Governor Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Agency of Transportation today announced the roll out of a brand new web-based Public Information Project that was made possible through a partnership with Google. A new map, utilizing Google, will advance the emergency response effort following Hurricane Irene. The map can be found at the VTrans website: www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external). ‘In the wake of this unprecedented storm that has ravaged our infrastructure it is all hands on deck, and the state is working to assess both state and local roads and bridges,’ said Sue Minter VTrans Deputy Secretary. ‘A new and improved mapping system, which will be publicly available, will help us identify and publicize damaged infrastructure for the travelling public, as well as for our response team,’ she said. The Google map was established within 24 hours to meet the growing demands for accurate maps both for Agency personnel and for public information needs. The effort began when Matt Dunne, head of Google Community Affairs, contacted the Agency with the offer to assist, as they have done for states along the eastern seaboard impacted by Hurricane Irene. Google worked diligently along with VTrans IT staff, and within 8 hours a prototype was developed. The web-map ‘went live’ 24 hours later. ‘VTrans has been striving for some time to improve public information about road conditions, particularly during emergencies,’ Minter said, noting the limitations of their current system. ‘Google reached out to help us improve our public outreach and information. Without this support, we would not have been able to meet this important need,’ she said. Dunne explained, ‘We are pleased to have worked with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to put together a map documenting road and bridge closures, flooding and other information. We hope this map is helpful to the state and fellow Vermonters recovering from Hurricane Irene.’The map will be a dynamic product ‘in the making.’ It will be updated daily as more information becomes available. The public is also invited to add their information at the Agency website. VTrans’ public information project also includes a Call Center for people in search of traveler information. The Agency has been inundated with calls for assistance and responded by creating the following hotline: (800) 866-7099 which will be staffed between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM. VTrans. 9.1.2011
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A Monday afternoon fire in a home in the Minnehaha area, just outside of Vancouver city limits, displaced eight people, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.Firefighters were called to 3605 N.E. 44th St., near Northeast St. Johns Road, around 4:15 p.m.Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Joe Spatz said a firefighter working on a brush fire near St. Johns Road and state Highway 500 was first to arrive, and found flames coming from the small home’s front doors and windows.When another engine crew arrived, the firefighter checked the back of the house to find only the front was burning, Spatz said.Firefighters attacked the fire burning at the front of the house from the outside, while others rolled a hose around the back to go inside and check for people and douse the flames.They rescued a cat and dog still inside the burning house, Spatz said, and both reportedly were doing well. No one was injured.The fire displaced eight people, Spatz said, and the Red Cross was called to help with post-disaster relief.The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office was investigating.