Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 28, 2011

Ashland still occupied

Protest loses momentum

ASHLAND — Organizers of the Occupy Ashland movement in support of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be losing momentum as cold weather makes it more difficult for local protesters to remain visible, and participants find themselves divided in their opinions about how they should operate.

Many who initially tried to help and guide the local effort have walked away in frustration. However, those who remain dedicated to the cause say they will continue to represent “the 99 percent” at the local level.

Cory Simmons, 27, of Ironton created the Occupy Ashland, Occupy Huntington and Occupy Tri-State websites as well as coordinating the local group’s messages on Facebook. He has since walked away from the movement, and even with regrets said the experience taught him valuable lessons.

“I quit a job that I love just to do Occupy fulltime,” said Simmons, who added he also sacrificed time with his family and other personal concerns “in hopes of doing something really big.” Simmons said he feels the Occupy Ashland movement lost momentum and support when those who had been protesting at Judd Plaza voted to “unoccupy” the downtown space after being faced with the possibility of city officials taking action to remove them.

“Whenever it started everybody was very much on the same page,” Simmons said, adding the group “reached a breaking point” when they did not have enough people to stay on site overnight. The vote to leave Judd Plaza did not sit well with many, he said.

“We felt like that was a big step back and pretty much we threw a temper tantrum about it,” he said.

While aspects of the experience are regrettable, Simmons said he certainly learned from it.

“It got me interested in thinking about the bigger problems of mankind,” he said. “I think there are problems Occupy does not have the answers for ... things like greed. At some point you realize you’re just wasting your time.”

Today, Occupy Ashland has a few people who remain active in their demonstration of support for the nationwide movement. Among the most visible individuals working on behalf of Occupy Ashland are  Tina Webb and Liam Edy, a pair of retirees who say they are disappointed many who expressed their commitment early on have either abandoned the effort or switched to Internet communications to get their point across.

“We’re trying to show them what commitment looks like,” said Edy, who cites his experience as a member of the steelworkers union among the reasons he feels it remains important to keep showing up for a couple of hours each day.

“The whole point of this is to get people talking. I don’t care if they agree or disagree, I want them to think and then vote,” he said.

“We will be here until something changes or we’re dead,” Webb said with a chuckle, later adding she doesn’t expect things to change in their lifetime, and feels their daily Occupy demonstrations are an effort on behalf of coming generations.

Edy said each of them were frustrated by news about this nation’s circumstances, and feel they are accomplishing something by bringing the Occupy message to the street.

“We used to scream at the TV set,” he said with a soft smile.

“The TV can’t hear you and Washington can’t hear you,” Webb added, explaining they don’t expect people to agree with anything or everything they believe in, but simply hope to spur people into action. “People can start by voting. It aggravates me they have so many complaints and don’t vote.”

Webb and Edy said they welcome others who agree with the principles of the Occupy movement, and believe individual participation with small groups such as Occupy Ashland will ultimately be counted as part of the bigger picture.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Golden Corral sends children to camp

    Ashland’s Golden Corral teamed with other restaurants across nation this year to raise $1.5 million to send a total of 3,000 children to Camp Corral.
     

    July 24, 2014

  • Burglars steal golf gear

    A couple of golf enthusiasts might not make their tee times Saturday because burglars stole golf equipment from their garages.

    July 24, 2014

  • Music instructor claims age discrimination

    The Russell Independent School District is denying allegations of a former band director who claims in a lawsuit the district discriminated against him because of his age.
     

    July 24, 2014

  • Financial blunder leads to heated board discussion

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.
    Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles and City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin confirmed a new ordinance will be drafted so the department heads of finance and legal counsel will be checked by the board, in addition to Bitter’s current oversight.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stricter enforcement, diagonal spots endorsed to help downtown

    A group of business owners operating along Winchester Avenue — Ashland’s main thoroughfare — asked the Ashland Board of Commissioners to replace current parallel parking spots with diagonal ones, and also for more strick enforcement of a two-hour parking law.

    July 24, 2014

  • National act takes stage at Boyd County Fair

    The Building of Dreams erupted into screams Thursday night at the 2014 Boyd County Fair, as country music fans saw Bucky Covington take the stage.
    According to Ellen Keaton, fair board president, Covington was a favorite on season five of Fox’s talent competition series American Idol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke-free advocates bound for Ashland

    Advocates for smoke-free public spaces are touring the state, starting in Ashland, to drum up support for anti-tobacco legislation they hope to pass next year.
    Smoke-Free Kentucky is a coalition of organizations and people who support a ban on smoking in all public and work places in Kentucky.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ohio State Band Direc_Mayn.jpg Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday after determining he ignored a "sexualized" culture of rituals including students being pressured to march in their underwear and participate in sexually themed stunts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grimes has pep rally before energetic Democrats

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was preaching to the Democratic choir Thursday night at the Wendell Ford Dinner attended by about 700 here.

    July 24, 2014

  • Commissioners challenge city manager’s authority

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone