5/28/15

Town of Cape Vincent interviews for vacated board position continue.

At a special Town of Cape Vincent Board meeting held May 27 at their office, the board continued interviewing citizens who have applied to fill the vacated position of Brooks Bragdon, recently deceased. It has been learned that eight persons have applied and were to be interviewed. Because one applicant was unable to make the interview, the board will assemble and conduct the interview at 5:30 PM prior to their regularly scheduled June business meeting.

Documents obtained from Town of Hammond FOIL dispel region wide rumors that the Thousand Island Regional Assessment Committee "invented" a list of stakeholders.

In a whisper-down-the-chimney news campaign, anti-government political operatives have been giving the impression that  committee members and public officials, volunteering their services in developing an assessment of the scenic significance of the entire Thousand Island region from Cape Vincent to Morristown to Cape Vincent, had invented a stakeholder list.

JLL foiled the Town of Hammond, NY the lead agent in the efforts of a state-granted study that might lead to the designation of sections of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River coastal boundaries being named as  New York State areas of scenic significance.

From the Hammond foiled documents, the following is a list of stakeholder cards that were filled out and signed by interested parties attending a March 28, 2014 TIRAP meeting.


New York State Assembly Member Addie Russell as well as a representative from New York State Senator Patty Richie's office agreed to become stakeholders in TIRAP efforts.




5/27/15

Are the Thousands Islands worthy of being designated as a New York State area of scenic significance? ---"folks are just now waking up!"

Village of Cape Vincent takes no action on State designation.

Last night at their Board of Trustees meeting, the Village of Cape Vincent did not take any action leading to opting out of a scenic designation by the State.  Last week, the  Town of Cape Vincent came to a reasonable decision to wait for more discussion of the possibility of applying for a Thousand Island Regional scenic area designation. Unlike the other municipalities down river who bowed to organized scare tactics, they are willing to do their homework and hear from all residents.

What do we mean by “scare tactics”? The Booker article in the WDT and the cartoons in the T.I. Sun last month that portrayed the TIRAP steering committee and Department of State as evil-doers, or at best, shadowy. Perry White’s editorial acknowledged the potential benefits of SASS, but also seemed to fall for the disinformation being spread around indicating that some people’s names were being used to promote SASS without their knowledge or consent. That is emphatically not true and a closer look would have shown that.

The steering committee’s job (voluntary at that) was to oversee the tasks of a state grant: to see that a consultant was hired, data were collected and information meetings were held. They were accused of not providing adequate information, mishandling funds, not accurately portraying the group of advisors, and hiring a consultant who delivered an inferior product.

We have come across some data at this time and wish to share it with you, hoping for, at the very least, to make people aware of the misinformation put out. 

First, more than 30 people attending either the July 2013 or the March 2014 TIRAP Kick off meetings, signed stakeholder cards where they agreed to be an ambassador for the project in their own town. An elected official representing each municipality signed a card. Local officials signing cards for “getting on board” included Putman, Warren, Shatraw, DeLosh, Hunneyman, Rarick, Taylor, Zimmer, Hirschey, Byrne, Bragdon, Maloney, Youngs. Representatives of Senator Ritchie and Assemblywoman Russell also attended and signed cards.

Second, these ambassadors (and other group members) were informed via email of each and every step in the process. They attended information sessions and were provided minutes of each of the meetings. They were told of the request for study proposals, the consultant selection process and task list, the request for information and assistance for the consultant, the website creation and survey instrument. At meetings they were provided presentations and written material about DOS waterfront programs, including SASS in other NY areas, as well as the study purpose, methodology and findings. They were asked for feedback for each of the draft reports.   

Third, the town of Hammond attorney invoices have been obtained. Assessment of the invoices have documented that the town attorney reviewed the DOS contract in July 2013 and the consultant contract in January 2014, about $400 worth of work. Seems like a reasonable charge, appropriate and well worth it. However, from November 2014 through February 2015, the Hammond town board paid their attorney more than $3400 for auditing the grant procedures and finances and answering calls and emails from Councilman Demick. Both the Town and DOS attorney pronounced that all paperwork for the grant was in order. Hammond just spent $3400 of taxpayer money because Councilman Demick wanted to find any loophole to kill SASS in his own town. Amazingly Councilman Demick continues to claim he was “uninformed.”  The information was readily available at every stage and the public record proves it.

Now it seems his daughter, Erica Demick (accompanied by Ringer, Thompson and the ever present silent partner Droz) has taken her show on the road to every other municipality to lobby to “opt out” of a process that one only has to “opt in” to. What happened to her mantra of local home rule? What happened to open and “civil” conversation about this program? What happened to “transparency”? The sad part is that  It is not too late to “out” the “opt outers” and return to a consideration of the information and possibilities for designation! Stay tuned!

Largest solar array in the region.

Davidson plans to make massive solar array off Route 11 even bigger

5/26/15

Did Thousand Island Towns and Villages who opted out of SASS fall for a political trick by anti-government politics?

A Jefferson's Leaning Left reader Opinion.

A town can't "opt out" of TIRAP or SASS. A town may only "opt in" to the application process, which has not yet been filed by anyone.



The "opt out" rant was nothing more than a political ploy (and towns fell for it) allowing the Demick-Ringer-Thompson-Droz gang to find a way to attack SASS using the town boards and the media.

Imagine there is a club that requires and application and perhaps a small application fee. You decide you don't want to belong to the club so you write the screening board a letter "opting out" of joining their club and then go on to attack the club and what it stands for, the other club members and the community volunteers that do good works in the community. Then you organize other opt outters to demand an audience with the board and a public hearing to voice your "opt out" concerns about the club. What do you think the board would do with your railing "opt out" requests and demands for a public vote on your club? Correct, throw it in the hopper and flush twice. 

So, then what's wrong with the town officials who gave the "opt outters" the time of day? Good question. What's wrong with the towns folk who listen to them? Good question. What's wrong with us for not standing up to lies, bullying and intimidation? What's wrong with the media that clearly failed in their duties? Good questions?

Thousand Islands Central School bullying story featured in The San Francisco Globe

Bullying. Why does it happen? What can we do to stop it? It's an epidemic that's tearing families apart and causing community uproar all across the nation.  This particular story is of a woman named Amy Briggs and her son Daniel, who struggled with bullying most of his life. 


The little dancer in Cuba.

RWiley Photo

When we travel, Mrs. Wiley always carries a supply of stickers. While in Cuba in 2012 we  visited a small town where we were invited to watch the performance of very talented young dancers. After,  she passed out the stickers, as with other children of the world,  they ended up on her face.

We wonder what she is doing now and how she feels about the recent acts of friendship between our two countries.

5/25/15

Memorial Day is a day to remember.

Memorial Day memory of Claude and Jimmy.

RWiley Photo


It is early Memorial Day In my little village and the official celebration will soon begin. The American Legion Honor Guard will be out early. They will jump in and out of their cars while visiting all the town grave sites to honor  their soldier friends.  The gunfire will be loud and many people in Cape Vincent will waken and wonder why their sleep is being disturbed during one of their few chances for a late snooze. The guns will be so loud that, hopefully, even the honored soldiers will wake for a moment and realize their friends have not forgotten.

Today,  my thoughts are of a French citizen named Claude and my wife's Uncle Jimmy whom we never had the opportunity to meet.

Yes, I never met Jimmy and, for most of my life, Claude was a complete stranger. 

A few years ago, during a trip to the Galapagos, we befriended a French couple who lived near Paris. My wife told them the story of her Uncle Jimmy. A few days after Jimmy had invaded Normandy, he along with many other soldiers was killed in the Battle of St. Lo by their own air force in a terrible accident which today some refer to as "friendly fire". My wife told our new French friends that no family member, with the exception of a very distant cousin stationed in Europe, had ever been able to afford to visit Jimmy's grave in the American Cemetery  located above Omaha Beach. After hearing about Jimmy, our new friends made us promise to get to France, if only for one day, so we could be introduced to their good friend Claude. 

We made it to France, and it was only for one day.

When that day arrived, we landed at a dock in Le Havre and were swept away to a distant parking lot where Claude, a complete stranger, celebrated our arrival by waving an American flag. He later told us that he always carried an American flag in his car. 

After brief introductions we were taken to Normandy and Jimmy's grave. The complete stranger had arranged for a special day for us and Jimmy. A bucket of wet sand was brought up the hill up from Omaha Beach and rubbed into Jimmy’s recessed name on his cross.  The name "James W. Sanders"  glistened like gold.

Claude had arranged for a special service, pictures and had established a perpetual placement of flowers on Jimmy's grave. 

Those flowers are there today, Memorial Day.

When a young boy, Claude's family home was right on Omaha Beach. His mom was walking the beach that day and saw the invasion approaching. Claude and his dad were above the beach working in the fields. For the next several days they hid near the cliffs and watched Americans die. For three days they watched as the Americans marched up the only road from the Beach and drove back the Germans. Those days of the invasion brought Claude's childhood years under German occupation to an end.

In an effort to be sure American Soldiers, who did not make it, had an acceptable home and legacy, Claude's father, an attorney,  became active in securing the land for the American Cemetery above Omaha. 

At the end of our day in France, Claude, no longer a  stranger, said to us as we parted, “I will never forget America and the soldiers who landed in my town and died for my country. The soldiers who set me free.”

5/24/15

Jefferson County's (NY) Golden Crescent and Thousand Island Region are at high risk for bird kills by industrial turbines.

Wolfe Island, Ontario Turbines are already slaughtering birds while a developer wants to put up 600 ft. Galloo Island Wind turbines that would add to the killing fields.


American Bird Conservancy Wind Development Bird Risk Map

wind-map-screenshotAmerican Bird Conservancy
(Washington., D.C., May 3, 2012) A new, interactive web-based map, created by American Bird Conservancy (ABC)—the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, is now available, and has the potential to dramatically reduce bird impacts from wind turbines.

5/23/15

Fortunately, where I live, we have layers of government regulations that prevent pollution.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about the air quality in China. It brought to mind photos I captured on sunny days.

RWiley Photo

Shanghai  on a sunny day.
RWiley Photo

The great wall on a Sunny Day.

RWiley Photo

The Olympic Stadium on a Sunny Day.
RWiley Photo

Bird watching in a Bejing Park on a sunny day.
RWiley Photo

Sailing the Yangtze River on a Sunny day.

5/22/15

Town of Cape Vincent May 21 meeting available at Steve Weed Productions.

Memorial Day weekend. Cape Vincent Events

May 23 - Spring fishing derby with weigh in at the Cape Chamber of Commerce visiter center.

May 23 - Cape Fire Department chicken barbecue with serving starting 4:00 PM at the fire hall.

May 23, 24 - Artist Studio Tour starting at 10:00 AM. You can get more information at the Breakwater Gallery next to the fire hall.

May 25 - Memorial Day Parade starting at 11:00 AM

New York State town clerk group recognizes Cape Vincent Town Clerk Michelle Bouchard



Michelle Bouchard, RMC
At the May 21 Cape Vincent Town Board meeting, Supervisor Urban Hirschey read a letter from the New York State Clerk's Association. The letter stated that Cape Vincent Town Clerk Michelle Bouchard has met the requirements certifying  her as a Registered Municipal Clerk. The letter also thanked  her and the Town of Cape Vincent for her valuable work in their organization.

In March, 2014 Michelle Bouchard was asked to accept the nomination to become a District Director for the New York State Town Clerk's Association. Bouchard's duties are to serve other town clerks in the New York State District 5 counties of Oswego, Oneida, Onondaga, Lewis and Jefferson Counties. Bouchard is only the third Town Clerk from Jefferson County to have been honored with the trust of those duties. 

Town of Cape Vincent will interview up to eight candidates for vacant position.

At last night's Town of Cape Vincent Board Meeting the council went into executive session for the purpose of interview citizens who are applying to fill the board position vacated by the death of Brooks Bragdon. It appeared that at least five applicants were interviewed last night and others will be given the opportunity at a special board meeting to be held next week. From sources at the meeting, it appears that eight town residents have submitted applications.

5/21/15

Town of Cape Vincent deadlocked. Anti-government SASS obstructionists fail to convince the town to opt out of efforts to designate portions of the town as a statewide area of scenic significance.

During tonight's Town of Cape Vincent Board meeting counsel member Paul Aubertine made a motion to opt out of efforts to include the coastal region of Cape Vincent in a Statewide Area of Scenic Significance. Counsel member Marty Mason second the motion. During discussion Supervisor Urban Hirschey explained that the TIRAP assessment was still in its draft stage and the information is not complete. Therefore, Hirschey said it would be unwise to take action on an incomplete document when all of the information is not in. Counsel member John Byrne agree with Hirschey and pointed out that either Mrs. Edsall or Mr. Edsall had stated during a meeting that the board should not take any action until summer when the summer residents have all arrived.

Anti SASS citizens Michael Ringer, Erica Demick and Ron Thomson from Alexandria Bay and Hammond were in attendance and were lobbying against the SASS designation. 

Supervisor Hirschey was correct in telling the town's citizens that the TIRAP assessment report is not complete. According to a May 13 letter from Steve Ridler Coastal Program Assistant Manager for the  State of New York, the draft report will undergo public hearing, until September 30, 2015 comments about the draft may be sent to BarbaraKendall@dos.ny.gov. and the grant contract term for the assessment expires Feb. 29, 2016 provided all work is done and approved by the Department of State.

You can read the Steve Ridler letter to all the involved towns at this link.