January 2, 2010

Antiwar opponent for Arcuri?

It looks like Congressman Mike Arcuri may have an antiwar opponent. The surprise in that, though, is that Logan Bell would run as a Republican, although he's apparently a Constitution Party member. (Update: More here.) He's not merely against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Bell called for bringing all American troops home, including from countries with which the United States is not at war, to cutting spending and taxes as the first step to economic recovery and stemming inflation.

He said is he troubled with the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, which "have nothing to do with national security," and are "undeclared and hopelessly undefined." Terrorism aimed at the United States, he said, is a direct result of decades of meddling in other country's affairs, and he believes the best way to secure American safety and "stop inciting hate" is to withdraw military personnel from all foreign countries.

The Journal says that Bell will seek the Republican nomination, but perhaps he's running as a Conservative as well, as they speak with Mike Sylvia about third-party candidacies. Sylvia, a Dryden resident (and occasional commenter here), ran as a Libertarian four years ago, and had this to say:

Mike Sylvia, 2006 Libertarian candidate for the 24th district, said the size of the district makes it especially difficult for third-party candidates to make an impact.

"Without money and support from the mainstream parties, we're just excluded," Sylvia said.

Sylvia said before Bell's speech that he has not decided definitely to support Bell, but "I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say."

Cathy Wakeman has a piece on a Dryden native's pursuit of a jump-rope world record as a fundraiser for Smile Train.

The Journal also has a broad look ahead at the county's prospects for 2010, and at the state level, absentee ballot signature rules will make a little more sense, among other things.

Posted by simon at 8:17 PM Comment

January 6, 2010

Dryden legislator becomes Chair

The County Legislature elected Martha Robertson as its Chair last night by a 13-2 vote. The Journal doesn't report much about her plans, but what they do say is:

"I'm excited about the challenges and eager to really build a strong team," Robertson added.

It's a tough year to become Chair - the county's facing some serious budget challenges.

Posted by simon at 6:02 PM Comment

January 8, 2010

Natural gas fire in water-well drilling

No, this has nothing to do with Marcellus Shale gas exploration - it's just an unfortunate problem that's been a risk of water drilling here for a while. Etna, Freeville, and Dryden firefighters responded to a fire at a water-well drill that encountered a natural gas pocket on its way down.

County Legislator Martha Robertson sought dismissal of her driving on a suspended license charge in City of Ithaca court Wednesday.

Posted by simon at 8:14 AM Comment

January 11, 2010

Making the most of the snow

The Ithaca Journal reports that Hammond Hill was busy Saturday, as the Cayuga Nordic Ski Club held its 25th annual 10K ski race for club members, as well as a 5K race and a children's race.

The night before, the news was darker. Police arrested a Freeville man in Groton "suspected of shooting and wounding a South Carolina convenience store clerk in December."

There's also a broad article on Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania and its future in New York.

Posted by simon at 12:18 PM Comment

January 16, 2010

Town Board meeting notes - drilling, speed

I finally got back to a Town Board meeting Wednesday night. Most of it was reasonably routine, but there were a few pieces that stood out:

  • A number of people were there about gas drilling. Some of it was about the Trenton-Black River well off Irish Settlement Road that had received a permit from the DEC, and some of it was about ways to challenge the DEC on their control over the gas drilling permit process. This is clearly an issue that's only getting started.

  • On a related note, Zoning Officer Henry Slater discussed correspondence with the DEC over that permit. He'd found a number of errors, notably relating to streams in the vicinity, and pointed out a basic problem in having the state administer all of this from an office in Avon: "I think that if we had been considered an interested agency... these could have been considered in the declaration."

  • The area in Varna that will be getting a 30mph speed limit seems to be smaller than first suggested. I'd thought it would be around two miles, but it's only about 0.6 miles, in the "heart of downtown Varna".

Posted by simon at 1:53 PM Comment

January 25, 2010

Zoning meeting Tuesday night

If you're interested in the future of the Town of Dryden, this is a meeting well worth attending:

A Public Workshop will be held on January 26, 2010 at 7 PM at Town Hall (snow date the 27th) on the Draft Zoning Revisions. The draft documents can be viewed here.

Definitely take a look if you have a chance. It will implement the Comprehensive Plan, but the details are always important! I'm worried about the implications of "Artist Studio / Craft Workshop" and how that differs from home occupations, as well as the mysteriously restrictive zoning on the most attractive parcel for development in all of Dryden. (Yes, that was in the Comprehensive Plan too, but I'd call that a mistake.)

Posted by simon at 11:22 AM Comment

January 27, 2010

Village of Dryden trustee races uncontested

Last night, the Dryden Democrats gathered in Dryden's Village Hall to select two candidates to run for the two two-year Village Trustee positions that are up for election this March. Unfortunately, we didn't have any candidates this year, and for the first time in a long long time, there will be no Democratic line on the ballot.

The Republicans will be running incumbent Trustees Charlie Becker and Don Norman, who they selected at their caucus, also held last night.

While it's still possible for candidates to get on the ballot by petitioning for an independent line through February 9th, it seems quite likely that Village of Dryden elections will be quiet this spring.

Posted by simon at 9:25 PM Comment

Zoning meeting extremely busy

I'm not sure what the official count was, but I'm pretty certain over 100 Dryden residents came to Town Hall last night for the opening special meeting on the new zoning law. There wasn't enough parking, even. It was a mix of people broadly supportive and openly dismissive, with a lot of people checking the maps to see where their property was and what might change.

After a presentation, the meeting broke up, with Environmental Planner Dan Kwasnowski talking to builders, architects, and contractors in one room while three listening stations (and a lot of Town, Planning, Conservation, and Zoning Appeals board members) collected comments. It was actually pretty overwhelming, and I think I'll submit my comments in writing instead. There were questions at the end, but a relatively few people spoke.

They're planning another meeting in March in Varna, and I don't think this is going to leap ahead. I suspect a lot of people who weren't that attentive when the Comprehensive Plan passed are going to be a lot more awake, now that binding zoning is in the works.

Update: Here's the Ithaca Journal story on the meeting.

Posted by simon at 9:34 PM Comment