Ah, Spring Again…

Sonya Jongsma Knaussby Sonya Jongsma Knauss

Time to come out of hibernation. There really is nothing like sun on your skin and the gentle play of the spring breeze. It’s a kind of pure delight that reminds me of being a kid. I find I do some of my best thinking and writing while I am running through the streets and parks of Riverwest, though they’re not nearly as distraction-free as the cornfields I used to run past growing up. Here I have a whole other set of concerns: scanning the grass to avoid dog feces, keeping an eye on traffic so I don’t cross in front of a car, taking note of the large trucks associated with the various stages of condo construction, and hoping that off-leash German Shepherd whose owner can’t be bothered to reign him in will stop short of me. It would be great if walkers, bikers, runners — all of us who use our bodies as a source of transportation, whether for health, travel, or other necessity — had a place of their own without some of these worries. And they can, perhaps in the next year or two. About 200 people showed up at an Earth Day fundraiser last week for the River Revitalization Foundation to help spur the organization’s land acquisition for a Beerline Bike Trail. The trail would run from Gordon Park at Locust Street all the way south to downtown. Now that’s a great transportation corridor. I hope you’ve been enjoying the spring as much as I have, and if you’re inspired to lace up your shoes and enjoy the weather, maybe I’ll see you at the Beer Run during Locust Street festival. I’ll be the one with the bandana and the big smile. A business report, of sorts: I have talked to a number of people lately who seem unclear on what the Riverwest Currents is and does. They ask questions like, is it published by the Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA)? Is it a non-profit? How does it work? Here’s all you ever wanted to know (and probably more) about your neighborhood newspaper. The Riverwest Currents is a newspaper in the spirit of civic, or community journalism. We operate in sync with the tenets expressed by a fledgling national organization, the Public Journalism Network, which states in part: “We believe journalism and democracy work best when news, information, and ideas flow freely; when news fairly portrays the full range and variety of life and culture of all communities; when public deliberation is encouraged and amplified; and when news helps people function as political actors, not just as political consumers.” To this end, we also recently added a discussion forum to our website, which you can find on the top, right-hand side of the home page, called “RWforum.” It is a place, in addition to RNAmail, the neighborhood e-mail network , where neighbors can discuss issues and ideas of common interest. The RNA does not publish the Riverwest Currents. The newspaper is independently owned by five of its committed members, some of whom also happen to be active in neighborhood politics. We do report regularly on the RNA’s meetings because we believe some important things can happen when people who live in and care about their neighborhood get together to discuss problems, ideas, and make decisions to act. Though we recently filed as a regular corporation, we continue to be a low-budget, no-frills operation. Our budget allows few extras, and our writers continue to volunteer their time. We are encouraged by our supporters, including those who invest in our future (and theirs) through advertising. A list of those who have made personal donations to support our work can be found on our website, In addition, thanks to gracious owners of neighborhood entertainment venues, we have been hosting regular music and poetry events in the area. Keep an eye out for flyers and calendar listings for these events. Riverwest Currents – Violume 2 – Issue 5 – May 2003
Sonya Jongsma Knauss