Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A.C.S. Superintendent Clarifies Recent Events

Last week, A.C.S. teachers, students, and parents voiced their concerns regarding the 2012-2013 school budget. Many were upset in the way targeted teachers were notified during the school day, that their jobs are in jeopardy.

Last night, Superintendent Wagoner addressed the board, teachers, parents and students.  He acknowledged all that were present at tonight's meeting and to those that voiced their concerns at the previous weeks meeting. He continued by stating that he wanted to clarify what may not have been clear at that meeting and in the conversations that he has had over the past week.

The 12 minute soundbyte is called Wagoner's Woes.  For those of you that did not attend last nights meeting, it is how Superintendent Wagoner  described  the State of the School in his address.  This is the first of a multipart report of last nights  meeting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A.C.S. B.O.E. Meeting 3.27.12

Interesting A.C.S. B.O.E. meeting tonight. The meeting started around 6:45, I left at 8. The public comment portion of the agenda had not been reached yet. There were some questions from the public concerning clarifications. And there were a few quasi hostile interjections made by some regarding sports. One noteworthy interjection regarding a huge missing piece to the budget puzzle was made by Ron Thomson..... it is still unknown how many teachers might be contemplating retirement....

I will be uploading audio clips from tonight's meeting over the next few days.....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bagpiper Rocks the Bay

I always thought that spoon playing was at the edge of musical oddities.  But last Friday night when I saw a young man wander through the crowd with Bagpipes, I thought oh boy this will be a new experience.... The young man's name is Greg and he is stationed at Fort Drum.  He boasted of his heritage as 100% Ukrainian. You will see that he plays the windbag as good as any Scotsman.   I was lucky enough to catch the two songs he did on video.  The first is Tomorrow Never Ends by the Beatles.  The second is the reverent Amazing Grace. Did you know that Bagpipes are now primarily made in Pakistan?

Friday, March 23, 2012

A.C.S. Scare Tactic...Inhumane

"....we should stop and ask many students have graduated with Academic scholarships and how many have received scholarships for sports? The answer.... from 2009 to 2011 the total amount of scholarship money given to A.C.S. graduates for academics was 1 Million 24 Thousand dollars for athletics 16,000 dollars...."
 Ryan Cullen, High School Junior

This will probably be the last installment of audio/video clips from the last B.O.E. Special meeting.  I hope to see everyone at the next meeting 3.27.12 6:30pm.  Bring your friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A.C.S. Faculty Association Pleads to B.O.E. CHOOSE KIDS!

Never Heard of a Movie Called Administrators!
Mr. Bastian has been teaching for 24 years, his current courses at ACS include Social Studies and Economics.  He is the President of the Alexandria Central Faculty Association.  Last night he put into words  what all of us were not able to articulate because of emotional attachment to what matters most to teaching professionals..... The Kids of Alexandria Central School.  This is the second part of a multipart report of the teachers, students and parents that expressed themselves at the A.C.S. B.O.E. Special Meeting that was held last night [3.20.12]

High Definition Version Video For Faster Connections

Alexandria Central Faculty Association [HD] from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Standard Definition Version for slower Internet Connections

Alexandria Central Faculty Association [SD] from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Related Links
ACS BOE Special Meeting Pt.I
ACS Courses On The Chopping Block

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A.C.S. B.O.E. Meeting Pt. I

After the events that transpired on Friday during the school day, tonight's meeting was well attended. Approximately 175 concerned parents, teachers, and students attended this Special Meeting of the A.C.S. B.O.E.. A list of Budget Options for the 2012-13 school year was the focal point of the meeting.  The meeting lasted 2.5 hours with most of it opened for public comment.  Pt. I audio clip sets the tone for the meeting. Board member, Richard LeClerc had requested at a previous meeting that all the budget options show the number of students impacted and the cost to keep each option in this years budget.  His request was apparently ignored by the administration. LeClerc wanted us all to clearly see the big picture.... the forest through the trees.  Instead, Superintendent Wagoner spoon fed the crowd with  a presentation littered with a smattering of facts and figures.  Below is the audio clip that starts about 19 minutes into the meeting.  Over the next few days I will be posting parent, teacher, and student comments from the meeting.

The following are the A.C.S. B.O.E Members
Mr. Stephen Dreizler - President
Mr. William Farman - Vice President
Ms. Patricia Aitcheson 
Ms. Nicole Bartlett
Mr. Richard LeClerc
Mr. Larry McCauley
Ms. Cathryn "Sam" Munna 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18th in A-Bay

Hard to believe that it was 72 and sunny on March 18th.   I took a spin on my bicycle and shot some video.  The temperature really had me thinking that summer is right around the corner.  One sure sign of summer is still missing..... People!

A.C.S. Courses On The Chopping Block

Click to Enlarge
I am not sure what went on Friday behind the closed doors of Superintendent Wagoner's office.  Some say that the classes marked as unmandated  are being removed from the course offerings at ACS for the 2012 - 2013.  Therefore the teacher hired to teach that course was advised on Friday of the possibility that the course might not be available in the coming school year.  In a sense, the courses are getting the pink slips not the teachers.  Depending on each teachers certification, tenure, and seniority will determine whether a teacher will ultimately get the "pink slip".  The number of teachers affected is unclear at this time.
Sources also tell me that the position of the A.C.S. B.O.E. after the 3.13.12 Budget meeting was  Take no action at this time, regarding notification of teachers.  I wonder what motivated Superintendent Wagoner to deviate from the boards decision?  The next ACS Budget Meeting will be held on 3.20.12 @ 6:30pm.

Yesterday there was lots of chatter on Facebook about the Alexandria Central School Budget.  There were some outraged parents clamoring about teachers getting "pink slips" in the middle of the school day on Friday.  Here are samples of the comments from Facebook posts:

Who in the HELL thought it was a good idea to give teachers pink slips in the middle of the day? My kids came home hysterical. I don't blame the teachers you have to give someone time to digest something like that. They haven't even given the community a chance to support them. STUPID.
So much for community mtgs....there is supposed to be one Tuesday night
One. Teacher had to go to ER cuz she's due in two wks and it raised her BP. Also another one got a call while she had a class!!!
If parents (and other taxpayers who care about young people) don't start telling their elected representatives at every level to support their schools instead of punishing them, public education in this state is going to suffer tremendously.
They should have waited until the end of the day but Cuomo is making this reality. I'm sure the BOE isn't enjoying this.
The Albany Times Union reported the other day that "The governor STILL THINKS the right way to do it  is through performance grants, because it's getting the money to the districts that need it the most and are performing the best..."
Bloggers Note: 
The Legislature is doing their "thing" in Albany.  To me, it appears that Coumo will get his way with performance based grants to schools.  If you are waiting for an 11th hour reprieve then you are wasting your time.  The only effective action that we as a community can take is to attend the ACS Budget meetings.  These meetings are not just for adults, bring your children too.  Students, if your parents can not go, then you should attend these meetings.  IT IS YOUR SCHOOL!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Girl Scout Makes Commitment To Fallen Heroes

Shannon Bartlett is trying to earn the highest award in Girl Scouts, The Gold Award.  The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts and therefore is a commitment that Ms Bartlett will make and complete as an individual.  Ms Bartlett has made the commitment to raise $5000 to obtain The Fallen Heroes Monument for the American legion John B. Lyman Post 904.  Please come and support this worthy cause. Even if you can't bake a meatloaf, you can always make a donation Your support will not only help Shannon achieve the Girl Scout Gold Award but also a memorial to All Of Our Fallen Heroes will be added to the War Memorial at the Legion Park !

Shannon was interviewed last week on Channel 7

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Local Cop Resigns

Alexandria Bay

Joshua Tarkowski, a local Police Officer affectionately known by many as Officer BlueTooth has resigned from the Village of Alexandria Bay Police Department. He gave his two weeks notice at tonight's village board meeting.  His letter did mention his willingness to be considered for part-time employment on the A-Bay Police force.  Officer Tarkowski earned the nickname Officer Bluetooth because of the cellphone hands free device that he wore in his ear while on duty.  

Tarkowski started his law enforcement career with the NYS Park Police when he was one of 36 graduates from the 6 month Park Police Training Academy completed in May 2008. The reason for his resignation is considered a personnel issue and would not be openly discussed at the board meeting.  Tarkowski, originally from Hammond NY made the safety of the village residents and business owners his priority.  Nothing but good luck to Officer Tarkowski in his future endeavors.

Brush and Leaf Pickup

Alexandria Bay:

Village workers will be picking up brush and leaf piles starting this Thursday and Friday.  It will continue every Thursday and Friday until further notice.  The D.P.W. encourages residents to separate leaf piles from brush and small limb piles.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I have seen local politicians come and go.  Some choose not to seek re-election while others are defeated.  Either way I have never seen an "ex" politician attend the incoming successors meeting.  Until recently. Our new Mayor Danielle Jury took office in December and the ex-mayor was in the audience when she took her oath of office.  I thought it was a little odd that the "ex" was there, I kept thinking that maybe he was only showing his support for the new mayor.  The "ex" has attended every meeting since then and sometimes arrives earlier than our new mayor.

I posed the following question to local political guru Jeff Graham.  Should the ex-mayor attend everyone of his successors meetings?  You will have to watch the video below to see Graham's reply.

Bloggers Note:
Remember when you were a teenager and making out? How would you feel if one or both of your parents were sitting there watching... making sure you do it the right way. Creepy? YOU BET! Almost like the ex- mayor attending the new mayors first, second, third, ...... meetings. Making sure she runs the village the right way.... Just a random thought...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

[VIDEO] Taste Of The Town

As I posted earlier, we went to the Clayton Rotary event Taste Of The Town. Local purveyors of foods, desserts and wines were there. But others came from as far as Ogdensburg and Kingston Ont. It was a pleasant gathering with a wide variety of food and drink samples. I was surprised that more local business's did not participate. There was even a masseuse set up for those that needed to work the kinks out. Enjoy the video, I chose the background music "Heard It Through The Grapevine" because that is how I heard about the event.

Taste Of The Town In Clayton

Clayton Rotary is sponsoring this social event which gives you an opportunity to sample all the great food and wines from local restaurants and wineries.   This sounds like a great event to go to after a sunny Saturday.  The event is today held at the Clayton Opera House from 4pm till 8pm. There is a $5 admission charge. Click here for more details. Channel 7 interview can be watched here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Note Of Appreciation

Johnny Truesdell's and photographer Abay Paparazzi {Dan Gaebel} put a ton of time, effort, and talent into covering this years Polar Bear Dip.  Paparazzi took 1026 photos of the event.  Johnny video taped, edited and uploaded footage from this event as well as making available others videos that he found for you on YouTube.

I could not help but notice a full page ad while skimming through the TI SUN.  The ad was a thank you to all the Dippers, Supporters, and Volunteers who helped raise $59,000 which was just shy of the $60,000 goal.

I did not see any mention of thanks to  or their fan page on FaceBook for the coverage of this event that was shared on Newzjunky. People are still stuck with the archaic thoughts of what news is [or was] which is referred to as MainStream MediaMSM is dying a slow death and is being quickly replaced with online news.  I could go on and on about this, but my only purpose was to thank and Paparazzi for the coverage of the Polar Bear Dip 2012 and of course to Newzjunky for being a Megaphone to the north country and beyond.

Bloggers Note:
The fund raising event is over and the dip fell short of it's $60,000 goal.  The MSM is not covering the event anymore.  BUT unlike MSM is still rich with content from the Polar Bear Dip.  I wonder how much money the Hospital will receive over the next few months because of the  event/news Archives?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pay To Play

The rules for comments from the public have been clearly stated for the past 3 board meetings. They can be heard in the audio clip below. I tested the rules by raising my hand to question an agenda item and I was not recognized by the board until the public comments at the end of the meeting.  I was a little annoyed since someone else, earlier in the meeting did not even raise their hand, just started talking, with no objections from the board.

Richard Drake's Diving Unlimited event was on the agenda and he had the floor and was conversing with the board.  At this moment during the meeting, it looked as tho the event discussion was going to be tabled till the next meeting.  Trustee Williams was making a suggestion to Drake when Williams stopped in mid sentence with an audible OOOPS, as if he had just been caught by the teacher talking in the back of the classroom.  As I mentioned before, that was Mr. Thomson interrupting Trustee Williams with his "2 cents" directed to "Danielle".  Personally I do not have a problem with anyone's opinion, but rules are rules and they apply to everyone.  As a result of Mr. Thomson's remarks, the board did an abrupt about face and approved the event.  Trustee Jarvis can be heard mumbling to Mayor Jury that he wanted to make a motion to approve the event at the tale end of Thomsons remarks.

There are some that say this is an example of Cronyism, elitism or Pay to Play.  I hope that this not the case.  Like I said before, I have a lot of faith in this board.  After all, any preferential treatment because of an implied "you owe me I got you elected" would be......?  Unethical!

Pay To Play defined {link}

Wind and Ice

Nothing melts snow or ice quicker than the WIND.