Allison Teague

Inclusive or exclusive?

Anonymous letter is a symptom of heartless, anonymous capitalism in Brattleboro

I was flabbergasted when I read this encouragement to further ostracize, abandon, walk away from, shun, ignore, and NIMBY-off the most vulnerable in our society - an effort by a capitalist society that has been desensitized from caring for our neighbors and brothers as ourselves, and labeling them as somehow toxic or less than and definitely not worthy of a dime, nickel, or quarter of our capitalist gains.

This manifesto assigns the faceless in need with the blame for anonymous business fears as the only (unsubstantiated) obstacle to future profits and gains.

All those human services entities approved for giving are crucial and need our support. But this current situation, a perfect storm of higher poverty and higher addiction numbers today, is not an either-or scenario. It's an all-hands-on-deck scenario, and what might be someone else's problem becomes ours if we do not take responsibility for solving it ourselves.

As someone whose childhood trauma has never left me - trauma that is something I deal with every day I wake up to start all over again - and as someone who in reporting over the years for this newspaper conscientiously sought out and spoke to panhandlers, homeless people, and drug addicts for their stories and how they got there, I heard, and know for myself, that the most any of us really want is to be treated with the respect that every human being deserves. Look me in the eye, for god's sake, and smile....

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One doll’s journey

Westminster teacher’s documentary tells the story of women dollmakers in rural Peru and the program that provides them with purpose and a paycheck

High in the Peruvian Andes, in a small town outside Cusco, Peru, the lives of 47 women have changed for the better with economic opportunity since the launch of the Q'ewar Project in 2002. The expanding social work initiative both trains and employs the most at-risk women in the...

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A community cares

Since 1988, volunteers have helped senior citizens get to appointments, accomplish tasks, and maintain their good health in Westminster and Rockingham. Could it provide a model for a state whose population is rapidly aging?

Vermonters have a tradition of caring for neighbors in need, particularly among their rural hills and valleys. But with nearly 21 percent of the U.S. population predicted to reach age 85 by 2040, that casual tradition will likely be tested to its limit. Windham County will need any number...

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Statewide program provides services to people in need

Cathedral Square Corporation was founded in 1977 as a development and property management service providing affordable senior housing in Chittenden County. More recently, the South Burlington nonprofit has consulted in the southeastern part of the state on potential senior housing projects in Brattleboro and Townshend. Its Support and Services at Home (SASH) program, which served almost 3,500 Vermonters as of 2014, was Cathedral Square's “brainchild,” according to Development Director Cindy Reid. The statewide program, administered by Cathedral Square, began in...

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Pattern of behavior

Lamont Barnett, the town's newly elected Selectboard chair, has admitted knowingly acting on behalf of the full board - without approval and in violation of the state's Open Meeting Law - when he signed two letters of support at the request of a constituent “at the eleventh hour.” The constituent also happens to be another public official - Saxtons River Trustees Chair Louise Luring - who has described the infraction as a “tempest in a teapot, [a] mountain out of...

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One person’s ‘good law’ is another’s ‘underfunded mandate’

The most recent version of the open-meeting and public-records laws, Act 129, signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin in May, clarifies “five days” as five calendar days, scuttling hopes of smaller town governments for a little leniency in complying with the law. This legislation did not make the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) happy. The municipal advocacy group's executive director, Maura Carroll, who blamed the Vermont Press Association for being “unreasonable,” said this requirement could be onerous...

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Infrastucture costs, merger to dominate meetings

With the end of the fiscal year, and the annual Village Meeting of the Bellows Falls Village Corporation next week, Trustee Sandy Martin and president Nancy McAuliffe say goodbye, having signed off on the fiscal year 2017 budget. The budget boasts a 0.535-cent decrease in the Village General Fund tax, whose revenues fund village administration, fire, police, and parks. The last decrease, Town Manager Willis “Chip” Stearns wrote, “was in 2007, when the last town appraisal went into effect.” With...

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Property lines muddy responsibility for dumping of fill

The state Agency of Natural Resources has cited four alleged violators for dumping “hundreds of cubic yards” of fill material over a steep embankment on land owned by the town of Westminster. This resulted in excessive soil runoff into Newcomb Brook from a side road off the Westminster Heights Road, and just north of the new Vermont State Police barracks construction site. Naylor and Breen Builders, Inc., of Brandon, Fitzpatrick Excavating and Trucking, LLC, Roger Farnsworth of Westminster, and the...

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