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Porch Press Board Minutes – July 21, 2014

Informal discussion of the history of the Porch Press Henry talked about working 35 years plus in various neighborhood organizations. Among various involvements, he has been leading the Porch Press since the mid 1990s. For four or five years now he has let it be known that it might be time to reduce his involvement with the Porch Press. There have been possible candidates to become Chairman, but for various reasons the candidates became unavailable.
Persons in attendance for a Quorum: Henry Bryant, Genie Strickland, Howard Fore, Fred Smith, Nancy Leighton, Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, Lyn Hillman, Mia Pound.
Reading of the minutes: Nancy Leighton read the minutes for the April 26 board meeting. Minutes approved with corrections.
Note: Henry orally tendered his resignation as Chairman of the Board. Genie made a comment that the resignation was not accepted. No further action for the time being.
Old Business
Financial Report: Fred Smith
The Porch Press continues with a balance in the accounts using the funds in reserve to support the break-even stance of the paper. The paper still needs additional advertising revenues to balance the monthly budget for mailing, printing and small miscellaneous expenses. An improving economy and more aggressive selling of ads will help.
Advertising: Carlen Hultgren contacted various neighborhood merchants in person seeking advertising. She contacted Midway, Carson Brice, Flat Iron, Joe’s, cigar place, EARL, State Farm, Flo, Fluff-n-Em Florist. No new ads have yet materialized from these contacts.
Nancy Leighton called Bullpen Rib House, Estes Heating and Air, R.S Andrews Heating and Air, Healthy Hound & City Kitty, Vickery’s, Tower, East Lake Pharmacy, Earth Shaking Music, Bell Roofing. Of these East lake Pharmacy and Earth Shaking Music have put in more ads.
Circulation/Distribution: Genie Strickland
Should we take any special steps to rebuild our mailing list? This would be to replace those addresses that were deleted when the economy turned sour leaving many houses vacant.
Howard noted that some people have tried to add their address to the mailing list through our web site. Howard questions if we are set up for that. Answer: we are not set up to add to the mailing list on our web site.
Question: does Genie have an email address routed through our server in the same form as the rest of us have for the things we are doing ( Answer: Genie has never had an email address routed through our server in part because she has changed carriers several times. We will talk to Marc Takacs about an email address for Circulation.
Genie says that adding an address to the mailing list is the same as it has always been; anyone wanting their address on the mailing list must call her at 404-373-3130 and leave a voice mail message. They have to leave the street address and zip code. No name is necessary; address must be within Neighborhood Planning Unit W inside Atlanta city limits.
For reoccupied vacant houses or residents of new houses we will depend on the residents or their neighbors to get them signed up to receive the Porch Press. There is no charge for the Porch Press.
Trestle Tree Apartments Question: At July SAND meeting Dorothy Perside stepped forward to say that getting the Porch Press to the Trestle Tree Apartments is very important to turning conditions around in the two complexes. Discussion: Genie has tried to deliver to Trestle Tree in the past with poor results. The office has not been open when she was making the deliveries so she couldn’t leave any papers. Now they are expecting to put up a gate and possibly fencing. It is unlikely that we can deliver the Porch Press to the Trestle Tree Apartments under these conditions.
What are our distribution points? East Atlanta: East Atlanta Library, Grant Central Pizza East, Branan Tower, Hodgepodge, Eastside Church, Desert Place, Grant Park: Georgia Hill Library, ENSO Building, Adams Realtors, Cyclorama, Six Feet Under, Habitat for Humanity SAND: Dance 411, Drip, Lit’l Azzio’s, Earth Shaking Music, Drip, Ferdhouse.
Genie spent $23.83 on supplies, mostly drinks for proofreaders on Monday nights and production people on Tuesday nights.
Editorial: Editor, Stephanie Fretwell-Hill – Stephanie says everyone is in place.
Proof Night Director: Lyn Hillman -Lyn says we need a few more proofreaders. Henry says we should rerun “Need more proofreaders” article.
Layout/Production: Production Manager, Henry Bryant – Henry says that Lyn is doing a lot. Due to the organizing and advance work she has done it has made it possible to go home up to one to one and a half hours earlier than in times past.
Internet/Website: Howard Fore, Webmaster – Contact Us has nothing on us. Howard has been tweeting. Facebook Article on people at a buffet, all images.
Message boards: Can we fix up something we can use to discuss advertising possibilities or stories? Howard says perhaps we could have a Facebook account. He will check into it.
Old Business: Hardware/Software: Now more of our computers can print, but the one Kirk is using can’t print so well. We still need to work on the external hard drive. We still need to get our expert in once we have things lined up.
Extra Porch Press Shirts in box in basement. They should be distributed to new volunteers as we go along.
New Business: Genie asks if we are interested in trading food for an ad from Grant Central East Pizza. We are now trading Dakota Blue a quarter page ad for our food every month. Dakota Blue is getting an advantage most months in our trade out. Fred does not want to upset the balance with Gigi and Alan because it was hard enough to come to an agreement with them. If we start trading with Grant Central East Pizza then many other advertisers will want to trade ads for food and it could get out of hand. We discussed adding a “gift certificate” arrangement to allow volunteers to purchase food service from the Porch Press. It could be complicated to make that work. In the end the consensus was to stay with Fred’s suggestion to keep things the way they are.
The STRUT in coming September 27. They paid for their own ad last year. Will they be paying again?
Emergency Planning: What should we do if a storm damages our current location beyond use? What should we do if fire destroys the building? What would we do if Bill Adams died? Henry suggested several places we could ask for space: First Iconium Baptist Church, The Arts Exchange, the old Habitat for Humanity building, or somebody’s living room or home office. This would just be for an immediate shelter in a time of storm until we could locate a permanent new home. If necessary we could suspend publication for one to three months.
Future Planning: Henry recalls that as an example for comparison, it would have been hard to anticipate how things would change over the years while planning for BATL. Similarity it may not be possible to predict how things will change for the Porch Press in the future. It is the Board’s job to anticipate when possible and adjust as needed.
Date for next board meeting: Our usual meeting date is the second Monday which falls on Columbus Day in October. Everyone check their calendars. Stephanie has a conflict on that day. Will the next Monday work? All agree on Monday October 20 for the next board meeting.
Meeting Adjourned, time: 9:38pm

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