focused, diverse in perspective and experience, and uniformly opposed to the announced plan.
It’s the time of year that everyone is squeezing in the last of the outdoor events in the beautiful weather and spectacular fall scenery. Last weekend featured two Women’s Marches in our region, supporting reproductive rights in light of an oppressive Texas law.
And October begins. Recent events have had me criss-crossing the state (and reminding me we’re not as small as we look on a map), but I’m hoping to stay anchored in the Northwest Corner as fall begins to take hold with plenty of crisp cool weather ahead this weekend.
The biggest upcoming event on the horizon for me is a special session scheduled to convene on Monday, September 27 to address the Governor’s request to extend the declaration of public health and civil preparedness emergencies until February 15, 2022.
The newsletter this week includes two videos, both initially broadcast via Facebook Live. The first is the usual weekly update (done on Wednesday), and the second (from Thursday night) is a conversation with Dr. Paul Nee, an infectious disease specialist with Nuvance Health, and Dr. Suzanne Lefebvre, a pediatrician with Nuvance Health who serves as the medical advisor to both Region One Schools and the Kent School. It was an informative conversation and I hope it helps clarify what’s happening right now at hospitals and schools with respect to COVID-19 infections, vaccines, and boosters.
Over the past week, I have had many conversations about conversation itself, and how hard it can be at this moment fraught with anxiety and division. Fueled in part by the pandemic’s continued presence (in light of our hopes that it would be behind us by now), I have heard a lot of stories about conflicts escalating, and even routine communication turned hostile.
The last week or so has been characterized by a series of extreme events. The weather included a near miss from Hurricane Henri, and heavy rains dumped throughout the state by Henri’s sister Ida. Those rains produced extensive flooding throughout the region, and caused the tragic death of State Trooper Brian Mohl whose car was swept away in rushing water.