Cedar Hill Resident RIP

FacebookThomas MacMillan PhotoRebecca Turcio, who championed the cause of one of New Haven’s littlest-noticed neighborhoods and emerged as one of the first and most passionate humane local grassroots voices of the Internet Age, died Monday after a long illness at the age of 54. Her imprint on New Haven lives on.

Turcio dubbed herself “Cedar Hill Resident” as a commenter posting multiple daily reactions to articles in the Independent beginning in 2007. Her rapid responses to breaking news became part of the story itself, prompting extensive back and forth from other readers equally committed to the city.

Her online commenting name referred to the mini-neighborhood of seven streets where she owned a home and organized neighbors to fight slumlords and drug dealers and keep East Rock Park clean. I-91 cuts off the Cedar Hill neighborhood in the shadow of East Rock near the Hamden line, bordered by Warren Place, View Street, Rock, Grace and State streets.

At first she used the name as cover. Then she publicly embraced it as she dived into community activism, testifying at city meetings, hounding government officials for neighborhood walking beats and code enforcement.

“I’m Cedar Hill Resident!” she proclaimed. And kept posting under that monicker.

Thomas MacMillan PhotoIn posts totaling well over 10,000 words in the course of a decade, Turcio passionately supported politicians who responded to her neighborhood. She interpreted political or weather or crime news through the lens of a working single mother.  (A sampler of her posts appears later in this article.) I She knew how to temper outrage with a sense of humor and fondness for other commenters, whether or not she agreed with them. She didn’t just complain about government; she also made sure to praise government officials when they did their jobs right.

In that way, she represented the promise of the then-emerging online news frontier: Respectful, informed, personalized, passionate citizen participation in what had previously been a one-way media conversation. She maintained that tone when some others in the blogosphere became vicious stalking trolls. In the new journalism, citizen participants would become as important as reporters, if not more so. You no longer needed to be a Beltway Pundit to have a platform. Unlike in the print age, when readers would wait a few days to read what, say, William Safire or Carl Rowan had to say about one news story, the raw, unfiltered reactions of regular commenters like Cedar Hill Resident (and Three Fifths and robn, to name just a few) became essential to the story in real time, propelling the discussing in unexpected directions, democratizing the opinion and community-discussion function of local journalism.

Commenting became Turcio’s civic fix. “I promise not to use the F word any more!” she wrote in pleading for the commenting function to return during a 2012 time-out (sparked by a cascade of foul comments, none of which came from her.)

Turcio also began submitting write-ups and photos to the Independent from events in her neighborhood that our reporters couldn’t get to, such as this splash pad opening; and opinion pieces, like this one about the challenges of trying to watch out for hard-to-see pedestrians while driving.

Both online and in person, Cedar Hill Resident represented the best of civic life. She showed the difference that one person can make in New Haven.

Facebook“Rebecca was edgy, unplugged, persistent and all heart,” said Justin Elicker, who as an East Rock alder championed Cedar Hill causes at Turcio’s urging.

“Her tireless advocacy helped get the Cedar Hill neighborhood on the map and reignite the Friends of East Rock Park. I will deeply miss Rebecca’s sense of humor and her ability to tell it like it is and make you feel loved at the same time.”

Born Rebecca Angeletti on Dec. 27, 1964, she grew up on Wooster Street. She attended St. Michael’s School and St. Mary’s High School, where, according to her father Rich Angeletti, she made both the track and the cheerleader teams.

“She was an inspiration to me always,” said Kerry Reardon, who met Rebecca freshman year at St. Mary’s and remained her close friend the rest of her life.

“Personal tragedy and illness only seemed to strengthen her resolve to fight for change, and to bestow kindness upon others. She was simply amazing.”

She worked for many years in the office of C.A. White real estate, while devoting herself to community outside of work. “That’s what she enjoyed doing — helping the neighborhood out,” her father recalled.

That — and hitting the keyboard, showing that online media can still be a vital, constructive civic square rather than a sewer.

A Cedar Hill Sampler

FacebookFollowing are some of Turcio’s hundreds and hundreds of story comments:

About a principal disbanding the Wilbur Cross High School Student Council after its members spoke out publicly against the mayor’s proposed city budget:

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 16, 2011 2:34pm

Did she just call active students…a group of elitist kids??? I saw the kids in this group at the budget meeting…Really!!! They are elitist because they are what…are speaking out? HOW DARE YOU revert to name calling. That alone is pitiful!  And you are a principle?? Holy Cow!

This women has some major issues and she is the one that needs to be disbanded from the new haven school system!

We need to make calls and have state people review her. Really.

About street plowing in the wake of New Haven’s biggest snowstorm in over a century:

posted by: cedarhillresident! on February 9, 2013 8:10pm

with you on that one Robn. at least do an access run so people can get to work on monday. Downtown looks like there was no blizzard while the citizens are trapped. was the whole fleet down there making it pretty?  I was told days. and rudely told days! I think that is what got me on a role!  They need to do a pass down all streets and then worry about loading it out but at least get us to work on monday with a simple plow threw….I am not picky it does not have to be as clean as down town is. they can do that while we are at work. less cars means it will be easyier but if we can not get out of dodge it will be the job harder! And I get it was a big one, will I get a payloader? or will they do a simple pass in a few days and leave the snow because I am in a poor community? Let big one my area barely saw a plow. grrrr I got snow rage we poor folks need to get to work on monday!

About people parking in spaces other people had shoveled out in said storm:

posted by: cedarhillresident! on February 14, 2013 9:50am

In no way shape or form is it ok to take a spot that someone shoveled out. I think it is selfish to do so and disrespectful, it is a me me thing. I have heard “the street does not belong to you” Well it does not. But if you send 3 or 4 hours shoveling a spot out and some lazyass takes it I call them a freeloader in ever scene of the term. I do in a scene own the spot I worked 4 hours for and someone who did no work takes it?? How is that human?
I got home monday night and a guy was in my spot I asked people next door if I could use theres till that person got home..when the space grabber came to get his car I asked him why he said “it is the street I can park where I want” He did not live on my street not sure where he came from. And then…then he said…. as I got in my car to move it…you can not take this space someone else is coming to park here WHAT!!! I just told you I shoveled it?? The men next door came out when they heard and he drove away mad! Was I wrong?? HELL NO!!
I do commend David only because the note was swear words and he did fix it. But what I do not think he had any reason not to be angry.

Space Grabbers…..justify it how ever you want…it is lazy and rude to take a spot that someone else broke their back for. If you did not shovel out and or can not at least ask people for help.

About code enforcers condemning a slumlord-owned rooming house in her neighborhood:

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 11, 2013 10:43am

Thank you LCI

Remember this landlord was given over a year to fix this property. He choose to milk it for as long as he could. He has repeatly shown that he has left people living in unsafe situations. Including that apt were a ceiling fell on a 2 year old and killed it.  Over 50 propertys in this city under different names all in concerning conditions. This man (aka Apple Mang.) had no respect for the humans in this building.  Or the fact that he is a neighborhood wrecker.  Slumlord is an understatement.

I feel bad for the store guys.  But others interviewed in this story have for lack of a better word crapped where they live. Meaning you did not ask him what he and his partner do for extra cash on the side streets of our community? We have kids here. Not to mention all the other prostitutes working that corner and saying I am visiting a friend as an excuse for loitering every night. . Not to mention the in your face dealing happening there.  Which invited even more criminal elements to the area.

And remember Old does not always deserve a how sad.
http://www.familywatchdog.us/ViewInfo.asp

When the Independent temporarily suspended commenting to reassess how to vet them (this one via email):

I need a hug Paul! I would use my real name if need be. I am going through withdraw! Paul I credit the NHI for some many positive changes in this city. Your paper has united many of us (who would never have crossed paths) to work together on so many things! Your balls, gave us balls! (yes dan I can get a little offensive in my post I have seen a few suggestions on how to make this better. I like the one were you can not post for a week after signing up and your first so many get monitored. (I promise not to use the F word any more !)
—cedarhillresident (aka Rebecca Turcio cuz I have nothing to hide)

About an armed neighborhood patrol starting in Edgewood:

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 27, 2007 9:08pm

We need people that care about the areas! I don’t want a cop that lives and Branford that looks down on New Haven working my streets! I want one that knows New Haven and what a wonder place it is! A place worth fighting for! I already have 2 people that would make fine officers going out for it! And they have lived here all there lives and care about this city and will live here the rest of there lives!

If I was not in my 40’s I would go out for it! I qualified many years ago but was put on the wait list now I am just to old.

About city Democratic leaders supporting a challenger who failed to pay child support over a party-endorsed candidate for alder:

as a single mother who has fought for child support, As one of thousand of New Haven single mothers fighting for child support I find this jumping the dem train to support a deadbeat to two children in 2 different states to be the ultimate slap in the face to us!!!

feeling really let down

About the arrest of trespassing suspects:

posted by: cedarhillresident on February 15, 2008 4:48pm

OK am I the only one that has a little problem with this? Did they find a gun?? Or they just think they hid the gun. My problem is the drug dealers are out there and they can not arrest them but they arrested these two on trespassing??? So can they arrest the dealers for loitering? Gee I’m in a mood.

On the federal arrest of an allegedly corrupt detective:

I dont’have sympathy for Billy White because he broke the law and he needs to pay for that crime… But we do have to sit back and look at the situation. Here is a cop that was undercover alot, dealing with the low of lows everyday for 39 years protecting us; there is know way the higher ups did not know he was “fryed”! Are they not suppose to keep an eye on officers state of mind? Every person I have talk to in the past few days said they knew he was dirty. You can not say that just the citizens knew this…some bosses must of knew?

I think he should get at least some of his pention not all of it.  I look at Billy White no different than you look at a vet back from war post tramatic stress. Having to live in two different worlds and he came to a point were the world as an undercover narc was the real one.  Officers should be held accountable for there actions but the Department is responsible for making sure that the men on the street are capable of dealing with the temptaions that that blue uniform affords them. And the officers that work with these men think that when they see an officer doing wrong that they are bound by the brotherhood of there uniforms not to rat them out. But look at what happened you guys really did him a favor! Instead of stopping it when it started he is now in deeper shit! So NHPD do your fellow officers the favor of calling them on there wrong doings before it gets out of control. Better a slap on the hand then jail.

ok with that all said “concerned in the hood” your comment “Were certain people being protected?” Is what we in my area thinks about one buissness because there is not dame way that these people should be getting away with what they have been unless someone is getting payed off! And that someone is worning them when they are being looked at! We are almost sure that we have it in our area !! And as previously stated I pray that they are part of this!

On a new city recycling plan:

posted by: cedarhillresident on December 8, 2011 2:12pm

this may be a cost effective option for commercial and multi familys. and the city will benifit to! I like this new plan.

BUT WITH THAT SAID…the dumping in cedar hill has started!!! The pay for bulk has resulted in MAJOR dumping! I am on the look out for a old white pick up (ford) doing major damage.

And the new tiny winy brown bins are killing me (more dumping because of this) You need to reverse it and make the brown bins the recycle ones!

On the “Occupy New Haven” encampment on the Green:

posted by: cedarhillresident! on March 29, 2012 9:06am

I have seen a few more tents pop up this week.

If the judge (slim chance) does say they can stay. How many more tents will pop up?

When I went down and suggested why are you not marching for the tax payers of New Haven they shrugged it off because the city was paying for the dumpster and toilets and letting them stay…..NEWS FLASH..the people of New Haven paid for that! So now the have ostracized the tax pays of the city.

They tried to target students by protesting the cost of college. Thinking that would get great support because after all we are a college town…they did not really jump on board because they had there hands full with getting the diploma they were paying for.

So now no students, no taxpayers. Nonprofits, well the 80,000 that this has cost so far will come from funds they may have received.

5 months now a few marchs around the green and hold general Assembly meetings. But at the most you just hung out on the green. ohh you say but people take pictures of us! Oh ok there ya go.

now you want to become one with the earth?? sovereign nation? whats next? This is starting to give the 99% movement a bad name.


On citywide property revaluations:

posted by: cedarhillresident on November 30, 2011 1:36pm

Homes on my street sold for LESS than HALF there present market value!!!! Mine better be lower…I have printed out my whole community present vision appraisal sheet before they can I would suggest you do the same.

http://data.visionappraisal.com/newhavenct/findpid.asp?iTable=pid&pid=10063

And I saved all the M’n F’n sales and price in this area for the past 5 years!! Grrrrrrrr

On the federal arrest of an allegedly corrupt police detective:

I dont’have sympathy for Billy White because he broke the law and he needs to pay for that crime… But we do have to sit back and look at the situation. Here is a cop that was undercover alot, dealing with the low of lows everyday for 39 years protecting us; there is know way the higher ups did not know he was “fryed”! Are they not suppose to keep an eye on officers state of mind? Every person I have talk to in the past few days said they knew he was dirty. You can not say that just the citizens knew this…some bosses must of knew?


I think he should get at least some of his pention not all of it.  I look at Billy White no different than you look at a vet back from war post tramatic stress. Having to live in two different worlds and he came to a point were the world as an undercover narc was the real one.  Officers should be held accountable for there actions but the Department is responsible for making sure that the men on the street are capable of dealing with the temptaions that that blue uniform affords them. And the officers that work with these men think that when they see an officer doing wrong that they are bound by the brotherhood of there uniforms not to rat them out. But look at what happened you guys really did him a favor! Instead of stopping it when it started he is now in deeper shit! So NHPD do your fellow officers the favor of calling them on there wrong doings before it gets out of control. Better a slap on the hand then jail.

ok with that all said “concerned in the hood” your comment “Were certain people being protected?” Is what we in my area thinks about one buissness because there is not dame way that these people should be getting away with what they have been unless someone is getting payed off! And that someone is worning them when they are being looked at! We are almost sure that we have it in our area !! And as previously stated I pray that they are part of this!

On a homeless encampment at the edge of Cedar Hill (her final post):

posted by: cedarhillresident! on August 7, 2017 7:14pm

Well did not read all the comments. But want to add my 2 cents. First the same 4 5 pahandlers are at the James street exit every night at 5. so not sure the PD are chasing them away. And these same young men are not drug free I watch them at the cedar hill hot block scoring. Everyone st the red light can watch it. Not hidden at all. We have complained and are at the least hoping the narcs are working on it.  Which we know takes time. These same men are seen looking in cars in the area. I have caught them looking in mine. But withat that said. Over the past year I have learned a lot about homelessness in new haven. The shelters. The mental health help. And addiction help.  And it is not set up to help people it is set up to shuffle them. And I am not the only person that sees and knows this. But I have talked to many and nothing can be done. Why. I am not sure.  We need more long term assisted living for people with mental illness. They not only need to get back on there meds they need to stay on them. But they need help learning to be normal again. To give someone meds and put them right back on the streets again and saying you helped them is a freaking joke. So for now where do you want this fisfuntional folks to go?  To a shelter in the middle of no where that kicks them mout in the early am. And also keep in mind you can not just show up at a shelter   Most of hem are full or you need a referral   And I can go on.  N HI. Find out how some of these shelters actually work?? I actually called and the response I got pissed me off it was so wrong!  The whole system need to be taken apart and be redone.

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Comments

posted by: EarlyBird on March 12, 2019  4:52pm

Oh, my goodness. I had noticed the absence of Cedar Hill Resident comments of late. What a tireless advocate for her neighborhood; I was always impressed with her passion, energy, and humor. I’ll miss her presence here on the NHI. My condolences to her family, friends, and online community compadres. RIP Rebecca!

posted by: robn on March 12, 2019  5:07pm

sadness…rip chr

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 12, 2019  5:39pm

I knew Rebecca had been sick and I haven’t seen her in a while.

I used to run into her all the time taking her ‘smoke break’ in front of CA WHITE on Chapel Street, and we would joke, gab, and trade political scuttlebutt.

Her ‘chutzpah’ is already missed.

A New Haven Original!

posted by: Ed Mattison on March 12, 2019  5:56pm

When I was the Alder for Cedar Hill, Rebecca kept me on my toes.  She went to every meeting and always had very sensible things to say.  I can’t tell you how much I will miss her.  She was my favorite constituent.  Ed

posted by: Esbey on March 12, 2019  6:17pm

NHI Commenter all-time Hall of Fame, effective neighborhood and city activist, will be much missed.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 12, 2019  7:02pm

What a wonderful tribute, Paul.

I was saddened to hear this news and would like to extend my sincere condolences to Ms. Turcio’s family and friends, and express my gratitude for the way she often expanded my thinking with her thoughtful and informed commentary.

posted by: Elm City Resident on March 12, 2019  7:07pm

Sad news but this article is a lovely tribute.  I first met Rebecca through Democracy School.  While not all of her comments and actions landed the way she may have hoped, she was a combination of fire and heart—driven by a sincere desire to do good.  Hopefully her memory will inspire others to engage and advocate for their respective communities the way she did for Cedar Hill.  Rest in peace.

posted by: CityPointReardon on March 12, 2019  8:27pm

Wonderful tribute. Wonderful woman. New Haven lost a treasure yesterday. ❤️

posted by: BevHills730 on March 12, 2019  10:15pm

I often disagreed with Cedar Hill Resident but I always admired her commitment to her neighborhood and city. She was a person who got up everyday and fought for what she believed was best for her community. Thanks for her advocacy and civic spirit. RIP Cedar Hill Resident.

posted by: wendy1 on March 12, 2019  10:58pm

I loved, admired, and envied her blond moxie.  The good die young.

posted by: Hill Resident on March 12, 2019  10:59pm

Gonna miss you Cedar Hill Resident. Your torch burned so bright I hope someone will pick it up. Thanks for the writeup Paul.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on March 13, 2019  7:24am

May she Rest in Power. I did not know her, but I read her posts. 54 is way too soon. May her family be comforted and hopefully understands that they will meet again…...

posted by: Brewski on March 13, 2019  10:14am

So sad to see this. She really brought those early days of the NHI to life.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 13, 2019  10:48am

this is very sad news.

I will always be grateful to Cedar Hill Resident for showing me the ropes of NHI commenting back in the day.

posted by: allthatglam on March 13, 2019  8:41pm

Rebecca you are missed already. Paul if ever someone deserved such a wonderful article about their life as a New Havener…it was Rebecca Turcio! Rest now with no pain or health complications. Look down upon us and smile because your activism and dedication was a job well done!
PS> To your son and daughter. She loved you both so much. Find peace knowing you were her world.

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 13, 2019  9:49pm

Paul,

Like I said, I knew she was sick and ‘faded out’ of the forum.

Can you give us her ‘last post’..?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 14, 2019  10:19am

I met her in passing at WPKN Radio were I produce a show call BLACK INTROSPECTIVE.I did not know her then.But I got to know her from the mayor debates and from the NIH.She was good people.I will not say for her RIP due to the fact a Like Her Fighter never REST IN PEACE.

George Harrison ‘‘My Sweet Lord’‘

https://youtu.be/QZCIdOt7C1c