Category: Suffolk

Reference Library – Suffolk

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‘Needle in a haystack’

Woman s cherished keychain retrieved at landfill If finding a needle in a haystack is difficult, it must be that much more difficult to find a keychain at the landfill. Susie Forsythe holds the keychain made by her late husband that was retrieved from the landfill after she accidentally threw it away. However, that s exactly what happened when a handful of strangers and one very devoted friend came together to help a distraught woman who had accidentally thrown away a beloved memento of her late husband. Susie Forsythe s husband, Jack Brinkley, battled cancer for nine months. During his illness, he underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, so he had plenty of time on his hands while he was at home resting. He started to make paracord things just for something to do with his time, Susie said. Jack churned out bracelets and lanyards by the dozens while he was sick, but one keychain he made for Susie was especially meaningful. It was red, her favorite color. And he took his time to make sure he had it exactly right a wrist loop on one end, with a clip on the other end for her keys. He was adamant that he wanted to make this for me, Susie said. I knew how important it was. This is the one he made specially for me. Jack died a week after finishing the keychain, at the age of 64, back in March. Knowing that it s one of the last things her husband touched makes Susie feel a little closer to him every time she sees the keychain. However, on Aug. 24, she almost lost the link to her husband forever. Susie returned from dinner out with a friend and threw her to-go cup in the trash as she walked in the door and accidentally threw her keys in the trash as well. She chopped some fruits and vegetables later that night, put the rinds and stalks in the trash and then took the final bag to the curb so the produce wouldn t stink up the house. The next morning, she went to leave for work and couldn t find her keys. She started thinking about the last place she had them. Then I realized, she said. It hit me like a wave. She rushed to the window and could see that her trash had already been picked up. I was inconsolable, she said. The keys could be replaced, but the keychain couldn t. She called her two daughters and cried. She told a friend at work what happened and said she wouldn t be able to come in that day. The friend at work, however, didn t leave it at that. She sprang into action, and soon she was talking to Suffolk Public Works dispatcher Rita Walden on the phone. The lady that called was just so passionate, and I knew then and there I had to do whatever it took to help this lady find this item that was so sentimental to her, Walden said. I knew that she was heartbroken, and I knew we had to do everything in our power to help her find it. Walden looked up Susie s address and contacted Timothy Bell, the trash truck driver. Bell said his truck was only about half full and knew that he had picked up the trash in Susie s neighborhood toward the beginning of his route. Walden got permission from her supervisors and from the Southeastern Public Service Authority regional landfill to allow Bell to go to the landfill early. The landfill cleared a special place for Bell to dump his load, and he stretched the load out by pulling forward slowly as he unloaded. Meanwhile, Susie had no idea that her friend from work who was nine months pregnant had not only called to orchestrate all this but also was on her way to the landfill. Next thing I know, she s texting me, What color trash bags do you have? Susie said. Once her friend narrowed down the bags, she started searching through them and eventually found one with some of Susie s mail. The treasured keychain was in the very next bag and didn t even have any fruit juice on it. The friend delivered the keychain directly to Susie, surprising her when she pulled up to the house. Susie remembers hoping against hope when she saw her friend pull up in the driveway, still not completely aware of what had transpired at the landfill. That s such a wonderful thing, Susie said, holding the lost-and-found keychain in her hand and jangling the keys. Walden, the public works dispatcher, said she was beside herself when she learned the keychain had been found. It was a great ending to a story, she said. I was ecstatic. I couldn t believe it. That was like finding a needle in a haystack. Bell, the truck driver, said he was happy the keychain was found. I m glad we could help her, he said. I m just glad that she found it. Susie said she wants to thank everybody who helped retrieve the keychain and hopes to meet them soon. SPSA employees who helped out included Dennis Deffily, Donald Byrd, James Stone and Jerome Jordan. This means so much to me, Susie said.

London Road turns a community’s response to murder into a brilliant … 0

London Road turns a community’s response to murder into a brilliant …

Late in 2006, a truck driver named Steve Wright was arrested in Ipswich, a river town in Suffolk, England, for the murders of five prostitutes who had offered themselves to men along the town’s London Road, near a newly built sports stadium. The usual media circus ensued, sullying the town’s reputation, before Wright was convicted on all counts in February 2008 and sentenced to life in prison. In the weeks leading up to his trial and afterward, experimental playwright Alecky Blythe interviewed the killer’s immediate neighbors, the reporters covering the case, and even a few sex workers, returning to London with more than 100 hours of recordings. She might easily have turned this material into a radio documentary, but instead, collaborating with composer Adam Cork and director Rufus Norris of Britain’s National Theatre, Blythe turned it into a stage musical, London Road , which premiered in 2011 to great acclaim and has since been adapted to the screen. On paper London Road sounds like Springtime for Hitler how could a series of such recent and ugly crimes be set to music and produce anything but distaste? Yet onscreen London Road is a commanding, at times hypnotic experience. Every word spoken or sung is drawn verbatim from Blythe’s interview transcriptions, and Cork has structured his quirky melodies around the rhythms of people’s speech, preserving every pause and interjection. The austere classical music, stirring when even a single character is singing, is positively arresting when the characters join together in a Greek chorus, a single person’s remark becoming a catchphrase and then a common sentiment. These choral sequences feed into Blythe’s story of a community learning to speak for itself again, though in the end the neighborhood defines itself partly through the people it rejects. The first ten minutes alone show how masterfully the filmmakers have merged reporting and musical theater. A montage sequence links all the neighbors, the camera panning around each of their living rooms as they watch news reports on TV. Tense strings accompany the broadcasters, and as they recount the chilling details of the unsolved case, their professional cadences rise into melody. The neighbors begin to comment in spoken dialogue, sharing unpleasant memories of how the streetwalkers ruined their block. “I’ve got a 14-year-old girl!” exclaims Julie (Olivia Colman). “I don’t want girls, um, doing what they did in the streets. And they weren’t just getting in people’s cars. They were doing it in the alleyways and everything else.” Gordon (Duncan Wisbey) has nothing but vitriol for the women: “They were foulmouthed slags really, stab you as quick as anything else, wouldn’t they.” Sitting on their couches and speaking to the camera, the neighbors seem pinched and provincial, workaday people defending their modest middle-class lives. Even as these pitiless sentiments are being expressed, Norris cuts to the streets of Ipswich, where Julie, walking to the local Christmas market, introduces a descending, minor-key melody that will spread from person to person: “Everyone is very, very nervous / Um / And very unsure of everything.” In the market square a spinning Santa Claus statue croons “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and a local radio station is handing out plastic handheld sirens as a promotional gimmick. Sung remarks from other townspeople snake in and out of the main theme: “I think it’s, um, put Ipswich on the map for the wrong reasons, unfortunately,” sings one merchant. Shoppers take sidelong glances at each other, wondering if the killer might be walking among them, and fall into choreographed lines. As the number builds to a climax, Julie’s words unite the shoppers, who chant the word very over and over again before dropping to their knees on nervous . After Steven Wright is apprehended, Norris develops this powerful use of chorus into something even more complex, showing how the neighbors resent the media intrusion but also hang on coverage of the case. Julie, Gordon, and Gordon’s wife react coldly when they emerge from their homes en route to a community meeting and find TV newsman Simon Newton (Michael Shaeffer) preparing to tape a report outside Wright’s house (the front window has been boarded up, and kids have drawn a little demon cartoon on the wood plank). Over a spooky dub beat, Newton struggles to recite his lines, stumbling again and again on a long sentence involving DNA science and semen (a word he isn’t allowed to use on the air until ten o’clock). Meanwhile, at the community center, the neighbors agree that Wright is the culprit but fear he’ll go free for lack of any physical evidence. Suddenly Newton’s report comes on TV; they all gather to hear him deliver his piece perfectly, then repeat it in chorus. Blythe grew to sympathize with her subjects during the course of her research, and despite the grim subject matter, London Road ends on an upbeat note after Julie and her graying, rotund neighbor Ron (Nick Holder) call a meeting to help the neighborhood get back on its feet. Spring is coming, and they decide to have a block party with a gardening contest for best flower basket. Later in the movie Norris shows them all coming outside to clean up their yards and plant new flowers and greenery. This time Julie introduces a major-key melody, giving a tour of her fenced-in yard and showing off her flowers; the other neighbors chime in with inventories of theirs. They paint the road’s drab cement walls with cheery colors. In the final sequence everyone gets together for the block party, a long line of tables with white plastic tablecloths running up the street. Neighbors dance to Gordon’s three-piece rock band, and London Road is bathed in sunlight. But not everyone is welcome. Vicky (Kate Fleetwood), one of the hookers vilified by the neighbors in the opening sequence, threads her way uneasily through the party, trailing a balloon behind her and collecting salacious glances from the guys in Gordon’s band before finally retreating to a scaffolding some distance away. Blythe never individualizes the streetwalkers as vividly as she does the neighbors, but in the movie’s last third these women begin to emerge from the shadows in one scene Vicky and two other women huddle on the scaffolding above the community center and harmonize about their dreams of getting clean. Now that the crisis is over, some of the neighbors express more sympathy for the victims, but some are shockingly cold. “I feel sorry for the families, but not them,” says Julia. “They’re better off ten foot under.” The community has bounced back, but only by driving the less fortunate a little farther up the road. ‘v

London Road turns a community’s response to murder into a brilliant musical 0

London Road turns a community’s response to murder into a brilliant musical

Late in 2006, a truck driver named Steve Wright was arrested in Ipswich, a river town in Suffolk, England, for the murders of five prostitutes who had offered themselves to men along the town’s London Road, near a newly built sports stadium. The usual media circus ensued, sullying the town’s reputation, before Wright was convicted on all counts in February 2008 and sentenced to life in prison. In the weeks leading up to his trial and afterward, experimental playwright Alecky Blythe interviewed the killer’s immediate neighbors, the reporters covering the case, and even a few sex workers, returning to London with more than 100 hours of recordings. She might easily have turned this material into a radio documentary, but instead, collaborating with composer Adam Cork and director Rufus Norris of Britain’s National Theatre, Blythe turned it into a stage musical, London Road , which premiered in 2011 to great acclaim and has since been adapted to the screen. On paper London Road sounds like Springtime for Hitler how could a series of such recent and ugly crimes be set to music and produce anything but distaste? Yet onscreen London Road is a commanding, at times hypnotic experience. Every word spoken or sung is drawn verbatim from Blythe’s interview transcriptions, and Cork has structured his quirky melodies around the rhythms of people’s speech, preserving every pause and interjection. The austere classical music, stirring when even a single character is singing, is positively arresting when the characters join together in a Greek chorus, a single person’s remark becoming a catchphrase and then a common sentiment. These choral sequences feed into Blythe’s story of a community learning to speak for itself again, though in the end the neighborhood defines itself partly through the people it rejects. The first ten minutes alone show how masterfully the filmmakers have merged reporting and musical theater. A montage sequence links all the neighbors, the camera panning around each of their living rooms as they watch news reports on TV. Tense strings accompany the broadcasters, and as they recount the chilling details of the unsolved case, their professional cadences rise into melody. The neighbors begin to comment in spoken dialogue, sharing unpleasant memories of how the streetwalkers ruined their block. “I’ve got a 14-year-old girl!” exclaims Julie (Olivia Colman). “I don’t want girls, um, doing what they did in the streets. And they weren’t just getting in people’s cars. They were doing it in the alleyways and everything else.” Gordon (Duncan Wisbey) has nothing but vitriol for the women: “They were foulmouthed slags really, stab you as quick as anything else, wouldn’t they.” Sitting on their couches and speaking to the camera, the neighbors seem pinched and provincial, workaday people defending their modest middle-class lives. Even as these pitiless sentiments are being expressed, Norris cuts to the streets of Ipswich, where Julie, walking to the local Christmas market, introduces a descending, minor-key melody that will spread from person to person: “Everyone is very, very nervous / Um / And very unsure of everything.” In the market square a spinning Santa Claus statue croons “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and a local radio station is handing out plastic handheld sirens as a promotional gimmick. Sung remarks from other townspeople snake in and out of the main theme: “I think it’s, um, put Ipswich on the map for the wrong reasons, unfortunately,” sings one merchant. Shoppers take sidelong glances at each other, wondering if the killer might be walking among them, and fall into choreographed lines. As the number builds to a climax, Julie’s words unite the shoppers, who chant the word very over and over again before dropping to their knees on nervous . After Steven Wright is apprehended, Norris develops this powerful use of chorus into something even more complex, showing how the neighbors resent the media intrusion but also hang on coverage of the case. Julie, Gordon, and Gordon’s wife react coldly when they emerge from their homes en route to a community meeting and find TV newsman Simon Newton (Michael Shaeffer) preparing to tape a report outside Wright’s house (the front window has been boarded up, and kids have drawn a little demon cartoon on the wood plank). Over a spooky dub beat, Newton struggles to recite his lines, stumbling again and again on a long sentence involving DNA science and semen (a word he isn’t allowed to use on the air until ten o’clock). Meanwhile, at the community center, the neighbors agree that Wright is the culprit but fear he’ll go free for lack of any physical evidence. Suddenly Newton’s report comes on TV; they all gather to hear him deliver his piece perfectly, then repeat it in chorus. Blythe grew to sympathize with her subjects during the course of her research, and despite the grim subject matter, London Road ends on an upbeat note after Julie and her graying, rotund neighbor Ron (Nick Holder) call a meeting to help the neighborhood get back on its feet. Spring is coming, and they decide to have a block party with a gardening contest for best flower basket. Later in the movie Norris shows them all coming outside to clean up their yards and plant new flowers and greenery. This time Julie introduces a major-key melody, giving a tour of her fenced-in yard and showing off her flowers; the other neighbors chime in with inventories of theirs. They paint the road’s drab cement walls with cheery colors. In the final sequence everyone gets together for the block party, a long line of tables with white plastic tablecloths running up the street. Neighbors dance to Gordon’s three-piece rock band, and London Road is bathed in sunlight. But not everyone is welcome. Vicky (Kate Fleetwood), one of the hookers vilified by the neighbors in the opening sequence, threads her way uneasily through the party, trailing a balloon behind her and collecting salacious glances from the guys in Gordon’s band before finally retreating to a scaffolding some distance away. Blythe never individualizes the streetwalkers as vividly as she does the neighbors, but in the movie’s last third these women begin to emerge from the shadows in one scene Vicky and two other women huddle on the scaffolding above the community center and harmonize about their dreams of getting clean. Now that the crisis is over, some of the neighbors express more sympathy for the victims, but some are shockingly cold. “I feel sorry for the families, but not them,” says Julia. “They’re better off ten foot under.” The community has bounced back, but only by driving the less fortunate a little farther up the road. ‘v