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Author Topic: Launching Winchester, NH newspaper to connect my neighborhood during pandemic  (Read 6212 times)

RidleyReport

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This "poor man's newspaper" started appearing on stop signs in my Winchester neighborhood March 15.  Going forward, all copies of the ASN should appear on this thread and in order.  To locate it again in the future you can just go to RidleyReport.com and click on any recent video; I'm linking to this URL in every vid now, at least for a while.
 
-----

The Ashuelot St. Times
Episode I ! March 15, 2020. Because of the current crisis...and in the interest of boosting our ability to communicate within the immediate area, there will be an attempt to publish this ultra-local "newspaper" on a regular basis for as long as it's practical and needed. It won't be possible to hand deliver each time; for now the plan is to have it posted it at the following locations:
  South stop sign @ Hwy 119 and Ashuelot St, Winchester NH,
  RidleyReport.com (my YouTube channel)
Please post announcements of your own at these spots if you wish! 
This "paper" and its internet version will focus at first on roughly the following region:
  The area near Hwy 119 and Ashuelot St, i.e. within about 1/3 mile of that intersection
Historically, people are said to weather big disasters best...in relatively small groups but not alone.  In one sense we already have a group, the folks in our immediate neighborhood.  Next it's a question of whether we can team up enough to rely on each other...especially for trade and security. In the interest of of jump-starting commerce here, there will be a tentative
"trading post" at the following location(s):
  Ashuelot St. just south of Hwy 119
It will initially try be open during the following hours:
  5p-6p Monday-Friday, starting March 17.  The idea is to just get something initiated, then you improve on the thing or set up something better.  It won't be very impressive at first but as the travel restrictions grow tighter...it could briefly become all we have.   In Wuhan where the disease started, authorities reportedly made it illegal to drive and problematic to even leave one's house.

There will probably be infuriating difficulties ahead; we can't prevent that. Everyone in the area will make mistakes, perhaps many...perhaps severe. Presumably the disaster will wildly skew prices or availability of the things we need most.  But this crisis is to blame, not you, not our families, not the random people around each us.  Each is (at least theoretically) a potential helper or trading partner. If there were ever a good time to set aside local rivalries, here it is. Let's be better than this mess.  Let's start with trade and communication.  And when it is over, let us each be proud of how we handled it.  What you can do to help/be helped:  Copy/spread this publication as you think best, and...
Contact me if *you* need help or just want to swap ideas.    (Phone number and email redacted from internet copy).

Dave Ridley
"Editor-in-Chief" :)

« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 12:02:20 pm by RidleyReport »
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FTL_Ian

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    • Free Keene - NH's Liberty Activism Destination

Interesting.  To how many homes is this being delivered?
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RidleyReport

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probably the total will be about 15; I haven't walked the whole route yet and I won't have much to sell at the trading post...but super-local trade is probably the key and someone has to start it.

Below is the first pandemic video for our neighborhood, just a placeholder but I've invited neighbors to comment there. It may be a good place for them to post requests for help etc. since they probably already have google accounts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPZ32kIhqKM

« Last Edit: March 15, 2020, 01:59:52 am by RidleyReport »
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RidleyReport

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ki9JumVy8&t=1s
Beginning video coverage.   Meanwhile here are some links to other Winchester communication hubs.  I just applied to join most of them.  Local may become a thing if the travel restrictions escalate they way they're hinting at.

https://www.facebook.com/WinchesterNHPublicTV/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/590696757634945/
https://www.facebook.com/WGYBWinchesterNH/
https://www.facebook.com/Winchesterspeedpark/
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 09:28:59 pm by RidleyReport »
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RidleyReport

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NH: Sore throat limits options for makeshift trading post at Winchester
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATBabtedgCA

We've replaced it with an unmanned, not-very-well-stocked resupply station which has opened every day on schedule.  For now we're mostly just giving away sterilized unopened items free.  but we can do better, offer more items and be more sustainable once real trade kicks off.   For now neighbors are taking items as planned and seem to be doing it in a much-appreciated responsible way.

Meanwhile I"m keeping my distance from my own resupply station for fear of spreading *anything* at a time when doctors are running low.   
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 12:47:58 pm by RidleyReport »
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RidleyReport

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Posted to the stop signs at Ashuelot and 119 in Winchester:

-----

The Ashuelot
St. Times
Episode II - March 22, 2020

Resupply station understocked but operating on schedule
 - Sore throat turns planned trading post into unmanned "free stuff" table
In place of the planned trading spot just south of Hwy 119 and Ashuelot St...we've just been placing a table with free items on it, disinfected as best we can.   Same bat time, same bat channel:  5p-6p M-F.   Since I have a sore throat I'm reluctant to actually *man* or even touch the table for fear of spreading *anything* at a time when doctors are in short supply.  Someone else is placing the items for me; later when appropriate I plan to turn this into the originally-planned trading post and if we can it would be nice to graduate to "flea market."   If we can buy and sell, we can offer more items and be more sustainable.  A better solution would be if you can set up some friendly competition *now,* perhaps starting your own trading post which we can support with our own business.   So far neighbors have been using the freebie table to resupply in a not-greedy manner.   Sorry it's all so makeshift at this point.

Neighborhood e-mail list - There is now an e-mail list for everyone in the neighborhood who wants to be on it and lets us know that.  Currently the list is four people. Contact me (below) if you'd like to be added. 

Makeshift NewsStand - If you walk past the stop signs at Hwy 119 and Ashuelot St. you should see posted copies of this newsletter, and they should continue to appear with neighborhood news as we learn it.   Some copies may appear in other areas, but as of March 16 I've ceased hand delivery to reduce the small risk of spreading anything.  Even a cold would be bad to have while supplies and doctors are in limited supply.  Please inform us of anything you'd like us to post....any break-ins, hazards...any nearby flea markets or trading solutions we can support.

Feedback requested. What are we doing right?  Wrong?  What can we do better? 

(Contact info added to paper version but redacted from online version)

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The Ashuelot St. Times Episode III Online edition - April 5, 2020

NextDoor.com Winchester page active - NDC is a site that aims to connect neighbors. In 2019 there was a Winchester page with limited activity by Winchester residents. Activity has picked up there because of the crisis. You may find it a useful place to e-connect with other folks in the area.

Open air meetings - Grace Christian Fellowship church, just north of Ashuelot and Hwy 119... apparently held an outdoor prayer service downtown on Sunday, March 22 at 4pm and again a week later.  They've been inviting people to join them.  On NextDoor.com as of March 27, they were reporting that they plan to continue this meeting each week, following social distance protocol.  They've also posted a sign warning criminals that church members are appropriately armed.  So are we.

Trading Post on hold - Because of the recurrence of a sore throat, I've temporarily suspended activities at the trading post just south of 119 and Ashuelot.  I had already downgraded it into a "free stuff" spot so as to avoid face to face interactions while possibly contagious, but placing and sterilizing the items every day was too much work at a time when conserving energy and getting back to normal may do more good.  Folks in the neighborhood have made use of the items on at least 4 occasions and one has donated to it.  All of you are still welcome to trade with me at distance, and I can still donate some items. You are also welcome to make donations of your own.  But to be sustainable and big enough to be really useful, we need trade. Just send me an email or a phone call to do either.  Vermont just banned purchases of clothing in stores; the postal service and Amazon are in various forms of difficulty, so it is conceivable we could later see ourselves restricted to local small-group or individual trade for a while.  If I hadn't had a cold, the trading post would be in full swing by now; sorry for the delay.

Teddy Bear Hunt - On the upside,  over 100 people have joined "Winchester NH Teddy Bear Hunt," a group on Facebook, organized apparently by Winchester moms.  This message appeared there:  "Here is a really fun idea to make4 some fun for the children in our community. If everyone reading this could put a Teddy Bear in a window of your house the parents could take their kids out for a walk, or ride to search for them and post pictures of them here."   

(Photo in print edition)
A teddy bear ready for bear... reportedly spotted on Howard Street. Photo from Winchester NH Teddy Bear Hunt group on Facebook.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 11:50:18 am by RidleyReport »
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RidleyReport

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The Ashuelot St. Times Episode IV  April 17, 2020
Sign of the Times - This warning apparently showed up in March at the entrance to Grace Christian Church, just north of Hwy 119 here on Ashuelot St. 
Semi-secret arrest?   On March 20, the following message appeared on the Winchester P.D. Facebook page:   "On March 18, 2020 at 19:35 hours, members of the WPD were dispatched to a residence in Winchester for a reported domestic.  Through investigation an arrest was made and the individual was transported to the WPD for processing. The arrestee requested the services of a bail commissioner and was released on standard bail conditions pending arraignment on May 6, 2020 in Keene District Court.  The name of the arrestee is not being disclosed in order to protect the identity of the reported victim."
Town health officer keeps head - recommends getting outdoors. While some parts of the U.S. are ordering people to wear masks every second they are outside their home, and my in-laws are reportedly facing curfews and fines for just walking down a sidewalk in Serbia, Winchester looks fairly normal. Right down to the traffic flow and construction.   In keeping with this spirit, the town's health officer has posted a message encouraging us to get out for fresh air, exercise and sunshine.  Also spotted in the same post:  "The food pantry at the Catholic Church on Richmond Road is open Tuesday’s 6:30-7:30....Sweetwater Farm & Distillery has made hand sanitizer for our needs. They are open to the public for sales of the sanitizer starting 4/4/20."  But the post includes this less encouraging note: "The Selectmen are now meeting on Wednesday’s at 5pm without public comment.  Most other boards and committees won’t be meeting till sometime in May."  All bolds above are mine.
Police Lobby Closed - Also according to Winchester PD's Facebook Page:  "Due to current health precautions, the administrative lobby at the Winchester Police Department is temporarily CLOSED...For administrative needs, please call the Department at (603) 239-4814 and follow the prompts."
Stone Soup Trading Post returns - Just south of Hwy 119 on Ashuelot St. you'll find the makeshift donation station back in operation on the previous schedule M-F, 5p-6p.  I had put it on hold while experiencing a sore throat and partially self-quarantining.  This time we're taking a step closer to the goal of an almost-daily yard sale.... people have spontaneously begun leaving donations there, and I should have probably made clear that they are in fact be welcome.  I'm putting up a sign that reads "Donations appreciated, leave 'em here anytime." Nearly any non-dangerous, non-massive item could be of use later as we hopefully open up for buying/selling.  Those of you who have already done this on your own are much thanked.  As incoming donations hopefully start to catch up with outgoing ones, we'll get closer to sustainability.  You'd be amused to know what inspired this trading post: computer simulations, specifically two zombie games.  We set up something similar in those. Now it seems to be working here.  Folks have taken items on about 7 occasions and left items on 2 occasions; no one has ever cleared out all the items offered or taken something they shouldn't. That sanguine spirit will get tested as we move deeper into what could easily degenerate into a Second Great Depression.  At any rate, I'll need to wait until I'm a week past symptoms before manning the spot in person as a real trading post, something that is necessary in order to have a lot of items out. Please bear with as the experiment morphs.  Meanwhile...Kulick's, Rite-Aid and most of the business at the Winchester strip mall appear to be operating almost normally, with some minor changes to hours of operation. 
Carriage spotted near Draft Gratitude:  In a time warp which hopefully will turn out to be backward-looking only, two glorious beasts have appeared on Hwy 119 near the horse charity on Ashuelot Street.   Behind them, they drew a wheeled cart straight out of Little House on the Prairie.  I got video, but when printed the images look like a blur through the trees.   You never know what you'll see at that intersection... in 2019 a powered paraglider flew over it at a height of only about 100 feet.
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RidleyReport

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The Ashuelot St. Times Episode V / May 31, 2020

 

Ashuelot St. parade sparks intense emotions.    Krista Parker (above) reacts to a birthday caravan, honoring her daughter Emma regardless of the uncertain times.   t 4:30pm on May 13, sirens wailed and excitement decended on the usually quiet Ashuelot St. in remote Winchester, New Hampshire.  But it wasn't an emergency...the town's fire department and EMS services were lending their voices to a roughly 10-car parade.  After months of battling for her life due to medical conditions, Krista's daughter Emma reached her first birthday.   "She had a really rough start; she was two and a half months early, and it was just a miricle that she survived," says Parker, "We couldn't have a birthday party because of the pandemic," adding:  "thank you!"
Societal unrest and Winchester - As tensions rose in Manchester and the Minnesotta National Guard was "fully mobilized" in reaction to rioting...there is a curiously soothing sound on Ashuelot Street:  The peaceable, evenly spaced cracks of target shooting.  Just like every week here.  Between our neighborhood marksmen, the Pistol' Packin Parishioners at Grace Christian Fellowship and the Open Carry Dandelion Farmer (me)...we do live in one of the quiest and best-prepared places around America in that context.   May we never need to use our tools.
Newly discovered Winchester info sources:   Have you heard of the Ashuelot General Store?  How about the Winchester Star?   Both are Facebook groups for our spot in the 'verse.  Check them out if you need to team up with your neighbors for trade or info!
Stone Soup Trading Post to resume:   Earlier this month I determined that the crisis had not intensified enough to justify manning the post in person and expanding it to full blown buying/selling with lots of goodies.  Then our "free stuff" activity went on hold after we ran low on makeshif tables and not-so-low on heavy wind/ rain.  I've gotten busy and behind on neighborhood things but expect to resume the freebie table shortly... especially now that the political situation is deteriorating in addition to the economic.   Right now, few donations have been received.   We can make use of all kinds of things if they are not too big, so drop 'em by the table if you can.  You'll inspire us to do more. Right now we're low on surplus cloth and watertight containers. 
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