Kevin O'Connor

A person with a sign asking for money sits outside the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

Town brings municipal response to panhandling back to the table

Selectboard struggles to address complaints voiced in a 1,000-signature petition in the shadow of court rulings that asking for money on public property is constitutionally protected speech

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.

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‘One of the best people I ever knew’

Deirdre Baker, a beloved community volunteer, endured a decade of surgeries for cancer before dying in a weekend blaze

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...

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Brattleboro shelter leader will take helm at SEVCA

'We've been through a lot,' says Joshua Davis, who's departing as executive director of Groundworks Collaborative

The executive director of the Groundworks Collaborative shelter and support program is set to depart for another human services post, capping a tumultuous year still unsettled by the violent killing this spring of one of the nonprofit agency's social workers. When Joshua Davis began as a graduate school volunteer...

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Kunin has something to say about age limits. (And Barbie.)

Madeleine Kunin still fields calls about serving in the last millennium as Vermont's first and so far only female governor, and later as deputy U.S. education secretary and ambassador to her birthplace of Switzerland. But, now retired, the Democratic politico turned published poet would rather wrestle with more present, personal questions. At summer's end, green leaves, shake themselves red with excitement. Same as last year, still a surprise. Each day must decide before it reveals itself - Will it still...

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'You're not alone': Brattleboro activist cultivates rural LGBTQ connections

HB Lozito recalls living in a big city out West when memories began to bubble of a small-town childhood back East. Lozito appreciated the freedom that the San Francisco Bay Area offered someone who uses the word "queer" with pride and "they" as a singular pronoun. But the concrete metropolis didn't have the more grounded moments of the thirty-something's birthplace in Maine. "I had been living in a very large population of LGBTQ people, but it also felt important to...

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For two farm families, an era ends

Growing up at Lilac Ridge Farm, which her family began in 1937, Helen Thurber vowed she'd never wed anyone who worked in that grueling before-sunrise-to-after-sunset business. "I thought, 'I can't live that kind of life,'" she recently recalled. Then Helen met her brother Stuart's friend, Charles Robb, at his family's farm a mile up the road. Fast-forward a few years. "As we headed down the aisle, my dad whispered to me, 'I didn't think you were ever going to marry...

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Iconic retailer will leave Brattleboro

Sam's Outdoor Outfitters has long advertised itself as "The Biggest Little Store in the World." But such hype will likely morph into history when the nearly century-old family-owned business leaves its 30,000-square-foot Main Street location at the end of its lease next spring. "With a lot of thought, and with huge regret, we have decided that we must close the Brattleboro store," third-generation head Brad Borofsky recently wrote in a letter to employees. Two satellite locations - one in Swanzey,

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A Brattleboro movie palace offers a picture of storm resilience

When Jon Potter, director of downtown's Latchis business block, first heard the weather forecast this past July, his brain flooded with flashbacks as historic as the predicted precipitation. Potter knew his predecessors had to postpone the formal opening of the Art Deco landmark's anchor theater 85 years ago during the Great New England Hurricane of September 1938. Years later, they had to shutter the adjacent hotel and storefronts for weeks after Tropical Storm Irene wreaked $500,000 in damage in 2011.

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