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Election Results
  • Chemung County Executive Race: Chris Moss (R) 55% Jerome Emanuel (Dem) 29% Krusen (I) 16%
  • 1st District: Pastrick (R) 57% Pucci (Dem) 43%
  • 2nd District: Manchester (R) 69% Saglibene (Con) 30%
  • 3rd District: Sweet (R) 53% Lynch (Dem) 40%
  • 4th District: Brennan (R) 64% Bond (Dem) 35%
  • 5th District: Margeson (R) 64% Stow (Dem) 20% Miller 15% (I)
  • 7th District: Sonsire (Dem) 63% Milliken (R) 36%
  • 8th District: Woodard (R) 58% Callas (Dem) 41%
  • 9th District: Burin (R) 74% Fairchild (I) 25%
  • 12th District: McCarthy (Dem) 50% Collins (R) 45%
  • 13th District: Drake (R) 65% Logan-Lattimore (Dem) 34%
  • 14th District: Smith (R) 68% Heyward (Dem) 31%


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Showing most liked content since 12/01/2017 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    Chemung County has a historic opportunity ahead of us. With nearly every county legislative district contested including the Executive position, the future of the county, sink or swim, rests largely in the hands of the voters. We have the choice of three candidates this year, all of them fine people I’m sure, but there is one I think will deliver the results that Chemung County not only wants, but needs: Sheriff Chris Moss. From Day One, Moss was the first candidate to propose a plan to redistribute sales tax monies back to municipalities throughout Chemung County. This includes the City of Elmira, whose financial woes have made up a large part of the news over the past couple years. Speaking of the City of Elmira, Chris has the ability to work with the city government, unencumbered by the current friction between county and city. He also has the managerial experience to oversee county affairs, and an established relationship with many within the city, town, and county governments. He is the sole candidate with both of those qualifications, I believe. For nearly 20 years the leadership of Chemung County has remained the same. That’s longer than any in the County Executive in the past, and frankly, far too long. Public service shouldn’t be a decades long career. Moss’s platform includes term limits: 2 consecutive 4 year terms for the County Executive, and 3 consecutive 4 year terms for County Legislators. Term limits are long overdue in all forms of government, and finally there’s a candidate who wants to make them happen, if only on the local level. It’s time for a fresh start in Chemung County, someone with not only vision but a track record of getting things done. I fully support Sheriff Chris Moss for Chemung County Executive. Chris Sherwood, Lowman
  2. 6 points
    I'll admit right off the bat I am biased here, just so all the cards are on the table. Attending the Spring concert at Elmira High School the other night was, in a word, impressive. It seems like every event we attend the students' skills grow in leaps and bounds, the energy and time they put into practicing evident. The music was fantastic, as always. They've got one hell of a music program at the Elmira schools. Watching a couple of the soloists fidgeting nervously or taking a couple deep breaths before launching into their piece, I was thinking, "You got this, kid," because I know they've worked hard. And they nailed it, the look on their faces afterwards, the look of maybe relief but more pride than anything, priceless. Same for the whole group after each piece. Towards the end of the concert, they took a moment to recognize the seniors, who made up a large part of the group, and what they're plans were after graduation. Out of the twenty or so they introduced, every single one of them had plans for college and a career path. Computer security, dentistry, chemistry, theater, mathematics, and even a couple pre-med... every one of those kids has a path they've laid out before themselves to a promising future. As the introductions wrapped up and the concert proceeded, it bothered me how the public doesn't hear all the positive things going on inside the Elmira schools. Yeah, they had a rough patch a couple years ago with near riots in the hallways and brutal assaults documented on video. Right here on this site, I very bluntly compared the schoolyards to a prison yard at the time. But things turned around pretty quickly. With a strong message and better leadership in some of the buildings, there's been amazing progress. In a world gone mad, they're fighting an uphill battle there in the classrooms, both the teachers and students alike. But they're trying. Those seniors standing up there ready to chase their dreams prove it. At the very end of the program, the entire group played a rendition of "This Is Me" from the 2017 movie, "The Greatest Showman" to reflect the idea that no matter what, it's okay to be themselves. As they played an instrumental version, the lyrics showed on a screen accompanied by pictures of all the students doing what they enjoy: When the sharpest words wanna cut me downI'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them outI am brave, I am bruisedI am who I'm meant to be, this is meLook out 'cause here I comeAnd I'm marching on to the beat I drumI'm not scared to be seenI make no apologies, this is me And I believe they mean it. If this close knits group of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders is representative of the entire student body, there's more good things going on in those hallways than a music program. I'm proud of every single one of them. Of course I know me saying this means little to many, even less to some. There's always going to be the naysayers who judge the majority by the actions of the errant few who exist everywhere. People like to complain, it's a favorite past time around here apparently. Time for a reality check, people: There will always be drop outs. There will always be unruly students. There will always be fights. In any school building in America. Elmira is not some anomaly where such things occur. So the next time someone out there decides to complain about their taxes wasted on the schools. The next time someone someone starts to type a message on social media about how the students in Elmira are out of control, are a waste of time, all headed for jail... Or call them "all a bunch of hood-rats, welfare trash", here's a message from me: Stick it in your ass. Those kids are gonna have it hard enough in this world, the last thing they need is the people of their own trying to beat them down.
  3. 5 points
    Fall has finally arrived on Wipjibber Mountain, which means the boys of Troop 000 are back up and running after time off for summer vacation. The scouts are just back from their first camping trip for the 2018-2019 season and I’m told it was one for the history books. In an effort to train for next Summer’s backpacking trip in the Allegheny Mountains, the scouts hiked from the Methodist Church to the property of their scoutmaster, Gary Inzo. It was fair weather for the 5 mile hike with an overnight stop in the woods near the old railway station. The following morning they arrived at Inzo’s property and set up camp. The older scouts instructed their younger charges in the ways of woodcraft including cooking a meal over an open fire. I’m happy to report no injuries other than an incident in which Lawrence Hubschmidt got smoke in his eyes and recoiled, sending his pan full of half done fried potatoes flying through the air. As his spuds returned to earth, some landing in a fresh mug of coffee, just poured, Lawrence lost his balance and went rolling down the hillside, his scoutmaster following closely behind him. Lawrence was uninjured, thankfully, largely in part to the strength of the adult leaders who restrained said scoutmaster until a fresh cup of joe could be poured for him. The adults later remarked it was a good thing Inzo forgot about the shotgun he’d brought in case of a visit by a nuisance bear that’d been having around his place. The scouts enjoyed a rousing game of “Flashlight Tag” in the wooded section of the property until the game took an interesting turn which will not be soon forgotten. Bobby Joe Olson, being designated as the person who was”it”, heard what he suspected to be another scout in a nearby thicket. He snuck up on the unsuspecting boy aided only by the moonlight. He was nearly on his quarry when he heard a low, deep snuffling sound. “B-B-B… BEAR!!!!” he bellowed, before stumbling over a tree root and falling backwards, losing his flashlight in the process. Scoutmaster Inzo, seeing the opportunity to finally be rid of the bear, remembered he'd brought his 12 gauge and, grabbing it, sprinted up the hill towards the sound of Bobby Joe’s yelling. Arriving where the boy was still thrashing in the dry leaves trying to get to his feet he took aim at the thrashing weeds where he knew the bear stood, and let fly with two rounds of buckshot. At the report of the old Remington, Bobby Joe snapped to his senses. He also snapped countless small trees and limbs as he bolted into the night towards camp. Certain the bruin was down, Inzo went to his tent, fetching a lantern and returned with the rest of the group. All were anxious to see the monster which nearly ate their fellow scout. All that is except said scout who was occupied cleaning up the mess in his shorts. Shining the lantern on his trophy, Inzo was immediately crestfallen to find not the bearskin rug he’d long desired, but Ollie, his grandson’s prize Hereford steer which until this weekend was bound for next year’s State Fair. The remainder of the weekend was a somber affair as scoutmaster searched for ways to break the news of the steer’s demise to his grandson. But all agreed it was a weekend they’d never forget. Community Announcements The Wipjibber Mountain Audubon Club will host a Pancake Breakfast at the fire department November 10th from 8-11 am. A free will donation is suggested. Scout Troop 000 announced they will be postponing their annual Fall Spaghetti Dinner. Instead, there will be an “all you can eat” roast beef dinner held in the dining hall of the Methodist Church on Nov. 17th from 4-7pm. Cost is $10 for those 12 and up, children $5. All proceeds will go towards the troops newly planned Summer trip to New York City.
  4. 5 points
    Yep...I saw Santulli's "unbareable" mistake and would have pointed it out if you hadn't! It brakes my heart and hertz my eyes two sea that stuff!
  5. 5 points
    I'm not a huge fan of musical outside of a few classics and my Spanish is limited to what I picked up when the boys were little and watched "Dora The Explorer". But this was not just good, it was damned good. Good enough I'm going to go see it again. I'm proud of our son, but I am also proud of every single one of those kids for what they've done. I was f**ing blown away.
  6. 5 points
    One of the things that set me on the path of doing a website like this was my time as a columnist for a small newspaper from Spencer NY called "The Broader View Weekly". Having a bi-weekly deadline helped me not only to get my writing up to snuff but also forced me to come up with fresh ideas. Even more than I have to now. Some of these were personal stories that somehow tied into a message to share with the readers. This is one of them that I'll be posting from time to time. Originally published in February 2011 An interesting and rather amazing thing happened this past weekend, and I’d like to share it with you, but first I have to tell you one story to tell you the other. About twelve years ago when the idea of talking to strangers on the internet was a new and exciting thing, I ended up finding a pen pal of sorts. In the electronic Tower of Babel known as the AOL chat room, I became friends with a lawyer in Connecticut. Her profile listed her profession as “ambulance chaser” ( She disputes this fact now, but I say it's true. ) and mine being a paramedic working out of one I believe was what got the initial conversation going. Nonetheless when we found ourselves online, we would shoot the breeze about whatever, as pen pals would the old fashioned way. Now my friend was a lawyer for children going through various problems, she never really specified what, but it seemed as though she took the task of being an advocate for children pretty seriously. There was one particular time when she must have had a bad day and asked at one point, “What’s the use ? I don’t think it will make a difference.” and I told her this story I had recently read: “ An old man and his grandson were walking down the beach after a storm. Along the way they came upon what appeared to be hundreds of starfish that had washed ashore in the storm. The old man immediately began placing the starfish back in the water one by one lest they die on the sand. The young man, watching, said, ‘Grandpa, what are you doing ? There’s too many and you can’t save them all. It’s not going to make a difference ! ‘ The old man turned, and placing the starfish in his hand back into the water smiled and said, ‘ It makes a difference to this one.’” Time has made the conversation sort of spotty, but I always figured the story helped. I had no idea… We eventually lost touch and life went on, ten years in fact. However last week, for some strange reason this friend crossed my mind. I have no idea why or how, just did. After a day or two of wondering “whatever became of…” that just wouldn’t leave me alone I finally decided to see if through the power of Google I could find out. So after beating my brains out remembering her last name I sent out an e mail to an address that seemed right, first making sure to explain I wasn’t nuts, just looking for someone. I also included the above story, knowing if I had the right person, they would remember that if nothing else. A couple days went past and I finally got a response. I found my old “pen pal” who, admittedly didn’t remember much about me but remembered the story. She was in Florida she said, and then told me something that still leaves me in awe. It seems she continues to work with a youth group in response to some “pretty ugly” violence in her city. There are three kids who are working with her who have recently come to her on separate occasions to ask if what they were doing is “worth it”. She assured them it is, and while in Tampa bought them each a gold starfish with the intention of telling them the story. It gets better. The day I had that irresistible urge to send out my e mail was the same day she bought the kids’ gifts. I’m telling you this story first off because, let’s face it it’s pretty cool. Also, because it occurs to me that without realizing it, we each in our own way touch so many lives in ways we’ll never know. While not everyone may get such a reminder as I have, it feels right, it again feels necessary to pass it on as a reminder. We all can make a difference.
  7. 5 points
    Last year after my wife and I got the lights on the Christmas tree, we let the boys take over and begin decorating. Historically this has involved them putting them on the tree in the same location within a 6 inch radius and me telling them to spread the decorations out. The grownups will put a couple decorations on the tree as well, ones that must be on there; a couple from a honeymoon trip to the Adirondacks, a mini union suit that commemorated baby's first Christmas, etc. Additionally, there's the decorations that have been on my tree since long before I can remember. You see a tradition in our family was for each year the kids would get a new decoration from Grandma, usually around Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter. So I have decorations going back 43 years, each one with my name and the year on it. Some of them have to stay in the box now, or risk being damaged, but I try to put a few from over the years on the tree no matter what. One of those is particularly special, as represents a very specific memory. As I recall ( and Mom if I'm recalling this one wrong, I don't want to know ) I was maybe 10 years old, I don't know, shopping with Grandma one year and an ornament caught my eye. A galloping unicorn made of a glass like substance. I can't remember why I was drawn to it, although given my appreciation of fantastical beasts it shouldn't be a surprise. Anyhow, I asked for it, got it, and it became part of the collection. As far as I know it went on the tree every year I can remember after that. Especially after her death in 2010, that ornament is mandatory on the tree, placed by me in front of a light so it shines. So getting back to last year, there we are, decorating the tree and I reach for the unicorn. Not in the box. I look in the other. Not there either. I search the remaining boxes, and then becoming more frantic, the two decoration boxes again. Nothing. I began to think, surely I wouldn't have missed it when we took down the tree last year. Would I ? Even if I missed it in the house, I would have noticed it when I put the tree in one of our bird pens. Right ? What if I didn't ? What brush pile did it end up on ? Ohmygoditslostforever.... Folks, if you'd ever wanted to see a 42 year old man rapidly losing his shit, this would have been the time to see it. I was coming unglued looking for it. Fortunately my partner "for better or worse" ( or sudden insanity ) found it. Deep breaths, heart rate settled maybe feeling a little foolish, it went on the tree and we went on with Christmas. The point to all of this is, we all have our traditions, and in those traditions are memories that last long after we've grown and others have gone on. We were blessed to have been raised with values that put emphasis on traditions, or more precisely, the memories that remain long after the material things are gone. Nevertheless, there is that value attached to small things like a two dollar ornament. Maybe it's something I wouldn't have consciously recognized even ten years ago, but with each passing year do. With each passing year memories fade, it can't be helped, they just do. We forget life's little moments, maybe even memories of people fade. So we treasure those little plastic talismans that bring us not good luck, but good memories that may have otherwise faded. And we remember all over again.
  8. 4 points
    We used to have a trail cam topic on the old sight, and it was always pretty cool to see the images that these cameras capture when no one is around. I'll start. Caught this image on one of my cams up at my cabin this past weekend. Places to go, things to eat ...
  9. 4 points
    I agree with Adam, The county has done great at steeting businesses to Big Flats. That is just a small portion of our county. I would also like to see a stop to the extra loads of refuse from NYC to the landfill. Yes it has plenty of room but it isn't going to last forever if we keep taking hundreds of tons of garbage from other areas. In 20-30 years we will be paying other places to take our garbage.
  10. 4 points
    Things have been rather peaceful here on Wipjibber Mountain this Summer, other than the sound of griping as the farmers try to get the hay in between rainfalls. It’s been so wet here this year that folks don’t need to dress up those little statues of geese in their front yards anymore, what with the real geese out there holding umbrellas. Well, there was some excitement in town after a few of the local boys gave the town quite a scare last month. It seems the McCaney boys and Pete Crabbe decided to go whitewater rafting in the crick after several days of rain. Pete says they were doing fine until they slammed into a tree trunk and fell off the tire tube. Pete ended up downstream a ways, the current so strong it ripped his swimsuit clean off. Stark naked, he ran to get help while Jimmy and Billy held on to Cal Hendrick’s barbed wire fence, which Jimmy later reported woulda took his head clean off had he not ducked underwater. Unable to see Pete, they screamed for help, attracting Cal’s dairy herd, which weren’t much use. Cal grabbed the first thing he could find, which happened to be his logging chain, and led by a bare bottomed Pete, run to the crick to drag the two out. His first attempt to throw them the chain missed... sort of. His following attempts more successful, Cal managed to drag the boys out of the water on to dry land. He gave the trio a good talking to, and they begged Cal not to tell their folks. But it was already too late as the site of a naked teenage boy pounding on the back door gave new meaning to “flash flooding” for Cal’s wife and town gossip, Onalee. Not counting Onalee’s nervous condition being set off, the boys were fine and casualties few other than a few stitches on Billy McNaney’s forehead where Cal’s logging chain hit him. Two of the three were the source of further consternation in town when "Mooch" Mitchell showed up at the Urgent Care Sunday last hollering he'd been poisoned and needed his stomach pumped. Doc, somewhat irked by being dragged away from the race on the waiting room TV, told Mooch to calm down and tell him what happened first. It seems while their folks were off in Millport visiting family, the boys were left home to stack wood. Mooch stopped to see if they wanted to go fishing and declined requests to lend a hand so they could. After an hour they boys figured it was time for lunch so they went in, followed by a now eager Mooch Mitchell. As they fried up a couple cheeseburgers Mooch mentioned he was feeling a little peckish himself. Jimmy offered to make him a burger, but would Mooch go back out to the woodlot and grab his water bottle while he cooked it? The prospect of food heightened Mooch's ambition, and he did. The three sat down on the porch and dove into their meal, the McNaney boys' intently watching as Mooch ate his own. With about two bites left, Billy burst out in laughter and screamed, "It's a GainesBurger!!!! Harharhar!!!" Well, Mooch thought it was a joke, but on further examination found that the "meat" was indeed a little queer looking. Spitting out the mouthful he had, he dropped his plate and bolted for there Urgent Care, convinced he'd been poisoned. Well, Nurse Crandall talked the boy down in short order, assuring him he hadn't, in fact, been poisoned. She gave him a glass of water and a popsicle before sending him home, cautioning him to be more careful about who makes his sandwiches in the future. Doc further advised him to avoid walking past the fire hydrant in front of the Methodist Church on the way home, just in case.
  11. 4 points
    Attending my Owego Free Academy 45th class reunion on July 28, 2018, it was great to see and chat with several former classmates. We were the 100th class to graduate from OFA, and the first class to graduate from the new high school building – such honors! Having moved 15 times by the time I was 15, attending five different schools, learning to make new friends at each school, I’ve held onto many treasured memories. With the reunion in mind, I just had to share this blog originally posted in 2013. Oh, the childhood memories of places we’ve been and the friends we’ve made! Don’t you just love to visit with friends from long ago, remember childhood fun, and recall the good ol’ days when life was simpler? I suspect we all have precious memories tucked away, ready to be pulled out every so often. It’s a chance to gaze back in time, to smile anew on fun shared by all. But, I’m sure I’m not alone in having some memories that bring emotions to the surface, and tears to the eyes. Twice a year as our children grew up, we’d visit back and forth with my childhood friend and her husband, Hugh. Kathy and I were friends in East Palmyra – in church, in class at the Christian school, and in playing at our homes. We continued our friendship via snail mail after my family moved away in 4th grade, just before I turned 10. It was a very painful and emotional move for me – away from farm life, away from the best friends I’d ever known to city life in Clifton, New Jersey where I was born, and where my dad’s parents and siblings’ families lived. It was an unwelcome change. I hated city life, was horribly homesick, and cried for weeks. But, life got better as I let go of childhood pain and released the sadness. Though there were difficult times and events in Clifton, I now find many good memories to replay in my mind’s eye. It was an era when my sister and I could walk or bike everywhere without fear. And then there was the time we biked from our eastern side of Clifton to where our grandparents lived all the way on the other side. When my grandmother opened the door to our knock, trust me, she was not pleased… because no had known where we were! Still, with the used bikes my grandfather gave us, we felt so rich! I treasure memories of fishing with my dad in northern Jersey lakes, and of spending time with my grandparents. My grandmother was a former professional seamstress who taught me to sew clothes and quilts – and to rip it out if it wasn’t right and sew it over again, more than once as I recall! This little Dutch immigrant had an unspoken life motto - “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!” How I miss her greeting us at the door with a hug and always sweetly saying, “Hello Dear!” in her Dutch accent. Admittedly, my favorite memories are those of my childhood on the farms, and the fun my sister and I had back when there was no technology to ruin what our little minds could conjure up. My earliest memories, though, begin after we moved back from Delta Junction, Alaska. My dad had a foreign assignment in the Army, stationed at Fort Greeley before Alaskan statehood. He wanted to homestead, but my Mom wasn’t keen on the idea, so back to New Jersey we went. I’ve often wished I’d been old enough to remember the trip and the beautiful sights down the Al-Can Highway back to the States; but, then again, as I heard about the road without guardrails next to steep cliffs, of an old car with a steering wheel that caught at the most inopportune times (like coming around a curve and heading straight for a cliff when, at the last moment, the steering engaged again for my Mom, preventing us from plummeting off the cliff), maybe I’m glad I wasn’t old enough to remember that trip. Dad got rid of that car as soon as they got into Washington state, and they took a train east to Newark, NJ where my grandparents brought us back to their home. Dad next went to work on the Everson Farm in Clifton Springs, NY. I have photos of that time, but my first memories begin when he worked on the Wychmere Farm in Ontario/Sodus, NY. I clearly recall that, at age 3-4, we drove down a lane to a Lake Ontario beach where I floated in an innertube. Seeing a ship on the horizon, my child’s mind feared it would “run me over!” Then, imagine my excitement when, while dating my husband-to-be, Ed, my friend, Kathy, and her husband, Hugh, took us to that very same lane and beach near Chimney Bluffs and it was totally familiar to me, remembered from all those years ago! Next, on the Breemes farm in Marion, NY, my sister and I could be seen playing in and around the barn; milking “my cows” with an old tea kettle on the bank-barn’s wall ledge while standing on a bale of hay as Dad milked his cows; throwing rocks into mud/manure puddles with my sister, and accidentally following those rocks into the muck. My brother, Charlie, was born that year, an interloper to our fun… or so I thought at that age. Later, we once again moved back to Clifton, NJ where I went to kindergarten, a big girl walking several blocks by myself to school. Returning to Marion, NY the following year, we had many more adventures with Fran and Betty DeVries while living upstairs in their beautiful Victorian house on their parents’ farm. I still remember the layout of their barn, helping a few times to put milking machines together, watching their Dad put in silage with the belt-driven unloader off the tractor. My Dad knew Gerald and Joann from the Sussex, NJ Christian Reformed Church when he was herdsman for old Mr. Titsworth after graduating high school. Actually, Mr. Titsworth was a direct descendant of Willem Tietsoort who settled in that area after the 1690 Schenectady massacre, purchasing extensive lands from the northern Jersey Indians. Unknown to our family back then, my genealogy research several years ago discovered a daughter of Willem Tietsoort was one of my mother’s ancestors! Moving up the road to the spacious farmhouse on the Musshafen tenant farm brought more fun as we meandered the fields, and walked back up the road to spend time with Fran and Betty. My Dad bought a steer from Mr. DeVries to raise for beef. We girls named him Elmer… as in Elmer’s Glue! My sister and I thought it was more fun running between rows in the garden instead of our weeding chore. Brother Mark was born here, with Charlie anxiously asking, “When can he play ball with me?” My Dad’s sister, Aunt Hilda, taught us the little ditty, “On top of spaghetti...” Needless to say, whenever I recall that song, it is always with images from that house as the poor little meatball rolls off our dining room table, out the back door, down the cement steps, down the slope, past the garden and under the lilac bushes this side of a small creek! We shelled endless piles of peas and snapped mountains of beans, and, I’m ashamed to say, threw some under those lilac bushes when we got tired of it all. We practiced our fishing techniques, aiming to put the dobber into a bucket though I don’t believe we were too accurate. We caught tadpoles and watched them grow into frogs in jars before returning them to the creek. And we tried to fry an egg on the road on a very hot summer day… well, the adults always said it was so hot you could…! Next, as tenants on the Bouman farm on Whitbeck Road, fun found us running with Ruth, Annette and Grace in the haymow, catching my shoe on baling twine and tumbling down to the wooden floor below, barely a foot away from the upturned tines of a pitch fork and getting a concussion; traipsing over the fields and through the woods; walking among the cows in the pasture only to be chased by a very indignant new mom for getting too close to her baby and barely making it under the fence with her hugeness right behind me; roller skating, only once, on a pond because we didn’t have ice skates; building snow forts, sledding down the hill outside the barnyard; playing telephone as we kids all sat in a circle, laughing at how the secret message had changed from the first person to the last; playing Mother May I, Red light, Green light, and Hide and Seek; learning to ride bike under Grace’s tutelage with resultant scraped-up knees; playing at friend Kathy’s home, sledding down their hill and across the field when a train came through, freezing up and not thinking to roll off - thankfully, the sled came to a stop a few feet away from the track as I looked up in horror at the train rushing by; voraciously reading every book I could get my hands on, a life-time habit; and so much more…! Oh such fun!! Then, abruptly, we moved back to city life in Clifton, NJ. Sadly, Dad left much behind, including the unique doll house made especially for us girls when I was in kindergarten. Now, we enjoyed visiting often with our grandparents, and loved the family gatherings for every main holiday on the calendar. When brother Andy arrived, my sister and I, at ages 10 and 11, were responsible every week for months for hauling the family laundry in a wagon to the laundromat across the street from the bar at the top of our block, washing and folding it all (we became little pros, respected by all adults doing their own laundry), and getting to buy treats like 5-cent double-stick popsicles, way bigger than today’s version! We taught Charlie to ride bicycle in the former train station’s empty parking lot across from the end of our block. Our Dad took us fishing to northern Jersey lakes and on Clifton’s Garret Mountain with its great vista overlooking the cities to the New York City skyline, all fishing holes from his childhood. We two girls enjoyed traipsing the city unsupervised and unaccosted, walking or biking everywhere to parks and the city library, and to Passaic Christian School and then Christopher Columbus Junior High 12 blocks from home. I can still visualize so much of the city like the back of my hand, forever frozen in time. After four years, my heart rejoiced when we moved back to New York, through the outskirts with heavy traffic and hippies of the Woodstock Festival on Saturday, August 16, 1969. Our long drive ended in Lounsberry, half-way between Owego and Nichols, where the odor of neighboring farms was heavenly. Here, my latter teen years were spent caring for three-dozen-some chickens, 6 Muscovy ducks and their newly-hatched ducklings (who grew to provide us with fine dining), my lamb, and mare, War Bugg, a beautiful grand-daughter of Man O’ War… along with our youngest brother, Ted. I was, admittedly, very disappointed he was not a little girl, but I soon fell in love with him and those big blue eyes as my sister and I helped care for him. After all, we were “pros” in baby care by then! Simply spending time recalling precious memories of family and friends in a long-ago world brings a few tears and many smiles to my heart… So, what cherished memories do you have that are waiting to be brought to mind and shared? Going back home… Linda A. Roorda Going back home within my mind To simple retreats of childhood days Holding sweet memories of yesterday Like quiet oases of rest and peace. ~ Stirring emotions that overwhelm On traveling back to gentler times With early images tucked far away On pages engraved in a long-ago world. ~ For what could ever make me forget The fears that then descended strong With dog at fence and thunderstorm To shake the world of toddlerhood. ~ While a life-long love was built in scenes Of farming and learning beside my Dad With laughter heard through carefree days In adventures had by my sister and me. ~ The many homes of my younger days Are shelters now for cherished views As dear and precious memories enhance Wistfully perfect they ever remain. ~ But tucked within the pages recalled Are days of change and tender tears Moving away and losing friends Through a lifetime lived, they’re never forgot. ~ Yet often they say it’s just not the same We can’t return to scenes of our youth That life and times are forever changed The rift between then and now is too great. ~ But as I gaze on all that once was I find it’s okay to let the tears flow As they wash away the lingering pangs To leave my heart refreshed and clean. ~ So I shall always savor the joy Of going back home within my mind And holding dear those treasured days Of childhood mem’ries and lessons learned. ~~ 09/21/13 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author.
  12. 4 points
    It has been a while since I've put "pen to paper". For some unknown reason the words aren't flowing easily for me. Certainly, I've had ideas and I have several drafts of stories but nothing that comes together the way I'd like, nothing that makes me happy. Another bit of a problem I'm having is writing stories on two different sites and then keeping track of what I wrote where. I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to stay with one site, the Telegram, but I worry about copying my stories from the other site to this site in case some here have already read them. Yep, over-thinking again, I do that quite often. Anyway, this is a true story I posted a couple of years ago, I don't remember where, but I'd like to share it again. I'd also like to say "thank you” to my editor for inserting two graphics that I believe add just the right touch to this story. I hope you enjoy. When I was younger, Mom was always just Mom, someone you loved but also sometimes feared. As children we don’t realize that Moms are also individuals with feelings, frustrations, dreams, hopes and regrets. Never perfect but with many facets of personality that make up the person we call Mom. I have memories of Mom wearing rolled up jeans, saddle shoes and sometimes a kick ass attitude. I remember occasions when she went nose to nose with someone who did something she didn’t like. She wasn’t always the winner but she also didn’t often back down. When I first wrote this story I had always believed she was just upset about the spitting. I’ve re-read it and thought about things and have come to realize that perhaps anger and frustration for someone else was probably the motivation for her actions that day. I don’t know if she ever apologized to anyone or felt bad about that day but I guess it really doesn’t make any difference. She was Mom…not Perfect. Anyone who knew my mother knew her as a kind, generous, loving woman who absolutely adored her family and who opened her door to any and all in need. Ask any of my sons about their Grandmother and the first thing you’ll see is a softening of their face. A gentle look comes into their eyes and you’ll see a bit of a smile tinged with sadness as they think about her. They remember the older, gentler, kinder woman; I remember the younger, feisty woman you didn’t want to piss off. One summer day we were visiting my mother’s parents. One of our male cousins was staying with our grandparents for the summer and, as me the child remembers, he was about 7 years old, a red-headed, whinny, tattle-tale brat so I’ll refer to him as Cousin B. This particular day, Mom had reached her limit with him and his pissiness and she said it was time to go home. My sisters and I were in the back seat of our car with the window down. Cousin B. walked up to our window and spit at us. He stood there smirking until my mother’s car door opened. In a flash, Mom was out of the car and reaching for him. He took off running up the alley probably figuring she wouldn’t go after him because she was too old being in her late 20’s or early 30’s. Wrong…….she was hot on his heels. The exact moment he realized he was in for it, that Mom was mad as hell and not giving up the chase until she caught him, he started screaming for our Grandmother. “Help, help me Nanny, help” he yelled. The way he was screaming for our Grandmother I’m sure they heard him in Corning. Dad started laughing because Mom was really moving. Our Grandparents came running out of the house as Cousin B. ran past them into the house with Mom right behind him. “Stay in the car” Dad said as he got out. The next thing I saw was the second story bedroom window open and Cousin B.’s head pop out. With the window open we could hear Mom yelling at him and, realizing she was still after him, he crawled out onto the sun porch roof. Mom came out that window right behind him. My Dad must have explained what had happened because he and my Grandfather were laughing while my Grandmother was yelling at my Mom. Cousin B. was cornered with no place to go as Mom caught up with him on the sun porch roof. By now he’s wailing like a banshee. We stayed in the car like we were told but four heads were squeezed out the back seat window in awe of our mother. She actually caught him and she climbed out on to the roof to do it. “You will apologize” Mom yelled at him. “No…help me Nanny, please” was his reply. My Grandmother starts using the Gaelic so we know she’s really pissed now too. Mom grabs him by the arms and holds him over the edge of the roof. “You will apologize to them all or else” she tells our cousin. “Okay, okay” he cries, believing she’s going to drop him if he doesn’t. At this point my Dad reaches up and takes him from Mom after she lowered him down a bit. As an adult I realize that porch roof was probably only 6 or 7 feet from the ground but to a 7-year-old it probably looked like the Grand Canyon. Mom crawled back through the window, came outside, grabbed Cousin B. and marched him over to the car. He apologized for spitting at us and promised to never do it again. Nanny wasn’t happy with Mom for what she did and continued to yell at her. Cousin B. received a couple of swats on his ass from our Grandfather. No one said much on the drive home as Mom continued to vent her ire. When her temper was up you left her alone if you knew what was good for you. Our cousin never spit again, never antagonized us again and Mom was the only Aunt who never had to speak more than once to him. As he grew older he and Mom actually became close and whenever he was in town he’d stop in and visit with her. The loving, gentle woman my sons remember had fire in her blood and, at times, a temper to match. That fire was just banked to warm, soothing embers as she grew older.
  13. 4 points
    Putnam Hill in Chemung, better known as Putt Hill, sits at an imposing elevation of 1700 feet. Located in the north east corner of the town, it is part of the Allegheny Plateau Region of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range, well known for its hard wood forests, ridges, hills, valleys, streams and haunting folklore. The raw beauty of the land is equally matched by the wild elements of nature. Those who inhabit this area face hardships and challenges when winter casts a spell over the mountain; turning it frozen and barren. The reward in spring and summer is the lush green foliage that reaches up to the blue sky and white clouds. However, in autumn the artist’s palette of reds and yellows that over come the hills soon turn to warm golden brown; and the fall sky turns to gray. Daylight grows short. The air is crisp. The forest floor is covered in the rustling of fallen leaves and the stirrings in the woods are amplified, with shadows darting from the corner of the eye. It’s the autumn equinox, when hauntings are prevalent in the minds of many. Were there spirits in the forest at night haunting those who entered or were they folklore tails of long ago? Thomas Putnam a brave pioneer settler to the mountain was born August 12, 1789 in Charlestown, New Hampshire to Thomas and Polly (Young) Putnam. Lucy Bowman Morse and Thomas were married in Vermont in the year 1813. Lucy was born in Concord, Vermont on March 10, 1792. Thomas, a veteran of the War of 1812 was well aware of life in the mountains, learning as a young child the privations of the forest. He and Lucy came to Chemung with their three children between the years of 1830 and 1840. Little is known of their two children Eleanor and Charles. That is not the case for George Washington Putnam who lived next door to his parents in the 1840 census with his young bride. George W. Putnam and Eleanor Jackson were wed November 14, 1839 in Chemung, NY by the Rev. J. Piersall. Eleven children would be blessed to their household: Dean, Mahala, Wilson, Martha, Lucy, Freelove, Jahiel, Hattie, Mary Elizabeth, Clarissa (Clara), Frances (Frankie); a household of thirteen. It was sometime between 1840 and 1850 that George Washington Putnam changed his name, becoming George Putnam West. His children and wife all carry the name of West as evidenced by their sacred family bible. The family bible also lists George’s parents as Thomas and Lucy (Bowman) Putnam. So why would a young man with a large family change his name to West, yet keeping his family name as a middle name so as not to lose his identity? The home of G.P. West is notated on Putnam Hill in the 1869 map of the Town of Chemung. The land was farmed for many years by the Putnam family in the wilds of the mountain. It was here, the family faced strife and joys. Nonetheless a secret was buried deep within the roots of this family. Thomas Putnam carried his namesake throughout his life: a name that passed back through time to England in the 15th century. But it was Thomas’s second great grandfather who defiled their name in Salem Village in the year 1692. The Salem Witch Trials were well known for their accusations, trials, and executions. During the course of the year in 1692 more than a dozen persons claimed to be afflicted by spells of black magic and sorcery, allegedly cast by men and women who had enlisted the supernatural powers of the devil. The outbreak of witchcraft hysteria took place in Salem Village. In harsh reality, the Salem witch craze was largely fueled by personal differences between two families; the Putnams and the Porters. As the story goes, Thomas Putnam Jr. was known as a significant accuser in the 1692 witch trials. Earlier in life he was excluded from major inheritances by both his father and father-in-law and became a bitter and jealous man. Putnam, his wife and one of his daughters, Ann Putnam, Jr. all levied accusations of witchcraft; many of them against extended members of the Porter family, and testified at the trials. An interfamily rivalry began in 1672 when a dam and sawmill run by the Porters flooded the Putnam farms, resulting in a lawsuit. A few years later the Putnam’s petitioned the town in an effort to obtain political independence for the village, and the Porters opposed them. The arrival of Reverend Samuel Parris in 1689 intensified the Putnam-Porter conflict. Twenty-six villagers, who included eleven Putnams, voted to give Parris a parsonage, a barn, and two acres of land. Some villagers claimed these gifts were too generous. In October 1691 a faction of Parris-Putnam supporters were ousted from the village committee and replaced by individuals who were openly hostile to the reverend; including members of the Porter family and Joseph Hutchinson, one of the sawmill operators responsible for flooding the Putnam’s farms and Francis Nurse, a village farmer who had been involved in a bitter boundary dispute with Nathaniel Putnam. The new committee quickly voted down a tax levy that would have raised revenue to pay the salary of Reverend Parris. It is no coincidence that the witchcraft afflictions and accusations originated in the Parris household. In February 1692 the reverend returned home from his congregation one evening to discover his nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Parris, her 11-year-old cousin, Abigail Williams, and their 12-year-old friend, Ann Putnam, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Putnam, Sr. gathered around the kitchen table with the Parris family slave, Tituba, who was helping the girls experiment in fortune telling. Realizing that they had been caught attempting to conjure up evil spirits, the girls soon became afflicted by strange fits that temporarily deprived them of their ability to hear, speak, and see. During these episodes of sensory deprivation, the girls suffered from violent convulsions that twisted their bodies into what observers called impossible positions. When the girls regained control of their senses, they complained of being bitten, pinched, kicked, and tormented by apparitions that would visit them in the night. These ghostly visions, the afflicted girls said, pricked their necks and backs and contorted their arms and legs like pretzels. Witnesses reported seeing the girls extend their tongues to extraordinary lengths. After examining the afflicted girls, Dr. William Griggs, the village physician, pronounced them under an evil hand. Nearly 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem during the summer of 1692. Twenty accused witches were executed, fifteen women and five men. Nineteen were hanged following conviction and one was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea. Four prisoners, three women and a man, died in jail. The trials began in June and continued for four months; the final executions taking place on September 22. Ann Putnam, Jr. played a crucial role in the witchcraft trials of 1692. In her socially prominent family, her mother was also afflicted and her father and many other Putnam’s gave testimony against the accused during the trials. When attempting to make a judgment on Ann, perhaps we should remember that she was very young and impressionable and thus easily influenced by her parents and other adults. Fourteen years later she admitted that she had lied, deluded by the Devil. Historians claim to have identified a pattern of accusations that strongly suggests the afflicted girls singled out social deviants, outcasts, outsiders, merchants, tradesman, and others who threatened traditional Puritan values and or threatened the Parris and Putnam families, by claiming the spirits of the accused visited them at night and tormented them. Was it the multitude of chains created by the family over 100 years ago that pulled at Thomas’s feet as he plowed his fields? Was it with a heavy heart that he lived his life? Perhaps, this is the reason his son George broke the chains and scars, freeing his family of the dark shroud of guilt and humiliation cast upon them. The name Putnam forever remains in the wilds of the mountain, where the darkness of the forest hides the whispering of the winds. Disclaimer: Several on-line genealogy sites were used in researching the Putnam family. Without verifying the on line trees, there is a posibility of an error in the family tree, depicted in this story. For more information on the Putnam family: http://historicalechoes.weebly.com/thomas-putnam--west-family.html Mary Ellen Kunst is the historian for the Town Of Chemung. To see more information, visit her site, https://historicalechoes.weebly.com
  14. 4 points
    After the apparent suicide of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain I've seen several posts on social media apparently shaming others for feeling bad while "ignoring" the average 22 vets that commit suicide everyday. You know why no one says anything about those 22 vets? Because we didn't know. We don't hear about it because of the stigma society attaches to suicide. Like a pregnant unwed mother in the 40's, it's avoided, not talked about like some shameful thing. Put away so we can pretend things are neat and tidy in our little world. We like that, it's easier. Hell, what about the other people, the non-celebrity, non-veteran suicides? According to statistics from 2016, 120 people commit suicide A DAY. And reports indicate that the number has increased since. Why aren't the other 100+ people included in that meme? Why need to prioritize one group of people over another? It's perfectly okay to feel bad when ANYONE commits suicide, regardless of their station in life. EVERY death by suicide is sad. I didn't personally know Bourdain, Robin Williams, or anyone who was just found this morning. For anyone who let's that darkness overtake them, we can still feel sympathy for them; the 14 year old whose been bullied, the soldier fighting demons of war, or some rich guy on tv. Like many Americans, I too have felt the loss of someone I know after they decided to take their own life. Additionally, because of my former profession I've seen the aftermath first hand. It's not easy to understand, it's not easy to see, but it can't be ignored. It needs to be addressed, and it's not something that you can just plug into a meme on social media and move on. Perhaps Bourdain's and other celebrity suicide deaths can bring about discussion on the topic of suicide and mental health in America. Shed that stigma and make people more aware, more open to talk about it today. And maybe, just maybe, lead to a few less self inflicted deaths tomorow.
  15. 4 points
    In honor of Father's Day I'd like to share a story about my Dad that I posted on another blog site several months ago. Dad was one of 13 children. I know they didn't have much in the way of material things and I'm not sure how much affection was shown while Dad and his brothers and sisters were growing up. I would guess, based on things I remember about Dad while I was growing up, that there weren't a lot of hugs and kisses. I think my grandparents probably had to work so hard just to survive that there was only time and energy for the bare basics. What was yours was yours as long as you could hold on to it. I'm no psychologist but I know those growing years and the events that happened helped shape Dad's character and personality. Looking back now as an adult and remembering bits of conversation between Dad and his siblings I can understand how he came to be who he was. I remember one time when Dad and a couple of his brothers were target practicing using shotguns and he decided I was old enough to learn to shoot. He handed me a 12 gauge, showed me how to load it, told me to tuck it in tight to my shoulder and aim; if I didn't it would kick and knock me on my rear. I didn't tuck it in and down I went on my rear just like Dad said. I think he knew that was going to happen and that they would all laugh, including Dad. I didn't like being laughed at and I didn't want to do it anymore, but Dad told me to get up and try again. He had me keep at it until I could handle that shotgun and hit the target with accuracy. I learned not to give up. Bills were always paid first, a little set aside for savings, and groceries bought with what was left. Dad called the bit of savings his "tuck". If you wanted something and couldn't afford it, you saved for it or went without until you could pay for it. More often than not it was go without. As far as Dad's "tuck" went, that was generally his to use for what he wanted, be it a new gun or coon dog. While we lived in the city, Mom would sometimes work outside the home at part-time jobs for extra money. Once we moved to the country, however, having only one car meant Mom worked in the home exclusively so she had to work within Dad's budget and manage with whatever money he gave her. I applied for my first job the day I turned 16, was hired and started work that weekend. I worked 5:00 am to 2:30 pm every weekend, on holidays and summer vacations. If needed, I worked double shifts. I also paid room and board. I did not mind one bit. I was becoming an adult and learning to provide for myself, and the money went to Mom. I learned that nothing is free, if you want something you work for it. Whining didn't get you out of doing something you didn't like. There were lots of things my sisters and I hated doing like picking rocks to clear an overgrown yard so grass seed could be planted. It didn't matter to Dad. If he said pick rocks we picked rocks or whatever else needed to be done until it was finished. You don't give up or do it half-assed (Dad's words). There was no such thing as "I can't" or "I don't want to". You did what needed to be done and you did it the best you could. There was one exception that I can remember. Dad would butcher chickens and we kids had to help clean them. He'd butcher the birds outside but the worse part was the cleaning of the birds was done at the kitchen table. A large pot of water was brought to boil on the kitchen stove. Dad would dip the birds in the boiling water and then we plucked the feathers. Dad would then burn the pin feathers off over the flame of the kitchen stove. The stench of burnt feathers and chicken entrails is not pleasant and the odor would linger for a while in the kitchen after we were done. At some point I decided I wasn't going to do this again. Dad told me "If you don't help with this you don't get to eat chicken". That was fine with me. "I won't eat chicken" I told him and after that I didn't help with cleaning chickens again. Dad's rule about not eating if you didn't help held and I was alright with that. I learned about choices and consequences. Sometimes Dad would take us with him when he'd run his coon hound at night. We always looked forward to going with him even though he'd stay out for hours at a time. That is probably why we were only able to go with him on weekends. Often one or more of his brothers would join us. One night in particular stands still stands out in my memory so many years later. We were at another Uncle's farm; Dad, Uncle Nick, myself and another sister but I don't remember which one. We were all together in an open field surrounded by woods on both sides and there was enough moonlight that we could see the valley below us as the mists started slowing forming. It was late Summer/early Autumn and in my mind I can still see that night sky. It was so clear and the stars so bright you felt you could reach up and touch them. The night air was a mix of warm and cool breezes and carried the sound of Dad's dog baying in the distance. I can remember the chirping sound of peepers all around us, and the earthy scent of the surrounding woods and the fresh-cut hay from the field we were in. I remember how we sat together on the ground in that field just being there in the moment. Dad and Uncle Nick were talking, sometimes in Russian, and it felt so comforting to be there with them. I wish I had the right words so anyone reading this would be able to feel that moment the way we did and I still do. I remember laying down on the ground, looking up at the night sky and eventually falling asleep to the sound of Dad's and Uncle Nick's low voices. I learned that it's the simple moments in life that make the best memories. All rights reserved. I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it's my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner...me.
  16. 4 points
    Got some pretty neat pics today up at the cabin cam: Lots of pics of deer, fox, turkeys and Mr. Squirrel too.
  17. 4 points
    Each year, thousands of families across America are affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide. In March 2014, Elmira resident Deb Maxwell's 34 year old son David took his own life. "Bubbie", as he was known to those who loved him, is described as a "beautiful man with a giving heart". Maxwell says she attended other support groups for those grieving the loss of a loved one. However she says, the people in those groups often knew why their loved one was gone. For those who are affected by the suicide of a friend or family member, they are still left with questions that may never be answered. Refusing to allow the way her son left this world to be the way he is remembered, she decided to turn personal tragedy into something positive. So she began "Smile Through The Storms", a local support group for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. "Smile Through The Storms" meets twice a month at Elmira College as well as participate in handing out information at events such as "Walk A Mile". The group meetings are an open forum where people are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings, share memories of their loved ones and know that it's okay to grieve. "All is private, and will not be shared outside our group," Maxwell said. While there isn't a mental health counselor in attendance at this time, a few have expressed interest and there are plans for that, especially as attendance grows.Forming the support group hasn't been without its challenges. In addition to simply getting the word out that the group exists, there continues to be a stigma society has attached to suicide that needs to be overcome and talked about more openly."The attendees of this group and myself wish that others people would realize that talking about suicide will start to ease the burning pain inside. That survivors would understand they do not have to go through this alone." "Smile Through The Storms" meets the first Wednesday evening of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 pm and the third Saturday afternoon of every month from 3:00 to 4:40 pm in the Elmira College Campus Center Board Room located on the first floor. For more information you can find them on Facebook at Smile Through The Storms or contact Deb Maxwell at 607-241-6624.For those reluctant to attend a group meeting, Maxwell says they understand that first time may be hard but they are there for those in need. "You are not alone," she said. "We will go through this together."For more information on the warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help, visit the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention at www.afsp.org
  18. 4 points
    Elmira's South Main Street became "The Great White Way" for a couple hours this evening as the Elmira High School Footlighters opened their presentation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Award winning musical, "In The Heights". "In The Heights" tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. This wasn't just your ordinary high school play. The students have been working on this presentation daily for months now, and it showed. When a performer, any performer, takes the stage, a transformation happens with the sound of that first note or the rise of the curtain. Tonight, a group of high school students turned the O'Dell Theater into a neighborhood in New York. Immediately, I was struck by the appearance of the actors. With their maturity and onstage presence, it was easy to forget these are high school students. They weren't just reciting their characters' lines, they were the residents of Washington Heights. Add to that the cadence and style of Miranda's writing, and it's even more impressive. I cannot imagine how hard they worked to get such a rock solid performance. Of course being a musical, one must be able to act and sing. No shortage of talent there either. To try and single out one or two actor's vocals would be far too difficult, they were all that good. The amount of soul each put into their singing was mind blowing. The set was perfect in it's simplicity. Any more would have been unnecessary, and really a distraction from the performance. The lighting and use of the props on stage set each scene perfectly. The entire performance was roughly two hours, although it certainly felt a lot shorter. If you missed tonight's performance, you have one more chance to not only see a true Broadway performance and support some of the youth in our community. "In The Heights" will be presented again Saturday evening at 7pm at Elmira High School's O'Dell Theater. Tickets are available by calling 735-3288 or at the door. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and worth every penny.
  19. 4 points
    The political climate in Chemung County is very interesting right now. At last count nearly 30 people have either announced their candidacy for Chemung County Legislature or are giving it very serious consideration, and there are at least three – possibly even four – candidates for Chemung County Executive. This injection of people and energy into local politics means our community will have an excellent opportunity to learn about the issues from a diverse set of perspectives. Despite each candidate’s individual concerns and ideas, one common theme has already begun to emerge: Chemung County’s struggling economy, and the way our county government goes about addressing it, has to be the top priority. For too long our area has been dogged by sluggish economic growth, prompting more and more people to seek ways that they can get involved and make a difference. Although we are incredibly fortunate to have an outstanding Chamber of Commerce run by innovative, creative thinkers who go a long way toward making our area attractive to both established and prospective economic investors, as well as numerous strong economic development agencies such Elmira Downtown Development and Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG), we clearly have a long way to go. Indeed, recent measures of Chemung County’s fiscal health are sobering: *A report last summer by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Chemung County was the only area in New York State with declining job growth. The entire report is found here. *Elmira’s 2.8 percent private-sector employment decline was worst in the state, and placed it among only three other metro areas in the state to record job losses. The rate of job loss here is the highest in New York state – nearly 3 percent over the past year – with a 6 percent drop since 2008 (link here.) *Personal income growth since 2008 in Elmira was half the United States national annual average for metro areas of 3.2 percent, according to numbers compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (link here.) *Chemung County’s reserves decreased from $30 million in 2011 to a projected level of just $19 million in 2018, and are expected to drop below $10 million by 2021 if no changes are made to the way county government approaches the budgeting process. This decrease in reserves stems from an average yearly budget deficit of approximately $2 million that started in 2011. (Note: this metric was provided by Chemung County Treasurer Steve Hoover during last November’s Legislative Budget Workshop. It is possible the projected loss in reserves for 2018 is now somewhat less severe given an unexpected increase in sales tax revenue generated last year, a figure that was released after the budget passed.) *Chemung County’s debt has risen by 25 percent, from roughly $40 million in 1999 to over $50 million in 2017, as its expenditures have far outpaced revenues each year. A link to an Op-Ed I wrote in November on this issue is found here. *Numerous local municipalities are facing hard economic times, including the Town of Horseheads that levied a property tax in 2016 for the first time in 30 years (link here), the Village of Van Ettan that voted last December to dissolve, a measure that will relieve residents of heavy tax burdens (link here), and the Town of Southport that will likely have to raise taxes over the next year or two as it has controlled expenses while seeing revenues its dry up (link here.) *The City of Elmira was forced to impose a 17% (!) property tax hike at the start of this week, leaving Elmira residents with one of the heaviest tax burdens in New York state (link here.) *The First Arena – an entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Elmira – is (a) currently without an prospective; (b) owned by the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency; (c) saddled with considerable debt; and (d) its future is unknown (link here.) *Town and Village officials expressed their concerns about finding addition ways to deal with dwindling revenue stream to the Center for Governmental Research last year: The reasons for Chemung County’s economic hardship are plentiful, driven in great part by a weakened (yet still relatively vibrant) manufacturing sector along with more and more directives from Albany that account for a tremendous portion (roughly 80%) of our county budget. Last night someone asked me what my vision is for addressing these economic issues, i.e. what are the solutions? In general, I think there are two core principles that can go a long way toward helping: cooperation and empowerment. With respect to cooperation, we need to find ways to solicit genuine input from all levels and all types of government. Some of the issues that are certain to be discussed in coming years – further municipal consolidation, sales tax distribution, countywide public safety (i.e. police and/or fire) agencies – affect everyone who lives in Chemung County. Many years ago there was a group called the Council of Governments. It included representatives from county government, city government, town and village boards, school boards, the library district, etc. Unfortunately that group no longer exists, nor does the cooperative spirit it fostered. Bringing back COG or something similar could be a great first step toward big-picture thinking on these matters. Closely related to cooperation is the need for empowerment of the governing infrastructure we already have, particularly the county legislature. Chemung County’s Charter envisions the legislature as a proactive body, stating: *”The County Legislature shall be the governing body of the County and shall be the legislative, appropriating and policy-determining body of the County…”, and *The Legislature shall have the power to…”make such studies and investigations as it deems to be in the best interests of the County and in connection therewith to obtain and employ professional and technical advice, appoint temporary advisory boards of citizens, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of books, papers and other evidence deemed necessary or material to such study or inquiry.” (Emphasis added.) A link to Chemung County’s Charter is found here. However, several people who have served on the Chemung County Legislature express concern that the opportunity for it to effectuate positive change is not being fully utilized. This concern has led several current legislators to undertake a study of their own rules in order to find ways they can have a bigger impact on policy decisions. At this time it is unclear what, if any, changes will be made. Every four years we elect 15 legislators to serve our community. It only makes sense that we take full advantage of the ideas and initiatives they bring to the table. Cooperation and empowerment, along with a frank exploration of the issues, can go a long way toward helping our community really begin to thrive. Christina Bruner-Sonsire is a local attorney and candidate for Chemung County Legislature
  20. 3 points
    Well ... finally getting that Wheat beer ready to brew , filtered the water today . Tomorrow I get to do my first “mashing “ , although more of a steeping the grains than mashing it’s still a little more involved as water volume to grain and malt ratio has to be followed and steeping temp has to be held at 152 degrees for 45 Minutes so constant watching is needed . Now since I like a citrus tone to my beer I’ll be adding a bit of sweet orange along with the Required Valencia orange peel ( think Blue Moon Summer Blend ) . If you all don’t mind I’ll be posting some pics as I go along . This along with planting Apple and peach trees and new bees due in a couple weeks and a Pistol Shoot coming up should be interesting !
  21. 3 points
    Trump is a third party candidate. While he can be criticized for his style, his beliefs and policies are for the most part the most reasonable out there. He doesn't cater to the special interests such as the Koch brothers or the Chamber of Commerce. He doesn't seem to care about exposing the shadow government of unelected bureaucrats. That is why politicians on both sides of the aisle hate him. Imagine what he could get done if either party would work with him, or if the media didn't find fault with every single thing, and ignore every single accomplishment.
  22. 3 points
    This weekend was lots of fun with the bees. Saturday bad fun, Sunday was the best fun ever. I went to check my most productive hive this year. This one I did a Snelgrove board split in early May which allowed me to save the queen in the original location and, since I moved most of the brood above the board, the workers were focused on making honey. I've already pulled one super of honey a few weeks ago. Saturday I went to check it for honey and make sure it wasn't too strong, found queen cells in the brood box. I figured the queen was still there, but would be heading for a new home soon along with half the bees in the hive. There were fresh eggs still standing on end, and the hive was packed with bees. Since my biggest worry is that my bees will end up in the neighbor's houses, it was time to split. This is why I end up with too many hives, but what am I to do? I tried to find the queen to do another Snelgrove split. No luck despite going through the box twice. So, I decided to try something I read on the internet, shake the bees through a queen excluder into the brood box. About halfway through this process the hive decided they had enough of me. I got a whiff of that familiar banana smell, and then it got ugly in a hurry. See, I'm a slow learner. I was out for a quick check before heading out to a birthday party. For this, I had on just a tee shirt and shorts with just a veil (I'm not that slow of a learner, stings in the nose hurt). If I had known I was going to get this involved I would have gotten suited up. I managed to get the hive closed, but there were too many bees above the excluder to have any chance to find the queen. While I was in the house picking stingers out of my arms and bathing in hydrocortisone, I decided that shaking them through a screen to find the queen is a stupid idea. Bad internet. I was still left with the problem of managing the swarm. Woke up Sunday morning and decided to try a different idea that I had read on the internet ( as I mentioned before, a slow learner), a Taranov swarm. The basic idea here is that you shake every bee in the hive out onto a cloth sheet propped up by a board. The field bees who know where the hive is will return to the hive location. The nurse bees and the queen will stay on the board and can be hived just like a swarm. Which is what they are, an artificial swarm. The set up goes like this. First, set up a new hive on the ground in front of the hive to be split. New foundation is ok, swarms build comb like crazy. Prop up a board on this hive so the end in the air is above the hive. Cover the board with a sheet and fan it out. It is best to have the sun shining directly onto the sheet. The bees don't like bright light and will crawl up the sheet and under the board to escape. Move the hive boxes to be split to the ground not too far away. Shake whatever bees remain on the bottom board onto the sheet. Replace the bottom board in the original location. Put a another empty box onto the bottom board. Now begin shaking the bees from each frame onto the sheet, one frame at a time. Put the shaken frame into the empty box in the original home location. Continue until all frames, and boxes if you have more than one box, have been shaken onto the sheet. Be careful you don't damage the queen cell, if there is one. Even if you do, as long as there are eggs in the brood box the bees will make a new queen. Now wait. The fields bees will fly back to the original hive location and enter the box. The queen and the worker bees who have never left the hive will either climb into the new box, or cling to the bottom of the board under the sheet. Here are some pictures I took during the process. The first one is right after I finished shaking the bees. Notice the bees in the air between the sheet and the hive, these are the field bees. Also notice the cluster of bees on the supers next to the old hive. Those are the supers from the hive I was working yesterday which I couldn't return during the previous day fiasco. I put them on the neighboring hive as a place holder. I ended up returning those supers and the bees in them to the original hive after the split. You can see the top cover to the hive on the ground, which is where I placed the brood box before I started shaking. The second picture shows the bees in process of climbing up the sheet. Notice the bees on the left side of the plank, they are kind of hiding in a bit of shade and not moving. I had to move the sheet to get them in the sunlight. Watching them march up the sheet was an amazing sight. The third image shows the swarm hanging from the bottom of board over the new hive. The queen is most likely in that cluster. This looks just like a natural swarm. I used my tool to carefully knock them down onto the box. Once there they quickly went into the box. The last picture shows the new hive, the bees from the artificial swarm are all in the box. This was taken about an hour after I started the process. This hive was put on a new stand. I'll check it in a week to see if there are signs of a queen. While most of the frames were new foundation, the two outside frames were comb with some honey in them. Later that afternoon there were bees flying around in front of the new hive doing their orientation thing before going out to collect food. I'll check the old hive in about two weeks to see if they made a new queen successfully. In the end, this was the most fun I have ever had in the apiary. It more than made up for my stupidity the day before.
  23. 3 points
    I saw you said that on Facebook and get it. Just knowing someone sees these concerns helps.
  24. 3 points
    This is one area where I am not comfortable speaking publicly at this time. I am a member of the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency Board, and CCIDA owns the Arena. Moreover, I have been working with a small group of people to address many of these issues. Any public statements at this time really need to come through CCIDA Board Chairperson Dave Sheen or CCIDA Executive Director Joe Roman. However, I can state that we all value and greatly appreciate feedback about what the community thinks should happen in the future with respect to the Arena. Your opinions all matter very much.
  25. 3 points
    Sorry for the long delay in replying. I have been doing it here and there for a couple years. It is nice and relaxing and they make good gifts. Check out the kits and stuff here. https://www.pennstateind.com/
  26. 3 points
    My personal concern about the broader issue of legalization (not whether to opt-out) is driving under the influence. I was a prosecutor for many years where I handled cases of driving under the influence of pot, and I now represent the family of the couple killed in a Horseheads crash last year by a driver charged with driving while impaired. Through this work I have seen firsthand that the science for proving a person is impaired by pot is shaky at best. The cases generally require other proof than sobriety and blood tests, and frequently that evidence does not exist. I essentially have a libertarian stance regarding personal consumption of impairing substances, but I worry very much about the effect they have on drivers. Proving impairment by alcohol and other drugs is far easier than pot, and with legalization we will probably have far more high drivers. Moreover, edible cannibis can have an unexpected effect on even seasoned users, and with edibles legal and available it’s reasonable to fear people will get behind the wheel before they realize how impaired they are. Again, this irrelevant to the opt-out question because if marijuana can be grown and purchased in nearby counties, all of these problems will be here too.
  27. 3 points
    Also, anyone find it curious/enraging that the County has been covering, at least a portion, of City Employee's Health coverage? So Our resources here in outer municipalities have been shrinking so that we can keep Elmira going!? high time someone changes that and really start understanding that just because corpses float doesn't mean you can say they can swim
  28. 3 points
    While I'd had a deep mistrust of our county government for years, this whole thing is shedding an even uglier light on it. For the life of me, I cannot see how this Charter has done anything to improve or elevate the conditions in Chemung County since its adoption. What exactly is the advantage over the the Board of Supervisors that preceded this model? All we seem to have to show for adding dozens of bureaucrats, departments and 'development' entities is 40+ years of paystubs and expenditures that came out of taxpayers' pockets....and people in "power" that have little or no regard for our best interests or opinions.
  29. 3 points
    I get the garlic....red sauce on the side! Chris always calls me Francis
  30. 3 points
    I had to go get a bigger tote for a brooder ! No way could they all stay in the other one I have used for quite some time ... Doesn’t look like 25 balls of fluff do they
  31. 3 points
    I agree with becoming a destination. And toward that end, I hope this new county government will work toward simply getting out of the way of business owners (and prospective businesses)…..rather than the past administrations that “invested” taxpayers’ money hand over fist to fund their pet projects. No attraction, service or other business that will honestly draw consumers to the area should need someone to build their venue and pay their utilities. If the profits their consumers provide don’t cover operating expenses, then it is not truly bringing revenue.
  32. 3 points
    Before I submit to my readers the recent news taking place in our fair town these past couple weeks, I would like to update you on a matter discussed in a previous column. You’ll remember on 9 September I told you the story of Mooch Mitchell who, while having lunch with the McNaney boys, inadvertently found his burger contained not USDA Grade A beef but a Gaines-Burger. This prompted a hasty visit to the health clinic where staff assured him the scamps that prepared his sandwich hadn’t, in fact, poisoned him. The story takes an interesting turn however. A sharp eyed reader wrote to tell me that The General Foods Company had ended that line sometime in the 1990’s. With that knowledge, it’s a testament to the quality of the dog food’s packaging to have lasted, as well as the strength of Mssr. Mitchell’s intestinal tract. Sadly, it’s also a testament of the McNaney family’s pet care, but who am I to judge? Constable Smith would like to remind area grocers to please refrain from selling eggs to anyone under the age of 18 as Halloween approaches. However toilet paper is okay to sell. This is a slight change from last year’s policy after the clerk at Mary’s Mercantile and Tax Preparation refused to sell a roll to the constable’s daughter during a particularly rough bout with a GI bug. Speaking of Halloween, Constable Smith says the hours for “tricks or treats” will be 6-8pm. Residents are encouraged to leave their lights on to let the kids know where the treats are. The constable said if you choose not to partake, don’t call him to complain about “tricks”. Willie Johnson down at Willie’s Bait, Tackle, and Trapping Supply tells me he has a new venture he’s all kinds of fired up about. Despite America being great again, fur prices are still at rock bottom and Willie plans to make better use of his raccoon catch by selling what he calls a “Coon D**k Toothpick.” Yes, you read that right, Willie plans on selling ‘coon willys to use as a toothpick. Willie assured me he hasn’t forgotten to take his medication; apparently it’s something his family in Virginia made for generations. According to him, back in the day people would save a raccoon's penis bone, boil it to render it truly clean, and sharpen one end to use as a toothpick. Skeptical, I went to the library on a trip to town and checked in the Foxfire Books. They truly used the whole animal back then. I reminded Willie we’re several states and at least one bloodline away from Old Dominion, but he’s sure it’ll be a hit, and asked me to let you all know you can get yours by sending $5.00 to: Willie’s Bait, Tackle & Trapping Supply RD 1 Wipjibber Mountain PA, 16000 Folks, skeptical as I am I haven’t seen Willie this excited since he come to town telling to show off the first bobcat he ever caught. Of course said bobcat was actually Marge Tillinghast’s cat, but in Willie's defense she always did over feed the feline. Well that’s about it for now, until next time. Drive safe and watch for deer.
  33. 3 points
    Without a doubt, we’re heading into some exciting times here in Chemung County. With the slate of candidates running for election this year, voters have the opportunity to enact change that could impact the county for decades to come. It’s exciting times for ElmiraTelegram.com as well. Not only has the site stepped forward to offer the chance for voters to voice their support for the candidates, but the opportunity for the candidates to reach out to the voters as well. Additionally, it’s a time of change for the website as a whole. Prompted by several people in our community and the void expressed by many, ElmiraTelegram.com will be making some major changes to the website in the next few weeks. Starting shortly after the election, ElmiraTelegram.com will be getting a major facelift, offering a more user friendly, professional looking website. Just a peek! The changes won’t be just cosmetic however. We’ll be making it easier for readers and community figures to make their voices heard with an expanded “Opinion” section, modeled off of the traditional op-ed pages found in newspapers across the nation. E.T will have a Special Features section appearing throughout the year including a section to celebrate the holidays. And for those who enjoy the laid back chat, the the forums will remain available to those who have signed up. Best of all, ElmiraTelegram.com will remain free to the public. No firewalls, no pop up, just news and information. This change has been something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and now feels like the right time to give it a whirl.The original plan was to make the changes to coincide with the site’s five year anniversary, but there’s no way I can wait that long. So stay tuned and sometime after Election Day we’ll pull back the covers and unveil the new and improved ElmiraTelegram.com. I think you’re gonna like it!
  34. 3 points
    I hope they use them on the bike trial or leave them at the beginning/end. I wish this resource was used more often. A little cold to start this here, though. Where will they go in the winter?
  35. 3 points
    I thought this recent exchange on Facebook was priceless:
  36. 3 points
    This "moose" showed up on camera a few weeks ago. Eight pointer still in velvet:
  37. 3 points
    Well, in the absence of a Phish festival, I thought I would throw this up here to remind everybody that 49 (yep 4-9) years ago there was another small music gathering in upstate NY: Woodstock. This schedule puts things from that weekend in perspective. Well except for the storms, I guess storms were not in the schedule then either :
  38. 3 points
    Maybe everyone can celebrate by portraying insulting stereotypes of the culture being recognized. Nah.......that could never happen.
  39. 3 points
    This is the second bowl of blueberry goodness so far. Fortunately I'm up and outside early enough to beat the birds.
  40. 3 points
    At some point, there needs to be some restitution required if you want to obstruct and interfere with the very resources you called upon for assistance.
  41. 3 points
    Mark and I, with our wives, went to Horseheads Pudgies for a fish fry. Heard they were good. The fish was very good and the portions were generous. Patti and I split one fish fry, with an extra order of fries. All that Patti and I could manage to eat. Mark and Mary Ellen each got a meal. More than what Mary Ellen could eat, but Mark managed to all but the cole-slaw, which he gave to Mary Ellen. We all left full and happy with the quality and price of the meals. Fridays only I think.
  42. 3 points
    Once again, a Chemung County official has accused a local candidate of distorting facts for political gain. In an article published online today by the Star Gazette, Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen criticized Sheriff Chris Moss, one of Krusen’s opponents in the county executive race, for failing to be honest with the community: I have no involvement whatsoever with Moss’ campaign, and don’t offer this post as support of his candidacy. Instead, the post’s purpose is to point out what seems to be an unfortunate emerging theme. An unprecedented number of people are running for local office in Chemung County this year. In an attempt to drill down the issues, these candidates – including myself – are discovering things our county government does really well, along with ways the county could improve. Indeed, this type of scrutiny is the essence of what it means to live in a democratic society. People who feel they can help out learn about the issues, share what they learn with voters, and let the voters decide who is best suited to serve. The way Chemung County does business has not faced this type of scrutiny in a long, long time, as a small number of people have held most of the county-wide elected positions for many years. However, instead of addressing the issues that are being raised and considering whether or not there are new and better ways to do business, some Chemung County officials have chosen to attack the credibility and veracity of the people raising them. It is easy to chalk this up to “politics as usual”, and there is some truth to that. But this type of behavior is one reason so many people have lost faith in government and avoid running for office, outcomes that run directly contrary to building a strong, successful community. By way of example, after hearing Chemung County Budget Director Steve Hoover state that the county will likely be forced to raise taxes in 2019 among other concerns about the county’s fiscal health, Tony Pucci, a candidate for legislature in the 1st District, and I both wrote Your Turn editorials about the matter, found here and here. In response to what we wrote, Chemung County Treasurer Joe Sartori countered by stating: Sartori used similar language to refute a "Your Turn" piece I wrote last month about the county’s newly proposed plan for a Council of Governments, stating: This kind of rhetoric is extremely disappointing – and exhausting. Distorting facts in order to mislead friends and neighbors so that I can get elected to the county legislature is an outrageous mischaracterization of what my entire campaign is about. In fact, the reason I created this blog in the first place is to have a place to share ideas about how to improve the community. Each post contains many links where readers can go to view information and data themselves, and I welcome any corrections to things that I say or do so that the ideas we discover are rooted in fact and as accurate as possible. Change is hard, and can be uncomfortable – but it is also necessary and inevitable. It is too bad that some of our local leaders are choosing to attack those looking for solutions rather than work together to find out how we can make Chemung County a better place to live. Christina Bruner-Sonsire is a local attorney and candidate for Chemung County Legislature
  43. 3 points
    Besides the funding, are there other threats the state can enforce if a local district doesn't offer the extra services and programs the state "recommends"? Could a district (in theory) decline that money and ignore whatever the state pushes? Obviously, 71% accounts for the lion's share of revenue...but it would be interesting to see numbers crunched on the cost of basic education without state mandates for psychologists, counselors and full time clinics, et al.
  44. 3 points
    "Down at the local job site, a couple construction workers sat down to eat lunch. Opening his lunchpail, one says, 'Damnit, peanut butter sandwiches again. I'm sick of 'em.' 'Why don't you ask your wife to make you something else?' the other replied. 'Whaddya mean wife? I'm not married. I make my own lunches.' The heavy machinery is in place and ground is breaking in Downtown Elmira to prepare for the new $14 million, 75,000 square foot facility to be built on Water St. as part of the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI ). A lot of conversation has taken place about the future and path for Downtown Elmira, and I've watched it with a good deal of interest not only for the purposes of this site, but also personal interest as well. Much of that conversation is pretty positive, which is a good thing. We need some good news around here for a change. But there's two sides to every coin. There's a new crop of people who see the potential that lies within an area like Downtown Elmira. They bring fresh idea and a new positive energy that, frankly, the area could use. They are attempting what many have tried and failed to do; get a foothold and restore the beauty of the place once known as "The Queen City". Some come to the area unencumbered by memories of what once was, they see only what can be. Which is a good thing, of course. However I think there's too much of an attitude of, "be positive, or be quiet" in response to the people who have lived here for generations that raise questions or doubts about the latest, greatest thing. Hurricane Agnes gets blamed a lot for the despair many residents of the city feel, but there's more to it than that. should be remembered that residents of the area have been here and heard a lot of pie in the sky promises over the decades. Developers and researchers have come and gone, millions of dollars thrown their way, only to see little or no results in return. "Good 'ol boy" deals and politicians' personal interests or screw ups have slowly chased small businesses out of downtown and to the west of the county or other outlying areas. A giant hockey arena that was supposed to be the savior of the city sits on a corner in the very heart of downtown, largely unused, costing millions while the major players have moved on. The people of Elmira have always been resilient. They've been through hell, yes, and they stayed. They've earned the right to be skeptical when presented with "the next big thing" if you ask me. To tell them to sit down, shut up when doubts are raised is doing a great disservice to the people who built this community. Having said that, I also think the people of this area need a paradigm shift. Folks, the Elmira you remember is gone. Like that last Labrador Duck in Brand Park, it aint coming back. It's sad, yes, but it's also time to stop living in the past. While I defend the right of every person to be skeptical about the future of the city, I also believe it's time to stop automatically dismissing every new idea that someone proposes. Sure, some of the ideas are blatantly stupid ( **cough, roundabouts... ) but you know, some of the ideas and things I see happening are pretty good! I've often believed that if you point out problems without offering solutions, you end up becoming part of the problem. Lord knows there's a lot of problems in this area, but truth is, we're still better off than others. People need to remember that. So if someone moves here and gets a glimmer of hope in their eye looking at a run down building in the city, good for them. If they want to invest their time, money and sweat into making something of it, yeah you can be skeptical, but I also think they deserve the chance.
  45. 3 points
    This is really exciting. Pat was one of the brewmasters at Grist Iron and makes some great beers.
  46. 3 points
    As many of you know, among the other things I do I'm also a part time musician. I've been blessed to experience some of the things I once dreamed about. I've met and performed with people I once only knew through the radio. The lights, the crowds... I've been blessed. One of the best, and lesser known, things about what we do is getting to be part of the celebrations in peoples' lives. I don't know how many weddings, anniversary parties, retirement parties, etc. we've done over the past 17 years or more specifically, nearly 12 for me personally. These are kind of different from the bars or festivals where people are there to see us, we're not the main event. In a way, it's kinda weird, because we often start the day as outsiders. Yet more often than not we're still drawn in, and we're "family". We've become good friends with people whose celebrations we've been the soundtrack for. It's hard to explain, but there's something special about getting to do that. Every once in a while though, a moment comes along that we aren't really expecting. A special moment for someone that wasn't planned, it just happened. This past weekend was one of those moments. I'll let you in on a little secret: Every band has a schtick, some things they'll throw in to a performance that perhaps were once spontaneous but got such a reactions someone thought, "Hmm, we need to remember that." Often these will come out when the room needs a little energizing. It's not an uncommon thing for our fiddle player to find his way playing on top of a table or bar. ( While people are watching him, I'm watching the staff or owners of the establishment. The looks on their faces are often pretty entertaining. ) This weekend he ended up with company while doing so: At the end of the night as we were packing up, he came over to say goodnight. Introduced himself and said he's 86 years old, just had hip surgery this past year. He gave me a big hug, thanked us for the music, and left. No sir, thank you. You know, the world around us seems to have gone insane. We're told every day how bad people are. Lord knows I've been feeling like packing up and moving to the mountains somewhere, away from anyone. But then something like this happens, often when I need it most. I get to see people at their best, brought together by the common bond of music and celebration, and everything is just fine, if only for a couple hours. I feel so fortunate to have that opportunity. I don't remember this man's name, I'm awful at remembering them. He may or may not remember mine. But in some strange, cosmic way, we're forever a part of each other's lives now, part of each other's memories. Long after the very last note's played, when he's gone and I'm an old man myself, I'll remember that one night night some old guy climbed up on a table and danced to the music. I'll smile. He'll be alive still. Still dancing. That's pretty damned cool.
  47. 3 points
    It's that time of year again, the time of year everyone makes those New Year Resolutions. They steel themselves for the task they've laid out for themselves; gonna get up earlier and go to the gym, gonna stop eating too much, gonna quit smoking, and so on. Not that there's anything wrong with that, although I also believe there's an entire industry waiting to benefit from it as well. Let's face it, the salesman knows that treadmill he sold you will statistically end up a clothes hanger or on Craigslist. The gym owner knows that a large percentage of those new members will drop off after a month or two despite having paid for a year in advance. Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with an attempt at self improvement if done for the right reasons. Frankly I think the "new year, new me" mantra is a load of crap. We're being railroaded into feeling like we should do something we're not ready to do based on a calendar, slick advertising, or nosy people. "So, you make a new Year resolution ?" "Yeah, not talking to nosy assholes." At least that's what I hear in my own head. But no, we'll play along, we'll post our goals and efforts on social media. And in doing so allow our successes and failures to be determined by others. No thanks. Having said that, I admit to having my own self improvement project going on. But it's already happening, has been for a few weeks. On my terms. I'm going to be happy. That's it, simple enough. I have been, and will continue to, take steps to make sure I am leading a happier life. It's a multi-phase project, which as I said has already begun with the reduction of stress in my life. Not the elimination, there's no such thing, but the reduction. I am choosing which stress I will take on and why as opposed to enduring stress put on me by others or out of a sense of obligation. No more feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I guess you could say I'm telling the world to lose weight. HAH ! There are things beyond my control, I cannot change, and I'm no longer trying to. The voice in my head that has in the past said, "Well if you don't get involved, if you don't try, no one will." is now saying, "So be it." It's not easy, and it doesn't mean I don't care. Just the opposite actually. In a book I recently read, the author writes, "True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving." I'm just choosing between the problems I can handle and can actually change, and the ones that are just causing me undue stress and unhappiness. As for those who choose self improvement at the stroke of midnight Sunday, I wish you the best of luck. By all means quit smoking to avoid the disease it causes. Lose that 10 pounds to avoid the "dis-ease" when you bend over to tie your shoe. But make sure you define your progress. You define your successes and yes, your failures. You do it for you, on your terms.
  48. 3 points
    So let's see, $6 just covers the processing fee. Mmmmkay. I can rent the movie in HD on PPV when it comes out, watch it on my 60+ inch TV with full Dolby surround, sit in one of my 4 cozy recliners (right where we wanted to sit), eat my own better-for-you-popcorn and DRINK WINE. And while the movie is playing I am copying it to DVD for future enjoyment. All for only $5.99. I got you beat by a penny. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The folks sitting in my recliners didn't have to shell out $12 or more each just to watch. I guess I just don't get the attraction of going to the movies these days ... BTW, we're going to see the new Star Wars at the theater next week.
  49. 3 points
    A couple years ago, I was bitten on my wrist by a gnat (black fly?) and it became infected. The third day at work, it clearly needed attention. The site was inflamed and raw, and blue/black lines were beginning to trail up my arm. So I popped in to Five Star on the way home. I was seen within minutes and marked the perimeter, and sent me off with a script and instructions to follow up if the area didn’t recede. The care and service was speedy, friendly, professional & efficient. A much better option than waiting until my primary could get me in or enduring an entire evening in the ER!
  50. 3 points
    Did anyone else doubt that eventually the itch would need scratching? Welcome back!