From the Editors: Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way
February 13, 2019
As the Erie Reader, we are, if nothing else, Erieites and readers. It's only fitting then, that we go to the place where those two things intersect in just about the most wonderful way, the Erie County Public Library. For the cover of this issue, we let our longest-running artist Bryan Toy do a little riff on the idea, and what he came up with was pure wonderment in the style of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known better around the places you'll go as Dr. Seuss (ed. note: be on the lookout for a Seuss-inspired "Just Toyin' Witcha," the first of its kind in glorious color in all these many years.). For millions of kids, his books served as the doorway to reading, from The Cat in the Hat to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish, to Green Eggs and Ham, and so many others. Along with his wildly imaginative illustrations and inventive vocabulary, he — along with so many other children's books authors — helped make reading fun and accessible. There are even events and organizations like the National Education Association's Read Across America, on March 2 to commemorate the author's birthday.
Places like Erie County's public libraries, and the Blasco Memorial Library in particular, are no strangers to this sort of outreach. Looking beyond the books that have driven their existence for so long, they're thinking ahead to a post-paper culture. Ben Speggen takes a look at some of the many goings on down by the bayfront. There's the multi-functional Idea Lab, where you can use a 3D printer or sew some pants, or things like the brand new Teen Space where the "young adult" section is thriving, creating a lush space for Erie's new readers.
The Idea Lab will also be the launch site of the of this year's Innovation Erie competition. Rebecca Styn talks to the event's founder, Lisa Austin (herself no stranger to these pages). Working to cultivate new concepts and increase our community's entrepreneurial output, Innovation Erie has been actively championing original product ideas since 2008.
Another one of Austin's longtime causes is the McBride Viaduct. While demolition has begun on the east side bridge, large pieces of it still remain. This bridge holds a great deal of meaning and importance for many in our city. In a 2018 op-ed for the Reader, Reverend Charles Mock went on to describe it as "a bridge over troubled waters," adding that "these troubled waters have to do with a history of redlining. Redlining is truly nothing to joke about. Redlining is an intentional decision made by those in control of money to not invest in certain areas of any given city."
It's that redlining that Jonathan Burdick chronicles in his latest piece. Starting with the misunderstood and often over-deified nature of Abraham Lincoln's times, he follows a route to the modern day. Past Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his damaging practices to the Erie Indemnity Company's 2008 suit of liability. The legacy redlining has left is absolutely still a problem in our community. It's the reality we live in, something to think about so that we don't deny things to some of our younger generations. Let's never limit the places they'll go.