September 1, 2005

Where do your biosolids go?

That's not exactly a nice question, as 'biosolids' are treated sewage. This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at the use and safety of using treated sewage as fertilizer. While the article says that no farms in Tompkins County are doing this, apparently the Cayuga Heights sewage plant (which I think processes Varna's sewage, or did) sends biosolids to a farm in Seneca County, while the Village of Dryden plant sends theirs to a farm near Bath in Steuben County.

In more sewage treatment news, the Journal has a correction about engineering costs already incurred for the new Village of Dryden sewer plant: they are $307,000, not $37,000.

At the county level, negotiations between TCAT and its union made little progress yesterday.

Posted by simon at 6:52 AM Comment

Pull out your 3s

I speculated last year about the possible impact of $3.00 a gallon gas on Dryden. This morning, thanks to Hurricana Katrina, it's here.

Gas prices with improvised 3s
Gas prices with improvised 3s.

(I also have an aunt and a cousin with family in Gulfport, Mississippi who stayed through the hurricane. They're all fine, though their houses aren't in great shape.)

Posted by simon at 12:28 PM Comment

September 2, 2005

Gas price impacts

I probably shouldn't admit it here, but I've been too distracted by New Orleans to think much about Dryden. I was only there twice - once for the empty 1984 World Fair and once in 1991 for a conference on volunteerism. It's hard to imagine that city ruined, and I'm in shock about what seems like a painfully weak response on the ground.

Locally, I'm glad to see Cornell reaching out to Tulane students. I wonder what they're doing for other New Orleans and Gulf Coast universities, or maybe Tulane is just the one most affected

While Dryden still looks pretty much the same as it did a couple of days ago, gas prices have climbed. I took a picture of my nearest gas station yesterday, but by the time the Journal got there the price had increased again from $2.97 to $3.29.

In a story that suggests people are thinking about the long-term effect of gasoline prices on the area, Jennie Daley reports on the greenhouse across from NYSEG, now run by Challenge Industries. I wondered why it was there, given New York's high electricity costs, but there's an excellent answer:

It was long-distance distribution and the ever increasing cost of fuel that first prompted Cornell University researchers, about 15 years ago, to look into a system that could grow produce year round, even in the northeast's harsh climes. Thursday's gas price hikes, where, locally, a gallon of unleaded went at least as high as $3.29, illustrated precisely the situation these hydroponics were intended to offset.

"The idea was to substitute electricity for diesel fuel because electricity comes from many sources," said Louis Albright, a Newfield native and Cornell professor.

In county news, a forum on Drug Courts examined the ways these can change lives while still saving taxpayer money, and the County Adminstrator has prepared a budget with a 0% tax levy increase, though that budget lacks some things, like more sheriffs' deputies, that many people want.

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM Comment

September 3, 2005

More on gas prices

This morning's Journal is fairly quiet about Dryden, but has lots of coverage about how higher gas prices might affect municipalities and school districts in Tompkins County, adding further to budget challenges.

If you'd like to work on ways to make Tompkins County more energy-efficient, Briefly in Tompkins notes that the county's Environmental Management Council has openings, including six at-large seats plus one seat each for the Town of Dryden, Village of Dryden, and Village of Freeville.

A list of Dean's List recipients at various colleges includes a number of students from the Dryden area.

There's also a list of Labor Day closings.

Posted by simon at 8:18 AM Comment

September 4, 2005

September meetings

The public notices page for September lists meetings for this month.

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

Posted by simon at 8:21 PM Comment

September 5, 2005

Carl Carmer, of Dryden

Dryden's used bookstores always seem to have a fair number of copies of Carl Carmer's books on New York. My Kind of Country is a compendium of his articles, and I remembered one article - "Upstate is a Country" - well. I went back to look it up, and this is what I found.

The happiest entry into New York State, my grandfather used to say, is to be born there. The only disadvantage, he would add, is that you will not realize your enviable lot until you have grown old enough to travel and see how much less fortunate the natives of other regions are. Since he wore the long white beard of a patriarch and unfailingly served buckwheat pancakes and maple sirup for breakfast, I received his every word as gospel. Indeed, my boyish pride in New York was fortified on each of my frequent visits to his home in Dryden, in the center of the state, especially when reminded me, as he did invariably, that my very birth might have occurred uncomfortably, high on a Tompkins County hill, had not his team of white-faced York-State-bred Morgans made a record dash to the Cortland Hospital.

Carmer didn't stay in Dryden very long, but the place (and his grandfather) clearly had an effect on him. (My Kind of Country is still in print.)

Posted by simon at 7:13 PM Comment

September 6, 2005

Labor day, Ithaca redistricting

Summer's coming to a close, as Labor Day weekend rolled by. This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the annual Labor Day picnic in Stewart Park, including a bit on the George Junior Republic negotiations settled earlier this summer:

In Dryden, Lester "Bill" Lyon and his wife, Gloria Lyon, just finished negotiating for similar possibilities for unionized workers at The William George Agency for Children Services, previously George Junior Republic. The Lyons said their efforts to do as much as possible for fellow members of the Service Employees International Union's Local 200 was not welcomed by the administration.

"This, when people are fighting tooth and nail just to buy groceries, buy gas," Bill Lyon said, shaking his head.

There's a pair of articles on Ithaca schools elementary redistricting, one looking at the impact on children moving, the other at people staying put. In Dryden, Varna students are moving from Cayuga Heights Elementary to Caroline Elementary.

In county news, there's an article on grandparents raising grandchildren locally, and an opinion article by Peter Penniman supporting the county's proposed ban on trash burning.

Posted by simon at 8:44 AM Comment

Fixing schools, moving creeks

With the Labor Day weekend, I almost forgot to report on last week's issue of the Dryden Courier. It leads with articles on the Dryden School District's rush to finish renovations on the elementary schools, and with the successful completion of the Virgil Creek restoration project, which put Virgil Creek back in its original bed along Lake Road.

Inside, there's an announcement of Democratic Town Board candidates Mary Ann Sumner and Paul Lutwak, as well as a neat 'this month in history' box which looks back at seven years of recent history.

There's an article on upcoming development in Dryden, including a new Kinney Drugs across from the bowling alley, the new Ithaca Produce facility, and new uses for two older facilities. The former Ithaca Produce building may see Applied Pulsed Power moving in, while Autoworks may move from the Mount Pleasant Road/366 intersection the former F&T Distributing building below the former Boxcar near the 13/366 intersection.

In sports, there's a survey of volleyball teams, and an article on the Dryden Purple Lions' 4-3 defeat of Groton in boys soccer.

Posted by simon at 7:05 PM Comment

September 7, 2005

Busy Saturday ahead

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on two big events to be held this Saturday: the Ellis Hollow Fair, from noon to 4:00pm, and the Freeville Harvest Festival, from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

Briefly in Dryden lists even more events, with a chicken barbecue at Varna United Methodist Church next Saturday and a Dryden Senior Citizens lunch at 11:30am on Monday.

There's lots of county news. Sheriff Peter Meskill is taking on Met Life over a destroyed sheriffs' car the insurer doesn't want to pay for. The county is going to hold a hearing on its Empire Zone application. And Ithaca airport will once again have direct flights to Pittsburgh.

Posted by simon at 12:14 PM Comment

September 8, 2005

Burn barrels; county economy

There's one Dryden note in today's Ithaca Journal, as a Briefly in Dryden item mentions that TC3 will be sponsoring a trip to Nicaragua this winter, and students can earn credits for the trip.

There's also a report on a hearing about the possible ban of household garbage burning in the county, and a piece on the ups and downs of the county's economy in July.

Posted by simon at 12:26 PM Comment

Etna yard sale; Freeville festival

This week's issue of The Shopper adds another item to Saturday's busy schedule of Dryden events: the Etna Community Yard Sale, which will be Saturday from 9:00am to noon at Houtz Hall in Etna.

There's also a schedule for the Freeville Harvest Festival, which looks like:

  • 8:30am - Service of Hope
  • 10:00am - Back Yard Circus
  • 10:30am - Fool's Gold Line Dancers
  • 11:00am - BBQ Chicken - takeout or halves
  • 11:00am-1:00pm - Alice Detrick, country singer
  • 1:00pm - Silent Auction
  • 1:30pm - Moravia Praise Band
  • 2:30pm - Open Microphone

There's also a lot more, from a breakfast grill to games, a climbing wall, face painting, and a bake sale.

The Southworth Library will be having a book sale at the Dryden Fire Hall (map) September 22nd through 24th. They're taking donations for the sale during regular business hours at the library through September 16th.

There are ads from both Duane (Tyke) Randall and George Totman, both running in the Republican primary for Totman's legislative seat.

There's also ad that may be of interest to anyone related to people buried in the Willow Glen Cemetery, so I'll repeat it here:

Can you help?

The Directors of Willow Glen Cemetery are interested in developing a mailing list for the cemetery. We need your help. If you have relatives buried in the cemetery, please write to the address below. You can use email also. Tell us who you are, who is related to you and buried in the cemetery, and what your relationship is. This will allow us to update our records and develop a postal mailing list and an email list for cemetery news letters. The information we would like is listed below as well as the contact information for the cemetery. If you are willing to help with this project, state that also. We pledge to keep your information private. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Please provide the following information:

1. Your Name. 2. Your Mailing Address. 3. If you have an email address, give us that as well. 4. Names of the people you are related to in the cemetery. 5. How you are related. Example: John Doe is my grandfather.

Please write to:

Willow Glen Cemetery Association, PO Box 299, Dryden, NY 13053-0299 or email to:

Posted by simon at 5:49 PM Comment

Visiting the New York State Fair

Last Sunday I drove up to Syracuse and visited the New York State Fair, where I took far too many pictures and got to meet NYCO, whose blog provides me with regular inspiration on all kinds of upstate issues.

Sheep passing a sign about goats
Sheep passing a sign about goats.

Visiting the Army recruiter
Visiting the Army recruiter.

DMV booth
Department of Motor Vehicles booth.

Baby on the midway
Baby learns to play a game.

I've posted a gallery, but as it's huge, here are some pointers to specific subjects:

Definitely worth the trip.

Posted by simon at 8:36 PM Comment

September 10, 2005

Freeville Harvest Festival

I enjoyed the Freeville Harvest Festival this morning, watching the crowds, visiting the booths, and eating a tasty italian sausage sandwich.

Pie by the slice at the Freeville Harvest Festival
Pie by the slice at the Freeville Harvest Festival.

If you'd like to see more, I've posted a gallery of images from the festival.

Posted by simon at 4:53 PM Comment

September 11, 2005

Dryden, Etna residents offer New Orleans residents shelter

I didn't get to look at yesterday's Ithaca Journal until today, and it has two stories I'd definitely like to highlight. One is about Linda Lavine welcoming former Ithacan Rona King into her house after her house in New Orleans was flooded, and another is about Etna resident May Lovelace, who's offered a space in her home to those in need. Just across the town line, the Cornell Vet School is sending aid for pets, and there's also a truck of food going from Tompkins County to the Gulf Coast.

In politics, the Journal talks to incumbent County Legislator George Totman and his challenger Duane 'Tyke' Randall, who will face off in the Republican primary Tuesday in a district that includes Groton, eastern Lansing, and northeastern Dryden.

On the opinion page, a laurel from the History Center thanks those who helped make their Eight Square Schoolhouse day possible. There's also a dart to someone who took a vast quanity of cow manure from Cornell's community pile on Game Farm Road.

Posted by simon at 1:12 PM Comment

Ellis Hollow Fair

After enjoying yesterday's Freeville Harvest Festival in the morning, I went over to the Ellis Hollow Fair in the afternoon. I spent a lot of my time at a booth registering voters, or trying to, but I did get to walk around and enjoy the fair.

Selling pies at the Ellis Hollow Fair
Selling pies at the Ellis Hollow Fair.

Exploring the white elephant sale.
Exploring the white elephant sale.

It was a large enough fair that they had a map. If you'd like to see more of it, I've posted a gallery.

Posted by simon at 2:27 PM Comment

School construction, HANDS

This week's Dryden Courier takes a detailed look at the contstruction at Dryden Elementary School and efforts to keep it from disrupting the school year, which just started. There's also an article on Help A Needy Dryden Student (HANDS), a program which proves help to district students and families facing hard times and difficult situations.

There's mention of the upcoming TC3 trip over the holidays to Nicaraugua, and a section on the Freeville Harvest Festival.

In sports, there's an article on a football game between Dryden and Trumansburg in the Syracuse Carrier Dome, which may be concluding as I write this. There's coverage of the Dryden-Groton soccer game, noting the swarms of gnats, and an article on the Dryden-Lansing girls soccer game, which Dryden won 5-0. There's a brief piece on Dryden girls volleyball's 3-1 victory over Groton.

Posted by simon at 8:09 PM Comment

September 12, 2005

Dryden defeats Trumansburg at Carrier Dome

I don't normally report on sports here, but how many high school football games happen at the Carrier Dome, and get off to a quick start with a last-minute finish? Dryden defeated Trumansburg 24-18 last night.

In county news, the Journal's online edition is missing news about TCAT employees rejecting a contract offer yesterday. There's no word yet on whether a strike might happen.

There's also a piece on a report from the State Comptroller's office on local governments. The press release has a lot of information, and the report itself (4.4 MB PDF, 100 pages) is also available.

Posted by simon at 8:06 AM Comment

September 13, 2005

Dryden schools challenges

This morning's Ithaca Journal visits last night's Dryden school board meeting, and reports on the hiring of a new special education teacher, dress code changes, and construction at the elementary schools.

Quick reponse to a Dryden hunting accident earned DEC officer Jim Milewski Kiwanis' Frank Hammer Officer of the Month award.

In county news, a truck of aid from Tompkins County reached Gulfport, Mississippi yesterday, and Cornell, the state, and the county are putting together a nanotechnology fund to encourage business in the area.

Today is a primary election day. The only race in Dryden is for the District 9 County Legislator seat that the northeast corner of Dryden shares with Groton and Lansing. If you're a Republican who lives north and east of Malloryville Road, stop by the Dryden Fire Hall (map) and cast your ballot.

Posted by simon at 12:20 PM Comment

September 14, 2005

"Tyke" Randall defeats incumbent Totman

This morning's Ithaca Journal leads with results from yesterday's primary election. The only election in Dryden was for the Republican contest for County Legislator in District 9, which included eastern Lansing, Groton, and northeastern Dryden. Challenger Duane "Tyke" Randall II defeated incumbent legislator George Totman 278-41.

On the Our Towns page, Cathy Wakeman writes about a free spaghetti dinner Neptune Hose Company will be serving the community on September 30th, with tickets available Wednesday nights (the 14th, 21st, and 28th) at the Dryden Fire Hall (map). She also reports on the many kinds of volunteers they need, and on the Dryden United Methodist Church's Katrina relief efforts.

There's also a set of pictures from last weekend's events in Ellis Hollow and Freeville, though the online version only shows Ellis Hollow.

Mysteriously, the online edition includes Briefly in Dryden, which I don't see in the print edition. It lists:

  • A can and bottle drive by Kiwanis for Hurricane Katrina relief, in the parking lot of Clark's from 9:00am to noon on Saturday, September 17th.
  • The Varna United Methodist Church will be having a chicken barbecue starting at 3:00pm this Saturday, the 17th. $7 gets you a half chicken, potato salad, baked beans, three bean salad, roll, and cake, or $4.50 gets you a chicken half alone.
  • TC3 will be hosting a tailgate party featuring Bob's BBQ on September 25th. A tour of the campus will start at 11:30am, with barbecue available around noon, and mens and womens soccer games in the afternoon.
  • The Dryden Youth Commission is still looking for a Village of Dryden resident to join them.
  • Patchwork Therapeutic Riding Center (just across the line in Groton) is looking for volunteers to help with lessons and chores.
Posted by simon at 12:18 PM Comment

Autoworks moving up the road?

Earlier this week, I got a notice from the Town of Dryden about possible development at the old F & T Distributing site. Autoworks may be moving there, and needs a Special Use Permit to do that:

September 6,2005

To Whom It May Concern:

You are hereby NOTIFIED of a PUBLIC HEARING to be held by the Dryden Town Board at the Dryden Town Hall, 65 East Main Street, Dryden, NY on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th, 2005 at 7: 15 PM prevailing time to consider the application of George & Karyn Rushlow, (DBA Autoworks), 987 Dryden Road, Ithaca, NY who are requesting a Special Use Pennit to expand their 987 Dryden Road automotive repair business and include a U-Haul rental center to 1278 Dryden Road, Ithaca, NY within the Town of Dryden.

The site being within a RD Zoning District, such uses are permitted by Special Use Permit Review and Approval, see Dryden Town Zoning Ordinance Section 902.1 ref Section 802.2 which states: "Gasoline stations and commercial garages".

All parties in interest will be given an opportunity to be heard. Persons may appear in person or by agent. If you should have any questions or desire further information, please feel free to call this office at 607-844-9120 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:OO PM Monday - Friday.

Individuals with visual, hearing or manual impairments and requiring assistance should contact the Town of Dryden at 844-9120 or 844-8619 at least 48 hours prior to the time of the public hearing.

Henry M. Slater
Zoning Officer
Town of Dryden

Looking at the agenda for tomorrow night, it looks like residents of Dryden Road closer to the old Ithaca Produce building probably got a similar notice. I'm also curious to see what the "Town of Dryden Fen" item will be be.

Posted by simon at 7:36 PM Comment

September 15, 2005

Comprehensive Plan vote tonight

This evening's Town Board meeting includes a vote on the Comprehensive Plan, and one aspect of that plan gets a letter in the Ithaca Journal this morning from Robin Hadlock Seeley, who writes:

Municipal trails proposed for private land violate traditionally recognized property rights and the basic need of individuals and families for privacy. A new state law placing a speed limit of 55 mph on snowmobiles and increasing fines for ATV use on posted land indicates some of the potential problems for landowners if municipal trails are placed on private property.

The proposed comprehensive plan does not include any protection for landowners, including farmers, against the taking of private land for trails through eminent domain. The trails portion of the plan should be rejected by the Dryden Town Board.

If there's room for public comment tonight, I'll be disagreeing firmly with this perspective. It's not the job of the plan to protect landowners from eminent domain - that's the job of federal and state law, not to mention the town board itself. As anyone who has watched the slow progress of the Freeville-Dryden trail can tell, it's hardly a matter of seizing land from its owners to put up a trail, and that's in a circumstance - a former rail bed - where resources are readily available explicitly to encourage the development of trails.

Moreover, the trails beyond the railroad beds are designated as footpaths, not homes for ATVs or snowmobiles, whose riders generally prefer wider paths. And as the note on the proposed trail map (294KB PDF) itself reads:

This map illustrates a conceptual plan for a system of bicycle and pedestrian paths in the Town of Dryden. The actual alignments of the paths shown on this map will be determined only after further detailed studies and public input prior to a final decision by the Town to proceed with development.

Also on the opinion page, Cheryl Nelson of Freeville writes of the persistent smell of her neighbors burning trash:

I live on Groton Road between Groton and Freeville. It is a rural area. Along this stretch of road, my family is one of only two that put out recyclables for curbside pickup. We have a Dumpster service for our non-recyclable trash. Two other households occasionally have trash at the curb for pickup. So what do the rest of the households do with their trash? Several times a week, our home is permeated with the smell of burning trash. It is especially problematic during the nice weather months when the windows are open. By the time the odor is detected, the whole house is saturated, and it is accelerated when window fans are operating.

I have a son who has had chronic kidney disease for 21 years and during that time he has received two kidney transplants. He also has asthma. The stench of this burning trash from the houses around us is sickening, irritates the eyes, and makes it difficult to breath especially for him, but even for the rest of us without chronic illness. ...

As a rural citizen, I fully support the ban on open burning and strong enforcement. With all of the recyclable materials used today and available to consumers, curbside recycling pickup, trash pickup vendor options, composting, and all other reduce, reuse, and recycle options promoted by the Tompkins County Solid Waste Division, there is no excuse for people to burn their debris at the expense of their health, others health, and the environment.

The Journal's editorial mostly supports a burn ban but objects to missing pieces in the county's recycling program for plastics, especially agfilms.

There's also an article on the drafting of the county budget.

Posted by simon at 8:44 AM Comment

The O.D. von Engeln Preserve

The Town of Dryden has a small but beautiful nature preserve, one that so far as I can tell relatively few people have discovered. The O.D. von Engeln Nature Preserve, owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy, includes 1.75 miles of trails and a kiosk explaining why the area is so special, tucked away off West Malloryville Road (map).

Photos can't really do it justice - there's something beautifully harmonious about the different habitats packed into a small space, and the camera sees the contrast between sunlight and shadow differently. Still, here are a few attempts.

On top of an esker at the von Engeln preserve
On top of an esker at the von Engeln preserve.

A spring-filled stream through the swamp
A spring-filled stream through the swamp.

Viewing platform at the bog
Viewing platform at the bog.

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

The von Engeln preserve is open to the public, but for pedestrians only. No motorized vehicles, horses, bicycles, pets, fishing, hunting, trapping, or camping are allowed. The path is clearly marked and well-developed, but visitors need to stay on the trails to protect the rest of the preserve. I was there after a very dry summer, and I'm guessing it's usually wetter than this, but much of the trail is elevated or boardwalked to avoid muddy natural areas.

The glaciers left Dryden with some impressive terrain. While most people think of hills and lakes, this preserve shows how even smaller features can have tremendous beauty.

Posted by simon at 12:19 PM Comment

September 16, 2005

Global warming, speedy trees

This morning's Ithaca Journal doesn't yet cover last night's contentious Town Board meeting (which I'll do this weekend), but it has two letters to the editor with Dryden connections. Nariman Mistry of Dryden writes about climate change and the greater weather fluctuations it causes, while Stanley Scharf writes that "Root Production Method"-grown trees could help Cornell, and that "this novel nursery system is coming very soon to the Dryden/Ithaca area, making these superior trees available locally."

There's an article on the county applying for an Empire Zone which says:

In Dryden, land including New York State Electric and Gas and Wilcox Press, along with land in the village that was annexed from the town would be included.

My understanding from last night's board meeting is that the area north of the Village is larger than just the annexed zone, but we'll see.

Posted by simon at 12:42 PM Comment

September 17, 2005

A look at Christian Science

Today's Ithaca Journal is quiet on Dryden news, but I just noticed that today's Focus on Faith column, which looks at Christian Science, is written by a Dryden resident, Helen Mundell.

Posted by simon at 5:32 PM Comment

September 18, 2005

Judy's Day

I haven't been able to write as much as I wanted for this site this weekend, but I did spend the afternoon at Judy's Day, the spectacular event Cornell Plantations hosts each year at the F.R. Newman Arboretum, just across the town line in Ithaca.

The Dryden Historical Society was invited to present on the history of harvesting wheat, so we showed a grain cradle and some flails, with a display showing how farmers used to harvest, thresh, and mill wheat, complete with some pictures of local mills.

Weaving grass to thatch a roof
Weaving grass to thatch a roof.

As promised, there was all kinds of hands-on activity. We shared a tent with kids threshing wheat (gently, not with flails), winnowing it, and grinding it. There were grasses to taste, weave, paint with, decorate with, and play with. No doubt they'll have a different theme next year, but just as much fun.

If you'd like to see more, there are a lot more pictures in the gallery. Update: For even more pictures, visit Michael Ludgate's gallery.

Posted by simon at 10:02 PM Comment

September 19, 2005

Dryden Katrina aid collected today

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that today is the last day to donate to Hurricane Katrina victims through the drop boxes at school and athletic offices in the Dryden schools.

An article on Town Supervisors candidates notes that Dryden Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull is running unopposed this year. Only Danby and Enfield appear to have races for supervisor this November.

Posted by simon at 7:29 AM Comment

Kindergarten and Katrina

One of the many things I wanted to write about this weekend but didn't get to was the latest Dryden Courier, and I do feel I should cover it while it's still available on news stands.

Last Wednesday's issue has a picture of the Backyard Circus at the Freeville Harvest Festival. It leads with a visit to kindergarten at Dryden Elementary, looking both at the newly renovated building and at the new students. There's also an article on Dryden Central School District's efforts to help out with the disaster Hurricane Katrina caused.

Inside, there's an article on Department of Environmental Conservation Officer Jim Milewski's receiving the Officer of the Month award from Kiwanis for his quick response to a fatal hunting accident in Dryden in May. There's a brief item on TC's launch of, a resource for local businesses and non-profit organizations.

There's also a report on the Dryden school board meeting, including more detail on the board's efforts to serve two students whose need for a special education teacher seemed to get lost, as well as a new dress code.

In county news, there's an article on the proposed burn ban.

In sports, the back cover has a full-color photo of Dryden Football's Tim Finnerty making a catch at the Carrier Dome against Trumansburg, and there's also an article on it and an interior photo of Dryden running back Abinye Smith. There's also an article on the Elmira Southside Invitational, where Dryden was playing this past weekend.

Posted by simon at 8:34 PM Comment

Meet Athena Kalandros, District 9 candidate

Athena Kalandros, running as a Democrat for the District 9 County Legislature seat against Republican Duane "Tyke" Randall, will be having a meet the candidate event from 7:00pm to 9:00pm next Monday the 26th at the Benn Conger Inn (map) in Groton. As her press release says:

It will be a great chance to meet the candidate, talk about what you'd like to see in a County Legislator, and enjoy some coffee and snacks.

District 9 includes Dryden north and east of Malloryville Road, as well as Groton and a strip of eastern Lansing.

Posted by simon at 8:48 PM Comment

September 20, 2005

Fatality on Route 13

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the death of a 25-year old Freeville woman on Route 13 Sunday night when she apparently crossed the road in the path of a pickup truck.

In brighter news in Dryden, the SPCA appointed a new Executive Director, Jeff Lydon.

In county news, DA candidates Gwen Wilkinson and George Dentes had a debate yesterday about drug court and effective prosecution of violent crime.

The county is also expanding the list of plastics it will accept for recycling, adding plastic types 3 to 7 to its collection.

A letter to the editor from Arlene Bradshaw of Dryden questions the mingling of educational priorities with military recruitment.

Posted by simon at 12:10 PM Comment

September 21, 2005

Dryden Empire Zone possible

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that the County Legislature approved applying for an Empire Zone that includes part of the Town of Dryden as well as Lansing and the City of Ithaca. County Legislators Martha Robertson, Mike Lane, and George Totman all supported it in a 9-5 vote. In addition:

Barbara Blanchard, D-City of Ithaca, and Michael Lane, D-Dryden, both spoke out in favor of the zone because of recent changes by New York state in the zone laws and the fact that the county can market its zone to help attract more businesses here.

The areas in Dryden include the NYSEG-Wilcox Press area at the 13/366 intersection, and the area north of the Village of Dryden to Mott Road.

The Our Towns section is quiet on Dryden except for the Town Candidates listing, which notes that Supervisor Steve Trumbull, Highway Superintendent Jack Bush, and Town Councilman Steve Stelick are running for re-election, while newcomers Daniel Tier, Mary Ann Sumner, and Paul Lutwak are competing with Stelick for two seats.

On the opinion page, the editorial encourages citizens to participate in the county budget process, and notes that Tompkins County doesn't hide its budget until after the election. There's also a letter from Gary Simmons of Dryden recommending that Ithaca return federal trail money to pay for Katrina relief.

Posted by simon at 12:52 PM Comment

September 22, 2005

One union settled, another uncertain

This morning's Ithaca Journal doesn't report much about Dryden, but there's news on two county labor fronts. The county and its white collar CSEA unit have come to terms, and the contract was approved 13-1 last night by the County Legislature. Meanwhile, negotiations with TCAT bus drivers continue, and Cornell is making contingency plans in case of a strike.

On the opinion page, Henry Kramer of Dryden shrugs off criticism of his opposition to the notion of a living wage, arguing that:

The debate itself is about who determines what labor is 'worth.' Ms. Blom? The Living Wage Coalition? Alternatives Credit Union? Politicians? Or, the marketplace which allocates resources most optimally?

Kramer clearly has no patience for the labor theory of value.

There's also an article about events outside of Dryden well-worth thinking about, as re-checking reported election machine data overturned results in two Newfield primaries. Wow.

Posted by simon at 12:52 PM Comment

September 23, 2005

Stabbing at TC3 dorms

A Tuesday stabbing at the TC3 dorms will put a Spencer man in Dryden court today, charged with second-degree felony assault, as well as fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Dryden firefighters took the victim to Cortland Hopital.

In brighter news, math scores for elementary students throughout the county improved, while middle schools were mixed. In Dryden, elemenary math scores improved 2.8% to 89.8, and middle school math scores improved 4.9% to 64.9. In Ithaca, elementary scores climbed 4.1% to 87, while middle school scores declined 8.3% to 63.7. As the article warns, the meaning of these scores, especially comparisons year to year, is fairly questionable.

Also, Stone Circle School, a Waldorf-inspired elementary school, will be having an open house Saturday at the school (map) from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, including a sample morning circle at 2:00pm.

In county news, there's a piece in the print edition about "how the county budget affects you", and while it's brief, it's a good reason to buy the paper if you don't have it already.

On the opinion page, the editorial encourages TCAT management and labor to avoid a strike, as "an outraged public will have enough blame for everyone involved." There's also a letter from Thomas Cleland of Dryden asking readers to choose between the message of Jesus and the Pharisees who persecuted him, pointing out that:

Civil disobedience has its price, though the disproportionate federal conspiracy charges (originally designed to enable prosecution of Mafia dons) tell us more about George Dentes and the federal prosecutor in Binghamton than they do about the Four. But what I really can't figure out is why so many self-professed Christians are so eager to play the role of Pharisee, behaving like the mob that turned on Jesus when the going got tough and the issues became genuinely important.

(The letter is about the ongoing federal trial of the St.Patrick's Four.)

Posted by simon at 1:06 PM Comment

September 24, 2005

Little news, a few opinions

Today's Ithaca Journal is quiet on Dryden news, but there are two pieces on the opinion page with Dryden connections. One comes from Freeville resident Jennifer Semo, and only appears in the print edition. Semo writes, about the St.Patrick's Four:

No one is questioning the right to stand up for your beliefs and the right of protestation. The matter at hand is the destruction (of property at) the recruitment center. Do I applaud their passion and conviction in demonstrating and feeling that the Iraq war is wrong? Absolutely. Do I agree with those feelings and the "Four's" methods of self-expression? Certainly not! No matter what you believe to be right or wrong, it does not give you the right to destroy or damage that which does not belong to you!

In Darts & Laurels, the Journal takes a dart for recent election coverage:

DART: From Dolores Hicks to The Ithaca Journal. Shame on you for your tasteless coverage of George Totman's loss to the Board of Representatives. It would have been nice if you mentioned his 50-plus years of service to the Groton, McLean and Dryden areas instead of running a 2-inch headline declaring his loss. We are supposed to be nice people in Tompkins County. Many times you fail to cover the news in a timely manner, but you capitalized on this immediately. Regardless of ones political affiliations, you owe Mr. Totman an apology.

Posted by simon at 1:12 PM Comment

September 25, 2005

Town Board meeting conflicts

I was planning to spend this weekend catching up on a number of stories, but instead wound up resting (for the first time in too long), painting and fixing storm windows, and replacing my windshield wiper blades after a chunk of what appears to have been wet cornbread came flying across Route 13 by the airport. Fraternity prank?

Fortunately, the Dryden Courier seems to have covered two key stories, both of which took place at the September 15th Town Board meeting.

They lead with an article on Autoworks' plans to move some of their business from their existing shop in Varna to the nearly invisible former F&T Distributing building near my house. As the Courier reports, Greg and Karen Rushlow told the board that they are planning to do longer-term repairs on cars inside the building, with cars stored inside except for pickup and drop off.

I thought it was fine, and the owners of the orchid greenhouse under construction asked for a fence, but David Moore, who apparently just bought the former state trooper barracks for use as Stone Travel's new offices, was pretty annoyed. As the Courier puts it:

"My concern speaks to the idea that do we want to be moving an auto repair business to an area, a nicely designated area, that could have a potential impact on other people's development plans and property values."

He stressed that he has brought many tax dollars into the town, and expressed concerns that Autoworks would house numerous unregistered and unlicensed vehicles on its property, making it unattractive and lowering the property values of area properties.

Then he had his lawyer spend a few minutes doing his best to blur the lines in the zoning law between auto repair businesses and junkyards, something I found especially disturbing because his attorney is Randy Marcus, the Attorney for the Zoning Board of Appeals. I certainly hope he won't be blurring zoning law for the ZBA as well.

The Courier notes that Greg Rushlow disputed all of Moore's claims, and those claims certainly didn't reflect the plan they had just presented to the board. Next, someone objected to Moore's position:

"It sounds to me like you are saying that if this goes through, you are going to take your toys and go play elsehwere," the resident said. "And I don't think that's a very neighborly thing to do."

That resident was me. I didn't take kindly to Moore's comments, attitudes, or claims, and I suggest he take a closer look at the surrounding neighborhood before arguing that an auto repair shop would lower property values. He'd expressed himself with the one technique most guaranteed to annoy me: to promise to invest money in a project but if and only if the Town Board did exactly what he wanted them to. I was disgusted when Corning Incorporated (with the support of former Dryden Superintendent, then Corning Superintendent, Donald Trombley) said it would pay for new schools in Corning if and only if voters did what the company said they should, and I find Moore's attitude more of the same on a smaller scale.

Oh well. The board tabled that decision to the next board meeting, and eventually got to the issue I think more people had expected to be controversial: discussion of the Town's proposed Comprehensive Plan. The Courier covers this part of the meeting in a separate article, focusing on two resident complaints:

  • Eric Ludewig and the residents of Sunset West Circle are upset to find their neighborhood proposed as suburban residential with possible water and sewer coming. Not because they're opposed to development, but because the development has already happened, and they don't want the extra costs of water and sewer. He also said that no one there had heard of the plan. County Legislative candidate W. David Restey backed Ludewig up.

  • Kathleen McIsaac, who had served on the agriculture meeting and had been to Planning Board meetings regularly because of farm issues, spoke of her frustration in coming to the board again to oppose a trail through her property, something added at the end of the Planning Board's discussion.

Sunset Circle West resident Eric Ludewig objects to parts of the comprehensive plan
Sunset Circle West resident Eric Ludewig objects to parts of the comprehensive plan.

The Courier doesn't spend time on it, but Ken Miller also spoke in partial opposition to the agriculture section and requested that an agriculture committee continue its work. Zorika Henderson had Robin Hadlock Seeley's letter opposing trails, and specifically eminent domain for trails read into the minutes. A number of other people spoke in opposition to the trails, with eminent domain a common theme.

The Courier also discusses the Supervisor Steve Trumbull's frustration with people arriving at the very end of the process, despite major efforts along the (eight-year-long) way to advertise the plan, include the public in question and answer sessions and two public hearings. The board as a whole sounded impatient to vote the plan up or down, but postponed it until next month in the hopes of having Councilman Chris Michaels at the meeting as well.

At the end of the article there's a nice quick rundown of other developments including an approved permit for Applied Pulsed Power to move into the former Ithaca Produce building, a well-supported petition requesting a study on the feasibility of providing the Ellis Hollow area with water (which the Board seemed inclined to do, except for a legal issue with a contract to do it), and the town's approving a $98,000 addition to the highway barn which was supposed to be $92,000 before bids came in.

Back on the front page is good news about the success of the Dryden School District's efforts to raise fund for Hurricane Katrina victims. Response has been overwheleming, filling boxes that line the hallways. There's also an article on a hair-cut-a-thon held by Hair and More, a fundraiser which was also collecting donations for Hurricane Katrina.

A new "Kids Speak" section asks two Dryden 6th graders about their favorite fall activities, and it sounds like jumping in leaf piles is still popular.

In sports, there's a look at Dryden football raising $1000 for Katrina victims and also a preview of a girls swim meet between Dryden and Lansing.

Posted by simon at 8:46 PM Comment

September 26, 2005

Upset about the war, taxes

This morning's Ithaca Journal presents opinions from a few Dryden residents. The Journal's article about weekend war protests talks to Nancy Suci, who is identified as an Ithaca resident, but she lives on Turkey Hill Road here in Dryden. Suci attended protests against the Iraq war in Washington on Saturday:

"There was a feeling that the people of Washington who were there, who weren't marching, approved," the 76-year-old said. "You go and protest partly to support yourselves - you have no illusions that when you go and shout at the White House, anyone's listening."

On the editorial page, Richard Couch points to Spencer-Van Etten's example of a community raising funds for sports after an austerity budget as something more places may be doing soon:

while it is so great to see a community rally around something to help kids, I'm concerned the S-VE might be setting a good example that other school districts will be forced to follow.

Austerity budgets may just be a thing of the future. School budgets are unique in that they are the only budgets we get to vote on directly. Municipal, state and federal budgets are all voted on by elected representation, and lately those budgets seem to be growing out of control. Despite the tone set in some letters the editor and guest columns, I doubt voters in S-VE are mean or dislike kids. They are sending a simple message - "we can't afford higher taxes."

Posted by simon at 8:43 AM Comment

Kalandros reception kicks off campaign season

Dryden has three county legislative districts. Two of them, those held by Mike Lane and Martha Robertson, are completely within the Town of Dryden. The third, currently represented by George Totman, includes the corner of Dryden north and east of Malloryville Road, along with all of Groton and a sliver of eastern Lansing.

Athena Kalandros of Groton is running for that seat as a Democrat against Republican Duane "Tyke" Randall. She held an event at the Benn Conger Inn tonight. Fifty or sixty people attended, enjoying the food and drink, the beautiful venue, the company, and the speeches, and District Attorney candidate Gwen Wilkinson joined the fun as well.

Athena Kalandros speaks
Athena Kalandros talks about serving the 9th district.

Kalandros talked about why she was happy to be living and working at her small business in Groton, how she would like to apply the negotiating and grant skills she'd developed in her work to help the district, and asked the audience for their help in electing her.

Athena Kalandros talks with district residents
Athena Kalandros talks with district residents.

It was a great evening, a very pleasant side of politics. I've posted a gallery of photos if you'd like to see more.

Posted by simon at 10:16 PM Comment

September 27, 2005

County budget, DA's race

There isn't much in today's Ithaca Journal about Dryden, except a reminder that school taxes in Dryden are due Saturday to avoid a penalty. (In the Ithaca district, they're due October 31st.)

There's lots of county news, however. A front page article visits last night's county budget meeting to see what the public had to say about the proposed no-tax-levy-increase budget. Mostly it sounds like people are concerned about cuts to programs, though one attendee doesn't seem to get that no increase in the tax levy means no increase in total taxes no matter what the assessor's office does.

There's also an article on District Attorney George Dentes defending his record against a lot of issues raised by challenger Gwen Wilkinson.

Posted by simon at 8:52 AM Comment

September 28, 2005

Corgis on Baker Hill Road

The Our Towns section of today's Ithaca Journal and the paper generally have lots about Dryden today, but I'll start with the most fun article, about a Corgi at a house just up the hill from mine who won the American Kennel Club's Master Agility Championship. Cecilia Madsen and her dog Sage won the award on June 25th, and perhaps Speck, a pup who's just arrived, will follow in Sage's footsteps.

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk reports on next Wednesday night's fundraiser basketball game pitting the Dryden Stars against the Harlem Wizards, as well as next summer's Class of 1956 Dryden High School reunion, for which planning is getting underway. For questions on the basketball game, call Diane Smith at 844-8694, ext. 9243; for questions on the reunion, call Nancy Couch at 844-4092.

There was also a rollover accident at the intersection of Route 13 with Johnson and Yellow Barn Roads yesterday that thankfully caused only minor injuries.

On the opinion page, Murray Cohen of Dryden continues a recent trend of quoting scripture in letters, worried that "President Bush is giving new meaning to Jesus' remark: "To those who have, more will be given." (Matthew 25)".

There's also an article on the twenty minutes of reading before school that's become part of the Dryden School District's day, and it includes a list of what some administrators are reading.

Posted by simon at 12:30 PM Comment

September 29, 2005

TC3 starts first fund-raising campaign

I always thought that state colleges and universities were supposed to be paid for by the state, but it's become clearer and clearer lately that the state, or at least the people currently running it, doesn't like that idea much. Hence, we get TC3 kicking off a $3 million dollar capital campaign, off to a good start with $1.7 million raised privately. The article also notes that a potential barrier to TC3's expansion, the sewer issues with the Village of Dryden, has been resolved by repairs to sewer lines and conservation efforts.

The SPCA will be among green buildings on a tour this Saturday.

Posted by simon at 4:34 PM Comment

September 30, 2005

Lane and Totman fight for additional deputies

This morning's Ithaca Journal is quiet on Dryden news, but the county legislature is busy with the budget. The Journal looks at the votes for the sheriff's department. Dryden legislators Mike Lane and George Totman pushed for three new deputies, then two, and finally had a 7-6 vote that added one new deputy to the department. Legislator Martha Robertson voted against all three options.

Posted by simon at 5:47 PM Comment