January 1, 2008

Welcome, 2008

2007 had its heart-breaking surprises and its wonderful moments, some strife, and some victories. 2008 will likely be the same - but all different.

There's going to be a lot of change around here, as Angelika is expecting a baby at the end of March. I'll be shifting my focus closer to home, shifting some of the attention I've been giving the community to our child.

I've told the Dryden Democrats that I would like to retire as chair, and hopefully we can find a successor soon. I'll stay involved in local politics - it's too important to ignore - but it's time to take a different role. You'll likely see a similar shift in priorities here as well, with more focus on things that happen at home than on things that happen in meetings.

My New Year's Resolution reflects a similar homeward bias: I'm going to spend an hour a day focused on the garden, whether it needs it or not. That doesn't necessarily mean I'll be out there weeding in January, but there's plenty to do in preparation even before the season really starts. If you've been following my permaculture stories, you've probably noticed that we have a lot started, but there's a lot more to go. Hopefully the baby will enjoy some time outside.

It's going to be a very different, but very exciting, year!

Posted by simon at 3:50 AM Comment

January 2, 2008

Promise for 2008

Cathy Wakeman welcomes the New Year with a column examining why 2008 looks promising for Dryden. She lists the Dryden Rotary Club, Dryden Community Cafe, a new Recreation Coordinator for the Town, the improvements to TC3's athletic facilities, and the growing development at Maple Ridge.

On the opinion page, Ellis Hollow resident Stuart Berg continues the debate over how best to drive down hills in winter conditions.

Posted by simon at 12:37 PM Comment

Town Board meeting(s)

The Public Notices page announces that the Town of Dryden's Town Board will be having three meetings in the next week, plus one the 18th:

  • Tonight (January 2nd) at 7:00pm is the organizational meeting, where Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner, and Town Board members David Makar and Joseph Solomon will take their oath of office and the Board will get started on its business for the year. (I'm not sure when or where the re-elected Town Clerk or Town Justice take their oaths.)

  • On the 5th, Saturday, the Board will meet to "to accept map, plan and report for expansion of Cortland Road Sewer District and set public hearing, and such other business as the board may deem necessary".

  • Next Wednesday, the 9th, the Board will have its first regular meeting of the year, including a Public Hearing on a "Special Permit application of TC3 Foundation for construction of additional dormitories".

  • On Friday the 18th, the Board will meet to discuss "approval of the expansion of the Cortland Road Sewer District".

The Conservation Board meets January 8th, as does the Recreation Commission. The Youth Commission meets the 15th, and the Planning Board the 17th.

Posted by simon at 12:52 PM Comment

January 4, 2008

Dryden man injured on Fall Creek Road

A complex multi-car incident sent a Fall Creek Road man to the hospital yesterday morning. The article notes that residents had requested a speed reduction there in 1999, and maybe it's time to try again. (Update: The Cortland Standard has more.)

On the opinion page, Peggy Eck of Dryden objects to the Journal's coverage of Virginia Tech, calling the Journal a "news medium that uses shock tactics and calls it journalism". It's a strange contrast to the Journal's own editorial today on the popularity of their grim stories.

Posted by simon at 6:38 AM Comment

January 5, 2008

Dryden students visit 'Nutcracker'

This morning's Ithaca Journal has a piece on Dryden fourth and fifth graders visit to see "The Nutcracker" in Syracuse at the end of November.

They also have two articles on the state of the environment here - one on mercury emissions from Milliken Station on Cayuga Lake, and another on the relative safety of fish in the area. (Given prevailing winds, I wonder how much of the 49 pounds of mercury lands in northern Dryden.)

Posted by simon at 9:33 AM Comment

January 7, 2008

Sumner sworn in

Unfortunately, I was still in Germany when the new Dryden Town Board held its organizational meeting last Wednesday, but the Journal covers our new Supervisor and her outlook for the year this morning. (Board member David Makar posted his report on the meeting earlier.)

In addition to the usual setting up at the organizational meeting, the Town Board unanimously appointed Jason Leifer to the empty board seat created by Mary Ann Sumner's rise to Supervisor. His appointment will last through the November election, when the remaining year of the seat will be up for election.

The County Legislature also reorganized, under new Chair Mike Koplinka-Loehr. The Dryden Legislators have the following positions:

Martha Robertson (D, Dryden west of Caswell, Mineah, and Midline roads)

Planning, Development and Environmental Quality (Chair), Public Safety, Health and Human Services

Mike Hattery (R, eastern Dryden, minus McLean)

Budget and Capital (Vice Chair), Government Operations, Public Safety

Duane "Tyke" Randall (R, McLean, Groton, eastern Lansing)

Health and Human Services (Vice Chair), Facilities and Infrastructure, and Planning, Development and Environmental Quality

Incidentally, anyone who thinks that Tompkins County politics are rough should take a look at this Cortland Standard piece on choosing a Chair for the Cortland County Legislature.

On the opinion page, Ken Jupiter writes to contest a Journal headline suggesting the Ithaca Commons is overpriced.

Posted by simon at 8:09 AM Comment

An hour a day in the garden

If Living in Dryden looks a little lighter lately, it's probably because I've shifted some of my content to An hour a day in the garden, a new little blog that that I'm using to keep track of my New Year's resolution.

(When I find the time, Living in Dryden is going to get a major overhaul, and it'll be better able to include information from my other blogs. In the meantime, you can keep track of most of my recent writing at simonstl.com if you're looking for more to read.)

Posted by simon at 8:08 PM Comment

January 8, 2008

64 on Game Farm Road

This morning's Journal reports unseasonable temperatures, a January spring. It peaked at 62 at the airport yesterday and 64 on Game Farm Road, and we'll see similar temperatures today.

There was a closed hearing in the Manos murder case yesterday, most likely about evidence.

TC3 President Carl Haynes will be receiving the Chair Academy's Paul A. Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award.

The opinion page is largely about state issues. The editorial is a wishlist for Governor Spitzer's "State of the State" address. Jay Gallagher provides a lot of comparisons of New York with other states.

There's also a guest column calling on Governor Spitzer to address subprime lending, but I'm kind of confused. New York seems generally to have had fewer problems than many states, notably Ohio to our west. The article specifically mentions foreclosure "rates in Ithaca spiking to 17.8 percent in the last year". If 17.8% of mortgaged houses in Ithaca were being foreclosed on, I'd expect to be hearing about a complete crash in the local housing market. It's possible that foreclosure rates are up 17.8%, but from what base, I don't know. (I also don't know if that's the City of Ithaca, or the metropolitan area, or the county.)

It would be nice to see some real data on this. The New York Times had a map of the state showing the impact a while ago, but I'm pretty certain that's out of date. Update: This map showing data through September also doesn't show much dreadfulness in New York State.

Posted by simon at 8:50 AM Comment

January 9, 2008

Spinning Saturday in Varna

If you're interested in spinning yarn, or just want to see what it looks like, the Black Sheep Handspinners Guild will be having its annual "Roc Day" at the Varna Community Center, 943 Dryden Road, this Saturday, January 12th. It runs from 10:30am to 4:00pm, and admission is free.

For a lot more information, see this Tompkins Weekly article.

I won't be able to make it this year, but I had a great time visiting in 2005, and took a gallery of photos that should give you some idea of what's there.

Posted by simon at 5:48 PM Comment

January 10, 2008

"Concert for the Cafe" Saturday; pancakes Sunday

The Dryden Community Center Cafe will be the beneficiary of a concert Saturday night in the Dryden Middle School/High School auditorim. Beyond Measure, Hall Pass, and The Small Kings will be performing. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens.

If you're hungry Sunday morning, we'll be serving pancakes, french toast, bacon, ham, potatoes, eggs, cakes, and fruit, and probably sausage gravy and biscuits, at the Varna Community Center (943 Dryden Road, Route 366) from 8:00am to noon on Sunday. I think it's $6 for adults, but I don't remember exactly.

Posted by simon at 12:18 PM Comment

January 11, 2008

Examining municipal power

I probably shouldn't admit this on a Dryden blog, but there are lots of times I'm jealous of Groton. Their downtown seems to be doing better than Dryden's at this point, the state highways that connect the Village to the world are less overwhelmed with traffic, and walking around the Village's center is a lot easier. The Journal today looks at another advantage they have: municipal electric power, with much lower rates than NYSEG.

As someone concerned about the rate at which we use energy, I'm not entirely thrilled about "cheap low rates!", which is definitely something that makes people happy about it. On the other hand, electrical energy is extremely flexible, and can be generated in all kinds of ways. (I know Auburn had hydroelectric generation; I don't know if Groton could do that with Owasco Inlet.)

I know there are people who think giving anything new to government is a terrible idea, but it's probably obvious by now that I'm not one of them. I trust local government officials vastly more than I trust far away stockholders insulated from liability - there's actually a way to keep local officials accountable to the people they serve. State regulation is all we have to keep NYSEG accountable, and frankly, NYSEG hasn't been interested in being accountable for a lot of years.

At one point former Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull suggested - I'm not sure if he was joking - that the Town could consider building a windmill on the new Town Hall property. Wind power controlled by local government with the intent of powering local homes and businesses can feel a lot less threatening than wind power owned by distant investors whose main hope is to make money generating power cheaply here and selling it to New York City at a premium. (Federal officials seem especially interested in treating Upsate New York as a power source for the city, though I don't know if Dryden residents have noticed the activity to our east.)

I don't think it's legally possible at this point for the Town of Dryden or the villages to start a municipal power company like Groton's. Still, it's worth thinking about options beyond the current combination of regulation and generally meaningless "Voice Your Choice" we have now.

The Journal also notes tomorrow night's Concert for the Cafe.

County Legislator Mike Hattery is mentioned briefly in an article about concerns about the County's possible new Health Department building on Brown Road.

At the state level, there's lots of news:

Posted by simon at 8:39 AM Comment

People are not squid

NYCO's Blog always does an excellent job of taking conversations about Upstate New York that have gone into endless repeat and looking at them from a different angle. While Dryden may not have a lot of large industrial plants, her latest piece still speaks clearly about the ways we often discuss economic development and decay as if it was some kind of abstract process, forgetting - perhaps deliberately - about the humans involved.

Well worth a read.

Posted by simon at 9:51 AM Comment

January 14, 2008

Warmer winters, Spanish energy

I was out of the house on Saturday from 8:30am to 10:30pm, and didn't get to catch up with much. Saturday's Journal had some stories that aren't specifically Dryden, but still worth exploring.

There's an AP piece on our changing winters, which seem to me to be getting crazier. Warmer sometimes, colder other times, with lots of snow falling and also melting.

The Journal also visits with the new owners of NYSEG, Iberdrola.

There was a piece on Luella Holland, who was called from work in Dryden because her house in Spencer burned down. Today's Journal reports on the benefit held for her over the weekend.

Posted by simon at 12:42 PM Comment

Drive-by deer shooting in Varna

At the pancake breakfast on Sunday, I heard one of the crazier stories I've heard in a while.

One of the women working the breakfast mentioned a "drive-by shooting", and I wondered what had happened. Fortunately, it wasn't against humans - someone had shot a deer from their car and kept on driving. She'd heard the shot and seen the deer go down, a doe that often stood in that particular spot.

She wound up calling the Sheriff, who sent over the State Police, who put the deer down. They called the DEC, who came to collect the deer (to donate the venison to food pantries) and speculate on just how many laws had been broken:

  • Shooting a deer out of season.

  • Shooting from a moving vehicle.

  • Shooting too close to a road.

  • Shooting too close to a house.

I'm sure there are plenty more. We also speculated about various other crimes these cheerful people might be up to. Unfortunately she didn't see the car.

The DEC said this has been happening more often lately, but hopefully it'll stay rare and become rarer. I completely support legal hunting, and think we have too many deer, but this is completely out of line. Hopefully this idiot will try this near a DEC person, and finally get caught.

And if you see it, call it in.

Posted by simon at 9:13 PM Comment

January 15, 2008

Dangers on the road

Today's Dryden news in the Journal is mostly road-related. There's a one-car accident at Mott and North roads, a DWI arrest for a Freeville man, and a letter from Nari Mistry of Dryden urging TCAT buses to drive more carefully.

It seems to be political visiting season, though everyone's visiting Ithaca. Senator Schumer visited yesterday, and Congressman Hinchey visited yesterday. (He used to represent Dryden, but hasn't since the 2002 redistricting.) Governor Spitzer will be there today.

In state news, they, um, forgot to bill the county for a lot of money over six years. And Jay Gallagher examines the Governor's State of the State.

Posted by simon at 8:47 AM Comment

Closer to that ideal vehicle

GM's showing a pluggable hybrid with a 3-cylinder diesel engine, probably for release in 2010 and 2011. Now if only it could be used as a generator, and have a pickup bed, it'd be about exactly what I was looking for earlier.

Posted by simon at 10:07 AM Comment

January 16, 2008

Deployment ceremony tonight

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk in this morning's Journal lists a lot of happenings, including one tonight:

  • There will be a deployment ceremony at 6:00pm tonight for 87 men and women going to Afghanistan for a year. The ceremony will be at the Armory on Hanshaw Road.

  • Nine Dryden Junior Girl Scouts earned Girl Scouting's Bronze Award for their work on a variety of local projects.

  • The Salvation Army raised $2950 in its Red Kettle campaign in Dryden over the holidays.

  • The Concert for the Cafe was a success, and the next Dryden Community Cafe event will be this Saturday, the 19th, as Mrs. McPuppet entertains at the cafe at 11:00am.

  • On January 30th, the US Military Academy's Jazz Knights will be playing at Dryden High School at 7:00pm, with a workshop for students beforehand at 6:00pm.

(I can't make it to the deployment ceremony because I have a Dryden Town Historical Society meeting, but if anyone has pictures to post, let me know.)

The article on weather and accidents doesn't list anything in Dryden, but I saw a lot of cars off the road around twilight yesterday.

The Monitor reports a theft of around $11,500 in copper piping from ModuHeat.

Posted by simon at 8:58 AM Comment

January 17, 2008

One New York

I'd been wondering what Governor Spitzer was going to do in his State of Upstate speech, and I'm still not sure what I think of the details.

I do, however, think the conclusion is something that everyone in New York State, Upstate or Downstate, should think hard about:

Now, ever since we announced we were doing this speech, some people have said to us: "You always talk about how we are One New York: one state, with one future. Doesn't a speech focusing only on one part of the State run counter to the very idea of One New York?"

It's a fair question. But the answer should be clear.

We are not giving this speech in spite of the fact that we're one state with one future.

We're giving this speech-and we've put the concerns of Upstate front and center on the agenda-precisely because we are one state with one future.

We are One New York, and we rise and fall together. When part of our State is struggling, it affects all of us. Because when a young family leaves the State, everyone has to pay for the cost of decline-the higher taxes, increased health care costs and shrinking national voice in Washington.

The truth is that we will never grow again; we will never prosper again; we will never become a beacon of hope and opportunity again if part of our state is thriving and another part is falling behind. So we must come together and channel all of the passion, energy and determination that is within us toward one goal: restoring growth and prosperity to Upstate New York.

We need only look to our own history for an example of success in a similar endeavor.

It was just a few short decades ago-in the late 1970s-when New York City was in crisis. Its social fabric was torn; its economy was in trouble; it was all but bankrupt; and it was desperate for help.

Yet when the people of New York City asked for help, the people of Upstate did not look the other way. Rather, you said to the people of New York City: "Your struggles are our struggles. Your future is our future. When there's a storm, everyone pitches in to help. So tell us what we can do." And working together, we did what many thought was impossible; we brought New York City back to life.

We are here today because we know it is time-indeed, it is long past time-to do the same for Upstate. To create jobs; to build livable, sustainable communities; and to attract and retain the next generation of New Yorkers who will call Upstate home. And just as we did back then, we will do it by working together. Because we must have your buy-in, your best efforts, your grit and your will if we are to succeed.

New York actually was a pretty coherent state, if a state with distinct regional opinions, from 1823 (opening of the Erie Canal) to about 1959 (opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway). Things have changed. The hard question I have is whether we as a state can step up - together - to the challenge Spitzer presents.

I don't have an answer to that.

Posted by simon at 6:18 PM Comment

Superintendent search, Senate race

Looking back through the past few days of the Cortland Standard, they report on the Dryden Schools' Superintendent search, which hopes to have interviews in March.

They also report on Caroline Supervisor Don Barber's raising $125,000 toward a State Senate bid against Jim Seward, who currently represents the "Abe Lincoln riding a vacuum cleaner" gerrymandered district.

I'm happy to find my own $100 donation in the reports. It's an uphill climb in a district built for Seward, but 2008 is the right year to win it!

Posted by simon at 8:34 PM Comment

Deploying from Dryden

This morning's Ithaca Journal has a report on the send-off ceremony for the 108th Infantry's Company D held yesterday at the National Guard Armory on Hanshaw Road. 80 local residents are off to Fort Bragg, NC for two months of training before going to serve in Afghanistan, training the army and police.

It looks like the Ithaca area will be getting tighter connections to the electrical grid, including substantial upgrades of lines through Dryden.

On the opinion page, Charles DeMotte of Freeville calls for the next American President to be a visionary.

Posted by simon at 8:51 PM Comment

January 18, 2008

Clinton supporter; changing bus schedules

Susan James of Ithaca (really Bethel Grove) writes to support Hillary Clinton for president in this morning's Journal.

The paper also notes that TCAT buses will be making some schedule changes effective Sunday, the 20th.

Posted by simon at 12:38 PM Comment

January 19, 2008

TC3 peace officers to carry guns

One part of Dryden just got a lot more heavily armed. TC3 will be shifting from security to peace officers, who will have the ability to make arrests and will be armed with guns. I'm curious how that will work with the dormitories, since TC3 doesn't own them - the TC3 Foundation does. I'm guessing that they've thought that through, however.

Posted by simon at 11:24 AM Comment

January 21, 2008

Challenging Seward; thanks from DYOF

This morning's Journal has an article on Caroline Supervisor Don Barber gearing up to challenge State Senator Jim Seward.

On the opinion page, the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund sends a Laurel to supporters of its Honor Tree in Times Square.

(I had great plans for publishing today, since my employer added today to our list of days off, but unfortunately I seem to have spent most of the weekend experimenting with various ways of being sick. Yuck.)

Posted by simon at 2:19 PM Comment

Methodist Church needs repairs

This week's Dryden Courier is overwhelmingly loaded with Dryden news. If you have a chance, I'd encourage you to buy a copy, since I can only get so much in here. (Rite Aid and the Mobil usually have it in the Village of Dryden, as does Sunoco/XtraMart on the 13/366 overlap.)

They lead with the Methodist Church, which needs $250,000 in repairs, with a total of $750,000 of recommended repairs. The church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is pretty much the architectural anchor of the four corner intersection in the Village of Dryden. They managed to support the appraisal with grants; I'm not sure how they'll manage to support the construction. The 133-year-old roof is a lot of the problem.

Also on the front page, there's a report on the interactions between the TC3 Foundation's plans for a new dormitory and the Town of Dryden's recently-passed stormwater ordinances. It made for a very long start to the Town Board earlier this month, because the Foundation needed approval to proceed with other funding, and didn't yet have either a variance for a smaller parking lot or a stormwater plan that matched the new ordinance. After a lot of discussion, they sorted that out.

The other issue that was acted on at the meeting was Carlton Ryan's request that the Board ask for a lower speed limit on Fall Creek Road, following an accident he miraculously got through with relatively minor injuries. The Town agreed to ask the state for a reduction to 45mph.

There's an extended interview with Jason Leifer, newly appointed to the Town Board, talking aobut why he came here, the fun of hiking, sports, being a lawyer, and his shift from running for Town Justice to serving on the Town Board.

There's a note on the Dryden Schools Superintendent Search, and their hopes for public input.

The On Campus section notes that Abby Niziol of Freeville was named to the Fall 2007 Dean's List at St. John Fisher College.

In sports, there's a roundup of girls basketball that includes mention of Dryden beating Marathon 31-30 in overtime. The boys basketball roundup notes Dryden's 43-40 loss as well.

In the Calendar, a photo announces a fundraiser for Robbie Busby, a 5-year-old West Dryden boy, to be held at the First Congregational Church in Cayuga Heights at 2:00pm February 3rd.

There's a report on the Dryden school board meeting that explored comparing Dryden with other school districts.

The Dryden Year in Review takes up the middle of the paper, with vastly more than I can present here.

TC3 also gets some additional mention for a hospitality certificate program at TC3.biz.

The Dryden Senior Citizens will be getting together on the 28th at the Dryden Fire Hall. Mark Murphy, owner of Dryden Sport and Spine Physical Therapy, will be speaking. Dinner starts at 12:15pm, with announcements at 11:45pm.

There's a picture of me preparing pancakes at the Varna Community Center's pancake breakfast last Sunday. I have to confess that while I did a fair amount of cooking from 6:00am to 8:30am, I was really pleased that the Probation Department brought us a good crew, including an excellent cook. You're not supposed to take pictures of folks on community service, so I wound up with a picture. (Those were Matt's pancakes, though.)

Matt Cooper's Inside Dryden column starts with mention of the Southworth Library's preschool story time on Friday, January 25th at 10:00am. He also notes that the 2007 Salvation Army's Red Kettle Drive raised $2,950 in Dryden. He closes by mentioning that he'll be retiring his column and someone else will be writing it soon.

Harry Weldon starts Anecdotes & Brevities by talking about the challenge of getting the mail in winter, while Bob Garrison notes that Marie Read had taken photos of snow buntings on Mount Pleasant, which I think may be these.

Posted by simon at 2:24 PM Comment

A reason to worry about New York City

As financial institutions keep reporting staggering losses, the strongest financial engine of the state is looking pretty wobbly:

Now, economists and city and state officials are acknowledging that 2008 could turn out to be far worse than their already dampened expectations....

Announcements last week from Citigroup and Merrill Lynch that each had lost nearly $10 billion in the last three months of 2007, their biggest quarterly losses, signaled that the fallout from the cratering of the market for risky mortgages could be worse than anticipated.

Merrill, the nation's biggest brokerage firm, said it had already eliminated about 1,000 jobs, and Citigroup said it planned to cut about 4,000. Bank of America announced that it would cut an additional 650 jobs in its investment bank, which eliminated 500 jobs a few months ago.

Analysts said they expected more job cuts on Wall Street as the big banks continued to contract in the wake of the mortgage crisis. But early projections of how many jobs will be lost and the effect of those losses on the region's economy are being overtaken with each new piece of bad financial news....

In releasing a report last week on declining Wall Street bonuses at the end of 2007, Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller, noted that collections of personal income taxes in the city and state had remained strong so far. "But the future is not so bright," Mr. DiNapoli said. "The losses sustained in the securities industry during the second half of 2007 are a fairly clear indicator that tax collections, especially from business taxes, will erode in 2008."

One selfish reason downstate might want to see Upstate prospering is to help everyone avoid the gigantic swings in state tax collection caused by our over-reliance on New York City's being a financial hub.

Posted by simon at 3:26 PM Comment

January 22, 2008

Dryden firefighters trek to Cayuga County

A fire at a paving and excavation company in Genoa as severe enough to bring Dryden, McLean, and Freeville Fire Departments to help put it out. There's a picture of Ken Vorstadt and Mark Bell of Dryden bringing water to the scene.

Posted by simon at 12:39 PM Comment

Roc Day in Varna

Wow, am I behind!

Angelika visited the Black Sheep Handspinners Guild's annual Roc Day event in Varna on Saturday the 12th, returning with lots of pictures of the event.

It looks like everyone had a great time!

Spinning at Roc Day.
Spinning at Roc Day.

Selling yarn at Roc Day.
Selling yarn at Roc Day.

It's definitely one of the highlights of winter in Varna.

Posted by simon at 7:56 PM Comment

January 23, 2008

Cortland Road Sewer District finally sorting?

I've been writing about the Cortland Road Sewer District contract negotiations almost as long as I've been writing this site. The district, north of the Village of Dryden, is administered by the Town but uses the Village sewer plant, which needs to be rebuilt.

Monday's Cortland Standard suggests that the long deadlock is finally ending - the Town approved a contract Friday, and Mayor Reba Taylor was expecting to approve it at last night's Village of Dryden meeting. I guess we'll hear if they didn't!

Posted by simon at 8:55 AM Comment

Lynching challenge

Today's Ithaca Journal seems quiet about Dryden, except for a letter from Gary Simmons of Dryden complaining about complaints about the use of the word lynching.

Posted by simon at 12:24 PM Comment

January 24, 2008

Dryden input on organics

The New York State Organic Advisory Task Force will have at least one participant from Dryden, Vaughn Sherman of Jerry Dell Farm.

This morning's Journal also has an article comparing Governor Spitzer's plan for Upstate with the State Senate's plan. I mildly prefer Spitzer's plan, mostly because I can't imagine the State Senate putting together a plan that isn't packed with creative bits of "constituent service" for their close friends, contributors, business associates, and financial peers, but I'll admit that neither quite looks like a comprehensive answer to what ails us.

(Oh, and it's not just the State Senate - I can't say I'd expect much better of the Assembly. Both are broken.)

Posted by simon at 12:51 PM Comment

Village of Dryden Caucuses Tuesday night

It's hard for me to imagine that it's election season again, but village elections are in March, with caucuses to select candidates for the Village of Dryden this coming week:


There will be a caucus of the Democratic Party of the Village of Dryden on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 8:00 P.M. at the Dryden Village Hall, 16 South Street.

The purpose of the caucus is to nominate candidates for offices to be filled at the Village Election to be held on March 18, 2008 as follows:

  • Trustee (2 years)
  • Trustee (2 years)

All registered members of the Democratic Party who reside in the Village of Dryden are invited to attend, participate, and vote. Please come.

Dryden Democratic Committee

I believe that Democrats will be downstairs in the Village Hall, while Republicans will be upstairs at the same time. The incumbent trustees are Republican Dan Wakeman and Democrat Mary Ellen Bossack.

I'll post information on the Village of Freeville's non-partisan elections when I find some!

Posted by simon at 12:59 PM Comment

Telling a story of donating hair

Tonight's Cortland Standard visits a Press Day at Dryden Elementary which gave students a chance to talk about donating their hair, learn about journalism, and find out more about the hair donations.

Posted by simon at 6:16 PM Comment

January 25, 2008

TC3 Commons; sewer agreement approved

This morning's Journal has a picture of the new TC3 Commons on the front of the Local section. (Update: Whoops - that was the athletic facility.)

As Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner noted in comments here, the Town and Village of Dryden have agreed on a deal for the Cortland Road Sewer District, ending a very long stand-off.

Briefly in Tompkins notes that most important Dryden event, the Etna Chocolate Festival, which will be in Houtz Hall (the Etna Post Ofiice at 2 Lower Creek Road) on February 9th from 10:00am to noon. I always highly recommend this one.

Stephen Foote of Dryden was named to the SUNY Oswego President's List.

Looking past Dryden, there's an article on continuing conflict over Industrial Development Agency transparency and priorities, and a piece on TCAD director Michael Stamm's views.

I have to say that I think Stamm is way out of line, and if he's so strongly opposed to ensuring that taxpayer subsidies go to projects which pay prevailing wages, he should probably look for work in something other than economic development. It's great to build new infrastructure here, but having taxpayers give the money for the infrastructure to people who ship in cheaper labor from outside is simply ridiculous. TC3 deserved a lot more criticism than the brief protest at the four corners for doing just that, and I'm glad they learned their lesson - they don't seem to be pulling that same stunt again.

I know everyone likes to whine about how much it costs to get things done here, but it doesn't make any sense at all to me for government to subsidize people who specialize in taking money out of our communities. Yes, doing it right will cost a bit more, but there will be a lot of positive side-effects.

It's also a day in which the Journal publishes a print-only "Outlook" section. I cringed to see Young Professionals highlighted yet again, but there's a lot of information in there.

(Yes, I am still technically a "young professional". However, I'm pretty completely mystified by the "we must attract young professionals to our area" mindset. A lot of young professionals in an area are a sign of a community's health, but they're more like a symptom than a cause. Have a healthy economy, and professionals will show up to support it. Have a lot of young professionals around, and you, well, have a lot of young professionals around.)

Posted by simon at 12:26 PM Comment

Goodbye, Doug!

I think it's pretty clear that I'd like to support local businesses whenever I can. Sometimes, however, it's also important to remember that local businesses aren't necessarily perfect.

I'd originally signed on to Doug's Trash Removal because they were a little cheaper than Superior, but I was also happy that they were locally owned, out of Groton.

I spent a lot of yesterday putting trash by the curb. We've been remodeling, and we'd taken apart a lot of old particle-board furniture. A few sheets of trash tags later, I put that down by the curb, along with all the other trash, and was surprised this morning to find the particle board left behind.

Doug's has taken pretty much everything I'd ever given them in the past, including particle board, with the sole exception of paint cans. That one was understandable, requiring a separate trip to the county's hazardous waste folks. They were pretty clear about not taking furniture from the curb, which was fine. (They'd also skipped me a couple of times completely, but not very often.) This morning I was just puzzled.

I called this morning, and didn't get a straight answer on the particle board, so I decided it was time to cancel my service. I don't put the trash out every week anyway, we now have a pickup truck, and why waste effort wondering if the trash I put down at the curb is just going to need hauling back up? We took the particle board down to the county's solid waste facility, where they said it was just fine as garbage.

About ten minutes ago, I got another call - from Christine at Doug's - about a refund for my two remaining months of service. That part was okay, though they wouldn't refund the trash tags I'd wasted on the particle board. I asked about why they wouldn't take it, and suddenly I was in trouble for going beyond their boundaries, that somehow I was supposed to know that this didn't qualify as household waste. I suggested that they consider making the list of things they don't take a lot clearer, but got "we've been in business for 25 years and this has worked just fine," before she hung up on me.

So, I called back to warn them that they'd just ensured themselves an unhappy review from a disgruntled customer, and sat down to write this. In the future we'll be taking our trash down ourselves. We can combine it with other trips to Ithaca, it's a lot cheaper, and hopefully a lot less annoying.

Hopefully other people are having better experiences, and maybe their service will improve, but I'm done with Doug's. Sometimes even local businesses aren't too friendly.

Posted by simon at 12:58 PM Comment

January 26, 2008

Adelbert Hemingway's diary

This morning's Ithaca Journal has an extra dose of Dryden history in the local section, a Then & Now looking at the diaries of a Dryden carpenter from the 1870s to 1918. They're definitely worth a read.

There's also a photo of TC3's Learning Commons, replacing an erroneous one from yesterday.

Assessments are in the mail as the three-year cycle ends. There's also a glossary of assessment terms and questions and answers with the assessment department, plus a list of the top ten assessed property owners.

Finally, the Journal examines the changes to come in New York voting procedures.

Posted by simon at 2:52 PM Comment

January 28, 2008

TC3 commons, sewer agreement, organic farming

Saturday's Cortland Standard is loaded with Dryden news. There's an article on the opening of the TC3 Learning Commons, an article on the agreement between the Town and Village of Dryden on the Cortland Road Sewer Contract, and an update on the Manos murder trial, for which jury selection begins today.

Friday's issue had more information on the organic advisory board that includes Vaughn Sherman, of Jerry Dell Farm. It'll be chaired by Kathie Arnold of Truxton.

Posted by simon at 8:52 AM Comment

It's raining assessments

Today's Journal celebrates (well, sort of) the release of the first new property assessments since 2005 with a special report section. The main exciting piece in it is a print-edition-only list of recent sales, but there are also articles on:

On the opinion page, there's a Laurel from Jeffrey Colbert thanking supporters of his trip to the Under Armour National Christmas Camp and Tournament. There's also an article questioning the need for a regional airport. While it's by the manager of the Ithaca airport, he seems to me to be asking the right questions. I don't think that combining Ithaca, Elmira, and Binghamton by putting an airport in a place that's convenient to none of them is going to prove magically appealing to airlines.

Posted by simon at 8:57 AM Comment

January 29, 2008

Manos trial begins

This morning's Journal reports on the start of the Marie Manos murder trial. They selected a jury yesterday, and opening statements are today.

Posted by simon at 12:59 PM Comment

Village of Dryden Caucuses tonight

Just a quick reminder - the Democratic and Republican caucuses to select candidates for Village of Dryden trustees are both at 8:00pm tonight at the Dryden Village Hall, 16 South Street, Dryden. Republicans will be upstairs, Democrats downstairs.

There are two 2-year trustee seats up for election, currently held by Democrat Mary Ellen Bossack and Republican Dan Wakeman.

For more information, see the complete Democratic notice.

Posted by simon at 1:02 PM Comment

January 30, 2008

Jazz Knights tonight

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk reminds readers that the United States Military Academy Jazz Knights will be at the Dryden High School auditorium tonight, with a workshop for students at 6:00pm and a concert at 7:00pm.

Wakeman also looks at Dryden Kiwanis' book program, which gave a copy of local author Margaret Lorenzen's Petunia Patch Pockets and the Golden Locket to Dryden second-graders. She points to the superintendent survey on the Dryden schools' web site, reports thanks from the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund, and reminds everyone of the Sertoma Pancake Breakfast coming the morning of Saturday, February 9th. I think it'll be at the Dryden Fire Station, and proceeds will benefit the Dryden Community Center Cafe.

There's a report on day 2 of the Manos trial, with opening testimony from the prosecution.

The opinion pages has letters from two Hillary Clinton supporters just outside the Town of Dryden line. Lori Gardner is a former Dryden Democratic Committee chair, while Pat Pryor of Freeville has a Freeville address but is just barely in Lansing.

Posted by simon at 12:54 PM Comment

Democrats nominate Bossack, Gentz for Village Trustee

The Dryden Democrats nominated incumbent Mary Ellen Bossack and Frederick Gentz to run for Village Trustee in the election coming up this March 18th.

Fred Gentz accepts Jean Fitzgibbons' congratulations
Fred Gentz accepts Jean Fitzgibbons' congratulations on his nomination for Village of Dryden trustee.

Bossack has served three previous terms as a trustee, is a school counselor, and the president of the Dryden Faculty Association.

Fred Gentz is Commercial Lines Supervisor at Security Mutual Insurance, a Marine Corps veteran, Post Commander at the Dryden VFW, and a 20-year-volunteer at Neptune Hose Company.

The Republicans have Dan Wakeman as an incumbent, but I haven't heard who the Republicans nominated yet.

Posted by simon at 12:59 PM Comment

January 31, 2008

Varna firefighters testify at Manos trial

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the latest from the Manos trial. Yesterday's testimony focused on Grace Manos' condition after the bathtub incident, and included testimony from the Varna Fire Company paramedics who treated her.

There's also a report on the complete slate of candidates for Dryden Village Trustee: Fred Gentz and incumbent Mary Ellen Bossack for the Democrats, and Charlie Becker and Don Norman for the Republicans.

Posted by simon at 8:51 AM Comment