Richmond Matters, a new local blog

I've created RichmondMatters.com, a new site dedicated to commentary about life in Richmond, Indiana.

As I've occasionally done here in the past, I'll be sharing my thoughts about Richmond news, politics, leadership, community life and more. It's a simple site. The name is kind of boring. I've no ambition for it beyond having a place to write with a more narrow focus on a topic that's important to me.

Sometimes I'll cross-post those essays here or tweet out links to them, but usually I won't. I'll continue to post here about all the other random stuff I enjoy writing about, but the posts about local stuff will go in this new site.

So, if you'd like to follow along with my posts about Richmond, I hope you'll use the email or RSS subscription options on Richmond Matters. I'd enjoy having your feedback and comments along the way.

47374.info: scanning for local news so you don't have to

As a fun project a few weekends ago, I created the website 47374.info.  It automatically pulls together news and headlines from a variety of different news sources in the Richmond/Wayne County Indiana area.

The site has a simple display of those headlines that's automatically updated as they're made available throughout the day, and you can click on them to go read the original content on the source site - that's about it. There's a mobile-friendly version at http://m.47374.info/ and you can also easily see some recent local tweets from Twitter.  The site's still officially in beta but I've gotten some great feedback from test users so far.

I created 47374.info because I was tired of looking in a lot of different places to see what's making news in my community, or wondering if I'd missed something that was only announced on the very transient Twitter.  Some news sources have lots of content but make getting to it hard or leave certain key things out.  Other sources have a few juicy nuggets of relevant content once in a while but don't make updates available via RSS feeds, so you never quite know how often to check back.

So with the magic of WordPress plus some custom Perl scripts, I've restored some sanity to my news-reading time.  For the first time in a long time, I've set a website (instead of a blank page) as the default "Home" page that opens when I launch my browser.  Over the last few weeks, it's meant I'm more aware of community news, and I spend less time per day getting there.

Thanks to all of the local news/headline/event publishers that work to keep our community informed!

If you try out 47374.info and have feedback, drop me a line.

Blog salad

P8200016Most of my blog posts are a main course dish with one primary taste.  This one is more of a salad with a bunch of different tastes thrown together.

I did eat a salad for lunch today (nice transition) - radish, green onion, and goat cheese on spring mix greens, with poppy seed dressing.  Everything but the dressing was grown/made at Abundant Acres Farm, the provider of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share that I bought this season.  Friends Kent and Dori have again done a great job making fresh, local, chemical-free food available, and I'm grateful for it.  I don't have a garden on my own land right now, but having a bag of garden-fresh stuff delivered to me every week is hard to beat.  There's still quite a gap between my ideals about where my food comes from and my actual diet.

Continue reading Blog salad

The beginning of the Wayne County Time Bank

Last fall while I was at a conference on our planet's energy crisis and how local communities can be more self-sustaining, I had a conversation with a gentleman from the TimeBanks USA organization. Time Banking is a revolutionary (I think) concept in community building that helps us value the unique skills and experiences that each person has to bring, and helps bridge the gaps in our society created by economic and social disparity. Put simply, it's a system of "give support, get support" that doesn't depend on conventional notions of wealth. I made a note at the end of that conversation that some day I would help bring a Time Bank to Richmond.

As a part of my participation in this year's Institute for Creative Leadership workshop, a group of Wayne County citizens are now creating the Wayne County Time Bank, and I'm so excited about it. If you're interested in learning more about this new tool for social change, I hope you'll come to our next information session on May 16th at 5:30 PM, at the Uptown Innovation Center. And whether or not you can attend, check out WayneCountyTimeBank.org to sign up for our mailing list; we'll let you know when the project is ready for public participation!