Springfield Wednesday Rides kicks off (There’s a river here!) [Updated x2]

Last week, James, Marcos, and I did a test ride (route map below) for a new movement: WEDNESDAY RIDES. What’s the point?:

  • Get in shape
  • Create safe spaces
  • Promote alternative transportation
  • Get to know different neighborhoods
  • Network
  • Raise eyebrows
  • Have fun!

Every Wednesday at noon (at least through August) we’ll gather at the Springfield YMCA on Chestnut Street and have a casual group ride through a different neighborhood each week. All are welcome. You will have aceess to the Y’s locker room. Bring a helmet.

Many people have said, “Sounds awesome, now I need to get a bike!” Let me know if you’re in that boat. The Y will negotiate discounts with a local bike shop if we have enough people. You can also check Craig’s List or the only bike shop with a Springfield address.

Coincidentally, the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council just started weekly rides, too. Check out Ciclovía, Thursdays at 4:30PM.

Update: According to The Intruder, guided walks along the river began on June 30th. These walks also take place on Wednesdays, at 12:15. (Thanks, Sheila!)

Update 2: Here are some bilingual materials about the Holyoke bike movement from tonight’s Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council meeting (below, click to enlarge). For more info: Liz Budd, lbudd@holyokeymca.org, 413-437-0864.


Fighting Crime with Community Involvement

Among urban cities where crime is a constant threat to the community’s prosperity, an increasingly important aspect of crime prevention is the connection and cooperation of residents with enforcement authorities. Government officials need community involvement to make the most of their efforts to fight crime and community members need to feel confident that their police force and government officials are looking out for their well-being in order to cooperate with them.

To that end, the City of Springfield launched two crime-prevention measures earlier this month. The first, Operation Blue Knight, launches police into high-crime neighborhoods to patrol and engage with residents to create healthy relationships and foster communication between the two.  In a press conference on June 3rd, Police Commissioner Fitchet said the patrols are models for future “Blue Knight deployments,” where one neighborhood at a time is saturated with police force, rather than the entire city.

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CORI Reform Roundtable, CORI Independence Day (6/30)

If you liked this video of Orlando Ramos discussing CORI reform, you’ll love this roundtable discussion with Orlando, Frances Smith (who’s off to the US Social Forum in Detroit), Gilberto Rolon, and Betty Agin from the Health Disparities Project (above). And we’ve added a short Spanish language version (below). This is all leading up to CORI Independence Day on June 30th, from 10-6, at Blunt Park in Springfield. Pro bono attorneys will help you seal your record. Download flyer here.

Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker proposes “lifestyle audits” for poor people

It’s taken me a few days to write this one, because it’s just hard to know where to begin. Remember the legend of the welfare queen (living it up on the taxpayer’s dime) constructed by the Reagan administration, and revived to help pass the Clinton Administration’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act? Well she’s back, and with her comes all the moralism, anger, and fear associated with those periods. When I saw the phrase “lifestyle audits,” I just assumed we were talking about Wall Street and banking executives. Is that conversation over already? Wouldn’t that be a more lucrative line of inquiry?

Welfare rolls are down 50-70% as a result of the welfare reform act. Where have all those people gone? The most popular theories are: prison, the military, and a vast and expanding low wage underclass. Looking for alternatives? Here are three new case studies of projects for mothers on welfare (Lumina Foundation, 32-page PDF).

Disclaimer: We do not take positions on candidates. We do however track emerging policy and research that relates to poverty, inequality, and the region (see list at right).