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Thursday, June 26, 2008

New in the Norwood News

Fresh, hot off the presses news from the Norwood News is online and on the streets now. A quick preview:

-Local residents lambasted the DEP's plan to use explosives to blast out a shaft at the Jerome Park Reservoir. Because of space issues, the story doesn't go into much detail about the meeting where residents railed against the blasting plan. So here we'd like to say that residents spoke adamantly and eloquently about the fact that they needed more information on how the plan would be implemented and more evidence that blasting is the way to go. They did not appreciate the DEP's attitude or officials saying, essentially: "Trust us." They've been there, done that.

On a side not, this may have angered residents around the Jerome Park Reservoir who have been sitting on the sidelines while community and political anger has risen about the filtration plant project (skyrocketing costs, possible corruption) in Van Cortlandt Park. Not good for the DEP. Here's our editorial on the DEP's latest setback.

-We have an interesting feature story about Norwood musician and artist Ibrahim Gonzalez who's career has taken some intriguing twists and turns since he met independent film icon Melvin Van Peebles three years ago. Read the story here.

-A quick story on the 100-year anniversary of the University Heights Bridge.

-Bronx entrepreneurs get a leg up at the third annual North Bronx Economic Development Summit.

Also, find out what's happening in the local entertainment and art scene in our Out & About section. And find out about local programs, events and services in our expanded online version of Neighborhood Notes.

Sign up for a free Norwood News account and receive breaking news updates and our bi-weekly e-mail blast here.


  1. Hi West Bronx Blog contributors,

    Apologies for posting this as a comment, but I can't seem to find a contact email. I would like to share with you Hero Reports (www.heroreports.org) a recent research project from the MIT Center for Civic Media. Hero Reports launched yesterday, on WNYC's The Take Away, and will be featured during the next two weeks. I am writing to see if you could contribute to the growth project. We are looking for pre-existing or up and coming stories about moments of civic courage and a way to let people know that this dialog exists and is growing.

    Hero Reports (www.heroreports.org) is inspired by the NYC anti-terrorism campaign "If Your See Something, Say Something". But, instead of vigilance around the suspicious, Hero Reports asks the public to be vigilant around moments we get involved and make a difference. Not to forget the breaches in a city's safety, but to value the compassion and courage that also keeps a city safe. The power of this work, is aggregation and mapping moments of civic courage, in New York city and beyond. The range of heroism and its significance is open. But, I believe, the power of collecting this everyday heroism, can provide statistical and economic balance in culture leveraged towards fear.

    Following this message is a press release for further context. And a link to an audio and video clip (http://www.thetakeaway.org/archives/2008/06/25/3>) from the interview yesterday morning. As mentioned, The Takeaway will be featuring the project over the next two weeks, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Teresa Gomez

    “Hero Report” Project Complements National Anti-Terror Search

    New site focuses on the other part of safety—people getting involved.

    June 24, 2008-- New Yorkers are invited to participate in a new vigilance campaign that follows up on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) “See Something, Say Something” anti-terror surveillance program. The Hero Reports (http://heroreports.org) campaign asks people to look for specific incidents of heroism, generosity and civic engagement in New York City, however small and fleeting they may seem.

    Recent incidents around the world have taught us that the public can play a vital role in keeping a city safe. Engaging the eyes and ears of citizens can help identify potential threats. But safety only through the lens of suspicion can divide rather than unite us. A united, cooperative population is vital to New York’s security. Hero Reports offers us a chance to encourage and recognize these community strengths.

    Here’s how it works: fill out a form when you see someone performing an act of courage, selflessness or special courtesy: challenging a racist stereotype, providing a stranger’s bus fare, helping a disabled person across the street, assisting someone in difficulty. Even small acts of community will count. Participants will fill out a report and send it to Hero Reports (http://heroreports.org) The pilot program has a similar look and feel to the MTA anti-terror advertisements, but includes online and text-messaging services, along with MTA’s phone and print aspects. The social networks in Flickr and Facebook allow users to post and comment on happenings of civic engagement, while the Hero Reports site aggregates incident specifics, map visualizations and instructions for alternative development.

    The Hero Reports campaign will attempt to collect at least 1,944 reports of civic courage—to match the number of suspicion reports posted under the MTA’s anti-terror program. A collection of these reports will be presented to the New York MTA at the end of the summer. We post the reports on our public website (http://heroreports.org.)

    Hero Reports is committed to enhancing public security based on awareness and dialog, by encouraging others to get involved and pay attention to the context of the other.

    “A lot of people care about safety in this city, yet only paying attention to suspicious activity can have a toxic effect on our communities. By providing a database and community forum for civic engagement in our public spaces, we are not only able to make more accurate reports about suspicious activity, but we also enable people to come together in strength instead of fear,” said Alyssa Wright, the MIT graduate student who invented Hero Reports as a research project for the Center for Future Civic Media.

    Contact Information: Alyssa Wright (apw217@mit.edu)
    Or Ellen Hume, Research Director, Center for Future Civic Media, MIT (ehume@media.mit.edu)

    About The Center for Civic Media (http://civic.mit.edu)
    The Center for Future Civic Media at MIT works to create technical and social systems for sharing, prioritizing, organizing, and acting on information. These include developing new technologies that support and foster civic media and political action; serving as an international resource for the study and analysis of civic media; and coordinating community-based test beds both in the United States and internationally.

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