Friday, August 31, 2012

Devastation, Tragedy, Truth, Memorial - KILLER SHOW Reviewed

By Victoria Eagan

I am a survivor of the Station fire. I have worked extensively with family members and fellow survivors for the past 9 1/2 years in fundraising and offering financial and emotional support. With that being said, I truly felt as though I knew all there was to know about the fire as well as the people it affected. I have lived and breathed it since the very first night. I was wrong. I have been asked countless times to talk about that night and tell people what "really happened". I now intend to point them toward this book.

It is a comprehensive and educational account of the facts surrounding the fire and the aftermath. You could read hundreds of newspaper articles (and there are certainly hundreds) that would not give you the concise and accurate information found here.

I applaud John Barylick and his fellow attorneys for this daunting undertaking and the hard work they put in in order to bring some sense of comfort to those affected. Attorneys are often vilified for "taking advantage" of a situation. Those involved in this case (the majority) did it for the right reasons. Without their perseverance and tenacity, so many of the victims' families and survivors would have added financial decimation to their already devastating emotional and physical losses.

I encourage you to educate yourself by reading this book. Remember the loss of life and those who will live with the physical and emotional scars forever. Remember what happened, and honor those lost, by helping to make sure it never happens again. 

Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America's Deadliest Rock Concert is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims. 

For seven years John Barylick was a lead attorney investigating and prosecuting wrongful-death and personal-injury cases arising from The Station fire. He has practiced law in Rhode Island since 1977.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 innovative ways to reinvent the strip mall

Originally posted
Tue, Jul 31 2012 at 12:54 PM EST

By Chris Turner 

The strip mall is a ubiquitous but largely unloved featured of the modern city. In a trailblazing design competition, urban design's brightest minds explore ways to make strip malls work better - and look good doing so.

one-story retail strip mall with parked cars lined up in front of the stores

BLANK CANVAS: A typical past-its-prime American strip mall awaits sprawl repair. (Photo: Chika/Flickr)
At the 20th Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU20) this spring in West Palm Beach, Fla., one of the liveliest and most important recurring themes was one that many urbanists now call “sprawl repair.” New Urbanism’s first 20 years were notable primarily for impressive stand-alone neighborhoods like Seaside in Florida and Belmar in Colorado, big projects on huge sites that reinvented the American residential community from scratch. The real sustainability challenge of the next 20 years (and likely beyond), though, will be reconfiguring our existing communities to perform in an age of energy scarcity and declining automobile dependency. An aging population of smaller families will need fewer McMansions and cul de sacs and much more in the way of dense, walkable urban streetscapes.
Some of the most exciting work in this field to date has focused on retrofitting that humblest and least cherished of suburban design features: the strip mall. We all know the function of the standard version of this design, of course — it’s a quick-stop shopping plaza, usually catering to daily needs. There’s a row of four or eight or 12 small retail outlets, often in a straight line, sometimes in an L or C shape. Usually there’s a good-sized anchor tenant or two: a grocery store, a drug store, a Walmart or hardware store. The strip is pulled well back from the road, marooned from the cityscape by a wide desert of parking lot.

Monday, August 6, 2012

No He Won’t Back Down

By Peter F. Burns

As soon as reports came out that Jim Calhoun was on his way to the hospital because of a biking accident, many people tweeted that the UConn coach should retire. Those who didn’t make this stand, asked whether this latest health obstacle would mean the end to Calhoun’s coaching career.

The answer to both questions is simple: No.

Everything in Calhoun’s past suggests that he will come back and UConn will remain a power. UConn men’s basketball doesn’t need to return to power, because it’s already one of the top five programs in the country. Calhoun is the reason for that.

Calhoun has been knocked down before. His first season, the Huskies were 9-19, Calhoun’s only losing season at UConn. The coach told his wife Pat that he wanted out of Storrs, but he wouldn’t leave until the job was done. He promised that UConn wouldn’t experience another season like this under him, and he lived up to his word.

After a disappointing 1992-1993 season, one that ended in the first round of the NIT, Calhoun promised his players that UConn wouldn’t have a disappointing season like this again. In the next three seasons, UConn made the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite Eight once. After 1999-2000 and 2000-2001, two mediocre seasons by Calhoun’s standards, the UConn Phoenix rose again – an Elite Eight appearance in 2002, a Sweet 16 appearance in 2003, and the NCAA title in 2004.

Calhoun came back from off-the-court illnesses as well. He survived prostate cancer in 2003 and returned early to guide UConn to the Big East Conference Tournament finals, a division title, and the Sweet 16. Calhoun also beat skin cancer twice.

Calhoun also fell off his bike in his charity race in 2009. He waited for a replacement bike and finished the race. After the reached the finished line, Calhoun collapsed. He wanted to drive himself to the hospital, but Ray Allen, among others, convinced him to take the ambulance. Calhoun finished the race despite five broken ribs.

In 2010, he missed seven games because of an undisclosed illness. UConn played better when he returned, but missed the NCAA tournament. In 2011, the NCAA announced that it would suspend Calhoun for three games for illegally recruiting Nate Miles. Calhoun showed the NCAA by winning its tournament that season. In 2012, back injuries forced Calhoun to miss eight games. Against Doctor’s orders, Calhoun coached five days after he underwent spinal stenosis.

Jim Calhoun won’t back down. He didn’t back down from the impossible challenges that the Big East, Storrs, and the UConn athletic department presented in his early career. He didn’t back down when people complained that he couldn’t win an NCAA title. He didn’t back down from cancer. He didn’t back down from broken ribs. He didn’t back down from the NCAA. He won’t back down from a broken hip.

Jim Calhoun will retire when he’s ready to do so. He is still the best coach in the game. In the last four seasons, his teams have advanced to two Final Fours and won the NCAA tournament in 2011. That part of the resume alone is better than those compiled by most coaches.

People who call on Calhoun to retire either don’t like the coach and/or want UConn’s dominance to go away. Calhoun should retire under three conditions: 1. His team underperforms on a consistent basis. That hasn’t happened. 2. Calhoun physically can’t perform as a coach. 3. Calhoun doesn’t want to coach anymore.

The likeliest scenario of those three is that Calhoun will decide when to retire. What’s for sure is that he won’t back down, he’ll fight to return, and UConn will be on top when he leaves.

College teams resemble their coaches. UConn basketball has embodied Calhoun's resilience.  The Huskies have come back to win when games, the season, and even the Calhoun Era have seemed over. 

PETER F. BURNS, JR., was born and raised in Connecticut and educated at UConn. In 2002 the University of Connecticut Alumni Association named him as its outstanding young alumnus of the year. He is a professor of political science at Loyola University New Orleans. Author of Shock the World:UConn Basketball in the Calhoun Era (NUP) available this October.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Concussions in Kids - 'When in Doubt, Sit Them Out'

For the complete on-line article, go NJ Today with Mike Schneider.