Letters to the editor, Sept. 29, 2011

A letter of thanks

As the dust now settles from the mayor’s primary results I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who were the driving force behind the vision for a better City of Kingston. When the results came so close, within 7 to 10 votes, you realize how important your voice is in the voting process for a local election. I would like to thank the hard-working staff of my campaign committee who had a crash course in political elections for the very first time. The team spirit and true faith that Kingston needs a change pulled everyone together, many of them brand new to the process. I also would like to thank the voters who came out to support me, including the write-in votes across all party lines. As we move forward into November, remember how vital your vote is to the City of Kingston’s future. I was honored to take part in the process and have high hopes for our beautiful city. Thank you.

Andi Turco-Levin, Kingston


Gratitude for clean-up help

We at Kingston Cares would like to say thank you to all those involved in creating and supporting the clean-up week (Aug. 15-19) performed by the Clean Up Squad. At the beginning of this past summer, Alderwoman Shirley Whitlock came to us with the idea of organizing youth to clean up Midtown Kingston streets in an effort to connect young people to their community and provide an opportunity for them to earn gift cards for back to school supplies. As you can imagine, we were thrilled with this collaboration and with the opportunity to empower young people to improve their community. Alderman Hayes Clement also committed to moving the project forward. With a donation made by the Police Benevolent Association, we were able to purchase T-shirts to keep youth together and develop a close team.

Alderwoman Whitlock led the efforts to identify specific projects for youth to work on and also outreached to local youth in need of this program. Alderman Clement was instrumental in raising the funds needed to purchase gift cards for youth participating in the Clean Up Squad as well as being our liaison to the Mayor’s office, who graciously lent us brooms and cleaning supplies for our activities. The projects completed by the Clean Up Squad included litter pick up, graffiti removal, street sweeping, yardwork at the South Pine Street City Farm and a clean up and revival of the heavily used Van Buren Street Park. Another special activity was the focus group that the teenage team leaders led and all youth participated in. Young people were asked, some for the first time, about what it is like to grow up in Kingston, what issues impact them and what they enjoy about their community. The answers were both beautiful and heartbreaking, as we learned about a day in the life of a Kingston child or teen. This information is being used to address perceptions and identify gaps in services for youth in our community.