Vermont Public Radio presents ‘The Irene Effect’

Tropical Storm Irene left an indelible signature scrawled on our landscape. The costs are still being tallied, but we do know the flood changed how we see the future.

Vermont Public Radio presents “The Irene Effect” on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at noon and 7 p.m. The program will be rebroadcast on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m., and Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 9 a.m.

This hour-long special tells the personal stories of Vermonters still dealing daily with displacement and uncertainty in the wake of Irene:

• A young Cuttingsville couple whose farm was washed away in the flood and who are dealing with both the financial and emotional costs.

• A 67-year-old Northfield man who lost his home and now wonders how he'll retire.

• A Wilmington couple who hope to rebuild their business on higher ground.

“The Irene Effect” also captures the uplifting moments when communities came together in the wake of the flood.

For example, Pittsfield, a town with no doctor's office or school, was isolated by the storm. Residents set up a clinic and held classes on the town green in the days following Irene.

“As we look back over the last few months in this documentary, we understand more than ever just how significant Tropical Storm Irene has been for Vermont, for its towns and for its people,” said John Van Hoesen, VPR vice president for news and programming.

“Hearing both the hope and uncertainty in Vermonters' voices in this documentary gives us perspective on the long-term impact of the storm in ways that we didn't realize in the first hours or days,” Van Hoesen said. “It's such an important story.”

This program examines what Vermonters have learned from the experience and what can be done to better protect people and property from future floods.

Listeners will hear concerns about damage to streams and rivers, and learn what the state would do differently in the future to better protect them, and visit places where roads and the land beneath them were completely washed away.

They will also learn what's being done to build roads so they'll hold up in future floods.

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