From The Editors
Erie Problems, a changing of the guard, a new column, and more. Welcome to the first August issue of the Erie Reader.
A few weeks back, Upfront tried to give us some sort of biology lesson that involved a spider turning into a beautiful butterfly. While the bio lesson was a bit confusing, something else seemed to catch on: The hashtag #ErieProblems.
For example: "I had to sit in traffic for 5 minutes on the Bayfront before I saw the Wailers, for free, at Liberty Park as part of the 8 Great Tuesdays series. #ErieProblems" or "I'm so tired. Been out doing something cool the last five nights in a row, and it's only Tuesday. #ErieProblems."
The hashtag is now trending on Twitter. For example, people tweeted about too many beautiful sunsets, parking for two hours for only $1.50, free movies, free music, and tortoises eating salads.
Aside from tortoises eating salads, all of those proclamations turned perceived negatives into positives, and that's a trend we're looking to continue. Something that we can add to the list is: "Changing of the guard scares me because I think we might lose a great venue for the arts #ErieProblems."
Rumors started to swirl as Mercyhurst College became Mercyhurst University and then introduced the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture as Erieites feared losing the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center -- a venue dedicated to world-class performances. In this issue's cover story, Rebecca Styn talks with the Institute's new director, Jamie Grady, about his vision, goals, and the upcoming plans taking shape at Mercyhurst.
But let's rewind for a minute from the week to come and talk about the week that's past. We want to thank all of those who attended our lecture at the Jefferson Educational Society. We discussed myriad media-related topics, but some of the best discussion came from the Q&A that followed -- especially when one audience member asked if we thought having only two papers, thus two view points, in the city was dangerous.
While we're fortunate to have multiple media outlets in a city of our size, having limited options can be dangerous since it can divide us into two camps: black or white, left or right, liberal or conservative. That's why we're constantly looking for ways to introduce fresh perspective into conversations happening in our city. With that, we're introducing a new series from Rebecca Styn titled "The Way I See It," where she'll be discussing topics and issues that matter to the city and reflecting on them. Like everything we do, this is not meant to be a one-way conversation. Love? Hate? Agree? Disagree? Make sure you add your voice to the conversation.
But back to #ErieProblems. This past weekend we set up shop at one of Erie's best summer events: The Erie Art Museum's Blues and Jazz Festival. On Saturday, temperatures hit 95 degrees and some of us got a little more sun than we would have liked, but still, people danced, hula-hooped, and stayed out all day to enjoy the free live music. On Sunday, the day began with 45-mile-an-hour winds and sheets of rain blowing sideways; people danced in the rain, embracing the spirit of the festival as the clouds gave way to beautiful azure skies and one of the best performances Erie's ever witnessed.
Hot summer days? Dancing in the rain? Sure sounds like #ErieProblems to us.
Like soaking up the sun and embracing the summer sweat and dancing in the rain, we can find a silver-lining to keep turning our negatives into positives if we look hard enough. Or, perhaps we should take to moving beyond our self-perceived problems.
As we continue to find our silver lining in summer clouds, we need to heed Michael Haas's call in this issue's Tech Watch: Erie can't continue to take a backseat to other cities. Haas wants Erie to set the example, not follow it. Sure, he's using small businesses and startups as examples, but this isn't limited just to that. Now that we've gotten good at seeing our true positives by focusing on our community's strengths, we can't afford to stall, or worse: backpedal.
Even as the sun begins to set on summer, our brightest days lie ahead. Now is not the time to turn our backs on our city and begin our long hibernation; now is the time to keep pushing forward toward the better days ahead that we all must work for, not sit around idling waiting for.