Blog #10 NEWSY: Unraveling During the Pandemic

Choosing between home and work has always been a tough decision for most women. Many women are single parents who also have full custody of their children and cannot afford to lose their job. The everyday stresses of cooking, cleaning, carpooling, errands, and caring for every detail at home was always their primary focus. Working women have managed these duties by having a steady support system.  The children were either at day care or school, ready to eat meals or fast food made it easy to put meals on the table, and a load of laundry could be done at night.  Unfortunately, women are now burdended with the added pressure of virtual learning, loosing their jobs, or support systems due to the Coronavirus causing may women to become overwhelmed, stressed, and unable to take a break for themselves.

While reviewing the site, I couldn’t help but notice vast number of sources and information.  A site and organization that prides themselves on providing its consumers “concise, unbiased video news and analysis covering the top stories from around the world.” Their content can be found on multiple streaming platforms such as, Hulu, Roku, and Amazon. Newsy is considered a video news network that produces short news videos that provide updates on policies, politics, science and health, entertainment, technology, business and sports.  One of the more interesting slogans that Newsy states is “Be Informed. Not Influenced”, which is very interesting in itself.  Upon reviewing several of the videos and documentaries, I am in awe as to what extent this sight goes to in order to provide the information that its’s users are concerned about.  Overall, very impressive.

Hyperlocal News: A Peep Inside Our Neighborhoods

Through my exploration of Hyperlocal News, I’m in awe of how much detail the reporters include.  The articles or news information is based on local neighborhood information or regions of a city.  I found that the events covered are on a small scale; such as, farmers market, local eatery/restaurant, craft shows, or a particular neighbor or block.  Some organizations often utilize the information from local government databased to report on information like crime, road closures, or construction areas. Typically, hyperlocal news is not covered by a large media outlet.   While larger mainstream media outlet writers generally get a wage for a particular story for publications; hyperlocal writers are unpaid volunteers; thought not always. There are several ways to receive hyperlocal news; such as, newspaper, on-line blogs, or even app that are created by the owner(s) or their counterparts.

Photojournalism: Exploring the World Around Us

My current interest is land conservation, nature exposure, and the benefits of both. People have long perceived there to be a connection between health and exposure to nature.  According to researchers, scholars, and doctors that study the topic, it has been proven that nature can reduce stress, soothe mental health conditions, and combat obesity.  It has also been proven that early exposure to nature contributes to creativity, problem solving, and emotional and intellectual development. While all those factors are important, I also want to highlight the beauty of nature.  Running streams, flowing rivers, flowers, and open fields make the scenery specular.  There is nothing more relaxing then taking a hike through unchartered lands or along a path listening to chirping birds, crickets, or just watching rabbits, or deer bounce about.  Whatever the reason exploring the world around us is vital to our survival.

“Voting Today Can Shape Your Tomorrow”

Many people are trying to decide if they should vote or if it even matters. I for one am her to tell you it does matter and why.  While I cannot speak to many ethnic groups, I can say that as a woman of color it is a privilege.  Per the United Sates Census Bureau, there are over 1 million residents in Hillsborough County with only 18% being Black or African American. While you are taking a minute to decide if you want to vote, take a minute to understand the Amendments that provided you that right.

Did you know:

  • The 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote in 1870. But many weren’t able to exercise this right. Some states used literacy tests and other barriers to make it harder to vote.
  • The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave American women the right to vote.
  • The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, eliminated poll taxes. The tax had been used in some states to keep African Americans from voting in federal elections.
  • The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the voting age for all elections to 18.

My Vote Is My Voice

As November 3, 2020 (Election Day) quickly approaches, I can’t help but wonder how many people are actually prepared. Voting in the primary, general, and local elections is perhaps the most important part of our Democratic government. Unfortunately, many people think young adults in this country have not been very active in the voting process. There are many reasons and insinuating circumstances individuals have for not voting.  Some reasons for the lack of participation by young adults are; lack of candidate information, not familiar with the voting process, their vote does not matter, not enough time, etc. If you do not vote, then you are giving up your right to criticize our government. The only way to change something you do not like in our government is to vote for someone who you feel, has your interest and support your stance on a particular issue or issues.  Voting sends your ideas all across the country and it does make a difference.

Key dates and deadlines

  • Election day is Nov. 3
  • Registration deadlines
    • Online: Oct. 5
    • By mail: Postmarked by Oct. 5
    • In person: Oct. 5
  • Absentee ballot deadlines
    • Request: Oct. 24
    • Return by mail: Received by Nov. 3 by 7:00 p.m.
    • Return in person: Nov. 3 by 7:00 p.m.
  • Early voting
    • Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

Interview Preparation

My interview was conducted on Kurt Gremley, Environmental Lands Acquisition Manager. As a long-time resident of Hillsborough County, Kurt saw rapid changes being made that were starting to do harm to the environment.  Also, Kurt is able to explain in great detail why land conservation is an asset in the future as it direct growth away from sensitive water resources, wildlife habitation and invasive species. There were several challenges faced before conducting the interview. For instance; the Wi-Fi connection on Kurt’s end was weak, he had several background apps pop up on the screen, and even got confused between the phone buttons and that of the computer.  At times during the interview, Kurt at time went off topic telling me about certain deals that he closed and how he is referred to as the “shark” of closing deals.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Kurt Gremley: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

As I sat in my office chair, eagerly waiting for Mr. Gremley to log into the computer in order to begin our interview; a sense of excitement overtook me.  Static flashed on the screen proceeded by a well-dressed middle-aged male with smoky-grey hair and megawatt smile.  Good morning, Mr. Gremley, how are you? “Living the Dream,” he replied, as he shifted his seat in the dimly lit room, overflowing with brown packing boxes.  “Please excuse my life’s work” he stated, picking up what looks to be a room temperature coke soda and taking a small sip. “I’m ready when you are,” replied Mr. Gremley.   As we began to exchange light banter, I couldn’t help but wonder if this man before was a myth or legend in the making.

The below questions were used when the interview with Kurt Gremley was conducted.

  • What is his area of expertise? By way of degree.
  • Why did you feel the need to get involved in the program?
  • Why do you think preserving land is important?
  • What is the environmental benefit to conserving land?
  • How can we get the community evolved in such?
  • How many properties have you purchased?
  • How much land is left to purchase?
  • With thriving new developments do you think the program will be around in the next 10 to 15 years?
  • Are there other alternatives other than purchasing the land for preservation?
  • What drives Mr. Gremley?

Potential Interview Candidate

Trying to find a specific individual who is both knowledgeable, passionate, and educated on the topic of conservation posed a great challenge.  However, I narrowed my search down to Kurt Gremley, Environmental Lands Acquisition Manager for Hillsborough County. I chose Mr. Gremley for several reasons: (1) as one of the leading pioneers in the Environmental Lands Program, Kurt possess over 20 plus years of experience. (2) he is entrusted with over 100 million in bonds that he uses to acquire property within Hillsborough County.

Given the opportunity I would like to ask Mr. Gremley the below:

  • What is his area of expertise? By way of degree.
  • Why do you think preserving land is important?
  • What is the environmental benefit to conserving land?
  • How can we get the community evolved in such?
  • How many properties have you purchased?
  • With thriving new developments do you think the program will be around in the next 10 to 15 years?

Getting To Know Keichia

My name is Yakita Gilyard; however, I like to be called Keichia.  I currently work for Hillsborough County BOCC (Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department) where I have been for almost 20 years.  I am currently enrolled in the Mass Communications Transfer Track AA program at HCC; so that I can obtain the necessary core classes to get accepted into the Zimmerman Program at USF.  My next career path would be that of Government Public Relations.  The most surprising fact about me is that fact that I am very private and at times an introvert.  My hobbies, interests, and activities are (no particular order) church, reading, volunteering, traveling, and movies. 

Throughout this course I will blog about the benefits of protecting Hillsborough County’s natural lands and wildlife through a system of conservation parks and nature preserves, including more than 63,000 acres of environmentally sensitive lands through the Jan K. Platt Environmental Land Acquisition and Protection Program.

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