Joyce Marcel

Sam’s Army and Navy sign was front and center on Main Street in Brattleboro in 1975.

End of an era

Over the course of a century, three generations of a family pivoted, keeping Sam’s an anchor of Brattleboro’s vibrant downtown economy and experience. For the daughter of a proprietor of an Army and Navy store in Brooklyn, its loss will hit home.

Now that it has been confirmed that Sam's Outdoor Outfitters on Main Street will be closing in April of 2024, there are so many ways to think about it.

We could think about the big retail hole it will leave on Main Street, where it has been losing business for years.

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No easy solutions

Homelessness in Brattleboro is a multifaceted issue. It requires a multifaceted response.

The unemployed, the unhoused, the people with mental health problems, the panhandlers, the drug users, the dealers, the travelers, the thieves - it is hard to tell the players on the street without a scorecard. When I first thought about writing about homelessness in Brattleboro, I lumped all of...

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Housing, drug crises spill into downtown Brattleboro

For merchants, a range of emotion from compassion to frustration over a complex set of problems with no easy solutions

Sometimes it feels like Brattleboro is under siege, but it's a siege that is hard to define. Is it drug addiction? Is it homelessness? Is it panhandling? Is it theft? Is it a mental health issue? Is it all of the above? Just one or two of the above?

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A very untranquil summer for Becca Balint

Most people don't get six weeks of summer vacation, but as a member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vermont, does. Unfortunately for Balint, of Brattleboro, her time away from the Capitol coincided with a major natural disaster in Vermont, four big indictments in four major cities for former president Donald Trump, and a looming budget crisis when she returns to Washington. It was keeping her busy almost around the clock, but she managed to find time last week for...

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State tries to find money to expand new housing

As unhoused people - some nursing children, some nursing pets - camp in tents during this rainy summer, they are deluged by more than water. There is a sense of hopelessness, because even with the best of intentions - and with the Vermont Treasurer's Office making $85 million available for investment in housing, climate, and social equity initiatives - construction can not happen soon enough. And as the state wrestles with homelessness within its borders, the number of the unhoused...

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‘We need more housing that’s more affordable for people who need it’

Why are millions of people living on the streets of the wealthiest nation on Earth? That is the question that Gregg Colburn, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, along with data scientist and policy analyst Clayton Page Aldern, tried to discover in their book, Homelessness Is a Housing Problem: How Structural Factors Explain U.S. Patterns, published in March by the University of California Press. Colburn was the guest at an online policy forum held by State Treasurer Michael...

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Preserving a visual legacy

There was a time in this old state when yoked oxen hauled logs out of frozen woods, people flocked to county fairs for fun, for relaxation, and to see their neighbors, farriers shoed draft horses which then competed in strength contests, wooden barns and church steeples dotted the landscape, and covered bridges hung tenuously over rushing streams. For the most part, if you look hard enough, this is still Vermont. But nothing has captured the old-timey feel of Vermont more...

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For homeless people, a human connection

Brooks Memorial Library is on the front line of the town's and region's homelessness conundrum. With the exception of Groundworks Collaborative, the library is the one place in town where people who are unhoused can find shelter from the weather, have access to the internet, write a letter to a family member, get help finding the services they need, get a few books to take out, use a clean bathroom, drink some cool, clean water, and find a kind word...

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