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Friday, July 6, 2012

Resident commends City Councilwoman for bringing stop sign to dangerous corner
Written By L.T. Woody for NewsWorks
July 6, 2012

"We need a stop sign at the corner of West Rittenhouse and McCallum streets, before someone gets killed."

I had heard that refrain repeatedly in the three-and-a-half-years since I bought a home in this tight little Germantown neighborhood surrounding those two relatively quiet, narrow, and one-way streets. People said they had been asking for a stop sign (in vain) for a long time.

The problem was the high speed of the traffic turning onto West Rittenhouse Street from Germantown Avenue. Generally, those drivers are heading towards Wissahickon Avenue, Lincoln Drive and ultimately The Schuylkill Expressway. Some use the isolated two-block stretch on West Rittenhouse Street (between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street) for cell phone calls and texting.

There had been several accidents. I was stunned to see the aftermath of one of them, where a car smashed into my neighbor's fence and yard (I could not figure out how the car had managed to veer into her yard so abruptly). That same homeowner, Tammy Bradford, who lived right on the corner in question, told me that once, "a car smashed my gate, jumped the front steps and burst into my living room, causing more than $20,000 worth of damage to my home. That's right; a car was in my living room."

In September 2011, some of the neighbors organized an informal meet and greet in a parking lot near the affected corner. The meeting quickly turned into a referendum on the urgent need for a stop sign. We appealed, in writing, to Cindy Bass, who would soon take office as Councilperson for our district. In response, we all received a form letter explaining that Ms. Bass was not yet in office, but would look into the issue. To be fair to Ms. Bass, that was true, but we were impatient.

I then wrote a letter about the matter to the editor of the Germantown Newspapers, which they published on Oct. 27, 2011. However, we still had to wait until January 2012; Ms. Cindy Bass' swearing in. Things went quiet for several months, and my neighbors wondered if the whole effort had come to nothing.

However, in February 2012, I heard from Ms. Bass. We then had a community meeting (covered by NewsWorks) with Cindy Bass and the Streets Commissioner on March 1, 2012. With input from neighborhood folk, we decided on either a "speed lump" or a stop sign.

Things were quiet again for a few months. Then, on Thursday June 21, 2012, we were all delighted to see, finally, a stop sign installed at the troubled intersection. It is still early, but I believe it has made a difference, and more than anticipated. There is more orderliness to the traffic at the intersection now and reduced speed.

We are grateful to Cindy Bass for her leadership on this issue and for helping to (somewhat) restore our faith in the political process - a politician who keeps her word - how refreshing.
Fri, July 6, 2012 | link

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"Larry's book certainly got me thinking.  It was great how he let the facts of his experience speak for themselves, without polemic.  Plainness and directness in writing are hard to achieve, but he certainly managed it and did so consistently.  You know I read it in just two sittings.  He has an author's voice, which I envy.  I hope someone writes something for the Alumni Horae about the book."


"I read your book during our drive to ATL this past Thanksgiving week.  I also shared some of the stories/ people with family.  It was great to take a trip down “memory lane.”  Some of the “thugs” I remember well, in much the same way that you do, as I go to Jesse’s to get my haircut.  I haven’t seen or heard anything about most of them."


"I especially enjoyed how you captured the different friends you had both in Harlem Park and at Saint Paul’s.  I cried when Hipp died, as I felt I knew him through your recounting of his energy and enthusiasm, and his pranks, including the funny things he wrote on the blackboard in class." 


"Well, where to begin?  Your candor about your time in Baltimore was disarming and made your descriptions of events more compelling and credible.  I found myself thinking over and over, "Man, I didn't know that about Woody.”  At times it was uncomfortable, almost like reading somebody's diary.  But it was very effective storytelling."


"What I found interesting in your book as well is that although your experience was heavily flavored by racial issues, there are many universal aspects to the story.  Your trajectory from the streets of West Baltimore to the ivy-covered buildings of an elite prep school is a huge arc, but others made at least somewhat similar journeys if at a somewhat tamer angle."


"Larry, your book is REALLY great!  I am just luuuuuuuuvin' this!  Bravo to the Max!  Will have more specific praise and appreciation later, but THANK you for doing this extremely fine work!!!!!!!"


"It felt so real for me..........like you were right here telling me the story; like you and I were having a conversation about your life."


"What a fascinating, brave book, Woody!  You really put yourself on the line here.  I learned so much about inner city life in Baltimore and what was happening behind the scenes at SPS.  Thank you for opening my eyes to a world I hardly knew."


"As you noted, there is probably no other four year period with as much change as happened between September 1968 and June 1972 in the entire 100 and whatever year history of the school.  (A fact that is hugely ironic, as my parents sent me there because they thought it was the most stable looking school.)"


"Basically, I just wanted to let you know that I'm a huge fan of your book.  Granted I was taking a 20-credit semester so I'm only half way through the book, I can't wait to finish it up this summer.  I grew up in west Baltimore County, but it's astounding to see how many things were brought over.  The main thing is what you called in your book "body punching" which when we were doin we called it simply "goin body".  Long story short, I love the book so far and can’t wait to finish it! 
(ps. I've been recommending this book to all my college friends!)."


"Very captivating, funny and sometimes dangerous stuff."


"It was a really good read!  You had to grow up fast and wise early.  Unlike fiction, I realized that the characters that were chronicled were indeed real—tragedy along with comedy - That’s life."


"My sister got your book, and liked it so much."


"The Baltimore "hood" period sets up the St Paul's "preppy" period nicely. It's non-fiction but there is still a sort of fictional drama to it with a social conflict involved that needs to be resolved. I think that schools MUST have this book on their lists. I would love to monitor a high school discussion on it."


"I think it is a great book. Highly recommended!"


"I purchased the book, read it from cover to cover and it was a terrific read. I must say that you are a brave soul, I don't think I would lay my soul bare like you did."


"I also wanted to tell you that your remembrances of Hipp was particularly moving and faithful to my memories of him. He had a great life-force, and now you've shared that with the world. Great job."

"Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed your book. The style of writing transported us back to the young kids we were back then. Thank you!"


"I am really looking forward to reading  your book, and will take it back with me to Uganda and show the kids that even outside of Africa people are poor and a minority."




"IN BLACK IN WHITE is a highly entertaining, honestly told personal story. In the opinion of this judge, the book's key strength is Mr. Woody's incredibly natural style of writing. Interspersing slang and vernacular freely with standard grammar and usage, he does a great job of rendering the gritty city experiences that shaped him. The reader gets vivid picture after vivid picture, with lots of interesting details. Mr. Woody also does a good job representing the core values that he took away from his family and the streets, as well as the unusual experience of his being ripped from familiar surroundings and transplanted to a high-toned prep school thanks to a scholarship program. Overall, an engrossing memoir of a life well lived".

(Anonymous judge, Writer's Digest sef-published  book contest 2012)



"The self-publishing revolution continues to change the face of publishing in part because of authors like L.T. Woody, whose coming-of-age story IN BLACK IN WHITE broke barriers when it was reviewed in the Baltimore Sun." (Mister Write: Books, writing, items of literary interest.)


Woody, LT

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