Since the Reformer reported two weeks ago that young people were disrobing in the Harmony Lot, the story has been picked up and rewritten by media outlets across the country, and the world.
The story recently appeared in a New Zealand publications, as well as the London Times and BBC radio.
Last week, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly invited Police Chief John Martin on his show to talk about the issue. Martin, who says he has never seen the O'Reilly Factor, said he is still considering the offer.
"My response has always been to try to be as open to any press as I can," he said.
And now word comes that television's Dr. Phil will be sending a production team to Gallery Walk today to film townspeople's opinions on public nudity.
"I didn't think a little complaint would stir up world controversy," said Theresa Toney, the Brattleboro resident who first came before the Selectboard and demanded the town force the youths to cover their private parts.
When a Dr. Phil representative called Toney, she said she refused to talk, but they persisted and now Toney has a 2 p.m. appointment at Emerson's furniture store with America.
She said she has never watched the Dr. Phil Show.
"I hear from other folks he is a fair guy," Toney said.
At an Aug. 15 meeting, Toney told the Selectboard she was disturbed by the sight of nude youths in the parking lot where they are well known for congregating.
Vermont has no statute banning public nudity. The state leaves it up to the municipalities to regulate, so Toney urged the board to consider passing a local anti-nudity ordinance.
In response, the Selectboard asked its attorney to look at how other towns handle the sticky issue.
Selectboard Chairman Stephen Steidle clarified Thursday that the board is not yet considering an ordinance for the town, but first wants to see what options are available.
Toney says her opinion has not changed since the rest of the world started peering in on the growing controversy.
"I'm against it. I'm offended," Toney said Thursday. "I go downtown to do business and I don't want this shoved down my throat. We have rights too."
Word that the Selectboard was going to take up the issue caused a small group of young men and women to throw off their clothes in protest two weeks ago today.
"This is something the town needs to look at," Steidle said. "But I think we should decide and not care about what other foreign newspapers or TV shows have to say about it. I think this whole issue had gotten a lot more publicity than it probably deserves."
Police Chief Martin agrees.
"It's not as big a deal as they are all making it out to be," Martin said. "My opinion is that it is a social annoyance more than a crime."
Several Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce board members declined to comment on the international media attention, Thursday.
Any news is usually good news when a small town is looking to publicize its events.
But the Chamber members did not want to weigh in on what Dr. Phil's cameras rolling during Gallery walk might mean for the town.
"We are coming and we want to hear from both sides," said Danielle Ledesma, an associate producer for the Dr. Phil Show.
Ledesma said the show's producers were planning on doing a show about public nudity when the Brattleboro story made its way across the country
"The producers love it," she said about the small, Vermont town that has no law against public nudity. "I think it's kind of interesting."
The show on "covering up" is set to air next Friday and will likely include Brattleboro residents, said Ledesma.
Shop owners and managers downtown had different opinions.
Trish Quinn, a manager at Dragonfly Dry Goods, said it really didn't matter to her whether the youth had their clothes on or not.
"Tourists and visitors don't want to come in and see these deadbeat kids with hacky sacks," she said. "They're dirty whether they have their clothes on or not."
And though Tashina Fielding, who is a manager at the Book Cellar, said she didn't think naked, young bodies sitting on the sidewalk were good for business, she said she wasn't sure whether or not the town should outlaw the action.
"There are bigger issues to consider about civil liberties and freedoms and sexuality," she said. "We live in a pretty liberal area. It's an interesting debate."
But Ralph Ellis, the owner of the Shoe Tree, has made up his mind.
"It's not good for the downtown business district," Ellis said. "I don't have any problem with nude beaches or doing it in your backyard, but it's not appropriate in the business district."
Ellis said he got a few anonymous calls from people who said they would not come downtown to shop until the matter is resolved.
But he also said the publicity might draw some people to town, and he said he wasn't sure if the presence of naked bodies in the end would keep people away from town or bring them in to watch.
And for the record, Ellis said he would not sell nude people shoes. Even if they were wearing socks.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 254-2311, ext. 279.