BURLINGTON, Vt. — Some business owners in Vermont’s largest city have been warning for months about the behavior of what they describe as rowdy panhandlers and transients.

Those concerns were highlighted this week after a near-fatal stabbing near the intersection of Church and Main streets in downtown Burlington.

The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/2hR1sHh ) reports that in early June, Mark Mackillop, who owns Muddy Waters Cafe, asked the city council for help in June. He described harassment, threats, vulgarity and public drunkenness by people who hang out near Church Street.

He says panhandling has turned into a “form of debauchery.”

Police say that on Tuesday, Conner Lucas, who is homeless, cut the throat of another man after a dispute spilled out of the nearby City Hall Park. Lucas has pleaded not guilty.

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