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Category Archives: Citizen Journalism

FPF’s role in “Catching Murphy”

It isn’t unusual to follow stories on Front Porch Forum of owners looking for and reconnecting with their lost pets. From dogs and cats to goats, chickens and pigs, we’ve seen it all. However, the story of Murphy, a runaway golden retriever, and how he captured the hearts of Vermont communities is very special. So special, that Wilson Ring, FPF member and the state’s correspondent for the Associated Press, wrote a book about it.

“see a glimpse of how a small Vermont town rallied together to help bring Murphy home.”

Read the story of Catching Murphy, documented through local neighborhood FPF posts.


We need … neighbors.

FPF friend and journalist Bill McKibben recently wrote a compelling article on why we need neighbors.  Here’s a nugget:

“Neighbors were optional for much of the last 50 years. We became hyper-individualists—surveys show that three-quarters of Americans have no relationship with their next-door neighbors, which is a novel situation for humans. But in the next 50 years, we’re going to need our neighbors again. The fat years are past and the lean years are upon us—even as we try to rebuild our planet against the predations of the rich and powerful, we’re going to require stronger communities for sheer survival. Ask the people trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey, from Maria, from the firestorm that raked California.”  –  Feb. 2018 Sojourners magazine

This speaks to our work.  Hosting Front Porch Forum across Vermont over the past decade, we’ve seen the value of neighbors during and after natural disasters and other crises.

Build your local networks of neighbors now, and then you’ll have that investment in social capital to fall back on in times of need in the future.



Can you follow your cat into cohousing?

Here’s a beautiful story and poem from a FPF member who lives in Burlington co-housing…

© Sharyl Green
August 10 2017
Burlington VT


How did Fisher get to be called a cat?

The members of FPF‘s Calais neighborhood have been having lively discussions about this creature found in Vermont’s woods!

Conversation began with this simple post alerting neighbors:
A fisher cat has returned and has been seen behind my small pond down the hill from the closed road in North Calais.”  • Reid

Followed by a flurry of topics related to the “Fisher Cat”: 
“”fisher cats” is a common, but incorrect, misnomer. The fisher is a fairly large member of the weasel family, and bears no relationship whatsoever to cats…” • Warner

“I was interested in why they have been mistakenly called cats. Are there physical similarities? Are the sounds similar? Perhaps the use got transferred to large feral cats….Just wondered..” • Mary

“With all the emphasis on “cat”..my question now is — Why fisher…? Do they fish?” • Heather

“My first thought upon seeing yet more posts about fishers was, “Oh, no!” but I found myself laughing out loud…I think I will name the next cat that comes into my life “Fisher” as in “Fisher (the) Cat…” • Craig

Nothing like lively conversation on Front Porch Forum to connect us with our neighbors!


Attempted apiary break-in

“The suspect was large and brown, with a big nose and quite unkept fingernails. A similar break-in was reported 1/4 mile away at a neighbor’s trash can. The suspect’s given name is believed to be Ursus, but uses many aliases including: “Baloo”, “Paddington”, “Smokey”, and”Yogi.” It is believed that the famous, “Poo” of the Hundred Acre Wood is also the same individual, or may be a cousin. Suspect is not believed to be armed, although citizens should consider the suspect to be potentially dangerous in certain circumstances and take appropriate precaution in the event of an encounter. Citizens should be advised that re-currant attacks are possible, even probable, and should take appropriate steps to protect valuable garbage, honey, and any other potential targets. Happily, appropriate safeguards were followed at the apiary for such an event and the perpetrator was unable to access the valuable honey stores.”   • Steven in Middlesex

Have you had bear sightings in your neighborhood? Let you neighbors know by posting on FPF!


Local photographer, Dan Higgins, captures Winooski FPF story

Dan hosted a FPF Winooski Photo exhibit for us a number of years ago. We’re delighted to see him at work again highlighting conversations from Front Porch Forum members!


Knife Assault on Burlington Bike Path

“On April 27, my 13-year-old was attacked just before 6 p.m. by a man with a folding pocketknife on the bike path near the train trestle between North Beach and Leddy Park. The man demanded my son hand over his bike and his wallet. Although my son was fortunate enough to get away with both his bike and his wallet, the man slashed him with the knife on his face and his shoulder. The cuts were superficial, but the whole event was incredibly frightening. Please take care on the bike path!”
• Lori, a Burlington South End neighborhood Front Porch Forum

UPDATE:  “I’ve received several requests for a description of the man who assaulted my son on the bike path on Thursday, April 27. My son is still in shock and cannot recall all that happened, but here are the details he remembers about the man:  White male, mid- to late twenties, approximately 5′ 7″ tall, average build, was wearing a very nice Nike zip-front black hoodie with the hood up and navy workout pants, and had two rings on his right hand—one on the pointer finger and one on his middle finger. The man first slashed my son while the knife was in his right hand, but then transferred the knife to his left hand before slashing my son the second time.”