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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I was kicking around on Facebook the other day and made a couple of posts on some Lockport Facebook pages just to stimulate conversation. I have found that there are a couple of Lockport Facebook pages worth paying attention to because they have people who actually want to talk instead of just argue.

Let me just say that I do appreciate the frustration some people feel when I complain about people who complain because I complain a lot myself, but I am not being miserable just for the sake of being miserable. I care. I don’t write or say miserable things just to see my words on the screen or hear my voice. I honestly care and I can usually separate the people who complain and care from the people who just complain.

I dismiss the younger generation because I am a miserable old man. But I was recently informed that there are younger business owners and younger residents in Lockport who do care and want to change things for the better. While these younger people will never know the awesomeness that was Lockport in the 1970s, they can still band together to create their own version of an awesome Lockport and an awesome Lockport is what we want.

I was informed that I am “hanging out with the wrong people” when it comes to finding a sunny future for Lockport, despite the fact that the “wrong people” being referred to were the mayor, Common Council members, and people intimately involved in the tenuous fate of the Cornerstone CFCU Arena. I have never been impressed by a political or corporate title, but I am smart enough to be able to identify the people who can affect change. Even I have to work within a structure once in a while. (P.S. The term "hanging out" is being used very loosely here.)

Lockport has been in the death grip of an “ol’ boys network” that refuses to acknowledge and deal with the problems we are facing today. If these folks are unable to acknowledge the problems that the city is facing right now, then they are definitely not the people we want trying to plan solutions for future issues.

Ok, I am listening the younger generation of Lockport. I am not insinuating that I am any kind of authority figure that anyone has to impress, but I do have a big mouth and I have not had many complimentary things to say about Lockport’s youth lately. Maybe the idea of trying to lean on people stuck in our past to solve the problems of our future is a really bad idea, but I honestly did not think that the younger generation cared.

I have had a lot of interaction with the youth of Lockport and I have grown more concerned about our future the more I talk to our youth. But I could be talking to the wrong youth. Where is the right youth? Where are the young people in Lockport who own businesses and care about the financial future of our city? Where are the young families who love Lockport and want to make it a better place for everyone.

Through all of the shouting and finger-pointing, the youth of Lockport has been extremely quiet. I don’t see a lot of younger people running for office (actually, all I see running for mayor is a lot of the same retreads we have been seeing for years) and I don’t get any responses to my columns from younger people at all. But then again, I have never really directed my attention directly and Lockport’s youth before. I have chastised the youth and dismissed it, but I have never actually asked the young people of Lockport what they think.

This is my official apology to the youth of Lockport for not giving you a fair shake and pushing you aside while the adults talk things out. Instead, the adults are acting like children and the youth are patiently sitting in the wings and probably laughing.

Let’s hear from you Lockport youth. Do you care? Do you want to see Lockport get healthy again and become the ideal place to live that it used to be? What would you do to help make Lockport a better place?

More importantly, where are you Lockport youth? Why are you so quiet? This should be the year that you speak up as almost all of the important political offices in the city are up for vote this November. Talk to me, Lockport youth. Tell me where you are, who you are, what you think, and how I can help.

The youth are our future and I have been painting a bleak picture of that future for years. Straighten me out, Lockport youth. Talk to an old man who cares. Tell me, do we have reason to be positive about the future? Can I finally start writing with some positive conviction instead of a morose sense of impending doom?

Talk to me, Lockport youth. Help an old man understand. I’m listening. Honestly, I am.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident and noted miserable old man. He would love to have his outlook changed by the youth of Lockport. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at He is actually pretty tech savvy – for an old guy.

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