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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Keep FPF Working During Challenging Times

Today we are launching Front Porch Forum’s annual October Supporting Member Campaign. If you are able, please support FPF by donating now by credit card, PayPal or check: https://frontporchforum.com/supporting-members

With the pandemic and other challenges, more people are using FPF than ever before to stay informed and to reach out to neighbors.  Our workload has skyrocketed, and our costs and staff have grown accordingly.

We know that many of our members are not in a position financially to make a contribution this year.  If that’s your case, please do not donate, but DO keep using your local FPF.  Your engagement makes a big difference — in fact, it is more important than ever to build community among neighbors.

If you value FPF, please support our work by participating and by donating today.

Thank you.

FPF is a Public Benefit Corporation and not a charity. Contributions are not tax deductible. Ad sales to local businesses cover most of our expenses, and your Supporting Member contribution helps close the gap.

While we prefer online donations, we also accept payment by check, with gratitude, at:

Front Porch Forum
PO Box 73
Westford, VT 05494-9998


An opportunity to connect and share

Read your FPF by email?  Prefer the website?  Are you a mobile app aficionado?  However you connect with your neighbors online, FPF has gotten some major upgrades this year, including a new look across the board and new features to make reading and posting even easier.  Here’s how some FPF members have responded to the changes:

“The great thing about FPF is anyone is welcome to post on subjects that are important to them; for some people it’s Doggy Play Dates or Free Plants, and for others it’s Community Health Issues. The new format and bold subject field enable you to peruse the page, read the posts that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t (or maybe be exposed to a different point of view.) Thanks, FPF for the opportunity to connect and share.”  • Joseph in Waterbury Center, Vt.

 

I used the “Edit post” option for the first time just now.  It may have been there for a while but I just happily discovered it and wanted to pass along my excitement for the service Front Porch Forum is providing to our communities!”  • Elly at Lamoille Regional Solid Waste

We just moved to Vermont from California and I am looking forward to using this forum for resources!” • Holly in Williston


Peak foliage inspires staycation adventures

Have you taken time to soak in the beautiful scenery or take a tour de creemee to sample fall flavor offerings? Front Porch Forum members share some ideas!

“Seeking recommendations on your favorite fall foliage drives, apple orchards and other fall activities/spots you enjoy?”  • Rebecca in Stowe

“You probably notice that the color is popping out on the Maples around Montpelier. We drove to Burlington today and it is gorgeous! We plan to head up RT 12 to Morrisville and Stowe and loop back around to Montpelier on I-89 this weekend. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy it as soon as possible!” • Johanna in Montpelier
“Thanks to all the Aficionados who sent me suggestions for their favorite Maple Creemee. Plenty of choices to keep “us” busy (at a respectable social distance) while driving through our beautiful state, supporting small VT businesses and be sweetly rewarded in the end!”  • Julie in Stowe

“Now that the Island Line Trail’s bike ferry is back in operation, you might want to consider a mini-vacation in the islands. It’s a fairly level 30-mile bike ride from Charlotte to South Hero. My friends there at Health Hero Farm have two campsites that can be booked through https://hipcamp.com/vermont/islands-base-camp. They have a stretch of private beach on Lake Champlain that you might enjoy. Once on the island, you have numerous cycling opportunities — many of them on back roads past apple orchards, vineyards, mini-castles, and creemee stands. Here’s a link to our friends’ trail suggestions: http://cycletheislands.com . You can even rent a bike from https://www.localmotion.org/, if you don’t own one already.” • Wolfger, Charlotte

Share your staycation adventures and tips on FPF to inspire neighbors and help show some love for local businesses in our beloved small towns!



It’s election season!

Many are using Front Porch Forum to discuss political issues and candidates.

“There is no other source for local information about candidates, issues, and budgets that is free. I’m glad there are no memes here, no trolling for the sake of argument, but I deeply value the access to local issues, challenges, opinions, and endorsements of local candidates for office. Civil discourse is valuable. Let’s keep the emphasis on Civil as we continue the discourse.”  • Wade in Brandon, Vt.

“If, as stated, FPF is about connecting, then it should be more than just a community bulletin board. Someone said that there are plenty of other forums for political discussion. True, but by the same token there are also plenty of other places to let people know that you have extra puzzles or vegetable starts to give away. As long as we keep things civil and respectful there’s nothing wrong with an exchange of differing viewpoints. And those who don’t wish to read something are perfectly free to skip over it.”  • Lisa in Brattleboro, Vt.

“A forum is, among other things, a site for discussion. If we can’t air our differences, how can we ever resolve them? For that matter, can we really understand issues, local or otherwise, if we don’t discuss them, if we view them only monocularly, through the single lens of our own parochial points of view? What safer place to air one’s views than FPF, where tempers are necessarily tempered by the relative quiet of written speech? And what better way to organize and solidify one’s thoughts, to familiarize oneself with one’s own views, than to write them down in coherent sentences? Write on!” • Keith in So. Hero, Vt.

I would say that the idea of Front Porch Forum is to replicate the idea of sitting on the front porch and discussing what is going on in the world–near and far. I don’t think that a forum is only for looking for lost pets or selling tires. The definition of a forum is a place where people can exchange ideas, like being a libertarian, discussing the issues of the day, announcing area activities, and looking for lost pets and selling tires. Whatever people used to do on their front porch. I find discussions on the forum to be interesting and thought provoking. Obviously I don’t always agree but my horizons are broadened, causing me to at least think about things that otherwise would not be brought to my attention. If you don’t like the political stuff, don’t read it, but appreciate the fact that you can read about Odin, 225-65-17’s for sale and that the farmer’s market has moved in doors and all sorts of other things. I encourage people to put their thoughts and ideas out there for others to think about. At least we’re having a discussion with our neighbors about things that matter.” • Thomas in Roxbury, Vt.


VT Farmers: Apply by Oct. 1 for State COVID-19 Relief Grants

It’s not too late! The Dairy Assistance Application and Agriculture and Working Lands Applications are now live. The deadline to apply for these funds, part of Vermont’s COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP), is Oct. 1, 2020. These grants are intended to stabilize agricultural businesses and organizations based on their lost revenues and expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Learn more here.

If you have neighbors in your community who could benefit from this information, or other helpful info to share, post it on your neighborhood FPF!


Keep up daily using FPF’s mobile app

Did you know FPF has a mobile app? Compose a posting, search the archive, and more… all in one place!

“Wow! Hyped about the app—keep up the incredible work, team. Love Front Porch Forum, always find what I’m looking for using it ”  • Zach in St. Albans, Vt.

“Downloaded the app instantly! I’m so happy there is an app now. Its aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and elegant in it’s simplicity – great work to all of you who developed it and my sincere gratitude!”  • Melissa in Rutland

“Get the App…best thing since sliced bread. I will now be able to keep up with it daily. Thank you FPF  • Tammy in Morrisville, Vt.

“FPF has come of age!  Love the ease of mobility when I want to check out other forums.” • Paul and Rosie in Burlington, Vt.

“Thank you!  What a delight to use!”  • Mary in Starksboro, Vt.

“Great idea about the FPF app! Just downloaded!” • Rebecca in Berlin, Vt.

“Took me about 30 seconds to upload and sign on.  Looks like a great way to get this daily information.” • Marie in Shelburne, Vt.

Ready to get the mobile app?  Find it in the Apple® and Google Play® app stores.


Front Porch Forum Expands Engineering Team

Front Porch Forum’s tech team is growing! Two more software engineers, Noah Harrison and Aaron Lipman, have joined FPF to continue upgrading and expanding our custom-built mobile, web and email platforms to better serve our social mission.

Since 2006, FPF has been helping neighbors connect and build community by hosting a statewide network of online local forums. Out of Vermont’s 260,000 households, FPF has more than 190,000 members.  As part of FPF’s 20 staff members, our software developers play a crucial role in providing high-quality service and developing relevant new features for members across all of Vermont and parts of surrounding states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hires:  Aaron Lipman and Noah Harrison

Noah and Aaron each work closely with Lead Engineer and Tech Team Manager, Matt Barry, and tech advisor, Jan Schultz. Together they maintain and improve FPF’s unique web and mobile applications, which are used by more than half of the households in Vermont on a daily basis. Stay posted for new features and updates!

Noah, who is working with email integration and web browser technologies, says “I really enjoy the direct appeal that FPF forums have to many of my friends and neighbors.”

Noah comes to Front Porch Forum after ten years as a software developer and project manager consultant for various companies, including projects for NBCUniversal and on a 3D globe projector.  He earned a degree from Dartmouth College, having studied Classics, Religion, and Computer Science.

On his new role, Aaron remarks “I consider myself privileged to work on a platform that helps Vermonters work together in weathering events from Hurricane Irene to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Aaron has a background in electoral data modeling and a passion for writing software that strengthens communities. Outside of Front Porch Forum, Aaron contributes to several open source projects. When not writing code, Aaron enjoys road biking.

Front Porch Forum is an award-winning Vermont Public Benefit Corporation.  Our mission is to help neighbors connect and build community, leading to more resilient communities.  FPF hosts regional networks of online local forums where neighbors, small businesses, nonprofits and municipal officials post about a wide variety of topics.  This daily neighborly exchange leads to people feeling more invested in their communities and getting more involved.


An attitude of gratitude

“I am thankful to Front Porch Forum for adding GRATITUDE as a category. Perhaps we need it more now than ever. Tis’ true: “An attitude of gratitude brings amplitude.” • Lisa in East Wallingford

I Am Grateful
I am grateful to live in a neighborhood that I feel safe in for me and my children
I am grateful for all the tall trees in the neighborhood. They are beautiful and feel like protection
I’m grateful for my little property that produces veggies
I’m grateful for all the neighbors that talk kindly to my kids 🙂    • by Casey in Essex Junction, Vt.

“I am grateful for the treasure we have here…  the Bristol Trail Network. From the beginning this project has been led with integrity grit and grace. It has at times not been easy, but the results are a gift to all of us. There have been many volunteer hours from a host of volunteers that have made this possible. We live in a community where service is a part of what we do. So many organizations and individuals contribute to the vibrancy of our community.  As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, I look forward to our community coming together in unity to support each other in so many ways that we can’t even yet predict. If we care for each other, smile, give gratitude we will be stronger for it.” • Phoebe in Bristol

“Grateful to the responses of our bicycles that were collecting cobwebs in our cellar. Gone for better use now. And for the drum set collecting dust in a neighbor’s home is now going to be loved and played on by our grandson! Love FPF and our neighbors!” • Josy in Jericho

“A couple of weeks ago I’d requested the phone # for Corner of India, &, oh, did I hear from you! Not only did people respond to FPF, but I received 284 responses to my e-mail. I’ve gotten back to thank all but 68, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, I’m trying. Consider yourselves thanked here! Go, FPF, & all the helpful members!” • Debby in Shaftsbury

Share something you’re grateful for with your neighbors on FPF.


FPF Opens in Williamstown, MA

Two months ago a number of Williamstown community members and organizations began a grassroots effort to generate enough interest to bring Front Porch Forum to their community. Volunteers from South Williamstown Community Association, Williams College, Williamstown Chamber of Commerce,  Williamstown Elementary School PTO and area businesses all participated.

“We’re really excited to be the first community in Massachusetts to be part of Front Porch Forum. Now that our usual gathering spots are not available to us, we need to be in touch with each other virtually more than ever.  We’ve only been active a week and already there has been some good mutual aid” said Bette Craig, president of the South Williamstown Community Association.

People use their local FPF to find lost dogs, give away extra tomato plants, report break-ins, recommend roofers, announce school events, debate town budgets, organize community relief efforts… and much more.

“FPF has served Vermont towns since 2006,” said co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis. “And people use FPF for all sorts of things… this brief daily connection helps neighbors become better informed and more involved in the life of their town.”

If you know anyone who works for or attends Williams college or lives in this area please let them know and encourage them to sign up.