Around the Towns

Daily virtual support group for domestic violence survivors

BRATTLEBORO - The Women's Freedom Center is expanding its support group for domestic violence survivors during the COVID-19 crisis. Starting Monday, April 6, and extending through the month (and beyond if necessary), a daily support group will meet virtually - by videoconference or telephone - Monday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m.

This group is free, confidential, and entirely by drop-in - you can attend as often as you'd like. The group is open to all self-identified women who have experienced domestic violence.

For more information, call the center's hotline at 802-254-6954. An advocate will discuss the support group and offer instructions for access.

Brattleboro Food Co-op remains open

BRATTLEBORO - The Brattleboro Food Co-op remains open for business with limited hours and curbside pickup for purchases.

“Everyone in the Brattleboro community should know the Co-op is making every effort to keep its staff and customers safe and comfortable during this COVID-19 epidemic by enforcing limited customers in the store, offering curbside pickup through phone orders for same day or next day pickup, and by thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the Co-op, and stock[ing] shelves when customers are not present,” the Co-op announced in a March 27 letter to the community.

Hours for in-store shopping are now 2 to 7 p.m. daily, temporarily reduced so the Co-op can thoroughly clean the store and stock shelves while customers are not present.

To place orders for curbside pickup, available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, customers must call the hotline at 802-246-2800 and complete payment using a credit card. Products are subject to availability and some quantity restrictions may apply.

Orders are kept cool and safe and are ready to pickup within the hour. Orders placed between noon and 2 p.m. can be placed for next day pickup.

The Co-op is asking customers who come in to shop to “please be considerate and aware by establishing a 6-foot social distancing with other customers, especially at the checkout counters where plexiglass barriers have been installed.” Card readers, belts, and screens are being wiped and sanitized between every customer.

All events, classes, community room gatherings/meetings, and store demos have been cancelled until further notice. Visit for up-to-date information regarding temporary hours, curbside pickup, and other COVID-19 issues.

Amtrak suspends train service to Vermont

MONTPELIER - Amtrak has suspended service of the Vermonter north of New Haven, Conn. as of March 26, because of COVID-19 concerns.

Gov. Phil Scott said the decision was made in conjunction with Amtrak, since Vermont taxpayers subsidize the national railroad service's two daily trains to the Green Mountain State.

The Vermonter, which normally runs between St. Albans and Washington, D.C., with stops in Bellows Falls and Brattleboro, will also not run on Sundays between New Haven and Washington until further notice.

Amtrak also suspended service on its Ethan Allen Express, the train that runs between Rutland and New York City. The train will only go as far as Albany, N.Y.

Other rail options for Windham County residents have also been reduced.

Amtrak and the Connecticut Department of Transportation have put the Amtrak Hartford Line and CTrail and trains on a Saturday timetable seven days a week. Amtrak's Valley Flyer service in Massachusetts between Springfield and Greenfield is following a reduced schedule as well.

Retreat Farm starts food distribution program

BRATTLEBORO - Retreat Farm is distributing bags of food to families in need. Call the farm at 802-490-2270 if you are in immediate need.

The nonprofit is working with other local charities, including Vermont Foodbank and Foodworks, and government agencies dedicated to helping people in need to streamline information and provide a bag of groceries as a stopgap measure.

The Retreat Farm has also assembled a list of local organizations offering food, financial assistance, and more at

According to a news release, Retreat Farm seeks funding to support this effort. Visit for more information.

Putney Foodshelf hours change

PUTNEY - Starting Saturday, April 4, the Putney Foodshelf will be open Saturdays only, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Putney Community Center, 10 Christian Square.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the Putney Foodshelf has implemented systems to protect volunteers and the families they serve. This includes maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between people at all times.

Shoppers will now remain in their cars. Foodshelf volunteers will direct parking and will bring bags of pre-packed, shelf-stable groceries and produce to the cars.

Depending on how the situation evolves, hours may change again. Visit or call 802-387-8551 for the most up-to-date information.

State offers info on resources for substance use, recovery

BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health has launched VTHelplink, a new, comprehensive clearinghouse for Vermonters to receive free, confidential, and personalized information and referrals to substance-use-prevention, treatment, and recovery services throughout the state.

“The global pandemic has not erased the continued urgent need for substance use-related services for Vermonters,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine in a news release. “In fact, the extraordinary steps required to stop the spread of COVID-19 creates new challenges for people living with substance use disorder to get the services they need.”

VTHelplink features a call center of trained staff and clinicians. Callers can get information, referrals, resources, and educational materials on substance use for themselves, family and friends, or on behalf of clients.

West Dummerston library still offers online, reduced services

WEST DUMMERSTON - Lydia Taft Pratt Library, 150 West St., remains closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus. Most services and all programs have been discontinued in compliance with Gov. Phil Scott's “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

Nevertheless, according to Library Director Dena Marger, limited services are still available:

• Free Wi-Fi outside the Community Center Building. The network is linksys and the password is lydiataftpratt.

• Online services available via the library's page on the town website at

• Very limited curbside pickup of books and other materials, with very limited home delivery for homebound community members only. To access these services, call 802-258-9878.

The library is unable to process any interlibrary loan requests or any book returns at this time.

Marger requests that borrowed library materials, whether borrowed from Lydia Taft Pratt Library or via interlibrary loan, not be returned until the crisis has passed.

Diocese of Burlington closes all churches, chapels, indoor shrines

BURLINGTON- In keeping with the order of Gov. Phil Scott to close in-person operations for all non-essential businesses, Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne has directed that all Catholic churches, chapels, and shrines throughout the state be closed and that all “non-essential” employees of the Catholic community (as defined by the governor's order) work remotely.

Catholics can still participate in devotions and worship remotely by tuning into daily 12:05 p.m. Mass (Monday through Friday) and Sundays at 10 a.m., live rosary at 11:15 a.m., and many other spiritual engagement activities.

For the weekly schedule of activities, visit

BDCC hosts webinars for businesses affected by COVID-19

BRATTLEBORO - In the wake of the economic uncertainty around COVID-19, business professionals in the region are invited to join weekly webinars centered around financial resiliency.

Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) will host these webinars Fridays at 2 p.m., for business owners, managers, and employers to obtain information and learn about potential preliminary strategies that will help them make informed decisions.

BDCC will also regularly update its COVID-19 web page,, with information from federal, state, and regional sources. The economic development agency encourages businesses to check in frequently as new information becomes available.

To join the meetings, visit Zoom Meeting at The Meeting ID is 781-064-798. To participate by phone, call 888-475-4499.

BDCC encourages participants to send any questions or topics for discussion in advance by emailing [email protected].

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