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.