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Quality of Life, Spirit of Place



Brattleboro Jan 17 • Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. West wind 9 to 13 mph. possible.

Low around 5

Daily Feature

Other Armor

H. D Thoreau

April 8, 1859.

As I stood by the foot of a

middling-sized white pine the other day, on

Fair Haven hill, one of the very windy days, I

felt the ground rise and fall under my feet, be-

ing lifted by the roots of the pine, which was

waving in the wind, so loosely are they planted. .... What a pitiful business is the fur trade, which has been pursued now for so many ages, for so many years, by famous companies, which enjoy a profitable monopoly, and control a large

part of the earth's surface. Unweariedly they

pursue and ferret out small animals by the aid

of all the loafing class, tempted by rum and

money, that they may rob some little fellow-

creature of its coat to adorn or thicken their

own, that they may get a fashionable covering in which to hide their heads, or a suitable robe in which to dispense justice to their fellow-men !

Regarded from the philosopher's point of view it is precisely on a level with rag and bone picking in the streets of cities. The Indian led a more respectable life before he was tempted to debase himself so much by the white man.


read on here

Vermont Diary

Thurs 10th January

River Garden

If everyone wants to keep it as a public building why are we selling it?

In an informal survey yesterday and today the circumstances of the downtown River Garden were assessed. Steve Twiss provided a succinct summary:

“Basically, in order to preserve the River Garden as a public space, the logical thing would be for BABB and the town to cut a deal for the land and the building. From what I’ve heard, the River Garden is running at a deficit of around $15,000 a year. With all the other recent projects, and a stressed taxpayer base, I can’t see the town taking it on. This would mean some fairly fast work to create and fund a non-profit for such a purpose, or a wealthy patron or organization who will buy a year or two of time for such a group to be put together. If there is no buyer who will run it as a public space, BABB will sell it for commercial purposes and try to recoup some of their losses. They can’t afford to keep it going anymore. If there is no buyer, it will sit there, dark and empty. Closing the River Garden is a terrible choice – aside from its location at the main intersection of town and the image that would create, it is a stopping and resting point for tourists; it also brings locals into the downtown to attend the various functions there. Not having that foot traffic is bound to further impact the problems of Main Street businesses who are already struggling. If it is run as a public space, there is going to have to be a good burst of creativity just to make it break even. Rentals for various functions to the incoming college would be nice- but will they do it? The Brooks House has a large Ballroom which used to host functions and lectures. Who gets that space? If it is the college, they will have their own space and will probably be looking for extra rentals to defray their costs.”

Next Tuesday in a presentation to the selectboard the full cost/revenue picture will emerge, and the current loss better established, since it is also reported to be $10,000 not $15,000 per year.

Downtown this morning a realtor said he thought it would be a fine student union building but that would not quite bridge the gap between town and gown since it would then not admit the public.

Speculation goes on, though the main sense that all respondents have made is that it should remain a part of the town and be for public use, which includes renting the space for special functions. One correspondent said that it would be good for exhibitions if it had sufficient security and insurance coverage.

If any reader has other ideas or perspectives, please write in.

Excerpt —read on here

Local History

¶1 Bellows Falls

Part 1— Industrial Engine of the Upper Connecticut Valley


The Connecticut was the first major river in the country to be improved for travel, with about 250 miles open to navigation by 1810. Constructed between 1791 and 1802, this canal was among the first in America and was a major influence on the growth of the village because it also provided power for many mills. Produce and lumber were brought downriver on flat-bottomed boats propelled with long poles, square sails, and the current. Here, avoiding the river gorge, boats passed through eight locks with a total elevation of 52 feet. The coming of railroads in the 1840s brought the era of slower canal boats to an end, but this canal, enlarged several times since, now serves modern needs.

The first of these canals to be chartered, and upon which work was commenced, was at Bellows Falls. It was in 1791 and was the first canal started on this continent to be used for navigation purposes. The charter was granted at Windsor in that year, and it is interesting to note that it was the first Vermont legislature after the admission of the state into the Union. Its corporate name was " Company for Rendering Connecticut River Navigable by Bellows Falls." Three brothers from London, England, John, Francis, and Hodgdon Atkinson furnished the capital for its construction.

They expended $105,338.13 in building the dam and canal before a boat passed through, and, because of the natural obstructions, and great fall of the river (52 feet), it took ten years before the first boat passed through it in August of 1802. It remained in the ownership of the Atkinson family for seventy-two years, or until June 16, 1866


Non Profit of the Month

New Year's Sober Dance: Monday, December 31, 9:00 p.m. 'til 1:00 a.m.

Are you looking for a family-friendly, nonalcoholic event to ring in the New Year? Turning Point is hosting a Sober Dance at the River Garden on Monday, December 31, from 9:00 p.m. to about 1:00 a.m., and it might be just what you're looking for! This event is for both those in recovery and those who choose a G-rated alternative to celebrate the New Year. This time of year tends to be jam-packed with parties, concerts, and other celebrations, but very often, alcohol is a part of the event. This dance offers another way to celebrate. Ralph Sherman and friends will provide the music, snacks will be provided, and everyone will be able to watch the countdown to New Year's at midnight. A donation of $10.00 is suggested.  Read on here


Contributors Gallery

A photo gallery of contributors to this magazine

Mr & Mrs Claus


Laura Momaney

Neil Taylor

¶6 Jacobs's Ladder and the Rungs of Hope.


(picture caption, sidewalk by the library, Brattleboro)

 As if losing strength, abilities and power isn't enough you must also come to terms with the reactions of other people who may not know how to deal with your loss. Or they may consider your disability a loss for themselves and want to run  from both the idea and the person.  Our world does not accommodate it's disabled people well.  That's no secret.  

What may be a secret though is how many different ways there are to lose strength, power and abilities.  One way is through a life lived.  We lose our strengths and abilities over the course of our lives and though the losses are cumulative they are insidious.  They happen steadily but slowly over time and so we don't notice most of them or we expect them. We see them happen to our parents or our friends or the generations who have gone before and we make room for their eventuality in our lives.  We prepare ourselves for the ones we know will cripple us, the ones we see coming, either loss of loved ones, loss of income, loss of physical abilities too.  But we don't spend too much time thinking and planning for a loss of hope or how we'll deal with it.

The Great Adventure

Terri Kneipp

¶3 Think Like A Man !°‹•?Ø*!! <extract>

The story of Moll Flanders came to life in the 1700’s. Defoe created a character that was independent, not necessarily likable or pleasant, but courageous and self-reliant, never being thought weak or ineffectual.  By the turn of the 19th century, women were seen as little more than ornamental appendages of their spouses.  With the Industrial Revolution and the following wars, the roles of women had dramatically changed, with society once again not only encouraging but demanding independence.

Read on here

First Draft

Mary Cain

¶7 An Election Address



My focus has been entirely on the impact of policies that are compassionate to our human rights.  When we are looking at both local and state wide issues, to me, it is important to realize how a change can directly effect the aspects of our residents.

Charley’s War

Charles Monette

First Season’s 13 Episodes of Charley’s War

Here is the entire collection of articles in 13 Episodes and over 12,500 words about suffering injury in Vietnam, and what ensued, including a major appreciation of PTSD

by Charles Monette

Sgt. E-5                                                                                                                     C(Charley) CO 2nd & the 5th                                                                                                                          1st Air Cavalry Division                                                                                                                             Vietnam 1970-71

Charles, or Charley was awarded two Bronze Stars with Valor, a Purple Heart, and an Air Medal for his actions in ground and aerial combat in Vietnam.

    He was in-country as a grunt for 347 days in the jungle with the exception of a one week R&R in Sydney, Australia

Weekly Feature

Visible and Invisible Disabilities • Franklin Reeve

Entire transcript

Kit Barry Ephemera

A Memory Book, Dummerston 1881

A 1,000 word picture essay by Kit Barry • But help requested identifying local families.

Slow Living

An essay on Sustainability by Dr. Donnie Mcluran

Read the entire 1500 word essay here

Recent Photos

Selected Photos from around the Bio-region


Brattleboro Environmental Sustainability Testing

Current article <extract> CHILD LABOR 

Good Causes

Turning Point of Windham County 

Join The Task Force!

Our task force could use people with these skills: a) addiction and recovery, b) program implementation, delivery, and development, c) psychological and medical, d) business and non-profit management, e) partnerships and collaborations, f) communications and development g) organizational operations and h) legal, facility, and finance.

  <extract> read more here

Op Ed

Curtiss Read <extract>

In all forty individuals from nine Vermont counties attended the one and a half day conference organized by Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity.


Winter’s Farmers Market in Brattleboro

Localvore Directory

If you want to shop directly with local producers here they are!

Brattleboro Arts

Arts Town USA on display with a few projects

Brattleboro Skyline

Flat Street is back with a big party — see the photo essay.

Gallery Walk

First Friday of every month and who knows who will show up or even present?!

Photo essay by Sen. Patrick Leahy

If You Lived Here

The next "Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast" will take place on Friday,  January 18, 2013 at the Gibson Aiken Center, downstairs, hosted by Senior Meals. Doors open at 7:30am.

Continuing the discussion of the October Breakfast on the Economic Impact of the Arts, Kate Anderson will use the illustration of the ancient Parthenon to inform the question, “How did it come about that all the threads of thought, culture and art coalesced in its construction?” By analogy, how might we today replicate what happened then?

read on here

A3 Think-Tank

Significant Conversations about Quality of Life and Spirit of Place

Jan 17 • Snow, heavy at times, will develop on Thursday from northern Georgia to southern West Virginia into northern Virginia and southern Maryland, including the Washington, D.C. metro area. The greatest snow accumulations (8+ inches) will be found in the high terrain. Meanwhile, snowfall of 2 to 6 inches is forecast for the Washington, D.C. area, greatest in the southern metro. 
To This Degree
An image, text & keynote for every day of the year. 

Note: The preceding symbol spoke of the “descent” of natural energies, which, like water, flow down toward a lower level of intensity. In this symbol we witness the rise of human consciousness, impelled by a vision that is shared with one’s companions.
Read the full text and commentary

Quote for the Day
Robert Macfarlane

Knowledge is mystery’s accomplice rather than its antagonist

Guest Article
Christian McEwen
Speed Demons
from World Enough and Time
On Creativity and Slowing Down

Meanwhile the teachers themselves are often woefully undereducated, unable to spell reliably (to distinguish there and their, its and it’s) or to write a simple book report. Many are afraid of poetry, which they know only at its most basic (Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky), and which, apart from haiku, and some saccharine inspirational verse, they feel certain “has to rhyme.” I try to quiz them about their earlier experiences, and a name or two may emerge: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou. Some have encountered couplets and acrostics, or the occasional Shakespeare sonnet. But that is rare. 
Often several will admit, half bashful, half defiant, that they have always hated poetry, and done everything they could to avoid teaching it. Now that it is required they want foolproof recipes, lessons that will fulfill every possible criterion at one fell swoop: serving to test spelling and to teach alliteration, to cover rhyme and rhythm, and at the same time tip a hat to Black History Month and the jazz legacy of Langston Hughes. They want poetry with a vengeance, poetry as an all-purpose tool for use in any circumstances: a cell-phone, a camera, a sewing-kit and a Swiss army knife, its compass pointing north to that essential A.
But the teachers find it difficult to concentrate. After about twenty minutes, they begin to surf the Web. They step out into the corridor to make a crucial phone-call, rustle through their bag to find more pretzels. They want that A. But it is hard for them to read or write for any length of time. They are children of speed, of novelty, of distraction. It is a challenge for them even to sit still.

 <extract> read on here
Tues January 15th, 2013
Robert Oeser, Brattleboro

Original State Grant Document and other Town Documents relating to The River Garden, the $150,000 grant and Codicil

Selectboard minutes for July 6, 1999 show that this deed came about after discussion of two letters. Those letters have now been found and leads one to the legislation which was the reason for the deed and which imposes the following condition: 

the Town of Brattleboro shall repay the sum appropriated to the state if the town sells to any other entity the land used to develop the project, or if the town leases such land to such an entity by use of a renewable or a nonrenewable lease which provides for a lease term of a total of ten or more years; for which purpose the town shall issue the department of buildings and general services a mortgage in such amount, payable if this condition is met; [Act 29 (H533), Approved May 19, 1999], 
http://www.leg.state.vt.us/DOCS/2000/ACTS/ACT029.HTM] [1]

As noted in Senator Illuzzi's letter, "the proposed mortgage and letter signed by the majority of the Brattleboro Select Board agreeing to the two conditions" was to have been forwarded to Tom Tortì, then Commissioner of the Dept. of Buildings and General Services.

Untitled Work 
 Mac Gander 
writes on writing
¶4 What Makes a Poem “Good”?
I don’t really know how to answer this question, though it seems as if I ought to have some idea about it, after forty years of paying close attention to poetry and writing continually during all of that time. Oh, I can think of words like “clarity” and “concision,” ideas like “the unexpected,” “freshness,” “newness,” and also of deeper thoughts—that good poetry reveals truths that had not yet been expressed, or brings the familiar to us in ways that make it strange and original. But these just seem like platitudes that conceal as much as they disclose.

And yet. Some work seems unassailably, uncontrovertibly great. Auden’s “As I Walked Out One Evening.” Jarrell’s “Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner,” a poem that probably will turn up in anthologies a millennium from now, perhaps under “anon” next to Dylan’s “Forever Young,” also anon. The slim output of Bishop and Larkin contain poems that will certainly last as long, unfashionable and even unlikable as each poet was. Robert Hayden’s “These Winter Sundays,” Adrienne Rich’s “Diving into the Wreck.” Skill in the making of verse sings an ageless tune unbound by fashion. 
 read on here
Tokyo Diary 
 Jenn and Tara
Happy New Year with fish sushi

[caption: Jenn and Alice who are ‘tall’ compared with Japanese folks, and my son Derek, The Giant Engineer]
we have visited the Minka en (house museum), Kamakura, fish market, Senso-Ji, Meiji-Jingu, Harajuku, and lots of other sites around Tokyo. We have eaten lots of delicious things, had breakfast sushi at the fish market, introduced yakitori, ramen, okonomiyaki, and shabu-shabu, and feasted at home on sukiyaki, taco salad and a new years eve roast dinner. 
 Laurie Green
This column contains both sexual and violent content 
7th Circle

I would like to say that there is a straightforward path. That one day the 7th Circle of Hell unfreezes, I slay the Devil, redeem the frozen betrayers (myself included because I was a self-betrayer) and levitate gracefully as fields of daisies arise from each circle of scorched hell with choirs of angels singing songs of glory and I am crowned Princess (or Prince) of the Heavens. Yeah, it is a nice dream. Often with my sweat drenched head hanging off the side of the toilet after having vomited what could have been the equivalent of 6 lunches, I had this vision… or dehydration induced hallucination.. of how it would all come about. It’s more like you get scraped and bounced around all 7 Circles of Hell, screaming bloody murder, shaking your fist at the heavens (whichever direction they happen to be because you’re likely upside down), begging, pleading, making bargains with Jesus, the Buddha, God, Krishna, the Universe, Mohammed. Your own personal version of roulette except you happen to be the red AND black spinning balls which creates quite a problem when it comes to actually winning.
Making Movies 
 Alex Gutterman
Take 22 
There is a rabbinical saying. "The sun will come up without your assistance."
Well, the sun is coming up.
We start shooting in January.
The first stuff to be worked on are some exteriors. The young woman, alone, silent and miniature up against vast cathedrals of 20th Century industry.
  read on here
Mystery Item
¶3 Mystery Bird
Can you identify it?

Hallelujah! The rise and rise of Leonard Cohen’s once-forgotten classic. 
 "I filled two notebooks with the song," he told a British newspaper in 2008.
"And I remember being on the floor, on the carpet in my underwear, banging my head on the floor and saying, 'I can't finish this song.'"
When he did finally finish it in 1984, three years and over 70 verses later, his record company turned it down.
"This song starts not just under the radar, but completely off the radar," says Alan Light, whose new book, The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley And The Unlikely Ascent Of Hallelujah, traces the extraordinary trajectory of a song that went from almost total obscurity to one of the most famous tracks in modern music.
video here
Co-Creation • Alan Rayner
A lyrical account of natural inclusional evolutionary origins, incorporating poems and paintings

from The Coming of the Croppers
And when at last the stocks began to flag under pressure of disease and stress, unable to supply the growing demand, the demand did not lessen but sought instead to replace the genes from which they’d been bred, with something better.
Kipling’s Questionnaire
MacLean Gander Responds
1. That Poetry is the unacknowledged legislation of humankind, following Shelley, and even though it is mere fiddle-faddle (Moore), every day people die for the lack of what is in it (Williams). It’s also a great way to make a living. 
2. That my favorite poets are almost too numerous to name, but exiled on a desert island I would bring Stevens and Lowell, the yin and yang for me of 20th century consciousness in America.
Write On !
4 new pieces by Toni Ortner
Monkeys Cloak
A Poem 
Terri Kneipp

Sashaying along the cobbled walk
Gazing at the heavens
Eve didst turn a misty gray
Quietly I whispered
All mine heart needest to say

Real Food !
Real Food vs Lake Effect Tourist Food

The Great Pasty Debate
Recently I criticized the editor of Cooks magazine for his 58 ingredient hamburger and his 65 ingredient meat loaf. Surely no one can mess up 4 ingredients, plus salt and pepper, in a pastry case? Yes they can, and presumably they do it in Michigan to ‘make it better.’
Round Table 
 Sheila Sackett
¶6 Thanksgiving! <extracts> including
Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews
Tomato Basil Crostini
Garlic Roast Brussels Sprouts
And of course, The Turkey

I love Thanksgiving, always have. When I was little, I loved helping my mother bake the holiday pies—she made a wonderful apple, a squash (not pumpkin, not ever sure why) and then a mincemeat, which to my recollection, nobody really liked, but she always insisted on making it, even though it was clearly the least favorite. <excerpt>
A Word In Your Ear
#10 Hurr
"hurr (v) - [from the OED] - " To make or utter a dull sound of vibration or trilling; to buzz as an insect; to snarl as a dog; to pronounce a trilled 'r'." "1637 B. Jonson Eng. Gram. i. iv, in Wks. (1640) III, R Is the Dogs Letter, and hurreth in the sound.""
An older dictionary, Halliwell, says Jonson also has, HURRE: to growl or to snarl, and Shakespeare does HURLY, a noise, or tumult.
Reviews Old&New
TRAVELING, A PERSPECTIVE by Toni Ortner Reviewed by: Lyn Lifshin
Studio One
Brattleboro Area Photos and Artwork by John S. Webster 

including print prices.
Graphic Traffic
Marlene O’Connor on Graphic Novels and Books

Marlene has worked with Neil Gaiman and now she wants to work with you
In Memoriam
Melinda Bussino To_This_Degree.html To_This_Degree.html Guest_Article.html Mystery_Item.html Letters.html http://www.leg.state.vt.us/DOCS/2000/ACTS/ACT029.HTM http://www.leg.state.vt.us/DOCS/2000/ACTS/ACT029.HTM Tokyo_Diary.html Tokyo_Diary.html Tokyo_Diary.html Untitled_Work.html Tokyo_Diary.html Tokyo_Diary.html Rape.html Rape.html Making_Movies.html Making_Movies.html Making_Movies.html Mystery_Item.html Natural_Inclusivity.html Kiplings_Questionnaire.html Write_On%21.html Monkeys_Cloak.html REAL_FOOD_%21.html Round_Table.html Round_Table.html AWIYE.html Reviews_Old%26New.html StudioONE.html Graphic_Traffic.html In_Memoriam.html shapeimage_10_link_0shapeimage_10_link_1shapeimage_10_link_2shapeimage_10_link_3shapeimage_10_link_4shapeimage_10_link_5shapeimage_10_link_6shapeimage_10_link_7shapeimage_10_link_8shapeimage_10_link_9shapeimage_10_link_10shapeimage_10_link_11shapeimage_10_link_12shapeimage_10_link_13shapeimage_10_link_14shapeimage_10_link_15shapeimage_10_link_16shapeimage_10_link_17shapeimage_10_link_18shapeimage_10_link_19shapeimage_10_link_20shapeimage_10_link_21shapeimage_10_link_22shapeimage_10_link_23shapeimage_10_link_24shapeimage_10_link_25shapeimage_10_link_26shapeimage_10_link_27shapeimage_10_link_28shapeimage_10_link_29shapeimage_10_link_30shapeimage_10_link_31shapeimage_10_link_32shapeimage_10_link_33

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New Articles
Photos of the Day • Naturtal forms and textures
ROW Guest Article Christian McEwen Speed Demons
ROW Rape ¶24 — 7th Circle
ROW Letters — Robert Oeser on The River Garden
VT Daily Feature — Other Armor. H. D Thoreau, April 8, 1859.
VT Local History — ¶1 Bellows Falls Part 1— Industrial Engine of the Upper Connecticut Valley New Column
VT Vermont Diary — River Garden
VT If You Lived Here next "Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast"
ROW A Word In Your Ear — ¶10 Hurr
ROW Tokyo Diary A Very Tokyo Christmas
ROW Recommended — Leonard Cohen and Hallelujah!
VT Non Profit of the Month New Year's Sober Dance: Monday, December 31, 9:00 p.m. 'til 1:00 a.m
Rev. Roy Reynolds Rights to Appreciating Human Needs' By Alan Rayner
ROW Mystery Item ¶1 The Nashua Racer
ROW Making Movies Take ¶21 — Four production stills with captions
VT If You Lived Here Notice: No Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast this Friday
ROW Monkey’s Cloak A New Poem — Terri Kneipp
VT The Great Adventure —¶3 Think Like A Man!?? Terri Kneipp
ROW Untitled Work ¶4 What Makes a Poem “Good”?, Mac Gander
VT StudioOne 24 Images, available as Prints from John S. Webster
VT Blind•In•Sight — ¶6 Jacobs's Ladder and the Rungs of Hope.
ROW Kipling’s Questionnaire Maclean Gander — Responds
ROW Round Table — ¶6 THANKSGIVING!
VT Recent Photos Fall
VT Good Causes — Turning Point of Windham County, Join The Task Force!
VT Charley’s War — 13 reports on experiences of war & PTSD Charles Monette
VT First Draft — ¶6 A $20,000,000 Column, Mary Cain
VT Weekly Feature • Visible and Invisible Disabilities Franklin Reeve
VT Brattleboro Skyline 70 Photos of Flat Street, 1 Year after Irene
 VT There is a new page: Recent Photos
VT Kit Barry Ephemera — Identifying family names, Dummerston 1881
ROW To This Degree a mandalic series of images for every day of the year. Today: January 17, 2013 (Capricorn degree 27)
Pilgrims climbing the steep steps leading to a mountain shrine
UPREACHING Guest_Article.html Rape.html Letters.html Daily_Feature/Daily_Feature.html Local_History.html Vermont_Diary.html If_You_Lived_Here.html AWIYE.html Tokyo_Diary.html Non-Profit_of_the_Month.html Mystery_Item.html Making_Movies.html If_You_Lived_Here.html Monkeys_Cloak.html The_Great_Adventure.html Untitled_Work.html StudioONE.html BlindInSight.html Guest_Article.html Round_Table.html Recent_Photos.html Good_Causes.html Charleys_War.html First_Draft.html Weekly_Feature.html Brattleboro_Skyline.html Recent_Photos.html Kit_Barry_Ephemera.html To_This_Degree.html shapeimage_13_link_0shapeimage_13_link_1shapeimage_13_link_2shapeimage_13_link_3shapeimage_13_link_4shapeimage_13_link_5shapeimage_13_link_6shapeimage_13_link_7shapeimage_13_link_8shapeimage_13_link_9shapeimage_13_link_10shapeimage_13_link_11shapeimage_13_link_12shapeimage_13_link_13shapeimage_13_link_14shapeimage_13_link_15shapeimage_13_link_16shapeimage_13_link_17shapeimage_13_link_18shapeimage_13_link_19shapeimage_13_link_20shapeimage_13_link_21shapeimage_13_link_22shapeimage_13_link_23shapeimage_13_link_24shapeimage_13_link_25shapeimage_13_link_26shapeimage_13_link_27shapeimage_13_link_28shapeimage_13_link_29

Guest Article

Christian McEwen

Speed Demons

from World Enough and Time

On Creativity and Slowing Down