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Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013


For nature stories

Loons Near Brattleboro?

I know this is a loaded question but where can I find some loons near Bratt?  Has anyone heard their calls in Windham County?  I returned last week from camping in the N.E.K. and fell in love with their haunting calls. Just curious if anyone knows or not.


SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued August 12th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its fifth monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, August 12th. All of our sites, as well as much of the Northeast, received a soaking rain the day prior to sampling and only one of our sites tested below the “suitability for swimming” standard set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water.


SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 29th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its fourth monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 29th. Our sites on the Saxtons River and Sacketts Brook received significant rainfall in the day before sampling and 5 of our 27 sites tested above the recommended “suitability to swim” bacteria level set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water. As the summer progresses you can use the charts we publish to make informed decisions about where it is safer to swim or boat based on which sites have high bacteria counts after rainfall or tend to always have high bacteria counts.


SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 15th

SeVWA LogoThe Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its third monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 15th. The majority of our sites received significant rainfall in the day before sampling and 8 of our 27 sites tested above the recommended “suitability to swim” bacteria level set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water.

Even though we keep saying that bacteria levels are heavily dependent on rain, river users, whether they be swimming, boating, paddling, tubing, fishing, or even just hiking by, can help improve water quality by taking care of the rivers and their shores.


One's Lure of Choice

It’s peak summer, buzzing abounds. I was recently struck by the correlation between bikes and flies. This article attempts to chase that down. An exercise in vernal observation and kinetic free association, admittedly esoteric.

Sitting by the side of the road, gazing with even a slight degree of critical attention, you’ll see Harleys, BMWs, Ducatis, Triumphs, and a spate of Japanese varieties, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki.  Within each company selections are offered which do specific things optimally. The Touring Bike, the Cruiser, the Racer, the Dirt Bike. Also dotting the landscape, an array of hybrids made to straddle on and off-road use, they do various tasks reasonably well. These are the Enduros, Spyders, Dual Sports, etc. It’s a vast domain, with models for every passion and taste.


SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 1st

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its second monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 1st. As you may recall, a large thunderstorm came through our area Wednesday morning which coincided, rather unfortunately, right with our sampling time. Some volunteers were out before the storm moved through, but about half our sites were not tested due to the inclement weather. Our volunteers are a valuable asset and we never want to risk their safety to get a few water samples!

          Bacteria levels tend to spike following a heavy rain event when more water falls on the ground than can be infiltrated, or soaked into, the ground and it runs off directly into rivers and streams taking everything loose on the ground with it. In the case of impermeable surfaces such as concrete, pavement, and compacted sand or gravel, no water can ever infiltrate and always becomes runoff when it rains.


SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Began June 17th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) began its monitoring program for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, June 17th. We will be testing 27 sites on eight rivers and streams every other week through the end of August. This year, we have sites on the West River, Rock River, North Branch Brook, Williams River (including South Branch and Middle Branch), Saxtons River, Sacketts Brook, and Whetstone Brook.

Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, is a bacteria that is found in the guts of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Most E. coli will not make a person sick, but sometimes they can become pathogenic which means they can cause illness. Additionally, the presence of E. coli in waters acts as an indicator for the presence of other, more difficult to test for pathogens. We publish our results to the public in order to help everyone make informed decisions about recreating in Vermont’s waters.


Anyone Know Who Helps Injured Birds?

I found a bird this AM that might have an injured wing. I doesn't try to move away when I approach it on my deck.

It seems to be a mature bird but on the smaller side. It is yellowish-green on top and white on the belly. The edges of the wing have a black and white pattern and it has a rather pointy beak.

It was breathing heavily I think (though maybe not?).

So my question is: Does anyone treat and try to rehabilitate injured or sick birds?


Birds In Our Backyard

We’ve always heard birds from our backyard, singing in the woods behind the house, but until this year they never bothered to visit the yard itself.  I attributed this to the presence of cats, who are numerous in these parts, but even with many furry carnivores patrolling the vicinity, the birds have not been deterred this year.  Many varieties of ground feeding bird have been hanging about, including the elusive wood thrush—right here on Cedar Street!


Bear Spotted in the Retreat Woods, 5/17, Evening

FYI, be aware that a bear was sighted this evening, 5/17, between around 7 and 7:30 pm in the Retreat Woods. It was a full-grown adult, and ran away from my dog and me when we surprised it. Location: between the "Just for Fun" trail and the highway, relatively close to Greenhill Parkway and Western Avenue. No cubs were seen.

Ralph Meima


To Serve One's Greatest Purpose in Life

Rising early one recent morning in May, I stepped out onto the front grassy lawn to catch a little air. Standing still, leaning on my cane facing the wooded lot across the road, I looked about and noticed five feet from my right a red breasted robin standing still on the grass staring in the same direction. We stood there for a minute or so, her glancing at me, me glancing at her, neither alarmed by sudden moves. It was a warm, blue sky day. The air was still, peaceful and quiet.

With a sudden move the robin started pecking at the grass. At first, her beak came up empty, but suddenly she picked up a long, squirming worm I hadn't seen and dropped it.


Windham Regional Commission Releases Forest Stewardship Report

Do you know what threats, both global and local, face our forests and our forest economy? Are you concerned that climate change and invasive species could change the composition of our forests as we know them? Is Windham County really the “Timber Capital of Vermont?”

The Windham Regional Commission’s recently-released report, “Landscape Based Forest Stewardship,” provides insight into topics such as these, including what strategies exist to preserve the region’s forestlands. The report, available at www.windhamregional.org/forestry, is the result of several years of work by WRC, with support from a project steering committee made up of area natural resource and forestry professionals.


On Elephants and Circuses

Ringling Bros is going to end the era of elephants performing in their circuses in the near future.

I have mixed feelings about this, given where we are in history. Elephant population has dropped significantly, so much that they could become extinct within decades. Hundreds are killed each day for ivory, meat, and trophy.

I like elephants and would hope we don’t eliminate them from the planet. I don’t want to see them abused, either.

I worry that freeing them from circuses and zoos won’t be enough to protect them. That is, I worry we are trading some good feelings about ending abuse at a circus, when wealthy hunters may just kill them all anyway.


Flakiness Intensifies

The seasonal frozen precipitation continues. Brattleboro should have an abundance of new flakes by morning.

Anyone doing anything interesting?


The Real Snowstorm of 2015, and Hot Chocolate

The snow continues to fall here at the iBrattleboro world headquarters. The temperatures are low, as they have been for quite a few weeks, but this time around we have been given some snow. Quite a bit. There seem to be about 8 to 12 inches out there so far, and no signs of it stopping anytime soon.

I like the way everything is quiet when the snow is like this. No one is out driving around. Everyone is waiting for it to pass.


A Winter Storm - The Blizzard of 2015

It's a bit early, and we may not get much more than a regular amount of snow here in Brattleboro, but the big weather news for New England is the blizzard of 2015.

Feel free to share weather-related tidbits here. I know we just about all have either friends and/or family somewhere in the path of this storm, and we may end up getting quite a bit here by the end of it all. Check the weather section for all the latest forecasts, warnings, and links to many weather sites.

That's all the storm hype you will get from me. Enjoy the snow, and stay smart and safe!


Death By A Thousand Cuts - And Carving Into Stone

A story in the Guardian reports on two new studies of the environment. The short version: it’s worse than imagined for humans.

The studies from the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre have some stark conclusions. They looked at what makes life on earth possible and found that we’re in the red zone for 4 out of 9 of the core componets of life.


Nice Snow Coming Down in Brattleboro

For the moment, the snow falling outside looks quite wonderful. It's somewhat heavy looking, falling fast and straight with occasional gusts to blow it around.

I have yet to think too much about shovelling it, and can just appreciate this first covering over of autmn remnants.

Check the local weather for the latest in forecasts, don't drive unless you absolutely have to, and have a safe and warm Thanksgiving. 


Aphids On Your Medical Marijuana Plants? Get LadyBugs!

I found a little lady bug and didn't have the heart to put it out in the cold, what with the weather going below freezing at night. So, I looked up ladybugs on the internet and found you can keep one as a pet.  I took in a green pumpkin that had never ripened and followed instructions to care for it.  Just a paper towel around the stem, a few drops of water a day on the paper towel so the lady bug can suck the water out, and a drop of honey a day for food.  I've had my pet lady bug for about 10 days now, she did leave for 2 days, then returned to her green pumpkin. 


Raising Butterflies On The Porch

It was early September and I was standing on my back porch enjoying a bit of afternoon sunshine, when I saw a large butterfly, dusky winged but with the telltale tails of the swallowtail, fluttering down the driveway.  For some reason that I did not at that moment comprehend, she (for she it was) seemed fascinated by the two orange trees growing in pots outside.  She fluttered from leaf to leaf, never staying on one for long.  And then it hit me.  She’s laying eggs.  Oh no! She’s laying eggs in September in Vermont!  Which is how I came to have a family of giant swallowtail caterpillars on my porch, over whom I am anxiously watching as the nights get colder and their prospects as children of nature diminish....


iBrattleboro Poll

Which should Brattleboro have?