On a Quest to Keep Cool
Blanket of Heat Swaddles Region
Madelyn Taylor, of Lebanon, left, sits with her daughter JoAnn Tremblay, of Enfield, and her great-granddaughter, Kailee Swan, 11, of Enfield, after eating ice cream together at Taylor’s apartment in Rogers House in Lebanon Thursday. While the building has no central air conditioning, a small unit in her apartment keeps the temperature bearable on 90-degree days. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Hunter Morse, 8, left, and Bret Salvitti, 9, both of Sunapee, play at Dewey Beach on Lake Sunapee Thursday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — While many Upper Valley residents flocked to nearby lakes or a darkened movie theater to beat this week’s heat wave, Jackie Fedchenko sat contentedly in her two-room apartment, sans air-conditioning, in downtown Lebanon.
Most of the residents at Rogers House, a multi-story independent living center for low-income seniors, have A.C. units within their apartments.
Fedchenko, however, chooses to live “a natural life” and makes do without.
“I’m pretty comfortable up here, I get plenty of a breeze,” she said.
She layered curtains in her living room window to help keep her apartment cool, and she’s happy to stay put on a hot day, but said she’s not afraid to venture out in the 90-plus degree heat.
“I go downstairs in the shade and put my feet up and read my book and feel the breeze, if there is one, and ignore it if there’s not,” she laughed.
With yesterday’s temperature topping 90 by midday, Lori Moore, of Lebanon, was cooling off at a crowded Storrs Pond in Hanover early yesterday afternoon, something she said she does twice a day.
“Lots and lots of swimming,” she said.
Although her family typically eschews the air conditioners in their home, it’s reached the point where they’re in use.
Liz Horan, of Thetford, was also taking advantage of Storrs Pond with her two small children.
“If we really need to I can go up and turn the A.C. on (in one of the bedrooms) ... and hide up there for a couple of hours,” Horan said, noting she and her kids visit Treasure Island, on Lake Fairlee, and play in the kiddie pool at their home.
Horan said this year’s has been “the hottest summer I’ve known.”
“I think it’s just crazy humid and hot. It rained forever, and now it’s just so hot and the humidity is what’s really hard,” she said. “It’s not the end of the world, but living in Vermont, you think it’s going to be cooler than this.”
It’s so hot, in fact, Lebanon issued a heat advisory Tuesday that informed residents of cooling stations at the city libraries and the senior center. Lebanon Memorial Pool waived its regular admission fee .
Although the town of Hartford has paid close attention to the types of work the Public Works personnel are doing, “business is as usual” in town, said Choate.
In Hartford, drinking water coolers and shade tents were set up where town personnel are working, but otherwise, “business is as usual,” Assistant Public Works Director John Choate said.
Choate said a contractor repaving town roads suffered heat exhaustion and was transported to an emergency room.
“We have had issues, guys are suffering ... we are not requiring them to be full-on outdoors, but most of our work is there,” he said.
Hartford Parks and Recreation Director Tad Nunez said the summer camps in town are still operating normally.
Despite the nearly week-long heat wave, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center “is not seeing any increase in heat related illness, to this point any ways,” spokesman Rick Adams said.
Back at Rogers House, former building President Dan Griswold warned that it’s easy for an individual’s health to spiral out of control during a heat wave, but residents have been cautious.
“So far we have been lucky, they have been staying indoors like they should,” Griswold said, of his building mates. “It’s so hot out that when they do go out, they come right back in,” he added.
Don Willeman, of West Lebanon, said he’s been taking his children to the White River to cool off during this hot stretch. Although his family does “have some A.C. at home,” he said “we try to be wise and take advantage of our recreation opportunities.”
Annie Gardner, a sophomore at Dartmouth College walking at the corner of Main Street and West Wheelock in Hanover yesterday, said swimming and cold showers help her cope with the heat.
Gardner, a member of the school’s rowing team, doesn’t have air-conditioning at her residence .
“I row a lot, which doesn’t keep you cool, but you can jump in the river after,” she said. “Other than that, we’re careful about drinking enough water, eating good meals and wearing hats, glasses and sunblock.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3248.
This article has been amended to correct an earlier error. Rogers House is an independent living center for low-income seniors in Lebanon. An earlier version of this article described it incorrectly.