Monthly Archives: June 2008

“A real lesson in civics”

A Front Porch Forum subscriber in Burlington’s Hill/Old North End area wrote in today for her husband and herself…

Congratulations! Thanks to the interaction on Front Porch Forum, Bill and I had an amazing exchange with Kesha Ram and Chris Pearson regarding their candidacy for state representative. Listening to them both was A REAL LESSON IN CIVICS.

FPF Milestone… 10,000 subscribers!

Wow!  An amazing 10,000 local subscribers to Front Porch Forum now… out of about 50,000 households in our pilot area of Chittenden County, VT… with 100s more joining every month.  And most of those members came to us through word-of-mouth… neighbor telling neighbor.

Any resident of Chittenden County may register at http://frontporchforum.com, while others can go there to join our waiting list.  Cheers!

Borrow a car on short notice… no problem

Providing less than 24 hours advanced warning, Bonnie in Huntington posted the following the other day…

Hi Neighbors – My car died yesterday, and for the first time in years I’m without car. I must admit it’s liberating, but the only trouble is, that I need to get to work tomorrow, Saturday, June 28. I was wondering if anyone might have a car I would be able to borrow for the day? I leave at 8:30Am and return at 8:00Pm.

I figured this was too much to ask with too little lead time.  So I was pleasantly surprised to read her follow-up posting today…

Hi Neighbors – I’d like to thank you all so much, for the overwhelming response to my request to borrow a car for the day.

Work went well, and I got to drive around in Jim H.’s bright yellow Chevy.  I was a hit with every teenage boy in Burlington and Shelburne.  The car is for sale, if you know anyone that might be interested.

The Huntington Front Porch Forum is a great way for our community to continue to be the very special place it is.

Thanks much, Bonnie

What do neighbors post about?

People often ask… “what do the neighbors write about on Front Porch Forum?” Well, it’s challenging to boil it down to a simple list (although it would have to include missing cats and bikes). So here’s a batch of message headlines taken from the last week of postings on FPF’s 130 online neighborhood forums covering Chittenden County, VT…

  • City Launches New Website!
  • Another Neighbor Joins Forum
  • Curious about Private Investigation?
  • The Ramble July 26th!
  • Old Windows
  • Yard Sales June 21, Stolen Bikes
  • Seeking update on 144 North Union
  • Democrats Gathering June 21
  • Police presence
  • Please Return Plant
  • garage sale June 21-22
  • Abandoned Bike
  • Books on Tape
  • Traffic Concerns
  • Jonas Brothers tix wanted
  • Petra Cliffs day passes
  • Dogs on Leash in Gilbrook
  • Disturbing Incident Comment
  • Day Care Suggestion
  • Adaptive Sailing Open House June 22
  • Fisher Cat Question
  • Stolen Bike
  • Fresh Air Fund
  • Seeking Roofer Recommendations
  • Cat Seeking Loving Home
  • Cat Seeking Home
  • Blow up balloons for July 4 parade and fireworks!
  • South End Farmer’s Market
  • landscaping/tree service recommended
  • Forum Publication Timing
  • Questions for Bear Experts…
  • Sing Along June 30
  • Police and recent vandalism
  • Sing along
  • Vinyl Siding
  • looking for dog sitters
  • Wildlife Teams Forming
  • Pick-Up Frisbee
  • Animal Shelter Fundraiser June 28
  • summer tennis update
  • reliable assistance available
  • Hot Days, Cool Books
  • Seeking Cat Sitter
  • Disappearing Plants
  • Regarding wreckless driving
  • Hinesburg Vermont Yankee meeting June 25
  • Nature Camp spaces available
  • Black Bear Expert
  • ride needed to Burlington
  • seeking tag-along bike
  • need a babysitter?
  • missing bike
  • ONE Farmers’ Market Opens June 24
  • Drop-In Music
  • Strange man
  • House Siding
  • Events at Your Library
  • Extra Car seats?
  • Treadmill for sale
  • Apartment or house-sitting needed for July-August
  • Seeking quilting lessons and doctor recommendation
  • Park at night
  • Traffic calming on town website
  • traffic safety: an addition to Bretts smart words
  • Entertainment Center for Sale
  • Local Meat for Sale
  • apartment needed
  • Help Garden at Boys and Girls Club
  • kids, police, eggs
  • Timely Traffic Forum!
  • Free couch near Young St
  • Looking for Temp Living Space
  • Seeking Lawn Mower Sharpening, Loaner
  • computer desk for sale
  • Australian Ballot
  • Champlain College Block Party Invitation
  • Real Estate Appraisal Questions
  • Seeking bike loans
  • Speed Enforcement and Traffic Calming Plan Update
  • Looking for exercise/spin bike
  • Burlington Permaculture Updates
  • Misdelivered package
  • Weekly Massage Special!
  • Seeking Diamond from Wedding Ring
  • Bike Rodeo and Round Up
  • Seeking Bricks
  • Race Data Collection Community Forum June 24
  • Missing Chicken?
  • Beach and fires
  • More theft in the ONE
  • free plants
  • Seeking Moving company recommendations
  • Looking for Swing set and Perennials
  • Seen: Blue and White Parakeet
  • Regarding Lawn Fertilization Concerns
  • Urgent: Temporary Home Needed for Cat!
  • City Website Feedback
  • Petra cliffs passes gone
  • Michael Franti/Spearhead ticket for sale
  • Condo for Rent
  • Valuable food information
  • looking for sod recommendations
  • local foods meeting – seeking farm land
  • Seeking kittens
  • Stray Cat – Yours?
  • Discussion of Budgets
  • Middle School Theatre Workshops July 21-25
  • Summer Photography Classes
  • Seeking Babysitter
  • City Liability for Storm Damage
  • Plant Thieves
  • Children
  • Seeking computer speakers
  • Massage School Needs People to Massage!
  • firewood for sale
  • bike theft
  • Free Storm Door
  • Interior Painter Needed June 29 or 30
  • moving company recommended
  • Town Meeting
  • Seeking tree service recommendations
  • Volunteers Needed for Senior Games June 28
  • Farm shares available
  • Refugee Resettlement Benefit June 29
  • 277 East Allen Project
  • Traffic Calming Meeting TONIGHT
  • house for rent
  • Live Fire Training at UVM canceled
  • Push Mower Sharpening
  • Seeking Bike Loan
  • more on Siding
  • Summer Project Help Available
  • Dining Room Set for Sale
  • seeking Audiologist recommendations
  • Drug Concerns on Murray St
  • The Bagel is selling pizza
  • Five Sisters Teen Filmmaker Wins Top Prize
  • seeking Tree surgeon recommendation
  • Seeking Part-Time Administrative Assistant
  • Face Painter Wanted June 28
  • Rhubarb for concord grapes
  • Seeking to borrow water cooler June 28
  • Local Arts Festival September 7
  • Street Flooding Issue – Letter to Mayor
  • Bunk Beds for Sale
  • Need a house sitter?
  • Seeking Hiking Area Map
  • PC repair
  • McQueen hearing: Cronin report
  • Yard sale June 27-29
  • reel mower sharpening
  • Qigong
  • Two Dream horses for sale
  • Seeking Painters, Flooring, Movers Recommendations
  • Appraisal increase!
  • Carpentry Needed?
  • FPF History, success, and seeking furniture fix
  • House for Rent in Hinesburg
  • stray cat
  • Farmer’s Market website
  • home cooking delivered
  • worms composting at South End Farmers Market
  • Catamount Health Expansions
  • Volunteers Needed for July 4 Run
  • seeking dolly loan, dryer offered
  • Yard Sale June 28-29
  • Bike theft advice
  • free dirt
  • Police Chief Reinstatement
  • Seeking House Cleaner, Mother’s helper recommendations
  • Green Lawn Mowing Available
  • seeking forwarding address…
  • Linnie’s Event, Murray Street Concerns
  • Tree Service Recommended
  • Seeking Tent, Recommending Movie
  • Seeking Raw Milk Source
  • Let’s brag about a local adult this time!
  • Childcare Opening
  • Teen Police Academy July 7-11
  • Nature Camps
  • seeking roofer recommendations, painting and grounds help
  • Yard Sales June 28
  • Cancellation of fire training
  • Teen Seeking Summer Work
  • Ethan Allen Homestead offerings
  • Comcast expansion into Westford
  • volunteer opportunity June 28
  • Lake Monsters at Library June 27
  • July 4 celebration needs your help
  • Music Nights June 26-28
  • Library Programs
  • Neighborhood Garage Sale June 28
  • Australian Ballot and Town Meeting
  • Book Sale at Town Hall July 4
  • Seeking Rental
  • TV News Preference Survey
  • Babysitter, Pet-Sitter Available
  • New American Farmers Update
  • Hinesburg House for Rent, Shelburne Qigong
  • Tag Sale June 28
  • runaway dog?
  • Found Cat
  • FPF History, Restaurant Recommended
  • Exchange Students Seeking Housing
  • Garage Sale June 27-29
  • Found Trash barrel
  • Free Music and Movies at UVM Saturdays in July
  • Seeking Firewood Recommendations
  • joggers thank safe drivers
  • Melinda Moulton
  • Soccer Game
  • Speed Meetings
  • lumber delivery June 25
  • Restaurant Recommended More
  • Soccer Anyone?
  • North Ave. and 127 Slip Ramp Closure Meeting
  • seeking summer housing
  • red lily beetle
  • 128/North Ave Ramp Mtg?
  • Updates on Siding; Benefits of FPF and Good Neighbors
  • volunteers needed june 30
  • Energy message from BED
  • Decriminalize Drugs
  • trash burning illegal inside or outside
  • seeking skin product
  • Little League Schedule; Lake Monsters Night June 28
  • Wedding Gown Available
  • Edwina Gateley Event July 11-12
  • House Sitter Available
  • RiverWalk Celebration June 27
  • tennis lessons
  • Free Film and Music Series in July
  • New Business: Big Help
  • slate, china cabinet offered
  • North St. 2 br. sublet
  • Seeking dogs for calendar
  • Seeking Lost Glasses
  • Seeking vehicle to buy
  • Seeking Stolen Bike
  • Car for Sale
  • 4th of July celebration
  • Free Family Event on UVM campus
  • Film and Music Starting July 12
  • Seeking summer driving students
  • Neighbor Appreciation
  • Farmers’ Market list for June 27
  • Free Kids Toys
  • UVM grad getting acquainted
  • Host Families Needed
  • Half-off Tag Sale June 28
  • RT 127/North Ave intersection meeting
  • A Rave for Tommy’s Grill
  • Bug Repellent
  • Home Renovation – 47 Catherine
  • UVM film-music and seeking host families
  • UVM Summer Film and Music Series – FREE!
  • Avon Source
  • seeking host families
  • 2nd Annual North Quarter 3rd of July Parade
  • Eager to commute
  • Cancellation of fire training comment
  • Seeking third housemate
  • New Farms for New Americans update
  • Seeking car tires, bike seat, roof coating
  • Seeking bathtub
  • House for sale – Open house June 29
  • Thai restaurant feedback
  • Massage Barter for help with Move
  • About Illegal Drugs
  • best seat in town july 3 fireworks
  • Obama Event
  • Winooski Online Survey
  • Robert and Gigi June 27
  • Seeking Housing for visiting authors
  • Communication Committee Meeting July 2
  • New Aikido Introductory Series
  • Looking for Apartment Cleaners
  • Register to vote
  • Free Film and Music Series
  • small tricycle in our yard
  • Documenting Ancient Roads in Milton July 2
  • Free Computer Storage Media
  • Thank You and Hunting for Accordion Players
  • Neighborhood living
  • Volunteer Needed for Huntington elder
  • variety of gadgets left on our doorknob
  • Seeking host families
  • Police Chief Hearing
  • Flynn Tour Opens South Burlington Gardens
  • Homeowners’ Assn. Dues Past Due
  • Seeking missing cat
  • Myrtle Street Avant Garden Update
  • Garage/Yard Sale June 28
  • Garage Sale June 28
  • AMBER ALERT – Please Help
  • Richmond 4th of July Needs You!
  • Neighbor Joins Forum
  • Summer Camps at Shelburne Art Center
  • Chief Back
  • Sing-Along and Town Meeting
  • Westford Recreation Summer Programs
  • Fireworks Safety Tips
  • Fourth of July Bike Parade
  • SEEKING LOST CAT – Bright St
  • Looking to get gravel hauled
  • Gubernatorial Campaign seeking Volunteers
  • Wanted: Woman who wanted Great Escape Ticket
  • UVM Engineering Students Demonstrate Hybrid Car
  • Gardener available
  • Huntington’s Disease Walk June 28
  • Garden Tour and Immigrant Farms
  • Seeking 2-bedroom apartment
  • Seeking feedback on possible Westford Park and Ride
  • Seeking Car for June 28
  • Apology – City Issues
  • Traffic Concerns on Laurel Hill
  • Ward One Commissioners Ask…
  • Free pool table
  • In response to drug dealers and courage
  • Drug addict stereotypes
  • Garden Tour
  • Seeking Chairperson for Road Committee
  • Bike the Lake for CF July 12-13
  • Trash and Recycling Schedule
  • Seeking Missing Calico Cat
  • Drunken Noodle House
  • circus tickets for sale
  • camera for sale
  • Open House June 29
  • Neighborhood wildlife
  • Porch Sale/Give-Away June 29
  • Break-In on Pennington Dr
  • Looking for Tennis Partner
  • Avon Appreciation
  • Obama T-shirts available
  • FPF Tech Response
  • Any babysitters needed?
  • Fireworks… register to Vote
  • More Neighbors Join Forum
  • looking for roofers!
  • Another Neighbor/Babysitter Joins Forum
  • Roofer experience
  • seeking dog supplies
  • Seeking small tent to borrow
  • What happened to Huntington River last night?
  • Free Ice Cream Maker
  • Found Cat – Yours?
  • Seeking caregiver
  • Winooski Festival Appreciation
  • Flash Flood Follow Up
  • big yard sale July 5
  • looking to borrow a dolly
  • Pet Sitter Needed
  • Movies on the Green?
  • Tech Difficulties and Seeking Pet Sitter
  • Summer Host Families Needed!
  • Braun Juicer for Sale
  • Summer PRACTICAL HERBALISM class offering
  • Looking for sailboat rental
  • Need simple (?) chair repair – Help?

Dam Break unleashes Wall of Water in Richmond, VT

A posting today from Gary to his neighbors in the FPF Richmond East Neighborhood Forum…

Friday night around 7pm, I was at the junction of the Huntington Winooski Rivers, just playing in the water with my kids. All of the sudden, 4 people were on the Cochran Road bridge yelling and screaming at us frantically. We couldn’t really hear exactly what they were saying. A fisherman was nearby us.

All of the sudden the water, which was at our ankles all the way across, started rushing and getting deeper. In a matter of seconds it was a fierce and fast river with large logs floating by. It was surreal — I felt like I was in a movie and the “great flood” was beginning.

Luckily we were near the shore when it happened and we got out just in time or we would have been in serious trouble. The fisherman was a different story. I watched him try to get to the shore. The water level kept rising and soon it was up to his neck. I think he lost his pole and everything and was just trying to get to the shore. I was really worried and thinking what I would do if he went under. Finally he made it to the other side of the winooski, by the railroad tracks, and waved to us that he was OK.

Still, we were stuck on the wrong side of the Huntington, with all our stuff (and the path home) inaccessible. We waited about a half hour but it never let up. We had to forge a way to the Jonesville bridge and walk all the way around back to where our stuff was. On the way we saw a police officer who was responding to a call about the distressed fisherman. She told us that a dam had broke somewhere upstream. It must have been a big dam because even an hour after it hit, the water was still rushing and very high.

I never saw anything like this. I hope everyone upstream was OK. Does anyone know what happened? Where is the dam that broke? Where is all this water coming from?

UPDATE: A follow up posted by Tim today…

Gary – First of all, it’s great news to hear you and your family got away from the river safely the other night.  We heard the firetrucks and police go down toward the Jonesville Store and heard on the scanner that they were looking for the fisherman.  They thought they saw him get to the side safely but didn’t see him again so they had to keep looking.  Apparently he’d made his way up to his vehicle by Wes White Hill Road and they saw him there.  They were also talking about a big beaver dam having given away and the debris and water came rushing down the Huntington River.  We happened to be coming back from Richmond, down Cochran Road, about an hour later and we also noticed how brown the water still was.  Very scary stuff.  At least everyone is safe.

Gotta love rhubarb (15 lbs!?!?)

Penny from Burlington’s Hill area shared today…

The coolest thing happened yesterday evening. I had sent out my first Front Porch Forum bartering request — 15 lbs of grapes for 15 lbs of rhubarb — and a nice couple from Summit Ridge delivered rhubarb to my door yesterday evening!!! YAY, I’ll make sure they get their grapes come September.

“This person is MAD!!!!”

People often ask how Front Porch Forum has grown so rapidly in such a short amount of time… it’s almost all word-of-mouth.  Neighbor tells neighbor.  Here’s a posting from a South Burlington neighborhood forum today that serves as a good example…

Re the notice about the appraisal increase… one of my neighbors did receive a notice like this.  This person is MAD!!!! I am forwarding this to her, and encouraging her to join Front Porch Forum!

While we do see people come on board in reaction to a problem like this, it’s much more common for folks to join because they hear it’s a great way to connect with neighbors and plug into neighborhood news.

Is Front Porch Forum Nationwide?

Front Porch Forum subscribers frequently are surprised to learn that this free service was created right here in our corner of Vermont. It’s no secret… our start-up story has gotten decent local media coverage.

Here’s today’s example from a relatively long-time and active subscriber from Essex Junction…

First of all — will someone please tell me the “once upon a time” of Front Porch Forum. Since I’ve been a member, I’ve been singing its praises to family in Texas and most recently Oregon. But you know what!! I really don’t know where this started and I’m just now barely getting little hints and cues that this actually STARTED in VERMONT!!

Is this true?!! And if so, yet another reason for pride in this little state of ours.

Here I’ve been telling Texans and Oregonians — “Check out your own neighborhood. I’m assuming ‘Front Porch Forum’ is national, if not international.” Sooooo, if it hasn’t been done recently, I’d love to have someone fill in those of us who are in the dark. Or maybe post the “history” on the website under ABOUT US. Thanks in advance.

Second of all — I am indeed reaping the benefits of Front Porch Forum. I’ve established a weekly connection with a high school student who comes over and aids me with certain chores — recycle and trash out, groceries in, other lifting and tugging. He’s pleasant, dependable, willing, and courteous, and also a kindred theatre spirit by way of EHS drama program! He gets paid right away; and when he helped us with unloading and setting up our tag sale, he was able to earn more.

Can the internet boost local democracy?

Steven Clift provokes some thought with his piece today at MediaShift. .. part of the Personal Democracy Forum 2008.  In part…

After almost two decades of “e-democracy,” we seem content with simply accelerating online what’s already wrong with politics. We raise money online to support more political television ads, we “democratize” national partisan punditry through blogs aimed at influencing mass media agendas, and whip up outrage through e-advocacy campaigns that fall into the electronic trash cans of Congress. Online news, campaigns, forums, blogs and other online social networks may appear public, but are ultimately privately controlled spaces where only the owner has real freedom.


I’ve been inspired by a small collection of “democracy builders” who are toiling on the edge of e-politics or dodging the grip of “services first, democracy later” e-government projects. The generational challenge we face in designing democracy to survive (perhaps even thrive) online is to identify the incremental contributions the Internet can make when democratic intent is applied to it and then to make those tools, features, practices, and rights universally accessible to all people in all cities, states, and countries.

Thanks to Steve for including Front Porch Forum as one of his examples.

Reporters turn to Front Porch Forum for leads

Local reporters for traditional media outlets use Front Porch Forum frequently to find leads for news stories… makes sense… neighbors connect with neighbors about all sorts of goings on on their FPF neighborhood forum as a first step.  Items often show up there first.

Here are a few recent examples…