October 2, 2006

Sapsucker Woods controversy continues

I'm off to a slow start getting Living in Dryden running again, reviewing last week's papers. (David Makar has a nice summary.)

Today's Journal is pretty quiet on Dryden, but does have a guest column criticizing development plans along Dryden's western edge, in Sapsucker Woods in the Town of Ithaca.

In breaking news, there was an accident at Route 13 and Lower Creek Road this morning, and a frisbee golf state championship tournament at TC3.

Posted by simon at 12:31 PM Comment

October 3, 2006

Accident at Lower Creek, Route 13

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on a three-car accident yesterday morning that sent two people to the hospital. Lower Creek and 13 hasn't seen quite the troubles of Brown Road and 13 further west, but both of these unmarked intersections produce strange traffic patterns regularly. Left-turn lanes at Lower Creek might help substantially.

If you'd rather be riding on the bus anyway, TCAT is looking at options for applying grant money, including later buses and ridesharing options.

In the print edition, the Life section includes pictures from the frisbee golf tournament just held at TC3.

Posted by simon at 8:06 AM Comment

Renewable energy law hearing Thursday night

The Town of Dryden Public Notices page lists a hearing on the Renewable Energy Facilities Law of the Town of Dryden, New York for Thursday night at 7:00pm.

I'd heard earlier that it might be at Neptune Hose Company, but they don't explicitly list a place, so I'm guessing this will be held at the Dryden Town Hall (map).

Posted by simon at 8:11 AM Comment

October 4, 2006

A bladder-control drug?

Remember the tenant accused of poisoning his landlord? It's now alleged that he had a strange choice of drugs to use for poisoning, and he was indicted yesterday for attempted assault rather than attempted murder.

Posted by simon at 8:22 AM Comment

October 5, 2006

Hattery on Empire Zone board

Tompkins County Legislator Michael Hattery was appointed to the Tompkins County Empire Zone board Tuesday night. The zone includes a few Dryden parcels at the 13/366 intersection and north of the Village of Dryden.

(One thing that frustrates me is that the Journal lists votes in that article without saying who voted which way. 10-5, 15-1, 13-2. Are the dissenters the same people? Different? It's hard to get more than a vague sense without reporting on the votes.)

Tompkins County is now up to 33 cases of whooping cough for the year - watch out!

Posted by simon at 8:31 AM Comment

October 6, 2006

Town Board passes renewable energy law

I'll expand this article later today, but the Town Board passed the Renewable Energy Facilities Law of the Town of Dryden, New York last night by a 5-0 vote.

Posted by simon at 7:44 AM Comment

53 temporary layoffs at Wilcox Press

This morning's Journal leads with a story announcing layoffs at Wilcox Press:

Wilcox Press is laying off 53 of its 165 employees on a temporary basis as it seeks refinancing to weather competitive pressures in the commercial printing industry, the company confirmed Thursday....

"Wilcox Press is experiencing difficulty due to competitive pressures and a shortage of working capital," according to a statement released Thursday by the company. “The board of directors and management remain committed to preserving their company as a progressive, independent, commercial printer and as an important employer in Tompkins County. This difficulty is forcing Wilcox Press Inc. to temporarily reduce the scale of operations until a refinancing can be completed. Therefore, 53 employees are being placed on temporary layoff.

This action is not a reflection of the abilities of the employees that are affected. It is an action necessitated by the situation of the company and the state of the industry. The company expects that a refinancing can be achieved but cannot provide guarantees of future employment. Wilcox Press Inc. will provide whatever assistance that it can render to assist those employees that are being laid off. The board of directors and management sincerely regret that this action has become necessary and understand the burden that it places on all employees and their families."

Wilcox hopes to have refinancing arranged, which would allow rehiring the laid-off employees, in 30 to 45 days, Eaves said.

Hopefully this will work out well with new financing - letting almost a third of the company's employees go, even temporarily, is a frightening sign.

Posted by simon at 8:39 AM Comment

October 7, 2006

Congressional race overview

This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at the 24th district Congressional race, highlighting candidates Michael Arcuri and Ray Meier but apparently forgetting Etna resident and Libertarian candidate Mike Sylvia. There's also a look at the national activity around this seat, and a piece on alternative energy strategies and the race.

In other campaign news, there's a letter of support for David Makar for Dryden Town Board from Michael Horigan of Ithaca. The Journal also visits the latest local campaign finance filings.

If you'd like to know more about this place, there's an article on local archives which notes the Dryden Town Historical Society and Willow Glen Cemetery as places to look for history.

Posted by simon at 11:46 AM Comment

News 10 remembers 10 years ago

NYCO points out that News 10 Now has a piece on the 10-year anniversary of an infamous set of murders.

Posted by simon at 3:29 PM Comment

October 9, 2006

Higher gas prices here than elsewhere

This morning's Ithaca Journal asks some hard questions about gas prices in Tompkins County:

As gas prices drop throughout the country, area residents are beginning to notice that gas prices in Tompkins and nearby counties remain high....

Every metropolitan area of the state offered a wider variety of gas prices. Even other small New York cities such as Binghamton, Cortland and Geneva offered more variety at the pumps than Ithaca.

Bill Best, owner of Bill's Service station at 601 Dryden Road, spoke about his factors in pricing gasoline.

"When my distributor comes to deliver gas, I asked him why Cortland is getting their gas for $2.46 (a gallon) and mine is at $2.52. He told me that the low unemployment rate of Tompkins County was a factor in determining the price that I get my gasoline at."

On the opinion page, Mary Perry of Freeville suggests renaming Route 13 rather than State Street to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM Comment

October 10, 2006

Living in Georgia, maybe Virginia

No, I'm not moving south. The south, however - or at least its weather - seems to be coming here.

This morning's Ithaca Journal takes a look at what global warming might mean for upstate New York. Some gardeners might be happy with a wider range of warm-weather plants, the need for winter heat might decline a bit, but the impact on local ecosystems, according to the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment, will be pretty drastic:

"The big picture here is that the very notion of what Upstate New York is about - the forests and wildlife - is at stake," said David Wolfe, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University who was involved the report. "The climate is changing right now, but the future of climate change and where it goes is in our hands."

A beautiful picture of Dryden Lake illustrates the story. While the Journal's been offering photos from their paper for sale for a long time, that's the first one I"ve thought hard about buying.

Whyte's in Freeville is listed among the lowest regional gas prices, at $2.58 a gallon, and a Dryden man was arrested for DWI on Midline Road.

Posted by simon at 8:26 AM Comment

October 11, 2006

Dryden Methodist musical fundraiser Sunday

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column reports on the upcoming Magical Evening of Delectable Music and Decadent Desserts, to be held at the Dryden United Methodist Church this Sunday at 4:00pm. The event ($20, $10 for seniors) is a fundraiser for Patti Prince, a 25-year-old mother who is waiting in a Cleveland hospital for a double lung and liver transplant.

Wakeman also notes the Sertoma spaghetti dinner and silent auction on Friday at the Dryden Middle School from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. (The auction goes until 8:00pm.) There will also be a Senior Citizens Bazaar the following Saturday, October 21st, from 9:00am to 2:00pm at the Dryden Fire Hall.

On the opinion page, the three candidates for Sheriff write on "the most pressing challenge". Timothy Little writes about the jail and deputy response time, Peter Meskill writes about the challenges of "insuring the safety and security of everyone in the community within the budget allocated by the County Legislature", and Brian Robison calls for more cooperation among police agencies.

The Journal's editorial on the city budget opens with a swipe at Dryden County Legislator Martha Robertson:

About three weeks ago, shortly after Tompkins County Administrator Stephen Wicher delivered a 2007 budget with a sub-inflation property tax levy increase, we used this space to urge county lawmakers to carefully weigh calls for added spending against the dangerously escalating burden local taxpayers bear. At the Legislature's next meeting, veteran Legislator Martha Robertson chided The Journal, accusing us of writing the same editorial every year.

That may be, Ms. Robertson, but it's a message worth repeating.

While it's a message worth repeating, it's about as far as the Journal really gets. I can't imagine them devoting, say, a two-page spread to the county budget, what's changing this year, and what's changed in past years. At the level of detail the Journal reports, of course it's hard for anyone to see beyond the tax rate. The editorial's rhetoric about taxes as 'seizure' doesn't give me much cause to hope they'll take a deeper look anytime soon, either.

Posted by simon at 8:44 AM Comment

More blogging on the 24th District Congressional race

How many readers of this blog get the Utica Observer-Dispatch? Probably a few, mostly around Utica. They seem to be the paper with the most reporting on the 24th District Congressional race, and they now have a blog covering the 24th as well.

Posted by simon at 7:19 PM Comment

October 12, 2006

Renewable energy law hearing - details

It's been a week since the renewable energy law passed, and I haven't found time to do the detailed story on the hearing that I wanted to do last Friday. Since I'm not likely to get to that, here's a summary of what happened, told from my biased perspective.

There were a few perspectives offered at the hearing:

  • I was the first speaker, and thanked the board for taking an approach that would allow residential windmills without re-igniting the battle over industrial-scale windmills that had resounded through the town last year. There were a few other people with similar themes: let's get started with small windmills, see how that goes, and then consider what else, if anything, to do.

  • There were a number of Conservation Board members, notably Tim Woods and Craig Schutt, who had concerns about the details of the proposed law and offered replacement language to modify the law. They were generally pressing for more relaxed regulation and a clearer law.

  • Ron Szymanski argued that laws which didn't support generation of electrical power specifically for off-site use were direct opposition to wind power in general.

  • Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins expressly took off his attorney hat and asked that the town move more slowly on this, as the result could be windmills cluttering the landscape long after the incentives or need for them had disappeared.

  • Carol Schmook, who's been trying to put in a residential windmill, both told the board she wanted a law and noted that construction season is likely over for this year anyway.

  • A few other people were there expressly because they were interested in putting up a windmill.

There was some back and forth over the process by which the law was written and some of the details of the law, which seems to have inconsistencies. Nonetheless, when Supervisor Trumbull asked Zoning Officer Henry Slater, Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins, and Environmental Planner Dan Kwasnowski about whether the law was workable, they all agreed it was, and the board voted to approve a negative SEQR declaration and the law itself 5-0.

This isn't the end of the story by any means. It's clear that this law is the first step in a long process of figuring out how these things fit into both the Dryden landscape and the Dryden zoning laws. It will let a few windmills get built, and give the zoning office time to figure out how these work. It doesn't allow everything I'd like to see, but it doesn't seem likely to pollute the landscape with irrevocable mistakes, either. (Town Board member Steve Stelick cited the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area as a view he'd like to avoid.) I'm guessing we'll see several amendments to this law over the next few years, as the results of the experiment become clearer.

Posted by simon at 12:52 PM Comment

October 13, 2006

"As New York goes, so goes the nation?"

It's not specifically Dryden, but I'm not used to seeing analysis of New York State's internal political gyrations anywhere far beyond here. This Washington Post article looks at the state of the Republican Party here, and recognizes that there's more to this state than the City:

What is happening to the Republican Party in New York state is the national GOP's nightmare. The once-thriving political organization of Nelson Rockefeller, Al D'Amato and George Pataki is a shambles.

And the way the Republican coalition has broken up should have national Republicans scurrying for a new game plan.

For many Americans, "New York" evokes the liberal salons of Manhattan. But Manhattan is a small piece of the Empire State. Political change has been driven by the populous suburbs of Long Island and Westchester and Rockland counties, and by the vast stretches of Upstate New York that are far closer in spirit to the Midwest than to the Upper West Side or the Silk Stocking District.

The Republican collapse here has been driven by two streams of defectors: suburban moderates and Upstaters.

It's clear that Tompkins County has been defecting from the Republicans for a very long time, but that seems to be spreading to much more of upstate this year than in the past. (And one thing I'd like to add to the article is that Democrats aren't homogenous either - New York City Dems, suburban Dems, rural upstate Dems, city upstate Dems, and Tompkins County and Dryden Dems specifically all have different perspectives.)

Posted by simon at 12:02 PM Comment

Powerlines keep growing

NYSEG posted this message in yesterday's Ithaca Journal, page 5A:

Ithaca Transmission Project - New York State Electric and Gas Corporation

Pursuant to Article VII of the Public Service Law of the State of New York and implementing regulations (16 NYCRR Parts 85, 86, and 88), New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) intends to file with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of the State of New York, on or about October 23, 2006, as required by the PSC's order of August 23, 2006, an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need authorizing the construction and operation of the Ithaca Transmission Project.

The electric transmission system that supplies Ithaca and the surrounding area is currently dependent on nearby power generation resources to be available and operating to ensure reliable service. Ordering Clause 9 of the PSC's order in Case 05-E-1222 issued on August 23, 2006, requires NYSEG to submit all government and regulatory filings necessary to reinforce transmission infrastructure in the Ithaca area. To comply with the ordering clause, NYSEG is proposing the Ithaca Transmission Project to eliminate the transmission limitations in the Ithaca area and maintain adequate normal and contingency service throughout NYSEG's Ithaca Division during extended outages (forced or planned) of the AES-owned Cayuga Station generating units.

The Ithaca Transmission Project will include four proposed components:

1. A new substation will be constructed next to the existing NYSEG substation on Clarks Corner Road in the Town of Lapeer, Cortland County. The existing NYSEG/National Grid Lafayette-Oakdale 345-kilovolt (kv) power line will be rebuilt to increase its capacity. The new facilities will be situated within the existing NYSEG right of way.

2. NYSEG's exisiting 15-mile, 115-kv transmission line from the new substation in the Town of Lapeer to NYSEG's Etna substation in the Town of Dryden, Tompkins County will be rebuilt to increase its capacity. The new facilities will be situated within the existing NYSEG right of way.

3. A new 15-mile, 115-kv transmission line from the new substation in the Town of Lapeer to NYSEG's Etna substation in the Town of Dryden will be constructed. This power line will be routed with an existing 115-kv line in the southern-most of NYSEG's rights of way between the towns of Lapeer and Dryden. NYSEG's existing right of way will be increased from Lapeer to just east of the western boundary of the Town of Harford (west of Southworth Road). The new facilities will be situtated in the existing right of way from this point to the NYSEG customer service center in the Town of Dryden. Additional right of way will be required adjacent to NYSEG's Etna substation.

4. NYSEG's Etna substation in the Town of Dryden will be modified to accomodate the new 115-kv transmission line. This work will be performed within the existing substation fence line.

During the course of the proceedings on this applications, parties may propose - without further publication - alternate routes.

The Application > The application, which will consist of a document and associated drawings, details the specific location of facilities, the manner in which they will be constructed and the environmental protection measures that will be implemented during construction.

Availability of the Application > Copies of the application will be made available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Tompkins County Public Library, 101 East Green Street, Ithaca; Town of Dryden Town Hall, 65 East Main Street, Dryden; Town of Harford Town Halla, 394 Route 38, Harford; and the Town of Lapeer Highway Department, Clarks Corners Road, Marathon.

For More Information > Anyone who needs additional information regarding the specific geographic location of the proposed project or the specific subject of the application should send a written request to: Bob Pass, Regional Manager - Community Outreach & Development, NYSEG, 1387 Dryden Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-8810.

This looks like it affects the lines that enter Dryden from Harford just north of Dryden Lake, which then continue through the Crystal Drive area and west across Irish Settlement, Yellow Barn, and Ringwood Roads south of Route 13 before they finally reach the NYSEG building and the Etna substation on Pinckney Road. While it looks like NYSEG won't be needing to acquire additional land or right-of-way in the Town, there may be more going across the same powerline area.

It's also somewhat surprising to learn that the Ithaca-area power supply is that dependent on AES Cayuga, formerly NYSEG's Milliken Station, the coal-fired power plant on Cayuga Lake in the Town of Lansing.

Posted by simon at 12:25 PM Comment

Some math scores fall

Yesterday's Ithaca Journal had lots of articles with Dryden connections. An article on declining math test scores in higher grades shows the Dryden and Ithaca schools with a similar pattern of better performance in lower grades, with Dryden being a little more extreme that way.

The County Legislature restored funding to some projects, included the often discussed (in Dryden Town Board meetings, anyway) Recreation Partnership.

The Opinion page included pieces from Democratic Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton on elder care opportunities and from her Republican challenger Jim Rohan on finding ways to encourage those educated at colleges in New York to stay here.

The Journal's editorial invited readers to help them keep track of gas prices.

The Journal also notes the flaccid state of reform in Albany, as the Brennan Center released an update to their early report on dysfunction. I'll have a lot more to say on that when I get a chance to read it.

Posted by simon at 12:46 PM Comment

October 14, 2006

Art Trail open this weekend, next

The Greater Ithaca Art Trail is having two open studio weekends, this weekend and next. Studios are open from noon to 6:00pm Saturday (including today) and Sunday. Looking at the map (PDF), it looks like there are seven artists included in the Town of Dryden, including two in the Village of Dryden.

Posted by simon at 3:47 PM Comment

Exploring the Sheriff's Race

This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at the race for Tompkins County Sheriff, profiling Tim Little, Peter Meskill, and Brian Robison. Robison is also noted in Briefly in Tompkins for declaring that Dryden resident Bill Finnerty would be his undersheriff if he is elected.

In Darts and Laurels, a number of local emergency service providers get a thank-you:

LAUREL: From Cathy Wood to the Varna Rescue Squad, the Tompkins County Sheriffs, the Dryden Ambulance Team, the off-duty Paramedic from Bangs Ambulance, everyone I came in contact with at the Cayuga Medical Center Emergency Room and my co-workers at The Strebel Planning Group. Words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude for coming to my rescue after being stranded in the woods for more than six hours because I had fallen, fractured my knee and could not walk. The kindness, consideration and expertise that everyone involved showed during and after my rescue enabled me to keep my spirits up and positive during the whole ordeal. Thank you all so much. I am extremely grateful for people like all of you who are willing to go above and beyond to help others in need. It was also brought to my attention, again, that my co-workers and I don't just work together. We're a family who cares very much about each other.

(Friday's editorial looked at ways TCAT is trying to become more useful to riders, especially low-income riders.)

Posted by simon at 3:53 PM Comment

October 16, 2006

Renewable energy law passed

This morning's Ithaca Journal catches up on the passage of the renewable energy law on October 5th. It features many of the same voices that spoke at the public hearing, and most of the same concerns. This clearly isn't the end of the conversation, but hopefully it will let some windmills get built.

The Journal also reports an accident yesterday on Route 13 between Route 366 and Lower Creek Road.

Posted by simon at 8:16 AM Comment

Tompkins Weekly debuts

Tompkins County has a new free paper, one that looks like it intends to cover local news in depth. Tompkins Weekly has in-depth news on area events, with articles on every town and city in the county. It looks like depth is what they're aiming for, as their publisher, Etna resident Jim Graney, writes:

As long-time area residents, we have seen a significant decline in the amount of issue related news coverage in our county over the last 20 years. For many years, people have asked us to publish a paper that provides readers across the county a resource for information about issues facing our communities. Tompkins Weekly is designed to offer a look at the issues faced by our elected officials, while providing a comprehensive calendar of community events, profiles of community residents making news and other items of local interest. We encourage you to use our paper as a countywide venue for sharing news, information and ideas.

In today¹s world, participating in our democratic society requires us to be educated about the things going on in the world around us, at the international, national, and local levels. Without a comprehensive venue for examining local issues, we as Tompkins County residents lack the opportunity to come together and learn what is happening across our whole community. Tompkins Weekly hopes to help solve this situation.

This is great to see - well, actually, amazing to see. When I started Living in Dryden I didn't know if there was going to be enough news for me to write about. As it turns out, I'm covering about 1% of Dryden news, if I'm lucky, and there's so much more going on in the county as a whole that there shouldn't be any shortage of good stories. Stories written about one town's experiences often echo in others - heck, the Town of Ithaca is setting regulations for renewable energy. Sound familiar? It's solar panels, not windmills, but the article cites Dryden's recent experience too.

Shifting to a Dryden-centric perspective, there's an article on John Bailey's efforts to raise money for Disabled American Veterans by gathering sponsors for his running the New York City Marathon. County Legislator Martha Robertson is noted in a quote box about Empire Zones ("a great tool to encourage business growth") in an article about county activity.

In politics, there's an ad for David Makar for Town Board as well as a letter to the editor supporting him from Kathy Zahler.

It's also great to see Anthony Hall, who I'm guessing is the same Tony Hall who used to write for the Dryden Courier, back in action.

It's quite a newspaper, and I hope it does well. (I found my free copy at Borders Books in Pyramid Mall - I suspect there are more places to get it, and the entire thing is available on their web site as PDF or as a graphic.

Posted by simon at 11:12 PM Comment

October 17, 2006

Residents write on candidates

The opinion page of this morning's Ithaca Journal includes two letters to the editor supporting candidates in the November 7th election. Ian and Melissa Garrett write in support of David Makar for Town Board, while County Legislator Martha Robertson writes in support of Congressional candidate Mike Arcuri.

(It's interesting to note that the Journal's chat forums seem to be alive lately, though maybe both of these letters share a commenter.)

TC3 is hosting even Day/Night event today from noon to 2:00pm and tonight from 6:00pm to 8:00pm to connect prospective students with colleges.

The Journal also reports that the County Legislature will be voting tonight on a 2007 budget with a 5% tax levy increase and a 2.4% tax rate increase.

Posted by simon at 12:40 PM Comment

October 18, 2006

Etna Lane reopens - or not

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that Etna Lane is open again, for the first time since June.

Update: The Journal now has a correction saying that the work is not yet complete. Which makes me wonder what kind of work is taking this long...

On the opinion page, candidates for Sheriff answer the question "What will you do as Sheriff to improve road patrol coverage and response times?" I was surprised to see that the answers from Timothy Little, Peter Meskill, and Brian Robison are pretty different.

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM Comment

State bribe arrives

The "let's send property owners money right before the election" check for $170.55 just arrived at my house. I guess I'll cash the silly thing, but it's an annoying reminder of just how broken Albany has become. They drop program obligations on the counties and refuse to come up with a transparent approach to the schools, letting the state push tax increases down on to the the property tax, and then they send out a check as a semi-apology:

Dear Fellow New Yorker:

In accordance with the new STAR school property tax rebate program approved by Governor George Pataki and the State Legislature, we are pleased to provide you with the attached check to help reduce the burden of your 2006-07 school taxes. This money is in addition to your existing STAR benefit.

Andrew S. Eristoff
Commissioner, Taxation and Finance

Boy, it's great to have Albany protecting us from the tax depredations of people who... wait, are basically stuck driven by Albany into charging us the rates that they do.

Posted by simon at 12:38 PM Comment

October 19, 2006

Changes to Dryden Village Trustees

I haven't seen this in the paper, and it's not yet on their web site, but apparently Village of Dryden Trustee and Deputy Mayor Mark Strom has resigned. Mayor Reba Taylor has appointed Republican Randy Sterling, who came up short in the last election, to be a trustee, and appointed Trustee Bob Witty to be Deputy Mayor.

That's a lot of change to have happen quietly.

Posted by simon at 9:17 AM Comment

Robo-polling Dryden?

This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at automated polling techniques being used in the Congressional race and questions about the validity of data collected by touch-tone keypad.

In the print edition, Frank Row of Dryden is pictured at the top of a story on cooperation between Lakeside and Hospicare.

There's a piece on a suspension program at BOCES currently used by both the Ithaca and Dryden school districts.

Town Briefs lists a Senior Dinner hosted by the Dryden Senior Citizens this coming Monday, October 23rd, at Neptune Hose Company. Seating starts at 11:30am, with the meal at 12:15pm. It costs $5 for members and $6.50 for non-members.

On the opinion page, the Journal chides the County Legislature for missing their budget goal - not that they suggest any actual cuts, of course. The candidates for the 125th Assembly seat take on the death penalty. Democratic Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton argues that the death penalty is wrong, opting instead for life-without-parole, while Republican challenger Jim Rohan argues that the death penalty is a deterrent.

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM Comment

October 20, 2006

Meier visits Republicans in Dryden

Most of the Dryden news in this morning's Ithaca Journal is political. Republican Congressional candidate Raymond Meier visited the A-1 Restaurant yesterday to talk with around 20 Republicans about the race.

On the opinion page, Gary Rith of Etna writes to support David Makar for Town Board.

Local Briefs notes a fund-raiser dinner at the Dryden VFW Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, benefiting Barbara Drake Russell, who is battling Multiple Myeloma.

Posted by simon at 12:53 PM Comment

October 21, 2006

State politics, rain

This morning's Journal has an overview article on the Assembly race, talking with incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Republican challenger Jim Rohan.

There's also an article on New York's rainy summer. Ithaca has had 34.54 inches of precipitation this year so far, which puts the area 4.52 inches ahead of normal.

Dryden County Legislator Martha Robertson is quoted in an article on Sheriff Peter Meskill's developing efforts to reduce recidivism among released inmates, and endorses Meskill in his run for re-election.

Posted by simon at 9:07 AM Comment

How low can the national Republicans go?

Misdialed phone numbers are apparently now grounds to attack your opponent:

Three Central New York television stations have chosen not to run an advertisement from the National Republican Congressional Committee that alleges Michael Arcuri made calls to a sex hotline while at a conference in New York City....

"We rejected the ad," said WKTV Vice President and General Manager Vic Vetters. "This is based on several reviews and discussions with our legal council."

...Documents provided by both the NRCC and the Arcuri campaign show a call lasting less than a minute to an 800 number that is now a sex line.

Arcuri said that number was dialed by accident by Sean Byrne, the executive director of the New York Prosecutor Training Institute, who was meeting with him and others in the hotel room. Byrne also said that was the case, and records show immediately following the call to the sex line, he called the same seven digits, but with a 518 area code, not an 800 prefix.

Wow. Who has the time to look up every one-minute phone call made from a hotel room? And why would they press this when it's so painfully obvious that was a misdialed number, with a 518 call to the same seven digits immediately afterward?

Apparently because they thought it might work, and that they could get away with it. I thought I was pretty numb to the utter lack of respect for truth that seems to come out of Washington's power centers these day, but this is so amazingly petty that it's hard to believe.

To his credit, Meier's asked the NRCC not to run the ad, but I can't say that makes me feel any better about the people he'd be working with if elected.


Update: This appears to be a longer version of the story.

Posted by simon at 9:29 AM Comment

October 23, 2006

Another Town Board endorsement

This morning's Ithaca Journal has a letter from Kathy Zahler endorsing Democratic candidate David Makar for Town Board. I can readily second this:

I've rarely met a candidate so willing to educate himself about the workings of town government. David Makar has spent the past several months attending every meeting he could find, asking questions of officials and businesspeople, and listening to Dryden residents from all corners of the town while going door-to-door. He will be able to hit the ground running and revitalize a board that has sometimes seemed slow to act.

Elsewhere in Dryden, a Freeville woman was arrested for DWI.

Posted by simon at 11:01 AM Comment

Candidates Forum Thursday night

A Journal news update announces the candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. They'll have candidates for County Sheriff, County Clerk, and New York State Assembly from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Ithaca Town Hall (map) on Thursday. It'll also be televised on cable channel 13 three times before the election.

Posted by simon at 2:03 PM Comment

Mike Sylvia gets noticed - in Utica

I don't think the Ithaca Journal has noticed Libertarian Congressional candidate (and Etna resident) Mike Sylvia since they reported on his endorsement by the Ithaca Libertarians back in July. The Utica Observer-Dispatch writes about Sylvia today, contrasting his low-key low-budget campaign with those of Democrat Mike Arcuri and Republican Ray Meier.

Posted by simon at 8:34 PM Comment

New York gets a B-

New York State government as a whole gets a B- from the Government Performance Project, which rates all 50 state governments. That's not as good as Utah or Virginia with their A- grades, but better than California with its C-.

This report appears to grade on executive performance primarily, so the only area in which our legislative dysfunction turns up is in their comments on New York's usually late budgets. Still, it's good to see some largely positive if still mixed news about the state we all pay taxes.

Posted by simon at 8:41 PM Comment

October 25, 2006

Route 13/366 public meeting November 1st

The Route 13 & 366 Corridor Management Study - which is studying Route 13 from the Cortland line to the Route 366 intersection by NYSEG, and then NYSEG through Varna to the Ithaca line - will be having a public information meeting on Wednesday, November 1st, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Neptune Hose Company (map).

From the flyer:

The study corridor limits includes Route 366 from the western Dryden town line to the juncture with Route 13, and follows Route 13 to the eastern Dryden town line. The objective of the study is to develop land use guidelines along the corridor, to enhance the quality of life for the community by improving safety, mobility and economic vitality. At the workshop, you can:

  • Learn details of the scope and of the study.

  • Give us your input on the issues and needs within the corridor.

  • Give us your input/comments on your preferred development options.

  • Work with the study team to develop potential future corridor scenarios.

  • Learn how to get updates on the study and stay involved.

If you have any interest in these key roads - effectively 13's old route through the town - this is definitely a meeting worth attending.

Posted by simon at 12:02 PM Comment

October 27, 2006

Halloween deadline for Youth Opportunity grants

This morning's Ithaca Journal notes that the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund will be accepting grant applications through the end of October, with decisions to be made by the end of November.

The online edition of Briefly in Tompkins lists tonight's Kids' Halloween Fun Night, to be held at the Varna Community Center (map) from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

The County Health Department will be holding flu vaccine clinics.

On the opinion page - pages, today - Paul Lutwak of Dryden writes to support Elizabeth Garry for State Supreme Court, while Bill Finnerty of Dryden and Chet Brion of Freeville write to support Brian Robison for Sheriff.

Breaking News reports that the Town of Dryden didn't get its Restore New York grant for reviving a house near the new Town Hall.

Posted by simon at 12:28 PM Comment

October 28, 2006

Fun in Varna, lots of letters

This morning's Ithaca Journal has two pictures in the print edition and one in the online edition of kids having fun last night at the Varna Community Center.

In crime news, there's a strange case of a Freeville man alleged to have burned a trailer in Locke.

There's a huge pile of letters to the editor supporting a variety of candidates. The ones written by Dryden residents include:

There's also a letter from Ellen Ricketson of Enfield endorsing Etna resident Mike Sylvia for Congress.

Posted by simon at 3:50 PM Comment

Amazing clock-making on Lee Road

Last week offered a Greater Ithaca Art Trail open house, and I knew there was one place on it that I'd wanted to see for a long time. I'd seen the work of Mary Ann and Terry Lutz in Fine Woodworking magazine, where I was startled to find one of their clocks with "Dryden, NY" under their names. I'd since met them and learned that they work as the William S. Daisy Company, but I hadn't seen their work in person.

Last Saturday, we visited their house and workshop - or perhaps it's better to call it a house, workshop, and museum. In their work creating reproduction clocks, they've collected a lot of original clocks, and a number of other original 19th-century items as well. They know the subject, they have lots of examples, and they produce amazing work. (They also make mirrors, decorated boxes, and other items.)

A W. S. Daisy clock
A W. S. Daisy clock.

I don't think my pictures begin to capture what they're doing - mirrors and gilding are notoriously hard to photograph - but both the assembly and carving of the cases (by Terry) and the decorative painting (by Mary Ann) is painstaking and delicate. They don't make the movements, but they insist on high-quality clock movements and paint their own dials, as well as all the decoration on the boxes.

Terry Lutz explains the details of 19th-century clocks.
Terry Lutz explains the details of 19th-century clocks.

Storage and clocks near the work area
Storage and clocks near the work area.

I'd strongly recommend visiting the Lutzes the next time it's open house season on the art trail, and they seemed pretty open about visitors who call as well. I've posted a small photo gallery, but it doesn't compare to seeing this in person.

Posted by simon at 5:57 PM Comment

October 30, 2006

Still friends

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that congressional opponents can stay friends, as Democrat Mike Arcuri and Republican Ray Meier call each other Sam and Ralph, after a classic Warner Brothers cartoon. Now that's deep news analysis.

There's an update on the Freeville man charged with burning down a trailer, and former Republican Town Board member Charlie Hatfield endorses Dan Tier for Town Board.

In news no one likely wants to hear again, it's time for another round of largely meaningless but extremely complicated energy supplier picking.

Posted by simon at 6:40 PM Comment

October 31, 2006

More Town Board letters

This morning's Ithaca Journal has two letters on the Town Board race. The first comes from Christa Downey of Dryden, supporting Democrat David Makar. The second, from Republican Town Board member Marty Christofferson, supports Republican Dan Tier.

There's also a letter from Darwin and Donnalee Morgan of Dryden endorsing Republican Brian Robison for Sheriff.

Update: In breaking news, there's a sad report that former Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes, 52, died suddenly of a heart attack today.

Posted by simon at 3:49 PM Comment

Spring and Sprocket's Halloween greetings

It's been a bit too serious around here, but Spring and Sprocket would like to change that.

Spring as a witch
Spring as a witch.

Sprocket as a devil
Sprocket as a devil.

Posted by simon at 5:11 PM Comment