Erie Community

Erie community PROGRAMS

Access all of our programs about impacting the Erie Community including policy, conversation, and more

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OVERCOMING THE RURAL DIGITAL DIVIDE

Jeff Styborski

May 4, 2021

What is the rural digital divide? What are the connectivity issues impacting students living in rural areas as they attempt to learn at a distance during this time of pandemic? What are the public and non-public options for overcoming that divide to ensure all students equitable access to reliable, high-speed internet access?

Join Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy 2020 alumnus and Raimy Fellow Jeff Styborski, a tech industry professional and himself a graduate of an Erie-region rural school district; Jefferson Educational Society Vice President Ben Speggen and Jefferson Educational Society Scholar-in-Residence Andrew Roth for an in-depth conversation about this timely and crucial issue impacting Erie County students and their families. Jeff shares insights gleaned from his study of access to high-speed internet access in the Wattsburg Area School District and outline possible next steps for overcoming the rural digital divide.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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CARING FOR THOSE WHO CARE FOR US

Joe Cuneo and Brian Zona

April 13, 2021

Join Jefferson Educational Society Raimy Fellows Joe Cuneo and Brian Zonaas they examine the impact of our pandemic year on essential workers serving developmentally disadvantaged Erie Countians. Brian and Joe document the critical value of the care provided by interviewing both human service agency leaders and a client and his family as a prelude to advocating for both increased compensation and public appreciation for these vital human servants caring for Erie County's most vulnerable citizens. Ask yourself "Is an average wage that barely exceeds recent proposals for a $10 per hour Pennsylvania minimum wage fair to those who provide such critical and compassionate service"?

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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A LOOK AT "FAITH, FEARS, AND FACTS," A RECENT JES REPORT

Panel Discussion

April 12, 2021 

Dr. Parris Baker leads a panel discussion with Dr. Charles Mock, Rev. Remy Acevedo, and Pat Cuneo on the recently released Jefferson report, "Faith, Fears, and Facts: African Americans, Vaccinations, and the Fierce Urgency of Now for BIPOC Communities." 

As the nation speeds up the race to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of Americans, Dr. Baker, a Gannon University professor and department head, discusses the report that explores the politics and perceptions around vaccination and offers key recommendations. Other contributors to the report are the Rev. Charles Mock, Pat Cuneo, Gary Horton, James Sherrod, and Ben Speggen.

Among the key report recommendations are: 1. Designing interventions that help Erie County healthcare providers to address the distrust of the vaccine in BIPOC communities. 2. Empower organizations like MCIC, AACC, NAACP, the United Clergy of Erie, and the Erie Housing Authority with resources to establish vaccination centers that the community considers trusted places with trusted people. 3. Assist the vaccination centers to provide information and outreach regarding the efficacy of vaccines, and to model vaccination compliance. 4. Hold healthcare providers accountable for the reception, availability, and distribution of vaccines throughout Erie County. 

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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CREATING A STATE PARK: ROAD WAYS AND OTHER MAJOR DECISIONS THAT LED TO PRESQUE ISLE BECOMING A PENNSYLVANIA STATE PARK

David Frew, Ph.D.

March 18, 2020

These days we drive onto Presque Isle and take the roadways for granted. During the early years of the state park, however, decisions regarding where and how to connect the peninsula with the mainland had enormous and lasting consequences. Beginning with the earlier recommendations of celebrated urban planner, John Nolan, Presque Isle embarked upon a series of politically motivated engineering decisions that will influence our park forever. In addition to Nolan, the most important early players in the creation of the state park and its roadways included Isadore Sobel (the unsung hero), Waldameer Park, Erie Waterworks, Sherman Fairchild (inventor of aerial photography), the Erie Yacht Club and a strange downtown political committee that controlled all park decisions.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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Lower parade street: erie's "ellis Island"

Ed Whitbred

March 11, 2020

Almost from the establishment of Fort Presque Isle in 1753, the neighborhood around lower Parade Street has been a kind of "Ellis Island" of Erie County. And curiously, it continues to fulfill that role to this day. With the use of pictures and anecdotes, we explore the role of this neighborhood's ethnic churches, businesses, and social organizations in Erie's history. These are interspersed with contemporary photos showing the same evolution with different cultural focuses. This is not serious history but rather an informal reminder that other than Native Americans, we all come from strangers in a strange land.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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LOCAL AND STATEWIDE PERSPECTIVES ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Sarah Bennett, Gary Horton, and Allison Acevedo

February 25, 2020

Erie Coke closed its doors in December 2019 after years of environmental violations that disproportionately impacted Environmental Justices communities. In September 2020, Erie County declared racism as a public health crisis. Join Sarah Bennett, PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for Clean Water Advocacy in the Lake Erie Watershed, Gary Horton, Urban Erie CDC President, and Allison Acevedo, Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to learn what environmental justice is, how it impacts the Erie community, and what can be done to create a future where low income people and people of color are no longer disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation and pollution.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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LAKE ERIE WATER LEVELS: AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO PRESQUE ISLE

David Frew, Ph.D.

February 23, 2020

Presque Isle has been experiencing extraordinarily high water levels for the last few years. The high water levels and storm surges have been assaulting the peninsula's bathing beaches, washing away replenished sand. Even more disconcerting, water has been threatening Presque Isle's interior, as well, dropping trees and eroding infrastructure, including trails and roadways. On several occasions during 2019 and 2020 there were "blowout events" during which water crossed Presque Isle, extending from the lake to the bay and closing roads. These recent examples serve as reminders of the loss of the way in the 1940s. These recent treats help to remind us of the fragility of the entire peninsula, which is dependent upon a thin layer of sand and soil to anchor the root structures of the trees and brush that is essential to its existence.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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A FOREIGN POLICY FOR AMERICA'S LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA MODEL AND WHAT PLACES LIKE ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA CAN LEARN FROM IT

Dr. Dale Medearis

February 11, 2021

Join Dale Medearis as he posits that for too long, international work by local governments has failed to meet its full potential because of over-reliance on an obsolete business model of cultural diplomacy that is grounded in the notion that the United States had nothing or little to learn from other countries. As a consequence, city and county governments fail to plan global engagement strategically and the face of international work at the local level is that of frivolous travel or "meet-and-greet" events that produce few or no outcomes.

As local governments continue to become drawn more into the global arena. As global connectivity tightens and the demands on services from local governments grow, re-formulating international affairs towards something more purposeful will become an absolute necessity – not an option. For over 20 years, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), a regional council of governments representing the 13 localities and 2.5 million people of Northern Virginia, has practiced a special model of strategic global interaction with potential adoption for other localities around the country.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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THE ERIEZ INDIANS - WHO WERE THEY? WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? HOW DID THEY DISSAPPEAR?

Dr. David Frew, JES Scholar-in-Residence

February 9, 2021

Join us on a deep dive into one of the most fascinating topics from the pages of Accidental Paradise. Our city and even the lake, itself, was named after an early Native American tribe, the Eriez. Somehow, however, the entire people simply disappeared a few years after European arrival (1492). A series of chance meetings plunged Dr. David Frew into a long and complicated relationship with Indian history, and in particular with Iroquoian culture, religion and politics. His near obsession has led him to audit gradual classes in anthropology, travel to Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America and meet with chiefs from the Six Nations Reservation in Brantford, Ontario.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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ELECTED ERIE COUNTY WOMEN: PART VIII - BRENDA PUNDT, GAYLE WRIGHT, AND DENISE ROBISON

Dr. Judith Lynch

December 2, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

This is the eighth installment of the Elected Women Series, "Brenda Pundt, Gayle Wright, and Denise Robison."

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART VII - SAVOCCHIO BROKE ONE GLASS CEILING AFTER ANOTHER

Dr. Judith Lynch

November 18, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

This is the seventh installment of the Elected Women Series, "Savocchio Broke One Glass Ceiling After Another".

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART VI - DOMITROVICH BROKE JUDICIAL GLASS CEILING

Dr. Judith Lynch

November 11, 2021

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

This is the sixth installment of the Elected Women Series, "Domitrovich Broke Judicial Glass Ceiling."

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART V - MORE BARRIERS TUMBLED AS SAVOCCHIO BECAME ERIE MAYOR

Dr. Judith Lynch

November 4, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

This is the fifth installment of the Elected Women Series, "More Barriers Tumbled as Savocchio Became Erie Mayor."

To watch this video on Youtube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART IV - MAJOR REFORMS LED TO NEW COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Dr. Judith Lynch

October 28, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

This is the fourth installment of the Elected Women Series, "Major Reforms Led to New County Government."

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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PATHS TO RENEWED PROSPERITY FOR GREAT LAKES COMMUNITIES

John Austin, MPA

October 22, 2020

Despite lingering popular misconceptions, the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest region is not an economic monolith of struggling older industrial cities and rural hinterlands. Many communities have shed their agricultural and industrial shells and found new economic success in a globalized, knowledge and technology-driven economy. Austin will share findings from A Vital Midwest: The Path to New Prosperity, his 2020 report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It provides a fresh analysis of the Great Lakes economy and the varied paths by which the region's older industrial communities, similarly situated to Erie, have turned an economic corner. Austin also discusses the new challenges and opportunities for economic growth in a Covid-19 reshaped economy.

John Austin is the Director of the Michigan Economic Center; a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution & Chicago Council of Global Affairs; a Research Fellow, W.E. Upjohn Institute; and a Lecturer on the Economy, University of Michigan.

To watch the program on Facebook, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART III - WOMEN’S POLITICAL STRENGTH GROWS IN THREE MOVEMENTS

Dr. Judith Lynch

October 21, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

Dr. Judith Lynch continues her Elected Women series with "Women’s Political Strength Grows in Three Movements."

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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RECRUITMENT OF BLACK SOLDIERS IN U.S. MILITARY IN NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA DURING THE CIVIL WAR

Brian Graff and George Deutsch

October 20, 2020

Watch this program for a brief history of raising Union black regiments during the Civil War. The focus is on the several USCT (United States Colored Troop) regiments that were partially recruited in Northwestern Pennsylvania, specifically in the Erie area. This program is co-hosted with the Erie County Historical Society and the Erie Civil War Roundtable.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART II - HELEN SCHLURAFF

Dr. Judith Lynch

October 14, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

Dr. Judith Lynch continues her Elected Women series with "Helen Schluraff: State’s First Female County Commissioner Led by Example as she Broke Barriers."

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE

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THE URBAN DIGITAL DIVIDE DEFINED

Matt Wiertel

October 15, 2020

The broadband and technology skills gap that exists in U.S. urban areas often decides whether individuals can become part of the connected digital economy and education. Due to Erie's demographics, broadband adoption in urban areas trails national averages and creates a larger challenge for the community at large. Raimy Fellow Matt Wiertel dives into this multi-faceted issue, presents possible solutions, and forms a call to action to assist a technologically marginalized population in Erie.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY ELECTED WOMEN: PART I

Dr. Judith Lynch

October 7, 2020

From the passing of the 19th Amendment to the formation of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, to Annette Young becoming the first woman elected in Erie County, Dr. Judith Lynch, Jefferson Scholar in Residence (and an elected Erie County woman herself!), covers the history of elected Erie County women, reviewing the positions they held and the impacts they made. From municipal offices to state-level positions, you'll find out about the women who made – and are still making – history throughout Erie County in this multi-part series hosted by JES Vice President Ben Speggen.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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A SHARED HERITAGE: PEOPLE AND PLACES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE IN ERIE COUNTY

Mr. Johnny Johnson and Dr. Chris Magoc

September 30, 2020

This program offers an overview of a newly launched community history project. The centerpiece of A Shared Heritage is a driving and walking tour of 29 sites of significance related to African American history in Erie County from slavery through the Civil Rights era. Along with the tour is a website featuring a number of other supplemental educational resources that are previewed in the presentation. 

To watch this video on Facebook, click HERE!

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LAKE ERIE: A CALL TO ACTION

Dr. Judith Lynch

September 24, 2020

Outbreaks of Harmful Algal Blooms and E. coli contamination have been documented for years in Lake Erie. Despite proof of their injurious impact on animal life, human life, and our economy, they continue.

After the recent release of her latest report on these growingly severe threats, Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Judith Lynch argues that it is time to stop talking and start acting.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ON THE WATERFRONT: EXPLORING LAKE ERIE'S WILDLIFE, SHIPS, AND HISTORY

David Frew, Ph.D.

August 5,2020

Dr. David Frew gives us an exclusive look into his "On the Waterfront" series. David Frew, Ph.D., is a prolific writer, author, and speaker who grew up on Erie's lower west side as a proud "Bay Rat," joining neighborhood kids playing and marauding along the west bayfront. He has written for years about his beloved Presque Isle and his adventures on the Great Lakes. In a new series of articles for the Jefferson, the retired professor takes note of life in and around the water, which he reviews in conversation with Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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TAPS: 24 NOTES OF HISTORY AND ERIE COUNTY'S OLIVER NORTON

George Deutsch, B.A.

July 14, 2020

On a sultry July evening in 1862, a battered Union army lay in camp along the James River, downstream from Richmond, after the failed attempt to capture the Confederate capital. General Daniel Butterfield called in his young bugler, Oliver Norton, from Erie's 83rd Pennsylvania regiment. That night, they created a new "Lights Out" for Butterfield's brigade. By the next morning, dozens of other buglers from nearby units flocked to see Norton to get copies of the new tune. The iconic TAPS was born. Now, TAPS is the most famous bugle call in American history, being played at military funerals across the country. In later years, Norton would become a multimillionaire industrialist, summered at the Chautauqua Institution, and his widow left a legacy to her husband by funding Chautauqua's opera center: Norton Hall.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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COWORKING: COMMUNITIES OF PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL INTEREST

Sean Fedorko

May 20, 2020

Coworking has become a popular subject of discussion with the rise of the freelance economy, remote work, entrepreneurship, and as people seek new ways to feel connected to one another.

Sean Fedorko, Co-founder and Managing Director of Radius CoWork, provides insights into the history of Erie’s coworking community, Radius CoWork, and its role in Erie’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’ll also cover how the pandemic has impacted changes in coworking communities and the industry.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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LEADERSHIP IN TIMES OF CRISES: LEARNING FROM ERIE'S LAW AND BATTLES

Dr. Judith Lynch

May 7, 2020

What can Erie learn today, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, from studying the past, specifically the tuberculous crisis of the 19th century and the Great Depression of the 20th century? What lessons do Dr. Katherine Law and banker Charlottes Elizabeth Battles teach us in leadership in times of crises? 

On May 7, 2020, Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Judy Lynch was in conversation with Ben Speggen, Jefferson Vice President, for this discussion on two reports she's recently written for the Jefferson.

To watch this program on Facebook, click HERE!

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A CONVERSATION WITH JAMES AND DEBORAH FALLOWS

James & Deborah Fallows and Ben Speggen

April 21, 2020 

James and Deborah Fallows, the husband-wife co-author duo of the critically acclaimed bestselling book "Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America" discuss the towns and cities they visited throughout their multi-year journey (including Erie, Pennsylvania) and to learn about their travels and reporting since.

No strangers to Erie, the Fallows presented at Global Summit X, and were honored with the Thomas B. Hagen Dignitas Award and received keys to the city from Erie Mayor Joe Schember. The Fallows discuss how they're observing local responses in the wake of COVID-19 to examine how regions can learn from each other. 

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!


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EXPLORING THE REPORT: "WHY ERIE'S DOWNTOWN IS A PROXY FOR THE NATION: THE FUTURE OF MAIN STREET BUSINESSES AMIDST THE COVID-19 CRISIS"

Bruce Katz and Ben Speggen

April 9, 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the places where they co-locate and concentrate — downtown, Main Streets, commercial corridors — has been immediate and devastating. In their recent report, "Why Erie’s Downtown is a Proxy for the Nation: The Future of Main Street Businesses amidst the Covid-19 Crisis,” Bruce Katz, the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University and a Partner with Accelerator for America, and Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen, examine COVID-19's impact on businesses in Erie and make the case for how Erie serves as a model for the country in examining the impact and planning the recovery.

To watch this program on Facebook, click HERE!

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METRO 100 REVISITED

April 8, 2020

The Jefferson revisited lectures from "Metro100: Erie at a Crossroads." Take a look at the program so you can watch, remember, and learn all you can about what we accomplished during the Metro100 in 2016.

In 2016, the Jefferson hosted czb, LLC. Planning Firm Founding President Charles Buki and czb Associate Planner Peter Lombardi along with James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, for a discussion of the City of Erie’s recent comprehensive plan: Erie Refocused.

At the unveiling of the plan, Buki wrote an open letter to Erie civic leaders, calling for community wide discussion of the plan to best consider adoption and implementation strategies. To ensure that the plan was discussed and that leaders could connect to its authors, the Jefferson hosted the czb, LLC. Planners. Adding James Fallows helped the plan garner national attention, as he wrote about the day’s happenings in The Atlantic.

This program was recorded by MenajErie Studio.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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ERIE COUNTY WOMEN IN WAR TIME

Sabina Freeman, B.A.

March 24, 2020

During wartime the bravery and dedication of Erie County women became most obvious. They contributed to every war, in small and large ways. Some
on the front lines, some on the home front. When their help was needed they gave it, for their country and for their loved ones. These are some of their
stories.

To watch the program on Facebook, click HERE!

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HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY'S RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POOR

Dr. Judith Lynch

March 12, 2020

Erie County was created by the State in 1800. One of the first responsibilities it was given was the care of the poor, a state-imposed responsibility that the County still carries. This program traces the evolution of the County's care of the poor, from the creation of the Overseers of the Poor, to Institution Districts, to workhouses, almshouses, and tuberculosis sanitariums. It notes the changing attitudes about the treatment of subsections of the poor. It describes the impact of the Great Depression and the Roosevelt policies, in addition to chronicling the impact of Lyndon Johnson's 1960s programs of Medicaid and Medicare and the scope of the current human service budget.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

To take a look at the PowerPoint Presentation affiliated with the lecture, click HERE!