September 2, 2008

Farm City Day 2008

Tompkins County Farm City Day was at Angel Tree Farm last month, on Scofield Road near where Dryden, Groton, and Lansing all meet. They enjoyed showing off their alpacas (and chickens), and I think everyone had a good time.

Alpacas and people at Angel Tree Farms
Alpacas and people at Angel Tree Farms.

Dairy Princess Lacey Foote and the Dairy Ambassadors make a sundae.
Dairy Princess Lacey Foote and the Dairy Ambassadors make a sundae.

I've posted a larger gallery of photos from the event as well, and the Journal had a story on it too.

(And yes, I'm back, though posting will be slow for a while to come.)

Posted by simon at 7:41 AM Comment

Eight Square Schoolhouse teaches public

The History Center held its annual Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival on the 23rd, combining old-fashioned classes with ice cream, games, and music.

Playing with stilts
Playing with stilts.

Learning, 19th century style
Learning, 19th century style.

Spinning at the schoolhouse
Spinning at the schoolhouse.

I'll make (once again) the radical proposal that one room schoolhouses may seem like a good idea again as energy prices climb and fleets of schoolbuses weigh on taxpayer wallets. Since oil fell to a mere $105 a barrel today, though, maybe it's a better day just to enjoy the gallery of photos.

Posted by simon at 7:03 PM Comment

September 3, 2008

Mount Pleasant at Dusk

Moon over Mount Pleasant
Moon over Mount Pleasant.

Antennas on Mount Pleasant
Antennas on Mount Pleasant.

Posted by simon at 9:36 PM Comment

September 9, 2008

Sungiva is five (months)

Yes, it's been very quiet on this blog. It hasn't been so quiet at home, though, where Sungiva is figuring out more and more exciting things about the world every day.

Sungiva celebrates
Sungiva celebrates.

Sungiva with Rowena
Sungiva with Rowena.

Sungiva with Angelika
Sungiva with Angelika.

If you'd like to enjoy many more Sungiva adventures, I've posted a gallery of her fifth month, with all kinds of exciting moments - grandparents, godparents, toys, and more!

Posted by simon at 8:26 PM Comment

September 10, 2008

Freeville Harvest Festival Saturday

Today's Ithaca Journal is fairly busy. As always, Cathy Wakeman has a lot on Dryden:

  • The Freeville Harvest Festival will be this Saturday, September 13th, from 8:30am to 3:00pm. It's always a lot of fun, especially for food.

  • The Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund will celebrate five years of work on Wednesday, September 17th at 7:00pm at the Dryden Community Cafe.

  • The Southworth Library will hold their book sale on the 18th, 19th, and 20th at the Dryden Fire Hall.

  • The Dryden Community Cafe will host "Beyond Fire" emergency preparedness sessions on Tuesday nights, from the Dryden Fire Department.

  • Also at the cafe, a Songwriter's Workshop on Monday the 22nd at 6:30pm

  • For those looking to save on energy costs, Cooperative Extension will be holding one of their free "Save Energy, Save Dollars" presentations in conjunction with the Dryden Renewable Energy Workgroup on September 24th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. It will also be at the cafe. (Pre-registration is required.)

  • The Varna United Methodist Church will have a chicken barbecue on the 20th, starting at 4:00pm.

In the southwestern corner of the town, Dan Karig and Joanne Molenock gave an easement on 35 acres along Fall Creek to the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Hopefully that will keep some pressure off that watershed.

And sadly, the Ithaca Journal itself continues to shrink. I can't say I expect local coverage to improve given Gannett's cheerless priorities. (And color comics went away too.)

Posted by simon at 7:52 AM Comment

September 13, 2008

Ellis Hollow Fair, 2008

Last Saturday's Ellis Hollow Fair was as busy as ever, despite some occasional raindrops.

Varna Fire Company at the Fair entrance
Varna Fire Company at the Fair entrance.

Riding on a horse cart
Riding on a horse cart.

Explaining the Pie Run course
Explaining the Pie Run course.

White Elephant sale
White Elephant sale.

I've posted a much larger gallery of photos, as well as the winners of the Pie Run, and the times from the Pie Run. (Winners got pies based on how close they came to their predicted time for a run down and up the mile-long course.)

Posted by simon at 1:40 PM Comment

Freeville Harvest Festival

Continuing our tour of Dryden's excellent fall festivals, here's today's Freeville Harvest Festival, which felt just a little bigger than usual to me. They continued their excellent chili and apple cookoffs, had the traditional chicken barbecue, and there were lots of activities, booths, and music.

Approaching the Freeville Harvest Festival
Approaching the Freeville Harvest Festival.

Chili-tasting tent.
Chili-tasting tent.

Chili samples.
Chili samples.

Okay, it's a little too obvious what I was most interested in at the festival. If you'd like a much broader view, I've posted a gallery of photos, including some alpacas who were visiting. (Different ones from Farm City Day, too.)

Posted by simon at 2:17 PM Comment

September 15, 2008

Dryden EMS triumphs

This morning's Journal reports that a Dryden Ambulance EMS team got the best score in the "first-ever International EMS Competition". Working through six scenarios and a road rally, the team earned a trip to Poland for a paramedic exchange. (There are a lot more photos online - the print edition doesn't have any.)

At home, the Dryden Fire Department responded to a 5:44am fire in a TC3 dormitory, likely caused by a faulty light fixture. A sprinkler put the fire out quickly, but 130 students were evacuated. I know they've had problems with a lot of false alarms there over the years, and I'm glad to hear that this went as easily as it probably could have.

At the airport, crews worked through a few more disaster scenarios, simulating a mid-air collision on Saturday.

In county news, I'm really confused about a proposal to merge the Human Rights Commission with a public defenders office. Politics aside, it doesn't make much sense to me to create a hybrid of an office that prosecutes and an office that defends. I have a hard time seeing why that fundamental difference should be ignored.

Posted by simon at 6:15 PM Comment

Reviewing Town of Dryden NYSEG bills

You pay the heat and lights for your own home, but do you ever wonder about the share of your tax dollars that go to pay for your share of government bills? Are they closing the windows, turning off the lights, investing in efficiency, and spending your money cautiously?

The Dryden Renewable Energy Workgroup will be taking a look at the Town of Dryden's energy bills, along with those for the Varna Community Center, Varna Volunteer Fire Company, and hopefully the Dryden schools as well.

DREW will be meeting at the Varna Community Center, 943 Dryden Road/Route 366, starting at 7:30pm tomorrow, September 16th.

There's a great conversation going there, and I hope it grows.

Posted by simon at 6:43 PM Comment

September 20, 2008

Dryden continues shift toward Democrats

It's time once again to look in on voter registration figures for the Town of Dryden. There's definitely been new registration since February. Democrats have the most new registered voters, with 120, while there are 72 new blank and 29 new Independence voters.

PartyNumber (Feb 2008)Number (Sept 2008)Change
Blank (Independent)16631735+72
Working Families3436+2

If I compare that to May 2004, the earliest data I have, the shift toward Democratic registration is even clearer.

PartyNumber (May 2004)Number (Sept 2008)Change
Blank (Independent)17201735+15
Working Families2036+16

Democrats are way ahead here, with 303 additional registrants, while Independence picked up 77, Working Families 16, and genuine blanks 15. Republicans lost 123.

I'll do another round of this after the voter registration deadline - October 10th - has passed and all registrations are in.

Posted by simon at 4:00 PM Comment

September 27, 2008

Now that's an annual report


I'd known that the Town was working on an annual report, but I was still surprised and pleased to see it arrive in my mailbox this week. There's all kinds of stuff in, stuff that I once felt I had to dig to get when I first started this site.

In the finance report, we can see that the Town collected just over $1 million in property taxes, which is the number we all think of when local taxes come up. They also received $1.97 million in sales taxes, Dryden's share of sales tax collected in Tompkins County but outside of the City of Ithaca. The Town isn't counting on that again in 2008 - probably wisely, given the economy - forecasting only $1.685 million. They've also budgeted for a deficit for a second year in a row, but last year, despite budgeting a deficit of $1.3 million, they had a surplus of $563,924. We'll see where this year's budget ends up. (The big budget increase is in public works.)

There's much much more though - a telling of the new Town Hall's contruction, a report from the Town Clerk, a report on tax receipts, a list of the projects that the highway department and public works department was planning for 2008, a report on what's going on in Building, Planning, and Zoning, a list of Recreation Department programs,memberships, and projects, information on the Town court, including a breakdown of cases, an update from the Town Historian, a report from the Environmental Planner, and reports from the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Board, Youth Commission, and Recreation Commission. There's also a brief report on Dryden's emergency services and a list of local laws passed in 2007.

If you've been wondering what exactly Town government does, this is a great way to get started!

Posted by simon at 4:54 PM Comment

Six months of Sungiva

Today, little Sungiva is six months old. She's done a lot of growing, and is picking up new activities.

Sungiva reads (sort of).
Sungiva reads (sort of).

Sungiva looks out at us.
Sungiva looks out at us.

Sungiva gnaws on an apple.
Sungiva gnaws on an apple.

The apple thing was unexpected, but she definitely likes them!

I've posted a new gallery of Sungiva photos if you'd like to see more.

Posted by simon at 7:51 PM Comment

September 30, 2008

County Planning Energy Meeting October 1st

The Tompkins County Planning Department will be holding a meeting about the "Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Element" of their County Comprehensive Plan tomorrow night.

The meeting will be tomorrow, October 1st, at 6:30pm at the Dryden Town Hall, 93 East Main Street (Route 392), in the Village of Dryden.

The draft proposal is available.

Posted by simon at 1:01 PM Comment