From the Editors: February 28, 2018
The best part of waking up
If you're merely looking to reawaken your brain and reanimate your flesh, you could roam a few blocks in any direction and likely stumble across a ration of this life-giving elixir. But if you're seeking something more, an experience to embrace as you reclaim your consciousness, you may need to plot a more calculated course. Previously steeped in the no-frills tradition of the blue collar lifestyle, coffee has emerged as an artform. After a few false starts at the turn of the century, cozy coffee shops and small roasters have been frothing up newfound support around town.
Resident coffee-addict (and judge in the recent Erie's Best Coffee competition) Nick Warren traces the beverage's evolutionary road map through the foam, from the ancient Arabian Peninsula to American diner to today's specialty brew studios. Writer Cara Suppa, who has seen a number of posh coffee shops come and go, sees staying power in Ember+Forge, which has perked the attention of downtown Erie since opening this past December. This is thanks in no small part to Ember+Forge proprietor Hannah Kirby, whose planning, dedication and foresight have already helped make her new business a local destination.
Others could afford to take cues from her decisive leadership, especially as we cross over into politics. Divides between party lines are bitterer than a pot left on the burner for too long, and in trying times where direction is needed more than ever, our policymakers need to wake up. Some argue that Pennsylvania's congress, a sufferer of chronic gridlock due to excessive gerrymandering, is beyond a shot of espresso — Jim Wertz is among those who hope that the redrawing of congressional districts will be the bucket of ice water that shocks our state out of limbo.
Meanwhile, on a national level, the shock value of mass shootings seem to diminish, a disturbing trend noted by guest writer Morgan Williams, who experienced the scare of an active shooter firsthand on the grounds of McDowell High School. That's about as close to home as it gets. Since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, at least 239 more school shootings have transpired, including the recent massacre in Parkland, Florida. How much stronger a stimulant do lawmakers need to reconsider our gun policies?
As Erie City Councilwoman Liz Allen writes, it takes work to become a friendlier neighborhood. It starts with communicating with and listening to one another — and maybe (probably) a cup of coffee.