Ann Buckingham, one of 50 volunteers at the Putney Foodshelf, packs food for delivery.
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For Vermonters, a cascade of crises lead to food insecurity

Higher food costs, coupled with an end to pandemic aid programs, causes demand at food shelves to soar

Two in five Vermonters are experiencing food insecurity, reported Hunger Free Vermont in a recent virtual briefing on the hunger in the state.

The federal government defines food insecurity as households being, at times, unable to acquire adequate food for one or more household members because they have insufficient money and other resources for food (see sidebar).

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‘We’re all strong’

Thelma Sharlow, who has lived in town for 77 of her 94 years, says that her life "has been complicated." Her story started in the hills of West Virginia where her father cared for Sharlow and her two sisters, Kitty and Eva Ann, after their mother walked away from the family when Sharlow - then Thelma Colleen Facemire - was 5 years old. "My dad was a West Virginia hillbilly. Once, he took me into the mines on his shoulder...

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No mediation in Putney housing challenge

Despite a suggestion by Environmental Court Superior Judge Thomas Durkin that mediation might resolve the issues in the dispute over the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust's (WWHT) proposed $11.7 million Alice Holway Drive housing project, neither party in the case agreed. "We offered to mediate, but the Trust wasn't interested and they filed a motion for summary judgement, so we'll be doing that," said Attorney Harold B. Stevens III after an about-20-minute teleconference hearing that took place on Nov. 27...

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Making the rounds

On a tour of southern Vermont arts sites, Susan Evans McClure, newly appointed executive director of the Vermont Arts Council (VAC), addressed about 40 area artists and arts leaders at Brattleboro's Epsilon Spires on the evening of Nov. 27. Leading Vermont's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts, Evans McClure intends to hit each region in the state within the year to listen to its arts communities, to invite their success stories, and to hear their challenges...

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New owners of Mocha Joe’s see themselves part of a ‘transition to new generation’

As business owners, husband-and-wife team Kate Barry and Bruce Hunt know all about the challenges facing the downtown area. Barry co-owns the Collective Lounge & Bar on Elliot Street, and together, she and Hunt operate a property management company. Barry also runs the local office of a real estate brokerage, eXp Realty, from the Hooker-Dunham Building on Main Street. But Barry and Hunt also know all about what makes Brattleboro a place where people want to live and work and...

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Measuring hunger

Some examples of questions used by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service to assess the food security of households in the U.S, in 2022: • "We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more." Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months? • "The food that we bought just didn't last, and we didn't have money to get more." Was that often, sometimes, or never true for...

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Special Christmas Breakfast to honor memory of fire victim

Organizers are accepting reservations for a Special Christmas Breakfast fundraiser to honor the memory of Deirdre Baker, a local cancer survivor and community volunteer who recently died in a fire. The Dec. 25 event at the Marina Restaurant will feature 100-person seatings at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. for those who call 802-257-7563 no later than Wednesday, Dec. 20. Baker's friends are set to offer a by-donation buffet of scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, biscuits, gravy, fruit, coffee, tea, and juice.

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‘One of the best people I ever knew’

When Deirdre Baker was named grand marshal of this town's Fourth of July parade in 2012, she didn't let that morning's storm clouds dampen her spirits. She already had weathered too much for that. The year before, Baker was planning a free public Christmas breakfast when, set to celebrate her 50th birthday, she was unable to shake a stuffy nose. Doctors said it wasn't a cold or allergies, but instead sinus cancer. To reach and remove it, they'd have to...

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'Cut and fit, cut and fit'

Historical restoration is an art form that attempts to preserve and connect us with our roots. In Putney, one of our historical landmarks is Pierce's Hall, built circa 1831, which has served as a community center and dance hall for over a century. A committed group of citizens has kept the hall operative for decades, restoring the roof and providing space for monthly contra dances, potlucks, celebrations, community presentations, and even food shelf pop-ups. Once upon a time, the Ladies'

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