September 5, 2013

The Language of War, September 11th

I'll be one of the readers of this, and I'm really looking forward to it. Carol Kammen has assembled an amazing script that combines local and national concerns, telling the story of how the Civil War challenged and changed us.

On Wednesday, September 11 at 7PM at the Southworth Library, Carol Kammen will present a dramatic reading based on local documents and letters by residents of Tompkins County from the Civil War, in commentary drawn from letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts from around the county.

This is a presentation of the Tompkins County Civil War Commemoration Commission.

Posted by simon at 9:59 AM Comment

September 9, 2013

Kelly Damm for County Court Judge

Judge's races in New York State are strange affairs, in which the candidates are allowed to tell you pretty much nothing except their qualifications. On the bright side, it keeps things calmer than they can get in other races, but it makes it hard to tell the difference among candidates.

I'm delighted to endorse Kelly Damm for County Court Judge. I've known Kelly for years, and have found her opinions on legal and court matters reliably helpful. While I understand that judges can learn while on the bench, I'm very happy that she already has experience in all of the legal areas County Court Judges have to deal with. She's amazingly organized, understands how to manage her time, and is devoted to her work. That devotion has paid off with successful cases as well as good relations with other attorneys.

Kelly Damm sign in front of my house
Kelly Damm sign in front of my house.

There are four candidates on the Democratic primary ballot tomorrow. I've followed their comments and read their material, and it's easy for me: Kelly stands out on the strength of her experience.

Posted by simon at 8:01 AM Comment

September 10, 2013

Primary Today

There are Democratic and Working Families Party primaries for County Court Judge today. Polls are open from noon to nine, but your polling place may have changed if you live in eastern or central Dryden. You should have received a card in the mail telling you where to vote, but here's a map and list just in case.

The official map is here, but it requires a Silverlight plug-in to work, and not everyone has it. If that doesn't work, this map (click to see a bigger version) may be helpful:

Current election district boundaries .
Current election district boundaries in the Town of Dryden.

Workers at the polling place can also help you, as can these resources at the Board of Elections.

Once you figure out what district you're in, you can figure out your polling place:

  1. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  2. Freeville Fire Station - 21 Union Street, Freeville (map).
  3. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  4. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  5. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  6. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  7. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  8. Bethel Grove Church Activity Center - 1749 Slaterville Road, Bethel Grove (map).
  9. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  10. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).

Sadly, Reach Out For Christ Church, which always put out an amazing spread of food for voters, is no longer a polling place.

If you'd like to see a sample ballot before going in, the Board of Elections has them for Democrats (PDF) and for Working Families Party voters.

Posted by simon at 8:10 AM Comment

September 11, 2013

Werninck's closing

I opened an anonymous looking envelope earlier this week to find a letter inviting me to a "Retirement/Store Closing sale" that will liquidate Werninck's.

I haven't been in there in a while, as I haven't needed furniture or appliances, but have a hard time imagining that stretch of 366 without it. The letter says they've been there over 50 years, and their departure will definitely leave a big gap in Dryden.

(The sale starts tomorrow, September 12th, at 9:00am, for those with invitations. It was sent presorted standard, so I'm guessing much of the area has one.)

Posted by simon at 8:43 AM Comment

September 14, 2013

Death, Hell, or Canada: Dryden and the War of 1812

with guest speaker, Simon St.Laurent

Two centuries ago, Dryden militia crossed the Niagara River into Canada in one of the early battles of this often forgotten war. Thomas Jefferson was wrong: conquering Canada was more than "a mere matter of marching". The attempt on Queenston failed, though British General Brock died in its defense.

Come learn about the perilous adventures of Dryden men and the state and national political whirlpools that were more hazardous than the Niagara River itself. Meet Governor Daniel Tompkins, namesake of our county, as he fought to keep New York State together in difficult times.

The Dryden Village Hall doors open Thursday, July 19th, at 6:30 PM, and, as always, this program is free and open to all with donations gratefully accepted. (The talk will start at 7:00 PM.)

Reaching for a paper cartridge.
Reaching for a paper cartridge.

I started from this chapter in George Goodrich's Centennial History of Dryden, which made clear that Dryden militia had fought at the Battle of Queenston Heights, and been killed (one), injured (at least one), or captured (everyone who crossed).

Major Dennis' drawing of the battle.
Major Dennis' drawing of the battle.

I'll talk about the many ways in which war was different then, and focus on the challenges of a largely militia attack across the Niagara River.

Redcoats firing a musket volley.
Redcoats firing a musket volley.

Somehow, most Americans have forgotten about the War of 1812. Canadians seem to have put a lot more effort into remembering.

Brock cenotaph and monument.
Cenotaph and monument for the fallen General Brock.

I've also posted sets of photos I took while doing research for this last month:

Obviously, I won't be showing all of those pictures!

Posted by simon at 9:28 AM Comment

September 20, 2013

Slides for "Death, Hell, or Canada"

Last night's Dryden Town Historical Society talk went well, with a mostly-happy-seeming thirty or so people in the audience. I know a lot of folks were at other meetings, and I suspect that at least some parts of the talk will be interesting to those curious about the War of 1812 or the Battle of Queenston Heights.

I've posted the slides on Slideshare, and put up a resource page with links to the source materials and more on Queenston and the War of 1812.

All of this is licensed under a Creative Commons license in the hopes that other people will use the content and photos to create other useful or interesting things.

I'm considering giving the talk again, perhaps in Ellis Hollow. (Most of the Dryden folks named are from Ellis Hollow, most notably Peleg Ellis.)

Posted by simon at 8:47 AM Comment

September 21, 2013

Democratic voter registration trend continues

It looks like I last explored Dryden voter registration in 2011, so a presidential year (with its surge of registrations) has come and gone. The trend does not look kind to Republicans.

PartyNumber (October 2011)Number (September 2013)Change
Blank (Independent)18091893+94
Working Families3037+7

The first time I explored this was in June 2004, when Republicans and Democrats were pretty much tied. Here's how that's shifted.

PartyNumber (June 2004)Number (September 2013)Change
Blank (Independent)17201893+173
Working Families2037+17

Somehow the total number of new voters is the same as our area code.

Posted by simon at 6:03 PM Comment