Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ripton local located in Syria

Tik Root was missing for several days this week. Friends and Ripton family couldn't find him in Syria, while politcal protests in that nation surged into social unrest.

He's been located today, "in the hands of the Syrian authorities, who are currently responsible for him", according to the Facebook page created in his honor.
Please follow that Facebook page, and send your support to the Roots!

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Fairpoint broadband pricing: some research

Some Ripton residents recently received a mailing advertising Fairpoint’s new internet service plans.

What do these new plans offer, and how much do they cost? One Ripton resident did some research via phone, email, Web, and print. This took some time and effort, since there wasn't a single Web page or printed document with the information.

Here’s what was learned about the real costs.

The short version: Fairpoint’s low-cost pricing ( $16/month first year discount good through April 30th) is a lure, a short-term deal to lock us into more expensive plans.

This plays out through different packages:

  • The “Double Play Bundle” - phone & internet, no voicemail ("Fairpoint Exchange Select package"), For a 1-year contract, the costs are: $60.99 plus taxes/surcharges (ave. $10) = $70.99/month. If you maintain that service for a second year, the cost rises again, to $76.99 + taxes/surcharges, or $86.99/month.
  • "Double Play” plus voicemail? Monthly charges go up to $65.99 plus taxes/surcharges (taxes average $10), or $75.99, for that first year. Second year: $81.99 + taxes/surcharges (ave. $10) = $91.99 per month.
  • The cheapest plan simply adds internet to your existing phone plan. The internet fee is $19.99 per month, plus whatever your phone bill is. That’s for the first year. After that, the internet fee goes up to $35.99, plus your phone bill.
  • Internet only, without any phone service? No annual contracts, just month to month billing, at $40.99.
  • A "TriplePlay Bundle": "TriplePlay Bundle" : without voicemail: $77.99 per month (plus taxes and surcharges) for the first 12 months, then $124.99/month (plus taxes and surchrges). If you want voicemail, the price increases by $5/month to $82.99 and $129.99 respectively.

These prices might not apply next year, as there is no guarantee the price won't go up after the first 12 months.

There are three additional charges which can apply across all of these plans. For example,

  • Inside wire guard: add $3.99/month
  • Wireless router: $59.99 (or you can buy your own)
  • Early termination of contract: $79

Moreover, if you switch to one of these plans, the billing cycle changes. Instead of being billed for the previous month, you're billed for the next month, so the first bill will be especially high.

Any thoughts? more information?
(some edits for clarity)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Snowstorm in March

A huge snowfall hit our town! An unusually high amount of white stuff for this time of year.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A new local education initiative has launched, and seeks your input. The ACSU Study Committee is looking into the possibility of setting up a regional education district (RED) , and hopes to develop community discussions around that topic over the upcoming year.

The RED project has representatives from the following towns:
  • Bridport 1
  • Cornwall 1
  • Middlebury 5
  • Ripton 1
  • Salisbury 1
  • Shoreham 1
  • Weybridge 1
The Study Group's Website publishes a good amount of information, along with a discussion forum.

(thanks to Amy McGlashan)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rural post offices under threat

The United States Postal Service is considering closing hundreds of small, rural post offices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Beginning in March, the agency will start the process of closing as many as
2,000 post offices, on top of the 491 it said it would close starting at the end
of last year...

Ripton's office is not under threat at the moment, according to its post mistress at last night's Town Meeting. It doesn't lose lots of money, not present safety issues. But it's probably a good idea to keep buying stamps there, and using the 05766 zip code when ordering stuff online.

Because our post office is a precious thing. Another WSJ article notes the story of a small mountain town's PO closing.

New site for Vermont agriculture discussion

A new Web site about Vermont agriculture was launched this week. What Ceres Might Say is a blog about "particular information on the history of agriculture in Vermont".

It's written by Roger Allbee, former state ag secretary.