I drove through downtown Lewisville this morning and saw the WFMY van parked by Shallowford Square and wondered what would drag the Triad's CBS affiliate, based in Greensboro, so far west. Murder and mayhem? Bear sighting? Missing blonde woman? Nope, none of the morning show news staples were cause for reporter Tracey McCain to visit our fair town. Rather, she was there to do a regular segment for the morning show that involves her "betting" $5 with the studio hosts to see if they can answer trivia questions about the town she's visiting that morning. The result is a nice little story about Lewisville featuring interviews with Mayor Dan Pugh. Enjoy.
Kevin Jennings, CEO of BeTheChange, wrote in the Huffington Post about a campaign his organization is promoting called Opportunity Nation, and in the process he shares a bit of his life story which began here in Lewisville, NC:
Opportunity Nation is a campaign to bring Americans of all ideologies and backgrounds together around a plan to return the U.S. to the Land of Opportunity that it once was. We are working with scholars from the Heritage Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Brookings Institution to come up with concrete, bipartisan policy proposals that will make a difference in people's lives. We've organized a coalition of more than 250 organizations, representing more than 50 million Americans, to support this policy agenda. And we've built a leadership council of nearly 100 prominent Americans — from Mayor Mike Bloomberg to journalist Arianna Huffington to Rev. Rick Warren — who are committed to using their influence to promote opportunity.
I realized this weekend that I never really escaped that trailer park in Lewisville, North Carolina, because today I have undertaken the same work on a macro level that my Mom took on in a micro level way back in the seventies: making sure the next generation has it better than mine has had it. And I am proud of that fact: after all, it's the American thing to do.
Here's a video of Jennings sharing his story:
Anyone who lives in Lewisville, NC knows that our town is a pretty popular destination for cyclists. I'll often hear grumbling about the inconvenience of having to wait behind large packs of riders, aka pelotons, on some of the beautiful country roads that make the town such an inviting place to live and bike. I don't hear many complaints about individual riders, or groups of two or three, but that's because they're relatively easy to pass even on our two lane roads with no shoulders.
All that being said I've also seen some crazy decisions made by impatient drivers. Passing just before a blind curve, passing on a rise with oncoming traffic too close for comfort, passing too close to the actual cyclist, etc. Part of me understands the frustration – most of us aren't cyclists and thus don't understand the draw of riding on roads when you could just toddle on down to Salem Lake or Muddy Creek and ride on trails without inconveniencing drivers – and I especially feel the frustration myself when I'm running late for something and am stuck behind a bunch of cyclists. But you know what? We need to get over it.
Here's the deal: just because most of us aren't cyclists and don't understand the draw of riding on our roads, there are obviously people who love it and that's their right. And "right" is the correct word because unless the laws change cyclists have as much of a right to the road as drivers of cars and motorcycles. Sure they need to follow the rules just like we drivers do, and I'm sure that some of them roll through red lights or do rolling stops at stop signs, but I'm also pretty sure that the same percentage or more of drivers do the same thing, and I'm absolutely positive that almost every driver in Lewisville has pulled a (technically) illegal passing maneuver on a cyclist.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because I just read this article about a Winston-Salem cyclist killed in an accident in Greensboro, and although it sounds like there might have been mitigating circumstances (blinding sun) it still reminded me that I'm in constant fear of seeing this kind of story in Lewisville. Whether we see our visiting cyclists as a blessing or a curse we need to respect their right to the road, and do everything we can to make sure we all share the road safely.
On a related, but different note: I think a nice little entrepreneurial venture would be opening a temporary refreshment stand near Shallowford Square. (Think hotdog stand with healthy stuff instead of hotdogs, chips and sodas). The cyclists tend to park downtown and launch their rides from there so I'd imagine they'd be willing customers once they're rides are done. There are also lots of folks who walk and jog downtown these days so I'd imagine they'd be a good market too. That's assuming you can get a permit from the town to do it, but it might be worth a try.
Cecil Wood, Lewisville's Town Manager, is retiring today. That's too bad for Lewisville because Cecil's a good man and has been a tremendous asset to the town. During my service on the Planning Board I've had a chance to work with him over the last couple of years and have truly enjoyed spending time with him and seeing him in action. He really is one of the good guys.
Fans of local poet Terri Kirby Erickson can hear her read from her latest collection at the Lewisville branch of the Forsyth County Library tomorrow evening (August 30, 2011) at 7:00.
As I threatened this morning here's the first of what promises to be many video posts with my gift from Celeste this year: the Sony Bloggie.