August 1, 2005

McLean Happenin'; Dryden accident

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on Saturday's McLean Happenin' in the Hamlet, with pictures and descriptions of activities, including a group photo of 203 hamlet residents.

There's also a note about a pedestrian hit by a car near Todi's Italian Pizzeria on Route 13. Dryden firefighters and Dryden Ambulance responded. The pedestrian is out of the hospital, while "The status of the vehicle could not be determined Sunday."

Posted by simon at 8:09 AM Comment

August 2, 2005

Returns on organic farming

This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at a study on yields from organic farming and finds that their results - solid yields and higher soil quality - match up to local experience. They quote Troy Sherman of Dryden:

“It's challenging. Anyone can go out and spray. Switching to organic was pretty frustrating, but we stuck to it and our yields are 100 percent better than they were the first year,” Sherman said.

They're still not up to where they were before going organic but Sherman said that switching away from chemicals saved their farm financially.

“We were in bad shape when we started with the organic but this year is probably the best we've done in 15 years,” he said.

There's also an article on rabies prevention and a list of dates and places for rabies vaccination clinics.

The Journal's editorial looks at the value of eating locally-produced food.

Posted by simon at 7:58 AM Comment

August 3, 2005

New Methodist minister in Dryden

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column introduces the incoming Methodist minister, Alan Kinney. She also announces Intergenerational Band performances August 13th and 14th, swimming lessons, and Etna Community Church's Vacation Bibe School.

Phoenix Books had a small fire on their porch, as a cigarette apparently started a fire that did $500 worth of damage. I'm very happy to hear that the store is all right.

Two Dryden county legislators have concerns about possible construction of a health department, Center of Government, and Justice Center. Legislator Martha Robertson is quoted as saying that "I may agree on a plan to build a new Health Department building, but I can't support that location." Legislator Mike Lane suggests a larger problem:

"I don't think I am in a position to support a move forward with the capital projects," said Michael Lane, D-Dryden. "We simply do not have the money and that is the truth."

Lane added that that county still needs to address repairs to the Public Safety Building after it decided to not build a new jail last year.

Posted by simon at 8:24 AM Comment

Making municipal wireless impossible

Broadband Internet access has come up a few times at Town Board meetings in the last few months, largely because of Time-Warner's push to get a contract signed with the town. Town Councilman Marty Christofferson has been especially interested in making sure the town keeps its options open as network technology, particularly wireless technology, evolves.

While the discussion's never gotten as far as whether this is something the town would build or simply support, the phone and cable companies seem intent on making sure it's something the town (and other municipalities around the country) can't do. After Philadelphia pushed through a municipal wireless plan, Verizon pushed the Pennsylvania legislature to prohibit further such developments, and now there's a federal proposal to keep municipalities from providing broadband services.

I'm not sure where I stand on the wisdom of having the town build this kind of infrastructure, but I'm reasonably certain that I don't appreciate having the federal government say that municipalities can't do it. If this passes (which seems unlikely now, fortunately), maybe next they'll force municipalities to sell off their water, sewer, and other public utilities.

Posted by simon at 10:04 PM Comment

August 4, 2005

Water system upgrade

If your Dryden house or business uses public water, this article on coming upgrades to the Bolton Point water treatment plant may be interesting. They're working to change the way chlorine interacts with substances in the lake to reduce potential carcinogens.

This piece on millipedes invading basements explains a surprise I had my house last week, and it's good to know it's a temporary event.

Finally, Briefly in Tompkins notes that the organizers of the Ellis Hollow Fair are looking for vendors.

Posted by simon at 7:40 AM Comment

August 5, 2005

More happenin' in the hamlet

It must be a light news day, but we get some extra pictures in the Ithaca Journal from McLean's Happenin' in the Hamlet last Saturday.

There's a big question to be answered about who pays for new equipment to connect to the County's planned emergency communications network - municipalities, departments, or the county.

On the opinion page, the Journal joins the call for a special session for the legislature to reform its own process, from campaign finance reform to ethics to "the mother of it all - redistricting." As they conclude:

But now we have a lame-duck governor divorced from Albany's opera and looking to look good on a national stage. We also have 212 legislators not running for election this fall, still insulated enough from the coming election cycle and nervous enough from the last one to feel secure in their invincibility and willing to take some risks.

Summer break has been fun, but New York needs a special session this fall dedicated to political reform.

Posted by simon at 9:30 AM Comment

August 6, 2005

Caucus to come

Today's Ithaca Journal is quiet about Dryden news, but there's a letter from County Legislator Peter Penniman about caucuses. Dryden Democrats will be having their caucus to select town candidates on August 25th, time and place to be announced soon.

Posted by simon at 12:50 PM Comment

August 7, 2005

Dryden soldier in Iraq

This week's Dryden Courier leads with a profile of Rob Bailey, a US Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel serving in Iraq. The article is largely an interview with his brother, John Bailey, also of Dryden, and echoes Bailey's Memorial Day address.

Also on the front page is an article introducing the new pastor of Dryden United Methodist Church, Alan Kinney. Kinney grew up in New Jersey, served as pastor in Gouverneur, New York for the past ten years, and now finds himself not too far from where his distant ancestors settled in Cortland.

The 4-H Fair gets coverage, with a photo on the front page and an article inside that talks with kids. There's also an article on McLean's recent Happenin' in the Hamlet, with a picture of the McLean Fire and Rescue squad demonstrating an extraction from a vehicle.

The editorial notes the difficulties created for the paper by having the Dryden, Groton, and Lansing school boards all meet the same Monday nights. Even within Dryden, scheduling is a challenge, and there have been a lot of times I've let one story go in favor of another when they were scheduled on top of each other.

Doug Brown of Doug's Trash Removal in Groton (who pick up my trash) talks about the challenges of running a hauling business when gas prices (and tire prices) keep climbing. He's already lost some customers to increased prices, and doesn't look forward to doing it again.

Posted by simon at 10:00 AM Comment

The nearest foreign foreign city

No, the title isn't a typo. Dryden is a few hours away from Canada at Niagara Falls, and Toronto isn't that much further. While those are great places to visit, they aren't exactly foreign to most Americans. The primary language is still English, and signs still look mostly the same. It's definitely not the U.S., but it doesn't feel, well, foreign. (There's a blinking green light thing I should figure out, though.)

The nearest place to Dryden where you're in a foreign city and it's obvious is Montréal, about six and a half hours north. They still speak English (though it helps if you start in French), but it's clear that you're no longer in the U.S. The architecture is a mix of old European and new modernist buildings, French signs dominate, and it feels more like Europe in large and small ways.

I spent last week in Montréal, attending the Extreme Markup Languages conference. I was also blogging on it (1 2 3 4), though you'll probably not find that interesting unless you have a deep technical interest in all things XML. I got a ride up with friends, though, and that gave me an extra day to walk around Montréal.

I walked up to the top of the Parc Mont-Royal, enjoying both the wooded walkway and the views at the top.

The Parc Mont-Royal
Trail at the Parc Mont-Royal.

View of Montreal from the Parc Mont-Royal
A view of Montreal from the Parc Mont-Royal.

I also walked along Ste-Catherine Street, which combines shopping with tourist traps and the occasional familiar restaurant.

Ste-Catherine Street
Ste-Catherine Street scene.

I've posted galleries of my walk through through Parc Mont-Royal, my getting lost in McGill University, and my walk along and around Ste-Catherine Street. I wish I'd gotten to take some pictures along the St. Lawrence River and in old Montréal, but I didn't have my camera with me when I went.

Some highpoints:

(And despite my last name, I don't speak French. I should probably work on that, as I go to this conference every year, and it's always in Montréal.)

Posted by simon at 3:26 PM Comment

August meetings

The public notices page for August lists meetings for this month - it's a bit scrambled, though.

  • The Zoning Board of Appeals doesn't have a meeting listed.
  • The Recreation Commission met on Wednesday, August 3rd, at 6:00pm, in the Dryden School District Office Conference Room.
  • The Conservation Board is supposedly meeting Thursday, August 11th, at 7:30pm, but since they usually meet on Tuesdays, I'm guessing it's the 9th.
  • The Town Board is meeting at 7:00pm on Thursday, August 11th.
  • The Planning Board is meeting at 7:00 pm on Thursday, August 18th.
  • The Youth Commission will meet September 20th at 6:00pm at the Dryden School District Office Conference Room.

Unless otherwise noted, all meetings listed here are at the Dryden Town Hall (map).

Posted by simon at 8:27 PM Comment

August 8, 2005

Kenny Van Sickle Memorial Baseball Field dedicated

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the dedication of the Kenny Van Sickle Memorial Baseball Field on Saturday. The field, on Wall Street in the Village of Dryden, was a group effort:

The village donated the land west of Brecht's Towing & Service, the town raised $7,500 and New York state provided an additional $2,500 for the completed project.

Van Sickle was a sports writer and editor for the Journal for over fifty years, an active member of Dryden Kiwanis, and a coach for Kiwanis baseball.

Catholic Charities of Tompkins County is looking for volunteers to help at its Samaritan Centers including a food pantry in Dryden.

Posted by simon at 8:25 AM Comment

August 9, 2005

Emergency towers to be reused

This morning's Ithaca Journal has an article about the emergency communications network under development. No new towers will be built in Dryden, but two old towers will be reused.

The Monitor includes a Freeville man who allegedly violated an order of protection.

Posted by simon at 7:40 AM Comment

August 10, 2005

Youth Conservation Corps at work

There's all kinds of Dryden news in this morning's Ithaca Journal. They have a story on the Dryden Youth Conservation Corps' work on trails in the area, including a bridge at 4-H Acres, signs at the O.D. von Engeln Preserve in Malloryville, and information for a kiosk on the Jim Schug trail. The Town of Dryden Youth Commission oversees the group, and there will be a recognition dinner for participants, leaders, and supporters tomorrow night at 6:00pm at 4-H Acres. (Briefly in Dryden notes that the Youth Commission is looking for two volunteers to serve on it.)

There's an article on the 4-H Fair, as well as a list of event winners.

Both Briefly in Tompkins and Briefly in Dryden announce the 8th Annual Tompkins County Farm City Day, which will be held on Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm at Freebrook Farm, 39 Fall Creek Road (map) north of Freeville. It looks exciting:

Highlights include guided wagon ride farm tours, a sheep and border collie demonstration, and the farm's extensive collection of horse-drawn farm equipment and buggies.

Briefly in Dryden also mentions the upcoming Varna yard sale, to be held August 20th. While there's a sale at the Varna Community Center (map), they also encourage others to join in:

Varna residents that would like their address included in a map are welcome to join in by calling 272-2658.Space is also available at the community center building, with a limited number of tables available, on a first come, first served basis.

Briefly in Groton mentions that the McLean Fire Department is doing fund-raising.

In county news, it looks like the administrator's recommended budget includes a 1.4% tax levy increase.

Posted by simon at 7:29 AM Comment

Hydroponic grower under new ownership

The sign by the hydroponic lettuce facility changed recently, and now includes a web site address where you can find out more about what goes on across Route 13 from the old NYSEG building.

New sign for hydroponic grower
New sign for hydroponic grower.

Hydroponic grower
Hydroponic growing facility along Route 13.

Posted by simon at 12:13 PM Comment

August 11, 2005

Water and health

Today's Ithaca Journal includes the monthly report from the Tompkins County Board of Health, which includes some Dryden temporary permits and water systems.

There's a notice about absentee ballots for primary races. The only primary I'm aware of to be held in Dryden this year is in the northeastern corner by McLean, where the district including that corner, Groton, and eastern Lansing has a Republican primary between George Totman and Duane Randall. You must be registered to vote before August 19th, and if you need an absentee ballot, contact the Board of Elections before September 6th for a ballot by mail or September 12th in person.

In county news, there was a protest at TCAT, where drivers and mechanics have been without a contract since January.

Posted by simon at 8:13 AM Comment

August 12, 2005

Too little water, too much traffic

Jennie Daley reports on last night's Dryden Town Board meeting, highlighting problems residents reported with their water systems and traffic. Cathi Calori and Art Berkey presented their work on a possible water district for Ellis Hollow Road from Game Farm to Turkey Hill Road, as wells in the area are faltering. They'll be collecting signatures on a petition and asking the town to investigate how best to get water to the area.

Art Berkey explains water district petitioning
Art Berkey explains the water district petitioning project.

Meanwhile, in the northwest corner of the town, traffic concerns are growing along Caswell, Sheldon, Wood, Hanshaw, West Dryden, and Bone Plain roads. All of them are relatively straight and getting both more use as high-speed shortcuts and more development. Residents Greg and Sandra Busby spoke about the need to reduce speed and talked with the Town Board and County Legislators Martha Robertson and Mike Lane about how best to convince the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speeds. The board passed a resolution requesting the state look into it.

Greg and Sandra Busby talk about  West Dryden traffic issues
Greg and Sandra Busby talk about West Dryden traffic issues.

The article notes that board postponed a vote on the Comprehensive until next month, but did hear Zorika Henderson's concerns about the trails proposed in the district. (To go beyond the article,) Henderson asked the board take a stand that they would never use eminent domain for trails, but while the board clearly didn't want to use eminent domain, Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins warned that "Never is a very long time." Zoning Officer Henry Slater and County Legislator Mike Lane shared similar concerns about the effect that could have on negotiations. Town Councilman Mike Hattery felt that even if the current board said something like that, it wouldn't be binding on future boards.

The article also notes Slater's mention of good (and hopefully neighborhood-compatible) prospects for the buildings Ithaca Produce and F & T Distributing left empty when they moved to other sites within the town.

Elsewhere in the paper, a charity motorcycle ride for Ronald McDonald House will start from McDonalds in Dryden on Sunday, and a Spencer resident was charged with a DWI on Route 13 in Dryden.

It's been hot this summer, but also dry; the Ithaca area is in mild drought, experiencing our third driest summer in 111 years. The average is 4.83 inches from July 1st to now, but there have only been 1.47 inches this year. Meanwhile, Albany's received 7.55 inches, for their fifth-wettest summer. Ithaca's apparently the driest place in the Northeast this year. (So much for that "Ithaca Rain Festival: January 31st-December 31st" T-shirt I saw once. The frogs who were on it holding umbrellas are probably pretty thirsty right now.)

Posted by simon at 8:21 AM Comment

August 14, 2005

Encyclopedia of New York

While I understand I probably have a little more interest in New York State history than most people think reasonable (must have been that year in Yorkers), I found a book recently that I think anyone with an interest in the area will want to explore, if not necessarily buy.

The Encyclopedia of New York State is just plain astounding. Its 1921 pages have entries for everything from cuisine (spiedies and Rochester's "garbage plate") to the towns and villages of New York State, politicians, groups (anyone remember the Locofocos or the hunkers?), companies, colleges, speech patterns agriculture, and issues.

The Encyclopedia seems to balance coverage of upstate and downstate well, and spends a fair amount of time connecting the two in its articles. The editors also have a good time connecting subjects (science fiction, for instance) to the state. There have been a few times where I didn't find precisely what I was looking for (Glen Curtiss) but did find related information (on the Curtiss companies). It includes maps, tables, voting histories, pictures, references for additional reading, and more.

There are only two problems with the book: size (huge and heavy) and price ($95, $59.85 on Amazon). Still, it's worth finding a copy and spending an afternoon or many exploring. Borders at Pyramid Mall has a copy on display, and I suspect this book will be available in local libraries as well.

(The entry for Tompkins County cites George Goodrich's Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897, as a "stand out.")

Posted by simon at 9:35 PM Comment

Looking hard at Upstate NY's future

NYCO, as she frequently does, has some thoughts on upstate's future well worth examining. They may not be to everyone's taste, but she presents a perspective that deserves consideration.

Posted by simon at 9:36 PM Comment

August 15, 2005

Farm City Day, motorcycling for charity

This morning's Ithaca Journal is light on local news, but a lot of it takes place in Dryden. Farm City Day was held on Saturday at the Freebrook Farm in Freeville, where Kermit and Geraldine Marquis hosted the event on their crop-growing farm. There were tents with displays from the Farm Bureau, Soil and Water Conservation, Cooperative Extension, and many more, as well as food, hayrides, sheepdogs, fun, and some incredible displays of buggies, sleighs, and plows.

Enjoying Farm City Day
Enjoying Farm City Day.

I've posted a gallery of Farm City Day photos if you'd like to see more. For more on farm issues, the Journal also has an article today on the upcoming expiration of the MILC dairy subsidies.

While Farm City Day was going on, a group of motorcyclists were raising money for Ronald McDonald House. They started and ended a ride at the Dryden McDonalds, and it was organized in part by a supervisor at that store, Dolores Sober. Freeville resident Tom Drake is quoted, as is store owner Mark Renquin.

Posted by simon at 7:18 AM Comment

August 16, 2005

Community college tuitions rising

Yesterday's Ithaca Journal had lots of Dryden news, but today is pretty quiet. There's an article on community college tuitions increasing across the state, including a $150 increase at TC3, slightly above the state average of $130.

The County Legislature will be discussing whether to build three new buildings over the next five years tonight.

Posted by simon at 7:47 AM Comment

August 17, 2005

Clockmakers in Dryden

Today's Journal visits Mary Ann and Terry Lutz, two clockmakers in Dryden. The Lutzes make reproductions of 19th century clocks, and were recently named among the top traditional artisans by Early American Life magazine. I found some of their work online - well worth a look!

Briefly in Dryden includes some upcoming events:

  • The Dryden Town Historical Society will be having a walking tour at the Dryden Lake Golf Club (map) on Sunday, August 21st, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. They'll be having talks about the golf course and the Dryden Lake area more broadly.

  • The Varna Community Association will be hosting another community yard sale on Saturday, August 20th, from 9:00am to 3:00pm. I wrote about last year's event, and it was well worth visiting.

The Youth Commission is also still looking for two new members.

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk reports on both updates at local elementary school playgrounds and the Dryden Lake Golf Course event. Wakeman notes that volunteers can help at the Freeville Elementary School playground this Saturday, August 20th, and at Dryden Elementary School next Saturday, the 27th.

In county news, the legislature voted to accept a report on constructing three new buildings, but not to fund it. Legislator Mike Lane voted against accepting the report, as he was opposed to the location of one of the buildings.

Posted by simon at 7:50 PM Comment

August 18, 2005

Work on Varna railbed

The Comprehensive Plan definitely gives priority to the old railbeds for use as trails, with a vision of connection Dryden Lake to Dryden (done), Dryden to Freeville (in progress), Freeville to Varna, and Varna to the East Ithaca Recreation way.

I hadn't heard of anything happening presently on the western end of this, so I was surprised to see heavy equipment working on the railbed between Route 13 and Varna. The bed's been widened, the beaver pond next to it removed, and ditching put in.

Looking toward 13 from the rail bed.
Looking toward Route 13 from the rail bed.

Former beaver pond.
Former beaver pond, now dried up.

I asked at last week's Town Board meeting what was happening - are they leaping ahead with trail development? Highway Superintendent Jack Bush wasn't there, but engineer Dave Putnam said that they'd been doing work on the water lines under the railbed, and had to do the work to the bed itself to get to the water lines.

Posted by simon at 8:32 AM Comment

August 20, 2005

A history of historians

Kimberly Gazzo, who became Town of Dryden Historian earlier this year, has an article in today's Ithaca Journal that explores the accomplishments of her predecessors as Dryden Historian. It's a wonderful introduction to a job many people don't realize exists.

There's an article on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. While it's about Caroline, the southeast corner of the Town of Dryden also drains into the Chesapeake.

Briefly in Tompkins notes that the candidates for District Attorney, challenger Gwen Wilkinson and incumbent George Dentes, will be speaking at sessions organized by the Kiwanis Club. Wilkinson will speak first, on Monday at 12:30pm in the Blue Heron Room of Kendal at Ithaca (map).

Posted by simon at 11:24 AM Comment

August 21, 2005

Hay rides and playgrounds

This week's Dryden Courier visits last Saturday's Farm City Day, with a picture of a horse-drawn hay ride and coverage of the displays and activities as well. They also have an article and photo about work being done at the Dryden School District's elementary schools. There's still a build to come at Dryden Elementary School on August 27th.

Inside, there's an article on the Dryden schools' tax levy, just set at $11.8 million with a tax rate of $22.74/$1000 of assessed value, as well as discussion of a dress code.

There's also an article on Tompkins Community Action and the services it provides residents of the county.

In sports, they take a close look at the upcoming football season, and also have a schedule for fall sports.

Posted by simon at 7:54 AM Comment

August 22, 2005

Democratic Caucus Thursday night

The Dryden Democratic Committee will be holding its caucus on Thursday night at the Dryden Town Hall (map) at 7:30pm on Thursday.

We'll be selecting candidates for Town Board (2), Town Supervisor, and Highway Superintendent, and then having a regular meeting afterward. All Democrats are invited to participate.

Posted by simon at 12:07 PM Comment

August 23, 2005

County development, DA's race

Today's Journal is mostly quiet on Dryden (except for a correction announcing that the Ellis Hollow Fair will be September 10th), but there are stories on two important fronts in county news.

County Legislator Mike Lane is quoted in article about negotiations over tax breaks for the Cayuga Green project in Ithaca. The article notes that:

What the city would gain in exchange for the abatements was on the mind of IDA chairman Michael Lane.

He wanted to know what jobs would be created out of Cayuga Green, both for construction and thereafter, and whether Bloomfield would use local labor to accomplish the project.

There's also a report on District Attorney candidate Gwen Wilkinson's speech at Kiwanis yesterday:

Democratic District Attorney candidate Gwen Wilkinson vowed Monday to prosecute crimes she says the office ignores now, and make "smarter" decisions regarding drug prosecutions if she is elected in November.

Wilkinson, speaking at the weekly meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca, told the group assembled at Kendal at Ithaca that she would make the DA's office again become a player in drug court and other alternatives to incarceration programs. She criticized incumbent Republican George Dentes for pulling out of a team of various agencies that worked on child abuse crimes.

I delivered a lot of Wilkinson signs to houses around Dryden this weekend; if you'd like one, leave a comment! (Update: I don't know where to find George Dentes signs, and haven't seen any yet, but if you want those, the Tompkins County Republican Party site seems like the place to start.)

Posted by simon at 6:52 AM Comment

Cortland Road Sewer District, continued

An article in last night's Cortland Standard suggests that the issues I wrote about back in April of last year regarding the Cortland Road Sewer District have yet to be resolved. Ida Pease reports on a Village of Dryden trustees meeting where the Village trustees were wondering what was up with the Town of Dryden. The Village has waited for a new contract to start charging users more, and has lost $168,000 during the wait:

The town and TC3 have not signed the contract yet, so the village had not implemented the increases.

Large users - namely TC3, the TC3 Foundation, and Dryden High School - save a significant amount of money being billed this way.

Comments from trustees suggest that they're both concerned about the impact of this on the planned TC3 expansion and their work on a replacement sewer plant, the cost of which keeps increasing while they wait.

Posted by simon at 8:19 PM Comment

August 24, 2005

'Ask Amy' in Freeville Saturday

Advice columnist and Freeville native Amy Dickinson will be speaking at the Freeville United Methodist Church on Saturday night at 7:00pm. Her subject? "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Dairy Princess: Mostly True Stories of Small Town Life."

Also in Briefly in Tompkins, there's a notice that the playground rebuild at Dryden Elementary School will be this Saturday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. It strikes me a little strange that children in sixth grade and younger are told to stay away, since it's likely their parents are the ones working on the playground, but it's still great to see the schools creating opportunities for parents and other volunteers to help on projects like this.

Briefly in Dryden notes that the Ellis Hollow Fair will be held Saturday, September 10th, at the Ellis Hollow Community Center from noon to 4:00pm.

There are two stories on local taxation worth a close look. It seems to at least be possible that the county will manage a budget with a 0% tax levy increase, while the Ithaca school's levy for this year increased 4.32%. Because of the increase in assessments, the tax rate fell 5.4%, but overall people are still paying more taxes in than last year.

On the opinion page, Cathy Wakeman (who writes the Dryden Town Talk column) has a letter about end of life choices, in which she talks about her father's fifteen escapes from death, and some difficult days:

These choices and others, already printed, disseminated and discussed with the family well in advance of the event, allowed us to concentrate completely on him on what became his last day.

I'm so glad that we didn't sacrifice sharing that last meal of watermelon or those last precious conversations with family and friends to an invasive machine. And I'm extremely thankful that we won't spend months or years second guessing the decisions we made.

Posted by simon at 9:34 AM Comment

August 25, 2005

Eight Square Schoolhouse open Saturday

The History Center of Tompkins County reports that they'll be having an event at the Eight Square Schoolhouse on Hanshaw Road on Saturday:

Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Noon - 4:00 pm

At our historic eight-sided schoolhouse on upper Hanshaw Road (just east of Route 13)


For a complete schedule of events contact The History Center at 273-8284 x 3 or visit us on the web at

This event is sponsored by Dryden Mutual Insurance Company with help from our friends at the Corner Store Catering & Party Rental, CSP Management and Byrne Dairy.

If you'd like to know a bit more about the place before going, you can read George Goodrich's 1897 perspective on it.

Posted by simon at 12:03 PM Comment

Issues to watch

This morning's Ithaca Journal doesn't have any specific Dryden news, but does raise a number of issues worth keeping an eye on:

  • Rabid beavers attacked a girl in Danby. It sounds like racoons infected the beavers. I've never heard of beavers attacking anyone, but I guess rabies makes the unusual possible. One of the rabies cases they mention this year was on Ringwood Road in Dryden.

  • Natural gas prices are expected to rise 30% this winter, and heating oil 20% to 30%. I'm glad I put in that more efficient furnace, but it looks like I'd better get to work on the storm windows. (This article isn't online.)

  • There's an opinion piece on Contained Animal Feeding Operations, industrial-scale operations which raise animal and generate huge amounts of waste. In the light of last week's 2 million gallon manure spill into the Black River near Watertown, this is worth keeping an eye on.

Posted by simon at 1:22 PM Comment

August 26, 2005

School construction

This morning's Ithaca Journal has lots of Dryden news, starting with a report on construction at the Dryden elementary schools that concludes with mention of Saturday's playground work.

Briefly in Tompkins notes that the Eight Square Schoolhouse on Hanshaw Road will be hosting a festival tomorrow from noon to 4:00pm.

Three Dryden and Freeville residents are listed for awards at SUNY Cortland.

There's also a correction of the Dryden Lake Golf Club's phone number to 844-8300.

On the opinon page, Ken Jupiter of Freeville writes in support of a movie theater and the Cayuga Green Project in downtown Ithaca.

Posted by simon at 12:31 PM Comment

August 27, 2005

Work day at Dryden Elementary

I spent most of the morning at Dryden Elementary School, taking pictures and helping rake gravel for the new playground.

New sign on a new playground.
New sign on a new playground.

Spreading mulch.
Spreading mulch.

Testing out the fun.
Testing out the fun.

I've posted a gallery of pictures if you want to see a lot more, and the build continues today until 5:00pm if you're inclined to go over with a shovel or a rake.

Posted by simon at 2:11 PM Comment

Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival

I went from the modern Dryden Elementary School to the 1827 Eight Square Schoolhouse today, a rather drastic change in environment. The History Center held a festival there today, complete with ice cream, music, historical talks, a scavenger hunt, tug-of-war contests, and a variety of activities for both children and adults.

Enjoying an old-fashioned tug of war.
Enjoying an old-fashioned tug of war.

Teacher's desk, ready for class.
Teacher's desk, ready for class.

I learned a lot more about the building, from its construction in 1827 and early use, to its closing as a school in 1941 and its renovation by a group of bankers in 1955, when it was turned over to the DeWitt Historical Society, now the History Center. It predates the Octagon Houses of the 1850s and 1860s, and its brick construction has held up well, though major renovations and restoration are on the way.

If you'd like to see more, I've posted a gallery of pictures.

Posted by simon at 3:26 PM Comment

Advice columnist raises funds for Freeville church

Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson, of Ask Amy fame, gave a talk this evening at Freeville United Methodist Church, raising over $200 in donations for the church.

Dickinson reprised several pieces she'd done for National Public Radio, including one on the secrets (or not secrets) of the Freeville chicken barbecue, one on Vacation Bible School, another on the strange days when trucks, even trucks towing houses, were diverted down Main Street in Freeville, and one on the closing of the Ithaca Woolworth's. She and her daughter Emily created video and showed pictures to go along with the stories, which played to a full room of people. (For encores she played pieces on a Krispy Kreme in Las Vegas and a massive Unification Church wedding in Washington.)

She also took questions, mostly about the ins and outs of being an advice columnist. Producing a daily column means sorting through an immense pile of mail (both postal and electronic), and choosing the questions to answer is half the battle. She had two questions about fake letters. First Dickinson said that there's more than enough in the world that fake letters aren't necessary, then talked about the challenges of keeping out the occasional fake letter. I liked her approach to applying for the job, in which she took a few hours to answer the test questions rather than agonizing over them for the permitted week.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of the occasion. After all my other pictures today, I left the storage card for the camera at home!

Posted by simon at 8:48 PM Comment

August 28, 2005

Village annexation; new school employees

It's a busy week for the Dryden Courier, covering both Village of Dryden news and new employees for the coming school year, as well as prospects for sports.

A report on the Village of Dryden Board of Trustees' August meeting discusses their finalization of the 3.9 acre Simonet annexation along the eastern edge of the village, as well as the planning process for it and an additional 31 acres on which Paul Simonet hopes to build townhouses and single-family homes. There's also mention of the Cortland Road Sewer District issues reported on in the Cortland Standard earlier this week.

The Courier welcomes two new assistant principals, Michael Simmons and Larry Hinkle, to the Dryden school district with photos and profiles. Simmons will be at Dryden Elementary School while Hinkle will be at Dryden Middle School.

There's an article on a $130,000 deficit (accumulated over seven years) in the Dryden school lunch program and discussion of how to fix it. Two motions for raising the price of lunch (one by a quarter, one by a dime) failed 2-5. The Courier's editorial suggests that readers contact the federal and state governments about school lunches "to let the government know about our concerns."

There's an article about Tech Prep grants, awarded to schools through TC3. Dryden High Scool received three of them this year, for a business law mock trial, summer curriculum development, and a civil engineering and architecture program.

There's a brief article on Kinney Drugs taking over Hill Drugs, including the store next to Clark's in Dryden.

The Courier takes a look at the dry weather as well, with an article on the drought's impact on area wineries and vegetable growers. Harry Weldons starts with the drought and then talks about floods, including some devastating ones to the east in Virgil.

In sports, the Courier offers previews of the Boys and Girls soccer teams from around the area.

Posted by simon at 7:48 AM Comment

August 29, 2005

Playground built

This morning's Ithaca Journal visits Saturday's playground build at Dryden Elementary School, talking to volunteers and people who helped raise money for the project. I'll have to stop by and see what it looks like now that it's completed.

Posted by simon at 7:31 AM Comment

Cider and donuts with Wilkinson Wednesday

Gwen Wilkinson, the Democratic candidate for District Attorney, will be on the Village Green (map) in Dryden from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesday. It's a great chance to meet the candidate, talk about what you'd like to see in a District Attorney, and enjoy some cider and donuts.

Update: Because of the dismal weather, this event is cancelled, but will hopefully be rescheduled soon.

Posted by simon at 7:44 AM Comment

Dryden Democrats nominate Sumner, Lutwak

At Thursday night's caucus, the Dryden Democrats nominated Paul Lutwak and Mary Ann Sumner as their candidates for the November election for Town Board.

Mary Ann Sumner has lived in Dryden on Neimi Road for 30 years, raising children while working as a business director for local nonprofits. She's especially interested in fiscal openness and accountability and the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.

Paul Lutwak has lived on Midline Road in Dryden for 15 years, and works as Director of Instructional and Informational Technology for the Newfield School District. He's a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and looks forward to bringing his skills - "doing a lot with a little," as he said Thursday night - to town issues.

At the caucus, we discussed how the town, which is geographically and demographically diverse, deserves representation that reflects that diversity. Both Lutwak and Sumner spoke about the board's duty to control spending, concerned that that rising assessments obscure the fact that spending in the Town has risen significantly in the past two years.

Posted by simon at 8:02 AM Comment

August 30, 2005

Journal profiles Town Board candidates

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the upcoming Town Board election, talking with all four candidates about what they'd like to accomplish. The Republicans running are incumbent Steve Stelick and newcomer Dan Tier. The Democrats running are newcomers Mary Ann Sumner and Paul Lutwak. I'm happy to see that the Journal reached all four of them for comment, as well as Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull, who will be running unopposed this year.

(The article states that the open seat is the result of Republican Councilman Mike Hattery stepping down to run for County Legislature, but the open seat belongs to Republican Councilman Chris Michaels, who is retiring. I don't think Hattery has to step down unless he wins the election.)

Just to the north of Dryden, the print edition of the Journal notes that McLean-Cortland Road in Groton will be getting repaved over the next month.

Posted by simon at 8:30 AM Comment

August 31, 2005

Village raises sewer rates

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that the Village of Dryden has increased sewer rates on the Cortland Road Sewer District, moving ahead despite concerns over the lack of a contract with the town. It sounds like the trailer parks will bear a lot of the additional burden, with the six month bill for one park climbing from $1023 to $7189.

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk reports on the Dryden Soccer Club's impending transition and a meeting to gather community support. She also notes that the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard could use donations, and that the Etna Community Church will be having a Rally Day on Sunday, September 11th at 10:00am.

Briefly in Dryden lists the upcoming Ellis Hollow Fair and Freeville Festival, both on Saturday, September 10th. Also, the Youth Commission is still seeking two new members.

There's also a correction to yesterday's story on Dryden Town Board races.

In county news, there's discussion of difficult negotiations between TCAT and its union, and increasing mention of a strike.

Posted by simon at 12:19 PM Comment