The Light is Green – Lets Go!!

Okay, so everyone, or at least everyone should know that today is Veteran’s Day. It’s not just a chance to have a day off from work or school, but it’s a day that should be taken seriously and revered with all the importance that it so rightly deserves.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been intrigued by an ad for “Greenlight A Vet”. When I learned more about it, I discovered that this is one of the coolest ideas and gestures ever when it comes to our veterans, both past and present. It’s such a small thing to ask, for as many of us as possible, to change one visible light on our respective properties, to ‘green‘ to show our support of our veterans in a lovely and glowing way. I am certainly on board with this idea and can’t wait until my porch light is switched over to ‘green‘ later this evening.

How awesome it will feel to the many veterans that are out there driving and walking around, to look around them and see, all the green lights shining outside the different homes and businesses across the nation, that will pay homage to their courage and bravery, along with that of their fellow service men and women. I can’t imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment,that the simple color ‘green’ will ignite in these uniquely selfless individuals. I am so happy to be able to show my support without saying a word. Never has it been truer that ‘action speaks louder than words”.

So often, in our everyday travels, we rub elbows with so many of these awesome folks, without even knowing it because they blend in with society and cannot always be easily identified when not in uniform. In the same vein, they have no idea who is in support of them as they travel throughout their days and rub elbows with us, civilians. But this simple ‘green’ light will act as a kind of citizens or civilian uniform that will speak volumes. So, I encourage you all to put on your uniforms, by shining your green lights along with me, to show your pride, love and support for these fearless defenders of our nation, who have placed and continue to place themselves in harms way to ensure and secure the continued freedom of this great nation. Won’t you join me?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

When Blood and Water Meet…

   

Almost everyone knows the saying, “blood is thicker than water”. In many cases, this is true. Blood, representative of our familial ties, while water represents those close friends and extended family. Some might believe that there is no bond stronger than that of blood family and that is often true. However, there are instances where this statement can be challenged.

As I’m watching the television coverage of the funeral service of the latest ‘fallen officer’, Daryl Pierson, in the city of Rochester New York, it has become evident that ‘water’ is not only thick and dense, but runs deep, far and wide. I am thoroughly amazed, impressed and touched at the amount of support, presence, and solidarity being displayed at his funeral service, with the attendance of thousands of police officers from all over the country that have come to this city to pay their last respects to Officer Pierson, who lost his life last Wednesday night September 3, 2014 during a foot chase of a wanted parolee.

I recall sitting on my bed last Wednesday night when at least 3 to 4 vehicles came flying past my house. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there’s a sound that law enforcement vehicles make when they’re traveling at top speeds. It’s as almost as if the vehicles are riding on top of the air; an unmistakeable sound that makes me privy to police presence every time one passes through my neighborhood at break-neck speeds. I wondered what could have possibly happened, but didn’t give it a whole lot of thought as it is a sound I’ve heard on many occasions. About 30 minutes later, a breaking news flash burst across my t.v. screen. The report said that both an officer and a suspect had been wounded during a traffic stop and that both had been taken to area hospitals. I was immediately relieved that no one had died, at least at that point. I said a little prayer for both. Somewhere around 11:00p.m. I believe, it was then reported on the evening news that Officer Pierson had succumbed to his injuries. I was stricken with so much sadness and heart-wrenching emotion at this sobering development. An officer had lost his life in the line of duty and there was no reversing the outcome, no turning back. How I wished I could rewind back to hours before those police cars had come riding like the wind past my house.

As a city, we could take on the view that too much is being made out of this incident because an officer lost his life. Or, we could show some human compassion and be respectful of the loss of life, as I would hope we would be for any other, regardless of their ‘walk of life’. I was proud to see a few interviews where Rochester residents seemed to agree that whether an officer of the law or not, a person died. Officer Darryl Pierson was a human being, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an officer of the law. He even served a year in the war in Afghanistan. I can’t help but notice the cruel twist of fate that allowed him to survive the danger of a seemingly never-ending war, only to return to his home in Rochester New York, and lose his life. Officer Pierson received a hero’s send-off; twenty one gun salute and all. There were even fully-attired, kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing attendees. I have much admiration for Officer Pierson’s widow, Amy Pierson, who displayed such control and poise in light of an event that has changed her life forever. My prayers go out to the Pierson family and all those related, near and far, as blood and water meet, coming together to make one hugely supportive and impressive family. Rest in peace Officer Pierson.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

A Festive Occasion!

 

Okay, before too much time goes by, I want to mention the awesome 13th annual Xerox International Jazz Festival that just took place in my neck of the woods! This exciting event took over ‘Roc City, Rochester New York, from June 20, 2014 – June 28,2014. I guess you kind of had to be there, but I will do my best to give you a recap of my take on this fantastic music-filled event. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you may feel like you were there too!

There was definitely something for everyone at this music festival. You could literally walk through the streets of downtown Rochester New York and pretty much listen to the music of your liking, at any given moment. Unbelievably, there were more than 79 free concerts this year. Die-hard music fans  had the option of purchasing a Club Pass, which allowed entry into any of the tents where musicians were performing and activities were taking place. So, you could literally see oodles of performances nightly if you chose to with the use of the Club Pass. I may go this route next year and split the cost with someone, $189.00 for eight days of musical bliss. That way, on the days I don’t attend the festival, the other person can. However, this would eliminate the option of going to the festival with that person obviously, but no worries. There were so many people at this event, that there certainly was no shortage of interesting and friendly people to connect and converse with, my kind of occasion!

A reported 196,000 people attended the festival with over 1500 musicians from at least 19 countries; all gracing the festival with their crowd-pleasing music while performing for more than 325 concerts in over 20 venues in Roc City’s downtown East End Cultural District. Can you say A-MAZING?! What a boost to Rochester New York’s economy, in addition to some of the most versatile music ever in one place! There were at least 3 sold-out shows one of which was Earth,Wind & Fire. Other headliners included Janelle Monae and Michael McDonald. I did have the pleasure of seeing Michael McDonald’s concert and he was spectacular! It was thrilling to see that he can still hit those high notes and produce that one of a kind, uniquely soulful sound that is his and his alone. I loved it!

I did manage to take in the festival a couple of times and found the festive atmosphere to be both contagious and delightfully intoxicating. Even if you didn’t attend one of the shows or free concerts, you could find a seat some place or bring your own chair and sit,watch all the excited festival-goers and listen to the music, which was within ‘earshot’ from anywhere in the vicinity!

This annual event definitely put Rochester New York on the map, positively. You might also be impressed to learn that generosity certainly raised it’s lovely head in lieu of this musical extravaganza! Twenty one musical instruments were unselfishly donated to the Rochester Education Foundation at this year’s event. These instruments included: violins, a saxophone,clarinet, and many more as well as instruction books and accessories; all this, for the benefit of Rochester City School Students. Five thousand free pedometers were given to festival attendees compliments of Rochester General Health Systems, so that participants could keep track and measure their steps; a proactive move to promote walking and optimal health. Eric Waugh produced live paintings during the Lou Gramm concert with proceeds to be auctioned off to Hillside (Family of Agencies).

I simply cannot close out this article without mentioning the food trucks! Oh my! I had never had the pleasure of eating anything from one of these mobile feeding machines, until now. Lets just say that the pleasure was all mine! I had something called ‘meatball in a cup’. It was truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, one of many reasons to come back! Is this an event that you would consider attending in the future? Next year’s festival will run from June 19, 2015 through June 27, 2015, so plan early and mark your calendars! You will not be disappointed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

A Corporate Challenge….

 

 

       

Images: businessinsider.com and free google images

The annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place today in Roc City, a-k-a Rochester New York (Upstate) on the RIT Campus(Rochester Institute of Technology). Amazingly, this crowd-drawing occasion is in its 24th year! The event donates a large portion of the proceeds raised to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. There are 460 companies participating this year; a new record for this event. There’s also an astounding 10,600 runners who are on their marks, waiting to begin the race for this very worthy cause. Runners are expected be out of the starting blocks at 7:00pm.

I used to participate in this well-known community affair. As a former employee with J.P. Morgan Chase, I proudly participated along with friends and co-workers. There was nothing like the feeling of pride I felt in participating in such a high-profile event; one that donned the name of the very company I worked for. I wore my Corporate Challenge t-shirt and assigned race # with elation and satisfaction. It was such an awesome sight to see so many companies taking part with their employees representing them and also sporting their company’s respective  t-shirt(s).

There were numerous tents set up throughout the grounds with all kinds of delicious food and beverages. Seeing fellow employees outside their usual work zone was refreshing and provided an opportunity to see another side of people. There’s a certain type of buzz  that was present when I attended the ‘challenge’. Excitement, anticipation and comradery, all filled the air amidst the laughter and chatter of people who came together for a common cause. Solidarity is a powerful thing and it made and continues to make this cause a highly successful one!

Now, I need to be perfectly honest with you, the reader. I was no runner, but I did speed walk the 3 1/2 miles that this race consists of. I felt just as accomplished when I walked across that finish line as those who had run the race! I felt exhilarated – I had done it! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you do!

Ribs Rally in Roc City

 

 

The Roc City Rib Fest 2014 is on and poppin’ again and runs from May 23, 2014 – May 26, 2014. Charlotte Beach had been the home of this festive occasion. However, since the festival has grown so much, it has been relocated and will now be held at the Genesee Valley Park in Upstate Rochester New York. The sweet smell of success and bbq is definitely in the air!

 

This event proudly hosts one of the largest and most professional barbeque competitions in the country! Not bad Roc City! Unbelievably, tickets are more than reasonable with adult pricing for ages 12 and older only $5.00! There are no parking fees or activity fees for children. But it doesn’t stop there – there are no premium band tickets! This is definitely the place to be where you can eat,drink, and be merry; all while listening to great music. Yes, this event definitely covers all the bases!

 

You may be wondering how a festival of this kind came to be. Evidently, it came into being by way of Avon, New York in of all places….a corn field! A group of family and friends wanted to get together and have some fun, so they organized what then was a small bbq festival and rib cook off that was held on Labor Day Weekend in 2008. Seven teams later and 1,000 plus festival attendees, it was unanimous….the people were hooked! Ever since then, the festival competition has been exploding on to the scene yearly and has swelled to 100 teams and an astounding 30,000 people!!

 

Not only is the Roc City Rib Fest a fantastic place to meet and mingle with family and friends, and even make new friends, but is also focused on giving back to the surrounding community by donating a major portion of the festival’s proceeds to its main charities: The Children’s Hospital at Strong and the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester New York. The economic impact of this event is unmistakable as it draws thousands from all over the country putting Roc City in Upstate New York on the map once again.

 

I know…..this is pretty late notice for such an awesome event, but I was reminded of it earlier today when I caught a blurb on an advertisement. There’s still one day left – tomorrow, Memorial Day! If you don’t feel up to pulling out the grill and all the clean up that’s involved, this may be the place to be!

 

 

 

Ahh….The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

The infamous Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival’s inspiration dates back to 1898 when 2,000 people visited the park on one Sunday in May to observe the beautiful lilacs. The numbers grew to 25,000 over the next 10 years marking the first annual Lilac Festival. Over time, viewer numbers ballooned to 500,000 in attendance for the now 10 day event. The lilacs are showcased among more than 1,200 bushes with over 500 varieties. Truly a spectacular sight!

Rochester New York’s 2014 annual Lilac Festival will take place this year from May 9, 2014 – May 18, 2014. This prestigious event is unprecedented for many reasons. Of course the gorgeous variety of beautiful aromatic lilacs at their peak bloom; drawing people from miles around. People come in record numbers to bear witness to nature’s beauty at its finest. The magnificent lilacs adorn the rolling hills of Upstate Rochester New York’s Highland Park.

This year, this annual event has achieved another milestone making it an even grander attraction on the world’s map. Lilac Festival participants came together to set a Guinness World Record! That’s right! Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival is now officially the world record holder for the world’s largest human flower by Guinness World Records. More than 2,200 people (2,297 to be exact) expressed their love and showed their support for the City of Rochester and this wonderful annual festival! But wait, it gets better! All participants will be able to access a link that has a special code which will allow them to obtain their official Guinness World Record Certificate; a symbol of their participation in this ground-breaking, history-making event! Go Upstate New York!

The Lilac Festival is an event that has something for everyone! There are horse and carriage rides and various arts & craft exhibits. There’s a craft beer garden and wine & chocolate tasting events, music concerts and more. This a family-friendly event, so everyone should be able to find something they like at this festival. I will admit that I haven’t attended this festival in a few years, but hey….there’s still time. The festival runs through this Sunday May 18th! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for something fun to do, this may be a great option! So, check it out! A visit may be well worth your time!

 

Who’s watching your neighborhood?

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Breanna Edwards posted a story today April 22, 2014, via Pennlive.com reporting that the Fairview Township in a Pennsylvania neighborhood will be under the watchful and protective eye of an unlikely neighorhood watch group. This group will consist of members of the local chapter of the Tradionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. My jaw has dropped and is on the keyboard as I am typing this! It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want this group watching any neighborhood, let alone their own.

According to Pennlive.com, this action was triggered by a slew of break-ins in the area. Supposedly this was a common sense move. The obvious questions might be: common to who and what sense does this make? How would allowing members of a notorious “hate” group watch over any neighbor be considered a sensible move? Again, sensible to who?

Well, it makes sense to the imperial wizard and president of the organization, Frank Ancona. According to Mr. Ancona, the national organization at the local chapter requested the sponsoring of this initiative. He also says that this neighborhood watch program is like any other program and claims that it doesn’t target any particular ethnicity. Supposedly, law enforcement will be notified of anything that program members see. You might be wondering how far this statement can and will be stretched? Will only criminal,violent, and suspicious activity be reported? Or will people whom this group feels look “suspicious” or who look like they may be up to something also be reported to law enforcement? Mr. Ancona goes on to say, “We don’t hate people. We are an organization who looks out for our race. We believe in racial separation. God created each species after its kind and saw that this was good”.

The national organization has approved of this move and the members of the local chapter have put the plan into action. Fairview Township residents living along Ridge Rd awoke recently to find fliers on their doorsteps introducing this new “watch” group and audaciously displaying a man in the familiar pointed hood as you can see depicted above this post. The flyers not only boldly boast that the neighborhood can now sleep with the klan watching over it, but also has the nerve to include a 24-hour contact “Klanline” phone number. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, an event like this comes along and both shocks and disgusts you, all over again! Do you know who’s watching your neighborhood?

 

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