The Town Crier

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A seasonal resident and JLL reader wants to know......

Seasonal Residents...... 

    Are You In or Are You Out?

Let’s See If Answering a Few Questions Can Help You Make up Your Mind

In the recently decided election for a Town Council seat in the Town of Cape Vincent, NY, the outcome was determined by seven votes.

The candidate who prevailed is one who has long been in favor of large-scale wind power development in Cape Vincent and hoped to personally profit from such development by leasing his land to the developer.  He has in the past claimed that wind development might as well be occurring in Cape Vincent because the town was economically dying anyway.

The candidate who lost the Council seat by seven votes was one who has long been a staunch opponent of the grossly inappropriate wind development proposal.  She understood the obvious facts that such development would radically alter the nature of the town, destroy its special scenic qualities, send property values into a downward spiral, and create a noise pollution nuisance for nearly all the residents of the town.

And yet, with this stark contrast before the voters, the candidate who was on record for wanting to save the town was defeated by a candidate who was on record as being willing to destroy it as we know it and personally profit in so doing.

Two sitting CV councilmen
have taken actions to
stop seasonal residents
from voting in Cape Vincent
How was that outcome possible?  It should not have even been close. Why did not the majority of Cape Vincent residents who are of eligible voting age overwhelmingly select the candidate whose positions far more closely reflected those of the majority of town residents? The reason is simple. The majority checked out.  The majority did not participate sufficiently.

Far too many of the seasonal residents of Cape Vincent, obviously, still do not fully appreciate and comprehend the importance of their ongoing participation in the political life of the town.

The recent election and other local elections in recent years, and all that has been written about them on this blog and elsewhere, should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that a seasonal resident has every right to vote in Cape Vincent local elections -- as much as any resident.  Let’s accept that as a settled fact and that there is no need to once again explain federal and New York election law that makes clear the right of a seasonal resident to vote in that seasonal community, rather than where the person may reside for another portion of the year.

Instead of explaining here again that you have the right to vote as a seasonal resident, let’s review some considerations that may convince you as to why you should vote in Cape Vincent. Perhaps the best way to consider why you (most of you, surely) should vote in Cape Vincent, and not somewhere else where you live and where you would be eligible to vote, is to put the analysis in the form of a questionnaire.

Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Just answer the question by checking Yes or No, or by checking Cape Vincent or Other:

Do you believe that the composition of the Cape Vincent Town Council (and the Cape Vincent Village Board of Trustees) matters in representing and protecting your interests as a seasonal resident?

Yes ___    No ___

Do you believe you need to pay more attention now than in years long gone by to the initiatives, priorities, and actions of local government in Cape Vincent?

Yes ____   No ____

Do you think that British Petroleum’s decision to terminate its wind development efforts in Cape Vincent earlier this year means that your interests as a seasonal resident are no longer in jeopardy?

Yes ____   No ____

Do you believe that wind development efforts in the town in recent years, and local elections there in recent years, have highlighted a substantial dismissiveness, disregard, resentment, and even contempt by some public officials toward the seasonal resident constituency in the town?

Yes ____   No ____

Do you agree that the smaller the population of a community the greater the likelihood that a local election will be decided by a very narrow margin?
Yes ____   No ____

Does the community where you reside other than Cape Vincent have a local population larger than Cape Vincent’s?
Yes ____   No ____

Where do you think it is more likely that an election would be decided by only a handful of votes? 

Cape Vincent  ____   Other residence ____

Do you have a compelling reason to vote in the community of your residence other than Cape Vincent? For example, are you a public official of another community or do you have some other professional or business reason to remain registered to vote there rather than Cape Vincent?

Yes ____   No ____

Where do you believe you have more at risk in terms of your personal, family, and financial well-being?

Cape Vincent ____   Other residence ____

Where do you believe more could go wrong by virtue of local government actions that would jeopardize your property interests and quality of life?

Cape Vincent ____   Other residence ____

Are you fully aware that where you register to vote is not a determining factor when considering income tax liability, motor vehicle registration and insurance, or legal matters pertaining to marital status, estate administration and settlement, eligibility for social services, child custody or other such considerations?

Yes ____  No ____

Do you understand that claiming a NY STAR Program residential property tax reduction is in no way restricted by your decision to register to vote from Cape Vincent?  Do you understand correctly that you may claim a STAR reduction for any NY residence you own that you consider to be your primary residence, and that your seasonal residence in Cape Vincent may be the residence you consider to be your primary residence?

Yes ____  No ____

Do you want a town and village government that regards seasonal residents as an important component of the community, and that is inclined to be always looking for ways to make Cape Vincent an attractive and appealing place for existing and new seasonal homeowners?

Yes ____  No ____

That should about cover it. Your answers to these several questions will hopefully help you to appreciate that it is highly likely that your interests in Cape Vincent would be best represented by town and village officials who truly welcome your presence.  Does it make any sense at all for you to think otherwise – or, worse, not to think about this at all?

Please make a thoughtful and well informed decision about where best to exercise your right to vote – not just for one election but for as long as you are a seasonal resident of Cape Vincent.

Don’t make the huge mistake of choosing where to vote based on a longstanding practice that is nothing more than a habit and no longer makes sense for you. Make that decision with your eyes wide open.

Don’t make this decision complicated. It isn’t.

Above all, don’t decide where you are going to be a voter based on completely incorrect and deliberately misleading information intended to confuse you or intimidate you.

Seasonal residents have much to gain by paying attention and participating, and even more to lose by not becoming part of the permanent political landscape in Cape Vincent.

Register to vote – and vote – in the one place you love the most, where you have the most to lose, and where your one vote will count the most.

Thank you, seasonal resident, for your article above and your contributions to the Cape Vincent community.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Out of touch with the world.

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JLL has been lazy and without internet service since before
Christmas. I will be back in the USA in February.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 was a good year for Cape Vincent, NY. A pictorial review.

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January 1, 2014. Olivia the snowy owl enjoyed the harsh Cape Vincent winter. There were field mice aplenty. 

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February 27, 2014. February was a time to watch the ice and wish for a warm day for cleaning up the broken limbs still remaining from the December 2013 ice storm. On February 26, 2014, British Petroleum pulled the plug on its PSC Aricle 10 application for an industrial wind turbine sacrifice zone in the town of Cape Vincent.

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January 1, 2014. British Petroleum closed its Cape Vincent office, ended nearly a decade of British Petroleum's Community Organizer Marian Trieste's influence over the future of the town and British Petroleum's local lease holders.

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April 10, 2014. April 2014 was the month of relentless St. Lawrence River ice that refused to melt. The St. Lawrence Seaway experienced stop and go operations.

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May 1, 2014.  Cape Vincent birders were thrilled by the recording of a willow ptarmigan that visited nearby Pt. Peninsula. Some claimed it was the only documented visit  to New York State by the bird that is common in Alaska.  

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June 20, 2014. Summer arrived in Cape Vincent and fair weather 1812 soldiers set up camp on the Village Green in preparation for the rumored weekend invasion by the British.

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July 12, 2014. It was another stellar day for Cape Vincent's French Festival. Young military families from Fort Drum came to town to manage the traffic control and enjoy the festivities with their Cape Vincent friends.

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August 9, 2014. It was another great weather day for the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce Autos on the River held each year at the Village Green.

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September 7, 2014.  The bright sun penetrated Cape Vincent's canvas concert hall that is set up each year to accommodate the annual piano competition hosted  by the Chopin Society of the Thousand Islands. Young pianists from all over the world participated 
for the judges and audience.

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October 13, 2014. A young buck who proved to be much faster that I and my camera practiced his pre hunting season evasive maneuvers in my back yard.

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November 24, 2014. The Town of Cape Vincent's newest cash crop, biomass shrub willow, has started to change the look of the country.

December 13, 2014. Cape Vincent's community volunteers added cheer to the Holiday Season with their annual  Christmas Parade.

Happy New Year !
JLL readers

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve and Feliz Navidad

RWiley iPhoto

It is Christmas Eve and our friend Thelma, shown here working on the chilis, is in charge of preparing the tamales for a Mattraw Christmas family reunion at my nephew's new home just a few miles from the Mexican border. My contribution is a blistering hot salsa.

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Hot Tamales!
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After stuffing,  they steam for two hours.

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Don't Lift the cover!

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The first annual Mattraw Christmas Eve tamale festival.
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Mimosa makes for magic tamales.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rush Outdoors features Cape Vincent guides in a "catch and release" for Save the River.

You can visit Rush Outdoors episode 8 at this link.

Smallmouth Bass Catch & Release

". . . because a bass is too valuable to catch only once."

The Thousand Islands section of the St. Lawrence River has long supported one of the best bass fisheries in Ontario and New York. It was this fishery that helped develop tourism on the River over a century ago. However the River environment today is far different from 100 years ago. Recent changes, such as the onslaught of invasive species, have stressed and negatively affected the River’s bass population.
Since 1987 Save The River has promoted catch and release fishing for muskellunge, a species threatened on the St. Lawrence River. The addition of bass to Save The River’s Catch and Release Program is a continuation of our efforts to improve the overall health of the St. Lawrence River and to ensure a healthy, sustainable fishery.

Collectors are lusting at the thought of getting their hands on the coveted cars of Cuba.

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Hanging out on a Havana Street corner is a throwback to the fifties.

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A few of the vehicles are kept reasonably restored. When you leave the airport in Miami, you often witness a traveler with a 1950's bumper on a cart destined for a Cuban friend.

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You never know what you might find under the hood of one of these relics. One man rapidly lifted the hood of his vehicle and explained how he was able to put his car back on the road using an engine from a Russian forklift. He told me that very few of the running vehicles has original type engines.

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A clever Cuban mechanic has no problem making a door from a 57 Chevy fit a Buick or a Desoto.

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For a period of time, the Russians were sending some of their vehicles to Cuba. But getting parts became a problem.

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When you glance inside you seldom see any original upholstery. 

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Or original seats.

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 A welder I spoke to proudly described how he put his car together from junk laying around his neighborhood.

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 The man pictured here was trying to make a deal on the T-bird. He told me he had entered Cuba from Canada. I failed to ask him how he intended to get his vehicle back to Toronto. 
He was into the rum.

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As soon as you leave Havana and head into the more remote villages and towns, this is more typical of the kind of transportation you might see. While traveling on the major highways, you will come across large groups of people standing by the road,  accompanied by police. In Cuba, if you have an empty seat or room in the back of a truck, the law says you must stop and pick up people. The police are there to make sure you comply. Some vehicles with special colored plates are exempt. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cuba 2012. We met people who had hope and helped us understand.

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We may not always understand those with whom we differ. But, it is to our advantage to embrace the moment with hopes of sharing the future.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hotel Roxy put me through college.

RWiley bad Photo of RWiley bad art and good memories.
I worked at the Roxy in the early sixties as a bartender-hotel clerk-handyman. As a bartender,  I was mentored by Cape Vincent's Dick Booth. One hell of a bartender and  funny guy. Dick was reason enough to sip one at the Roxy. 

My boss, Leo Booth, took great pride in the "artifacts" that were displayed in the "Barn Bar" and his wheels were always spinning with ways to make the "ambiance" steep with tradition. And, Dick Booth had a tall tale to tell about every item in the joint. On occasion, I took the liberty of stealing and re-telling one of Dick's versions of the origin of  Barn Bar memorabilia.

At the time, the story behind the "bull cinch", a big brass ring with a long brass arrow attached,  was my favorite. You  have to ask Dick how it works. He has the bull cinch hanging on his  on his wall and it is his story.

One day, my boss Leo Booth  sent me to the office and instructed me to come up with a cartoon that he had seen of a cowboy, his horse and his dog, all taking a "wiz" in the desert. He obviously had me confused with my two older sisters who had reputations for being incredible artists. 

I struggled through the task and screwed my creation (He insisted that I sign the damn thing) to the door of the Barn Bar men's room. It hung there for nearly sixty years.  And, like other great masterworks, it became a target for grand theft and was stolen and recovered on numerous occasions. But, only during times of insobriety. When the thieves sobered up, guilt set in and the masterpiece found its way home; return delivery always by an innocent third party, of course

In those days,  I always knew where the fish were  and how to catch them. I was often rewarded with a nice tip if my tip resulted in their limit. Tips for tuition.

Thanks to the kindness and  lessons learned from the Booth family and the Roxy, I went off to college with money in my pocket, a lot of home-sickness but with the confidence I needed to overcome.

Today, as a result of a very thoughtful gesture by Jim Ashton and Mary Vorce, the "Stop at Roxy's for the Pause that Refreshes sign now hangs on my computer room wall.

Town of Cape Vincent is seeking applicants for vacant positions.

Appointments to three town positions remain unfilled as lone council member objects to their appointment and the council changes its mind.

At the the December 18th. Cape Vincent Town Board meeting, Resolution #62 authorizing the re-appointments of Dennis Faulknham, Chairman of the Zoning Board of appeals, Paul Docteur, Planning Board Member and Karen Bourcy,  Alternate Planning Board Member came before the Council. After the resolution calling for their appointment was read by the Town Clerk, a motion was made and second. During discussion, Council Member Michelle Oswald objected to the motion on the grounds that the positions were not advertised. Oswald cited the case of Hester Chase who was asked to interview for her re-appointment to the ZBA when her term had expired. Citing a case for open government and fairness, Oswald then asked that the appointments of the three be put off until the positions were advertised to other members of the community. After a twenty minute discussion, the board tabled Resolution #62. A motion was then made that allowed the board to reconsider the appointments of Faulknham, Docteur, and Bourcy until the positions are advertised and other applicants have an opportunity to interview. The board did not go into executive session while discussing the matter as two of the rejected appointees sat in the audience while the board discussed their appointments. Since this meeting was Council Member Oswald’s last, she will not participate in the interviews or vote on the filling of the positions.

From the Town of Cape Vincent website:


The Town Board is seeking interested people to fill the following:
1-      5 year term as a member of the Town Planning Board
1-      2 year term as an alternate member of the Planning Board
1-      5 year term as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals
Interested persons should drop off a letter of interest at the Town Clerks Office or mail to the Town Clerk, Michelle Bouchard, PO Box 915, Cape Vincent, NY 13618 by January 2, 2014.

Associated press investigations are leading to the reality of industrial wind bird kills.

PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths 12 hours ago

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cape Vincent town planners continue to fine-tune their zoning laws.

Cape Vincent approves amended subdivision law