Published in the Feb. 24, 2016 edition of the Lyons Recorder.
COMMENTARY: What’s the future of affordable housing in Lyons?
Media and music messages about Lyons
by Amy Reinholds
No news on new affordable housing this past week – no meetings were held. However, a few thoughts about media and music are on my mind.
Ever since the flood, my senses are heightened about media coverage about our town – what accurately captured our varied experiences in town, and what misrepresented our experiences (whether accidentally or with an agenda). I saved favorite links to quality news coverage to pass on to family and friends outside of town, and I read other stories that I hoped would fade into obscurity because they were misleading or incorrect. Often the news media accounts about Lyons that I find on my own or see people share on Facebook are mixed: they capture the heart and sentiment of our experience but get some of the facts wrong.
Sometimes writers for news outlets look for conflict or someone to blame in their stories. The difficulties faced in Lyons by our neighbors who lost their homes, whether they owned or rented them, and the barriers to affordable replacement housing were ripe for writers looking for conflict. It can almost be a form or disaster tourism when people who don’t live in Lyons cover our troubles.
Often, things are missed because the people writing the stories don’t live here.
But instead of conflict or blame, I’m asking everyone, whether you are readers or writers of stories about Lyons (or listeners to gossip about Lyons) to think about responsibility. And locals don’t get out of this responsibility, either! Of course serious journalists should be committed to responsibility. But we all have responsibility to consider whether the words are valid, whether the information is correct, whether it is worth passing on to others. In general, if I read something in publications and I haven’t personally talked to the people who were quoted, I usually don’t rely on it as an accurate account of what happened.
A recent Daily Camera article that I read was peppered with minor inaccuracies, which I identified from my own knowledge of past events and doing a little research. It was one of those links I wished people wouldn’t have posted on Facebook. But something surprising happened.
The comments responding to the post didn’t focus on conflict, but they were all heartfelt statements in support of people whose homes were destroyed. Positive posts on Facebook! I was relieved and encouraged. Sometimes people just respond from the heart.
That brings me to the music discussion. Bonnie Sims, a friend who is part of my extended “band family” (my husband plays in her band), wrote a song called Lyonstown that speaks to me in a way that printed words and Facebook posts don’t. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxzh-B9ya6U .
I’ll let the music speak for itself. The lyrics that touch you might be different than the ones that speak to me, but when I see you around town, we can talk about it.
Keep following my columns in both Lyons papers for updates about any accomplishments to increase affordable housing stock in Lyons. The next housing committee meeting is March 2, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex (behind the Barking Dog Cafe). All housing committee meetings are open to the public and published on the Town of Lyons calendar at www.townoflyons.com. For background and history on the special housing committee, including how it started, you can read previous columns at lyonscoloradonews.wordpress.com. If you have any questions, comments, or complaints about this column, please contact me directly at areinholds @hotmail.com.
Amy Reinholds served on the Lyons Housing Recovery Task Force from December 2013 through its end in February 2015. She is currently a member of the Lyons Human Services and Aging Commission and serves as a liaison to the special housing committee. She has lived in Lyons for 12 years and in the surrounding Lyons area since 1995.