Nearly a year ago, we reported on an impressive number of Wes alums elected to congressional and gubernatorial office in the midterm elections of 2010. Among the notables was Peter Shumlin ’79, a former Vermont state senator from Putney who attended Wesleyan in the same class year as President Roth and later helped found Vermont’s Landmark College, one of only two colleges in the country designed for students with learning disabilities. Shumlin, a 55-year-old Democrat, had won the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor back in 2002, but that didn’t quite work out.
In 2010, Shumlin sought the highest office in Vermont and won, receiving 117,561 votes to Brian Dubies’ 113,227. The governor’s priorities in the first months of his term remain largely faithful to his campaign promises: reforming Vermont’s health care system and seeking to close the state’s Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.
Until last week, that is. Hurricane Irene ravaged through southern and central Vermont last weekend, destroying homes, killing at least three, and leaving a startling number of towns without electricity, phones, or adequate food supplies. Thrust suddenly into the national spotlight while dealing with Vermont’s worst national disaster in over 80 years, the freshman governor has proven himself an inspired leader in a state with relatively little experience in disaster management.
Irene was demoted from hurricane to tropical storm shortly before reaching Connecticut, but the storm still made its presence known in good old Middletown—knocking down trees from Pearl to Main Street, destroying an entire porch on Hunting Hill, and leaving about 40% of the city’s residents without power.
Meanwhile, throughout Connecticut, one person died from a storm-related fire in Prospect, a canoeist remains missing, and houses in East Haven have been destroyed or washed away from the wind and rain, reports the Middletown Press.
If you’re like me, you’ve watched dozens of your friends try to post something refreshingly witty on their Facebook, Twitter, etc. about the impending Hurricane doom looming over New England this weekend. Or maybe, in preparation for the start up of our new academic school year, you’ve taken to the ACB–only to learn that you can’t avoid the hype of Hurricane Irene. You’ve watched helplessly as baseball games are delayed or rescheduled, flights are cancelled, and yes, the most troubling of all, International Student Orientation is postponed. Rather than welcome our new international students of the Class of 2015 to Middletown with the onslaught of Irene’s wrath, Wesleyan’s administrative titans have decided to take a rain check on the first day of Orientation. For those of us already on campus, like myself, we remain hopelessly caught in the perils of Irene’s midst, or more accurately for now, Irene’s mist. More
information snarky commentary after the jump..