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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Live Blogging Vermont’s e-Future

Hey, hey… should be a good event tomorrow (May 29, 2008) at Champlain College (Burlington, VT)…

Fulfilling Vermont’s e-State Potential
Building Community in a “Connected Age”

Front Porch Forum will be among several community-building efforts featured. Lewis Feldstein from New Hampshire, who co-wrote Robert Putnam’s follow up to Bowling Alone, will provide the keynote.

Another fun angle… Cathy Resmer from Seven Days and Bill Simmon from Candleblog will be live blogging the event… so tune in, follow along, and comment as we go. I hope that blog comments will find their way into the live conversation at the event.

UPDATE: A good day! Read all about it…

And Bill even snapped some art photos… or whatever you call this one…


Future of Vermont June 19

Glenn McRea of the Snelling Center for Government posted the following on his neighborhood’s Front Porch Forum today…

The Future of Vermont is is an important opportunity coming up.  The Vermont Council on Rural Development is sponsoring a series of statewide forums on the “future” of Vermont.  Front Porch Forum is an important part of that future as a vehicle and a connected community.  I hope people will put this on their calendar and come and talk about FPF and other vital issues about the future of our Vermont community.

Forum on the future of Vermont – City Hall Auditorium in Burlington, from 6:00 to 8:30 on June 19th. Please check out the website at http:/www.futureofvermont.org to learn more, to take an on-line survey, or to contribute ideas electronically to this statewide dialogue.

Thanks Glenn!  I plan to attend.


Door-to-Door Magazine Crews Sweep Chittenden Co.

A number of Front Porch Forum neighborhoods have lit up recently about door-to-door salespeople. In particular, young folks have been sweeping through local neighborhoods pushing magazine subscriptions and odd stories that raise suspicions. Hundreds, if not thousands, of local folks seem to be talking about this. Some people are afraid, others annoyed… a couple fathers even have a kind of vigilante approach in the works. In fact, some of these sales folks have posted their pitch on Front Porch Forum too. I had an aggressive kid at my front door in Burlington just the other day with a cockamamie story.

So I was keen to read Irene Wrenner’s post today. Irene’s an Essex Town Selectboard Member.

This is a follow-up to various messages posted on Front Porch Forum in recent days by those who wonder about young magazine sellers canvassing their neighborhoods. On the internet I found two sites that were informative and appear to be legitimate. They discuss the abusive living / working situations that some captive youth endure.

Parent Watch is a clearinghouse for information on child and youth labor abuse in the traveling door-to-door sales crew industry.

http://www.magcrew.com is dedicated to helping individuals who have sold or are currently selling magazines or other items for a traveling sales crew. It boasts a central area where people can come together and share stories about door-to-door magazine selling. Their aim is to help those who are being or have been abused by Magazine Crews.

The New York Times article by Ian Urbina, “For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews,” was published February 21, 2007 and contains advice for those of us who wonder what to do when approached:

“Ms. Williams, from Parent Watch, said her organization advised customers not to buy from the sellers or to let them in the house, but to offer them a phone to call home or her organization’s phone number to help anyone who might want to arrange a bus ticket home. She said her organization had lobbied for legislation to prevent sellers from being categorized as independent contractors and to provide them with minimum wage and safety and health protections.”

I hope the above is helpful to those who are concerned, as I am, about these solicitors.

UPDATE: More and more neighbors are posting stories about these young folks ringing their doorbells.  Mara in South Burlington offered these links for tales…

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/190/RipOff0190670.htm
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/258/RipOff0258651.htm
http://www.scamclub.com/blog/2006/11/freedom-sales-is-scam-dont-get-fooled.html


Local Elected Officials put FPF to Use

Thanks to a local selectboard member for sharing her experience with Front Porch Forum in her Vermont town…

I am constantly amazed at how much good thought and work you put into making this happen. I think FPF is really having a positive effect in Hinesburg. I find it incredibly useful as an elected official to know what is going on all around town.

About 200 local public officials in FPF’s pilot area subscribe to the service currently.  More are welcome.


Moving Sale a Huge Success

Barbara in Huntington, VT had this to say today…

Our moving sale this past weekend was a huge success at least partially due to the unpredicted good weather but mostly due to the Front Porch Forum means of communicating with neighbors. The sale also gave me the opportunity to tell neighbors about the Forum and I’ve already seen new names added.

So why would Barbara, who is relocating, take the time to recruit neighbors on to Front Porch Forum? This is the kind of thing we see here… thanks Barbara!

Also worth noting… Front Porch Forum may well be outperforming print and online classified ads for drawing a crowd to a yard sales this season… especially the multi-family versions.


Meetro Lessons from Failure

Paul Bragiel, founder of Meetro.com, an online local social networking service that tanked recently, shares some lessons he learned today over on TechCrunch.


Big City Online Neighbors

Here’s another article (New York Times) about online social networking services for big-city apartment buildings.


Re-beader on your block… who’d of thunk it?

Heard from artist Katharine Montstream today on her FPF neighborhood forum…

I love Front Porch Forum. I asked for some help with adding some beads to a necklace to make it longer and BINGO, a woman right on my own street does just that. She did a great job, turned it around quickly and was very reasonable.


Federal Economic Stimulus Check Spent Locally

Peg from Shelburne sent a financial contribution to Front Porch Forum today along with this note of explanation…

I’m trying to put some of my “stimulus” cash into good causes since the gov’t apparently does not know how to do so.  Plus, without Front Porch Forum, I would not have had so many neighborhood folks come to my yard sale over the weekend (and hence have so much extra cash in my pocket!).

Much needed and much appreciated, Peg!  Every dollar received by FPF gets plowed back into the service.


Post today, Knock on the door tomorrow

A Front Porch Forum member in Charlotte, VT wrote in today seeking recommendations for a housepainter… and I hope she finds what she needs.  It was her postscript that caught my eye…

PS. Thanks so much to whomever sent Steve Mack our direction for roto-tilling. He was great. It was so nice to post something one day and have him knock on my door the next! That is what neighbors are for!