Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Richmond goes radioactive for the holidays

HMC2-a local marketing agency reputed to provide "holistic marketing solutions," has just produced a shiny new ad campaign intended to "help" Vermonters understand the "facts" about Vermont Yankee. Their "fact" page spins a delightful fallout scenario of what could happen if the state decides not to re-license the outdated and damaged facility…rioting in the streets, skyrocketing heating bills, and Vermont will no longer be considered a "green" state…are you kidding me?


HMC2's nifty little campaign fails to acknowledge that our state's unnecessary dependence on Vermont Yankee has hindered renewable energy development for years…you know-the projects intended to reduce your electric bill, stabilize and sustain the economy, create jobs and reduce global climate change.


But it's cool-I have to step back on a pretty regular basis and remind myself that I live in a town where half of the selectboard fears a productive discourse, our hometown gubernatorial candidate is as quiet and conventional as the Cheerios I ate this morning, and despite our region's firm commitment to sustainable, entrepreneurial and innovative ventures-our state rep won't say "no" to a crumbling nuclear facility...I guess having a marketing agency that supports global warming is pretty much par for the course.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mary Houle: The Secret Socialist

Armed with a can of SPAM, selectboard malcontent Mary "The Hooligan" Houle quelled a gathering of Conservation Reserve Fund insurgents at last night's selectboard meeting. Slamming her pen against the table, as if wielding Thor's hammer, Houle announced that she was "leaving the meeting. " She proceeded to her timeout chair in the hallway before returning as a member of the audience. The baffled group could only describe her behavior as "poor form." Without a quorum to vote, the meeting proceeded uncomfortably for some time. Houle, channeling the will of Hugo Chávez on a coca induced hunger strike, forced the meeting to continue until 5AM, before returning to the table for her can of SPAM. She then forced the group to watch her consume the can, in its entirety, before moving to adjourn. Eric Filkhorn seconded the motion.


I highly recommend that everyone watch this theatrical performance on MMCTV this weekend or grab a DVD copy at the Richmond Free Library. After watching the last half hour (when it gets interesting) ask yourself one simple question: who the hell voted her onto the selectboard?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Exciting news from the land of Richmond! Sarah Messier's day of tormenting this town are through. With Mary Houle collared, her attack dog proverbially put down, and a pending announcement regarding a new town administrator, it seems that things are slowly returning to normal. With the SLAPP-happy crowd down two golden girls, I'm excited to see how this increasingly ineffectual group plans on remaining valid in this brave new world.

Stay shiny Richmond!

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009911260307

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hail to the chief, Part II

The advanced article was great news, but the second one has the most entertaining comments:

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009911120313

I particularly love the "VTValues" and "2gd4u" posts. In my not so humble opinion, I think the folks who claim they represent "values" and speak on behalf of the "taxpayer" out themselves as the most self-motivated, bigoted, morally bankrupt, and unimaginative bunch of featherless parrots to squawk about the green mountains. As someone who actually pays taxes, I'm ready to see this bunch fly south, so we stop wasting community resources on their whiny conspiracy theories, false accusations, and system manipulations.

...just an observation on the anonymous Freeps comments...can't get SLAPPed for that ;-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hail to the chief

Took your sweet time, but damn-it's the best news I've heard coming out of Richmond in a long time...

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20091111/NEWS02/91111018/Richmond-Police-Chief-to-stay-in-post

Thanks again to those who organized the petition and those who signed it. Glad to know our selectboard finally remembered we have leash laws in this town...



Stay shiny Richmond.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

¡Viva la Revolución!

join the revolution.fill the war chest.ring the alarm.buy the gear.


.do it here--->http://jonesvilleunderground.bigcartel.com/


and when you get done with that-"fan" us on Facebook!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jonesville Underground issues (content removed)

(content removed), Isaac Cowan showed up yesterday morning, (content removed), following through on his (content removed) appeal.

As such, the Jonesville Underground has issued a (content removed):

(content removed)



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Communist rag readers vote Mary Houle #1!

After rising through the ranks of the Seven Days "most popular," Mary Houle finally landed the coveted number one spot (a tenure the LTCM enjoyed back in August). Seizing upon her newfound status as "cult curmudgeon," Houle announced her comeback tour in the form of a statewide media blitzkrieg. Kicking it all off in Jonesville, Ms. Houle sat down with LTCM web editor, Jack Rebedeau, for an exclusive interview:

LTCM: Mary, what prompted you to effect the resignations of several town officials?

Houle: Moral superiority, Jack. I am the only one who cares about this town, clearly. I donate flowers for god sakes! FLOWERS! I don't recall any of my selectboard peers getting their hands dirty for this town. Liberals don't know how to garden, and liberals don't even come from Vermont!

LTCM: Speaking of all things garden related, we've heard that you are still seeking an audit of the Richmond Farmer's Market. Why is that?

Houle: Anytime a business, be they non-profit or for-profit, receives stimulus funds they are accountable to my administration. After I finish gutting the market, I'll be conducting audits of every business to receive a benefit from those funds. If Toscano's lets so much as one strand of pasta go beyond al dente, or On The Rise runs out of breakfast roll-ups before I get there, consider them all as good as closed. And the next time I go into Film Buzz for a VHS, they better have 'em!

LTCM: What do you see as a next step for this town? We're coming out of the recession, the bridge has re-opened, and the town is looking more comprehensively at an economic development strategy. How do you see it all coming together?

Houle: I don't. After I finish knocking off the public officials and town employees I dislike, I'll be dissolving all boards and the police department, creating a regional authority. Acting as sheriff-imperator, I will return the area to a more traditional set of rural standards.

LTCM: Well, thank you for your time Ms. Houle. We humbly submit to your will and wish you the best of luck in your scorched earth approach to community development.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Will the town please spring for a selectboard exorcism?

After reading Ken Picard's Seven Days article on Richmond's very own selectboard zealot, Mary Houle, I decided it was time again to address her directly:

Mary hun, if you don't want to be "painted as the town SOB," stop acting like one. It's a pretty simple concept. You're a smart cookie, so I'm sure you can wrap your head around it. You are guided by a deeply perverted vision of localism, manifesting in your repeat behavior of stepping out, and often over your selectboard peers to deliver messages of moral sanctimony to the community. Everyone is tired of hearing it.

You eschew the ethical guidelines of your post and in the process, alienate the community you claim to represent. You "expect honest answers," yet you are perhaps the most adept in avoiding accountability and an honest process. In your erratic rants on taxpayer dollars, budget tightening and sparing expense, you seem to have deliberately avoided owning the huge costs you have levied against the Richmond taxpayer. Some champion you are! How much time and resource have we wasted on your manic quest to ruin the reputation of our former town administrator? How is it that months after his departure you can't seem to let it go? Everyone observing this situation from the outside recognizes how absolutely dysfunctional your process is. You are fevered, and a classic villain to be sure.

As someone who refers to her peers as "Little Hitler, Marxist and crybaby," I find it beyond amusing that you can't even see the irony in your "cry wolf" response to my weblog. Cyberbullying? No darling, it's called punditry. You are an elected public official, no? Keep doing what you do-rattle your saber, raise your hackles; turn under the full moon. I'll be calling a spade a spade until the day I get buried by one. If you think the waning days of your tenure are going to be a smooth sail, think again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Well, well, well...the "potable" adventure continues!

Nothing puts a little excitement into my Saturday like a visit from the Jonesvillain! Yes, that delightful case of the Cowans I was telling you about earlier…well, it came back on Saturday.

I had been over at the neighbor's house, prepping for flatbread and tending the fire. There were a few supplies at the homestead I still needed to grab, so I drove back with my buddy Alex. As we rounded the bend towards the store, I had one of those moments. It was like those pictures you look at and have to figure out what's wrong…what's out of place. On that afternoon it happened to be Isaac Cowan, waiting for us across the street in his menacing pick-up. I didn't think much of it on first glance. Over the past several months I had grown largely accustomed to his regular patrols-something he did to pass the time when he wasn't plotting with Mary Houle to overthrow the town government, fighting off enforcement actions or hunting around for deals on flannel button-downs…perhaps the one fall activity we have in common.

On this particular Saturday, the only thing Isaac seemed to be looking for was a fight. Perhaps it was the lack of sun…maybe the cold sheets of rain…or the biting wind-I can only speculate; but something on that Saturday had put him in the foulest of moods. The dude was out for blood, or at the very least, an excuse to ruin someone else's Saturday…why not me? The accursed neighbor, foiling his every attempt to do bad…the Roadrunner to his Wile E. Coyote! Meep Meep!

"Dan." Avoid. "Dan." Evade. "Dan! Do you have a minute?" Ok, I thought. Let's just get this over with. I have a friend with me, and I know how Isaac likes an audience. Hesitation. I sauntered over towards him at the edge of the property, hopped awkwardly up onto a slippery cement pylon teed at the edge of do-not-trespass territory. He crossed onto my property…I lost my balance and had to hop off the pylon, just as awkwardly as on the way up. Two points to Isaac. Not a good start to a dialogue with any Napoleonic character. "Dan, I'm reasonable…" RED ALERT! "You need to stop writing about me in your blog." SHIELDS UP! REVERSE THRUSTERS! FULL IMPULSE! I fought my natural urge to say something snarky, but I was secure in the knowledge that ignoring an angry person pisses them off more…two points to Dan for his double-edged disengagement strategy.

I made it to the bottom of the stairs before he let loose the salvo. "If you don't stop, I have grounds to appeal your well permit!" In retrospect, I have come to the realization that it takes a master tactician to dream up such an ingenious scheme. "Yes. Keep the boy from getting potable water. That will teach him a lesson! If he fights the appeal and wins, the E. coli will take him soon enough. If not, the chemicals leaking from my buildings will undoubtedly generate growth abnormalities. He'll be ostracized! Forced to leave!" Full disclosure: his sinister thoughts are usually voiced in my head by something resembling the progeny of Gollum from Lord of The Rings and Gilbert Gottfried…scary, no?

Ok-further divergence time. So the weblog…not only can it get you slapped with a trespass notice (if the issuing officer is politically aligned with a selectboard member…tragic career move by the way), but it can also create a well permit appeal? Hmm, can it make brownies for me? That would be really nice right about now. Really though, it sounds like a few people unable to take some accountability for their personal prejudices, and also severely lacking in a creative retaliatory process. Shall I taunt you a second time?

Sooooo…I head inside, completely flustered, forgetting entirely about my friend, who at this point is attempting to seek refuge in his car…which unfortunately for him is parked out back. When I eventually get around to peaking through the curtains, I see Isaac tormenting him through the glass, now spattered with Isaac's angry shout saliva. Yucky! I go back outside to find that Isaac has since grabbed my friend's door handle in an attempt to keep him from leaving. Lucky for Isaac, my friend is a mellow guy. He sat passively, humming 80's tunes in his head, completely ignoring Isaac until I remembered to retrieve him…at least he had the good sense to lock his doors.

So what's the fallout from this latest act of aggression towards truth, righteousness and the American way? Good question…we're waiting on a couple phone calls, but we'll get back to you as soon as they get back to us. So, as always…


Stay shiny Richmond...and read tomorrow's Seven Days! Big Wink.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Autumnal offerings from Backcountry Pizza



I got an early start at the neighbor's house this morning-fired up the outdoor oven in preparation for an evening flatbread session. A few weeks ago I rocked out a particularly excellent series of pies for my illustrator/screenprinter's wedding up at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington...the best local ingredients-fresh veggies and meats from Maple Wind Farm and cheeses from Grafton Village. The favorite that day was a beet sugar crust, which was deep purple and loaded with caramelized onions, andouille, apples, sunflower seeds, roast fingerlings, lardon, and maple smoked cheddar.

Today I'll be celebrating the autumnal offerings of Vermont. I've been playing around with some kabocha and acorn squash crusts that are complemented with maple, whole oats, cider and flekked with crushed pumpkin seeds. The presentation will be a more primitive flatbread style- slightly divergent, but certainly not a digression from my signature "backcountry" aesthetic.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Late News Breaking!

Salutations from the floodplain! We have some very exciting news to report-on Monday we received official word from the state that our project has been granted approval to drill a well! While this clears up the most significant hurtle in effecting real progress in Jonesville, we are still suffering from a nasty case of the Cowans.

Through our backchannel sources, deep within the Douglas administration, we have received confirmation that Isaac Cowan (as we long suspected) was the primary obstacle in placing the well months ago, when we initially submitted our request. Luckily, our revolutionary business model was specifically designed to adapt and thrive in the oppressed eastern territories of Richmond. As such, we have enjoyed the waning days of summer into early fall, settling comfortably into a sub-active state of sharecropping for the property owner. We've kept busy with individual side projects, epic adventures, and of course, the construction of our strategic headquarters on Mary Houle's island oasis…we'll be holding a "wild rumpus" to celebrate.

Richmond's fallow administration remains hamstrung by Houle's handful of sycophants, but concerned residents and supporters from around the region work diligently to save the town. The Chief's petition was undoubtedly a clear referendum on Houle's war crimes perpetrated against our community. It was a very well aimed and well-executed shot across the proverbial bow…don't expect any more warning shots in the weeks and months to come.

Remember folks…don't drink the Houle-ade. You'll be toes up faster than her bid for the statehouse. :-)


buuurrrn!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Power to the pumpkin!

There are some Halloween treats in store for the Jonesville and Richmond communities. Direct from Island HQ, expect big progress and policy updates this week and next.

Your hint...in the words of my personal savior, Sarah Palin: "drill, baby, drill!"

Also, everyone has been asking to see Island HQ...well here it is...and yes, that is an air strip...heavily fortified with knotweed punji sticks, mutant milfoil, and rabid zebra mussels.


Let's see how many more trespass notices I can rack up with this post...remember, in Richmond, creativity is a CRIME! Don't believe me? Contact Mary "The Hooligan" Houle or private security contractor Sarah "I want a new review, too!" Messier.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

radio silence...

...some miss the rabble, others are relieved, and a select few are rightly frightened...fear not, the "silent" hand of the Jonesville Underground is always at work.


...stay shiny Richmond!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Approved Meeting Notes 09.21.09

Monday's selectboard meeting was back to business as usual; low turnout, expedited pacing, and a plethora of super suggestions from Richmond's only permanent member of the selectboard, Cara LaBounty. Pete Parent sat quietly and refrained from goading the audience. Erik Filkhorn and Jon Kart tapped out Shakespearean insults to one another in Morse code. Mary Houle rifled through a tattered copy of the DSM-IV-TR. Marcia Lawrence meditated.

Highlights included Erik Filkhorn fielding Marcia Lawrence's question regarding CUSI, which he described as being "like CSI." His off the cuff reference to the popular crime drama confirmed our long held suspicion that he is a sleeper agent scouting our town on behalf of Jerry Bruckheimer's production company. We're on to you Erik.

A proposed ordinance is set to ban public nudity. The draft language notes an overwhelming fear that nudity, as a concept, will promote a dangerous influx of free thinkin' liberals, hippies, flatlanders, investors, college graduates and people under thirty into the area.

Houle asked Filkhorn if he could retrieve files from Ron Rodjenski's computer. LaBounty seconded this, requesting that she be allowed to insert the "crasher squirrel" into any images found on the hard drive.

Kart provided an update on the town administrator search. He reported that the six finalists would be participating in an upcoming reality-based television show involving outdoor survival, dancing, fashion sense, singing, and culinary prowess. The show, currently in production as "The Island," will be filmed on location in Richmond and is set to air mid-January. Closed captioning provided by the Jonesville Underground.


Stay shiny Richmond!

Monday, September 21, 2009

tonight's selectboard meeting

...debating on whether to pull a Joe Wilson or Kanye West during tonight's meeting...suggestions?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rodjenski blamed for potholes, tomato blight and long winters

Danny takes time to provide brief replies to his favorite comments:

Comment: "My only fear is that the Selectboard is setting a dangerous precedence by 'giving in' to someones demands."

Response: I believe the word you are looking for is precedent, as it pertains to acts in the past that may inform future circumstance. In any case, your sentiment is very insightful, and I completely agree. The selectboard is getting dangerously close to actually representing the will of the constituency…this can only spell trouble.

Comment: "Would Chief accept an average evaluation from anyone else? It is unfair to judge Mary and her decisions in her evaluation of Chief, expecially since there are only the SB and Chief privy to its contents…But seriously folks...Less accusations/rumours and more FACT finding."

Response: People please, use your flippin' spell check! Also you might want to add "innuendo and conjecture" to rumors and accusations…and then take your own advice. ☺


Comment: "…'we need to let this ride out,' in other words all a'board...train wrecks a'comin…"

Response: Toot toot!

Comment: "…but [Mary] does have excellent suggestions when it comes to inter office conflict and resolution."

Response: Indeed. She runs directly at (insert town employee name here) while shouting "blitzkrieg!"

Comment: "…As for the select board, I think they made a bad decision to remove Mary from her role. They appointed her because they trusted her and they should have stood behind her decision and behind her review…."

Response: ...calling planet Melmac…please go back to playing with the laundry lint.

Comment: "It is truely ironic how some people (mostly with either past zoning violations or other long standing bitter grievances against the town, against law enforcement, flat-landers, tree-huggers, Pruius drivers, males, anyone under 30, etc….continue to dump on Ron and blame him for all our troubles real or imagined."

Response: It's true! I watched a five-year old accidentally drop his cider donut, then clench his tiny fist at the sky and shout, "Damn you Rodjenski!"

Comment: "If this is NOT about his evaluation, then it was a rouse on his part."

Response: A dark night in a town that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life’s persistent questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye.

Comment: "…[Filkhorn] can stab fellow selectboard members Houle & Parent in the back and then kiss their ass 5 minutes later..."

Response: Stabbing…kissing…if you add in Mary's regular asides you've got Shakespeare!

Comment: "It was evident that June Heston and her hubby, along with their nephew were kired by Chief as his 'boo hoo campaign advisors'."

Response: Welcome to H282: Small Town Social Dynamics, where you will learn how stressful situations in local government inevitably leads to a lack of neighborliness.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vermont Young Professionals and further reflections

Last night I had an opportunity to connect with a group of peers who are in the initial stages of launching Vermont Young Professionals (VYP)-a networking, professional development, and community growth organization. It was a really positive experience connecting with a group of like-minded people determined to bring new perspectives to Vermont's business community. VYP is the type of organization whose presence is long overdue in the region.

While young professionals and entrepreneurs share many of the same accepted realities as our older counterparts, our perception is fundamentally different. As we begin to intuitively organize via emergent technologies, our experience with, and acceptance of conventional business models starts to diverge, creating opportunities rarely afforded to younger individuals. By virtue of new media and social networking, we are expected to process and interpret a far more complex, nuanced and expanded set of operational realities. Sometimes it feels like pretty heavy stuff, and I'm thankful that groups like VYP are emerging locally to address the issues pertinent to so many of us.

I do apologize to the folks anticipating an extended follow up to "Reflections on Friday," which has received a myriad of comments. I am working on it. It's good that people are feeling passionate, but I think it will be important to start looking at what systems (or lack thereof) created this imbalance within the town structure. We can't pin this on any one individual, nor should we. Dynamics of fear and reaction are bound to emerge, as they did recently, when something is amiss. My sense is that we have some clear procedural deficiencies that need to be addressed, first and foremost.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reflections on Friday

There is so much to sift through after Friday's meeting; I'm not entirely sure where to begin. At the very least, it was interesting to observe the dynamics, both on the board and in the audience. Expectedly, much of the discussion revolved around Mary Houle and Chief Miller, but other issues pertinent to a town in transition came to the surface. It struck me that while there is undoubtedly a systemic failure of communication and mindful discourse within the town hall, it is merely an outgrowth of a far more pervasive divide affecting the whole community, in which the divergence of the old guard and new guard is affecting Richmond's ability to self-regulate and mature.

I offer recent events, culminating with Friday's meeting, as the case and point in this divergence. As selectboard chair, Pete Parent's approach to managing the crisis met with opposition and resentment from within the community. Some residents cited his decision to "shake off" public comments through late announcements regarding schedule and location changes, as an attempt to limit free speech and public reaction. Ironically, these choices effectively isolated him from the additional perspectives required to make informed decisions. Similarly, the insertion of venerated moderator, Howard Buxton, into Friday's meeting served only to mitigate the impact of the most necessary and relevant discussions. It's not that Pete was deliberately trying to subvert, as some perceive; but his approach, informed by tradition, no longer resonates with the entire community. He was acting in the public interest and attempting to maintain cohesion and protocol. Unfortunately, the expected façade of civility has become the crutch we all lean on. Our civility has equated to silence, and that silence has allowed a dysfunctional town administration to tear itself apart.

We now have a chance to pursue the dialogue we have started, and the clean break of accountability required if we are ever to conclude. We need an open process. We need officials who are community-minded and driven to improve the local infrastructure and quality of life for everyone in town. Richmond is as diverse as it has ever been, and we require an updated means of engaging that reality on a local level. Such a faceted community cannot remain viable or content under existing conditions. Over the years, we have embraced fear of accountability and deep reticence to adapt in our changed socio-political landscape. It is time to set aside our partiality and prejudices in exchange for progress, empathy and greater solidarity.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A week in review and preview…

Chief Joe Miller "may" stay on to protect and serve for a few more years. Mary Houle has been branded a public enemy and an invasive species. Heir-no-longer-apparent, Sarah Messier has gone radio silent after her selectboard meeting outburst. The mob gets a win over the selectboard. The selectboard in turn pops a celebrex and prepares for Friday's persnickety people party at the middle school. The three Jonesville Underground members wanted by police for "awesomeness" in the pages of Seven Days offer to turn themselves in, so they too can make pink t-shirts featuring the absurdity. West Bolton and Jonesville secede from their respective oppressors and create the town of Joltonville. Huntington residents shake their heads, reinstate the embargo against Richmond, and get back to the party. See you all at the Living Arts Festival!

Shiny.

Latest news on the Chief

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20090910/NEWS02/90909033

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Richmond board rejects resignation

Most excellent news! As always, the comment section is a hoot.

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20090909/NEWS02/90908014



Thank you to all who helped circulate the petition relative to the resignation of Chief Miller. Over 400 signatures were collected and presented to the Selectboard on Tuesday night. Unfortunately a lot of people were disenfranchised by the way the meeting was scheduled, public comment canceled and then allowed. As has been announced, there is a public meeting scheduled for Friday, September 11 at 6:30 PM at Camels Hump Middle School. It is important for the public with concerns to attend this meeting and share their concerns with the Selectboard. Even though there was some positive action taken at last night's meeting, a lot more needs to be done to restore the integrity of the Town and its elected officials. We and our elected officials can and need to do better.


Fran Thomas

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

VICTORY

great meeting...great interviews...time to celebrate!

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 8, 2009 Selectboard Meeting

...pardon the technical difficulties




After consultation with several citizens of the town of Richmond I am convinced I have been mistaken in the following areas regarding Citizens concerns with our situation with Chief Miller:

My mistakes:
1. My attempt to contain public comments regarding the Chief within a one (1) hour slot during our normal September 8 Selectboard meeting.
2. Holding the meeting within the limited space at the Town Center.
3. Having a sign up sheet.
4. Limiting each speaker to two (2) minutes.

Also due to the fact that I have received petitions that the Selectboard needs an opportunity to review at our September 8 meeting, I am going to cancel the one (1) hour public comment period at our September 8 meeting.

I expect the Selectboard to take action regarding the situation with the Chief and others items of concern on September 8. I will then set up a meeting in a location with sufficient space, allow time for everyone to speak, and eliminate any sign up sheet. This meeting will be held within 10 days of our September 8 Selectboard meeting. Please allow me time to make arrangements for location and time. [Notice of the new meeting time and location will be forthcoming shortly.]

Respectfully, K. Peter Parent, Richmond Selectboard Chair

Friday, September 4, 2009

More good news...


"Rally 'Round Richmond" t-shirts @ $15

Call 802.434.7197 for details.




What a great week this has been! I've had so many important conversations with neighbors and folks around town concerning the recent developments in the Richmond Town Offices. I'm anticipating a strong turn out for the upcoming selectboard meeting on Tuesday, September 8th @ 6pm. They finally decided to move the meeting over to the library in order to accommodate the crowd. I encourage everyone to attend the meeting, but please, let's all do our best to keep the questions and comments civil…and remember to bring popcorn.

The petition is moving forward at an incredible pace, turning up at some of the most unlikely places. It's pretty outstanding to see the level of personal and professional support for Chief Joe Miller. This dude has popularity that transcends the social and political lines-like Bono, but with a gun. I hope all of this is enough to show you that we care deeply and want you to stay. No joke-if you go, I'm headed for the hills...or starting a militia...on an island...in the Winooski...

As expected, Isaac Cowan's play (on behalf of Mary) to have all the individuals mentioned in our recent Seven Days article served with trespass notices, hit the brick wall of justice. For the uninitiated, Houle and her hooligans like to pop off fresh notices whenever we get our names in the papers. I think they are just a wee bit jealous. At the LTCM, a trespass notice is your initiation right into the Jonesville Underground. When our buddy Adam found out he was on Messier's list, his response was "That's great! I've always wanted to be on a list."

Even better, it's delightful to hear that officer Messier is doing a hell of a job "not commenting" on her role in the matter by going out and speaking with the public. I'd encourage a bit of prudence, perhaps some radio silence, and maybe a better job keeping her people in line. If they are posting comments, we all know she is still talking about it. Very un-interim-chiefly of her...and speaking of which, I wonder how the forecast is on that front? Looks like the Jonesville Underground brought the rain. ;-)

Also, we received a great response to our "Freak Flag" article in the Seven Days "Letters to the Editor" column this week. It's reassuring to know the work we are doing out here is resonating with the regional community. Humble thanks S.R.; we in turn wish you nothing but good things!

Letter to the Editor:

http://www.7dvt.com/2009letters-editor-33
(It's the last one on the page, so you'll have to scroll for it.)

Original article:

http://www.7dvt.com/2009jonesvilles-long-trail-community-market-raises-its-freak-flag-8212-and-neighbors-ire

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Urgent notice pertaining to the September 8th selectboard meeting

The selectboard is requiring people interested in speaking at the September 8th meeting to sign up ahead of time at the town clerk's office. I implore everyone to get on the list as soon as possible. Friday may be your last opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Taking on Richmond's "axis of evil"

This past Friday, I had a particularly disturbing encounter with officer Sarah Messier. She approached me outside of the market with a list of names Isaac Cowan had given her to site with trespassing. Coincidentally, each name on the list appeared in the Seven Days article published two weeks ago about the market. I was immediately struck with the realization that Isaac had never met any of these individuals, so there was clearly an agenda being worked.

For context, it is important to note that Sarah Messier was the same officer who cited me with trespassing three weeks ago on behalf of selectboard member Mary Houle. The trespass notice was issued based on a fictional blogpost, in which I describe a rebel stronghold on an undisclosed island in the Winooski River. Conveniently, officer Messier issued this notice while the Chief was away.

When officer Messier told me that I needed to give her the contact information for the three individuals on her list, I was a bit floored. Could her impetus come from the Burlington Free Press article that came out earlier in the day pertaining to the Chief's announced resignation? She is after all, Houle's handpicked, heir apparent for interim chief. No conflict of interest there, right? Or could it have been the fact that as a police officer, Messier rarely comes face to face with a citizen determined to stand up for his rights and refuse to answer her politically driven orders. My response, in true LTCM fashion, was to flash a snarky grin, shake my head, and utter three little words: "not my job."

Not surprisingly, Messier let me get a good distance out before making sure she got the last word in; a huge tactical on her part, and one which outed the true nature of her visit. "Dan, you were given the opportunity to clear things up with Mary [Houle]." All the pieces quickly came together. This visit wasn't about Cowan at all, but the nature of her political alliance with Houle:

Earlier in the week, I had posted a scathing Front Porch Forum Post regarding Mary Houle's three-month blitz on the town's administration, in which she adeptly felled the town administrator and chair of the selectboard, and was now clawing for the chief of police (Messier's direct supervisor). If Cowan had actually intended to cite my three compatriots with trespass notices, he would have done so immediately when the article came out. Coming down the pipeline two weeks late was uncharacteristic given his impetuous nature, and the timing was too much of a coincidence. If you recall, Houle showed up with Cowan to intimidate me late on a Saturday night three weeks ago. This was just him returning the favor.

The link between Mary Houle and Isaac Cowan is obvious. Houle regularly acts on behalf of Cowan's interests during selectboard meetings, like voting "no" on the beer/wine license for my store and the aforementioned intimidation session outside my house (à la KKK, save for the sheets). Houle intends to use the police advisory board (of which Cowan is a member, along with another Cowan cohort) to effectively weaken the role of police chief through oversight and prime the position for Messier's arrival. Houle also used her position as police liaison to write an unfavorable performance review of the chief as retaliation for placing officer Messier on administrative leave. Clearly unqualified, but she has a bias, given her regular, public and vocal support for officer Messier.

Messier's role is this deranged triumvirate, is a bit…well…messier. She has a very public axe to grind with chief for placing her on administrative leave. Messier then follows up by attempting to cite trespass notice after trespass notice on behalf two corrupt individuals who have no legitimate or actionable response. Messier regularly uses her badge to convey Cowan and Houle's will, victimizing their political adversaries and perceived social threats through the simple, effective, and subtle art of police presence and intimidation. Messier is an officer far afield from the caliber of a chief.

Bottom line is this: Houle and Cowan are in favor of small government, lower taxes and disbanding Richmond's police force-yet together, they represent the most considerable drain on town resources, likely to inflict the administrative atrophy they seek. Together with officer Sarah Messier and a host of other fiendish followers, they have effectively calved an already fractured town. Get rid of Mary and Messier, Isaac looses his two insiders. With the three of them effectively pacified, the administration can start to rebuild trust within the community.

With that sentiment in mind, I again call for Mary Houle to resign her position on the selectboard immediately. I also believe that Messier should be again suspended, pending a full investigation. Finally, Cowan has no business being part of the police advisory committee and should step down. End of story.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rise Up Richmond!



courtesy of Shawn Patrick Rice

http://www.imakeart4u.com/

Petition

We are also circulating a petition in support of Chief Joe Miller.
Contact Dan at 802.922.1307 or email backcountrypizza@gmail.com

Rally 'Round Richmond

Rally 'Round Richmond!

September 8th @ at 6:00pm
location(s) in Richmond tbd


We invite friends, neighbors, and folks from around the region to join us in a show of community solidarity


Help us:

  • Empower residents of all ages to be active in their community
  • Let the selectboard know that we deserve honest and ethical representation
  • Show our support for Chief Joe Miller




...In the meantime, we need help bringing this together on such short notice. If you would like to sponsor or volunteer for the event, please contact Dan @ 802.922.1307 or email backcountrypizza@gmail.com

Friday, August 28, 2009

TIME TO PROTEST!

Mary Houle's continued path of destruction can be observed in the pages of today's issue of the Burlington Free Press. Staff writer Matt Ryan's benign article plays second string to the comment section:

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20090828/NEWS02/908280313/Richmond-police-chief-says-he-ll-resign

On September 8th we will show her our resolve in the form of a peaceful protest. If you believe that our town deserves ethical and honest representation, I emplore you to join us in a show of community solidarity. Details will be forthcoming.

Monday, August 24, 2009

...and the public weighs in

Today's Front Porch Forum post regarding selectboard member Mary Houle elicited a multitude of responses, unanimously in favor of her immediate resignation. Below is a letter addressed to the residents of Richmond concerning yet another resignation of a town official. This letter comes directly from Fran Thomas, former member and chair of the Richmond Selectboard:


Dear Richmond residents,

As you may have heard, Chief Miller has submitted his resignation as Chief of the Richmond Police Department effective the end of Dec of this year. The work of the Chief has been constantly undermined over the past year by Mary Houle of the Selectboard. The next Selectboard meeting has been scheduled for Sept 8 at 6:30 PM .. There is time set aside at the beginning of the meeting for public comment. Please come to this meeting to:

#1. show your support and gratitude for the many years of excellent service that the Chief has given to the Town of Richmond.

#2. To let the Selectboard know, and in particular Mary Houle and the chair Pete Parent, that the residents of Richmond are not going to tolerate any more this type of behavior from our elected officials. Such behavior has now cost us the resignation of a valuable Selectboard member in March, the Chief's resignation, is causing morale issues among our employees which may lead to more resignations and will effect the Town's ability to hire qualified professional individuals to fill vacant positions in the future.

If you can not make it to the September 8 meeting please let the members of the Selectboard know you feelings on the state of town government in Richmond by phone, email or in person. It is critical that we all act now. This current situation has gotten out of control and our Town's reputation is at stake.

Thank you in advance,

Fran Thomas

Former member and chair of the Richmond Selectboard

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Richmond select board member breaches public trust

This is a post I recently submitted to Richmond East's Front Porch Forum:

Over the years, we have all seen Mary Houle transition from an independent, fiery advocate of self-determination and small government into someone who acts primarily in the interest of her private advisory-whose members have for years, set about the ruin of our local administration and sought to leave our community in a permanent state of atrophy.

To that end, Houle and her hooligan cohort have made great headway in recent months. The ouster of Ron Rodjenski represented a major coup for her group, demonstrating that with enough politicking and public humiliation, she can dispatch a town administrator and a fellow select board member in one evening. Long after Rodjenski's departure, Houle continues to beat her chest publicly and lay blame on his feet in press interviews. Clearly, she is not one to even recognize her own victory-instead she continues to tear a path of cold retribution and vendetta across our lawns.

Two weeks ago, select board member Mary Houle arrived at my home and business at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night with a group of disgruntled citizens. When a publicly elected official is allowed to subject a private citizen to mob intimidation there is an undeniable message being delivered. It speaks not only to her inability to accept diverse perspectives, but also her refusal to communicate. While her actions affected me directly, they also impact the entire town she claims to represent.

She has not only breached the public trust, but has demonstrated her inability to represent community ideals. Richmond needs local officials who are responsible in their actions and forward thinking in their approach. I call upon Mary Houle to offer her resignation and vacate her position on the Richmond select board immediately.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Protect and Serve

I spent part of my weekend down in Northfield, grilling up Backcountry Pizza for the Bonestock crew. It was a delightful escape from the wildly humorous sight of Isaac Cowan and his selectboard vassal, Mary Houle massing on my border, engaged in some North Korean-inspired brinkmanship.

Houle's response to my previous blogpost, in which I describe a fictitious rebel stronghold located on an island in the Winooski River, was to have police cite me with a trespass notice. Yes folks, in Richmond creative writing is grounds for getting served. Apparently, the town doesn't mind tossing out the constitutional protections of their citizenry when a selectboard member's ego is wounded. So, in true LTCM fashion, we have responded by turning the trespass notice into a t-shirt…in carbon copy pink of course! We are also preparing to help Ms. Houle out with her re-election campaign, with "Hooligans for Houle" as the campaign slogan.

To show our lenient nature, we are offering Isaac Cowan a fresh start in his relations with the Long Trail Community Market Quorum. Print out the declaration below; sign and date in front of a notary public and return with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Long Trail Community Market 232 Jonesville, VT 05466 no later than the Twenty-first day of August, 2009.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Long Trail Community Market Quorum hereby offer the provisions of your surrender in this declaration.

We hereby command your forces wherever situated to cease hostilities forthwith and comply with all requirements which may be imposed by the LTCM.

We hereby command that you withdraw the trespass notice on file with the Richmond Police Department and hereby accept the longstanding right of way agreement between our two properties.

We hereby command that you liberate your taste buds and undertake in good faith the regular and copious tasting of Backcountry Pizza for the purpose of giving effect to new and glorious gastronomic experiences.

We hereby command that you establish a Facebook account and "friend" us.

Prompt compliance will allow the LTCM to take such steps as deemed proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.

Extended at THE ISLAND, VERMONT on the EIGHTEENTH day of AUGUST, 2009, for the Long Trail Community Market, and in the interests of the other community members in conflict with Isaac Cowan.

Daniel Giangreco
Supreme Leader of the Long Trail Community Market

Ché Gnombre
Militant Lawn Gnome Association Representative

"Calico" Jack Rebedeau
Jonesville Underground Representative


Signed at RICHMOND TOWN OFFICES on the __________ day of AUGUST, ______


_________________________

Isaac Cowan
By Command and in behalf of Cowan Property Management, LLC

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New selectboard policy in Richmond

Friends & Neighbors, please make note of the following changes to official town policy:

As of August 8, 2009 a Richmond selectboard member will be on-call during weekend and evening hours to handle your civil complaints. If you observe neighbors participating in social gatherings of two or more, laughter lasting longer that 5 seconds, or lights on past 8pm, report these act of impropriety to Mary Houle between the hours of 8pm and 2am. She can be reached at 802-434-2666.

Mary darlin', you set a dangerous precedent coming down to the store with Isaac Cowan late in the evening. As a board member I expect a bit more prudence and tact on your part. Do you represent the town, or are you a bought and paid for politician?

…and Isaac hun, next time you decide to disrupt my weekend, you ought to brandish something a bit scarier than a selectboard member. Your continued acts of intimidation only embolden our rapidly increasing numbers, and your tantrums are providing us with sold gold material for the blog and our upcoming show.

The LTCM response to this most recent act of aggression and invasion of privacy was to gear up with mullet wigs, super soakers, kendo swords, wiffleball bats, and a guitar and march defiantly (to Spanish guitar riffs) over to our neighbor's house to deliver a freshly baked Backcountry Pizza. When Cowan and his selectboard vassal finally departed, we let loose an ewok battle cry and told ghost stories around the campfire.

In other news, the LTCM has annexed a small island in the Winooski River, on which the new Jonesville Underground complex will be located. We have acquired a radio transmitter, ferried over a small flotilla of livestock, created an interconnected series of zip lines, and dug several tiger pits loaded with punji sticks made from dried, sharpened Japanese knotweed (just doing our part to find creative uses for invasive species). On our island we will teach retrotopian values and make twig art to sell at local markets.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

update

...I think we jumped the gun on the Seven Days interview-looks like we still have a week to wait. Sorry folks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A very good week

This year's Jonesfest was a resounding success-three days of celebration with friends and family to mark our recent victories on the road to opening. We've already started talking with folks about a greatly expanded event for next year, and in doing so; we have secured some funds via shameless corporate sponsorship. Love it!

Rachel Sherman of the Champlain Business Journal trekked out to Jonesville about a month ago to cover our little project, so it was great to see her article hit newsstands this week. We also have Ms. Sherman to thank for re-acquainting us with the Vermont youth diaspora. The issue is going to be resuscitated properly, and by the right people to assure that the discussion can sustain.

Also, grab a copy of Seven Days tomorrow...you might find a particularly illuminating read tucked in section A.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Victory Day for the LTCM

In the waning business hours of July the LTCM received some great news from the state-our well site has been approved! Henceforth, the final Friday-Sunday of July shall be declared a festival holiday, known as "Jonesfest." Activities will include, but not be limited to, bacchanalian revelry, sunrise hikes, a canoe/kayak race, live music, naked swimming and ironic corporate sponsorship.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

After weeks of rest and relaxation in the foothills of Robbins Mountain, we have returned to the valley to complete our project. Our hiatus gave us perspective and a renewed sense of purpose. Our challenger suppressed; the road is now clear. See you all soon!


Brooklyn artist, Liam McWilliams, has provided us with an early look at his new mural which will grace the side of our facility in a few short weeks. You can see more of his work at:






Monday, July 27, 2009

The LTCM does not negotiate with terrorists

I gleaned more information pertaining to the infamous gravel incident reported in the Burlington Free Press article. Cowan attempted to strong-arm a local police officer into charging me with vandalism for an errant piece of gravel that rolled near his building. Luckily, the officer present at the time of the incident acknowledged that no such vandalism occurred. Truth and justice prevail!

I had hoped to deliver an update on Wednesday afternoon regarding the successfully completed mediation with Cowan, however we received a call this morning informing us that he has backed out of the talks. This did not come as a big surprise considering the list of preconditions, demands and ultimatums he imposed before agreeing to mediation. First, he required that police resources be diverted to the talks, and that an officer be present for the mediation. He was supposedly concerned that things would get out of hand. Secondly, he made it clear that he refused to meet unless the property owner was present. It was clear to us that his intention was to engage in splitting maneuvers; a point that was driven home when he said that if his conditions were not met, he would circumvent us and halt our progress by dealing directly with the property owner. Third, he said that he would not show up if I continued to write about my experiences and provide the public with informational updates.

We agreed to respect all of his preconditions in the hope that we could come out of mediation and with a better sense of what his issues were, and why he continued to act as an aggressor towards this project. He was given the opportunity to express his opinions in a safe, healthy manner but chose instead to play games. In our opinion, he may continue to play in the sandbox all he likes-we are done humoring him.

The LTCM does not negotiate with terrorists.

Friday, July 24, 2009

End of week update

If there are questions or comments, please leave them on this page or contact me directly at 802.434.7197...keep an eye out for Part 3 in our series on the Vermont youth diaspora.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Response to the Free Pres Article

I wanted to provide a brief statement regarding the Burlington Free Press article that ran today, particularly on the issue of trespassing. Isaac Cowan and I share a mutual right-of-way that runs directly through both of our properties. It is deeded that his right-of-way is a guarantee, while mine is at his discretion. This means that under normal conditions I am allowed to use my right-of-way, but when he is feeling punitive; he takes my access away and calls it trespassing. He lied to the Free Press reporter and the Richmond Police Department in saying that " [I] was driving on his gravel road, kicking up stones against his buildings." This is a complete falsehood. He had absolutely no legitimate reason to deny me access to the back of my building, so he fabricated one.

I am glad that Mr. Cowan took the opportunity to speak with the reporter. His statements clearly illuminate his inconsistent, malevolent, and evasive manner. It's almost funny that he publicly complains and disrupts our progress for three straight months, then turns around (when a reporter's pen is in his face) and says, "his store's a great idea, and I'm sorry to hear he was thinking of not opening."

We deserve an honest answer as to why Isaac Cowan is determined to make trouble for our community. We ask that he come clean about his actions and true motivations, and that he rescind the trespass notice and honor the long standing right-of-way agreements.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Store update and meditations on community identity

We are still hoping to pursue mediation with our neighbor to gain clarity and resolution. Before we make a final decision regarding the store, it is a conversation that needs to happen. If anyone thinks they can bring him to the table, please don't hesitate to reach out. My understanding is that his complaints stem largely from the Town of Richmond's response to his expressed interest in the property some years ago. He was given a different set of responses from the town than we were. The apparent inequity in that generated his frustration. On that point I can certainly empathize, although I perceive it to be a matter of inconsistency rather than inequity. Richmond has its own interests to protect, and we cannot fault them, provided they do their work openly and honestly.

It is truly unfortunate, but it seems that our store has fallen into the political crossfire of agendas and egos. So many towns in Vermont build their community brand around agrarian roots, rural traditions and artisanal culture. What is the Richmond brand-politics and rumor? How can a genuine identity be realized if the individuals who step out and step up to promote community are ignored or subject to overreaching authority?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Please consider the following...

I understand the great deal of frustration everyone is feeling towards my neighbor right now. He and I clearly have some fundamental differences in our approach to community development, but our struggle should not have extended to anyone else. By removing myself from the situation, I had hoped to ease the tension, not incite further animosity. I sincerely hope that a public boycott against him does not take place. We may not agree or sympathize with his reactive behaviors, but that does not give any group of people the moral ground to impose hardship upon him. We have all recently witnessed the devastating effects of economic hardship in our town. It is unconscionable to think that anyone would employ such a punitive response. It would be an act of pure spite, which I simply cannot endorse.

Prior to recent events, I had reached out for support within the local business community to help mediate his disputes. I expressed my willingness to meet and help him find clarity and resolution-and perhaps some validation. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach him before he precipitated escalation. It seems rather moot at this point, but my approach has always been one of open process and amicable discussion. If my neighbor still wishes for dialogue, he may have it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A final dispatch from the LTCM

Four months ago I contacted the property owner of the defunct Jonesville Country Store in Richmond, with the hope of re-opening it as the Long Trail Community Market. It was intended as a small grocery operation, modeled in the image of the original store, but with a few updates to reflect the time. Despite the challenges, I was determined to open the store. Any obstacles seemed to melt into sweet rewards of experience or success. Recently, I spent some time with friends and co-workers who also grew up in the neighborhood. We sat on the old picnic table and reflected on how special it was that we were blessed with the opportunity to re-imagine the store of our childhood as our gift to the community.

Near a week from opening, it has become quite clear that the road before us is fretted with tumult, and it is with great personal sadness that I formally announce my decision to cease development on the Long Trail Community Market. Our neighbor, who many of you know by reputation, has made it his personal goal to see that our operation does not sustain. He has put as much of the past four months into hampering our progress, as we have in trying to realize our dream. His deliberate actions have taken a financial and emotional toll, forcing us to accept the reality that we cannot sustain under such conditions. It is impossibly hard to leave, knowing that a promise remains unfulfilled to my community of family and friends who shared my hopes and dreams for the store.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jonesville Secession

Small town propriety dictates that I remain silent on the issues I will present to you in my regular dispatch, but liberties must be exercised, the light must be shed, and a voice must be given to these experiences.

The onerous restrictions forced on small business owners and private citizens in the Jonesville community make quintessential New England tasks daunting and prohibitive. Placing a fence, raising a shed, fixing a sign on an aged and historic store are tasks that invite the unkind hand of local government.

My efforts to re-envision a failed establishment in a long neglected part of the town leads me to feel as if I am the rabbit in a carnival game. Poking my head out into the sun, I am surreptitiously, if not deliberately bopped on the head. My only recourse is to flounder about in anticipation of the next blow.

The largely conditional store opening supposes the notion that little has changed within the town dynamic-morally, ethically or economically. According to the town, we cannot change to meet the needs of our market, but accepting that viewpoint would play lead in the broadcast exercise of planned failure, and perhaps that is their hope. Accepting their chains of condition would force me headlong into competition with my friends and neighbors, whose own enterprises have flourished in the store's absence.

One might consider that in a depressed economy there would be a greater desire to improve the morale and condition of life for all residents, in all parts of Richmond-not just those congregated along the main thoroughfare, where favor is centralized. Efforts to revitalize and renew the communal spirit outside of this beloved scope are met with suspicion and untimely response. While Jonesville languishes in atrophic slumber, Richmond percolates a wicked brew designed to quell, not quench the thirst of an ailing Jonesville.

Richmond is lorded by self-efficacy and vanity, primed in the interests of privilege; show above substance, self-interest above public benefit. This is not the way to a future of prosperity and sustainability. If they are inclined to leech the bitter juice from our thorn trees rather than tap the sweet sap of our ruddy maples, let it be so.

On this day, I say that we are free from their heads of iceberg lettuce. We shall not suffer undue burden. Inequity, no more! Diversion, no more! Jonesville shall rise up from the fertile lands, duty bound and driven to explore our identity and cultivate our potential. I declare our great independence from Richmond!


Welcome to Jonesville.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vermont's youth diaspora: Part 2

In 2007 the Douglas administration's Pursue Vermont initiative had $116K to play with. To date, no one has moved back as a result of the initiative's efforts…

Young Vermonters can help fix the state's impending tax crisis and effect demographic change. As a young business owner, I firmly reject the Pursue Vermont approach to outreach. I believe we need to empower ourselves, begin a dialogue and take ownership of the issue.

As I stated briefly in Part 1, there is a great deal of hesitancy on the part of the Douglas administration to embrace the Vermont youth. The notion of bringing in a bunch of hipsters, techies, environmentalists and progressive families can't play well to his aged constituency; nor can the prospect of mobilized, technologically literate and networked college students, who have steeped for the past four years in a liberal education, remaining in the state after graduation.

No administration has the right to dictate how I should value my community or how it should value me. My experiences and those of my friends will not be reduced to keywords. My community will not be conditioned by groupthink. It is time to renew outreach efforts openly, organically, and from within the sustaining demographic.

My response to PursueVT.org will be an alternative website, which presents an honest view for prospective job seekers, college students and homeowners interested in contributing to the character of Vermont. The vision is clear if we embrace our reality, include every voice and realize the potential in deficit.

We'll bring the ideas. The mountains will do the rest.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vermont's youth diaspora: Part 1

In his attempt to belay the mass exodus of young workers and college students from leaving the state, Governor Douglas has made one thing perfectly clear: he has no idea what he is doing…and if he does, then his goals are far more nefarious than his melodic droning reveals. The Pursue Vermont initiative, which is his attempt to attract the "right" people back to the state, showcases how hilariously out of touch he is with the demographic needed to round out the state's shrinking tax base. The need to lure the state's prodigal sons and daughters back to town is not a welcome reality for Douglas, who knows that young people are generally not on board with the policies and practices of his administration. Being a man of conviction, Douglas is willing to put his own political objectives over the financial health and stability of the state.

Douglas comes across loud and clear on the initiative's website, PursueVT.org, where he adeptly communicates the message that if you are educated, conventional and white, he wants you in a bad way. The copy is littered with enough keywords to crash Google Analytics, and the videos feature aging drones and a few token entrepreneurs.

The "work" section bombards viewers with keywords and little context-"tradition, technology, high-tech, environmental, renewable energy, highly educated, hard working."
It's all well and good to use words like "environmental" and "renewable energy," but I'm pretty sure the Douglas administration isn't a huge fan of solar or wind projects. For an initiative targeting a younger workforce it certainly features a lot of old people. Either they couldn't find any young people to deliver the message, or didn't think to include a young perspective. Anyone notice the red flags starting to pop up?

The "living" section leads off with the following: "A community where you can afford to live, work, and play is important." Hmm…that is important. So, when will we have affordable housing in Vermont? The video on this page continues to feature the same geriatric creatures spouting their Stepfordian views. Bring on the yuppies! There's a lot of talk about community, cultural and social activity on the page, but the people Jim Douglas seems to be targeting for selective entry are not the only people who will contribute to our state's character or tax base. They might however, be the people who will encourage suburban sprawl, environmental degradation and bigger box stores. The highlight of the video is the nervous rambling of restauranteur Al Gobielle, in which he discusses the state's activist climate, and describes it as being aggressively not to far to the right or the left. Apparently, Vermont supports a highly engaged community of activists who are…wait for it…aggressively neutral. I wonder if it was all the aggressively neutral activism that helped legalize gay marriage. What do you think?

The "learn" page featured an image of a guy blowing glass…higher learning anyone? At least Jim has a sense of humor. Unfortunately, this page had to be the most concerning of all. The copy was centered on academic institutions, but the corresponding video lacked one essential element…a college student. Not a big surprise there. Al was back with another great insight-he likes entrepreneurship and young energy, provided it's not too energetic. Does this man live in a bubble…or maybe Shelburne? Most importantly, they kept on message: Vermont supports a small population of educated slices of American cheese. Eat it up.

"Play" was probably the least objectionable page. They got it mostly right, but lacked a visual of social interactions between young adults. There were however, several older people and a token entrepreneur assuring us that there is a social life in Vermont…just not one that extends beyond 8pm unless you happen to live in a city.


In Part 2, I'll discuss why young people need to take ownership of the issue and how to go about affecting change using truth and common sense; things the Douglas Administration seems to be in short supply of.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pursue Vermont Study Session

Before I drop my upcoming post on the Vermont youth diaspora, take a look at the PursueVT outreach program website at http://www.pursuevt.org/ ...context is key for this one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jonesville floods, Richmond celebrates by further tightening local zoning regulation

Painting is underway and we are to open soon! More importantly, yesterday brought with it some phenomenally warm rain and a corresponding river adventure with friends at the Huntington Buckets.

Last week I had a great discussion with Rachel Sherman, staff writer at the Champlain Business Journal. We talked about the store, about the Jonesville community, and about Vermont's shrinking youth population. We met this week for a walkthrough and to continue our conversation. Near the end of the visit, I took a few minutes to make introductions with Gary Svetlik, who operates a custom wood design studio next door. Few people, including many Richmond residents, are aware that Jonesville has a vibrant and expanding business community. Gary is continually flooded with new orders for custom cabinetry, tables, vanities, etc., while starting renovations for his new showroom. Peter Mumford runs the successful Perfection Motorsports & Trailer Sales operation just up the road, and we have three mechanic shops servicing small engines, motorcycles and automobiles respectively…and that's just along Rt. 2 corridor.

I'll be posting later to discuss the Vermont youth diaspora. The state wants us penned and fixed to the tax milking station, The University needs us to continue its diabolical experiment in mutating itself beyond the city's carrying capacity (a groovy sidestep from eugenics) and the towns just want to know when we plan on shutting up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gnome remains discovered in Jonesville



The LTCM archeological team has recently uncovered the remains of at least thirty-six individuals of the H. genomos horti species, commonly referred to as lawn gnomes. The bones were recently transported to the Smithsonian Institute for radiocarbon dating. Leader of the militant lawn gnomes, Che Gnombre, will be holding a press conference on the findings.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guerrilla adventures in Jonesville

It's been a great couple of days-projects, hiking, friends, and food. Last night we had a late night gathering to work on some secret projects and brainstorm on our latest guerrilla marketing adventures. We've got some really inventive stuff in the offing…brace yourselves! Our latest designs are with Tess and Torrey at New Duds. "Backcountry Pizza: Stick To Your Morels," and "Jonesville Works For You," are available for sale at fifteen bucks a pop…give us a shout at 802.434.7197. You may see a few individuals rockin' the "Jonesville Underground" tees, but we can't say much about that. ;-)

...don't forget to follow us on Twitter too!

Oi!

Good to have Mel back...confirmed that the buzzzzzzzzzzz is OUT and STRONG!









...secret projects underway!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trendy marketing makes me gag

I hate texting, don't own a television and swear by my walks in the woods, yet through this little venture I've been forced to invest heavily in Borg technology. It's bad enough I had to add a phone line at the store so telemarketers could harass me in the wee hours of the morning, but now I find myself confined by the insidious trappings of web market mechanisms. Facebook is literally one big add. From time to time it gets poked and prodded to look like the user has more control, but that's really not the case. You are either forced to suffer their sidebar adds, or worse-make them go away by providing free market research. The trouble is, you've unwittingly enhanced their ability to accurately profile you...so now, Facebook knows that I'll be going to Gathering of the Vibes even before I do. Blogging sucks equally, especially when combined with Google Analytics. It gives you way too much to think about, and it becomes a slightly narcissistic indulgence every time you see how many people read your posts. Plus, it's fun to cheat...try dropping a post on craigslist or any number of your other soul/time-sucking marketing apperatii, link it back to your blog, and boom! Your numbers go through the roof. Twitter, on the other hand, is nothing more than a voyeuristic indulgence. Don't get me wrong, I love spontaneity, but Twitter begs compulsion and immediacy, which is why they allow you to post from your cell phone via text message. For example, if I had Twitter a few days ago, I would have been furiously "tweeting" away on my phone as my delightful neighbor berated me earlier in the week...


...mark my words, by 2020 we'll be detaching usb cables from our babies instead of umbilical cords!

Watch me relax on telephone lines and drop gifts on car windows at:
http://twitter.com/IndieMarket

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jonesville works for you!



A little bit of history behind this design…In 2006 I spent two weeks in Nicaragua, just prior to the fall elections in which Daniel Ortega was re-elected president (having previously served from 1985 to 1990). I went down to oversee construction on our hotel, and to negotiate real estate tie-ins for our travel agency. One of my partners had a direct familial affiliation with President Arnoldo Alemán, one of the world’s 10 most corrupt leaders according to Transparency International.

Unlike most people who visit the area as tourists or relief workers, I stayed as a guest with some of the most influential people in the country. I had the surreal experience of spending my time with the men whose classist perspectives and racist tendencies shaped the economic and political landscape I found myself operating in. The events of that trip haunt me to this day, and prompted the immediate shift into social and community services; a self-imposed penance for my naivety as much as a desire to do good work.

The figure depicted is that of El Guerrillero sin Nombre (The Nameless Guerrilla Soldier), a monument in the capital city of Managua. It is the vessel through which I process the events of my adventure in Nicaragua. The rest of the imagery is pretty self-explanatory. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Thanks again to Shawn Patrick Rice for helping me visually articulate this process.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Get ready Richmond!

Brooklyn artist and Jonesville native, Maxwell, has escaped the hedonic, bourgeois-bohème innards of The City for a few weeks of clean air and adventure. Max will be collaborating with us on some projects, and helping out with principal photography on our series…as if the blog wasn't terrifying enough, now we've added cameras!




run.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A very good day

"Water" was theme for Friday at the LTCM project. It came first in the form of surveyors who will lift us out of the floodplain, making the process of conducting business with the town significantly easier. It removes one of the largest obstacles to our long-term viability.

The second came in the form of a watershed event; a confrontation I had to endure, the end of which has been dramatically recreated:

"The youth could not hear the man's petty howls of insult as he walked away, only the seed of desperation on his tongue. For the first time, the man had no audience-no one to placate his wild demands and no sympathetic chorus echoing up from the tired, gray buildings. On this morning, there would be neither kowtow nor surrender from the confident youth, only stoic disengagement. The message hit the man with immeasurable weight and clarity. He knew that his days of riding roughshod over the peaceable were finished."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Scratching the surface

It was yet another delightful morning in Jonesville, Vermont. The survey crew was over gathering preliminary data for the site design of our new well. One of our neighbors stopped by to wish us luck on the project.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Logo!


Many thanks to the very talented Shawn Patrick Rice. Check out his phenominal work at http://www.imakeart4u.com/

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Noble Anonymity of Zeros and Ones

Dear Anonymous:

Thanks for your comments. Your assessment that we aren't working hard and that nothing is going on at the store is spot on...perhaps you could come down and lend a hand since apparently we are in such rough shape.

Better yet, why don't you swing by so we can show you the business plan, research, tower of documents, licenses, contracts, vendor agreements, project schedules, tasks completed etc...none of which existed a few short months ago.

Don't forget, all of this was completed with one hand tied behind our backs, blindfolded in a pit of crocodiles, while contending with the constant onslaught of disgruntled neighbors, state and local agencies, and limited resource.

We are doing the absolute best we can under extraordinarily challenging circumstances, and are all very, very proud of what we have achieved in such little time.

Defiantly and Undeterredly Yours,

The Long Trail Community Market





...and yes...I do enjoy adding "ly" the the end of adjectives.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Open Source Kitchen

For the past few years I have been absolutely fascinated with open source technology-which allows for public collaboration on a variety of design, development and distribution aspects related to the access of software source code. The concept of socially applying this process has been of particular interest, and to test viability in our market, we will be starting with the kitchen. This means that all proprietary notions will be ceremoniously chucked out the window. Every recipe we produce will be made publicly available, and yes, this includes our famous Backcountry Pizza.

So at this point I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves "Why would they do this? Are they simply a bunch of idealistic nutters who haven't a clue?" The answer has got to be an unequivocal yes, however that stands far apart from the logic in switching to an open source culinary practice. In reality, there will always be someone to buy our food, plain and simple. The majority of people coming through our doors just don't have the time. However, the honorable souls who still cook their own meals deserve our respect. The least we can do is give them new recipes for healthy, cost effective meals they can enjoy year-round.

To help bring the loop full circle, we introduce the concept of reciprocity. Our hope is that when someone takes a recipe home to try out, they will share the outcomes with us. If they find a new ingredient that really makes the dish, or discover that it cooks better at 475F rather than 450F, we want to know about it. Undoubtedly, things will be creatively chaotic at first, but when we have enough content, we can establish a wiki to streamline the process, and expand the circle beyond our geographical region.