From The Editors
Feed back on our last issue, the Erie In-land Port Initiative, and introducing a new column.
You've heard it plenty of times before, even read it here in this column: The Erie Reader endeavors to be a forum for ideas and discussion and seeks to drive a two-way communication with its readers.
That is, you.
Social media was abuzz after our last issue hit stands. From skeptical readers questioning our decision to place Smith Provision Company on the cover — which even led to some Morrissey (the other Smiths) -inspired illustrations — to others wondering aloud what the hell took us so long to feature local artist Fran Schanz in our You Ought to Know series, you, Reader readers, were quite vocal, and for that, we're glad, because it means you're interested and engaged and willing to let your thoughts and opinions be heard.
Regardless of one's meat-eating preferences, though, it is hard to ignore what Smith's has done for Erie as an institution. Which is why we didn't ignore it and still feel we'd be remiss in not sharing the Weber family's story with you. The family-operated and owned business has been a solid fixture in The Flagship City for decades now — without laying off a single employee. And they're continuing to grow, which means more of that one thing Erie cries for the most: Jobs. What's more, the Webers treat those folks occupying those jobs with dignity and respect. And that is a good story we could all stand to hear.
And featuring Fran has been a long time coming. Overdue? Given all that he's done for Erie's arts and culture scene, yes. But we could also say that about the countless others, who also contribute to Erie's burgeoning arts scene, as well as economic development, politics, and beyond, that we've yet to spotlight.
That's the beauty of that series: It reveals that indeed there exists a plethora of people populating our fair city who are worthy of such recognition and praise. And with no apparent dearth of people who we do think You Ought to Know, we look forward to continuing that series long into the future.
But that two-way conversation also extends beyond social media. In this issue, you'll find a very candid and well-written submission from John Elliott.
He revisits an issue we've been discussing as of late: The Erie Inland Port Initiative. Some Reader contributors have supported the initiative, while others have criticized it. Now you get to hear for yourself from the man behind the operation.
Hearing from you, our readers, as well as those we often discuss, is vital to sustaining that conversation and ensuring we're all informed and aware of the issues that matter to Erie. That's why with this issue, we've decided to take it one step farther and now proudly introduce you to: Outside Voices, a new column written by Matthew Flowers.
Flowers has been contributing to the Reader for over a year now, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that he's good at getting people to talk. A lot. So we developed this column with that idea in mind: Take an issue that matters to Erie and send Flowers out to the streets. There, he'll ask you your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and concerns. And in this issue, he asked four people their thoughts on Erie County Executive Barry Grossman's decision to resign as chair of the Destination Erie Steering Committee.
This column won't always focus on politics. We'll ask you, our Reader readers, about Erie's art scene, the culture of The Gem City; we'll ask for your thoughts on urban development and planning, the economy, regional cooperation, and — well, you get the point.
Just like there's no shortage of people You Ought to Know, there's a bevy of issues that matter to our city, our county, and our region. So to continue our two-way communication, we'll be calling upon you to lend us your Outside Voices, because when your voice is heard, our conversation grows, and when our conversation grows, action will follow.