Paula Melton

Heller: Perfect for the job

Talk about laboring in obscurity!

Last week, I found myself discussing a $3.4 million gift that Brattleboro had received. When should we spend it? What should we spend it on? And who should decide?

That's when we got hung up for a good 20 minutes on the finer points of jurisdiction within the town government. Also, the finer points of pickleball.

Nope, it doesn't get wonkier or weirder than the meetings of the Representative Town Meeting Finance Committee. I often think we understand the town budget better than certain members of the Selectboard do.

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‘Safety’? For whom? ‘Calm’? About what?

‘I fear that skewed survey responses may be used to serve the needs and desires of the most privileged in our town at a time when the most vulnerable need compassion and support from all of us’

Something has gone terribly wrong. In a world of increasing uncertainty, climate chaos, and political polarization, we're shutting out the voices of the most vulnerable citizens of Brattleboro. Instead of listening to them, we are amplifying the voices of those who already enjoy the most resources, power, and privilege.

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Avoiding illegal wood and paper

Lumber Liquidators will pay millions for importing illegal wood products. Could builders or homeowners be fined for buying them under the Lacey Act?

Your shiny new oak flooring took habitat from the endangered Amur tiger. That ream of paper you just brought home? It included fiber from trees stolen from a U.S. National Park. And the cedar decking you just installed was felled in a protected rainforest, with proceeds from its sale...

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Sample questions to ask wood and paper suppliers

Good questions can be a major part of a due-care plan for a business owner. Elizabeth Baldwin, environmental compliance officer at Metropolitan Hardwood Floors, provides the following examples: • What kind of legal wood compliance program do you have? How long has it been in place? Do you have a compliance officer? If not, how is the program supervised? • Where do you buy your products? How do you control that purchasing? • Do you, as an importer, have people...

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Brattleboro reps had a mandate from the voters

I am disgusted by the decision of Representative Town Meeting regarding the 1-percent local option sales tax. As a town meeting member, I often have a difficult time knowing how best to represent the interests and opinions of my constituents. With the 1-percent tax, however, we had a mandate from those who elected us: they told us on election day that they preferred the sales tax to a greater property-tax burden. Yet a huge majority of my fellow representatives voted...

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Stop putting safety first

My sixth-grader just felt the blow of his first “Yo Mama” insult. This happened not on a playground or in a locker room but on public transit - courtesy of the bus driver. “I don't know what's wrong with their mother,” the driver said loudly to another passenger as my three kids dropped their tokens in the coin box. He then refused to let them off at the crosswalk when they pressed the buzzer, instead stopping directly across the street...

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BeeLine communication issues irresponsible, unacceptable

Whether you need to get to work, school, or a medical appointment, transportation is a vital need; for most of us, it's next in line after food, shelter, and clothing. Connecticut River Transit (CRT) has just made severe cutbacks to a crucial and formerly reliable bus service that hundreds depend on - and that our Town of Brattleboro tax dollars pay for - without informing anyone ahead of time. This action is irresponsible and unacceptable. A taste of what has...

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Denser design equals more concentrated damage

As I write this two days later, Brattleboro, Vermont is still in shock over the sudden and complete loss of one of its Main Street buildings, apparently because of an electrical fire. Brooks House, a former hotel with a distinctive mansard roof, was built in 1871 on the ashes of an even older building also destroyed by fire. It was listed on the National Historic Register, but its historic status means nothing compared with its significance to our town. This...

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