From the Editors
Here's what you can expect in tomorrow's new issue of the Erie Reader!
If you haven't heard by now, Erie recently received big political news: former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper plans to run against incumbent Barry Grossman in the primary elections for the Erie County Executive seat in May. Ben Speggen broke the story Monday, Feb. 25 on our website after receiving an email in which Dahlkemper confirmed the rumors that had been swirling for the past few weeks; the story spread out to Philadelphia and down to Pittsburgh, making several stops in between.
While it's tremendously heartening to see two people in Erie who want to create a bright and diverse future, Cory Vaillancourt explores what Dahlkemper's attempt to re-enter Erie's political field really means in Upfront. And Dahlkemper, who's recently been travelling out of the country, plans to make a public announcement soon. As this story continues to develop, turn to ErieReader.com for coverage, because this race just became a lot more interesting.
And as we begin gearing up for the political season, we find ourselves still challenged by issues like Voter ID, which Jay Stevens discusses in this issue's Street Corner Soapbox. You'll also find correspondence from State Representative Ryan Bizzarro and State Senator Sean Wiley, as both report in again on their Harrisburg Happenings. And The Way Rebecca Styn Sees It, Gov. Tom Corbett's pension reform plan needs to be discussed.
But Rebecca is also talking about another issue: The West Erie Plaza. "This past week, the Millcreek Township supervisors gave the go-ahead for the first step in the renewal of the West Erie Plaza," she writes. She talks with the managing director of VCG Properties, the company that purchased the plaza, to get a sense of what the future holds for the once-booming stripmall.
Rebecca also tells us the story of Ed Kissell, the subject of this issue's You Ought to Know. Kissell has worked tirelessly for the beautification of Erie, and it's folks like him that give us hope in Erie's bright future.
And it's folks like him that breathe life into our continued use of the words "renaissance" and "revival" when we speak of Erie's current growth. That life, that growth, that development -- they are all happening, as Alex Bieler illustrates in this issue's cover story on Erie's hip-hop scene.
With the rise in national popularity of the genres, Alex poses a question, "What does it mean to Erie – a cover-band loving town with nary an urban radio station, save for the weekend programming on Gannon University's 90.5 WERG?" He quickly answers that question, writing, "You may think that there isn't much of a hip-hop scene here in The Flagship City, but there are plenty of subscribers to the culture that would like to prove you wrong."
Those he interviews, from Iggy to Jon Box, from DJ SALT to C. Brown, from Hectic to Marty Schwab, are endeavoring to help Erie's vibrant hip-hop scene continue to grow and thrive, as many throughout The Gem City are embracing hip-hop as more than just a musical genre, but a way of life.
From politics to music to art to theater, people are believing in this city and are embracing the Erie way of life. These people call this city their home -- they choose to live here -- and so do we. And we count ourselves fortunate enough to know there are more than just two people in Erie who want to create a bright and diverse future.