Kevin O'Connor

A birdhouse sits across the street from the nonprofit Groundworks Collaborative’s drop-in center and overnight shelter on South Main Street in Brattleboro.

A year after tragedy, Groundworks looks forward

‘We’ve learned we cannot be all things to all people,’ says Libby Bennett, the nonprofit’s new leader. ‘The needs have grown a lot more complex.’

BRATTLEBORO-Five years ago, Groundworks Collaborative - a nonprofit whose tagline promises "basic needs met with dignity" - hoped to help a rising number of people sleeping on the streets by unveiling plans for a $3.3 million drop-in center and overnight shelter.

"Thinking back to that moment, we thought, 'This is the way,'" Libby Bennett, then in charge of the organization's development and communications office, recalled of the overall trajectory.

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Ski jump offers giant leap for women

Female flyers were welcomed at Harris Hill nearly a century before they could compete globally, but more bumps remain on the slope to equality

Before the late Fred Harris unveiled his namesake ski jump in this town a century ago, the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame inductee shared a test run with his less publicized but more prized adviser. His sister, Evelyn. Ever since the latter Harris tried out what's now Vermont's sole...

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Municipal EMS takeover plan may face state review

Green Mountain Care Board regulators say they must rule whether they are required to approve the $1.37 million project

Health care regulators have told municipal officials here that a pending $1.37 million fire department takeover of emergency medical services may require state review and approval. The Brattleboro Selectboard voted unanimously last fall for the town to drop its nearly 60-year contract with the private nonprofit Rescue Inc. -

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A joyful noise

The story of Jacob Estey begins like a Charles Dickens novel: Born into poverty in 1814, the late New Englander was farmed out as a child laborer at age 4 and ran away at age 13, only to establish a namesake local company that became the largest organ manufacturer in the world. Estey sold pump models to families seeking entertainment in the days before electronics, as well as pipe instruments to such luminaries as automaker Henry Ford, who rolled into...

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‘We were spared’

Beverly Jelley woke Monday to fears of yet another surge of stormwater. Twenty-four hours later, the 81-year-old local business owner gave thanks for something else: a torrent of community support. The three-decade operator of Jelley's convenience store on Route 100 - having rebuilt from top to bottom twice, after 2011's Tropical Storm Irene and last summer's record rains - watched Tuesday as dozens of family members and friends put back nearly $300,000 of equipment they had pulled out the morning...

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Town brings municipal response to panhandling back to the table

As local leaders here tell it, residents who see people asking for spare change along downtown streets, parking lots, and traffic medians are expressing both sides of the coin. "A highly sympathetic view might hold that panhandling is essential to a poor person's survival and should not be restricted or discouraged in any way," Town Manager John Potter wrote in a recent memorandum to the Selectboard. "A less sympathetic view might see the behavior as contributing to chaos, community disorder...

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Town brings municipal response to panhandling back to the table

As local leaders here tell it, residents who see people asking for spare change along downtown streets, parking lots, and traffic medians are expressing both sides of the coin. "A highly sympathetic view might hold that panhandling is essential to a poor person's survival and should not be restricted or discouraged in any way," Town Manager John Potter wrote in a recent memorandum to the Selectboard. "A less sympathetic view might see the behavior as contributing to chaos, community disorder...

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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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