Archive for the ‘Dartmouth Avenue’ Category

>Another Fire

May 5, 2009

>Fire on Dartmouth Avenue

This one story Queen Anne cottage at 1809 Dartmouth Avenue burned in the predawn hours today. The home was built c. 1905, and no one was living in the house.

Should We Be Embarrassed?

I don’t travel up Carolina Terrace to Dartmouth Avenue often, and until yesterday had never noticed the street sign at the intersection. I’m also not the best speller around, and am thankful for spell check and my unofficial editors who point out my errors. But it’s a bit embarrassing that the city street folks do not even know how to spell the names of the streets. Let’s see how long it takes to correct it.

Senate Candidate Forum Tonight

The election for state Senate District 19 is May 12, and there will be a forum for candidates tonight at 6:00 at St. Mary’s Catholic church in Fairfield. The candidates are trying to win the seat formerly held by E. B. McClain, who was removed from office after being convicted of misusing his office.

There are 8 candidates: Louise Alexander of Bessemer, Merika Coleman of Birmingham, Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, Eric Major of Fairfield, Lawrence McAdory of Bessemer, Rod Scott of Fairfield and Madilyn Southern of Fairfield.

District 19 covers parts of Bessemer, Fairfield, Hueytown, Midfield and surrounding areas.

>Bessemer News

September 7, 2008

>Good news for Bessemer’s south side. Recently the Bessemer Neighborhood Association recommended to City Hall that Dartmouth Avenue, from 14th Street (Highway 150) to Carolina Terrace, be declared truck free, and a new truck route along Carolina Avenue be marked.

Chief Rutledge and Mayor May agreed. Read about it at Bessemer Neighbors.

Other good news for Bessemer can be found there as well.

Bessemer Neighborhood Association

July 2, 2007

The comments continue to pile up on my post about Faith and Republicans. Check it out. Because one commentor (guess who) is so critical of Christians who want to be inclusive and of homosexuals for demanding equality, in a few days I will make a series of posts about the Bible and homosexuality. Many of you have seen this before, but apparently he has not.

Last night there was a meeting of Dartmouth Avenue residents and others who are interested in organizing in such a way as to work toward making our community a safer place and improving our quality of life. One thing I learned…people are not going to get to a 7:00 meeting at 7:00, as we didn’t begin till about 7:15, allowing some extra time for late arrivals. But there were still people coming in at 8:00. In the end, there were more people present than at last weeks Vigil/Rally at the same location.

The second thing I learned was we can not (or should not) restrict our efforts to Dartmouth Avenue or Bessemer’s south side. The problems we will be addressing are not restricted to this neighborhood, or even to the city of Bessemer (as we had at least one Lipscomb resident present). And many of the solutions will be city wide in their scope. However, I hope that our group will realize that if this group encompassed all of the frustrated citizens in Bessemer, that no church or building in the city could hold us all, and if every angry and frustrated resident of Bessemer was allowed to express their opinions, we would still be over there listening.

Not to say that everyone’s opinion is not important, I’m just saying that to be effective, this group has to concentrate on the problems of our community and neighborhoods, and I hope that as more people from other parts of Bessemer come, they will return to their neighborhoods and form their own “subgroups” of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association.

We did not elect leadership, but we did name block captains for certain blocks that were represented. While the responsibilities of the captains have not been identified yet, one thing they will be doing is distributing information about future meetings to people on their block (and surrounding blocks until we have captains throughout the area). As for leadership, Elvira, Susan and I will remain as a “steering committee” until officers are named. And since no other leaders were named, we will take it upon ourselves to develop some operating rules so that the meetings might have a better flow and our time might be better utilized.

Here are some important points from the meeting. We are (at least starting out) using the MAP-IT model, so we will Mobilize (get people involved), Assess (the situation, including naming our strengths and resources as well as our problems and weaknesses), Plan (that begins next week), Implement (carry out our plans) and Track (our progress).

Here are some random thoughts. We need to take a multi-pronged approach to the problem of violence. Some of these solutions may be reactive, such as increasing police patrols or placing a sub station in the area. I say reactive because this is to fight the criminals that are already present (but they are also proactive in that they will help to deter crime). Other solutions are proactive, in that they might help to prevent young people from turning to drugs and crime. Examples are building a recreation center, having quality after school programs for youth, and offering quality pre-kindergarten for all kids. Statistics show that these types of efforts reduce future crime rates by certain percentages.

We are thinking outside the box. For instance, fighting crime does not just involve arresting the bad guys. Things like tearing down abandoned buildings, a noise ordinance, litter control programs and beautification projects all help to make an area less attractive to criminals. They show that the residents are in control and that the residents take pride in their community and have respect for their neighbors. So our organization will not just be another neighborhood watch group, but we will be developing goals that improve our quality of life in many ways.

One thing that I hope will be a side effect of this effort, is that it will lead to the formation of neighborhood associations in each district that are funded by the city, like Birmingham has. For instance, I envision District 7 having two associations, divided by 14th Street. Just something to anticipate, not something we are focusing on now.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 10, at 7:00, at Broken Vessel Full Gospel Church.

>Bessemer Neighborhood Association

July 2, 2007

>The comments continue to pile up on my post about Faith and Republicans. Check it out. Because one commentor (guess who) is so critical of Christians who want to be inclusive and of homosexuals for demanding equality, in a few days I will make a series of posts about the Bible and homosexuality. Many of you have seen this before, but apparently he has not.

Last night there was a meeting of Dartmouth Avenue residents and others who are interested in organizing in such a way as to work toward making our community a safer place and improving our quality of life. One thing I learned…people are not going to get to a 7:00 meeting at 7:00, as we didn’t begin till about 7:15, allowing some extra time for late arrivals. But there were still people coming in at 8:00. In the end, there were more people present than at last weeks Vigil/Rally at the same location.

The second thing I learned was we can not (or should not) restrict our efforts to Dartmouth Avenue or Bessemer’s south side. The problems we will be addressing are not restricted to this neighborhood, or even to the city of Bessemer (as we had at least one Lipscomb resident present). And many of the solutions will be city wide in their scope. However, I hope that our group will realize that if this group encompassed all of the frustrated citizens in Bessemer, that no church or building in the city could hold us all, and if every angry and frustrated resident of Bessemer was allowed to express their opinions, we would still be over there listening.

Not to say that everyone’s opinion is not important, I’m just saying that to be effective, this group has to concentrate on the problems of our community and neighborhoods, and I hope that as more people from other parts of Bessemer come, they will return to their neighborhoods and form their own “subgroups” of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association.

We did not elect leadership, but we did name block captains for certain blocks that were represented. While the responsibilities of the captains have not been identified yet, one thing they will be doing is distributing information about future meetings to people on their block (and surrounding blocks until we have captains throughout the area). As for leadership, Elvira, Susan and I will remain as a “steering committee” until officers are named. And since no other leaders were named, we will take it upon ourselves to develop some operating rules so that the meetings might have a better flow and our time might be better utilized.

Here are some important points from the meeting. We are (at least starting out) using the MAP-IT model, so we will Mobilize (get people involved), Assess (the situation, including naming our strengths and resources as well as our problems and weaknesses), Plan (that begins next week), Implement (carry out our plans) and Track (our progress).

Here are some random thoughts. We need to take a multi-pronged approach to the problem of violence. Some of these solutions may be reactive, such as increasing police patrols or placing a sub station in the area. I say reactive because this is to fight the criminals that are already present (but they are also proactive in that they will help to deter crime). Other solutions are proactive, in that they might help to prevent young people from turning to drugs and crime. Examples are building a recreation center, having quality after school programs for youth, and offering quality pre-kindergarten for all kids. Statistics show that these types of efforts reduce future crime rates by certain percentages.

We are thinking outside the box. For instance, fighting crime does not just involve arresting the bad guys. Things like tearing down abandoned buildings, a noise ordinance, litter control programs and beautification projects all help to make an area less attractive to criminals. They show that the residents are in control and that the residents take pride in their community and have respect for their neighbors. So our organization will not just be another neighborhood watch group, but we will be developing goals that improve our quality of life in many ways.

One thing that I hope will be a side effect of this effort, is that it will lead to the formation of neighborhood associations in each district that are funded by the city, like Birmingham has. For instance, I envision District 7 having two associations, divided by 14th Street. Just something to anticipate, not something we are focusing on now.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 10, at 7:00, at Broken Vessel Full Gospel Church.

That Was A Rally?

June 26, 2007

What was I thinking? A candlelight vigil and rally against violence that offers nothing to stop the violence and crime that is plaguing Bessemer. Nothing, but prayer and Jesus. From the “vigil” standpoint I understand this. But a rally against violence, in my mind, would involve a statement from the police department and city officials offering solutions, and the residents getting behind them.

But last night’s rally offered none of that. The police chief told me yesterday morning that he was not even aware of the rally. The keynote speaker was Mayor Ed May, and one of the highlights of his speech, other than “me, me, me”, was that the recent murders took place because Satan handed Eve the apple. Another highlight was his assertion that an increased police presence would not make the area safer. We heard about the Lake of Fire, and how God used the mayor’s wife to prevent him from ending up in Mobile, instead, bringing him to Bessemer to fulfill his destiny. Oh, and we had a hand raising for the audience to declare whether we want to go to heaven or hell. “Come on, raise your hands.” The theme there was if you commit murder on the street, you will go to hell. Plain and simple kids, don’t commit murder. There, wasn’t that easy?

Where does murder take place?” the mayor asked. “In the homes,” he answered himself. Murders take place in people’s homes so having more police in the neighborhood would not prevent them. Mayor May, listen and learn. Josh Hughes was not in a home when he was killed, he was in the yard. The three men who shot each other on Dartmouth Avenue were not in their home, they were in the middle of the street.

But you are right, Mr. Mayor, murder can take place in the home. Although not in Bessemer, in September 2006, 22 month old George Amison slept in his bed in his apartment home in Fountain Heights on Birmingham’s north side. A bullet fired from outside came through the wall and killed him. The same could happen here in Bessemer.

The solution, according to the mayor, would be for each one of the audience members, to tell another resident about Jesus, and for that resident to do the same, until all of Bessemer had converted. His good v. evil philosophy reminds me of the president.

Mr. Mayor (and Mr. President), you can not frame everything as either good or evil. That’s part of the reason we are failing in Iraq, and it is the reason that progress is not being made in Bessemer.

There was no talk of finding a way to occupy kid’s minds and time with something useful and productive, like a rec center. No talk of tearing down dilapidated buildings that attract criminals. No talk of rooting out drug dealers and manufacturers. No talk of bringing in programs that allow kids to have supervision in the afternoons while parents are working. No talk of encouraging neighbors to get to know each other, and increasing efforts of neighborhood watch associations. No talk of opening a police substation on Dartmouth Avenue (this is not a knee jerk suggestion; crime on Dartmouth Avenue is nothing new), no talk of police making an effort to get to know the residents.

I take that back. There was talk of those things, just not from city officials. Elvira Kidd, Susan Lehman and I have decided that since current leadership is lacking, and since we do not have neighborhood associations like Birmingham does, we will start our own association. We have called a meeting for every resident of Dartmouth Avenue from Highway 150 to the Bessemer city limit. Later we hope our efforts will spread to surrounding streets. At this initial meeting we will be assessing the needs of our street from the viewpoint of those present and then brainstorming to hear possible actions that we might later decide to take. We will not be solving the problems this week, but we will at least be talking about them. It’s a start. If you live on Dartmouth Avenue, you will receive a flyer this week inviting you.

Prayer is fine and I am all for it. But prayer without action is useless, in fact it may even be counterproductive, lulling the faithful into a false security and allowing them to ignore real problems for which human feet rather than God’s hands might provide real solutions. Susan, Elvira and I will be using our feet beginning this week.

>That Was A Rally?

June 26, 2007

>What was I thinking? A candlelight vigil and rally against violence that offers nothing to stop the violence and crime that is plaguing Bessemer. Nothing, but prayer and Jesus. From the “vigil” standpoint I understand this. But a rally against violence, in my mind, would involve a statement from the police department and city officials offering solutions, and the residents getting behind them.

But last night’s rally offered none of that. The police chief told me yesterday morning that he was not even aware of the rally. The keynote speaker was Mayor Ed May, and one of the highlights of his speech, other than “me, me, me”, was that the recent murders took place because Satan handed Eve the apple. Another highlight was his assertion that an increased police presence would not make the area safer. We heard about the Lake of Fire, and how God used the mayor’s wife to prevent him from ending up in Mobile, instead, bringing him to Bessemer to fulfill his destiny. Oh, and we had a hand raising for the audience to declare whether we want to go to heaven or hell. “Come on, raise your hands.” The theme there was if you commit murder on the street, you will go to hell. Plain and simple kids, don’t commit murder. There, wasn’t that easy?

Where does murder take place?” the mayor asked. “In the homes,” he answered himself. Murders take place in people’s homes so having more police in the neighborhood would not prevent them. Mayor May, listen and learn. Josh Hughes was not in a home when he was killed, he was in the yard. The three men who shot each other on Dartmouth Avenue were not in their home, they were in the middle of the street.

But you are right, Mr. Mayor, murder can take place in the home. Although not in Bessemer, in September 2006, 22 month old George Amison slept in his bed in his apartment home in Fountain Heights on Birmingham’s north side. A bullet fired from outside came through the wall and killed him. The same could happen here in Bessemer.

The solution, according to the mayor, would be for each one of the audience members, to tell another resident about Jesus, and for that resident to do the same, until all of Bessemer had converted. His good v. evil philosophy reminds me of the president.

Mr. Mayor (and Mr. President), you can not frame everything as either good or evil. That’s part of the reason we are failing in Iraq, and it is the reason that progress is not being made in Bessemer.

There was no talk of finding a way to occupy kid’s minds and time with something useful and productive, like a rec center. No talk of tearing down dilapidated buildings that attract criminals. No talk of rooting out drug dealers and manufacturers. No talk of bringing in programs that allow kids to have supervision in the afternoons while parents are working. No talk of encouraging neighbors to get to know each other, and increasing efforts of neighborhood watch associations. No talk of opening a police substation on Dartmouth Avenue (this is not a knee jerk suggestion; crime on Dartmouth Avenue is nothing new), no talk of police making an effort to get to know the residents.

I take that back. There was talk of those things, just not from city officials. Elvira Kidd, Susan Lehman and I have decided that since current leadership is lacking, and since we do not have neighborhood associations like Birmingham does, we will start our own association. We have called a meeting for every resident of Dartmouth Avenue from Highway 150 to the Bessemer city limit. Later we hope our efforts will spread to surrounding streets. At this initial meeting we will be assessing the needs of our street from the viewpoint of those present and then brainstorming to hear possible actions that we might later decide to take. We will not be solving the problems this week, but we will at least be talking about them. It’s a start. If you live on Dartmouth Avenue, you will receive a flyer this week inviting you.

Prayer is fine and I am all for it. But prayer without action is useless, in fact it may even be counterproductive, lulling the faithful into a false security and allowing them to ignore real problems for which human feet rather than God’s hands might provide real solutions. Susan, Elvira and I will be using our feet beginning this week.