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A Notice on the Bulletin Board

Jake Brown. Courtesy photo.
You never know what might happen when you go grocery shopping in this city.

One day in 1992 I was walking out of the downtown Shaw’s supermarket (then the Grand Union) and saw a notice on the bulletin board in the breezeway. Something to the effect of “we are starting a local newspaper and we are looking for help.”

I’d been in the news business and had recently moved to town. Why not? I hurried back up to my apartment on East State Street (by the way, thank you Steve Everett for providing such high-quality rental space as I landed in town) and called the phone number. One of the organizers of this effort, Nat Frothingham, answered and before I knew it I was among an enthusiastic group of 8 to 10 people with a vision for a local paper. People stepped up to sell ads, write, edit, and find a reasonably priced newspaper printer who would take on this project.

As the paper grew — the demands on it, the number of ads in it, its presence in the community, the number of volunteers who were pitching in — it became clear we needed an office. Over the years we were stationed in several locations: on East State Street just a couple spots up from where Myles Court barbershop is today; on the top floor of the Depot Building on Main Street across from Shaw’s; then, in two different offices above today’s Three Penny Taproom and Namaste Indian Nepali Kitchen. And, of course, Vermont College.

There were hundreds of stories — about budgets, taxes, education, about crime and fires, about businesses closing and opening, city council and planning commission work, political campaigns. We did fun center spreads on the city’s history, and profiled many accomplished individuals who live here. And the paper today, to the great benefit of this community, keeps on adding more of these accounts. Right on!

The number of people I was fortunate enough to meet working at the paper constantly surprises me, to this day. I’ll be with friends walking downtown, I’ll greet someone on the street, my pals will ask me moments later: “How do you know that person?” My answer so often is: “Through The Bridge.”

To all of those committed individuals who have continued to build on what was nothing more than an idea three decades ago, I, and I know many others, salute you.