Monday, March 25, 2013

The NEK 99% Newport City Community Survey Is Done!

Survey Results: NEK 99% Survey of 200 Current and Recent Newport City Residents When the Survey Was Done: People were surveyed from Fall 2012 to Spring 2013. Most people were surveyed during daytime hours both on week days and weekends. Because of this, the survey may over-represent people not currently working due to retirement or unemployment. (Twenty-five percent of respondents indicated that their “work life could be made easier” simply by “finding a job”, which one would hope over-estimates the rate of unemployment in Newport City.)

Who Was Surveyed: Respondents were overwhelmingly current Newport City residents, but a few Newport City residents who had recently moved filled out the survey. One or 2 Newport Town residents were also included due to misunderstandings. Surveyed individuals ranged from teenagers to senior citizens. Very few people who were approached declined to fill out the survey. Respondents had been in the Northeast Kingdom for one month to over 70 years. Most get information by watching TV. Reminding us that this is a small town, the second way of getting information was word-of-mouth, followed by the newspaper. Under “Other”, 7% listed the internet or web sites as separate from Facebook (29%) or e-mail (26%) as a way to get information. One person listed “wife” as a main source of information. We live in a car culture. 81.5% of respondents travel by car, and 57% either walk when they're not driving or get places exclusively by walking.

Where the Survey Was Done: People were surveyed on the sidewalks in front of the Family Dollar, One Stop, Vista, the Emory Hebard Building and the Municipal Building as they exited from voting in November and March. People were surveyed indoors at two community meals, two indoor tag sales, at NEKCA, at North Country Hospital, Newport Natural Foods, the Woodknot Book Shop, and the Brickhouse. Sixteen students at North Country Union High School filled out the survey with teacher permission.

How the Survey Was Done: People were asked to pick what interested them and to leave items which did not interest them or didn't apply to them blank. They could pick as many items as they wanted. Work related items fall toward the bottom of the list probably because some respondents were unemployed due to retirement, being students, unemployment or disability and the items didn't apply to them.

Clothing Stores on Main Street and Cleaning Up the Lake Are Top Priorities for Those Surveyed

Clothing stores on Main Street, cleaning up the lake and more affordable housing were most on the minds of these Newport City residents, followed by fostering attitudes of valuing all citizens and promoting respect. In public safety, safer streets at night was more of interest than more law enforcement in general. People said access to more nutritious food was a priority, as was a department store on Main Street and free classes to learn new skills. 29.5% of respondents said they would appreciate better wages. Those who indicated how much this would be put values from $8 per hour to $20 per hour. 25% said they would be happy just to find a job.

Every category included a space for “Other”. Under “Making changes in healthcare services” 5.5% listed “Affordable or Cheaper”. In the food category, 3.5% of people wrote in “More Affordable” or “Cheaper” . Providers of human services and mental health services might want to note that 6.5% of people wrote in “niceness, more respect, nicer, less grumpy, more support and attention” under “Making changes in human services” and Making changes in mental health services”.

Possibly just kidding, two people suggested a Victoria's Secret on Main Street. Four mentioned Walmart and three suggested electronics stores or a Gamestop.

NEK 99% Survey: “Other” Responses

Information: Internet (14), wife, Tumblr. Work: more hours (2), less stress, be self-employed, personal days paid, gratitude for work. Healthcare Services: More affordable (11), healthier food, single payer, treat pain, universal access (3), non-profit, better record keeping, see MD intead of PA, teeth and glasses covered (2), better record-keeping, less filling out forms, alternative medicine (2). Human and Mental Health Services: mental health client-based not diagnosis based, less enabling, work to earn support, dignity not stigma, help people get off services (2), less welfare, human services in town, central location, beds for more mental health patients, more one-on-one mental health, monitor mental health medications, more access for elderly to services, Jesus, respect to mentally needy, nicer (4), more respect (3), niceness (3), more understanding (2), treat clients better, more support and attention, affordable, suicide [prevention?] help, better communication. Food: More affordable or cheaper (7), vegan/vegetarian options, better quality. Stores on Main Street: Outdoor recreation, electronics (2), Gamestop, Victoria's Secret (2), American Eagle, a motel, TJ Maxx, book stores, 5-10 stores, Walmart (4), mix of stores, fabric, coffee shops, natural food stores.
Making Community Life Better: Close off Main St., better parades, keeping things clean and nice, more access to lake, NEKCA more helpful, activities for special needs kids. Housing: tenant responsibility (3), good condition, less welfare, better quality, housing for homeless.
Attitudes: Following through with plans, get to know neighbors, smiling, improve teenagers, help neighbors, stop seeing differences as enemies, better attitudes through education. Safety: Police taking respectable citizens at their word and not treating like criminals, getting the bums off the street, no bars, no druggies, no loitering, jailing drug dealers for 20 years, better law enforcement officers, less law enforcement (2), love your neighbor, more education funding, curfew (2), more accountability (2), more police foot patrol.

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