From The Editors

Category:  From the Editors
Monday, May 27th, 2013 at 2:49 PM

On Saturday, May 25, approximately 145,000 took to the streets of Erie to celebrate the 10,000 more marching in commemoration of Erie’s role in the Battle of Lake. Despite a slight chill in the air, Erie came together as a community to participate in the Grand Patriotic Parade -- the topic on the cover of the last issue of the Erie Reader. And if you remember, the parade committee told Alex Bieler it was anticipating 100,000 attendees; the 145,000 number reported by WICU’s Emily Welsh in an interview with former Erie Mayor Joyce Savocchio, one of the people on the planning committee, well exceeds that original estimate.

So what’s the takeaway?

Erie doesn’t mind a little brisk breeze. And Erie loves itself a good parade.

But what’s more important is that Erie knows how to come together to celebrate its past -- something in which this community takes great pride. After all, the fleet that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry led was built right here in our bay. So post-War of 1812 America unfolded the way it did largely because of Erie’s role in the U.S.’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, a lake after which we draw our city and county’s namesake.

“Our history was formed around [Lake Erie],” writes Jay Stevens in this issue’s cover story, “and our region’s economy and livelihood depends on it. In a sense, we are defined by Lake Erie.”

And such reverence in our proud past gives us hope for our bright future.

But, as Jay writes, our Great Lake is in trouble.

In this story, Jay explores four threats facing our greatest resource: microplastics, algae blooms, invasive species, and climate change. How dangerous are these threats? Is it too late for us? What’s our future in light of the future of our lake?

All questions explored in Jay’s story.

But there lies another question Jay poses: What can we do to pressure local officials to take action?

This is a pertinent question since local officials affect our day-to-day life, making decisions that shape our future here.

According to the final batch of unofficial primary results provided by the Erie County Courthouse sent out at 10:17 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, only 26.35 percent took to the polls to cast their ballots. That’s just one out of every four registered voters.

Is this why pundits were surprised by several outcomes? Maybe.

This primary election saw former U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper unseat democratic incumbent Barry Grossman, who was seeking a second term, to represent the Democratic party in this fall’s General Election for the position of Erie County Executive. Newcomer Jay Breneman unseated Ronald “Whitey” Cleaver, who was seeking a third term, to represent the 4th District in the General Elections.

Originally, the unofficial results had Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Professor Lisa Austin ousting Democratic Incumbent Joe Giles – who had served on County Council since 1982 – for the 2nd District nod. But when the official vote came in, it was discovered that one precinct had not been counted and Andre Horton had actually bested Austin by 10 votes. Yes, just 10 votes separated the winners, leading Austin to challenge the count to determine who will face Republican challenger Ned Smith, who was unopposed in the primaries, in the General Elections Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Erie’s immediate future is at stake -- from our Lake to our Bayfront and beyond. If Erie knows how to do one thing right, it’s celebrate its past. And if there’s ever a chance to learn from our past, it is this: we must care as much about that bright future as we do that proud past.

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 25
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