Tamara Stenn

NAACP chapter can bring us all together

I joined the NAACP last year to support my diverse students and children and to be a part of the conversation. I was surprised and proud to find the NAACP in our little town of Brattleboro, one of the least diverse places in the country.

I knew the NAACP as a powerful voice in Washington, D.C., when I lived there years ago. I knew about the positive reforms the organization brought forth in our nation's history. Now, this piece of important history is here in Windham County. I was intrigued.

I attended a meeting one night last summer and was surprised by the White faces, like mine, that I saw. And the conversations we had. I was ready to be out of the loop, not up on the news, an outsider looking in. But this was small-town Vermont, a place I lived for 20 years. I quickly found places to connect to, a cause to discuss, a review of who our elected officials were and what they were doing. It was comfortable.

And then, I got busy with life and did not participate anymore. But I was still an NAACP member; I continued to get newsletters and meeting invites, and I stayed in the loop.

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How is this a way to treat our elderly?

A 99-year-old Brattleboro resident broke both his arms, yet wasn’t admitted to the hospital. Now, despite holding two health-insurance policies, he has no coverage for his rehabilitation in a nursing home across the street.

What happens when you're a 99-year-old World War II vet, a retired union worker and teacher, a father, a grandfather, a beloved member of the community, a holder of two health-insurance policies, and you fall, breaking both arms? You are thrown out on the street because your vitals are...

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Please don’t make me be part of the problem

I will be forced to purchase brand new, non-reusable plastic bags to participate in a mandatory pay-as-you-throw program

I recently attended one of the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) informational meetings at Oak Grove School, where I was shocked to learn that I would have to purchase $3 non-recyclable plastic trash bags to participate in this mandatory program. It was not the cost but the fact that I was being...

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Look to Germany for traffic safety ideas

After four fatal pedestrian accidents in Brattleboro, enough is enough. While, according to the Dec. 11 Reformer, the Windham Regional Commission has been “trying to address Brattleboro's pedestrian and bicycle safety issues” and the Department of Public Works has been painting crosswalks, this strategy is obviously not working. As we green up our town and our lives by walking and biking more, and as we socialize with neighbors and build community, we need the support of a safe and accessible...

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Can we learn how to live well in Vermont?

Bolivia is the poorest country of the Americas based on their total revenue produced, which has doubled in the last decade but still is less than $5,000 per person per year. But Bolivians are not impoverished. Behind the country's feeble earnings are creative and collaborative ways of living well which include community participation, collaboration, barter, self-sufficiency, and an average retail mark-up of just 30 percent, as opposed to the standard 100 percent used in the U.S. So while earnings are...

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One person’s trash

I was moving in with my boyfriend, and we needed more space for my office and two children. His dark, dusty attic was piled high with old baby cribs, moth-eaten blankets, outdated law books, and squirrel-infested tchotchkes. The attic was a dirty, scary mess. But it was space. I decided to renovate it, and I called a waste disposal company to arrange for a Dumpster to be brought in. It would cost more than $1,000, they told me before they...

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Trading time, building community

I needed some light electrical work done in my house. I called a local electrician and received a quote of $65 an hour with the promise of a few hours of work plus materials. Hmmm. Then I went to Brattleboro Time Trade and listed my electrical installation needs. Within a few days, two local men offered to do the work, for free. Well, almost for free. They would be getting paid - in the form of time. However much time...

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Protecting our cells, protecting ourselves

Brattleboro and the surrounding area is radioactive. According to the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont has low-grade levels of radiation that fall below the 120 millirem “danger” zone set by the federal government, but are certainly higher than the naturally occurring 9-millirem levels. An average day in Brattleboro can be accompanied by a sultry 15-20 millirem radiation reading, the maximum level allowed annually by the state. This has been going on for more than 30 years now. That adds up...

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