Mission: The mission of this web page is to inform the people of Danville, New Hampshire. We live in a community that is too small to have a newspaper or tv channel and too big to rely on word of mouth. Events happen that should make us smile, groan, or rebel — and we don’t hear about them. My objective is to make the people of Danville smile, groan, and rebel.
Background: My name is Len Mullen. I live at 39 Justin Drive. I’ve lived at that address since 1990. I like my house. I like my neighbors. I like the people I’ve met as my kids have progressed through the school system, little league, and scouting. For the most part, Danville has been a very pleasant place to raise a family.
Around 2000, I tried to use the government. It was hard. The government was, and is, a word of mouth operation. I wanted to put a pool in my yard and was concerned about set backs, zoning, and electrical code. I wanted to put a wood burning stove in my basement and wondered if I could share one of the flues in my chimney. At a little league game, I heard I could have campfires in my yard if I got the right permit from the right person. Fireworks are legal in New Hampshire. Can we use them in Danville? Do I need a permit? Are there rules? Slowly I learned who I needed to talk to to find out how to do these things properly. I wondered why a taxpayer had to ‘know the right person’ to use the services of the town.
Then I stumbled upon the town’s official web site — http://www.townofdanville.org.I found it attractive, but not very helpful. For the next year or so, I checked this web site each time I had a question. When I did not find my answer, I emailed the webmaster, “I was looking for something on your site and could not find it. I think the answer to this question might be a good thing for you to include on your web site.”
This never resulted in improvement, but, eventually, I got a response from the webmaster, “If you are so unhappy with the web site, why don’t you help us make it better.” This was a reasonable request and, after much fanfare, I was appointed to the website committee.
I learned a lot about the town of Danville as a member of the committee. We met regularly to discuss the web site — and the town and the government and other committees. I was surprised to learn that the reason that the web site was so sparse was that the members of the various committees were reluctant to provide information. We spent more time scheming to get information from the government than working on the web site. Along the way, we posted volumes of minutes and agendas. Any attempt to post information that would be useful to residents was squashed. The BOS was against it, the performing organization was against it, there was risk…very frustrating. Eventually, the frustration gave birth to a second web site — http://www.speakoutdanville.org. This web site was to be privately funded and free to serve the people. Web pages, blogs, and forums would improve the dialog and engage the public.
Noble beginnings. The web page never got off the ground. The blogs became political soap boxes. The forums thrived, but were quickly annexed by the government and used as a platform to promote various warrants. Instead of serving the people, this site became a platform for politicians who had not yet been elected.
So our small town had two web sites — one was a monument to government and the other was a platform for those who aspired to elective office. I still could not download a permit to build a deck or the rules for installing a filter for my pool.
In 2007, I retired from the website committee and the other web site. I decided to fund and build the web site I wished the town had. Here it is.
DanvilleDelivery.wordpress.com: What’s in a name? Aside from the alliterative appeal, Danville Delivery is what the school calls a folder that comes home with the kids each week. It’s a great idea — papers and communications to help parents keep up with school and community happenings. Check your child’s folder each week to stay on top of what’s going on at the school. Got a question? Put it in the folder.
This DanvilleDelivery will work just like that — only better. Each day, I’ll collect the information you need and send it home via this web page. If you need some information or have something to share, use the comments and contact links to send it to me.
What about the .wordpress.com? When I started the blog, my goal was to help people understand their government. I think the best way to understand something is to watch it…a lot. So I subscribed to Comcast, built a DVR, and programmed it to record all town and school meetings. Each night I reviewed, edited, and posted the meetings. This took a lot of time and space. Eventually, the school district began posting their meetings on VIMEO. At the same time, the town of Danville lost interest in broadcasting their meetings to the point that my nightly reviews were predominantly of screen savers and the windows desktop. When there was a meeting, it started in the middle or stopped in the middle. The cable committee rebuffed offers of assistance from all corners. Frankly, the only way to ensure transparency in this town is to show up for each meeting with a video camera and a lot of tapes and batteries. I decided that the value of what I was posting did not justify my personal cost and effort. So, I am referencing TRSD’s VIMEO archive and voting against all initiatives of Danville’s Secret Society. You shoud do the same.
If someone wants to take up this battle, I will donate a computer with a capture card completely configured to capture the meetings. I will also provide editing assistance and help with posting to VIMEO. This is the same offer I made to the cable committee.
What to Expect: Expect change. Right now, I’m creating a page for me. As time goes on, it will evolve into a page for us. The site launched as a web page. I liked it a lot, but it was a lot of work to manage. Phase II was a WordPress blog. Phase III is a free wordpress blog.
You Can Help: Send me links, letters, photos, menus, and videos. Let me know if you find mistakes. Submit ideas and critiques. I have space for 300 hours of high quality video on this web site. If you video tape a concert, a baseball game, or a meeting, I’ll try to get it up on the web site. If you have cable, and can capture the meetings and/or bulletin board for me on video tape, dvd, or vcd, that would be great.
39 Justin Drive
Danville, NH 03819