Fordham University’s Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) Dedicates its Newsroom to Casey Feldman

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

The entrance door to The Observer newsroom

Casey was an enormously talented, endlessly curious and deeply ethical young reporter,” said Elizabeth Stone, a journalism professor at Fordham and faculty advisor to The Observer, the student newspaper at FCLC. “Casey was one of my most promising students. Smart and dogged, whimsical and kind, she was going places…. She knew a good story idea when she saw it, she had her Google alerts in place to make sure she didn’t miss it, and she had the energy and skill to turn a good idea into a publishable article.”

In recognition of Casey, the 2011-2012 editorial board of The Observer voted earlier this spring to rename The Observer  office in her memory.  The dedication itself took place on April 30, 2012, with many members of the editorial board in attendance.  Also attending were Casey’s friends, former editors Brooke Burdge, Kelsey Butler and Craig Calefate.  Prof. Brian Rose, the associate chair of Communication and Media Studies, and Prof. Stone were also on hand for the ceremony.

The dedication took place to coincide with the Senior Awards Ceremony at FCLC, just prior to the culmination of the spring semester. Also unveiled at the dedication ceremony was a plaque remembering Casey and honoring Observer staff members, including Monique John, who have been awarded scholarship stipends through the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation.

Honored along with Monique John were Jasper Chang and Harry Huggins who attended journalism conferences underwritten by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s gift to The Observer.

Jasper Chang (L) and Harry Huggins smile in front of the Casey plaque

” I’m delighted to have Casey’s spirit and talent recognized and immortalized in the renaming of  The Observer office, now known as the Casey A. Feldman Newsroom”, said Dr. Elizabeth Stone. ” It pleases me that the suggestion for this honor came from Harry Huggins, himself a news editor as Casey was, and now an editor in chief.  I’m also pleased, and so grateful to Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, that through the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, a valuable internship experience is made possible for an outstanding major who otherwise would not be free to pursue it.  Casey gave a lot to Fordham and to Fordham students and Casey’s parents have continued what she began.”

Casey arrived at Fordham aspiring to become a broadcast journalist and immediately joined The Observer, getting her first news bylines as a freshman, becoming an assistant news editor as a sophomore, and news editor as a junior. Casey was set to continue her position as news editor for her senior year at the time of her death in July 2009 and had recently returned from the annual weekend summer retreat for The Observer staff.

Craig Calefate (L) and Kelsey Butler look at a current issue of The Observer prior to the dedication ceremony

During her time at The Observer, Casey wrote over thirty articles, covering such topics as  the increase in mental illness in college students, self injury on college campuses, the increase of HIV in young gay males, the increase in binge drinking among college females, Adderall use among Fordham students for studying,  the strength of  Fordham’s Catholic identity and Fordham’s apology to an abuse victim after years of evasions, to name but a few. Ashley Wennersherron, who wrote her first article with Casey, said, “I can’t think of anything that she didn’t want to do if she heard of a tough story.”  Added Meaghan Dillon, who was news editor when Casey was assistant news editor, “She was never afraid to get a quote from anyone.”

Casey’s news reporting and editing won quite a few awards for The Observer, and she had been individually recognized as well. In June, 2009 she was named a national finalist for the 2009 Chandler Award for Student Writer of the Year in Religion, sponsored by the Religion Newswriters.

Casey poured her energy into writing and journalism while in high school, and continued to do so during  her time at Fordham,  securing multiple internships while carrying a full semester of courses, volunteering her time in the community and working for The Observer.  She  earned bylines from AM New York, The News of Delaware County and Philadelphia Style. She also freelanced during college, which included writing for the Bronx tourism bureau.  In the fall of 2009, she was to have begun an internship at NY1, a Manhattan-based television station.

Casey's friends and fellow Observer board members, Kelsey Butler (L), Craig Calefate and Brooke Burdge

Casey’s friends knew that her favorite quote was a line of H.L. Mencken’s—’I know of no human being who has a better time than an eager and energetic young reporter.’ “And I know of no eager and energetic young reporter who took that more to heart than Casey,” said Dr. Elizabeth Stone.

Casey’s best friend, roommate and fellow staff member of The Observer, Kelsey Butler stated, “Given Casey’s passion for journalism and her dedication to The Observer, I can’t think of a more fitting way to carry on her legacy than to name The Observer newsroom in her memory.”

Related Links:

Photos from The Observer newsroom  dedication and dinner

Casey’s articles published in The Observer

The Observer tribute to Casey, Aug. 2009 (includes memories of Casey’s fellow Observer staff members)

Casey’s AMNewYork bylines

About Casey (Casey’s bio)

Remembering Casey video ( fast forward to 10:24 – 12:21  for some of Casey’s fellow Observer staff members discussing Casey and her news reporting)

New York and Fordham Memories” – collected on the Casey Feldman Memories site

Monique John Recipient of 2012 Fordham University Casey Feldman Scholarship

Fordham Observer Scholarship Recipients Attend Associated Collegiate Press Conferences (article about Jasper Chang and Harry Huggins)

The Observer

Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC)

South Jersey Summer Safety Campaign Features Casey Feldman

Monday, May 31st, 2010

 

The SJTSA banner on the Music Pier at 9th St. and the Boardwalk in Ocean City

The South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance (SJTSA) has kicked off their summer safety campaign, targeting the southern shore communities, using Casey’s face and story to add a human element to the dangers of unsafe driving and the need for pedestrians to use caution.  They have distribted over 100 banners which are prominently displayed in the shore communities and throughout southern N.J. There are two separate banners, one addressing drivers and the other, pedestrians. Both have a picture of Casey with her face and dates.

The banner at 34th St. in Ocean City reminding pedestrians to exercise safety

The locations of the banners in Ocean City where Casey’s accident took place, as provided by Ocean City Police Sgt. Charles Simonson, are as follows:

34th St. Acme

8th St. Superfresh

900 Block of Asbury Ave. – Appliance Store

14th & Boardwalk – Bob’s Grill

9th & Haven Entrance Corridor

9th St. Bridge WB Exit Corridor

34th St. & West Ave.

Wonderland Pier – Boardwalk

9th St. and Boardwalk – Music Pier

18th and Haven – Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center

In addition to the banners, the SJTSA has joined with the city of Sea Isle, dedicating a pink remembrance tree to Casey on JFK Blvd. in front of the police department. A plaque with Casey’s name and dates can be found at the base of the tree. The pink tree dedication in Sea Isle City also served as the kickoff for a nationwide effort to decorate trees with pink lights to stand as a memorial to those whose lives have been lost to traffic accidents and as a symbol of traffic safety.

 The SJTSA will bill be  distibuting more banners throughout the South Jersey area as well as decorating more trees in pink with at least two trees planned for Ocean City. Salem and Atlantic Counties will be decorating trees as well.

[See ThinkSafetyCampaign.org and SJTSA.org for more information on the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance’s summer safety campaign featuring Casey. View more photos of the banners at the shore. Read the prior article on the News and updates blog about the Sea Isle City tree dedication.  Visit PinkRemembranceTree.org to post and view memorials of Casey and others who died in traffic accidents.]

Sea Isle City Dedicates Pink Remembrance Tree to Casey Feldman on May 1, 2010

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The Sea Isle City tree at dusk

The City of Sea Isle, along with the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance (SJTSA), dedicated a “Pink Remembrance Tree” to Casey Feldman as part of Sea Isle City’s Community Day, Saturday, May 1st at Noon in front of the police department on JFK Boulevard. Adorned with some 1400 pink lights, the tree is visible upon entering the island from the bridge and will be lit every night from dusk till 5:00 a.m. A plaque at the base of the tree is inscribed with Casey name and dates and serves as a memorial to all who have lost their lives in traffic accidents.

Mayor Len Desiderio said, “Mr. and. Mrs. Feldman have worked very hard to raise awareness to pedestrian safety and it is my privilege to honor the memory of their daughter in the hopes of keeping the residents and visitors of Sea Isle safe.” Speaking on behalf of the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, Program Manager Teresa Thomas announced their summer safety campaign, stating that Casey’s story and photograph would play a prominent role in pedestrian and traffic safety in the region. “We are adding a human element which we hope reaches people enough that they start to drive more safely.”

The pink tree dedication in Sea Isle City also served as the kickoff for a nationwide effort to decorate trees with pink lights to stand as a memorial to those whose lives have been lost to traffic accidents and as a symbol of traffic safety.

Left to right: Dianne Anderson, Cape May Sheriff Gary Schaffer, Sea Isle Mayor and Cape May County Freeholder Len Desiderio, Joel Feldman, Cape May County Freeholder Ralph Sheets and Sea Isle Police Chief Tom Dintino

Also speaking at the ceremony were Sea Isle City Chief of Police Thomas D’Intino and Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother.

Dianne Anderson took the opportunity to express her and Casey’s father Joel Feldman’s appreciation for the dedication of the tree in Sea Isle, stating that Sea Isle City was Casey’s home away home. Casey loved the shore and Sea Isle City in particular, where the family has owned a home for over 17 years. Casey was living in Sea Isle during the summer of 2009 and was struck in a crosswalk at an Ocean City intersection on July 17th. Casey wrote about the summer and Sea Isle City in high school essays and her mother took the opportunity to share Casey’s feelings in Casey’s own words by reading excerpts from one of those essays written when Casey was 16 years old:

Summer. Just saying the word, hits me with a barrage of senses. I can almost taste the word, like a half-melted cherry Popsicle on the 4th of July. Or hear it, the sound of the rushing ocean, the seagulls cawing, and crickets chirping, their call audible through the open window, their sound mixing with the whirring of the fan late one hot August night….

Ever since I can remember, we have had a shore house. I can’t remember a 4th of July that hasn’t taken place on the deck of our beach-front shore house in Sea Isle City, New Jersey….

As soon as my last final exam is finished on that thrilling day in mid- June, I’m already packing my bags for “the shore,” and, for the majority of the summer, I’ll call Sea Isle home….

Every day at the shore is special, and every second is a moment in time that I’ll commit to memory and forever cherish…. Summer has a sort of timeless quality, and even though the profound aspects of your life change, it almost seems like, in the summer, time stands still, and all the summer days of my memory merge into one….

Most people share this belief that summer is sort of the time to make memories. When middle-aged adults and parents reminisce about their youth, getting starry-eyed and talking about “the good ol’ days”, often you hear stories of wild nights at summer camp, crazy debacles at the beach, and summer romances…

I can picture myself, even though it makes me cringe to do so, in my forties. Although I have virtually no idea what direction my life will have taken, I know one thing: when life becomes more stressful than fun, and when I have more obligations than vacations, maybe I, too, will daydream about the “good ol’ days;” and those unforgettable summer nights at the beach.

 

Casey's parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in front of the pink tree following the ceremony

[Note: View more photos from this tree dedication ceremony.  See ThinkSafetyCampaign.org and SJTSA.org for more information on the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance’s summer safety campaign featuring Casey. Visit PinkRemembranceTree.org to post and view memorials of Casey and others who died in traffic accidents.]

SEA ISLE CITY TO DEDICATE A PINK REMEMBRANCE TREE FOR CASEY SATURDAY, MAY 1

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Press Release Issued by the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance:

The City of Sea Isle, along with the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, will dedicate a Pink Remembrance Tree for Casey Feldman as part of Sea Isle City’s Community Day, Saturday, May 1 at Noon in front of the police department on JFK Boulevard. 

Mayor Len Desiderio said “Mr. and. Mrs. Feldman have worked very hard to raise awareness to pedestrian safety and it is my privilege to honor the memory of their daughter in the hopes of keeping the residents and visitors of Sea Isle safe.”

Casey Feldman was struck and killed by a motorist while crossing a street in a crosswalk in Ocean City on July 17, 2009 while on her way to a waitressing job on the boardwalk.  Casey was a senior at Fordham University majoring in communication and media studies and was living in Sea Isle City for the summer where the Feldman family has had a home for the past 17 years.  For the holidays, the family decorated a 300 year old sycamore tree on their Springfield, Pennsylvania property with 18,000 pink lights as a tribute to Casey.  The tree has gotten much attention and provided the family with such comfort, that they have decided to also promote it as a traffic safety tree.

Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother, said, “Pink was Casey’s favorite color and the lights represent her sparkling personality.  While I originally just envisioned it for the holidays, it has remained lit and I now can’t imagine coming home and not seeing it.”  Anderson went on to say, “Casey loved Sea Isle City; it was one of her favorite places. She even wrote about it in many high school essays. That is why it means so much to me that Sea Isle is going to dedicate a tree in her memory.”

While in memory of Casey Feldman, “The Pink Remembrance Tree” in Sea Isle City is also being dedicated to all of those who have lost their lives in motor vehicle collisions.  The Feldman’s are creating a website with the same name and hope to start a movement of Pink Remembrance Trees nationwide.  As part of the website, the public can upload photographs of their tree and their loved one, as well as include any information about their loved one that they may wish to share.

The Pink Remembrance Tree dedicated to Casey on the Feldman Property

Joel Feldman said “Our hope is that people will see the trees and slow down, or get off the phone or buckle up. There are just too many people dying on our roadways and it is not acceptable because they are preventable.”

Joel Feldman met with legislators and highway traffic officials over the past year in an attempt to promote changes in New Jersey’s pedestrian safety law.The new law, which went into effective April 1, 2010, now requires motorists to STOP and remain stopped for pedestrians, as opposed to simply yielding to them. The South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance will use Casey as part of their summer safety campaign called THINK SAFETY.  Businesses, schools, municipalities and police departments are asked to participate by displaying the posters and banners throughout their community.  Forms are available at sjtsa.org.

To view photos or television news clips of the Feldmans pink tree, read Casey’s writings about Sea Isle City, or for more information about Casey or the foundation which has been established in her memory, visit caseyfeldman.com.

The pinkremembrancetree.com website will be up and running by May 1.

Note: Read the articles in The Press of Atlantic City and Cape May County Herald.