Ethan Weinstein

Former student settles complaint over alleged racist bullying

A Vermont Human Rights Commission complaint filed against Twin Valley School District alleged that the only Black student at Twin Valley Middle High School faced continued racist bullying, while school leadership failed to take action

A former Twin Valley student, who is Black, has settled a complaint with the district that alleges school officials didn't do enough to address racist bullying she faced at the district's middle and high schools, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Vermont, which is representing her.

In a 2021 complaint to the Vermont Human Rights Commission, the ACLU wrote that the student, referred to as "C.B.," was a 10th grader at Twin Valley Middle High School and its only Black student. The complaint alleged that Twin Valley students used racist slurs against C.B., directed the Nazi salute at her and threatened her with violence.

As a result of the alleged harassment, C.B. "did not participate in school sports, her grades declined, and she developed anxiety and depression," according to the ACLU. The student "was forced to transfer schools," the organization said, as the school "did nothing to protect C.B."

"School administrators have a responsibility to protect students' rights to an education free of discrimination, and we hope this case reminds schools of that responsibility," said Lia Ernst, legal director of the ACLU of Vermont, in a written statement.

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In Putney, bringing a rural focus to harm reduction

Robin Rieske and Dakota Roberts distribute overdose emergency kits, which contain Narcan, across Windham County

Robin Rieske arrived to town with five overdose emergency kits. The red metal boxes with a glass front resembled a square version of a small fire extinguisher cabinet. But rather than putting out flames, the tools inside could reverse an opioid overdose. Two hours later, Rieske had distributed the...

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In Putney, bringing a rural focus to harm reduction

Robin Rieske and Dakota Roberts distribute overdose emergency kits, which contain Narcan, across Windham County

Robin Rieske arrived to town with five overdose emergency kits. The red metal boxes with a glass front resembled a square version of a small fire extinguisher cabinet. But rather than putting out flames, the tools inside could reverse an opioid overdose. Two hours later, Rieske had distributed the...

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Paper mill oil leak pollutes nearby waters

An estimated 15,000 gallons of heating oil spilled from a tank at the Soundview Paper Company mill on Nov. 2, much of it entering Sacketts Brook, which flows into the Connecticut River. Authorities have thus far recovered more than 12,000 gallons of the sludgy No. 2 heating oil, according to Mike Nucci, an environmental analyst with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation spill team. He said he expected authorities to discover more of the missing oil when they excavate the...

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Accused killer incompetent to stand trial

A judge has found Zaaina Asra Zakirrah Mahvish-Jammeh, charged with murdering their social worker at the Morningside House shelter last month, temporarily incompetent to stand trial. The state can request a new competency evaluation, according to an order regarding competency signed by Superior Court Judge Katherine Hayes. A status conference is set for Aug. 9. Mahvish-Jammeh is charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing Leah Rosin-Pritchard, the social worker and shelter coordinator at the Morningside House shelter at 81 Royal...

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'This is the moment to fix it if we're going to fix it'

With two-thirds of Vermont towns requiring property value reappraisals, the House Ways and Means Committee is considering a moratorium on them and transitioning to a state-run reappraisal system. “This was not on my agenda coming into the session as, like, the project to take on,” Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, D-Brattleboro, the committee chair, said at a hearing on Feb. 2. “But it does seem like we're in a crisis. This is the moment to fix it if we're going to fix...

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BMH shares in federal grant money

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) is one of four rural health care providers in Vermont that will share in $2.72 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Rural Health Care (ERHC) grant program. The announcement was made on Sept. 15 at Springfield Hospital during a gathering of health care experts, funding recipients, and congressional representatives for a panel discussion on the state of health care in Vermont convened by USDA Rural Development's Vermont and New Hampshire office.

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Former assistant judge under investigation

Vermont State Police have confirmed they are investigating Patricia Duff, a former Windham County assistant judge who resigned earlier this summer. State police spokesperson Adam Silverman declined to address the reason for the probe. News of the investigation was first reported by the Brattleboro Reformer. Joyce McKeeman, an assistant judge in Orange County and the president of the Vermont Association of County Judges, told VTDigger in an Aug. 18 email that “the underlying allegations against [Duff] were related to financial...

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