THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 13, Issue 09–December 4, 2018
In Between the Holidays
I had hoped to get another issue of the BLAB out before Thanksgiving, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s now December, and I’ll try to get at least one more out before the end of the term.
Catching up on the home front, out generator at the house is now fully installed and functioning. Interestingly enough, the day after the installation was complete, we had a power outage in our part of Canton that lasted about a minute or two. I woke up because my c-pap stopped providing me with air and asked Jill what happened. She looked at the clock, saw it was flashing, and said the power must have gone out. Just as she did, the generator kicked in and the power came on. About a minute later, it shut off as the power was restored. So, all in all, it wasn’t much of an outage, but we know everything is working as it should be.
My father’s trip back to Las Vegas had a small complication. I drove him to the airport on November 12 as planned, but his first flight, to Chicago got there late. He only had a 45-minute connection time, so he didn’t make the Chicago-Las Vegas leg. He did, however, get the airline to put him up at the airport Hilton and book him on the first flight in the morning, so all ended well. He’s now re-engaging with his friends there, as well as trying to get his electric hybrid vehicle working again, and getting into the swing of all the holiday parties.
Weather-wise, we seem to have gotten into a pattern of having a moderate snowfall (3-6 inches), having it melt off or be washed away (due to weather in the low 40’s), having everything clear for a day, and then getting more snow. Today is the third time for the cycle and it’s currently snowing very lightly, with some mixed rain and snow turning to snow tonight. It’s not supposed to add up to much and we’re significantly better off than California has been with their fires and then heavy rain, the South with their heavy rains, or the New England coast with their small Nor’Easters. Hopefully things will quiet down across the country for a while after this.
Funeral for a Friend
I was originally planning to take Tuesday through Friday off for Thanksgiving, but we got a very unpleasant surprise when we found out that a member of our College Council and Foundation Board, Chloe Ann O’Neil, had been killed on November 15 in an automobile accident. She was driving to visit a family member when someone failed to yield at an intersection and hit her car, causing it to roll over and killing her. This was even more of a shock because I had just seen Chloe Ann at a College Council meeting two days earlier.
Calling hours were at the Garner Funeral Home in Potsdam on November 19 and the funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam on November 20. It was a beautiful service, filled with loving memories of Chloe Ann, who had been a civic leader in the North Country for many years.
Chloe Ann was actually born in Watseka, Illinois and her family moved to Syracuse in 1952, where her father worked for General Electric. She earned her B.S. and M.S. at SUNY Potsdam and taught at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School for many years, where she was much loved by all her students.
Chloe Ann married John G. A. O’Neil, a college professor, in 1966. They had two children, Beth Ann and John. Her husband ran for the New York Assembly and won, serving from 1981 to 1992. Chloe Ann was an aide to her husband and then was nominated by the Republican party to run in the special election that was held when John was killed in a car accident in 1992. She was elected and served in the Assembly from 1993 to 1998. More recently, she was an active community member and civic leader across the North Country, including volunteering at Canton Potsdam Hospital and serving on SUNY Canton’s College Council and Foundation Board.
Parishville Town Supervisor Rodney Votra, said that Chloe Ann had served as a role model throughout his life, as well as having been his 6thgrade teacher. “It is a huge loss for the community. She was a mentor for me, in my current position as supervisor she always stayed in contact. I was very comfortable calling her when I had questions and needed advice or guidance, and she was always there. And if I wasn’t calling her, she was calling me saying, ‘Hey kid, what’s going on now?’ She’s going to be missed.”
Rest in peace, Chloe Ann. You did so much for our community and will be missed by all who knew you.
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break and had their fill of turkey and all the fixings.
Jill decided that she didn’t want me to make a turkey this year, since we always have so much left over and I get tired of it after a few days. Instead, she suggested that we go over to Brockville Ontario and have some good Indian cuisine there at a restaurant we all like. It didn’t take much to convince me! The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the year (the second Monday in October), so it was just a normal workday and the restaurant was open and all was well. The traffic was quite light, since there wasn’t much cross-border traffic due to the holiday on the American side, and it only took about 50 minutes to get there, including crossing the border. The food was excellent as always.
After eating, we did a little shopping since there were a number of sales that had started up for the pre-Christmas season. I even found a new comic book store that had opened on the main street, though they didn’t have anything I really wanted. That’s the curse of having a collection as big as mine—it’s very rare that I find something I want at a price I’m willing to pay and so many of the “rare” comics on the display board are ones that I bought at the time they originally came out for cover price. Comics associated with upcoming movies usually skyrocket in price (for example, copies of Ms. Marvel #1 are now jumping in price to $100 or more, due to speculators anticipating a price rise with the upcoming Captain Marvel movie [in the Marvel comic universe, Ms. Marvel has become Captain Marvel]). I paid 50c for a mint copy back in the ‘90’s and there were many more of them sitting in the box, since the comic wasn’t particularly popular at the time). Mark found a few books and a DVD he wanted, and it was back to the USA in time to watch some holiday movies.
I attended a Presidents Meeting last week, which was held in Syracuse. I left campus on the afternoon of the 26th, and the ride down was a bit annoying because it was raining pretty hard and it was foggy as well. As it got dark, the visibility got even worse so the trip took a little longer than normal.
The meeting was held at the Marriott, which is located in the former Hotel Syracuse in the middle of downtown. The Hotel Syracuse originally opened in 1924 and was quite the place back then, featuring 600 guest rooms, retail stores at the street level, and tennis courts on the roof. It even included an emergency hospital! Lots of major events in Syracuse were held in its Grand Ballroom and on the Persian Terrace. Visitors at the hotel included Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, Elvis, Bob Hope, and John Lennon. The hotel joined the Hilton chain of hotels in 1980, left in the 1990s, and closed in 2004 after fighting off bankruptcy for several years and being sold to several new owners. Various plans to turn it into condominiums and apartments were implemented and almost completed in one of its three towers (Symphony Tower), which according to Wikipedia is still unoccupied due to litigation. The remainder of the hotel was restored in a massive $75M project, much of which was to modernize and rebuild the guest rooms to a larger modern standard. The hotel reopened in 2016 with 261 rooms as part of the Marriott chain.
I checked into my room, which was quite large (two queen size beds, a desk in the middle of the room, and a couch and chair at the other side) and well appointed. The meeting began at 6:00 with a small reception, which gave me a chance to catch up with some of the other SUNY presidents.
The main part of the meeting was the next day, where the Chancellor went over her main objectives for the future, which parallel nicely with what we’re doing here at SUNY Canton: Individualized education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and forming Partnerships. She is also focused on building a SUNY endowment, expanding online offerings, exploring artificial intelligence and quantum computation, and moving toward 100% clean electricity within the system. Another initiative, called PRODI-G, is to recruit 1000 diverse faculty over the next 10 years, with SUNY paying 100% of the 1styear salary and 50% of the 2ndyear. A sustainability loan fund is also being established to fund projects that can be completed within two years, with the payback to happen over 10 years. Later in the meeting, we separated into sectors to discuss and give feedback on issues related to budget and advocacy.
Originally, I was supposed to stay over in Syracuse a second night for an alumni event. The event was cancelled due to a winter storm coming in from the west. The weather was supposed to turn ugly in the late afternoon, so I left the meeting a little early and got on the road at 2:30. It had begun snowing in Syracuse, but as soon as I got a little way outside the city heading north on I-81, the snow got lighter and changed to rain as it fell. As I approached Watertown, the weather improved further and I didn’t even need my windshield wipers unless a truck passed by and splashed water from the road. Route 11 was fine too, with only some intermittent rain, and I got to Canton a little before five, just as it was getting dark. The snow held off until 8 PM up here, though it got to Syracuse earlier and I hope that my colleagues heading west didn’t have too hard a time of it. Ultimately, we got about 5-6 inches of snow in Canton that night, which melted and washed away over the next two days.
Holiday Celebrations Begin—Children’s Holiday Party
The December holiday season has begun at SUNY Canton and there are lots of events as usual. The first, on December 1, was the Children’s Holiday Party for children and grandchildren of faculty and staff. Our Early Childhood Education programs organize and offer this party each year, and this year’s theme was “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” with lots of crafts and games associated with the various lines from the well-known poem.
The Rendezvous in the Miller Student Center was beautifully decorated and laid out for the party. Jill, Mark, and I arrived at 12:30, a little before the party began at 1, with some bags of toys, stuffed animals, and DVDs to give to the children. We put on our reindeer antlers and went over to the welcome table, and promptly at 1, children and their families began to arrive.
Overall, almost 100 children came, enjoyed the crafts and games, enjoyed cookies, ice cream and juice, filled goodie bags, and at about 2:30, lined up for a visit with Santa Claus.
The party ended at about 3:30, with lots of parents stopping to tell me how much they enjoyed it. A big thanks to faculty members Maureen Maiocco, Christina Martin, Christina Leshko, and Kelly DeHaut, and all our student volunteers for putting on such a fine event!
There are several more events this week, including the judging of the Holiday Door Decorations, the Student Holiday Dinner, the R.A. Banquet, and on Friday, the President’s Holiday Reception. I hope everyone will be able to come to one or more of these.
It’s Also FAFSA Time
Something that would be very helpful is for faculty and staff to remind our students that the upcoming holiday break is also the perfect time for them to sit down with their parents, significant others, caretakers, etc. to work through the 2019-2020 FAFSA application process.
The College’s preferred deadline is January 1 to ensure applications are considered on-time for potential eligibility for some sources of aid (like SEOG, Work Study, and some institutional scholarships). Meeting the deadline doesn’t mean the student is guaranteed additional aid, however, it does place them in the best possible position for eligibility.
The One Hop Shop can assist them with the FAFSA. Simply call the One Hop Shop at 315-386-7616 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if assistance is needed. It is important to make they have their FSA ID all set and ready to go (parents must have their FSA ID also if the student is a dependent student). Remember that the 2019-2020 FAFSA uses their 2017 Tax information.
They can also complete their 2019-2020 FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov online. The FAFSA can even be completed on their mobile device. The MyStudentAid app can be downloaded from Google Play or from the Apple App store.
Last Time’s Trivia Contest
Last time’s challenge had to do with abbreviations, and our fastest winners being Kelly DeHaut, Janel Smith, Megan Warren, and Robin Gittings. Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize. Here are the correct answers:
- DIY—Do it Yourself.
- VIP—Very Important Person
- BOGO—Buy One, Get One (Free).
- IRS—Internal Revenue Service (or Inland Revenue Service in England)
- PDQ—Pretty Darn Quick
This Time’s Trivia Challenge
In keeping with the holiday theme, this issue’s challenge has to do with holiday movies and television programs.
The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO email@example.com if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- Cartoon about a snowman that comes to life.
- A new movie about this character that wanted to end Christmas in Whoville is now playing at theaters.
- Movie from 1947 starring Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood about an elderly gentleman named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus and proves it in court.
- Movie from 1942 starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale that introduced the song “White Christmas”.
- The ultimate holiday classic from 1946, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, about a man who sees what his town would be like if he had never been born.