Thursday, January 31, 2013

On The Beach

Some photos taken just before the thaw.  Alexandria Bay Scenic Park.

All Photos Taken By Mary Cummings

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Stills Have Arrived

Lots of renovations going on at the Dark Island Spirits located at the former Muskie Lounge.  Developer Roger R. Reifensnyder sent me some photo's of the new twin 350 liter stills imported from Germany.

Related Articles: Booze Is The Buzz In The Bay

Monday, January 28, 2013

They Told Me He Was A Charmer

And I did not believe them. They told me he could even charm a snake. And I did not believe them. They told me to be careful. And Again, I did not believe them. I guess he thought we were buddies. So this time I bit him. Now I am a believer.

More Music Less Opinion

A couple of videos that I recently made. Recorded at the Riveredge Resorts. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Here Is The Man With All The Answers

That was the greeting I received when I arrived at a party yesterday.  Brent Sweet [Town Councilman] blurted that out as my son and I walked into a small group of people engaged in a casual conversation.  Since this was not a private conversation between Brent and myself, I have no qualms about sharing it with the rest you.

Time For A Review:
The circus is a blog, that you can visit and listen to audio clips of village and town meetings.  You will also find official documents and or photos that are pertinent to local government agenda items. Over the past 4 years I think I have made myself very clear, that anything that I type is only my opinion.  The audio clips and other supporting documents are the only facts.  I have even gone so far to tell you to ignore anything that is typed in this blog, because it would only be my opinion.

Some find my opinions entertaining, while others view them as the rantings of a mad man.  Others even claim that I do not deserve to have an opinion. Why?  Because I am not a local, and my opinions do not fall within the unwritten guidelines of the local good ole boy network.

This blog is my opinion and I do not lose any sleep if you do not agree.  It is my right to express my opinion and it also my right to lose as many friends with each opinion I share.  I simply do not care about your cliques and some of the "friends" you associate with.

Do I have to explain this cartoon?
The Here Is The Man With All The Answers comment was a cheap shot.... because I Know I AM NOT THAT MAN.  I am just someone with an o-p-i-n-i-o-n.  That is a FACT!

Friday, January 25, 2013

8 Little Candidates For Town Council

I have heard all sorts of names of people that want to be appointed to fill a vacancy on the Alexandria Town Board.  If it was up to me, I know who I would pick, but I am reluctant to say.....

Eight little Indians traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Indians chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Indians playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Indians going in for law,
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Indians going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Indians walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Indians sitting in the sun;
On got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian  left all alone;
He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1000 Islands "River Hockey Classic" Tournament

Please Watch The Promo Video For This Event

Mark your calenders for this Pond Hockey [family friendly] event.  It kicks off  Friday evening February 1st and continues all day Saturday.  Not familiar with Pond Hockey?  Click this link to learn more about this sport. The organizers have built a separate rink for recreational skating. The Thousand Islands Youth Hockey Program will be providing food and beverage  concessions.  This is a great event to beat those cabin fever blues!  Want to become a fan of this event?  Click here to "LIKE" on Facebook.

Directions: Click to enlarge

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learn To Skate Attendance

I received this email today

I tried to respond to the out sourcing of rink audio and had no luck.  Mr. Tom Petrie stated that there are 4-6 Learn to Skate kids.  I would like everyone to know that there were 16 kids registered for the first half and now more have joined for the second half.    We also have 14 kids at the mite level.  
John Hynes, Coach.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Outsourcing Management For Town Rink?

Town Of Alexandria:

All I can say is that several years ago my wife retired after 30 years as a local figure skating professional.  The numbers at the Watertown, Clayton, and Alexandria Bay figure skating clubs dropped dramatically.  This happened in a relatively short time with no hope for a rebound.  There were all sorts of factors for this drop in enrollment, the main one being cost, and second was the lack of interest......

The Rink Management Services Corporation was asked to make a presentation at the 1.9.13 Town Of Alexandria Board Meeting

The following audio clip is a short version featuring some very accurate insights from Tom Petrie.  He should know, he has been involved in skating since Christ was on Skates..... [Sorry Father]

Full Version below:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Will The Town Board Make The BEST Choice

A couple of years ago, village trustee Jury was elected Mayor.  This created a vacancy, because Jury had one year left in her term as trustee.  In previous village boards, the mayor made these types of decisions, their was not much discussion.  Most often the board would give the nod and simply agree to the mayor's appointment.

When the village board appointed Cindy Penn to fill the trustee vacancy, the board as a whole discussed it, deliberated and debated on it and finally publicly appointed Penn to finish the term. To me, this was amazing.... democracy at it's finest.  Was the boards participation a fluke?  Nope, it happened 4 more times.  Mayor Jury appointed a village clerk, deputy clerk, treasurer, and an acting police chief.  All four appointments, involved input from each board member.  I know for a fact, that not one board member was strong armed or pressured into going along with any name that the mayor suggested.  Again, democracy at it's finest.

The resignation of Councilman Durand has created a similar situation for the Alexandria Town Board.  A couple of wolves have come out and are circling this vacancy like it is a wounded prey.  That is usually what happens, but the town board should not just pick one of the wolves.  The board needs to go out and do their own hunting and find the best candidate to fill this vacancy.  Picking whatever shows up at your door step is no way to make the best choice

I have a question for the town board.  Will you be like the village board, using the process known as democracy?  Or will you choose the darker side of decision making, Autocracy.  I fear that some will  take the path of the least resistance choosing one of the wolves instead of going out and hunting for  the Best Choice.  It also worries me that your decision might be based on what will secure your seat at the next election.  Choose Wisely...

The town board could make an appointment to fill this vacancy at the next meeting scheduled for February 1st.  This meeting was rescheduled from the original 2.13 date due to a scheduling conflict.

Friday, January 18, 2013

►Best Buy◄ Good BYE To You

Our family does a lot of shopping at the Best Buy located in the Salmon Run Mall, Watertown.  The other day was my wife's birthday, so I set out to buy the newest 32 gig iPad. Ready to make my purchase, I found two sales people engrossed in some geeky conversation while playing with one of the display computers.  I got one's attention and he climbed a ladder, grabbed the iPad and then he escorted me to the check out.  I was pretty pleased with this gift.  

I could not wait for my wife to open it, knowing that she would love it.  She was very surprised and could not wait to fiddle with her new gadget.  The next day, she drove to Best Buy to purchase a case and a plastic protective screen cover.  She found a case [$49.99] that she liked and the screen cover [$39.99].  At the checkout counter, the salesman asked my wife if she would like him to apply the screen cover.  Sure, why not!  He said, we will be more than happy to do that, but we charge $15.00.  Fatal Error!

My wife called to tell me of this and I could tell she was upset.  I asked her what she did.... not surprised..... she told me how she asked to speak to a manager.  Shortly after, one appeared and told her that was the store policy.  She went on to explain that our household spends a significant amount of money in this store, and are you telling me that you can not apply that cover at no charge?  The manager apologized and again said that this is our policy, "if we do it for you then we have to do it for everyone".  She then asked if there was another manager with more authority?  By chance, a Best Buy regional manager was at the store, but he echoed the same policy, with a feeble apology.

No Sale!  Leaving the Best Buy store, my wife went next door to the Verizon Wireless store where she was greeted by a Sales Rep.  She explained the ordeal she just went through at Best Buy, the Rep. sympathized and said, that you could have purchased the iPad here at Verizon and avoided all that frustration.  But, we can help you out!  My wife found a similar case [$39.99] and a set of 2 screen protectors [$19.99].  The Rep. suggested that my wife buy a 3rd accessory and save 20%.  How about ear buds?  A friend that was with my wife needed 2 pair of those and my wife bought 2 pair also.  The Rep. said well that is even better, now you get 30% off.  4 sets of ear buds, the case and the screen cover for $60.28.  And NO CHARGE to apply the screen cover!  My wife and I are very pleased with the sales and service at Verizon.

Later that evening, we discussed those events and in hind sight, we should have returned the iPad to Best Buy and purchased everything at Verizon..... you all know that kind of insight is 20/20.  We also took an inventory of all the stuff that we have bought at Best Buy. Sony Handy Cam, 2 Nikon Camera, batteries, memory cards, 2 Flip Video Cameras, Flat screen TV, several MP3 players, Stereo receiver, out door speakers, 2 x-box consoles, all sorts of cables and other accessories to numerous to remember...... I hope that store policy of a $15 charge to apply protective covers is worth it.  Best Buy might want to take some cues from their neighbors over at Verizon Wireless.  Best Buy, you lost a customer..... Good BYE To You

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tongue & Groove This Saturday Night

Alexandria Bay:

My friends Tongue and Groove will be performing this Saturday night at the Riveredge Resort.  The Show starts at 8pm. Please go out  and listen and support Dan and Jess.  You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are Town Open Meeting Laws Just Smoke and Mirrors?

Town Of Alexandria:

3 local politicians are seen getting out of their cars and entering a local pub.  Is this an official meeting?  Of course not, they are probably just going out for dinner and a few drinks.

This is a small town and village, and the chances of seeing our local town or village board members standing in proximity of each other are very likely.  Our community has a lot of events and fundraisers, so it should not surprise anyone to see a  group sighting of local politico's.  It is no big deal and nothing nefarious is happening.

However, on January 3rd, a gathering took place at the town office chambers that started out as an informational meeting to discuss a project and share some logistics. As it was explained to me, Councilman Durand and Supervisor Hunneyman were the only board members in attendance , in addition Town Attorney Russell was  also  present.  I am ok with this, because no town business could be conducted without a 2/3's quorum.

Evidently, shortly after the conclusion of this first meeting a second similar informational meeting was to begin.  It was at the beginning of this second meeting that  Councilman Sweet unexpectedly  showed up and "sat in" on  this meeting.  It was  at this point that this became an unauthorized  town meeting because a quorum was now present.  It is disappointing that somebody did not make  this observation and ask one of the three town board members to excuse themselves.

Duck TestIf it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Meeting Test: If 3 board members are present, with the town attorney and they are all sitting around the same conference table in a room where they always conduct town business, then it is probably an official meeting and should have been announced  as outlined by the open meeting laws

Transparency is a word that some politicians  use to casually.  So much so, that it loses it's true meaning.  Following the "Open Meeting Laws" would be one of the best ways for a government to achieve transparency without all the smoke and mirrors.....

Bloggers Note:  As of the last town board meeting, the regularly scheduled February 13th meeting has been rescheduled to February 1st.

5th Annual Jack Sweet Family Ice Fishing Day

Mark your calendars Saturday February 9th.

Notice Of Meeting

Alexandria Bay:

The village board will hold a special meeting 4 p.m. Thursday Jan. 17th at the village offices on 110 Walton Street.  The purpose of the meeting, is to discuss the hiring a worker at its waste water treatment plant.  Questions, call 482-9902.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vying For The Vacated Seat

Town Of Alexandria:

A seat on the town board is now available after the recent resignation of Councilman James Durand.  Some "would be" candidates have come out of the woodwork and are schmoozing local politicians in an attempt to be the chosen one.

I find all this extremely entertaining, given the personalities involved.  I liken it to a group of guys trying to hit on the pretty girl in the bar.  Honey can I buy you a drink, would you like to dance, what is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this, what do you say, lets blow this Popsicle stand and go back to my place.  All these attempts most probably resulting in rejection.

What will be the outcome?  Hard to predict the results, nor do I really care, like I said, I am more interested in the process to see who aligns with who.  Who gets to dance with the pretty girl and take her home, and which one gets slapped in the face.... OR, maybe she goes home alone.... EPIC FAILURE!

Bay Chamber Post Holiday Party

Alexandria Bay:

For several years The Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce has had this event.  It is in lieu of a Christmas party during the hectic month of December. The party is  hosted by the Riveredge Resorts, and sponsored by area business's. Donated prizes are raffled off, and sadly, I did not win the Kindle Fire.  Purveyors of Wine and Beer were at this party and  offered free samples.  This year, the finger food buffet had a wide variety of cheese's and as usual the Pasta, Roast Beef and Ham stations were excellent.  Make a note on your calendar for January 2014,  this event is just what the doctor ordered for combating Cabin Fever!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Threatening Notes Found Throughout The Bay

On the creepy scale of 1 to 10, this ranks about an eleven.  I have heard that some had found these eerie notes in  Ziploc bags throughout the village with about a dozen or so BB's in the bag presumably to add weight. I know of one such note that was found and turned over to the local Police.  My wife found this one on our sidewalk today while shoveling.  It seems that someone has some serious issues with David Bain, Highway Superintendent for the Town of Alexandria.

Time tax payers wake up or someone is going to die, is how the note starts out.  It continues on, heavily criticizing Bain and the town board regarding snow removal on town roads which supposedly puts school children in jeopardy as they are transported via bus to school.  There are some other disturbing references ......

Click to Enlarge

Town Councilman James Durand Resigns

Town Of Alexandria:

As the rumor mill churned today,  the chatter around town was that James Durand resigned effective immediately.  Rumors are usually based in some truth.  So I decided to call Jim and see if he would take some time and talk to the "mad" blogger.

After leaving a message, Jim called me right back and we talked for about a half and hour.  Actually, he talked and I listened, it was a good conversation and he gave me the explanation for his sudden resignation.  I am not going to get into details, but I am sure some of you will be able to figure out one or more of his reasons.

Jim was the anchor man of the town board for 11 years.  He was always quick to accurately interpret complex town issues that arose.  Always maintaining a cool and level head, he talked to you instead of at you.  A quality that not everyone possesses. Which was one of the reasons I wanted him to be at all the meetings.  I wish Jim and his family the best as they enjoy some well deserved time down south.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Old Homestead And Spot To Be Purchased

Alexandria Bay
30 James St.:

I remember coming to the Bay in the 60's to visit my relatives.  One of my fondest memories was an evening stroll down the street towards the Lower James St. Dock. As I recall, that street was  aglow with neon lights that bathed you in warm rich colors, giving you the feeling of being on another world. A carnival world... with the thrills and excitement of street side vendors, stores, and restaurants.

As the years went by, some of the signs were replaced with those new fangled signs, that required less up keep, but lacked the alluring glow of the NEON.  The Spot and the Homestead signs flickered for many years but eventually the power was turned off and the business was closed and abandoned.  The buildings started to deteriorate and would soon become eyesores.

Several years ago, the Donegan family acquired the property and started renovations to bring the structures into a sellable state.  The partially renovated property has been on the market since.

Something to be excited about! 

At tonight's Village Board meeting, Alan Taylor announced that he and his wife Michele are in the process of purchasing the "Old" Spot and Homestead and are going to complete the renovations that were started by the Donegans a few years ago. The Neon signs are going to be restored to their original glow, bringing back the memories of those days gone by.

The Taylor Family plans to be open by this Memorial Day, a daunting time frame to say the least.  Mr. Taylor told the board that they plan on leasing a portion of the Homestead to one of the local wineries as a satellite location.  A gift shop that specializes in wine related fair will occupy another section of the building.

Plans for the Spot include a restaurant and bar.  In addition, the front lawn will be converted into a terrace with pavers,  for visitors to enjoy an outdoor ambiance.  Below is the audio from tonights board meeting that elaborates on the Taylor's plans for the property:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tongue & Groove Live At The Riveredge

This past Saturday night I went out to listen to Jess Pierce and Dan Hammond known as Tongue and Groove.  The duo had a bonus musician sitting in with them, percussionist David Donely.  Nice to see one of the year round venues supporting local talent.  Riveredge Resorts is a great place to listen to music, with the over stuffed leather chairs and moderately priced drinks.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Round The Mullberry Bush

A few days ago, I posted a story called Dear Snow Plow Operator.  Followed by a post Thanking the Town for removing the snow banks.

Today, I realized that I was unwittingly involved in a game of chess.  As I looked out the window, I could hear a little voice inside my head say, CHECKMATE!

The video tells the whole story:

From now on, I am going to be like the majority of the property owners and not shovel my sidewalk. As I strolled through the village last night, it amazed me, the number of sidewalks that have not even been touched. Even the Pillars of the Community scoff at the ordinance.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Roll Over I-81 South

While heading to Watertown this morning we encountered a traffic jam.  Stuck for 30 minutes, we were finally re-routed to 81 North where I cut across to Route 37.  I do not think that people realize how dangerous cross winds and blowing and drifting snow can be. This accident happened after several miles of  heavily wooded area that protected that section of 81 from the gusty winds.  The next portion of 81 was an open area where the winds forced the driver to possibly over compensate for the cross winds.  I guess the only advice to give..... Slow Down.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Open Meeting Laws

Huey: If 3 of us are together isn't  it considered a meeting.

Duey: I don't think so, what do you think Louie?

Louie: It is like a tree falling in the forest, and  if nobody is around to hear it.... It Does NOT make a noise.

Huey: Shouldn't we put a public notice of the meeting in the paper?

Louie:  I told you, it will be like a tree falling in the forest, it never happened and nobody cares.

Duey:  OK but what about the blogger, you know how he gets about properly announcing public meetings.

Louie:  I will take care of that pesky blogger.... he will listen to my B.S. and he will believe what I tell him.

Blogger: PsssstT fellas......

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Snow Removal Thank You

Point and Counter Point
A couple of days ago I posted a story entitled Dear Snow Plow Operator.  Many people tried to convince me that the winging of the snow was intentional.  You can see how "those guys" veered closer in front of your house, they said.  Your side walk had snow piled on it higher than anyone else they said. Man "those guys" really buried you, they said.
At the time I wasn't really sure who "those guys" were.  And I was not going to become paranoid that "those guys" were out to get me.  I discovered a couple of things today.  My street is a "State" Road but it is maintained in an agreement with the Town Of Alexandria. I also realized that I came across a little gruff when I made that post.  I was angered that my sidewalk got buried that many times.
I appreciate that Mr. Bain took responsibility by sending someone to clean up the sidewalk. But more importantly, Mr. Bain should be commended  for supporting his workers.  Below is a copy of an email that Mr. Bain sent me.
Thank You!

Hi Jim, 
First of all I would like to say , I'm sorry for the snow pushed into your sidewalk ! It's my fault as I instructed the crews to push back the banks and shelf them where needed to help hold drifting. I've discussed this with the crew involved, and it won't happen again. I really don't know why they cut that bank back so far as there's no drifting problem at that location.
I had the loader remove the snow this afternoon. I'm sure you are aware of the general public's' view that all the Town crews are overpaid, lazy, and thoughtless, I can tell you quite the opposite, the general public doesn't care or understand all the Town Crews miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and much more with their families, they have no idea what it takes to plow the roads with zero visibility, ice and driving with the public showing no mercy allowing them to do their job. Do they screw-up sometimes? Absolutely, but I would put them up against any plow crew in the County! I work hard to make sure the Town roads are in the best shape possible YEAR ROUND and I'm very proud to have these Employees working for me.
I know you were upset with this issue, but I respect you and would like to think you respect me enough to at least call me personally with any issue you may have in the future. I know you really care for our community and like to keep everybody on their toes and I respect that.


David H. Bain, 
Town of Alexandria Highway Superintendent 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Bloggers New Years Resolution

A few days ago, I announced on FaceBook that I would be posting some changes that I wanted to make for 2013.  I gave this a lot of thought but could not come up with anything that was concise and to the point.  Until I read a friends post on FaceBook. Radio and Blues In The Bay personality Steve Behm summed it up when he said this:

"Gotta hit the old bunkhouse...Happy New Year my friends...Always remember, you're the author of the book you write about yourself... Make it a book others want to read..."

This made me think, what am I???? After some reflection, I determined that I am like a Comic Book author, but my goal for 2013 is to become more like a Dime Store Novelist.  Keep this in mind, some of you are the characters in my comic book.  Also remember this, some great box office hits have come from comic books.