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Author Archives: Lynn

Bowling alley idea catches fire on Front Porch Forum

A simple FPF post sparked a host of interest and a plan to bring new life to downtown Middlebury.
“Wondering if anyone is interested in opening a bowling alley in Middlebury?!” • Lerin P.

Front Porch Forum neighbors responded with a flood of excited posts echoing this sentiment, ultimately resulting in one business entrepreneur ready to pursue the idea.

“I’ve heard a number of times that folks would like to have a bowling alley, some night-life, something TO DO in Middlebury after the shops close. Well, I have a plan to accomplish all these wishes.”  • Scott G.

Now there are construction plans of a classic, all-ages source of fun – a bowling alley – in the previous home of the Ben Franklin store.

Read more in an article from The Middlebury Campus.

We’re inspired by this story to build community which started with a simple post on FPF.


The secret? Staying local

We’re seeing an outpouring of interest in Front Porch Forum in light of the recently published article on the Verge!

Andrew Liptak, author of the Verge article How a Vermont social network became a model for online communities,” writes “Vermont’s Front Porch Forum is a good example of how to create a positive, online community – staying local.” 

Creator of Ruby on Rails and founder/CTO at Basecamp, David Hanemeier Hanson, saw the article and tweeted on his feed.  Then Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter and Square, retweeted it.  Clearly the work we’re doing is being recognized!  Thanks @dhh, @jack and the many others who have shared this article.

“Front Porch Forum isn’t designed as a virtual replacement for one’s real-world neighborhood — it’s meant to facilitate those everyday, in-person connections that form the basis of a community.”


Vermonters help Federal workers during shutdown

Front Porch Forum members reach out to help their neighbors affected by the Federal shutdown:

“This is a difficult time for some of our neighbors and we are ready to offer assistance. If you are affected, or you know any one affected by the “shut down” remind them, encourage them, tell them that food shelfs around the state are there to support them and they don’t have to worry about the cost of food in lieu of mortgage payments or gas for the car to get to work. We would be honored to help and support them. We are committed to helping our neighbors in need. • Ruthanne in Jeffersonville

“I own a home bakery and would like to offer families affected by the government shutdown free baked goods. I bake cookies, brownies, cakes and cupcakes, banana bread and other items.”  • Alice in Fairfax

“People have offered to help me in making sure that everyone in our community who is suffering due to the govt. shutdown have the basic necessities they need. We are a small community in a small state, and we need to make sure that those in this community who need help with the basic necessities receive the help they need.”   • Andi in Hardwick

“We know it isn’t much, but Green Rabbit wants to offer what we can… If any of you are feeling the financial crunch of missed paychecks due to the government shut down, please reach out to us. We are happy to deliver bread and/or a wholesome supper for your family.” • Suzanne in Waitsfield

“We would like to invite those government families who are currently not receiving wages to the food pantry. A large variety of fresh vegetables/fruit, and frozen and canned goods, staples (cereal, pasta etc.) will be available as well as meat and poultry, bread, eggs and cheese. We welcome the opportunity to be helpful to you as you navigate the government shutdown.”  • Lori, State Representative in Essex

 


Grab Your Toboggan

Our January Posting Flurry contest resulted in this wonderful story posted on FPF about community and helping our neighbors, with all the “feels”!

“Dan asked his teenage son and daughter if they would give him a hand. “Grab your toboggan, we’ll throw it in the truck”!

On his way to and from work, he had noticed that Mrs. Friendly’s woodpile had toppled over. She is 87, living alone and cooking and heating with wood. She says she always has, and she always will! She was a mentor to both of his children and they love her. She read to them at school.

The woodpile was too far from her house anyways and a snowstorm was about to hit the area. “Looking for a foot” she said when he called her.

Dan sat in his truck for an extra 5 minutes after talking to Mrs. Friendly and posted a request on Front Porch Forum for other helpers in the area, to help move and restack her wood. That evening when Dan and his teenagers arrived, eight other community members including three more teens, dressed in snow pants and boots, sneakers and some without gloves, pulling sleds of all kinds joined together in moving a cord of firewood. They stacked it on her porch and filled her many wood boxes inside. Dan said she begged us all to return for blueberry pie that next weekend. She said she had something to look forward to now, all toasty and warm and not worrying so much. “You better show up an eat my pies so the chickens don’t have to” she laughed.

It has now become a tradition for this same group to help her stack her winters wood. They check in on her, stop and visit, pick up groceries and her meds. She says she’s kinda glad her woodpile fell over, but mostly happy that Dan noticed and posted it “on that fancy phone of his”. Even when the kids come home from college they visit her. They bring “store bought pie” she complains.

Thank you FPF for making these kinds of things happen!!!”   • Suzan in Marshfield


This year’s January Posting Flurry is OVER… and the Lucky Winner is…

Front Porch Forum members submitted hundreds of clever “toboggan” entries into FPF‘s January Posting Flurry! Thanks to those who entered, and to all who enjoyed this bit of fun. Entries received before 1 pm on January 11 were entered in the random drawing. Please DO keep posting to your local FPF as the spirit moves… but the contest is done at this point.

Without further ado, the winning entry of this year’s random drawing for an iPad is…

“Our Wii died so I thought I’d check to see if anyone local has one they don’t use that they’d like to sell?
*bonus joke* 
Why do people from Massachusetts go to auctions? 
Toboggan!”  • Cathy in Granville

Kudos, Cathy! In addition to her clever post, we received some other noteworthy posts shared here:

“As you drive around town with your toboggan on the roof of your car, why not wave to the people in cars you meet going the other way ? You have more in common than you think – and a friendly wave will help spread good will and create a sense of community!”   • Holly in Tinmouth

“Hey All, I’ve got Vapor XV hockey gloves size 13…used, but usable ($40); Winnwell hockey stick ($15) and OP Black size 11 men’s low sneakers ($15). I’m certainly willing ‘toboggan‘!”  • Judy in Derby

“I joined FPF after another member explained it to me and encouraged me to join and I am so glad I did. New to the area, I have been able to keep up with important things I otherwise would not have necessarily known about, like the PFOA clinics for example. Also I found snow plowing services through FPF after no luck with ads, yellow pages, etc. So, I won’t need a toboggan to get out this winter! “  • Alice in Sunderland

“Our couch thinks it’s a toboggan and slides all over the room. We could use an area rug to teach it otherwise.  Maybe you’ve got one waiting for a new home?” • Beth in Stowe

What exactly is a “toboggan”? The answer is simply a matter of perspective, often based upon locale. In the south, a “toboggan” is a hat. Up north, a “toboggan” is a sled.  Let’s allow this contest to serve as a reminder that a misunderstanding or differing view is simply a matter of orientation. And that the most effective and neighborly way to engage with each other, whether on FPF or in person, is to first take brief moment and consider a different perspective.  Cheers to the first snow of the year, and may the lesson of the “toboggan” positively impact all posts in 2019!”  • Alexandra in Winooski

“RiseVT has graciously donated snowshoes to many libraries including the H.F Brigham Free Library. These are brand new Tubbs snowshoes in a variety of sizes. Come and borrow them for free with your library card! Sorry we are not lending out any toboggans at this time.” • Library Director, Bakersfield

“Do you have a great homemade remedy for scrapes and scratches from a runaway toboggan? The ride was great until it swung around and flipped over!” • Mary in Woodbury

“My wife and I are looking for an inexpensive home to buy, rent, or rent to own. Fixer uppers are great. Mainly looking for secluded. May consider other options. A toboggan hill would be a plus.” • Randy in Albany

“Its a little difficult in snow, 
But I geared up and ran. 
Those sneakers are now put away, 
While the ole “Toboggan” 
Will be my new play.”  • Dechen in Lincoln

 

 


It’s January Posting Flurry time!

Returning for another year, Front Porch Forum‘s Posting Flurry, a simple contest for FPF members through 1 PM, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Simply submit a posting on a topic of your choosing (“desk for sale,” “seeking plumber,” “ode to the cold”… you choose) and include the contest word “toboggan” anywhere in your posting and you will be automatically entered. We’ll randomly draw a winner this Friday, Jan. 11. That’s it!

So, if you’ve been meaning to post a question, concern, announcement, offer, observation, advice, etc… do it now and you might win a new iPad!

Details:
1. Any current FPF member may enter by submitting a posting to their local FPF before 1 PM on Jan. 11, 2019. The posting must include the word “toboggan.”  Remember to make sure you spell it correctly!
2. To be entered in the contest, postings should reflect a genuine effort to communicate, in the spirit of our mission “to help neighbors connect and build community.” The idea of the contest is to encourage legitimate postings, so please curb the impulse to post nonsense messages.
3. Limit one entry per day per member account.
4. The winner of the random drawing will be presented with a gift certificate to Small Dog Electronics with sufficient funds to purchase a new iPad 9.7-inch 32GB Wi-Fi.

To submit your posting:
Go to https://frontporchforum.com and click “Login”, then click “Compose Posting,” enter your message, and click “Submit Posting.”


Wishing all a merry and bright holiday season!


More Neighborly Communities

Front Porch Forum members report closer-knit communities.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” ― Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Lynn A. of Montpelier, Vt. says Front Porch Forum: discovering Vermont’s neighborly spirit, one glorious post at a time.”

FPF members report knowing and trusting more of their neighbors than national averages, resulting in closer-knit communities. Neighbors who know each other are more likely to lend a hand in times of need, whether it be loaning a pressure canner, larger-scaled community projects like organizing a foodbank, or emergency efforts.

FPF co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis shares that “when neighbors know each other and offer help or advice among each other, social capital accrues. FPF fosters real connections throughout networks of neighbors, and those ties bring genuine value to a community. Why buy a new ladder when you can borrow one from a neighbor?”

Front Porch Forum is a place where folks can learn their neighbors’ names and share hopes for the community and perspectives on local issues. The forum enables participants to familiarize and become informed online so that they can get out and have face-to-face discussions and take action offline. The result: optimism, unity, trust, and helping one another.

Stephanie Teleen, Neighbors Day VT organizer, uses Front Porch Forum to get the word out. She says “there are a few things you can count on in Vermont: beautiful scenery, ample snow, and Front Porch Forum. When Vermont became the first state in the country to celebrate Neighbor’s Day on June 2, 2018, FPF was the first and only statewide organization to help promote this event. Why? Because FPF knows the value of personal connection and communication within our communities. Neighbors Day happens once a year, but FPF works to connect neighbors every day, all year long. FPF is like a digital potluck with no cooking required! Being neighborly is paid forward in Vermont… to everyone’s benefit..”

*The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded an independent third-party, Network Impact, to design, implement and analyze an online survey of 132,188 Front Porch Forum members in March 2017. 13,086 Vermonters completed this 20-minute survey. With a 99% confidence level, the survey results represent the full FPF membership.

**2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Survey of Health Attitudes


Heartfelt gratitude for our fire fighters

It’s witnessing these acts of neighborliness that has such an impact on FPF members.

“On a slushy, awful night, there was a grease fire in an apartment above Delish and The Quirky Pet. I got the call and rushed downtown to find our fire department walking through my wet shop as well as Delish where the water was literally crawling down the walls. This might sound trivial, but the concern they showed for the health and well being of my eleven parakeets in the aviary was extraordinary. All are healthy and present for because our fire department made sure my shop was powered up to remain warm and was smoke free before they left for the night. The same concern was shown for the well being of the dogs and cat in the apartments upstairs. Our fire fighters alongside my husband and me carried load after load of candy into my pet shop saving Delish’s livelihood. They didn’t have to join in on that.

It is really unfortunate that most of us don’t really notice the fire department until they are involved in a fire call. Montpelier’s fire department is a tightly run shop of really caring people who are very good at what they do. You don’t normally see them get mentioned in Front Porch Forum.

As a Montpelier business owner… and a resident of Montpelier as well, they have my heartfelt gratitude not only for what they did for Delish and my shop but for our upstairs residential neighbors as well on a very messy night weather-wise.”   • Richard in Montpelier


When the power is out, neighbors offer help

Those with the means to help their community did so on Front Porch Forum!

“The school will be open as an emergency shelter. If you or someone you know might need a warm place to stay or a source of water, you are welcome to take shelter in the school’s multi-purpose room. Please bring sleeping bags, food and any supplies you need. You are welcome to fill your own water containers in the kitchen.”  • Principal, Robinson Elementary School

“While parts of town are without power, we want to let everyone know if they need to get fresh water, charge a phone, use the WiFi, or just hang out in the light/warmth, they are welcome here. We are happy to open our doors to community members during this inconvenient time.”  • Priscilla at Quarry Hill Farm

“If you are a local who is out of power, you are more then welcome to come here for a shower!”
Erin at The Climb Fitness Center

“We have space in a chest freezer if you are out of power and want to save some of your freezer goods.” • Lisa in Richmond