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Editorial: A Brief Trip Back Through 2017

This year could once again be characterized as transitional for Norwood, full of business closures and nascent construction projects.

The neighborhood crossed off another year with more bulldozers dotted around the once sleepy community. On a stretch of Webster Avenue between Gun Hill Road and East Mosholu Parkway, four construction projects are well under way. The assumption is clear: more construction means more people are moving into to a neighborhood that is waking up to the realities of overdevelopment.

Greater interest in Norwood is a good thing, though a population boom in the next few years should signal greater concern to prepare for new neighbors. It’s the Norwood News’ hope that elected officials, namely Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, City Councilman Andrew Cohen, and anyone looking to replace former Assemblyman and now Councilman-elect Mark Gjonaj, are aware of these developments. School District 10 is a grossly overpopulated district. With more people expected to move in sometime in the next few years, our elected officials ought to prioritize the school population issue. 2017 showed some signs of preparation for the future—construction for an upgraded Whalen Park broke ground in July, for example.

With each year that passes, notable deaths follow. They include the passing of Community Board 7 District Manager Andrew Sandler, who, despite passing away at the young age of 31, left so much of a good mark that work on a street with his name is in the works. On the far end of the spectrum of life is Mary Vallati, a community stalwart who died at age 102. Mrs. Vallati was among the few neighborhood sages that kept an eye on the neighborhood at any cost. She too will likely be memorialized with a street name. Their loss should prompt those who want to make their neighborhoods a better place to step it up. Volunteering and speaking up is tough work, but the results are noticeable.

The News also hopes that next year will be a year of preparation bolstered by good volunteers who care enough to lend their time to improving their quality of life.

Nationally, newsworthy events boiled down to two sections—those we can control versus those we can’t. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have prevented the destruction seen in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The category five storm walloped the island so badly it caused an exodus of its people who fled stateside. An event like that can’t be controlled. Then there was the Las Vegas shooting, brought about by a domestic terrorist whose motives are still unclear. It’s gut wrenching, but beyond our control once again.

Then there are events that can be controlled, such as sexual harassment. It’s clear the problem cuts through every sector of our workforce. The world of journalism is not free from it. Within it the mighty newscasters Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose fell from grace for their alleged misdeeds. Shame can silence the victims, but the enablers, the ones who knew and looked the other way, could have spoken up. It’s within their control to go to human resources, or the police, to report it so it doesn’t happen again and the accused could at least have their say. The subject is not new. Perhaps power allows these predators to roam and seek out another victim, but those who roam in those circles must be extra vigilant. Status is not an excuse to do or say whatever you want.

There are also things that are planned. Most of the United States paused on Aug. 27 to gaze into a solar eclipse so rare that even the jaded couldn’t help but look into the heavens. Back in Norwood, a woman told the News’ editor-in-chief that she had wished upon a star while looking at the star. She kept her wish private, though one suspects that it’s a wish for something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s a wish inherent in the future. Let’s hope it’s for a better one.

 

Here’s to a better 2018.

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