Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear Snow Plow Operator

Alexandria Bay:

The snow has been the main topic of conversation lately.  We have not had much of it in the past few years.  Evidently some of the snow plow operators are a little rusty.  Time to hone up your hand eye coordination and get your eyes checked for depth of field deficiency.

If it is not the intersections being clogged with mounds of snow, it is the Town or the State Snow plows winging the snow 12 feet farther than it needs to be flung.  We have an ordinance in this village that says the property owner must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after a snow fall but it does not mention removing snow flung by plows.  I have snow blown my 200 foot sidewalk three times now.  The first time because of the snow.  The second and third times because the Town or the State plows have buried them under several feet of heavy snow.  Not sure why they are doing this.... the snow has not been drifting within the village.  They are basically plowing roads and cutting snow banks back even though there has been no more snow.  I don't snow blow a bare sidewalk.... but then again, I am not getting overtime to do that either.

Ps. I am not clearing my side walk from their mess.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Winters Poem

Stubby yellow corn stalks sticking up out of it's thin white blanket.
Light tan wheat hay bending in the slight breeze.
Reddish brown Thistle standing in a bunch.
Guarded by Larks flying back up to the wires....

Steve Keeler
Native Alexandria Bay

A Poem inspired by the natural beauty of the 1000 Islands

Wintry Stroll from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reassembling The Ensemble

The Dancing Dawg has remodeled the stage and the band has been reassembled.  The core of the Dawg Brothers is still David Garlock, Mike Goerger, and long time bass player and vocalist David Knapp. The new additions to the pack are percussionist Steve Adams and woodwinds whiz Jim Wiley.

I have been meaning to get out and listen to these guys but the flu and everything else that came with it had prevented me from doing so ..... that is until last night.  Wiley and Adams bring a new vigor to the group energizing the ensemble.  The video is a cover of Taj Mahal's "She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride".  Every Friday is an evening to enjoy the New Dawg Brothers.....

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A.C.S. Christmas Jingles

Alexandria Bay:

If you were shopping at the local Big M today you may have had a chance to listen to some young Musicians.  Members of the Alexandria Central School music program performed an impromptu Christmas Concert..... if you missed it, I caught some highlights on video.... just for you.  Merry Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

P.I.L.O.T. Replaced by Legal Conflict and Claw-Back

Alexandria Bay:

The  hype of the Myan Calender has come and gone but the clock is ticking towards the looming December 31st Fiscal Cliff deadline.  The village is facing it's own fiscal cliff but in reverse.  A group of islanders located within the village taxing jurisdiction are demanding relief from property taxes.

One way or another, you and I will be paying for the islanders relief from property taxes.  The group claims that it is unfair that they pay the same taxes as you and I but receive no services.  They originally were asking for a P.I.L.O.T. [payment in lieu of taxes] program but local government attorneys M. Gebo [village] and J. Russell [town] along with Jefferson County Legislator P. Reed may have convinced the groups spokesman R. Pietrafesa Jr. that a   P.I.L.O.T. will not work under these circumstances.

The group of islanders have another plan as a backup.  An alternate plan that they are reluctant to implement because it would likely result in no future revenue for the village and a costly claw-back for past taxes paid over decades.  They claim to be simply looking for equity in assessments and property taxes without hurting the village.

Village Attorney M. Gebo made some rough calculations on the equity the islanders are looking for.  He came up with a ball park figure of a 3% tax increase for the rest of us pay to offset the decrease in taxes for the islanders.

The following were present at the 12.6.12 Islander Workshop:  Mayor Jury, trustees: Henry, Penn, Jarvis, and Williams. In addition,  Town Supervisor Dale Hunneyman, and Jefferson County Legislator P. Reed,  Village Attorney M. Gebo, and Town Attorney J. Russell.  Apparently in an attempt to not feed into the Islanders Request The Alexandria Central School Board sent no representatives.  Kind of ironic that everyone else lawyered up but the Islanders.  Pietrafesa stated that his groups lawyer had pressing matters in NYC and the other 20 people that he represented were busy doing Christmas things.

Will anything come of this Legal Conflict between the Islanders and the Village Taxpayers?  If you read the article in the T.I. Sun you might be inclined to shrug and say no.  But I encourage you to listen to the audio and read the 2 page cover letter that was attached to the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement that was submitted to the village on 9.30.12.  You should take note of those names that are listed at the end of this letter, as they are the group of islanders that this legal conflict represents.  

Do I believe that all those people are 100% gung ho for this legal battle.  Probably not, more likely they are riding the coat tails just in case something beneficial results in their favor.  We as tax payers need to draw the line in the sand and send a clear message to our elected officials..... we will not absorb a tax cut for the wealthy on Millionaires Row.

Cover Letter

Click here for the Full length Audio Clip 42 minutes

Other Links to this story:
Islanders Pilot Request Progress 10.28.12

Island Owners Ask For Equity In Taxes 8.2.12

Bloggers Note:
Diplomacy is not part of my game. I will be damned if I have to pay one penny to offset their taxes.... I will be God Damned if I have to pay one cent if this goes to court. This group is led by one tenacious guy will not read between the lines. The school board had the right idea... Ignore them and shut them down

Sunday, December 16, 2012


An Ounce Of Prevention....

I woke up Wednesday morning with a slight headache. But I headed on to work figuring it was a sinus headache.  By noon, I had a few joint aches and felt a fever coming.  I was home by one and in bed shortly after.  As I slipped in and out of grogginess, I could feel a growing fever and the grumblings of something intestinal happening.

By Thursday morning I was miserable, with chills, sweats, dizziness, and a chronic dry cough.  My wife insisted that I go see the doctor.  I stood my manly ground and refused medical treatment. Later that afternoon I was sitting in an exam room of the new River Convenient Care.  Marcia, my nurse was asking me some questions while she was taking my "vitals" and she smiled and said "James you have a fever of a 101.4, I will be right back with the Resident Physicians Assistant".

Minutes later, the R.P.A. came through the door, He introduced himself as Brad.  He listened to my breathing and asked some more questions.  Brad then told me that because of the timing of my symptoms I was  within the window of opportunity for post flu treatment.  BUT, we have to make sure that what you have is really the flu and not something else.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Marcia was fiddling with a plastic bag.  She had this sad look on her face as she said "I just want to apologize for what I am about to do to you" and then she pulled out two culture swabs attached to really long sticks.  She went onto say that a culture was needed from each sinus.  I asked her if she ever had to do this twice and she assured me that she never missed. 

Wow that was an interesting sensation!  The swabs were sealed and sent down to the local lab for analysis.  15 minutes later Brad returned to the room and told me I tested positive for the flu.  He then prescribed Tamiflu which I was told to take twice a day for 5 days.  Brad urged me to come back if I had any other complications.  I promised that I would.

I walked out feeling better already.  I started the Tamaflu regimen and by Saturday morning I felt almost human.  So what is the purpose of this post?  I like to poke fun at myself because I really sometimes think I am in total control.  Even though I know I am not. Another reason is to let you know about the new River Hospital Convenient Care located on the second floor [482-1125].  Although my illness was not serious, sometimes when you have the flu, one does entertain the notion of quick and painless death.  However, my visit to the Convenient Care was quick and all the staff that I encountered were pleasant and professional.

Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

Next year I will get an early flu shot
Next year I will get an early flu shot
Next year I will get an early flu shot
Next year I will get an early flu shot
Next year I will get an early flu shot
Next year I will get an early flu shot.....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Official Results Village Elections 2012

My High School History teacher the Late Sister Jean Baptiste would have been proud of me. But she also would have scolded me, I can hear her say..... Now......James, it would behoove you to campaign next time. I guess I will follow her instructions.  No More Reluctance 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Famous Last Words?

Town Of Alexandria:

Dave Bain, Highway SuptI am just telling you [the board] that this is going to come back and haunt you. 

Dale Hunneyman, Town SupervisorI don't think so......

I don't think so is a phrase that is used to often and it usually does come back to bite you in the A$$

The audio below is from the 11.14.12 budget adoption meeting.  Dave Bain tries to reason with the board and offer some insights.  Some refuse to get off their high horse, which is ok as far as I am concerned.  It is all about the "air time" just before ground impact.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Booze is the Buzz in the Bay

Alexandria Bay:

The BUZZ around town is booze.  Dark Island Spirits, a distillery is coming and it will be located at the former Muskie Lounge.  Distilleries , Wineries, and Breweries are all recognized by the Federal and state governments as Agriculture, not industrial, and not tourism, but Agriculture, which has been around longer than any of the others.  Also note, that these purveyors of spirits are recognized as Artisans.

Some are worried about the MASHING PROCESS.  According to Dark Island Spirits developer Roger R. Reifensnyder, the Mashing Process will be completed at his Farm located in Hammond. Any odors will mingle and dissipate with all those other farm smells. Once the mashing is done, then that product will be brought to the distillery where it will be cooked in a contained system.  So not to worry, everyone will still be able to smell the burgers and the pizzas cooking. And I almost forgot, you will still be able to  smell the exhausts from the tour buses and other vehicles.

Everything you wanted to know about the Craft Of Distilling.

Below is the audio from the 11.13.12 village board meeting. Mr. Reifensnyder briefs village officials about the distillery. Evidently a group of Spirituals from a local church objected to his Spirits. Their objections were determined to be unfounded.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Demise of the Disc Jockey?

This post has nothing to do with Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the weather. It is about the new age of the musician.

Musicians are making a come back after many years of the disc jockey.  Solo acts, trio's, duo's, and full bands are now seen in bars, weddings, fund raisers, and family events.  They have been taking advantage of social media such as Youtube and Facebook to promote themselves.  Amateurs like myself have been donating videos and the bands have been linking to them as a way of promoting themselves. However, with the large number of musical talent available, getting the gig is becoming very competitive.  Musicians like Phil "Crush" DuMond felt the need to create a more concise video compilation promoting himself so that potential venues can conveniently watch him in a virtual audition.

This is the promotional video that I made for Crush and it is the first that I have ever made under studio conditions with lighting and backdrops.  All the others have been recorded "on the fly" so to speak. Since I published this video on Facebook, I have received some inquiries ..... Will video's like this one kill the D.J just like the Radio Star?

Some raw footage of behind the scenes shots before editing.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What is the Saturday After Thanksgiving Called?

The day after Thanksgiving is called  Black Friday. The busiest shopping day of the year for retailers and consumers. A shopping day filled with frenzy and frustration as bargain hunters hound around for deals.  Tempers have been known to flare as people flock around that "must have" present only to find out the person in front of them just snagged the last one.  Out Of Stock! Back Ordered! 

What about the Saturday after Black Friday, does it have a nick name?  That day should be a relaxing day after a long Thanksgiving day spent with the relatives or that Freaky Black Friday.  Technically Saturday does have a nick name, Small Business Saturday, but it is also Open Mic Night.  Every month Aubrey's Inn located in Cape Vincent invites musicians of all caliber to strut their stuff. It is an opportunity to see jam sessions with unexpected combinations of musical talents. If you are looking for an evening out of the house and away from the stores, then Aubrey's Open Mic night is the place for you to go and relax with your friends.

Saturday November 24th starting at 8PM

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for:

This day to reflect on our country and all the freedoms we have.

That I can still wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Freedom of Speech and the Press.

Everyone's choice to either agree or disagree without fear of persecution or retaliation.

My family and those that are still my friends.

President Obama making the "Sign Of The Cross" when he pardoned Cobbler the Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tax Levy Increases By 91%

Town Of Alexandria:

Holy Mackerel that was quite the HL in this mornings paper.  It sounds awful, almost like "they" were trying to make the board look like a bunch of bumbling idiots.  I can only imagine that some were reluctant [not that word again] to read the article.

I chose to use more understandable numbers when I posted earlier on the town budget.  Like a 33% increase to your assessed property or an 18 cent increase from the original 53 cents increasing it to 71 cents per thousand of assessed property value.  Which means that if your property is assessed at $100,000 then you will only see an $18 increase in your 2013 town taxes.  Sounds easier to swallow than 91% doesn't it?

So I guess I am not making the town board look as bad as Councilman Sweet stated.  Why would I do that, I might be sitting next to some of you next year, or the year after.  But if you want to make me  your enemy, I will "reluctantly" oblige you......

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alexandria Passes 2013 Town Budget

Town board members adopted a new budget.  This budget has gone through some revisions over the past few weeks.  Supervisor Hunneyman originally presented a budget that had a 30 cent increase per 1000.  It would have raised taxes from 53cents per thousand of assessed property value to 83 cents, approximately a 56% increase.

Taxpayers made their concerns known, which sent Hunneyman back to the drawing board to make cuts to whittle the increase down to something more palatable. Tonight the revised budget was adopted by the Town Board.  The 2013 budget will see a 18 cent increase, raising it to 71 cents per thousand of assessed property value which translates into a 33.962 % increase.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Indian Summer

Two beautiful Indian Summer days in a row. Yesterday the blogger rolled on over to Rodman for a visit with some friends.  We strolled through the fields and the woods taking in the late fall landscapes. Below is a video journal of our day at the Walton Farm.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Alexandria Shaves The Budget

Town Of Alexandria:

In January 2012 Town Supervisor D. Hunneyman was notified that the budget exceeded the 2% tax cap that was imposed in 2011.  An unexpected workman's compensation payment that pushed the budget up $22,392 more than expected caused the town to find ways to rectify the tax cap overage with NY State's Comptrollers Office.

In August of this year, the town board filed local law No. 2 [2012]. This  local law is designed override the tax levy limit established in General Municipal Law $3-c. Allowing the town to  legally exceed the 2% tax cap.

In October the proposed 2013 town budget was made available to local tax payers.  The budget increased by 56% over last years budget. Raising from 53¢ to 83¢ per $1000 assessed property value.  Just a tad bit over the 2% cap wouldn't you say?

In the budgets from 2009 through 2011, the township enjoyed a 0% increase. The 2012 budget saw an 18¢ per 1000 assessed increase.

At last nights town meeting, Supervisor Hunneyman stated that some taxpayers  had contacted him and apparently were not happy with the proposed budget.  Hunneyman found $50,000 that he shaved off the budget, reducing the increase from 56% to 34% or 71¢ per $1000 instead of the original 83¢.

I am not sure how those taxpayers will feel about this amended budget, but I say that it is not good enough. Trying to get this budget more manageable by changing the 3% increase in workers wages to 1% is an insult. Find someplace else to cut, not shave.  Adopt a plan to increase taxes by a moderate amount over the next few years. An 18 or 20% increase over the next few years would be easier for the taxpayers to swallow than a 56% or even 34% increase in the upcoming year.

The budget will be adopted  at a special meeting to be held at the town offices on November 14th at 6pm.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Retort

A response to this comment made by a former friend [Pat Simpson] on : "Congratulations Cindy and Gary, glad to see no "reluctant candidate" on our Village Board"

May I make myself clear. I stated that I was a reluctant candidate only because I have been and still am extremely happy with the village board we have now. I was nominated at the caucus because some members believed that if there were two sea
ts open then the Dems should be running the same as would the republicans. As it turned out the Republicans had only one contender, incumbent Cindy Burkhalter Penn. Had I known that at the time I would have declined the nomination. That is why I chose to do nothing as far as a campaign goes. As I have in the past, I do now support Cindy and Gary. I also have the utmost respect for Mayor Jury and the rest of the village board. As far as the Previous boards including that part time mayor, I have no respect.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Village Trustee Unofficial Results

Alexandria Bay:

According to our Poll Watcher, the results are:

Cindy Penn:                   266

Gary Critter Williams:    228

Jim Cummings:              163

Thanks everyone for going out to vote! Congratulations to Cindy and Gary!

Related stories: My RETORT

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Alex Bay Village Trustee[s]

Alexandria Bay:

Two Village Trustee seats are up for grabs this year.  The Democrats have two candidates running, an incumbent and ME.  The Republicans have one candidate, a mayor appointee/incumbent.  I am not mentioning names because they have their signs, political ads, and letters to the editor.  I chose not to do any of that campaign stuff.  Feeling it is rhetoric and  not interested in wasting my time or money, as I would not  waste the tax payers time or tax dollars either.

I know that most people do not like my blog, my politics or me personally .  Those are the cold hard facts.  I can live with that.  As most of you  know, I have attended almost every village board meeting for the past 5 years.  I have sat on the "sidelines" listening and learning and then sharing my thoughts with you.

I am the reluctant candidate.  I really do not care if I win this election or not.  WHY?  Because I am not like the others.  If I lose the election, I will still be at the next board meeting and all the ones that follow.  Just like I have been sitting in that front row seat for the past five years.

I am not going to pitch empty promises to you. That is not my style. I am tenacious when it come to finding the truth and the facts.  Total transparency in local politics has always been my number one goal. I am anti-nepotism, anti-cronyism, and have zero tolerance for the good ole boys.

Jim Cummings
Vote on November 6th!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Islanders" P.I.L.O.T. Request Progress

 Alexandria Bay:

I know of no statuary authorization that would allow a payment in lieu of taxes agreement like they [the islanders]  are describing. ...... I did talk to town attorney Russell, he is also of the same opinion...... I believe the county would also have to be involved in this because they are also a taxing jurisdiction. ~ Village Attorney M. Gebo [Village Board Meeting 10.9.12]

The "islanders" [as they are referred to by the town and village boards] first made their  P.I.L.O.T. request known at Town Board meeting on 7.11.12 meeting.  After a twenty minute presentation, the "islanders" were advised that the village board was the governing body to approach with this request, not the Town.  I found this to be a slick bureaucratic move on the part of the Town Board and their advising attorney.

The 'islanders" made a similar pitch to the Village board at a 7.24.12 meeting. Asking for Equity in village, town, and school taxes.  To this date, it appears that the "islanders" have not approached the Alexandria Central School district.


Village Budget for the 2012-13 saw no increase
School Budget raised taxes by 3.77%
Town of Alexandria Proposed Budget for 2013 has a 56% Increase

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Bride And her Love Sick Monster

Halloween Music Video

This video of the 1935 Universal Pictures adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,  Bride Of Frankenstein depicts one of the most horrific, tragic and short lived romances ever to hit the silver screen. It is edited and synched by me to Love Sick Baby written/sung by Britney Mulvaney , a song that depicts a romantic interlude not shared. Britney is a student at S.U.N.Y. Potsdam......

...... A while back, a group of Northern New York musicians gathered in Phil "Crush" DuMond's recording studio located on Pillar Point to record Love Sick Baby.  Singer/Songwriter Britney Mulvaney leads the vocals with backup vocals by D.J. Rogers and Margeaux Davis. Phil DuMond produced and engineered this recording as well as playing lead guitar and bass. Additional talents on this track include  D.J. Rogers: percussion's, Brittany DuMond: Piano, Ben Mulvaney: guitar.

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Congressman Owens visits the Bay

Alexandria Bay:

N.Y.S.U.T. stands for New York State Unified Teachers, a union that is 600,000 strong.  Tonight, a hundred+  gathered at the village park pavilion to rally for Congressman Bill Owens. Teachers are attending a weekend regional union conference  at the Riveredge Resort.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Portrait Of "The Captain"

Alexandria Bay:

By definition, a portrait should reflect the personality, likeness, and mood of the person. It should also tell a story, giving the viewer some insight into the one portrayed.

There are lots of River Captains in the 1000 Islands.  But when someone says hey have you seen Captain?  There is no doubt who they are looking for.... In the Bay there is only one Captain..... affectionately known by all as Captain F.B.  It really does not matter what the F.B. stands for, I am sure most of you know, or you can figure it out on your own.

The Captain is the oldest living pirate, dating back to the mid 1960's.  He is one of the best cooks that I know.  The Captain is a local personality..... and one of the most interesting people in Alex Bay.  The video below is my version of a portrait of "The Captain"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Town of Alexandria Tax INCREASE

In the years 2009 thru 2011 Town residents enjoyed a 0% tax increase. Paying only 35¢ per thousand of assessed property value. In 2012 the tax was raised by 18¢ per thousand .The proposed tax increase for the 2013 budget is an additional 30¢ on top of last years 53¢  per thousand of assessed property value. Making the new rate 83¢ per thousand of assessed property value.

Why the emphasis on the ¢symbol? As I was looking through the simplified hand out of the budget [below] , that was prepared by Supervisor Hunneyman, I saw $53 and $83 per thousand increase.  Which caused some confusion. Then I realized most people would not know that the cent symbol is a special character and has to be accessed by using windows "character map".  

In today's economy, Every ¢ counts.  Local, state and federal governments all have their hands in our pockets.  The money is just not there.  Add the cost to run our schools with dwindling aide and that cost gets passed on to you and me.  I know I am preaching to the choir...... We really have little say in our taxes on the state and federal level.  The Town Tax?  Now that is all together a different governing body, one that actually serves at the whim of the people. 

Not Happy with the increase?  Remember that this budget is still only a proposal.  Call your elected officials and tell them the budget officer needs to go back and rework the budget, with lots of pencils and erasers.  Pennies turn into dollars very quickly.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Night Cruise On The St. Lawrence River

Alexandria Bay Chamber Of Commerce:

The C.O.C.sent an open invitation to the community for their October 3rd Annual Sunset Fall Mixer Cruise.  Area businesses and restaurants offered complimentary Hors d'hoeuvres.  Uncle Sam Boat Tours very generously donated this free cruise along the majestic Saint Lawrence River.  This mixer was well attended and as usual the sunset cruise was breathtaking. 

As the sun disappeared, the islands became silhouettes against the background of the river.  The blinking red channel markers guided the cruise ship along our tour.  Standing on the top deck, I took video shots of the river view.  As the darkness took over, the well lit  Boldt Castle could be seen in the distance. As we moved closer,  the Grand Castle emitted a stunning iridescence.  A shining show piece at the end of a pleasant trip.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Change In Vendor Venue T.I.R.R. 2013

Alexandria Bay Thousand Island River Run:

Below is a follow up story to this post Scenic Park Is For Families,

T.I.R.R. Event organizers did a little thinking outside of the box and found a different location for the vendors. It is a location that is closer to James St. where most of the weekends activities takes place.  The lower section of the long term parking lot will be the new vendor headquarters. New rules will also be imposed on vendors, with the implementation of a Profanity Clause.

Red Outlined Area Is The New Location

I have to give the organizers credit..... some  would have cried and whined saying why are you doing this, you [the village board] are going to ruin this event. Others might have rallied business owners to send emails and make phone calls to village board members, or maybe even threaten to move the whole event to Clayton. Thankfully none of that happened....

Audio From That Discussion

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall Cruise Through The Rift

St. Lawrence River:

I recently went for a cruise on the St. Lawrence River.  One of the prettiest spots on the river is along the International Rift.  The Rift is narrow in spots and this time of year extremely shallow [see inset].  Enjoy the video and special thanks to my friends Peter and Michele for having me along.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"LIKE" Ferguson Taylor & Rogers

If you have a Facebook account, you can click on this link and click "Like" to become a Fan..  The group has also just launched their new web site  I shot the video below at the recent Rockin' The Bay event.  These guys always bring a little something extra special into their version..... Moon Dance by Van Morrison.....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are You Saving $ On Your Electric Bill?

No doubt in the past couple of years a friend has approached you and asked; do you want to save money on your National Grid electric bill?  Over 30 alternate electric suppliers are available since the deregulation of the NYS energy market.  These suppliers are called ESCO's or Energy Service Companies.  They all claim to save you money on your electric bill.

National Grid has released a preliminary analysis that shows that most upstate residential customers who have changed to an ESCO have not saved money.  I found this story on NewzJunky and can be seen on Syracuse.Com.  As a matter of fact the analysis says that 84% that switched to an ESCO spent more on their electric bill than if they had stayed with Nat. Grid.  An average of $20.79 per month more over a 2 year period.

The Good News!  The other 15.7% saved a whopping $2.09 per month over the same 2 year period.  I am sure that the $15% of all the upstate residential customers that saved money all live in Alexandria Bay.....  But don't worry the good people that sold you that bill of goods are sitting in a financial nirvana.

You are not alone....last December the Village of Alexandria Bay converted to an ESCO.  The change was made without board approval  as the new mayor was taking office.  The Town of Alexandria changed to the same ESCO at the 9.12.12 meeting.  As a taxpayer I am not to happy about our local governments gambling with our money.  But keep in mind that Nat. Grid has not yet released an analysis on municipalities, but I would think that it would be similar to the residential analysis.

Bloggers Note:  Nobody wants to say that they paid to much for anything.  Some People will tell little white lies so that friends and family will view them as a shrewd shopper in today's shaky economy.  Be honest with yourself.... it is contagious. Me?  I contacted NYSERDA and was advised to stay with Nat. Grid.... which I did.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hey Joe...

Since I have not made a video lately..... Here is one of my favorite Hendrix tunes.....

Hey Joe,
Where you gonna run to now where you gonna go
Hey Joe, I said
Where you gonna run to now where you gonna go.......

D.A.N.C. Report: Waste Water Treatment Plant

Alexandria Bay:

Development Authority of the North Country presented its first monthly operations report.  D.A.N.C. took over operations of the facility on August 1st. Already they have headed off some potential violations with a few different agencies.  I found their report kind of interesting, and you may too!  It will make you wonder how the village operated this facility for so long and did not get caught......

Audio Clip is from the 9.11.12 Village Board Meeting:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keeping "IT" Real

Alexandria Bay:

Tonight, the Democrat Committee of Alexandria Bay gave the nod and nominated 2 residents as candidates that will be running for 2 Trustee seats this November.  The first is incumbent Gary "Critter" Williams.  The second is a guy that vacillates between right wing, left wing, independent, and unpredictable.... ME!

It was not an overwhelming nod but more like an act of sheer desperation because no party likes to leave a seat vacant for the other party to snag.  There will be no mudslinging from me and I expect none from the candidate[s] from the Republican Party. I am very comfortable with the persona that I have created. I also know exactly who and what I am.    All I ask is that everyone VOTES.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Village Board Meeting 8.28.12

Alexandria Bay:

Audio from the Public Concerns portion of this meeting.  Those speaking are: B.J. Mosher, Julie Strough, Alex Mosher, and Susan Cavallario.

Audio from the Trustee Reports portion of this meeting. Heads Up, at about 3 minutes and 30 seconds there is a spike in the audio. Someone in the row behind me kicked the chair that had my audio recorder setting on it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Democrat Caucus Village Of Alex Bay

Alexandria Bay:

No Caucus for the Town Of Alexandria this year.  There are no vacant seats until 2013.  This is a Village of Alexandria Bay Caucus Only!  This blog announcement is intended as a supplement to option 2 of announcing a Caucus as described by the Jefferson County Board of Elections:

Democrat Caucus
Village Of Alexandria Bay

The purpose of this Caucus is to seek nominations for Two [2] village trustee seats.
Registered Democrats in the Village of Alexandria Bay are encouraged to attend this Caucus Meeting.

Community Room
110 Walton Street
 Alexandria Bay, NY 13607

September 12th 2012
5:30 pm

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where's Walt?

Blues In The Bay:
It is not always about the band or the music ..... sometimes ya just have to have a little bit of fun at someone else's  expense....

My friend Walt Young was recording  the String Of Pearls Blues Band.  For 2 or more hours he wandered through the crowd or could be seen panning the stage. I can hardly hold my little Flip recorder for any long than 5 minutes. Where ever Pearl Skywolf went, Walt was right there.  

 I took some video of Walt video recording the band and the crowd.  Lets just say that I had some fun with the video I captured,  all at Walt's expense.....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Chance Of A Life Time

Blues In The Bay:

Local businessman and amateur  harmonica player, Alex Mosher is a big fan of Blues Diva Carolyn Kelly and her band.  I was standing in the wings with Alex when Ms Kelly called Alex up onto the stage to play his harpoon.  Alex did what most of us would have done..... He momentarily  froze, I could see he was going through mixed emotions of fear, embarrassment, and giddiness aka  a small case of Stage Fright.  I tried to help my friend Alex..... by giving him a quick pep talk..... Alex, this is a chance of a life time, it is what you want to do..... and with that I placed the palm of my hand on his back and gave him a friendly shove towards the stage.  Up he went..... the rest is a milestone for Alex.....

Friday, August 31, 2012

Porterhouse Steak - It's What's For Dinner

As Labor Day draws near, I am starting to make plans for the ceremonial end of the summer cookout.  The question always arises, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, or steaks?  Some opt for a little buffet of all those options.  Not Me, I rediscovered my dad's and granddad's favorite cut of beef.  The Porterhouse Steak! The Porterhouse is like a T-Bone but only larger and thicker. This is an amazing cut of beef, because it offers 2 of the best selections from the cow.  A NY Strip and a Tenderloin all in one cut.  Perfect for sharing or if you are really hungry, cut back on the potato or macaroni salads and hog the whole thing down.  Happy Labor Day weekend! Enjoy the video I made in honor of my butcher and that delicious cut of beef, The Porterhouse Steak....


Bloggers Note:  You might ask, what is it with the pinwheel?  As I was shooting this video, I noticed the little pinwheel spinning in our garden.  I seem to recall a windmill on a farm in one of the Beef It's What's For Dinner Commercials.  Since I do not have a windmill in my yard, I used the pinwheel instead.  And yes that is a cheeky slam on the BIG WIND people across the pond.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gusts Create Blues For The Tent People

Blues In The Bay:

In case you missed all the excitement on Johnny Truesdell's 1000 Islands Live Cams.  I caught it on video.  Enjoy the music from last years Blues in the Bay.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blues In The Bay

Alexandria Bay:

12th Annual Blues In The Bay August 30th - September 3rd.  This is a great music event that does not need any preamble from me. Click here for the band lineup.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ferguson, Taylor & Rogers Rockin' The Bay

Four bands played during this Classic Rock Event.  My favorite of all the bands was a local band that has been around for over 30 years.  With the addition of drummer D.J. Rogers, the duo has now become the trio it was many years ago.  The Ferguson, Taylor & Rogers Trio is a very talented group of musicians with a flare for comedy and dry wit!

Related Links : Bay Rotary 1st Annual Belly Flop Contest

1st Annual Bay Rotary Belly Flop Contest

Alexandria Bay:

Alex Bay Rotary sponsored this fund raiser during the Rockin' The Bay event this past Saturday.  17 floppers, some in outlandish costumes tried to wow the judges by slapping the water with their bellies. Before floppers could take the plunge, each had to raise a minimum of $100. 

Radio personality Johnny Spezzano was the  MC for the event and was the first to flop on the St. Lawrence River.  It did not take long for another jumper to steal the show..... Four legged Coco briefly worked the crowd before taking the plunge.......

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homage To Neil Armstrong

I remember being "glued" to the black and white TV set watching as that step was made by Man for all Mankind!

I made this video several months ago. It features Phil "Crush" Dumond, David Knapp, D.J. Rogers, Pat Shanahan, and Brian Purwin performing Walking On The Moon by The Police.  When I heard that my childhood hero Neil Armstrong passed away, I re-edited the video.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scenic Park Is For Families

Alexandria Bay:

Trustee Henry was quoted in the 8.26.12 edition of the  T.I. Sun as being "displeased with the vendor displays which he felt were offensive rather than family orientated".   Businessman Ron Thomson stated "that park [Scenic Pavilion, beach, and Casino Island] is the single best thing we have here for families". The above comments were made at the 8.14.12 meeting regarding vendors in the pavilion  at the 6th annual Thousand Islands River Run, a motorcycle rally event that was held on 6.29 - 7.1.12.

It is my opinion as a taxpayer that  I can appreciate the village boards stance on vendors for any event at the pavilion,  but I also think the park has to be viewed as a family orientated facility as Mr Thomson suggested.  There was considerably more to this discussion than was reported in the Sun, which you can listen to in the audio clip below.

Family Orientated Facility

Over the years it had been the "practice" of previous village boards to "reserve" the pavilion or Casino Island for family or company picnics, reunions, and weddings  This current board does not follow that unwritten policy by not taking reservations for such events.  It is now, as it always should have been a first come first serve policy.  Nobody should ever feel that they need to avoid the park during certain time frames because either they feel it is inappropriate for their families, or they feel intimidated because a group exerts their ownership of the facility for their event.  The Scenic Park needs to be shared by all......

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Village Qualifies for $1.44 Million Grant

Alexandria Bay:

Gregor K. Smith from the Bernier Carr and Associates shared some good news with the Village Board at the 8.14.12 meeting. E.F.C.  [NYS Environmental Facility Corporation]  announced last week that the Village qualifies for a 1.44 million dollar "Debt Frogiveness" or grant for the Catherine Ave. Sewer Project. Listen to  the audio from that portion of the meeting

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

River Rockers

Alexandria Bay:

I strolled around downtown this morning sipping my coffee.  I thought I could hear a band playing, but it was only 11am or so.  I followed the sound and discovered a 3 girl band had set up stage in front of Jreck Subs.  

It takes a lot of courage for young musicians to play in public.  These 3 are no exception...... May I introduce Lyndsey, Michelle, and Kirsten...... The River Rockers.  Stay with it girls and you can keep the tradition going that the Bay IS a Musical Mecca!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Pirates Perspective "Invasion 2012"

Alexandria Bay:

The Jolly Blogger was ready to stow away on the pirate ship that was led by the nefarious Pirate Bill Johnston.  I pleaded with those pirates, that the landlubbers would love to see the invasion from a Pirates Perspective.  Pirates like Politicians, crave good press and video coverage, and I was eventually invited onto the ship rubbing elbows with some dangerous vermin.

The view of the invasion from the water was incredible and the action on the ship was riveting. A once in a lifetime experience. Thanks to the Pirates

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char and in flame and ignite.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villians and knaves.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, we're really bad eggs.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pirates and Politicians At Bill Johnston's Grand Parade

Alexandria Bay:

The Grand Parade ends the 9 day event of Bill Johnston Pirate Days.  Many pirates were in attendance along with a few politicians.  Matt Doheny joined the festivities along with political pal Jeff Graham......

Letter Of Appreciation

Alexandria Bay:

To often, village employees go unrecognized.  At the 8.14.12 Village Board Meeting Fern Fichthorn's exemplary attitude was recognized by some local crafts people who use the Pavilion.  Kudos to Fern.  The audio below is the letter that was read by Mayor Jury at that board meeting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alex Bay "Still A Musical Mecca"

Alexandria Bay:

Last summer I described the Bay as a Musical Mecca and the same holds true for this summer.  On any given week night, it is likely to find at least 3 bands playing at different venues throughout the Bay. On the weekends, music lovers can enjoy a half a dozen or more performing.  Summer is not over yet and there is still plenty of time to catch your favorite local band.  

Two Chamber Of Commerce music weekends are coming up shortly.  August 23rd - 26th kicks off the Rockin' The Bay event which is all about  Classic Rock and Classic Cars.  This event is followed by the best Blues event in the North Country.  Blues In The Bay is celebrating its 11th year as the final act of the summer season.  The Blues In the Bay August 30th - September 3rd.

The videos below represent the new groups that have emerged during this summer.  These musicians play at various venues in the Bay, but can be enjoyed at various gigs across the North Country.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Frank Cavallario Celebrates 90th Birthday

Alexandria Bay:

Frank Cavallario celebrates his 90th Birthday today.  He has spent his entire life as a purveyor of vegetables and Fine Foods.  My wife, Mary and I spent some time recently with Frank and his wife Connie talking about the old days. The conversation starts with Frank growing up on the families vegetable farm located on the Sand Flats in Watertown and continues with the opening of the Chez Restaurant and later Cavallario's Steak House.  The video below is a summary of that conversation.  Happy Birthday Frank!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pirate Day Block Dance Still On For Tonight

Alexandria Bay:

Bill Johnston's Pirate Days event organizers were concerned about the weather forecast for tonight's block dance,  kicking off  the 9 day event.  Tonight's block dance band, Bad Husbands Club will perform as scheduled in front of the Upper James St Docks from 8pm till 10pm. The Chamber of Commerce has advised me that if mother nature does not cooperate then the block dance will be held at the same times but the venue will be the Scenic View Pavilion located just past the River Hospital.

Enjoy the video from last years block dance.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Pirates Aarrr Coming To A-Bay

Alexandria Bay:

Bill Johnston's Pirate Days start August 10th and continue till August 19th.

Alexandria Bay is the proud home of the FamousBill Johnston's Pirate Days.” There are 10 days filled with family fun and special events. Our sword-fighting group, known as the ‘Tales from Remikreh,’ will be performing throughout the Village streets....... Click here to read more about this event. Watch the promo video below:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tax Caps and Alternate Suppliers

Town Of Alexandria:

The town board has filed Local Law No. 2 of the year 2012.
This  local law will override the tax levy limit established in General Municipal Law $3-c.  The current limit for all local municipalities has a cap of 2%.  You can view the local law by clicking here.

According to board members the removal of the 2% tax levy cap has to be done to protect the tax payers. This years town of Alexandria budget went over the 2% cap, along with 7 other towns in the North Country. Our town board as well as the others thought they were within the cap.  Alexandria was within the cap until the board was hit with an unexpected workers compensation payment in the amount of $22,392.  Click here to read more on this story.

Some fear that municipal governing boards will become careless, reckless and frivolous with the tax payers money if the cap is removed......

I do not have the energy or the Ambition to discuss this next agenda item.  I will say this, it is sad that a few of the board members did not do their homework before speaking at the 7.11.12 meeting.  You really should know who you are purchasing from before you go looking for an alternate supplier.

One final note, NY State Local Government Management Guide Seeking Competition in Procurement is a good resource for those on the board that might be a little  fuzzy on procurement guidelines.  You can read the PDF version by clicking here.

I found this excerpt to be extremely interesting.

Generally, local governments and school districts are required to have a code of ethics that sets forth standards of conduct reasonably expected of its officers and employees.27 Although a code of ethics is an entity-wide document, it may be beneficial to include standards for procurement activities in your code. Procurement is a function where the public and private sectors meet to conduct business. Public procurement officials needto have a clear understanding of what business practices are permissible and what ones are not. It is also important that all local government and school district officers and employees maintain high ethical standards of conduct and avoid situations where there is even the appearance of impropriety.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Save The Dogs From Rt. 180

Lafargeville New York:

If anyone that is willing to join us in a PEACEFUL PROTEST, GRAB YOUR PICKET SIGNS AND MEET US AT PEWTER MUG THIS SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 at 10am. We will be heading to laFargeville to stand on the side of RT 180 in front of the trailer, hoping to get media coverage. THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN OUR BACKYARD. PLEASE STAND UP FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS. WE ARE THEIR VOICE. It is suppose to be above 90degrees, please bring PLENTY OF WATER. These pups are going to die a slow, horrible death in the heat of this trailer. PLEASE TAKE A STAND AND JOIN US.

An alleged puppy mill in laFargeville needs to be SHUT DOWN. Please take 2 minutes to call 1-877-MILL TIP. ALSO, call the NYS police at 315-366-6000 and make a complaint. Please help us!!
Address: 28483 NYS RTE 180

As you all are laying down in your comfy beds tonight, think about that trailer and those animals in pain and agony day in and day out, sitting in their own urine and feces, complete darkness at night, sweltering heat during the day, never touching the grass, never having a human hand touch them. If you are like me, you will shed a tear or two. I have ....every night since that report on the news.

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Original Story aired on Channel 7 July 28th.

Island Owners Ask For Equity In Taxes

Town of Alexandria and Village of Alexandria Bay:

As I blogged earlier, Islanders within the boundaries of the Village Of Alexandria Bay asked to be relieved from the Gerrymandering that was established 130+ years ago.  Gerrymandering is is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan or incumbent-protected districts.

I did not come up with the term gerrymandering, the group of 12 or so concerned island owners did.  I also do not profess to know or understand completely this term or the total concept of the P.I.L.O.T. [Payment In Lieu Of Taxes} that this group is requesting. I submit to you the Formula For Tax Equity that was submitted to the Village Board at the 7.24.12 meeting and the audio that supports the formula.

Formula For Tax Equity

Saturday, July 28, 2012

12th annual Paddle for Betterment

This annual event has represented all that Betterment hopes to achieve, as it brings together volunteers and participants of all ages while generating the spirit of philanthropy at a local level.  The annual river paddle also demonstrates Betterment’s efforts in supporting the Alexandria Bay community, as past recipients have included local organizations as well as individual community members.

Almost 70 paddlers participated in this years fund raiser


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Here....Kitty Kitty

Alexandria Bay:

Walking the Upper James St. Dock, people encountered a beautiful big kitty kat:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

35th Annual Vintage Boat Show

Alexandria Bay:

The Antique and Classic Boat Society, Inc., 1000 Islands Chapter, is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a vintage boat show in Alexandria Bay! Proceeds from the event will benefit local charities.

The Antique and Classic Boat Society, Inc. provides an organization wherein people with a common interest in and love of historic, antique and classic boats can come together with friends and colleagues in a spirit of fellowship and fun to share dreams, adventures, knowledge, history and experiences.

The Cygnus II a virtual tour:

Video of this years Vintage Boat Show:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Conversion Of HSBC

A simplified visualization of the complex conversion of bank accounts being moved to Community Bank. This is the almost new Community Branch in Alexandria Bay.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scenic View Concert In The Park Series

Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce:

Every Wednesday night from now through August is a free concert.  The concert starts at 7pm and continues for about an hour and a half.  The Scenic View Pavilion offers an open air stage for some great free musical entertainment.  Music lovers can have a seat at one of the many picnic tables under the pavilion or at one of those by the river's edge while sitting under the setting sun.  Some even bring their own chairs.  How about dinner and a concert?  Cooking your favorite meats on one of the many charcoal grills.  You can not beat the beautiful sunsets, the magnificent view of the St. Lawrence River and the majestic Boldt Castle  looming in the background.

Last night was Bluegrass Night featuring The Backroad Bluegrass band.  These guys and gals were excellent.  Watch the video to see what you missed.  Maybe you might be captured on video at next weeks concert with Fred & The Eds.  Click here for the complete concert series.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coin Messages On Military Headstones/Memorials

A retired Army Officer sent an email giving me some insight into what each coins mean.  I did a little research and found this explanation on


  • A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited. A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the solider when he was killed. According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.


  • The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman empire. The custom has its roots in the ancient Greco-Roman belief that anyone who died would need money to pay Charon, the ferryman who would transport them across the River Styx to the underworld.

Read more: Why Are There Coins on Headstones in the Cemetery? |

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tokens Of Respect For A Fallen Hero

A post on Facebook from Glenn Sweet:

Jack Sweet Memorial
I'm not sure why it started but early this spring dimes started to show up at he base of Jacks monument at the village park. I can only guess that the dimes were representing the 10th Mtn Divison. As the season has progressed penny's,nickels and quarters have been left. On busy weekends ,Memorial day ,fourth of July and both biker weekends their would be as much as $20 to $30 dollars by Sunday afternoon. We almost daily go to the park and clean the monument , seagulls and spiders have taken nicely to it. we really had no idea what to do with the tokens of respect . My niece is doing a project for the girl scouts where she is having a fallen soldier monument placed in front of the legion in Alex Bay so we thought that that would be the perfect place for the money to go.The problem is that on Monday mornings when we go to the monument their may be a handful of change left , now I really don't care about the money aspect of it but the little pricks that seem to think they need the money for what ever really have hit a nerve. obviously their are a few of these youngsters that just don't get it so share this with your friends and maybe through the grapevine they will see this and have a little respect !

Related Blog PostGirl Scout Makes Commitment To Fallen Hero

                                The Meaning Behind The Coins