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Category Archives: Vermont

Click local! When will “local first” arrive on digital shores?

I couldn’t agree more with former Vermonter, Dan Gillmor’s recent piece…

Journalists: Stop complaining about Facebook, and do something about it

Dan focuses on Facebook’s growing dominance as a news distributor…

How should we respond? From my perspective, two primary schools of thought have emerged. One is to embrace that dominance, albeit with some unease, and fully participate in Facebook’s ecosystem. Another is to persuade Facebook to take seriously its growing responsibility to help get quality journalism in front of as many people as possible.

Both of those approaches assume that Facebook is too big, too powerful to resist—that we have no alternative but to capitulate to its dominance. But if that is true, the consequences will be disastrous. We will be living in the ecosystem of a company that has repeatedly demonstrated its untrustworthiness, an enterprise that would become the primary newsstand for journalism and would be free to pick the winners via special deals with media people and tweaks of its opaque algorithms. If this is the future, we are truly screwed.

I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap… (click to read the full article)

And… to add to Dan’s call… let’s go beyond journalism.  Let’s click local for retail, for discussion, for classifieds, for reviews, for sports, for entertainment, for networking and more.  Many communities have local efforts underway, and they struggle to capture people’s attention as so many of us habitually scroll through our Facebook feeds, go to Amazon, Yelp, etc.  Why not try local efforts?  While the internet and mobile devices still hold the promise of decentralization of power, we now know that the digital juggernaut is also acting as a giant concentrator of wealth into a small number of pockets.  Thousands of local taxi companies replaced by Uber and Lyft.  Thousands of local bookstores replaced by Amazon.

To quote Dan one more time…

I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap.


Digital replacement for “To Kill a Mockingbird” front porch in Roxbury

“Hello all – Where in the world is Linda T.? Am I dreaming that I saw something on FPF that she is doing alterations again? I was a regular customer over the years, but then she took in the shingle. Linda… are you out there? From a short guy whose pants are always too long!”
• Norm, Northfield Front Porch Forum

“Hi all, Well, with the help of many people who contacted me, I found Linda! From the very bottom of my hemmed pants, I want to thank you all for your help. Though the literal front porch, a la To Kill a Mockingbird, is no longer extant, it’s great that we can have this digital replacement. I always pull up a smile when I see people sitting and jawing on the Roxbury Country Store front porch, regardless of what the may be talking about. I hope it’s not me! Living history.”
• Norm, Northfield FPF, next day


Little cork cottage in Monkton

“If anyone has a collection of corks that they no longer need or want, I would be happy to take them off your hands :) I am making my daughter a cork board and would prefer to scavenge around for them, rather than buy them from Amazon or a chain store. Thanks!”
• Linda, Monkton FPF

“I received SO MANY responses to my request for corks that I could build myself a little cork cottage. There were offers of bags, drawerfuls, cartons, several years worth, 10 years worth, 40 years worth… Thanks to everyone for being so responsive. And thanks to the people that keep Front Porch Forum going. It’s a great community resource that allows us to meet and support each other in all kinds of interesting ways.”
• Linda, Monkton FPF, next day


Missing dogs… 1-day Max and 17-day Darby

Many lost pets find their way back home thanks to watchful neighbors who connect through Front Porch Forum.  Here are two examples from this week.  The first occurred over a single day, while the second example spanned more than two weeks!

“Max, a middle-age male pug, went missing from around Lee/Briggs Roads around 7am Tuesday, April 5. He was with a larger black dog, who was found on the road, but there is no sign of Max. He’s super friendly, and we hope some good citizen picked him up to keep him safe. Please email me immediately if you have seen or picked up Max…we are very worried.”
• Dody, Guilford FPF

“We found Max!! Thank you Marianne and Gordon. And FPF!”
• Dody, Guilford FPF later the same day

And…

“Darby is home, safe, warm and fed, with her foster fail family (Sally) after 17 days on the run.

“She covered a lot of ground in Essex and Essex Junction over those days. From Upland Drive to Essex Way to Pinewood Manor to Perkins Bend (several times) to ADL to Five Corners to the dam bridge to Route 15 near Lang Farm to Essex Way (again) to Grove Street and the railroad tracks and finally back to Upland Drive – no doubt she saw parts of this town most of us never will.

“After catching Darby on a trailcam back on Upland, we decided the time was right to set the trap and see what happened. We knew she might not go in it the first night since she had eaten a fairly big meal of McDonald’s hamburgers the night before. With fingers crossed, we watched and waited. She looped by it several times around sunset, checking it out, not sure. She wanted the food. She gobbled up the few small pieces outside the trap. And left. Once darkness fell, she was back. She checked it out again several times, looked around and then went in. She managed to NOT step on the trigger plate, gobbled a few bites and walked out of the trap!! Luckily she wanted more bread spread with bacon fat and scrambled eggs cooked with liquid smoke so back in she went. This time she stepped a little closer, reached a little further and the trap slammed shut. She spun around from the noise but eventually realized she wasn’t getting out so she finished eating and laid down. The end of her 17 day shenanigans.

“Darby is a little thin and had a bunch of ticks removed but otherwise in good health. No injuries – not even a scratch – and ready to eat some real food and get back to her family life.

“We have so many people to thank!

“Everyone who watched for her, called in a sighting, read a sign or a post here or on Front Porch Forum, all the “shares” and emails… Thank you all! Every little bit helped and kept us motivated. Thank you to all at Perkins Bend where several of us tromped in and out of your backyards several times a day (and night) to check the feeding station there. Thank you for listening to everyone we spoke to and for those of you that approached us letting us know you were watching. Thank you to the Essex Police who fielded calls when Darby was zipping in and out of traffic in the junction. Thank you to all the anonymous people who drove around looking for Darby. Thank you to Sally and Wole, Kristi, Lisa and Lorei – could not have managed her safe recapture without each of you and your help and support. (Thanks also to Bill and my mother for listening to me drone on endlessly…)

“I will removing the signs around town over the next day or so…

“Darby is enjoying her new bed and some well deserved rest. Happy life Darby!”
• Michele, Essex FPF


Need complete fly fishing set-up? Try neighbors

“Owing to great success, Front Porch Forum has become my “look here first” place for finding props for various productions I’m involved with. Currently, I am producing a feature film for a Burlington area filmmaker. We are seeking a complete set of fly fishing gear (rod & reel, waders, etc.) and possibly the expertise of the owner to consult on the film. Production of this scene will happen in late May or June, likely to be a one-day shoot. We are providing credit in the film. Thanks!”
• Kenric, Montpelier FPF


South Burlington burglary… how to minimize loss

Posted on a South Burlington Front Porch Forum yesterday…

As many of you know by now, our house was broken into and burglarized during the day on Friday. Most of our technology/electronics/computers were stolen, along with many personal affects, most of our jewelry/ watches , and, any cash/coins that were hanging around– including what was in our kids’ piggy banks! At some point the burglars were interrupted and fled, as evidenced by the fact that our 2 televisions were disconnected, one ripped from its wall bracket, but left behind! Not a pretty scene to come home to right before the school bus arrives.

Now that things have settled a bit, we thought that the most helpful thing for us to do for our community would be to share what we’ve learned from this experience to help others better protect themselves. Heavens knows, we got A LOT of advice online from others’ misfortunes, so it only seems fitting to pay it forward !

First off, the burglars DID NOT get in through an open or unlocked window or door. These burglars BROKE OUR LOCKED WINDOW WITH A CROWBAR!!! We say this not to frighten you, but to highlight that despite being ” vigilant” about locking up our house, AND having had a neighbor call the police to report suspicious people and activity earlier that morning, we still got robbed !!! So, taking every precaution to secure your house and report suspicious people is paramount, but not fool proof . What we really want to impart to you is to PLEASE, PLEASE TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT THE THINGS THAT ARE DEAREST AND MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU. YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID! Having your television or laptop stolen is awful, but losing your mom’s special necklace, or all of your family photos, or having your identity stolen and your credit ruined are MUCH WORSE and QUITE PREVENTABLE .

Here are a few things we are happy that we did, and others that we learned the hard way. We hope these are helpful to you :

1) Password protect all of your computers. Doing so will make it more difficult for the next person on your computer to access your frequently used websites, vital bank or personal information stored on it.

2) If you have any mac iproducts , activate the ” find my iPhone/ iPad/iMac feature ON EACH ONE. This may not lead you to your thief, but it WILL allow you to lock your items remotely or erase them remotely to protect their contents or things associated with your identity .

3) BACK UP YOUR TREASURED PHOTOS , VIDEOS and IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS on disks/drive/ time machine/ or memory sticks of some sort. I cannot stress enough how devastated we would be if we did not have backups of all of our photos of our kids and they had disappeared out the door with our laptop! Really, DO THIS ONE!

4) photograph and/or keep serial numbers of your valuables and electronics. It makes it easier to ID them and report them to your insurance company, police and pawn shops. Open up and photograph the contents of drawers that hold valuable stuff (jewelry, photo equipment, video recorders, passports etc). It will help you see what might have gone missing.

5) REMEMBER–one person’s treasure may be another person’s trash. What may be a treasure to you (old concert tickets , family heirlooms, baby things) is trash to a thief if it has no resale value. So BE SELECTIVE ABOUT WHERE YOU KEEP TREASURED ITEMS THAT YOU DON’T USE ON A REGULAR BASIS. I’m never going to lock up the jewelry that I wear every day. However, I did keep other priceless mementos in my jewelry box, which means that when the thieves turned my jewelry box upside down and emptied it contents into a bag, I lost some treasured sentimental things that surely ended up in their trash because they had no monetary value. STORE YOUR IRREPLACEABLE SENTIMENTAL ITEMS IN A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX , or hide them somewhere crafty –not in the master bedroom or office!

6) if you store lots of valuable personal information on a laptop, you may want to consider signing up for an identity protection plan ( LifeLock, ID Shield etc) that would assist you and monitor any suspicious activity if your wallet, phone or computer were stolen or hacked.

The fact is that we are not perfect, nor are our kids. And none of us is always going to close every curtain in the house, or stash the laptop out of view when we dash out the door, or even remember to close an open window on a stiflingly hot day . Things happen. Hey, fires happen. And what we’ve learned from being burglarized is that the best defense against a break-in (or a fire) is to have ALREADY SAFEGUARDED YOUR VALUED STUFF & IDENTITY, so that if it does happen, it stings a little less :)




Mad River Valley seamstress found

“I would love to have a recommendation for someone who does alterations and repairs to women’s’ clothing. Thanks so much.”
• Judith, Mad River Valley FPF

“Thank you everybody for your recommendations. Problem solved due to the wide reaching power of Front Porch Forum — amazing!”
• Judith, Mad River Valley FPF… next day


Pine shavings… supply and demand

“Compost? We’re making bushels of pine planer shavings over here. It’s not sawdust, more like long flakes of pine – from a bench planer. Any takers?”
• Greg, Middlesex Front Porch Forum

“Yikes. We’ve 5 folks on the list already & won’t be able to satisfy all of them. Good job FPF.”
• Greg, Middlesex FPF… next day