Our group of editors like to read other blogs for ideas, style, and interesting articles by other people.
Many blogs out there in the “world” can be really scary. We found one that has been very popular within the past month called, Stuff White People Like. Just putting the link here and not posting it to the blog roll is probably all we are willing to do right now.
Have you ever seen nine people try to push each other into the bushes? It’s not a pretty site, even with glasses of Pinot Grigrio, or Merlot in hand. It’s easier with a Budweiser though…
In our opinion it is a funny and thought-provoking cultural view. Any thoughts from ya’ll?
Belmont Middle School students, evoking memories of a past era of protests by young people, held their own rally at Stowe Park on January 15. A peaceful protest rally seeking to be heard in the town-wide discussion of behavior in the park and downtown area.
Spurred on by a growing animosity between hundreds of adolescents in the downtown area immediately after school and downtown merchants, Belmont police addressed all the parents via a letter.
The word got out that the city wanted the park emptied of young teens and that the kids were ‘banned from the park”.
As the BannerNews reported, albeit delayed by its posting on this site, the students were not “banned”, but were definitely given the message to “go elsewhere”.
Parks and Recreation opinion — set up surveillance systems to track troublemakers — not a good option.
Downtown Merchants opinion — get them out, or get them supervised — not particularly good, but better.
Belmont Police — we need more officers, we need more money — SOP response, also not productive.
Gaston County Schools’ — once the students leave our campus, they are no longer our responsibility — oooh-kaay, how productive is that?
The kids took matters into their own hands, and, voila’, a meeting occurs on January 16.
Way to go Teens!
We still stand by our original opinion, that all the groups need to dialogue/plan better afterschool options so that “bad apples” don’t spoil the adolescent need to “hang out” in public areas — and feel safe while growing up.
It does require the entire community to monitor. It does require individual families with children in this age group and school group to have open communication and supervision of the kids. It does require cooperation.
Forwarded email is funny sometimes:
It pays to think outside the box!
We went to breakfast at a restaurant where the “senior special” was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $1.99.
“Sounds good,” my wife said. “But I don’t want the eggs.”
“Then I’ll have to charge you two dollars and forty-nine cents because you’re ordering a la carte,” the waitress warned her.
“You mean I’d have to pay for not taking the eggs?”, my wife asked incredulously.
“YES!”, stated the waitress.
“I’ll take the special then”, my wife said.
”How do you want your eggs?”, the waitress asked.
“Raw and in the shell,” my wife replied.
She took the two eggs home.
DON’T MESS WITH SENIORS!!! We’ve been around the block more than once.
Just wrote an inflammatory headline to see if ya’ll were paying attention.
But, there is an issue brewing with the popularity of the downtown area with young and old alike.
Stowe Park has long been a gathering place for students from the junior high/now, middle school, immediately after school each day from about 3:05 to almost 6:00 PM.
After the Central Avenue bridge was renovated in 1992-1993, the Belmont Public Library saw a huge increase in the after school “attendance”. The library created a policy for behavior and time limits for this new attendance pattern.
Successive Belmont Middle School principals have had varying levels of success with afterschool clubs and activities, all pretty much completing by 4:00 PM each day.
With the opening of the Belmont General Store and Caravan Coffee Shop, students began flocking to these venues as well as the library and park area.
Parents began “allowing” the children to go to these places afterschool. Many of the children getting “freedom” after years of afterschool child-care type programs aged them out of their licensing focus. Parents saw this freedom as also freedom from the financial burden of child-care.
So, the community must now bear the added cost of more police officers patrolling downtown Belmont and Stowe Park. As Chief James claimed in a letter to Middle School families, patrolling the park is taking away an officer from [more important] other duties during their shifts.
Caravan Coffee and the Belmont General Store, for all the goodwill that is done by these businesses, have had to call in the police to deal with the behavior of more than just a few kids at times.
The opening of the pavilion at the top of the hill in Stowe Park has contributed to a growing crowd of kids, particularly on nice days.
So, what can be done? The BannerNews did an article about the issue in last Thursday’s paper:
We are suggesting that the school take a more proactive approach toward afterschool “latchkey” children. “Latchkey” is a terminolgy for children who carry their housekey to let themselves in at home while the parents or guardians are away. It was also used by some political elements to stigmatize children of families who have both parents in the away-from-home workforce.
Community groups such as the the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and others have offered programs for years, specifically designed and geared to the ‘tweens and early adolescents of a community. Many times these programs meet until 5:30 or 6, but not every day. The school itself offers many clubs that meet from 3:15 to 4:00 PM, only closing down when the teacher-advisors vacate the buildings around 4’ish. Team sports generally take place from 3:15 to 5:00 PM and when games are held, large student crowds are present.
Grants are available to offer teachers incentives to stay longer to develop interesting programs and activities.
We agree, this is a particularly difficult age of student to engage. Chief James singles out the skateboarders for example, as a negative impact.
The negativeness of skateboarding and inline skating (called “boarding, or “skaters” respectively) is because the community doesn’t generally take kindly to young (mostly) boys who like individual challenges as opposed to the traditional ‘team sports” approach of engagement.
Girls like to gather in small groups to socialize, and where would that be? Close to where boys hang out – be it on the ball field or in a park area.
The Belmont Parks and Recreation director’s comments about setting up surveillance cameras in all the parks is short-sighted and not going to accomplish a P & R goal of engagement. It will just send the students “somewhere else”.
One of the Belmont P& R department’s long term goals was to develop and operate a skate park. Now that the bond referendum has passed, it is time to move this project forward rapidly. Of course, if the placement of such a park is farther away from the prospective user group — middle school aged children– the less impactful it will be in the long run. We have long recommended that the lower (unused) tennis courts at Davis Park be the site.
It is time for the elements to match up and get a comprehensive series of goals and action steps into place. We suggest that the four main groups — the school, downtown merchants, parks and recreation, and students (along with their parents) — develop this plan. It would be wise to include the police department after there is consensus on the “self-policing” process before the law enforcement brings its heavy hand to bear on the result.
The best and most intimate form of political work is the old-fashioned, door-to-door, canvassing for votes.
Kudos to Belmont City Council candidate, Richard Turner for recognizing and putting out his platform in the door-to-door format.
Turner’s Platform: richard-turner-platform.pdf
Irl Dixon’s format is to mail something to everyone. Of course, it helps that his office is located on the corner of Myrtle/McLeod and Main Street (Coldwell Banker Realty office). He has a chance to talk to everyone who walks by him. Irl also has a record to run on for this election.
Irl Dixon’s flyer: irl-dixon-mailing.pdf
Our editorial board has not agreed on any endorsement at this point. We will be meeting on Saturday evening for our annual Endorsement Dinner Party and will report the results on Sunday night.
To fill in the newbies to our blogsite, the Endorsement Dinner Party is an unpretentious (ok, just a bit pretentious), intimate gathering of the BFP Editiorial board and their significant others for great food, libation, and humorous discussion (We often have these dinners, this just happens to be prior to this election).
It is more like this:
This year’s Endorsement Dinner will be to discuss the candidates, and try to achieve a concensus on who to recommend to our friends and neighbors.
Ahh, yes, about half of the editiorial board are not that all knowledgeable about coffee. We all know that we like it.
In Belmont, Nichols, Caravan, White’s, Jerry’s, Shirley’s, McDonald’s, and Hardees are good places for a cup or two, and conversation.
The Belmont Police hang out at Nichols. A lot of business people catch up and read papers early in the AM at McDonald’s, moms and preschool-age kids seem to have playdates there as well. People on the go, and those who have a bit less to do in the AM wander into Caravan. The high school students cruise through Jerry’s; and White’s, Hardees, and Shirley’s seem to have the senior crowd pretty much wrapped up.
You have seen us hanging out at Caravan, McDonald’s, and White’s just in the past few days.
We sure do like our coffee – even the plain old “large cup” kind…