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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ask Courtney! Questions Answered!

I would like to thank all who submitted questions. Please note that I am always here to answer any questions that you may have!
~Courtney O'Keefe

Danielle asks…
During our conversation the other night, you said you didn’t like being called an ‘activist.’ What are you, then?

I consider myself an ‘advocate’ and not an ‘activist.’

Sarah asks…
What motivated you to start your blog?

Separating myself and speaking to neighbors and residents opened my eyes to a gap that exists between people wanting to know what’s going in Ward 5, but not knowing how to get their questions answered without getting biased, slanted information. Going with existing trends, I decided to start a website that delivered news to people while keeping me involved in my community. However, going against existing trends, there is only one administrator, it’s ward-specific with some city-wide information included, as well as being resident/reader determined. What is featured on Ward5Online.Com is what my readers want to know and I am very proud of that!

How do you find time to keep up with it??

Massive amounts of iced coffee!! No, seriously, I am immersed in streams of flowing information and have no reservations about emailing our elected officials with questions, comments, and ideas. I know this is always a tough sell for some people, but technology has made this effort easier, more efficient, and accurate (I just wish the City of Somerville would do something about their 48 hour rule on meeting information as it would make my life so much easier). Most fear technology and ridicule it, however, I have always equated this mindset with a lack of education about it. Once you realize the benefits of technology, the possibilities are endless and exceptionally helpful in getting your message to the masses.

I agree with a lot of your commentary about the need to support businesses in Magoun Sq. The impact of the new parking regs is shocking (though not surprising), and with the Green Line stop's location, I'm afraid it will serve to draw residents away from Magoun businesses and/or benefit the growing Highland Ave/Armory area more than it will Magoun. So my question is, what can be done about this and how can residents help? I try to shop locally, but I increasingly feel like something more needs to be done.

I have this fear too and made it point to request that research be done (or included in existing studies) on what businesses succeed in transit-friendly communities. I am apprehensive of putting all the eggs into the green line basket because trains go both ways and can take people out before it even brings people in. Building businesses in Magoun Square and making it retail friendly through conservative parking regulations and improved esthetics are two ideas that are being pushed publicly by business owners and residents alike during this critical time before the arrival of the green line.

I encourage all residents to contact the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, the Committee on Housing and Economic Development, and Alderman Sean O’Donovan with ideas about what businesses they would like to see in the square, as well as participate in community meetings and surveys. In the meantime, please continue to support, recommend, advertise for, and frequent local businesses!

How has Ward 5 changed over the years and how do you feel about those changes?

It’s been a long time since Sunnyhurst, Small’s, Danny’s, Cara Donna’s Bakery, and Kathy’s Corner. I love the cultural change with an Italian eatery, an Irish bar, and a Brazilian boutique in the same business district. On the flip side, it’s hard for me to see the empty storefronts and 5 year-old “For Rent” signs.

Stuart asks…
Here's a question: is that new speed indicator in front of Trum Field just a random-number generator? I was at the red light in front of the 7-Eleven last evening and there was NO moving traffic either way (at least nearby) and the sign said 9 mph, then 31, then 17. Makes me wonder where it's aimed, and if it's even accurate.

I noticed it too and it was rattling off random numbers. I thought I was at BINGO for a minute there. After some research, I found out that these have a high sensitivity reading, as well as a long range. So, even though you were stopped, it was reading cars approaching behind you or on the other side. Then again, it could have just been broken or in need of recalibration. Either way, it’s annoying and pointless. Put a cop there with a speed gun and gain some revenue, so the meters don’t have to go to 10pm in Magoun Square!

Jeff asks…
Let me start off by saying that I love your website and find it very useful and informative.
I did notice the inclusion of advertising on the right-side and wondered why it “just appeared?” Do you charge for advertising?

Let ME start off by thanking you for reading my website! The advertising on the right side is free to all local businesses. I’m slowly, but surely, making my way to as many businesses as I can to see if they would like advertising. It’s an effort, but maintaining the news flow is my top priority. It actually started as a thank-you to one local business for their offer to advertise my website in their establishment. Now, I use it as a trade-off: If they recommend/advertise my site-I do the same for their business.

Blog Reader asks…
What are the negatives having a website like this?

There really shouldn’t be any, but unfortunately, there are. I will, on occasion, get a threat or two via email, a rude response beneath mine on a story, and am always the target of vulgar comments.

1 comment:


Threats? Seriously?