The 4th of July

When, In the course of human events… This is the beginning of a document that changed the world, but not the beginning of a movement. The true beginning is likely impossible to pinpoint, however on June 7th, 1776, Virginian Richard Henry Lee made a motion known as Lee’s Resolution for independence from Great Britain. It was tabled for a day and debated on June 8th. After much discussion, it was tabled again; when it was brought back up on July 1st, 1776. In the meantime a committee met to draft a declaration: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston were charged with the task. Thomas Jefferson, being mighty with the pen, was encouraged to write the first draft. After revision, we are left with our Declaration of Independence, which we will celebrate this weekend, and over the next week.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

The Note I Didn’t Get a Chance to Send

Nicki Meyer passed away on June 13th, 2019. In fact, I was on a conference call with her just before what turned out to be the end. As you may have guessed, the TORCH revitalization of Railroad Street was the topic. Sadly, I had just penned a note to her that didn’t make it to post.

Dear Nicki,

I know this won’t find you in good health, but I hope it finds you in good spirit. I wanted to just jot down a few words of thanks. In the short time I’ve been in Hartwell, you’ve been kind to me and I appreciate that. I know it can be frustrating when the “new guy” comes to town, and you are having to catch him up on the work of the day. 🙂 You’re dedication to this community is worthy of celebration. It reminds me of something Teddy Roosevelt said, “far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” You epitomized that mission. Do rest well during this time. I wish for you all the comfort you need. I think it is ok for you to go ahead and relax for a while. I pray you are surrounded with family and friends, and that peace is in your heart.

Sincerely,

Jason

In my mind, there is no more fitting way to honor Nicki, than to push the project she was so passionate about across the finish line. I think there is widespread agreement that naming the park Nicki Meyer Railroad Street Park (or something to that effect) is appropriate. I leave you with the words that is inside the TORCH flyer. “Imagine transforming an abandoned block in downtown Hartwell into a community-centric park and regional tourist destination. Picture a pristine welcoming promenade; cool, green, and inviting. Imagine the opportunity to buy a wide variety of local crafts and heart healthy foods, amid an architectural plan that includes a historic depot and train museum, a city marketplace, a train-themed restaurant, a walking path, and much much more. Envision listening to concerts or taking in an outdoor art show in the promenade while your children play in the splash fountain and playground. Now imagine all this connected by a combination walking and biking path featuring wellness/fitness stations and the opportunity to enjoy low impact exercise for any age. TORCH is bringing this vision to life. With your help, private citizens, local corporations, City and state governments, civic organizations and community focused foundations, TORCH is embarking on a multi-year venture. Help us light the torch!”

Memorial Day

John Beale was one of the first guys I met when I got to my unit. He quickly took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He made it easy for me to settle in, because he seemed to be well liked by just about everybody, which is impressive in the Army. John loved Peanut M&Ms and in fact, I have a great picture of him just opening some up with a “what’s up” look on his face. Of course as time goes by, soldiers get shifted around. Unit transfers and promotions keep folks just close enough to see each other from time to time, but not daily. And so it was for me and John. I considered him a friend, though we only got to see each other from time to time. That changed when we got to Afghanistan. We arrived to Camp Phoenix weary eyed and tired from the flight, the time change, and lugging all our gear at the new altitude. I tossed my gear on my bunk and looked up. John was there on the bunk next to me; he looked up and I was greeted with the beloved phrase “what’s up doc?” See I was a medic, and I got that phrase a lot. With a smile and a handshake, we helped each other get settled in for a few days before we found out our assignments. One night, as soldiers started getting pulled for missions, John was obviously somber. He said words that brings tears to my eyes even now as I write this. He said doc, “I don’t think I’m gonna make it through this one.” Now all soldiers have this sentiment I think; I know I did. It is just one of those things that goes through your head. I tried to pep him up and slap him on the back with the encouragement we all provide each other. I am sure I used some colorful “army language” in our discussion. Of course he smiled and shrugged it off. We all do. After all the job has to get done, no matter how we feel about it. The day came for me and John to split. We were both going to Kapisa, but he was in a different valley than I was. A few weeks went by and I got the news. It was June 4th, 2009. John’s truck had been hit by an IED. I was only 15 minutes away and could do nothing about it. My best friend was supposed to be on that mission, but Major Kevin Jenerette told him to stay back, take a shower, and get some hot chow. Those were luxury items down in the valley. Nobody survived the blast. Major J didn’t even have to be in that valley. He was our regimental executive officer, but he insisted on being there. The rest of our chain of command hardly ever came out. Major J defined leadership by his words and actions, even up to the end. He could have stayed back for some chow, but he insisted one of his “joes” get the chance. I didn’t know Jeffrey Jordon. I think he was 21 when he died. John was up in the gunner’s turret. The IED ripped through the HMMWV (Humvee) right below where he was standing. I could see it in my Captain’s eyes when he told us. The few of us who knew Maj. J or John couldn’t contain our emotions. Fear, grief, sadness, and anger raged through my veins…still does. When we left the wire, we went seeking revenge. It doesn’t matter what happened next really, my friend was gone, his wife widowed, and his children would now grow up without a dad. He was out there just doing his job. Two weeks before that another IED ripped through a HMMWV. Another one of my friends lost his leg. That should have been me on that truck. Because of rank and the ease of getting resupplied, we switched teams so that I could be the one to argue with the higher ups. I was trying to make his deployment easier. Guilt will never leave my heart. In that same blast, another guy I knew broke his back. He was set to retire after that deployment. He has a made a full recovery. Also, a young man I didn’t know, but got to know well, received a head wound. I did some wound care for him early on and he returned to duty. You see, Memorial Day is not a day for hot dogs and lakes for me. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be that for you, but as the divide between soldier and civilian grows, hearing stories like this will bring us back together. We live in a world where our nation is still at war, yet we get upset when our coffee takes to long. We complain about the heat or the cold, while .4% of our population is serving in our military today. While they are not first class citizens, they are important. They need their stories herd. I am a veteran, but this weekend is not for me. Please don’t thank me for my service. Listen to stories about my friends who this day is for; SFC John Beale, MAJ Kevin Jenerette, SGT Jeff Jordan, and others like them that didn’t come home. I miss my friend John, and I think of him often. I see his family on Facebook and chat through there. His daughter just graduated from high school. He loved Peanut M&Ms.

Pocket Parks

So I was thinking…or so goes the line. We have a couple of great spaces where we could have little “pocket parks” right in the downtown area. In a way, that is what TORCH is working to do, but I am also thinking about true greenspaces compared to a boardwalk. What is a pocket park? According to an article by Alison Blake, “pocket parks, also known as minipark or vest-pocket parks, are urban open space at the very small scale. Usually only a few house lots in size or smaller, pocket parks can be tucked into and scattered throughout the urban fabric where they serve the immediately local population.” Philadelphia was one of the first cities to do it. Savannah has a whole series of them. Now cities, big and small, are coming together through community activism, foundations, and public-private partnerships to install these little gems anywhere there is vacant lot that might currently be an eye soar, or a hidden away and forgotten space that you only consider from time to time. In fact, Hartwell already has a large version at the incredible Botanical Garden. If you haven’t been, you really must! The flowers are blooming, there are trails to walk, and even a playground for the kids to play on. It is a perfect park. What I am advocating is for a miniature (or several miniature) versions around the downtown area. There are places, both on and off the square that are within walking distance that would be ideal. It will take some work though. Convincing folks is the first task. The investment is worth it! The economic benefits of greenspace in communities is not questionable. But never mind that, “greenery within pocket parks can help regulate microclimates and act as the ‘lungs’ of the city, while permeable surfaces increase infiltration.” Alison’s article goes on to talk about how smaller “pocket parks” within walking distance of a city center, reduce wear and tear on bigger parks where active play might take away from their ecological functions. Investments in these parks create a win-win. You can enjoy your lunch outdoors, bigger parks won’t need as many resources devoted to repair, and the ecosystem benefits in many ways. I wonder if there are any other like-minded folks that want to build a coalition and start a pocket park? A little effort will go a long way.

Dusty Slay Comedy Show

Dusty Slay is coming to Hartwell and Hartwell’s Main Street Program has you covered! We are raffling off front row seats between now and Cars n’ Guitars! $5 bucks will get you a ticket to potentially win these up front and center tickets! You can start buying raffle tickets ahead of time at https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2570025

Just make sure you put $5 in the “other” amount box. Also, make sure the “share my name and email with this charity” box is checked so we who you are to put your name in the hat! I hope YOU win!

Thank You!

I wanted to just take a moment to say thank you to the volunteers that came out to the #KeepHartClean event Saturday morning. Leadership Hart, partnering with Leadership Hart Youth, organized a community clean-up event. This event was born out of a discussion on Economic Development as well as the importance of #LovingWhereYouLive. I must say, Hartwell residents stepped up to the plate in a big fashion. 81 volunteers came out and worked for three hours resulting in 3-4 truckloads, as well as one trailer full of trash being cleared away from the side of our roads. We targeted two areas, but had such a great turn out, we were able to spill over into others. Lately, I have been discussing the great spirit of volunteerism that exists in our community. It is something we should all take pride in. For a first annual event, Leadership Hart class of 2019 could not be more proud of the results. Now we have to keep the momentum going. I ask that everyone thinks before throwing trash out on the side of the road. It not only takes away from the natural beauty of our region, but it could mean the loss of all of those great businesses we would like to see coming to town with JOBS! I thank you for your effort in that regard, I also look forward to seeing you out on the roads next year. That’s right, next year we hope to be out there again. Earth Day is about sustainability and loving our planet, that is why we picked the time of year we did to do this event so we have a target for next year. Let’s #KeepHartClean and show everyone that #LovingWhereYouLive is a year-round tradition in Hartwell. Again, thank you Hartwell!

Hartwell Main Street Partners

The Hartwell DDA is actually a nonprofit organization. We are a 501 (c) 3, which means donations to us are considered charitable giving for tax purposes. If it is in your means, please consider donating to us so that we can continue to provide services to our merchants, citizens, and tourists. The events we put on cost money and our budget is small. Every penny helps. Thank you so much for considering us. You can donate at the following link.
https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2570025

Need Your Support

Hartwell Main Street needs your support. Your generosity by the way of sponsorships is what keeps us in business and it is greatly needed. I understand that there is a competitive market to earn your donations. That’s why I have included a list of partner benefits below. In addition to the partner benefits, as a sponsor, you will be advertised at each event, on our website, and anywhere else I can get your name in to publications as a DDA Sponsor.

Ways the Hartwell DDA produces results:

Marketing & Public Relations

  • Downtown Event Participation & Sponsorships
  • Advertising through our website and Social Media
  • Business Spotlight Blog
  • FREE listing on www.hartwellmainstreet.com
  • Publicity/Media Story Creation & Dissemination

Public Improvements & Maintenance

  • Streetscape Improvement Projects
  • Landscape & Flower Installation & Maintenance
  • Design Services

​ Issue Management & Advocacy

  • Government Issues & Policies (Local, State & National)
  • Consumer Assistance

​Financial Assistance

  • DDA Façade Grant – Up to $1000 Reimbursement for Exterior Improvements
  • Economic Redevelopment Grant – Fundraiser to Support Redevelopment Projects
  • Assistance with State, National & Historic Tax Incentives

Business Start Up, Development & Education

  • Small Business Development Protocol
  • Assistance with Permits, Applications, Zoning
  • Property Listing on www.hartwellmainstreet.com
  • Consultations Services & Workshops
  • Retention visits with existing businesses to help navigate tools and assistance programs
Simply open the camera on your phone and point it at the QR code. A link will pop up at the top to our PayPal account where you can select one of three options. a $500 level, $1000 level, and a $1500 level. That said, any amount is appreciated. There is an “enter other amount” available also. Thank you for supporting our organization. We will be good stewards of your dollars and use it to serve our community.

Placemaking: Why We Do What We Do

Believe it or not, there are actual strategies that go into planning projects in and for communities. I know at times things can seem somewhat haphazard, but there really is a method to the madness. That said, what works in one place doesn’t necessarily translate to another. According to Project for Public Spaces (PSS), “placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.” Here at Hartwell’s Main Street Program, we do this through Main Street’s four-point approach of Design, Promotions, Economic Vitality, and Organization. Effective placemaking takes a collaborative effort between citizens, business owners, and government to create a place where people want to be. This weekend was a perfect example of that. We had several events going on in Hartwell. Plant sales, antique boat shows, and dog walks were all on the calendar. From what I saw, they were all well attended, safe, and fun events. It took volunteers, corporate partners, city and county resources, and participation from folks in the area to make it a great weekend. The goal should be to focus on place. This place. Hartwell. With that in mind, there are 11 key elements to placemaking. 1) The community is the expert. Specifically, the people of the community are the experts, and your voices are necessary. 2) Create a place, not a design. Design is not enough; there has to be a sence of vitality to the project as in, we cannot do without this. 3) Look for partners. In today’s world, there has to be a collaboration between public works, private investment, and civil society resources to fill gaps in our community. 4) You can see a lot by observing. Much can be gained from seeing others successes and failures. We can learn what to add and subtract from our communities by looking to other locations in the state and region. 5) Have a vision. It is not enough to say “be the best.” We can’t be the best at everything, that is reality. We can identify what we are really great at, what we are good enough at, and what we need to work on. Energy and effort should be placed in the latter category. 6) Start with petunias: Lighter, quicker, cheaper. Public spaces are complex. It is better to do a few small things really well before jumping on to enormous projects. Murals and community gardens are a great jumping off point. 7) Triangulate. “Triangulation is the process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to other strangers as if they knew each other” (Holly Whyte). Resources may not get used if they are placed in the public space without much thought. If resources are arranged systematically, then they can be used and enjoyed by everyone. 8) They always say “it can’t be done.” Who are “they?” I often here about “they.” I hear, “they should do something about this or that” a lot. There will always be naysayers, but let me fill you in on a secret, “they” are you and me. We are guilty of getting in our own way at times. I promise it can be done, because people are out there doing it. We can do it too. 9) Form supports function. “The input from the community and potential partners, the understanding of how other spaces function, the experimentation, and overcoming the obstacles and naysayers provides the concept for the space. Although design is important, these other elements tell you what “form” you need to accomplish the future vision for the space.” -PSS. 10) Money is not the issue. When the community brings their resources together to accomplish all of the items we all say we want, many hands will make light work, and 11) You are never finished. Making our community great does not have and end state. If for no other reason, new technology comes along constantly and I promise you, we want it too. That said, we must be open to change, and flexible enough to seize opportunity when it presents itself. We started the 11 key elements of placemaking with the foundation of Hartwell as the place. Now we need to apply these 11 elements to our place.

Main Street Reaccreditation

I am happy to report that our Accreditation as a Main Street Program has been complete. Hartwell is again recognized as a Classic Main Street Community for 2019 at both the state and national levels. To achieve this, there are fourteen (14) categories that are audited. We must provide a map of our district, have an organizational chart, develop a mission/vision statement, have an annual work plan, provide all board meeting agendas and minutes, have a signed Memorandum of Understanding, provide a board roster, have bylaws, provide our annual budget, have a main street manager job description, main street staff job descriptions (we have volunteers), have a training log, have a national main street accreditation, and provide monthly community activity reports. This process will be changing to an oral interview and presentation for 2020 reaccreditation and I hope to receive as much if not more support for that process as I have for the 2019 process. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and participated in Main Street events. I am still the new guy and have a lot to learn, so it means a lot to me to have a team of folks willing to give their time and talent to our success.