“Thank you to the dozen or so neighbors who emailed personal notes of appreciation for my post on last week’s Really Big Thing that happened.
“I take Front Porch Forum literally for its ‘front porch-ness.’ So when a Really Big Thing happens — like a storm, crash, or national tragedy — the first place I want to go is the front porch. To look around the neighborhood and ask, ‘How’re you doing? Everybody in your house okay?’ And if possible, offer any solace or help.
“I understand why some folks wouldn’t want national politics on our local Front Porch Forum. But last Tuesday’s election left many in our community reeling.
“I think it’s important to recognize this and resist the urge to limit what can and cannot be said here. If for no other reason than to support our neighbors who might have been left feeling particularly vulnerable.”
South Burlington Residential Electricity Reduction by Neighborhood By Kristan Hatfield
Program Manager for Efficiency Vermont
The South Burlington Energy Committee, Front Porch Forum, and Efficiency Vermont partnered together to create a map of the city that displays changes in residential electricity consumption. The incorporation of neighborhood boundaries has added a relevant new dimension to the tool’s visualizations. The tool calculates changes in each of the Front Porch Forum neighborhood’s average kWh use per home.
A new understanding of community electricity use in the residential and municipal sectors has been inspired by three Vermont teams, South Burlington, Montpelier, and Waterbury/Duxbury, who are participating in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. The City of South Burlington and their partners have worked together to develop innovations in communicating trends in residential electricity and natural gas use. The result: South Burlington used less electricity per capita in 2015 than had been used in 2013 and 2014.
“Thanks to all who came by for the farm stand today. If you stopped and bought something, that’s great! If you stopped and took all the cash out of our box, that’s terrible!”
• Victoria, Farm Stand at Open Way, East Montpelier FPF
“Hello all– Thanks so much for all the kind offers, both on Front Porch Forum and in personal emails, to make up the money lost at last week’s farm stand. This outpouring has done so much to restore our hope and affection in this community.
“That said, it really is not necessary to do that. Firstly, we don’t know how much was lost in money and product. Secondly, we are not financially dependent on the stand at this point — we both have jobs off the land — and feel like we don’t need the money to get by. I imagine the person who took the money most likely needed it to get by. So if you are feeling like donating money, please pass it along to a food cupboard or a local charity of your choice. Your generosity of spirit is all the gift we needed to feel seen and appreciated in this community. Thank you.
“And come on by the stand this Wednesday, at 800 Templeton Rd, if you like, and see if there’s a vegetable you might like to enjoy! We’ll have so MANY onions, so MUCH garlic, summer squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, beans, canned goods, blackberries, carrots, parsnips, herbs, and maybe a sunflower or 2. I will be there with kids, and glad to say hello to you generous and friendly neighbors. Peace, friends.”
• Victoria,Farm Stand at Open Way, East Montpelier FPF, next day
“I’d love to know who spotted the fallen tree on my driveway off Old Farm Lane, removed it and cut it to firewood length. I’ve asked all the likely friends and still don’t know. Thank you whoever you are!”
• Howard, Mad River Valley Front Porch Forum
“I want to express my appreciation to Rep. Robin Chestnut-Tangerman for posting legislative updates on Front Porch Forum, and for his obvious commitment to his work on our behalf. It also seems clear that you (Robin) really enjoy what you are doing and your passion shows. I feel well represented by you, and thank you for keeping us all informed.”
• Paul & Margaret, Tinmouth FPF
A proposed social media policy that would cover both town employees and elected officials was met with pushback last week in Rockingham, with Select Board members saying they felt the proposed policy was a threat to their First Amendment rights…
Abby Friedman, director of the municipal assistance center for the [Vermont League of Cities and Towns], said Friday that many larger towns and cities in Vermont have social media policies, but she said she didn’t know whether they had adopted the one drafted by the league.
She said Barre City, Williston and Colchester were among the larger communities that had policies.
“The policy was written back in 2010. It was before Front Porch (Forum) existed. We need to look at our policy too to see if it needs any updating,” she said, noting that a lot of towns were concerned about the social media issue.
Chris Winters, deputy director of the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, said his office so far had not given towns and town officials any official guidance on the issue.
“Eventually, this summer, we were thinking of putting together some guidance,” he said. “And give the towns some help on online and social media behavior.”
In many Vermont communities, more than half of the households participate on their local FPF. So many more residents of these Towns read comments on FPF than would ever attend selectboard meetings. If we want healthy local democracy, we should update state and local policies to encourage participation… not the opposite.
One correction… FPF has been serving Vermont Towns since 2006, and we’ve had public officials participating during each of the past ten years.
“If you have apple trees, beware. Someone picked and stole every apple from our one tree sometime in the last couple of days. How low can a person get?”
• Edward, East Montpelier FPF
Then two days later…
“Since my report of the theft of the apples from my tree, I have been most grateful for the outpouring of response and offers of apples from the good folks in East Montpelier. Many thanks to all — and to Front Porch Forum, a remarkable neighborhood service.”
• Edward, East Montpelier FPF
“Thanks to Front Porch Forum, we have a great place to live while we build on our land, new worms to restart our vermicomposting, several plant starts for a mini garden, a wood stove and wood to go with it, someone to mow our lawn, pallets, metal roofing and most importantly, lots of new people to call friends. We also have our kids signed up for swimming lessons at Curtis Pond and spent a great evening today at the community singalong at the Four Corners Schoolhouse. We feel so at home already and are excited to be part of such a vibrant community! Thanks to all!”
• Becca, Calais FPF