Come out to join us – it’s not too late for this year yet!
The sun has risen on day number three of Forkfest 2019 at Roger’s Campground as we appear to be on track to top last year’s event. One key indicator – besides new faces showing up this year in the early two days – is the number of food vendors here this year. Day one was pretty slow as always, but by the evening of day two, there were at least four campsites offering food for sale including Matt Roach & Vincent at RV 82 who set up and were operational before anyone else, offering biscuits and gravy in the morning then other delicious hot food later in the day including a chicken chili and cornbread combo. By day’s end, “Taco Munch” had opened up in the tenting area, I heard Silver Dave was serving up food near the dome, and Bardo Farm sausages were being offered by Shawn the soda guy in the RV zone.
If you don’t already know, Forkfest is the yearly camping party in the woods that began in 2017 at Rogers Campground in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. This year, Forkfest happens the five days prior to the Porcupine Freedom Festival and you’re invited to come and create whatever experience you’d like others to have. No one is in charge and the event is decentralized. (In fact, some people have different names for the event, including Somaliafest, Shirefest, and Banned Camp) It’s up-to-you what happens at Forkfest.
For the third year in a row, local cryptocurrency users in the Crypto Mecca of Keene, NH gathered at local crypto-accepting pizza joint, “Little Zoe’s” to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day. The annual celebration, set on May 22nd, commemorates what is regarded as the first real-life cryptocurrency purchase in 2010, when Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC). This year, the holiday was covered by 60 Minutes.
In Keene, a bunch of people gathered from as far as Amherst, MA and Brattleboro, VT to celebrate with delicious pies from Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene, NH where for years owners Ed and Melanie Forster have offered take-and-bake pies of excellent quality. This year, Little Zoe’s acquired an oven for their store and are now offering their pizzas hot, with outdoor seating as the seasons allow.
Crypto users gathered at Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene for Bitcoin Pizza Day 2019.
Today was a perfect day with warm weather and plenty of sunlight for the various crypto fans, old and new, who gathered together in celebration of a form of money that eliminates governments and banks from the picture and delivers a useful, secure form of international money that does what it promises. Cryptocurrency allows value to be sent securely and near-instantaneously, across the globe or right next door, for next to zero fees.
In addition to being useful for sending value globally, cryptocurrency is also attractive to local mom & pop business owners. That’s because with cryptocurrencies, the customer pays the very small fee to send their crypto to the business. This is the reverse of a credit card transaction where the business pays a typically 3% fee, out of their profits for each transaction. In contrast, that means that when accepting cryptocurrency, the business keeps 100% of the sale.
Do you take the road less traveled?
Unfortunately, due to a disagreement among Bitcoin programmers, a “hard fork” or schism happened in August of 2017 that resulted in there becoming two competing “bitcoin” – Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH). By that point in time, there were already thousands of would-be competitors to Bitcoin, like DASH, Monero, and others. Because Bitcoin (BTC)’s programmers failed to fix the problems with BTC’s escalating network transaction fees, the competitors were able to successfully offer drastically lower cost alternatives, right on time, when the market most needed alternatives.
Enter Anypay.global, a Point-Of-Sale crypto payments processor that also launched in August 2017 and is based in nearby Portsmouth, NH and co-founded by longtime Keene activist and Free Keene blogger, Derrick J Freeman. Anypay wisely launched offering two options for local businesses to easily accept cryptocurrency at the point-of-sale: Bitcoin (BTC) and DASH. Local businesses who were already accepting BTC were eager to adopt DASH as a lower-fee alternative, because it was the right option for their customers, as DASH’s sending fees are usually less than $0.01 worth of DASH, whereas today’s Bitcoin (BTC) fees can be as high as over $2.00 worth of BTC.
Since then, even more local businesses have begun accepting cryptocurrency including DASH aka “Digital Cash”, BTC, and the newer competitor to BTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Most local businesses accept all three, thanks to the Anypay app, which has expanded to allow business owners to accept multiple cryptos including even Ripple (XRP), Dogecoin (DOGE), Horizen (ZEN), Smartcash (SMART), and a privacy coin called ZCash (ZEC).
Thanks to Anypay, people paying in DASH or Bitcoin Cash at local merchants like Little Zoe’s are able to receive 10% back into their wallet, near-instantaneously. Last year, Anypay launched a promotional feature called “DASH-Back“, which provided DASH-paying customers with a 10% instant rebate along with a DASH-bonus to the business owner. As Anypay’s public charts reveal, the program continues to pay out, with over 52 DASH given out over the course of the program. That’s over $7,900 worth of DASH at today’s DASH price, approx $152.
Recently, Anypay quietly activated “Bitcoin Cash-Back” or “BCH-Back”, which also offers a 10% instant rebate to any customer paying with BCH. From observing customers at recent meetups happening every six days in the Keene area, it appears that DASH and BCH are the clear kings of retail crypto use here in the Crypto Mecca. I discussed the situation here in greater detail on the recent episode of Dash Force News, where I compared the local crypto scene here in the Shire to the scene in Tokyo, another world-capital for crypto-acceptance-and-use:
Hardcore civil disobedient activists who came out in the rain for 4/20/2019! -Photo courtesy Shire Free Media
For years, I’ve been reporting on the brutally slow political progress in New Hampshire, of ending the prohibition on possession, growing, and selling of cannabis, one of the most amazing and useful plants on the planet. Though New Hampshire finally legalized medical cannabis in 2013 it took a few years for the first dispensary to open due to bureaucratic foot-dragging – as patients died waiting.
Given sales of and growing cannabis are still criminal offenses and people can still be ticketed for possession, the annual 420 rallies on the steps of the state house in Concord continued into its ninth year last weekend. At least sixty hardcore activists came out from across the state on April 20th to gather on what started as a rainy afternoon but ultimately cleared up in time for the mass civil disobedience at 4:20pm.
Rich Paul gave his tradition invocation and spoke on why government regulation of the cannabis business was unnecessary and Rick Naya led the crowd in a moment to remember the activists who have died or been incarcerated along the road to where we are today. Thank you to everyone who came out this year despite the weather. Mark your calendars for April 20th of 2020 and join us in Concord next year! Here’s the video I took from this year’s event:
As a business owner, few things are worse than having the attention of the people calling themselves “government”. Dorrie Masten, a local entrepreneur and property owner, knows this as well as anyone. As the owner of multiple properties and businesses including Keene Apartments and Pedraza’s Mexican Restaurant, Masten is no stranger to Keene’s ridiculous regulations. Unlike most business owners, she isn’t afraid to speak out publicly about how the Keene government gang has made her, her employees, and her customers’ lives more difficult.
For newer readers unfamiliar with the history of the parking kiosks, the city gang installed a couple as a test in 2012 and then appeared to listened to the negative feedback from frustrated motorists and actually removed the kiosks they’d installed! Then-police chief Ken Meola explained to the city council at the time that despite paying former Keene police officer Fred Parsells to stand at a kiosk for eight hours a day to help people learn how to use it, the chief had found the following:
– Numerous mechanical difficulties have arisen with the machines and they continue to present.
– The public is finding the technology difficult to operate.
– The technology is not conducive to customers of the downtown businesses.
– Downtown merchants have reported constant complaints about the new kiosks and have reported down-turns in business as a result.
Although a 90 day trial period was requested, it appears that the trial period already undertaken is sufficient to indicate this technology will not work at this time within the City of Keene and that it will not produce the benefits originally believed.
Consequently, we will be suspending the trial period, removing the pay-by-space machines, and re-installing the coin operated parking meters.
After pulling them in 2012, five years later they put them back. Now downtown businesses like Pedraza’s are hurting and customers are frustrated. Masten this year requested the council consider removing the kiosk and for a moment it looked promising as the committee that heard her request voted 4-1 to remove it, though likely replacing it with coin-operated meters. However, rather than have that proposal voted on by the full council, mayor Kendall Lane reportedly somehow sent the proposal to a different committee, who returned with a 4-1 vote to instead continue and possibly expand kiosk use in Central Square! This decision in spite of a petition signed by dozens of downtown business owners opposing the kiosks, presented by Masten and business consultant Jared Goodell.
That’s not all. In Keene, the city gang demands local business owners beg for permission and pay tribute to the gang in order to allow them to put tables outdoors on the sidewalk area. Each year, Masten dutifully pays the bribe and jumps through the paperwork hoops. However this year she was informed by email that her application for the sidewalk permit is “pending”. As a result, she’s unable to acquire her outdoor liquor permit from the state liquor criminals.
Chalk art celebrating the heroic Robin Hooders who saved thousands in Keene from parking tickets.
Plus, according to a video streamed live on Masten’s facebook yesterday, one of the Keene parking enforcers, Jane Vigneau took to facebook while on-the-clock to attack Masten. Vigneau was supposedly admonished by her superiors in the city gang, but hasn’t likely suffered any real consequence. Vigneau, for newer readers of the blog, is one of the parking enforcers who lied to support the city’s failed lawsuit against the “Robin Hooders” who were saving thousands of motorists from parking tickets in downtown Keene back in 2012 and 2013.
More to come as the full city council is expected to meet this week, but as of the time of this writing hasn’t published an agenda. The best course of action, which surely business owners and customers alike would support yet no one has likely proposed, is to remove the parking meters and kiosks entirely from Central Square and the rest of downtown. The worn-out excuses the city parking gang gives for their meters are that they encourage turnover and claim that businesses want that service. However, the city’s own actions prove their argument is false. First, they don’t enforce the meters on the week before Christmas – the biggest shopping week of the year! If there were anytime when “turnover” is important, it’s that week. On the contrary, the week prior to Christmas is great without the parking enforcers prowling the streets. People can shop without worrying if their meter is about to expire. If only we could have the other 51 weeks per year be like that. Also, to further prove it’s really all about generating revenue, the city gang enforces the meters during the slow hours too, when plenty of spaces are available on-street.
When I spoke with her today, Masten was dismayed with the city government gang ignoring the pleas of the business owners. The reality of the situation is the city is a criminal organization that does whatever benefits “the City”, meaning the people in the gang – not the people subjected to their rule. We’ve seen example after example of how it works, with the BEARCAT situation being one of the most flagrant.
Will any signficant changes be made to the Keene city council in this year’s upcoming municipal election? Don’t get your hopes up, but stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.
Pho Keene Great – Opens Tomorrow March 8th at 3pm!
With less than one day before it opens its doors to the public, Pho Keene Great, the new Keene Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of downtown, has become a viral international news story after the new city manager, Elizabeth Dragon targeted the restaurant during the holidays for its “offensive and not appropriate” name.
Owner Isabelle Rose didn’t back down in the face of the city’s attempt to intimidate her and the media coverage quickly spread across the globe, with readers and viewers outraged at the oppressive, humorless “City of Keene”. Though the city manager had originally demanded Rose meet with her about the sign, the meeting never happened. Within three weeks of the original story breaking, the city people backed down and the “offensive” sign was approved and installed.
Thanks to the viral story, Pho Keene Great t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers have been selling fast at official vendor Route 101 Local Goods as people who do have a sense of humor wanted to show their support of the as-yet-unopened Vietnamese restaurant, from as far away as Australia and Afghanistan. Even celebrities like magician and comedian Penn Jillette got in on the fun.
Isabelle Rose, at her food truck in 2016.
All of this with most people never having had the food itself! I say most because many in the Keene area know exactly what to expect from Pho Keene Great when they open their doors to the public for the first time at 3pm tomorrow afternoon (Friday March 8th). Rose had in the last few years run her own Vietnamese pho food truck which had been located outside Route 101 Local Goods in Keene. The pho noodle soup was delicious and she accepted cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment!
Now with a newly renovated kitchen, stocked bar, and full staff behind her, Rose is ready to graduate from her successful dream of running her own food truck to the next level – running a sit-down restaurant. I’m excited to see this all coming together for her, and a lot of it is thanks to the bumbling City of Keene making itself look like petty tyrants on the world stage (again).