Category Archives: 5/27/2019

Gilead’s energy independence secured; new fuel source found

As with other articles, this one degrades toward the end due to file-corruption. It is the last article in the May 27, 2019 issue.

In a development that is likely to have wide-ranging impact on the Gilead’s long-term viability as a community, dairy owner Sam Chambers and Gilead Garage owner Eric Quinton put their heads together and identified a fuel source that will eliminate the need for diesel fuel or vegetable oil to run the Chambers’ farm equipment.

Sam Chambers at work in his barn; it now appears his dairy will be a source of fuel as well as milk products, making the Gilead energy-independent.

“It just sort of hit me out of the blue one day,” Chambers said. “Everyone knows that one of the products made from  milk is butter, which is mostly fat, with some milk-solids and moisture in it. But it’s a pretty simple process to remove those impurities, and you’re left with clarified butter, which is not much different from the vegetable fat we use to run Eric’s ‘grease-car’ engines.”

Chambers said he ran his idea by Quinton, who gave it a tentative endorsement. “I had never tried it before, but I told him that as long as it’s not tainted with impurities and it’s liquid at about 100 degrees, it should be fine as a fuel,” said Quinton.

He put the idea to the test, clarifying about a gallon of butter, which yielded about three-quarters of a gallon of clarified butter. Quinton tested the fuel in one of his older vehicles, and said it ran just as well as any other fuel he has used, although it burned slightly faster. “But all that means is that if diesel fuel or vegetable oil would run an engine for six hours, this stuff would run it for maybe five,” he said. “It really is on par with the other fuels I’ve been using.”

The ramifications for the Gilead cannot be understated, said GDC Chairman Jim Nash. “One of the things we’ve been most worried about is fuel supplies,” he said. “We were thinking about how we could keep our fuel supplies up after running out of restaurants to raid for vegetable oil, and we kept coming back to land-use issues, which were absolutely killing us.”

The problem, Nash explained, was that the only way to keep the Gilead in fuel oil would be to grow oil crops like soybeans, flax, corn, or other plants that yield oil, which would have required large amounts of land. And land-use issues don’t even take into consideration that fact that nobody in the Gilead area knows how to press oil out of these seeds efficiently, even if enough could be grown.

“Thank goodness, being able to rely on the Dairy for our fuel means we know, as a drop-dead fact, that we have enough land to meet our fuel needs as long as we have engines that work,” Nash said. “The land in Gilead before the Collapse was enough for Sam to have 50 producing cows, so if we can have that many in production again, we’ll ¥Ñ Çö=‹ò3óÂ×Îÿ î?êsrÔzw  e_ÿ $†cøf>L5 c­Ä9¾ƒÕnôØtÝFóVÔ ÚÇJµ–âìÈ(%^<¸r§Jf¯E:›‰§™ÆøÏú×å’畽–´‹Ë[]Là¶ñ3ñ‘Ùz“NKÇéÎ÷ ®0qæ$z¤:GäííºêE›Ãõ[¢¢æ@)<º p

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Controversy erupts as GDC formalizes governing roles

During a five-hour May 23 meeting of almost all 51 Gilead residents from its 17 households, details of the enclave’s government and operational rules of its governing body, the Gilead Defense Committee, were discussed, finalized, and voted into being. Most of the rules and procedures put in place are standard fare for democratic entities, but the one position and set of rules that caused dissent did so with no small amount of acrimony.

Jim Nash, shown here sifting through his spinach harvest, was elected GDC Chair at its first formal meeting.

Creation of the Treasurer/Resource Coordinator position was vehemently opposed by a vocal minority that saw shades of communism in its implementation. The position as originally strucured would have given that elected official the power to allocate timber, fuel, hay, and some other resources according to need. “It seemed like a logical extension of what we have been doing all along,” said Joe Tobiason, who was elected Vice-Chair of the GDC. “We have a dairy that’s supplying everyone’s milk-related products, and everyone is going to give something in return, if they haven’t been already, so this position would have just made it more official and organized.”

“This runs counter to everything we should stand for as a group of free Americans who are fighting to keep our way of life,” said  David Childers when the position’s responsibilities were first read at the meeting.

Roger Parsons said he agreed with Childers. A retired bank executive from New York City, Parsons is, by his own account, “trapped” in Vermont by the Pandemic Collapse, as he was staying at his home in Gilead to avoid the disease’s ravages in the dense city. “Am I to understand that I’m going to be forced to give up my property to people who don’t have as much?” he asked. “I worked damned hard my whole life for what I have, and I don’t think it’s right that because all of you want something I have that you can bully it out of me. That’s theft, pure and simple.”

Childers made a point of distancing himself from Parsons’ comments, however, noting that there’s a qualitative difference between their objections to the forced collectivization of goods. “Mr. Parsons has 150 acres of trees and can’t tell a pine from a hemlock, and doesn’t even use wood for heat,” said Childers. “Seems to me he just doesn’t like the idea of sharing what he’s got, which I find ridiculous, since his house is heated with propane that won’t even get him to Thanksgiving.

“I oppose the Resource Coordinator position because I know there are lots of folks in Gilead who chose to keep only enough firewood on-hand for a single winter, even though they have enough trees that they could have kept at least a one-year buffer supply,” he said. “I’ve been keeping a minimum of three winters of firewood on-hand for years, as well as keeping a good supply of food and ammunition. So have lots of other folks in this room, although I don’t know if they want to stand up on this issue. It’s lots of work, and lots of expense, to do what we do.”

Childers says that common human decency would compel him to give away firewood or other resources – or trade them – to folks who otherwise wouldn’t have enough. “I have no problem helping neighbors,” he said. “Lord knows, I don’t want anyone to freeze or starve to death over the winter, but I sure as hell don’t want anyone telling me who I’ve got to give it to, and how much I’ve got to give. Let us work it out between ourselves!”

As Childers made his case, other residents said they were starting to have misgivings about the Resource Coordinator position. “At first it seemed like something we really should do, but the more I hear and the more I think about it, I think it would just be a source of dispute,” said Mark Cohen.

Cohen noted that his family has relatively little firewood left over from winter, and has never cut their own. “So we might end up on the receiving end of someone’s firewood, or at least their help in getting it cut for us,” he said. “I’d much rather work it out with somebody one-on-one than have the GDC decide I get somebody else’s stuff. That way, there won’t be any resentment about it, and I can maybe trade access to our field, grow extra food in our garden for someone… or even just do some work for somebody in exchange.”

Tobiason reluctantly conceded that centralized coordination of resources wouldn’t work unless everyone were on board, but still maintained that it should be considered as a possible future option in case the diffused system doesn’t work. “It’s not like we’re talking about communizing millions or even hundreds of people,” he said. “I just think we’d have a more fair distribution of goods and services if the function were centralized. Yes, it could cause hard feelings here and there, but in the end, the resource coordinator is an elected position, so we can vote the person out if they don’t do it right. And let’s face it, there is going to be grumbling about a lack of fairness in how we do things without a resource coordinator, too.”

In the end, the position of Treasurer/Resource Coordinator (TRC) was described to include authority only over the goods that were acquired during the resource procurement run in April, since those goods were gathered through a collective effort. Those goods are stored centrally, in the Bennington/Lyon barn, except for the vegetable-oil fuel and diesel, which are stored at Eric Quinton’s Gilead Garage, and the ambulance and medical supplies, which are stored at Jennifer Godin’s home, since she is an Emergency Medical Technician.

The TRC will maintain the inventory of public goods and accept all requests from residents who wish to draw on those resources. Approval of the requests will be made by the GDC during its public meetings, so that any interested residents can object or support the requests.

After the controversy over the TRC position was resolved by the re-wording of its functions, the remainder of the meeting was relatively smooth and uneventful, with a series of unanimous votes confirming the following GDC officers and roles:

Chair: Run/moderate meetings, coordinate GDC activities, assign subcommittees and other work to GDC members, adjudicate disputes brought to the GDC.

Vice-Chair: Establish meeting agendas by coordinating with Gilead community members, handle relations with other communities, fulfill Chair’s role in his/her absence.

Secretary: Take minutes at all GDC and subcommittee meetings, post approved minutes, publicize GDC and subcommittee meetings by posting.

Defense Coordinator: Establish defensive strategy and tactics, formulate patrols schedule.

Treasurer/Resource Coordinator: Maintain a current inventory of public goods and establish and maintain a system for the use and/or disbursement thereof.

Those elected to the positions are: Jim Nash (Chair), Joe Tobiason (Vice-Chair), Scott Blackwell (Secretary), Rich Bennington (Defense Coordinator), and Don Brewer (Treasurer/Resource Coordinator).

The rules governing the GDC’s operation were also adopted during the meeting, with the understanding that although they are relatively simple and straightforward, they will likely become more comprehensive and intricate to accommodate new situations that come up. A brief summary:

  • The GDC makeup is confirmed to be of nine elected Gilead residents, at least 18 years of age.
  • All meetings of the GDC and any subcommittees are open and warned 24 hours in advance by being posted in three locations: (1) The large maple tree on the north side of Gilead Brook Rd. where the pavement ends, (2) the large hemlock tree where McIntosh Hill Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd., and (3) the large maple where Byam Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd.
  • A quorum of five GDC members, including at least two of its officers, is required for any official decisions to be made.
  • Parliamentary procedures will be used to run all meetings, discussions, and votes.
  • A simple majority passes official decisions, and a 60 percent majority must vote to undo any decisions properly made. Decisions can also be rescinded by a petition signed by 75 percent of Gilead residents.
  • Elections for all positions will take place every May 23, and there are no automatic term limiendstreamendobj338 0 obj<</BitsPerComponent 8/ColorSpace/DeviceRGB/FilterÅ•¤ .nàv reݍ î;æ£ !ΖbÉ쵈t õ‡òæše¿™9Á}i•«‘€Žù°Ç†‰e/A´ U´Ó5É-.¡›ó ̶«$Ö³QY‹t£ ÇðÉÆ|N$sÏñož<‡m®hs\:ÚÜ‹ûÛ™#w•îÙ¿Ý‘/F#½2¬™¸ Ë›,ÿ ¿IòŸœï|»¡Ø‹1kª[Ägu ƒ/§Ð  Uï¶szŒFL㐖/ù™ùŸkäoÌ­7ÉZց §uoo Í4r4²G-ß«°ØwÅió •£Ó˜Ç‹ñÓõ¹1‹, /ËïËýs[Õá1O?š.Ïé9- °D~<©µVlpÈÉ»‚ž³ùyÿ 8å¢Y½æ¿§+̐ºÁlTF [¥ ©•ê3 &é‡ùÛÈÞFò?˜´’Ó„“k7 K !‘ýXl/>JIÜS¹  šâËS1% ZÕ§˜uy.õKu•] Z ¹‰ ŠN v¯ðÌ] â“­  f¾hüÿ ü¾ÓtIçµ»´ó àH£{y ,ð˽ R:Ч>´5ö˳iNNAÛJ6Æïÿ 64ýSÊöšŸ•´Ãç 2N’4í Æ…:ЈÛ(†˜À´K

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Alliance formed with Camp Brook after successful diplomatic mission

This is the top story from the May 27, 2019 issue of The Informer. This is also the first issue in which some of the text and photos start to degrade, for reasons I have been unable to discern. As a result, there is gibberish text at the end of the story, but I leave it in case someone can determine its meaning.

Jason Nash and Faye Knight rode lookout from the bed of one of the trucks as it left Gilead on its diplomatic mission to Camp Brook Road. Each truck, flying the new Gilead flag, carried four armed passengers in addition to the driver as a precaution against being outgunned by Raiders on Route 12.

On May 24, a convoy of three pickup trucks carrying 15 heavily armed Gilead citizens made the short trip down Route 12 to Camp Brook Road in hopes of establishing a mutual defense and cooperation pact. After a tense  initial contact, the mission succeeded in forming a friendly alliance that benefits both areas.

“I would call this an incredible victory for us,” said Joe Tobiason, who planned and led the mission. “We accomplished everything we set out to do, and even took it a step or two further, accomplishing it all without any violence, and even without any arguments.”

One immediate effect of the agreement will be that Gilead’s patrols can be reduced by three people, since the Southern Patrol will no longer be necessary; Camp Brook is the only area to our south and will be adequately covered by their efforts. “They have very good security,” said Rich Bennington, Gilead’s recently-elected Defense Coordinator. “When we came up to their barricade, it was laid out exactly how I would have done it.”

Little wonder, though, as Bennington and the rest of the Gilead diplomatic mission soon found out that a veteran of the Iraq war was in charge of the Camp Brook defenses.

A tense first-contact

After rolling out of Gilead and onto Route 12, the convoy was on high alert for Raiders or any other threats that might materialize. “I don’t mind saying, my palms were sweaty and my hands were shaking,” said Jason Nash, 17. “I’ve been on patrol a bunch of times, but that’s always been in woods right around here, where I’ve been hunting for years. This trip down 12 was like a different world, with all the abandoned cars, abandoned houses, and worst of all, the possibility of Raiders.”

In addition to tensions already high about the trip down Route 12, nobody in the group knew what to expect when they turned onto Camp Brook Road, although they knew it had to be handled carefully.

“As soon as we passed the first houses on Camp Brook, we started going really slowly – no more than 15 miles per hour – and I shouted at each house as we passed that we were from Gilead and wanted to talk to them about defending each other from Raiders,” said Tobiason.

The first several houses were empty and looked as though they had been broken into – windows were broken and doors splintered on their hinges. “But then, right around the first curve, we came up to their road barricade with about 10 guns pointed right at us,” said Tobiason. “I recognized Cory Bingham and a couple of other guys, so I held out our white flag for them to see as I got out of the cab.”

As had been planned in case of a Camp Brook Road barricade, everyone in the vehicles set down their firearms and held both hands out where the sentries could see them. “We had armed ourselves only because of the danger posed by Raiders,” explained Tobiason, “so now that we had gotten to the Camp Brook folks, it was time to show them we weren’t there to make trouble.”

Tobiason went up to the barricade and explained to the folks there what the Gilead delegation was hoping to accomplish, and in short order the barricade was moved aside so the convoy could enter Camp Brook’s enclave. “Most of them had already pointed their guns away from us when they saw me and a few others they recognized as being from Gilead,” Tobiason said.

Bennington said the Camp Brook defenses at the blockade were top-notch. “I was talking to Frank Barnard, the guy who does their defense planning, and he showed me the layout of their barricade and patrols, and it was impressive,” Bennington enthused. “Once I saw the barricade plan, I saw that we wouldn’t have stood a chance if we had meant to attack these guys.”

Bennington said the Camp Brook barricade is placed in a spot where steep, wooded hills close in on both sides of the road, creating a naturally defensible position. In addition to the guarded barricade blocking the road, sentries occupy the high ground on either side of the road, hidden by the woods and therefore able to fire down upon attackers.“

I think two things helped make the mission a success,” said Bennington. “First, was Joe’s commitment to plan it so we didn’t have a confrontation, and second was that Camp Brook is secure, and they know it. You don’t start shooting at people when you know you’re fundamentally secure.”

Elizabeth Larsen, who also was part of the mission, said she also considered another factor critical to the mission’s success. “You can’t forget that Joe has something like 20 years of marketing experience under his belt,” she said. “He is inherently diplomatic and can get a read on people and their needs very quickly. I think that made a huge difference.”

An alliance of equals

The agreement with Camp Brook Road is, at its core, a non-agression and mutual aid compact, and includes not just the homes along Camp Brook Road, but also Brink Hill, Dartt Hill, and Campbell Roads, all of which extend south of Camp Brook’s east/west trajectory.

Camp Brook and Gilead agree to prevent incursions by outsiders into each other’s territories, the border of which was agreed to be the top of the ridgeline between the two areas. The agreement also stipulates that monthly meetings will be held between representatives of each enclave’s leadership committees to update one another on security concerns, resource-sharing possibilities in case of shortages on one side or the other, and any news of the outside world.

Resource-sharing at this time was determined to be unnecessary. Through discussions, both the Gilead and Camp Brook delegations discovered that they have plenty of hay and wood, and no shortage of food or food-procurement possibilities, since Camp Brook residents all have gardens, and a small dairy on Brink Hill serves the same function as the Chambers’ dairy in Gilead.

One advantage that Gilead has over Camp Brook is the ability to convert automobiles and other equipment to run on vegetable oil, but this was determined to be virtually a wash, since Camp Brook has a large number of horses available to its residents – more than 50, compared to Gilead’s 10. Camp Brook residents also have plenty of animal-powered equipment to use with the horses for haying, logging and other harvesting activities. “It’s more work-intensive,” said Jan Westerman, a member of the Camp Brook Road Board of Directors, as they have named their elected leadership. “But at the same time, we have almost 100 people and a lot of horses to get around on and work the equipment, so we think our work plans are going to get us by pretty well.”

Nonetheless, it was agreed that to even out this disparity would be in everyone’s best interest. Therefore, Camp Brook will provide studs for the three Gilead mares, so a breeding program can begin. This addresses Gilead’s lack of stallions (the only male horses in Gilead are geldings). In return, Eric Quinton agreed to teach John Rountree, Camp Brook’s mechanic, how to convert diesel engines to run on vegetable oil, and would also provide a list of the parts necessary to make such conversions.

Camp Brook also isn’t lacking in solar power, as only seven of its 31 Survivor households are without solar panels; the rest have enough solar power for at least some of their power-generation needs. The solar energy helps keep Camp Brook’s four electric vehicles in service – two SUVs, a full-sized sedan, and a compact.

Tobiason said he was very gratified that the mission was, in his words, “an unqualified success.” As they were planning the mission, one of the outcomes he and the other GDC members feared was a radically disparate set of circumstances that would engender rivalry between the two enclaves. “We were cautious about how we presented ourselves and our resources,” said Tobiason. “We didn’t bring our best weapons, we didn’t bring our best vehicles, and we didn’t bring anything with us that wasn’t absolutely necessary to the mission.”

The objective, he explained, was to avoid giving the impression that Gilead was overly well-to-do, in case the Camp Brook Survivors were in dire straits and might seek to share resources with which Gilead can ill afford to part. “What we found, however, was that they are doing really well,” Tobiason said. “That’s good news for our southern border, and I think they were pretty glad they don’t have to worry about their northern border.”

The GDC’s diplomatic success in Camp Brook will be followed by a mission to Randolph, scheduled for tomorrow, May 28th. “This one has the potential to be far more dangerous,” said Jim Nash, the GDC member in charge of planning the Randolph mission with Bennington. “We really don’t know what to expect, since towns seem to have been hit much harder by the Pandemic than rural areas like ours, and at the same time the survivors can’t necessarily take advantage of natural resources like we can, so they might have needs they can’t meet on their own. They might even be desperate enough to attack, which is our primary fear.”

Despite the northern border being covered by the Tatro Hill enclave, Bennington isn’t sure it’s enough of a bulwark to protect Gilead from determined attackers. “It’s better than nothing, but some sort of non-aggression agreement with folks in Randolph would be much better,” he said. “If things are bad in Randolph and they start causing trouble for Tatro Hill, that’s going to directly impact us.”

Bennington and Nash note that if no single body of authority can be identified in Randolph, the mission will need to gather as much intelligence as possible about the potential threat posed by Survivors there. “One of my nightmare scenarios is that Raiders have taken up residence in Randolph,” said Bennington. “In that case, once they finish fighting each other, the winners will emerge as a leadership that is ruthless and potentially very effective at organized raids.“

I’m sincerely hoping we just find a group of nice folks who want to work hard and live through this until our country is back on its feet,” Nash said. “But at the same time, I’m glad we emptied out the sporting goods store’s ammo and guns.”Seeing the potential for lse/K false/S/Transparency/Type/Group>>endobj333 0 obj<</BBox[242.135 1214.82 477.576 1178.1]/Filter/FlateDecode/Group 332 0 R/Length 63/Matrix[1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0]/Resources<</ExtGState<</GS0 326 0 R>>>>/Subtype/Form>>streamH‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.# #=CcS C#C =#  #cS=   ]c3=s#…¢T®4.€   $úÕendstreamendobj334 0 obj<</CS/DeviceCMYK/I false/K false/S/Transparency/Type/Group>>endobj335 0 obj<</ox[588.196 1185.62 708.436 1144.22]/Filter/FlateDecode/Group 334 0 R/Length 60/Matrix[1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0]/Resources<</ExtGState<</GS0 326 0 R>>>>/Subtype/Form>>streamH‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.Sendstreamendobj336 0 obj<</CS/DeviceCMYK/I false/K false/S/Transparency/Type/Group>>endobj337 0 obj<</Length 1445/Subtype/XML/Type/Metadata>>stream<x:xmpmeta xmlns:x=”adobe:ns:meta/” x:xmptk=”Adobe XMP Core 5.0-c060 61.134777, 2010/02/12-17:32:00        “> <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=”http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#”>  <rdf:Description rdf:about=””

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