This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that 52 acres of northwest Freeville will become a wildlife preserve, as Millie Sherwood donated it to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, which then donated it to the Village of Freeville with a conservation easement held by the trust. The land is largely flood plain for Fall Creek, and a rich wildlife habitat. The preserve will be named the Genung Nature Preserve, and the Village of Freeville will add trails and a small parking area.
(The details in the article seem a bit different from the Finger Lakes Land Trust press release; I'm guessing the Land Trust probably has it right.)
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that two Dryden fifth-graders will be hosting a craft sale tomorrow from 12:30pm to 5:30pm at the SPCA. Emily Gray and Allison Sullivan have:
worked tirelessly for the past several weeks obtaining and creating holiday crafts... Both girls are enthusiastic animal lovers who are always looking for ways to help the animals in need of homes and care. There will be crafts and baked goodies available for purchase. Donations of cash, dog or cat food and treats, blankets and toys will also be accepted.
All proceeds will go to the SPCA.
House and Garden briefs in the print edition note a "Getting Started Farming" workshop that Cooperative Extension will be holding tomorrow from 9:00am to 12:30pm.
A "rec ID card" should make it easier for the county to figure out who is using their recreation programs and where they're coming from.
The Village of Dryden Victorian Winter Festival will be held today and tomorrow in the Village of Dryden.
Here's a list of events for today:
And for tomorrow:
Yesterday's Ithaca Journal is unfortunately not the happiest news Dryden has seen in a while. There's an article on the arrest of a Dryden resident for rape. The man arrested had had a prior two-hour standoff with police in Freeville in 2000.
On the opinion page, Eric Hansen of Dryden writes to thank Dryden and State Police for rescuing his son from an August intruder with a machete.
The public notices page for December lists meetings for this month.
Unless otherwise noted, all meetings listed here are at the Dryden Town Hall (map).
The Village of Dryden's Victorian Winter Festival ran from Friday at 3:00pm to yesterday at 4:00pm, with a wide variety of different events. I started out at the History House, then visited the Southworth Library and Googers, wandered down Main Street to Time Square, and then came back up to the Candlelight Inn's Christmas Shoppes.
The next morning, I had a job to do, helping Gina Prentiss talk about the historic district's history and architecture on the horse & cart history tour. (I also learned a lot from Mike Lane, who took the first ride.) While it was cold, people still seemed happy to brave the weather for a ride on the cart pulled by Tom and Debbie Crane's Belgians from Hollows End Stables. (Tom was driving.)
I managed to sneak off the cart long enough to get a picture of the Four Corners barbershop quartet performing, and when my time on the cart was complete I went over to Dryden Middle School to visit Santa's Secret Workshop, which was very busy.
(I love that Dryden has a consistent Santa Claus. It's also strange to go from Santa to Santa and see him change drastically!)
I've taken a lot more pictures, if you're interested.
This site may go up, down, or backwards a bit over the next week as I transition to a new internet service provider. I'll try not to make more stupid mistakes than usual, but if it's not available for a little while, try again later.
Thanks for your patience!
County Legislator Mike Lane looks poised to deliver on one of his key campaign issues, the need for a three-year cycle on assessments to reduce the annual shocks. This morning's Journal reports that the legislature will hold a public hearing and possible vote later this month. Why now?
Vice Chairman Mike Lane, D-Dryden, said he is starting the process because enough legislators agree the county should make a switch, and the Assessment Department has said if a switch is made, it should be done for 2006, not 2007.
He added that the spiking real estate market in recent years and the assessment grievance process have turned the public against having annual assessments.
Some legislators believe annual assessments allow the county to distribute the tax burden equally, but it appears enough votes exist to change the process.
If this passes, then:
there will still be reassessments every year, but only in certain spots of the county where there is a lot of activity. The assessments must also be of uniform value, so all properties will be assessed at 90 percent of value instead of 100 like they are now, she added.
In other Dryden news, 20 firefighters contained and put out a fire on the TC3 campus, and Wayne Arthur of Freeville writes to object to a possible increase in phone rates.
There's lots of Dryden news in today's Ithaca Journal, little of it good. The lead story on the front page is about an abduction and rape on Bone Plain Road yesterday, in violation of an order of protection at that. Sheriff's deputies arrested the suspect after a chase in the woods behind the airport.
There's also a report on a Sunday night accident in which a car skipped the stop sign at Mount Pleasant Road and Route 366, and became airborne, striking a house on Freese Road and catching fire. The Varna Volunteer Fire Company responded, applying foam to the burning gasoline. The car was destroyed, but the house was saved.
The editorial supports the expansion of the TC3 dormitories, saying that "Adding the dorm space is a smart move for TC3 and for Dryden."
There's also an article on a subject Dryden residents should watch, though we're not a part of it: discussion of the Town and City of Ithaca sharing services and possibly someday merging.
Her latest book offers a human main character that interacts with the animal realm. Petunia Patchpockets was introduced in the second book, "Slinky Slithertail and the Talent Show." Now Petunia is the star of her own book, "Petunia Patchpockets and the Golden Locket." She has also been brought to life by a local dollmaker and accompanies Margaret to book signings and readings.
Briefly in Dryden lists three upcoming events:
The Varna Community Center will be having a pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8:00am to noon at the Varna Community Center (map). It'll be $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. They have pancakes, french toast, fruit, eggs, cakes, bacon, ham, and potatoes.
The Freeville United Methodist Church will have a Holiday Cantata this Saturday, and then next Saturday their musical director, Eric Machan Howd, will have a piano concert. Both events are from 7:00pm to 8:00pm, and are free, though the second one is a fund-raiser based on donations.
TC3 is collecting ideas for the college.
There's more background on Monday's abduction and rape charges, and the arrest of a Freeville man for a domestic call with lots of other charges, including punching out the window of a sheriff's patrol vehicle.
There are three stories of potential interest to to Dryden: an update on the County Legislature's discussion of shifting to a three-year assessment cycle, an article on the Cornell/Town of Ithaca transportation study (in which the Town of Dryden is participating, apparently), and a report on the Ithaca school district's hiring a data analyst.
This morning Ithaca Journal reports that the Brooktondale Fire District is facing some hard questions about where money for a truck went, after purchasing a truck through a now-deceased broker in Albany who may have defrauded other departments. (The Town of Dryden contracts with the Brooktondale Fire District to provide coverage for the Bethel Grove area south of Snyder Hill Road.)
The Journal's editorial opposes pay raises for state legislators, saying that:
A few weeks ago, state lawmakers let slip that some would like to increase their pay from the base pay of $79,500 it has been at for the past seven years. While that pay is well above the $49,930 the average the state Labor Department says taxpayers earn, the difference gets wider when other payments tied to the scores of "leadership" roles are factored in. The average state lawmaker earns about $92,000 a year, a few at the top reach $120,000-plus, and they all get thousands more to cover travel to the capital and "per diem" expenses for the 100 or so days a year the Legislature is in session. Even with the seven-year stagnation, state lawmakers still are the fourth-highest paid in the nation....
To all those lawmakers and judges who think hovering above or just below the six-figure salary line is an intolerable sacrifice, we say good riddance. If money can lure you away, the rest of us would rather you not have the position of power you now possess. It is the ultimate in insider arrogance to assume that a few hundred worthy citizens cannot be found from among the 18 million called New Yorkers to do the jobs you now hold, so we'll get through the troubles at hand just fine without you.
On a similar note, a New York Times editorial calls for legislative redistricting reform, the "Number One Reform", saying that:
If somehow there were one dangling thread that could unravel the dysfunction of New York's Legislature, it would be attached to the unfair system that allows state lawmakers to draw their own election districts every 10 years. So here is our request for anyone running for governor next year to start tugging on that fateful thread.
The stories of how lawmakers have mapped themselves into their permanent jobs are legendary - for example, there is the district in the Bronx and Westchester that is so misshapen to catch every vote that it has been nicknamed "the bug on the windshield." And there are districts like the one in Brooklyn that carefully carves out the home of a potential challenger. These districts are tailored so carefully to the incumbents that it is no wonder that the Legislature's re-election rate has been around 99 percent for decades. (When five incumbents out of 212 lost last year, counting one who had resigned to go to jail, Albany's leaders viewed it as a major upheaval.)
The "bug on the windshield" (411KB PDF) is fascinating, though I find the shape of the 51st Senate District (555KB PDF), which includes Dryden, just as ridiculous. It includes the eastern half of Tompkins County, and all of Cortland, then crosses Chenango in a narrow band of towns before lurching north to Old Forge and east to the Hudson River south of Albany. I refer to it as the "T-bone steak". (The 49th Senate District is another very strange shape.)
Those higher salaries might feel more sensible if there was a chance of the incumbents losing their jobs because their district didn't like their performance. The Journal doesn't add lawmakers' current job security to its arguments against a pay raise, but I think it reinforces their point.
Last night's Cortland Standard has an article, "Dem seeks Dryden seat", on page 3. Sure enough, the "Dem" is me.
I was hoping Paul Lutwak, an independent who ran as a Democrat in November, would apply, but then John Curatolo resigned from the Dryden School Board, and Paul decided to apply for that. Too many simultaneous vacancies!
In any case, since I'm never really sure how to report on myself, here's the letter I sent Steve Trumbull (9KB PDF) applying for the position.
WHCU 870 news also reports on the opening, saying:
MEANWHILE, A VACANCY ON THE DRYDEN TOWN BOARD WILL BE FILLED IN JANUARY. THREE PEOPLE HAVE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE SEAT THAT WILL BE LEFT VACANT BY MICHAEL HATTERY'S ELECTION TO THE TOMPKINS COUNTY LEGISLATURE. TOWN SUPERVISOR STEVE TRUMBULL SAYS INTERESTED CANDIDATES SHOULD SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO THE TOWN BOARD WITHIN THE WEEK.
At last night's Town Board meeting, Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins advised the board that this will be a board appointment, and the state has no requirements for how they fill it, so it seems the board can do what they like. It's good to hear that three people are interested, and maybe more will apply.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that the TC3 Foundation received approval for $7 million of tax-exempt bonds for building a dormitory. The article notes that the project received Town Board approval - though only for phase one - on Thursday night.
IDA Chairman Michael Lane, however, noted the developers had long insisted that the project would fall through without the original abatement schedule, only to agree to a revision as soon as they realized they didn't have enough votes on the board. Lane, who also would have voted against the original schedule last week, raised concern on Friday that the agency would come to developers' aid, bumping up abatements, if they have a bad year.
"I don't think it's our job to be a partner," Lane said.
Briefly in Tompkins notes that the Etna Community Church (map) will be having a Women's Victorian Christmas for women and girls from 2:00pm to 3:30pm tomorrow. Contact Judy Auble-Zazzara to make a reservation.
This morning's Journal reports on the Victorian Tea Party held at the Etna Community Church Sunday afternoon:
Putting a modern spin on a tradition dating back to the days of Charles Dickens, the women of the Etna Community Church hosted their second Victorian Christmas tea. Volunteers brought tablecloths, food and tea service to share in the basement of the church on Upper Creek Road. Seated in groups of four, the women laughed and exchanged memories from their lives with people they knew and others whom they had only just met.
On the opinion page, Congressman Sherwood Boehlert writes on his efforts to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars, arguing that our dependency on oil is a national security issue, and that the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us the dangers.
I think I've completed the transition from my previous web hosting provider to the current one. You'll be seeing a number of changes, but for now, the most immediate one is the return of comments. It's been almost exactly a year since I turned them off because of a huge influx of spam.
The new system imposes a delay on initial postings so that I can moderate them, in the hope that this approach will keep out spam. We'll see how it goes, but for now I'm very happy to have the feature back. It should add a dimension to the site which has defintely been missing.
A few other things are broken, notably some formatting and the contact me form. I should have everything back to normal (or better) this week.
I grew up in a city (Corning) full of factories, and I know too much about New York State's rich industrial history to be happy about the steady decline we've seen here over the course of my life. Every now and then I find a company thriving in the midst of all of this, and I'm happy to report on one about an hour north of Dryden. They even offer factory tours, if you want to see it with your own eyes.
Stickley has a distinguished history, tracing its roots back to the family companies that put Arts & Crafts furniture on the map, as well as purveying ideas that had a major impact on architecture, textiles, and all kinds of fields. After Arts & Crafts went out of style, they had prospered for a long while with colonial furniture, but had dwindled down to 22 employees by the mid-1970s.
Unlike many of their peers, however, Stickley roared back. The company now employs around 1500 people, many of whom work in the Manlius factory. I took their factory tour with my parents a couple of weeks ago, and was highly impressed. George Webster, salesman and tour guide, told our group of the history of the company as well as its recent development before taking us into the factory itself.
After visiting the small shop where they create samples and custom furniture, we stepped out into the lumber storage area, which is vast. They use approximately 7 million board-feet of solid wood each year. From lumber storage we move into the area where they were grading lumber, then sorting it and gluing it into panels.
Next we saw the amazingly automated process Stickley uses to cut complex patterns and joinery into wood. (They also have simpler machines for basic joints like mortises and tenons, but these machines automate some very complex steps.)
After all the parts are cut and sanded, assembly is the next big project. (Note that pieces are assembled as people order them - Stickley tries to maintain the smallest inventory of pieces possible.)
After assembly, finishing is the next huge task. Stickley doesn't use the (dangerous) ammonia-fuming process that was once the hallmark of Arts & Crafts furniture, but instead produces similar results with dyes and finishes.
After the finishing process, the pieces are complete, except for upholstery.
A loveseat, minus upholstery.
Stickley has a small upholstery shop in the factory (which we didn't see) as well as a larger upholstery factory (and I think a leather factory) in North Carolina. They've also just opened a plant in Vietnam, but their plans overseas are interesting for a lot of reasons. They chose Vietnam in part because many of their workers in Manlius were from Vietnam, and workers who wanted to move back to Vietnam got to keep their US salaries. They're doing a new line of furniture there, not moving their existing work.
It's clear that the Audi family (who now own and run Stickley) intend to keep this going for a long long time, and in upstate New York at that. They seem to keep pouring the profits back into the company, buying more and more equipment for processes that can be automated while also ensuring that skilled craftsmen work on the processes that require human flexibility and attention. They don't seem willing to compromise on quality at any level. While that does drive prices up, they seem to have made that approach work.
If you'd like to take a factory tour, they start at 10:00am on Tuesdays at their factory at 1 Stickley Drive in Manlius. You can see their furniture in Fayetteville Towne Center, and sometimes at the Pyramid Mall in Lansing. (Their factory sale of samples and other damaged goods sometimes happens in the old Ames. They had one recently, but the furniture is still there, so maybe there will be another one.)
Somehow I've fallen behind on covering the Dryden Courier again, and I'd like to at least cover last week's issue while it's still available on newsstands.
The November 30th issue of the Courier visited the Freeville Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Methodist Church, and also had a picture of the Freeville Elementary School feast. Cassavant and Freeville Elementary Schools principal Paula Thoma's three week visit to Japan shares the front page, with pictures from her trip inside.
There were also an article on students presenting their accomplishments to the Dryden School Board and a report on the newly completed renovations at the Dryden elementary schools. Sports was mostly overviews, with brief mention of the Dryden Boys Basketball team and an announcement for the December 10th induction ceremony for the Dryden Athletic Hall of Fame.
The December 7th issue leads with a visit to Santa's Secret Workshop, held in the Dryden Middle School, complete with a picture of children talking with Santa. (Inside, there's a picture of the Horse & Wagon history tour from that same morning.) There's also an article on the 52-acre land donation Millie Sherwood donated to the the Finger Lakes Land Trust in Freeville, honoring her father with land important for its mile of frontage along Fall Creek.
Inside, there are profiles of Dan Kwasnowski, the new Town Environmental Planner, and Matthew Luciano, the student liaison to the Dryden School Board. In sports, Dryden's Anthony Jerome and Mario Clarke won wrestling championship matches at the Newark Valley Invitational, and Tony Clarke made it to the final. The Dryden Boys Basketball team beat Groton 66-38.
This morning's Ithaca Journal includes an editorial reminding readers that shifting to a three year assessment cycle is not tax relief, but still generally supporting it. The Journal summarizes the reason County Legislator Mike Lane has supported the change:
Critics make several arguments. Lane has said the annual process of assessments and challenges is overwhelming local residents - too many changes, too fast, with too much effort needed to constantly battle against a rising real estate tide. People, Lane warns, are getting weary and angry. ... Still others, Lane included, have said the annual increases in assessments have made it too easy for local governments to hide their true taxing habits.
I was a supporter of annual assessments, and still think that in a perfect world they would make better sense. Unfortunately, I've watched local (Dryden) government officials leave tax rates the same while merrily collecting the extra levy money from assessment increases. While I would love all tax reporting to discuss primarily changes in the levy, the recent regular increase in assessments has been an opportunity for officials to talk about rate changes and obscure what's actually happening.
The other reason I see to change is the burden that an annual appeals process places on property owners. Appealing an assessment change is a large project, and doing it frequently has to be wearing.
In county news, the new $17.5 million public safety communications network seems close to approval.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on Dryden schools' bringing high school special education back to their school from BOCES. It sounds like Dryden is both filling a gap in BOCES offerings and complementing the vocational training BOCES provides these students for half the day.
The Town Briefs note a piano concert to be held Saturday from 7:00pm to 8:00pm at the Freeville United Methodist Church.
There's also an article about possible school start time changes in the Ithaca schools.
Yes, the area hit -11° yesterday. Or -22°, if you prefer Celsius temperatures. This morning's Journal reports on the area's new record low, smashing the previous low temperature record of -1°. There's also a storm watch for tonight through tomorrow.
The only other Dryden news was a Freeville woman's arrest on DWI charges.
This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at ways to reduce energy costs, and visits a Cooperative Extension class on fixing up older windows that I attended earlier this week. Mark Pierce explained that the best ways to save energy are to seal up air leaks, improve insulation, and update heating systems. Fixing older windows and putting storms on them makes a lot more sense than replacing them.
As it's the holiday season and the end of the tax year, I thought it might make sense once again to post a list of organizations in Dryden that could take donations. I believe, though I'm not entirely certain, that these are non-profit organizations, and therefore tax-exempt, but I could be wrong. Check with the organization if you have a question about that.
I've already posted a list of churches, and I'm sure they'd all happily accept donations, with the possible exception of Ellis Hollow Community Church, which is closed.
Other possible Dryden organizations for donations include:
Bethel Grove Community Center
1825 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Dryden Kitchen Cupboard
Tompkins County Food Pantry
800 Enfield Falls Road
Newfield, NY 14867
Dryden Town Historical Society
36 West Main Street
P.O. Box 69
Dryden, NY 13053
Dryden Veterans Memorial Home
2272 Dryden Road
Dryden, NY 13053
Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund
Make checks out to Community Foundation of Tompkins County/DYOF
P.O Box 1076
Dryden, NY 13053
Ellis Hollow Community Center
111 Genung Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Etna Community Center
P.O. Box 425
Etna, NY 13062
Freeville Food Pantry
Freeville United Methodist Church
PO Box 229
Freeville, NY 13068
Neptune Hose Company & Dryden Ambulance
26 North Street
Dryden, NY 13053
Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts
P.O. Box 6607
Ithaca, NY 14850
Southworth Library Association
P.O. Box 45
Dryden, NY 13053
Tompkins County SPCA
1640 Hanshaw Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Varna Community Association
PO Box 4771
Ithaca, NY 14852-4771
Varna Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
14 Turkey Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
W.B. Strong Fire Company
21 Union Street
PO Box 129
Freeville, NY 13068
Willow Glen Cemetery Association
P.O. Box 299
Dryden, NY 13053-0299
If you have additions or corrections, please let me know in the comments. I'm guessing I missed a few.
This morning's Journal is quiet on Dryden specifically, but does have an article on Congressman Sherwood Boehlert's efforts to push Congress in a more moderate direction. Democrats are lining up to challenge him, and he already has a Republican challenger as well.
The Journal also reports that the local economic outlook is mixed.
County Legislator Michael Lane is in the news again, this time because the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency, which he chairs, passed tax abatements for the Cayuga Green project over his opposition. Lane had reasons which go beyond this project in downtown Ithaca:
Lane said he felt the IDA, and therefore taxpayers, should not have to share a private project's financial risk.
"I don't feel that taxpayer money should be part of an investment partnership that may go up or down," Lane said.
I liked the approach of simply declining abatements mostly because it didn't open any doors to creative accounting, and has minimal overhead. I guess we'll see what this experiment does, but I suspect there are good reasons that simple abatement schedules are the norm. (It's especially strange because I've only heard how the county will help if the developer doesn't make enough profit, with no sense that if the project outperforms expectations that the county would get something back. Update: I've now seen the draft agreement, and the county would get something back.)
On the opinion page, Kathy Zahler of Dryden has a guest column on lessons we can learn from the Spencer-Van Etten school district's being forced into fundraising:
Bake sales and auctions are lovely, but they are band-aids on a hemorrhage. We need to put our energy into the two things that will solve the problem. One is at the state level: It's the way we fund education. It's wrong, it's unfair, and it's progressively destructive. The other is at the national level: It's the way we pay for health insurance. It's bleeding the country dry.
We should be talking about successful education finance reform such as Act 60 in Vermont or KERA in Kentucky. We should be talking about New York's own finance reform lawsuit, which our state government seems to be actively ignoring. We should be talking about national health insurance, acknowledging the fact that government-run insurance programs like Medicaid are demonstrably more efficient and economical than any existing private corporate insurer.
Until we have that conversation - on school boards, at church suppers, in living rooms, at work, in the media, with our legislators - we all face the plight of the S-VE parents, who love their children enough to pay twice for the betterment of their education, with no relief in sight.
In county news, the TCAT bus system had over three million riders this year.
This morning's Ithaca Journal visits Nancy Carver and Lorraine Buonviri's Christmas spectacular in their home in Freeville. Fifty Santas on a piano? Is that enough? Perhaps not. It takes three days to set up the decorations, starting the day after Thanksgiving.
In Dryden Town Talk, Cathy Wakeman looks at the work of the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund, and ways their fund-raising supports local activities. She also announces a Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service to be held this Saturday at 5:00pm at the Etna Community Church.
In county news, there's a piece on the county modifying its charter to allow the legislature to shift to a three-year assessment cycle. It passed 8-7, with Dryden legislators Mike Lane (who's pushed hard for this for a long time) and Martha Robertson supporting it, while McLean legislator George Totman opposed it.
Lane also has a guest column on voting machines in New York, calling on the election commissioners to hold public hearings on the decision-making process. Assessment turns up in a letter from Joe Riggins of Freeville, doesn't think the three-year assessment proposal does much.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on another incident in what's starting to feel like a wave of crimes in Dryden, this time reporting (in its print edition only) on the upcoming arraignment of a Freeville man for an attempted rape and burglary in Groton. The Monitor also reports on a Cortland man arrested for DWI in Dryden after speeding.
The County Briefs list three events in Dryden:
The Foundation of Light will be having a Burning Bowl ceremony from 5:15pm to 7:30pm on New Year's Eve.
There will be a forum on services for seniors on January 12th from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the Dryden Fire Hall.
Two Dryden High School alumni, Thomas Carr and Bryn Horrocks Carr, will be giving a multimedia presentation on Serbia tonight at the Dryden Fire Hall from 7:15pm to 8:00pm.
On the opinion page, former County Legislator candidate Dave Restey thanks supporters and criticizes County Legislator Martha Robertson for "her last minute campaign tactic which included misinformation." As I reported earlier, Robertson responded to a last-minute hit piece sent by Restey (1025KB PDF) that was loaded with errors. Restey's continuing complaint about misinformation suggests that he'd do well to do a lot more research about county government if he wants to run again in the future.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the November BOCES cosmetology competition, including some Dryden students in the story and in the pictures.
I'm just getting around to yesterday's Ithaca Journal, and finding a few stories that mentioned Dryden. A story on last-minute shopping includes a picture of Samantha Hornbuckle, whose mother Mary lives in Dryden. Dryden is also mentioned in an article on modern Christmas and Tompkins County's early development.
In 1994, the Tompkins County Board of Representatives (now Legislature) welcomed four new Democratic members including Michael Lane representing the 14th District in the Town of Dryden. All of us who have had the pleasure of serving with Mike over the past 12 years have learned to value his friendship as well as his counsel and opinions on issues facing the county. As he leaves the Legislature to begin a new phase of his life, we wish him well and thank him for his service to Dryden and to the greater Tompkins County community. Whatever path he chooses to follow will certainly include public service because that's just the way he is. Good luck Mike. We will miss you.
This morning's Ithaca Journal vists the Varna United Methodist Church for its candelight Christmas Eve service, talking with attendees and giving a sense of the community.
The print edition includes a review of 2005, noting the renovations to Dryden elementary schools as well as progress toward a new Dryden Town Hall and a Cortland Road Sewer District contract, but also noting the the change in plans to a much reduced extension of the Jim Schug Trail which now won't go far toward Freeville.
I've heard that an enormous Kinney Drugs will coming into the Village of Dryden across from Clark's. The Town of Ithaca seems set to add its own enormous (14,500 sq. ft.) drugstore, a Rite-Aid at Judd Falls Plaza, next year. I have to admit that I don't understand the appeal of these places at all. Fay's Drugs used to have sporting goods, which was interesting to look at while waiting for a prescription, but today's giant drug stores seem to fill the space with the same things available at grocery stores, only more expensive.
This week's Dryden Courier (December 21st) leads with Margaret Brownell Lorenzen's latest Slinky Slithertail book, Petunia Patch Pockets and the Golden Locket. Lorenzen wrote the first version of the story back in 1961, but this version, with illustrations by Jocelyn Sawyer with Liza Behls, was just published last month.
A report on Eric Machan Howd's recent concert for the Freeville United Methodist Church shares the front page, Howd performed as a fundraiser for the church, which is encouraging its members to share their talents. Inside the paper is a note that the church is starting up a food pantry with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Donations and volunteers would be especially helpful now, as the pantry isn't eligible for state aid for six months. (Thanks to a comment, it's now listed on the donations story.) The Courier's editorial mentions both the food pantry and the SPCA's efforts as causes worth helping, and there's an article on Katrina pets at the SPCA.
There's a profile of County Legislator Mike Lane, looking over his past service as Village of Dryden Trustee and Mayor, as well as his last twelve years representing Dryden in county government. As Lane puts it:
I'm not going to close any doors... I'm not done. I expect I'll find something I want to do, whether it's at a county office or a state office, I'm not sure. But in my heart, I'm not done. There are too many things left to do."
The middle to back of the paper is filled with holiday drawings by children in local schools, and even the advertising includes lots of the drawings. It's a lot of fun to browse, and very different!
In sports, Steve Rugg of the Dryden Boys Swimming team is the boys' Athlete of the Week, for his performance against Southern Cayuga and Odessa-Montour. There's a profile of Dryden swimming coach Carl Hatt. The Dryden Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, and Swimming and Diving teams all had averages above 90 in the classroom as well. Paul Gangarossa's column notes the Dryden Girls Basketball team for illnesses keeping a successful team down, and suggests duct tape to help the Boys Basketball team keep it together.
This morning's Ithaca Journal mentions the Fall Creek and Six Mile Creek watershed monitoring projects (a training session for which I visited last year) in an article about concerns over salt levels in freshwater streams. Road salt is the primary culprit nationally, though levels in Tompkins County are still low, with a peak in early spring.
On the opinion page, Greg Kimbell of Dryden writes to warn America of the dangers of following President Bush's advice to "stay the course". There's also an editorial on state debt levels well-worth reading, especially for its proposals on how to end New York's backdoor debt.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that the Dryden School District is seeking applications for the vacancy on its school board. Briefly in Dryden says that the position will last from February to May 16th, the next election. This position is open because of John Curatolo's resignation.
It also lists planning for the 1996 Dryden High School reunion, as well as a senior services forum to be held January 12th from 11:00am to 3:00pm at Dryden Fire Hall.
The opinion page has a letter from Paul Allen of Dryden, thanking his constituents in Cortlandville for his four years on the Cortland County board.
In county news, incoming District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson took her oath of office yesterday, in preparation for taking office January 1st.
Update: I almost forgot the story about Time-Warner Cable establishing fees for using its public access studio.
This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on news that connects Dryden with the rest of Tompkins County. There's a piece on the TC3 Foundation buying the M&T Bank building in Ithaca to expand TC3's extension center there. TC3 also appears in a year-end roundup, as they:
hit a number of milestones, too: earning final approval for biotechnology and creative writing programs; kicking off its first capital campaign in order to help fund new athletic facilities and other improvements in its master plan; and securing financing for a fifth dormitory that will help the college keep up with demand for on-campus housing.
In a piece on Tim Joseph's plans to remain as County Legislative Chair, County Legislator Martha Robertson supports Joseph and talks about her own hopes:
Martha Robertson, D-Dryden, said would like to see this Legislature continue work on creating housing opportunities in the county. "We do not have enough housing for working people," Robertson said. "We have done a lot of background work for the development of more housing but now I want to see something happen."
The Our Towns section of this morning's Ithaca Journal has a few more pictures from the Christmas Eve celebration in Varna.
There are three brief mentions of Dryden elsewhere in the paper:
A review of 2005 public safety in Tompkins County noted the June accident which claimed 18-year-old Dryden resident Christopher Ackley's life.
The editorial reflecting on changes to come in 2006 notes that Dryden voters added a Democrat to the Town Board this year.
Local Briefs notes that the Saltonstall Foundation is accepting grant applications for both summer residences (open to anyone in New York State) and cash grants (open to residents of Central and Western New York). 2006 categories for residences include Poetry, Fiction and Creative nonfiction, Photography, Painting, and Sculpture and other visual arts . The 2006 categories for grants include Poetry, Creative nonfiction, Works on Paper, and Photography Applications must be postmarked by January 15th.