Issue #564

Brattleboro tweaks order for emergency masks

At its May 26 meeting, the Selectboard reaffirmed and slightly modified its emergency order requiring that face coverings be worn by all employees, customers, and visitors in any store, office, or other indoor setting where business is conducted.

The modification now says that children under 5 “are not required” to wear face coverings, clarifying the original order, which stated that masks “should not be placed on” children under 5.

The remainder of the order is unchanged, and it continues to apply equally to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governmental facilities anywhere in town.

According to a news release, the Selectboard made this decision after lengthy discussions on May 19 and May 26 that included substantial public input on the GoToMeeting platform, where board meetings are currently held by videoconference due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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College news • The following local students graduated from the University of New Hampshire during a virtual commencement ceremony on May 16: Douglas Lazelle of Jacksonville, B.S. in neuroscience and behavior; Miranda Wilkins of Jamaica, B.S. in social work; and Nicholas Nilsen of Wilmington, B.A. in economics: public policy...

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Around the Towns

Newfane Heritage Festival is canceled for 2020 NEWFANE - Newfane Congregational Church has decided to cancel the Newfane Heritage Festival, scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11, and postpone the festival's 50th anniversary celebrations until 2021. “We feel that with the looming threat of COVID-19 we cannot ensure the safety...

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Gray: No other candidate has her global perspective

What first drew me to Molly Gray was learning that she grew up on a vegetable and dairy farm in rural Vermont and that she found herself working to better others' livelihoods around the globe. She has instilled in her the knowledge and awareness of what “it takes a village” means and harnesses that to join with her neighbors to reach collective goals. You have to understand teamwork and the power of community to achieve the best for all. Thankfully,

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Requiring masks for customers at indoor businesses will lower risks

Dear Governor Scott: Three times each week, we listen to your COVID-19 news conferences. We appreciate your patience, candor, and caution. You accept responsibility for decisions while, appropriately, deferring to your experts to provide precise and detailed answers to the questions. Your science-based approach generally increases our confidence in your decisions. However, you have yet to provide a science-based rationale for your decision to not require that business patrons wear masks. You and your colleagues refer to informal observations that...

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Decision to close barber shop ‘difficult and complicated’

With deep breaths and heavy hearts, it's time to share with the world and our beloved and faithful clientele that after 31 years in business, Mac's Barber Shop has closed its doors permanently. The decision was a difficult and complicated one. We understand that for many, many people, this is truly disappointing. A barber shop is so much more than haircuts. It's a family, a gathering place, a supportive haven, a pillar of stability and comfort. We acknowledge this and...

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Police as guardians, not warriors

I, like many of you, am angered and saddened over the events surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Law enforcement officers represent their community. In order for any law enforcement agency to be successful, it is critical for the community to trust their police officers and the police officers to trust their community. Many departments struggle with the question, “How does law enforcement build trust with their community in an atmosphere of...

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Would today’s training have resulted in better outcome in 2014 death?

I attended Sunday's demonstration in memory of George Floyd. I carried a sign reading “ask me about michael santiago.” Due to the noise and social distancing, I had little opportunity to explain. On April 4, 2014, at 5:30 a.m., an officer of Brattleboro Police Department shot and killed Michael Santiago in a motel room at America's Best Inn during the execution of a search warrant for drugs. After breaking down the door and shouting “show your hands,” Santiago was shot...

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Marlboro chooses two-year degree program as next owner of campus

The Marlboro College Board of Trustees last week announced the sale of the campus to Democracy Builders, an educational nonprofit. The ink is still drying on Democracy Builders' plans for the property. Still, it appears that the Marlboro College campus will welcome students in September. Democracy Builders' founder Seth Andrew is in the process of launching Degrees of Freedom, a low-residency, two-year degree program. Students would split their time between on-campus programing, paid apprenticeships, and online classes. The program still...

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For 900-plus families, boxes of food with no strings

Throughout the morning, the numbers written in grease pencil on the windshields of waiting cars ticked upwards: 365, 371, 387, 400. By the end of the afternoon of May 27, the organizations distributing food to hungry Vermonters at Brattleboro Union High School estimated that they loaded 975 cars with “food kits” - boxes of emergency food to feed households from across Windham County. As drivers waited for the distribution through the Farmers to Families program, the trail of cars started...

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Dear white people

Dear white people, I am a black mother. My children fill my heart with love and joy and fire and heat. This is my daughter, learning to wash her face. When I see George Floyd's face I see my daughter's eyes. I see a little boy, a sweet sweet boy in a racialized body. I see him learning to wash his face, I see him learning to walk, I see him being in a white supremacist country that sees those...

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Restaurants eye their options for reopening

In years past, Memorial Day weekend has been a bustling place and marks the start to summer for downtown restaurants, according to Tim Brady, a co-owner of Whetstone Brewery. The restaurant, on the Connecticut River, is following Vermont Gov. Phil Scott's guidance with its reopening strategy. Scott announced on May 22 that restaurants and bars could open in a limited fashion for outdoor dining. Yet multiple area restaurants are not doing so. The Whetstone is limiting dine-in customers to 50,

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Say their names

As the morning of Sunday, May 31 was making way for afternoon, the street was quiet. People, young and old, almost entirely in masks, almost every single person carrying a handmade sign, assembled, clustering tentatively along a sidewalk that few have graced in the time of COVID-19. The gathering picked up steam on the street corners, where Elliot meets Main and where Main meets High at Pliny Park. Under the steady sun, people streamed to the sidewalks in droves, as...

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The fire this time

As protests rage across American cities against the heartless and sadistic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I think how impossible it is for anyone with white skin to know what it is like to have brown skin in the United States. There's no way to keep up with the news right now. All I can do is worry about friends in some of the cities that are on fire. The United States was on tenuous ground long before the...

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Getting back to the garden

At the start of the COVID-19 crisis back in early March, many were shocked to see the lines of people trying to get into supermarkets and the empty shelves that greeted them. The panic buying has since subsided, and the supply chain has more or less recalibrated itself, but those scenes convinced many Vermonters to start thinking about growing their own food. For those who have never tried to start a garden, or are a little rusty in their gardening...

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