November 1, 2008

Seven months old

Sungiva just keeps growing!

Sungiva reads (sort of).
Sungiva with sippy cup.

A very self-assured pose.
A very self-assured pose.

Enjoying an apple.
Enjoying an apple.

If you'd like to enjoy more of Sungiva's seventh month, I've posted a gallery.

Posted by simon at 2:41 PM Comment

November 3, 2008

Where to vote (it may have changed)

Most Dryden residents are voting in the same places that they used to vote, but if you voted at the Dryden Village Hall or the Dryden Baptist Church, you now vote at the Dryden Fire Station. There are now four districts at the Fire Station, three of them large, so please be patient getting in and out of there.

Polls will be open from 6:00am to 9:00pm. Remember that you can't campaign inside of the polling places, and that this includes things like T-shirts, signs, and buttons.

Most voters will still be using the lever machines. Disabled voters will be using the new machines.

Depending on which district you live in (see the district map (597KB PDF)), you can vote at:

  1. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  2. Freeville Fire Station - 21 Union Street, Freeville (map).
  3. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  4. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  5. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  6. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  7. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  8. Bethel Grove Church Activity Center - 1749 Slaterville Road, Bethel Grove (map).
  9. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  10. Reach Out for Christ Church - 318 Johnson Road, Freeville (map).
  11. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).

If you'd like to see a sample ballot before going in, the Board of Elections has one (69KB PDF).

Posted by simon at 8:41 AM Comment

Arcuri, Barber visit Dryden on last day of race

Congressman Michael Arcuri and State Senate candidate Don Barber both swung through Dryden on this final day before voting. Barber supporters held a rally at Time Square at Dryden's Four Corners intersection, while Arcuri visited Tompkins-Cortland Community College and the Dryden Fire Station before going to a rally in Lansing (which I didn't, alas, get to.)

Barber Rally in Dryden
Barber Rally in Dryden.

Martha Ferger at Barber Rally in Dryden
Martha Ferger at Barber Rally in Dryden.

Mike Arcuri talks with Doug Cotterill at Dryden Ambulance
Mike Arcuri at Dryden Ambulance.

While it's sometimes frustrating to be in the southwest corner of creatively gerrymandered districts that stretch to our east, it was great to have these two great Democratic candidates bringing their campaigns to a strong conclusion here!

Posted by simon at 9:21 PM Comment

November 4, 2008

Vote today

It's election day!

Vote Today
Vote Today.

And here's my letter to the editor, with some suggestions beyond those signs:

While 2008 is a huge political year at the national and even the state levels, there are critical local elections happening as well - elections that have a big impact on our quality of life.

The Dryden Democrats are blessed this year with two candidates whose hard work for their their communities stands out.

Jason Leifer is running for the last year of the Town Board seat he was appointed to in January. He hit the ground running, working hard to get a wireless internet grant proposal into the state - which approved it - in his first month on the board. Since then, he has worked on improving Dryden's support for its community centers and recreation.

Joe Valentinelli is running for re-election as Town Justice. He has served Dryden well as a teacher and then as a Justice, and his commitment to his community shows in everything he does. Joe's many years devoted to Dryden have built strong connections that cross party lines.

Finally, I'd like to suggest that New York State needs to reconsider its pattern of putting most local elections on odd-numbered years. Yes, that approach does guarantee that local issues get more of a hearing by those paying close attention, but it also disconnects local politics from a large number of voters.

I strongly encourage Dryden residents to vote for the Democrats on the right side of the ballot, in addition to the ones they've seen in the national news.

Simon St.Laurent
Town of Dryden
Chair, Dryden Democratic Committee

And here's more on where to vote. (If you used to vote at the Dryden Baptist Church or the Dryden Village Hall, you now vote at the Dryden Fire Station.)

Posted by simon at 8:55 AM Comment

November 5, 2008

3-2 or better, mostly, for Democrats so far

Last night's election results were astounding, though absentee ballots still will affect the final results. I seem to be too tired to do real math, but these are worth sharing.

For President, Barack Obama received 3737 votes to John McCain's 2313. (In 2004, before absentees, John Kerry had 3398 votes to George W. Bush's 2597.)

For Congress, Mike Arcuri received 3375 votes to Richard Hanna's 2132. (Arcuri won 2906 total here in 2006, to Ray Meier's 1814.)

For Town Board, Jason Leifer had 3175 votes, to Paul Rachetta's 2055. (In 2006, the last one-on-one Town Board race, David Makar had 2335 votes to Dan Tier's 1887.)

For Town Justice, Joe Valentinelli won 3429 votes, to Dan Tier's 2030.

The closest race here was Don Barber, who led Jim Seward for State Senator in Dryden by 3037 to 2603, but lost the race overall.

It was an astoundingly good night for Dryden Democrats, one I couldn't have begun to predict when I first got involved in 2003.

Posted by simon at 4:05 PM Comment

November 8, 2008

Lincoln speech auction to finance new Southworth wing

I'm not sure why this hasn't turned up in the Ithaca JournalThe Ithaca Journal article somehow slipped by me, and the Cortland Standard hasn't put it online, but at least the AP reported it:

Christie's is auctioning a handwritten copy of the 1864 speech Abraham Lincoln delivered at the White House after being re-elected in the midst of an unpopular Civil War that both he and his opponents believed might cost him his job....

Proceeds from the sale will go toward a new wing for the library, located in New York's Finger Lakes region. According to the library's Web site, it was displayed only once, during the 1976 bicentennial celebration.

The connection between the speech and Dryden? Congressman John Dwight. Like his father, he was successful in both business and politics, Republican politics. As the article reports:

Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, presented the manuscript to New York Congressman John A. Dwight as a thank-you for his efforts in securing funding for the construction of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

I've heard talk about the need to expand the Southworth Library for years. While it always pains me to see historical artifacts go off to auction, this isn't a specifically Dryden artifact, it's for an excellent cause, and it may even bring the speech the additional attention it doubtless deserves. Hopefully there will be enthusiastic bidders.

Update: The Dryden Courier not only reports on this, they run the speech as an editorial. Definitely worth a look! And Les Cleland notes in comments that this isn't a copy, but the only original.

Posted by simon at 11:25 AM Comment

November 10, 2008

Infrastructure possibilities in Dryden?

As the economy continues to slide and everyone speculates on what the government will do next to stem the tide, there's been a lot of discussion about infrastructure spending, public works on a scale similar to the 1930s.

Always trying to connect the national to the local, I was pondering what infrastructure needs might be especially critical in Dryden, and addressable through one-time assistance. A few of the key ones I came up with were:

Village of Dryden sewage treatment plant replacement

I keep hearing numbers like "$5 million" for that one, and they always seem to go up. This plant serves both the Village and Town residents in the Cortland Road Sewer District, including Dryden High School/Middle School and TC3. While we're at it, it would be great to include Freeville and George Junior Republic in the plant.

Recreation facilities

The Town's Recreation Master Plan meetings talked about a lot of facilities, from buildings to fields. New parks would be great, though even some of our existing parks could use attention. I wonder if there's more that could be done at Dryden Lake, too.


There is still a lot to do on the rails to trails conversion, and some key components - like crossings at highways - that are worth contemplating. (No, I don't want a "Bridge to Nowhere" like Ithaca has - let's please build the crossings only when the trails are in place.)

Bus shelters and bike storage

It's great that we can flag down TCAT buses anywhere, but shelters at key pickup points would reduce the number of stops and make it more comfortable to use the system when the weather is less than ideal. Bike storage would make it easier for people to connect to the bus system even if they didn't live right along its main routes. (And no, hauling the bike downtown isn't always what riders want.)

Facilities in our state forests

They don't need to become state parks, but a parking lot for Yellow Barn State Forest and more marked trails would be great. In Hammond Hill, I'd mostly like a lot more trail markers.


I'm not sure we need new roads, though there was that long-ago Route 13 bypass that never happened. I wonder, though, if there might be ways to improve our existing road system so that future maintenance costs will actually be lower.

Community Centers

Dryden's community centers are looking brighter than they did before thanks to the Town investing time, interest, and money in them. I'm not sure where to go next, but they clearly serve a public purpose.

Sidewalks in Varna

and maybe elsewhere as warranted.

Any other ideas? I'm sure I've not thought this through far enough.

Posted by simon at 8:24 AM Comment

November 24, 2008

Zoning coming up

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the public meeting the Planning Board held last Thursday to discuss upcoming changes to Dryden's zoning laws.

Zoning meeting
Zoning meeting.

Much of the meeting was background, discussing the already-written Comprehensive Plan and residential and commercial design guidelines. When the discussion turned specifically to zoning, it was still pretty abstract: a list of zones, with no map yet.

If I have the list right, they're planning on Agriculture, Rural Residential, Conservation, Neighborhood, Hamlet, and Light Industrial & Office zones. The only one of these that sounded particularly surprising was Neighborhood Residential, and that mostly because it sounded like it will be a "floating zone", an option the Planning Board can use to allow denser development when appropriate.

I suspect this will get more interesting - and probably more contentious - when the details of those zones come into clearer focus, and when the map actually gets drawn. I'll be especially curious to see what happens to my own small stretch of 366, as always.

Posted by simon at 5:27 PM Comment

November 26, 2008

Looking for news of Cortland?

I've been slack lately on Dryden, but it's good to see that someone's taken up regular blogging in Cortland. It looks like they just started, but it's a great start!

(Thanks to NYCO for pointing it out.)

Posted by simon at 10:46 AM Comment

November 29, 2008

Sungiva's eighth month

Sungiva just keeps getting cuter.

Sungiva talks during a meal.
Sungiva talks during a meal.

Sungiva investigates carpentry.
Sungiva investigates carpentry.

Sungiva dressed for Thanksgiving.
Sungiva dressed for Thanksgiving.

As always, there's a gallery of photos for those want to see more Sungiva!

Posted by simon at 12:32 PM Comment