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The incredible shrinking schools

My high school alma mater may drop its Latin program next year. That’s not a huge deal to most people, I know, but if you think of it an indicator, it signals change in the rural school districts around Rochester: a significant drop in the population of young people in small towns.

There are fewer kids in rural schools. Batavia Daily News reporter Tom Rivers (and, in the name of full disclosure, my brother-in-law) describes the changes in a thorough report below, posted with his permission.

As you’ll see, Tom’s story focuses on sports and science programs and the effects smaller classes may have on what schools can offer. Schools such as Elba, Byron-Bergen, and Oakfield-Alabama might have to team up to offer certain classes and sports programs.

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Make Me Care

That is a big part of my job -- making a connection between you and what's going on in the community around you.

It's particularly challenging for me at election time. Research, and my experience with Voice of the Voter, shows most people feel disconnected from politics, government, and community. My sense from the Voice of the Voter participants is a lot of folks have lost faith in ANY politician's ability to affect positive change within the "system." Even the "good" politicians don't stand a chance when they get into the legislative chambers. (If they can get there in the first place.)

But if enough people care, the "system" can't stop progress.

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Oh, Mississippi

It's Super Tuesday. Ever media website imaginable has an abundance of election coverage stories, specials and live coverage and what article catches my eye on the MSN homepage? "Sorry You're Too Fat To Eat Here." What? Kudos to the person who wrote the article because as far as titles and tag lines go, you had me at hello. How could I not read this?

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Leap Year Day

I've never given much thought to the extra day that gets tagged onto February every 4 years. Yeah, it's sort of exciting because it is different and for that one day you get to write a date is somewhat rare, but other than that it is exactly how I described it above- an extra day tagged onto the end of February.

Then my mom sent me a link (you have no idea how impressed I am that my mom even knows how to send a link) to a site named Leap Year Day and I had an epiphany: Leap Year Day must be quite the ordeal for someone that was born on February 29.

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Cellist wonders what to do next

I discovered a blog kept by a cellist living in Houston, studying at Rice University. He's preparing to audition in Rochester for a spot with the RPO. He writes:

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Who let the dogs out?

If you walk your dog in Toronto’s Jean Sibelius Square, take a leash.

As of January 1st, unleashed dogs were officially banned from the park named for the famous Scandinavian composer, Jean Sibelius. The centrally located park lies near Bathurst and Dupont streets.

Dogs’ rights aside, the park underscores the incredible popularity of Sibelius, who lived from 1865-1957. I can’t think of a composer alive today so universally revered. I’ve been reading about Jean Sibelius, and my appreciation for his music is moving beyond “Finlandia” worship. He loved nature, birds, and drinking. He was a homebody, full of self-doubt, despite his fame.

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Winter garden

Last week, I started complaining about the muddy, colorless winter weather. Today, I’m delighted every time I glance outside. The garden is etched in black and white, transformed into an Escher lithograph. Balls of ice-encrusted bee balm sway on brittle stalks. Privet bushes hunker down, nearly smothered by the heavy, wet snow. Cardinals flit, electric red. I declare this the loveliest winter weather ever, especially if you like shape and form and contrast.

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Days are where we live

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Last week I mentioned photographer Will Yurman’s show at the George Eastman House. Yurman spent 2007 documenting the lives of all the murder victims in Rochester, NY.

Having seen and heard his work, I have a deep sense of admiration for his dedication, skill, and artistic sensitivity.

Will Yurman’s multimedia project is here:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...

Everyone should see it. If you're short on time, skip to Norman Williams' picture in the lower left corner and just listen to his mother, Alpha.

If you live in Western New York, you can see an interview with Will on WXXI TV’s "Need to Know" tonight at 9:00 p.m. or Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. on channel 21 or cable channel 11.

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Mr. Brizard Comes to Town

It's been 30 days since Mr. Brizard came to our town.

But today, the new Rochester City School Superintendent really found his place in our community.

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Facebook is not evil!

Even though one of our bloggers might have some doubts... :-) some of us are leaning the other way.

WXXI's Interactive Services team is exploring a variety of social media and social networking tools including Facebook! If you're on Facebook, you can become a fan of WXXI here: WXXI Public Broadcasting on Facebook

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