Archive for May, 2006
I wanted to make sure that we all knew about the impending closing of the Brooklyn Y by the end of the year. Please read this article in the Plain Dealer to get the details. Chances are no matter what we do as a neighborhood; the YMCA will close at the corner of the Brooklyn Brighton bridge. After all, the board of directors of the YMCA have said that they must close facilities to be able to continue to offer the programs of the YMCA’s mission. Residential facilities are probably more of a problem than they are worth and it stands to reason that these facilities would be the ones put up for sale.
We in this community are at another crossroads. We need to see this as an opportunity for a new venture in our neighborhood. One that can define how we are preceived by those who pass through our community each day. Years ago when the rumors that the Y would be closing soon, Gloria Janos suggested looking into having a youth hostel such as they have in Europe at that location.
With the completion of the Towpath trail on the horizon and the plans that the Friends of Big Creek have for that waterway and watershed in our community, maybe this is an idea that we should explore. We should dream big on this one, folks. We should not allow others to talk us into settling for less. This is our community and we should be at the table when the decisions are made concerning this crucial piece of property in our midst. Remember, those of us who live and work in this community are the stakeholders.
Point of Information: The Brooklyn YMCA is located in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood.
Tim and I just returned from a 3rd District Community Relations Board Meeting. We know we live in the 2nd District, but our friend Dennis Althar called us to let us know that it was a Clerk of Courts Town Hall meeting and a lot of the municipal court judges would be there. They were all there sans one who had a legitimate excuse. The judge in question suffered a leg injury a week and a half ago and isn’t very mobile at the present time.
I have never had the opportunity to attend one of these meetings with the judges in attendance. It is an experience and I urge all of you to find one of these to attend. Don’t wait for the next one in your community. Explore a new community, new citizens, and the same judges who care about our city.
It was very heartening to hear the Honorable Lawrence A. Jones, the presiding and administrative judge tell us that he sees his court as proactive, one that takes a holistic view in managing the docket, using new methods for first time offenders so that they do not become career criminals but at the same time realizing that the community needs to be safe. He sees the community and the municipal court judges and their staff as being a partnership to make our city safe and livable. After all, most of the issues that the majority of the community faces is quaiity of life issues that need to be addressed. He strives to have Cleveland’s Municipal Court be a leader in judicial matters for the nation.
Each judge spoke about one of the court programs in which they have an integral part–drug court, housing court, Get on Track, expungement program, Small Claims division, technological advancement, mental health court, domestic violence, and more I have missed. It was a great way to see the passion that these men and women bring to their elected positions.
During the question and answer period, I commended the judges for their proactive stance in regards to sentencing first time offenders to intervention programs. It is truly sad that our judicial system is forced to take on the role of a social agency because so many dollars have been diverted from mental health programs, treatment centers, and educational and employment programs. But this group is willing to take it on use one of the new programs when warranted, but also shift gears and continue to sentence those offenders that don’t deserve these kinds of chances. One of the judges was quick to point out that people were sentenced to jail time, restitution, and straight probation as well as being referred to these programs. Anyway, back to my question. How do you track the people you put in these intervention programs and how do you measure whether the programs are successful? All of the judges wanted to speak to the question and I got a lot of thoughtful answers from the judges, but Judge Jones told me what I wanted to hear. The programs are continually evaluated by a set of metrics that are then used to chart what works and what doesn’t. The court then fine tunes the programs to better meet the criteria and needs of the offenders. One of the judges pointed out that there is always the possiblity that someone can be thrown out of a program, be put back into the system, and do time.
I truly got a sense that these judges get it. It could be because several of them served on City Council before becoming judges so that they have a holistic view of what is needed. Or, it could be because several of them were public defenders and social workers so that they are aware of the issues that the community deals with because of these quality of life crimes. The reasons don’t matter. They get it. That matters.
I left the meeting with great hope, and I always believe that to be a sign of a successful community meeting. Remember, we have a presiding judge who wants his court to be a leader in the nation. The man knows that he has a talented, capable group of judges that can make his dream a reality. We need to support Judge Jones and his crew so that he achieves his mission. Don’t forget when counting your blessings, count this one.
Tim and I recently arrived home from the Memorial Day service in our neighborhood. Twenty-seven years ago a group of neighbors interested in the historical significance of our community began a Memorial Day service in a small cemetery named the Brooklyn Centre Burial Ground. Those same neighbors gather at the bases of the flagpole and a plaque that rededicates the cemetery. Each year there are new faces added and older faces that have disappeared but it is a time when for a few minutes we in our community remember those who gave their lives so that we may remain free. One thing missing from this Memorial Day Service is always the absence of “Taps” and each year I vow to drag out my trumpet, dust it off and take it with me to play. The playing of “Taps” is a significant part of any Memorial Day service. And so, “Taps” led me to the memories of my past and the Memorial Day Parades in my hometown of Shreve.
Each year, the Memorial Day Parade was a highlight in my hometown. My family had a significant history with the parade. My father was a member of the American Legion Color Guard along with two of his cousins. My uncle shouted off the cadence for the color guard and the twenty-one-gun salute to come soon after at the town cemetery where the parade would end. My aunt Martha was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and her group of ladies sold poppies and marched in the parade dressed in Navy Blue uniforms that included capes and hats. My aunt Dadie organized the Girl Scout Troops into straight rows to honor our country’s dead and wounded. Her husband, my Uncle Clayton, had the spiffiest National Guard Unit in Ohio with all of the Medical ambulances and jeeps that a kid could hope to see. I think that one year we even had a tank or two but that might be the meanderings of an overactive childhood imagination.
I marched in those parades as a girl scout when I was a child, but then when I was a teenager I became a member of the high school marching band. It was a great honor to be chosen to play “Taps” at the conclusion of the ceremony at the local cemetery. Usually, one trumpeter had this distinction, but one year, Mr. Carpenter, our band director decided it would be more dramatic to have an echo after the initial playing. Imagine my surprise and delight when he chose me to be the echo. Not only, was this a great honor but also I would be playing a duet with a senior that I had had a crush on for years. Did I say that this honor had been bestowed on a lonely freshman—her first year ever to march in the Memorial Day Parade as a band member.
My elation over this selection began to lose its luster when my “crush” suggested that I climb a barbed wire fence to enter a pasture, walk across that pasture and hide behind a knoll so that I “truly” would sound like an echo. Well, not wanting to lose my chance at playing, I agreed and started the trek across the pasture. I hunkered down behind that hillock to wait for my cue. Forget hearing the speeches or seeing the honored veteran of the year lay the wreath at the base of the flagpole, but I was ready and waiting. And then, I heard the hoof steps and a crunching sound that sounded like cows chewing their cud. It couldn’t be, but it was. I turned to see fifteen to twenty cows staring me with bovine interest. I almost but didn’t run screaming from that pasture. I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF COWS. I have good reason, but that story will wait for another walk down memory lane.
What to do, what to do. Would they stampede at the 21-gun salute or would they wait to trample me when I played my first notes. No way to tell what is inside a bovine mind. Well, while I pondered this conundrum I missed my first cue to be the echo. I recovered quickly, and very softly, very faintly began to play “Taps”. They watched; they listened; they chewed. I survived.
I climbed over the fence to join my band mates and the adulation of my band director. My crush was none too happy because he felt that he had been upstaged by a lowly freshman. My mother and father raced to my side with them both telling me how wonderful it all had been. “Not a dry eye in the place”, my dad said. My mother agreed. Knowing my emotional dad I doubted that he had seen anything through the haze of tears that welled in his eyes each and every year, but my mom I could count on to have looked for the reaction of the crowd. When I related the story of how and why my trumpet playing had been “as if it were Gabriel playing”, one of the local ministers had described it in those terms, my dad said, “Well, Cat, you have always been lucky”. I never asked him in what way did he consider me lucky because the cows hadn’t stampeded or for one day I had played way better than my talents would suggest. Knowing my dad, he meant a little bit of both.
Denison school officials are puzzled at why their school was listed in a recent Plain Dealer article. Granted, there have been transistion problems this year with the addition of middle school students. Our Kindergarten through fifth grade school added three additional classes, sixth thru eighth. This type of transistion is very hard and would have been made easier if the Board of Education could have eased into the transistion by simply adding one additional grade each year. In Cleveland, that kind of luxury is not possible, so we are left with a hard transistiion. The principal and her staff at Denison school think that the transistion problems will gradually vanish as the older students brought back to the school graduate when they reach the eighth grade.
Councilman Brian Cummins is very concerned about the article and where the Plain Dealer reporter gleaned his facts and what criteria was used. As of Thursday evening, he had not had a return call from the Plain Dealer. Conversations with the Board of Education revealed that they were puzzled as to what documents were used for fact checking as well.
Let’s look at some facts about our community school. The school has a 90% attendance rate. The profeciency scores for math are and for reading are.Both of these figures are above the state figures of for math and for reading. These statistics were taken from the Plain Dealer article.
Denison School is one of eight city schools involved with SCORES. The SCORES program combines a sport, soccer with creative writing and poerty. Our school is a successful participant in this program since its inclusion in the program.
No one is denying that the transistion forced on this school has been difficult and that there have been instances of fights in the school yard, but to be named one of the most violent schools in the city in a crime-ridden neighborhood is a stretch to anyone’s imagination who really knows the school and lives in this community. We should join our councilman in asking for answers and documentation from the Plain Dealer. Pick up the phone, tell them you want some answers.
I was trying to upload a file for the Brooklyn Centre Garden Tour flyer but couldn’t, so have a look at the best upload so far, over at RealNEO: http://realneo.us/blog/timferris
The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched––They must be felt with the heart
It appears that the Plain Dealer may get even duller and the news stories even more inane. I hope Roldo’s assessment is wrong because good competition would make all of our lives better, but usually he is right on the money with his predictions.
I posted this comment at Tim Ferris today.
And the banks in Ohio say they should be excluded from recent predatory lending legislation because they are federally regulated. Do we really want to allow regulation of loan practices to be enforced by agencies that don’t enforce rules on their own agencies? We should be making these decisions not well-paid lobbyists hired by the very institutions to be regulated.
It is worth clicking through to read the entire article on Fannie Mae’s scary accounting tactics.
The Bridge Builder
By Willaim Allen Dromgoole
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man, Said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength in building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you a bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,”he said,
“There followth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too , must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
Michelle Baran, a local artist and resident of Old Brooklyn, is a welcome addition to our Business Page and our blogroll. Michelle’s subjects include many local sites such as the Fulton Road Bridge and Riverside Cemetery’s Administration Building. Visit her website to see more examples of her artistic talent.
Michelle also has a blog that promotes local artists and events around town. She belongs to S.E.A.N at our local gem, Art House. As you know Tim and I have one New Year’s resolution this year to promote and support local businesses. We are glad to add Michelle to our list of local businesspeople to support.