The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Monday, April 2, 2007

Go Bessemer!

WOW! What a terrific article on Bessemer, AL on the front page of the Birmingham News on Sunday. In case you missed it, here’s the link:
There is a picture of Adam Young on the front page working on a house, and a picture of Ron and Latasha Cook and their family and house on page 8. Too bad you don’t get the pictures from the online version. I believe this article will do as much to bring Bessemer Back as anything anyone else has done. Thank you Robert Gordon, and thank you Adam and Erica, Ron and Latasha, and Sunny Lippert for contributing to this article and for contributing to the revival of Bessemer.

Bessemer is a diverse community and this article points that out. Many of our residents celebrate this diversity and realize that in part our strength comes from drawing on the attributes of everyone rather than marginalizing one group or another.

This week is Public Health Week and all week I will be trying to pass on some Public Health knowledge and tips. This year we are focusing on Disaster Preparedness, more on that later in the week.

Here is a Public Health Fact. During the years from 1900 to 2000 the health of our nation improved greatly. We saw the development of life saving antibiotics, disease preventing vaccines, a greater understanding of sanitation and hygiene, and medical advances that help every one of us. The average life span during that period increased by 30 years. Did you know that 25 of those years are attributable to Public Health and just 5 years to medicine? In 1900 the most common cause of death was infectious diseases. Now it’s heart disease, followed by cancer and stroke.

Here is your public heath tip for the day, from the Birmingham News and the Center for Disease Control. Your toothbrush is nasty. Even if you rinse it well, it will have bacteria all over it the next time you put it in your mouth. The VIOlight Toothbrush Sanitizer can help by using ultraviolet light to kill the bugs, and leaves your toothbrush almost sterile. There is a home version and a travel version. Check or, beginning April 15 VIOlight will be available at Target Stores

A poll recently released by the Capital Survey Research Center shows some interesting results for Alabama. Since 1999 confidence in Local School Boards has declined from 70% to 62%. But confidence in Local Private Schools has declined even more, from 79% to 61%, more than twice as big a drop. I have always been a supporter of public schools, and think local boards, especially in Bessemer, must find a way to increase public confidence in their systems. But I am curious why the decline in confidence of private schools. It’s no secret that some of them were formed to avoid integration under the pretence of better academics (I’m being just a little bit cynical) and maybe now that many of these schools are becoming more diverse in their student populations they are no longer the answer to some parent’s concerns.

The poll also shows that confidence in Local Newspapers has declined 8%, from 77% to 69%. I suspect The Western Star has lost even more confidence than that. We need a good, reliable newspaper that we can trust, and that presents various sides of issues, and that will keep us informed on local issues in a timely fashion. Are you listening out there?


Anonymous said...

Okay, thanks ever so for the vision of little bugs crawling around on my toothbrush. :) I may be heading to Target soon.

As for the lower confidence in schools, I attribute at least some of that to the anti-intellectual streak in our makeup that has been encouraged by right-wingers over the past couple of decades. The denial of global warming that you mention in the post above is another symptom of the problem.

And congrats on the great article! I heard someone talking about it this morning, so the good PR is working.

Anonymous said...

I too thought the article about Bessemer making a comeback was great!
As for the schools, we all know that we need a drastic improvement in our public schools (especially Jess Lanier High School, where drop outs are at an all time high) is necessary if we want to encourage home buyers with school age children. I would encourage every citizen who truly cares about the future of our city to get involved in our schools system in some way. The opportunities abound... from becoming a big brother or sister, to volunteering to provide in school or after school tutoring to attending the board meetings and asking questions. If we truly are a city of diversity who welcomes and invites differences then why aren't the "white" families who live here enrolling their children in our neighborhood schools? I have lived here for 12 years and have seen slow progress. I believe that this trend can change in the blind of an eye with greater awareness and concern for the education of our students. After all, they are our future.