The Pilot features two stories about local groups that are struggling, even though they were passed over in the wave of budget cuts. Plus, a bunch of bike news.
These days it’s all about budgets.
As legislatures at the national and the state level look for ways to reduce spending, schools, arts groups, and others have rallied to fight to retain some of the funding they need to keep providing services.
So it’s ironic that today’s top story in the Pilot is about a state and federally funded program, Head Start, operated by the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP), which has not lost any funding, but which is going out of business anyway. The agency, which had revenues of almost $20 million, was forced to close it’s 31 centers yesterday because it was unable to meet payroll in March. The parents of 1,600 children, ages 3 to 5, who depended on the centers for care, will be forced to find other accommodations.
STOP has admitted that they “did not meet the test of good stewardship.” Meaning they, like, totally overspent and didn’t realize it. There’s no fury like a parent who’s day care has just been shut down. I’m sure the nice people at STOP are hiding under their desks about now, their ears bleeding from the calls they’ve been getting. Next time, guys, don’t leave the accounting for last.
Here’s another story about a government-funded program that’s bucking the cost-cutting trend. The Southeastern Virginia Training Center, an institution for housing the mentally disabled, received $23 million in state funding in 2009 to finance new construction to upgrade the facilities. The work continues in spite of growing legal pressure to close segregated facilities for the disabled in favor of housing them in more integrated settings. Virginia has 5 state-funded institutions with a total of 1,100 residents.
If this site were a bike blog, here’s what I would post…
Bike Norfolk is hosting this year’s annual Chili Ride. For the first time in many years the event will be held in Norfolk. It starts at 11am at East Coast Bikes in Ocean View (not at the Ghent location!). There will be rides for all levels of riders, including families with children. And then, there will be chili! Come out and join the fun.
Velo Bamboo is in business
Our friend Wes Cheney was featured in the paper this weekend, presenting his bamboo bikes to the crowd at the Sustainable Living Fair at ODU. If you’d like to see photos of these beauties, or even get your hands on one, check out the Velo Bamboo store on etsy.com
Here’s a collection of scenes from great movies, from E.T. to The Goonies to Cinema Paradiso. This, of course, was the theme of the Bike Norfolk float in last year’s Grand Illumination Parade.
As cyclists, our relationship with drivers is important. We strive to keep it civil, to make our presence known, to educate and explain that we have a right to be on the roads. Usually this works well, and most drivers will make allowances for cyclists. We thank them for that.
Sometimes, though, it all goes horribly, awfully, terribly wrong. Last week in Porto Alegre (that’s “Port Happiness”), Brazil, during a Critical Mass bike ride, a driver went berserk. In a terrify few seconds, he accelerated his car right trough a streetful of cyclists, viciously attacking them for, we have to assume, blocking the road and inconveniencing him. The entire event was captured on video camera. It’s a reminder that a car can be a weapon of terror when driven by someone who has dehumanized anyone who gets in his way.
Streetfilms is a group that advocates for a variety of transportation alternatives, especially cycling. They’ve debuted a series of short films called Moving Beyond the Automobile, which features a new episode every Tuesday. Here’s the trailer for series. Visit www.streetfilms.org.