THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 10, Issue 03–August 5, 2015
End of July Recap
The weather here in the North Country has been unusual lately, and by that I mean unusually hot. We had a couple of days where the thermometer was above 90°F and with the humidity it was pretty sticky. Even though it wasn’t expected to last, I figured “why not?” and went and bought two window air conditioners. It’s amazing how high-tech everything is these days—for $140, I got a 5,000 BTU unit with the side “accordion” panels that came complete with a remote control that you can program the air conditioner with. Pretty nice. We put the first one in one of the windows in the living room and it does a fine job—more than able to keep the room cool, even more so if we close the door. Where to put the second one was more of a problem—most of the windows in the house are of the “crank and it opens outward” variety, and you can’t put a window air conditioner in them. Thus, the solarium, music room, and my parent’s bedroom are all out. We could put it in the upstairs main bedroom (Jill and mine), but it gets cooler in the evening and overnight (which is when we’re there), and with a fan, there’s no need for an air conditioner. The other choice is to put it in the dining room, which is what we may wind up doing. Since it has cooled off again, there’s no hurry in deciding.
After living in Georgia for almost 10 years, I feel stupid complaining about the heat when it’s only in the 80’s and only barely touching 90, but your body quickly adjusts itself to the new environment, and boom! It’s too hot again. My former president was saying the same thing in her blog—the temperature had reached 75°F (an all time high for that day—it’s usually around 60) up in northern California where she is, and with the humidity, it was unbearable.
On weekends and some evenings, we’ve been enjoying taking a ride over to Ogdensburg, Waddington, or Massena to enjoy driving along the St. Lawrence River. There are some beautiful homes there at incredibly low prices, so I’m thinking about possibly buying one as a summer place.
All About Fish
Anyway, last weekend (July 26th), I attended the Governor’s BassMaster Fishing Challenge up in Massena. I didn’t actually go fishing, but there was a fishing simulator (built by an MET student at SUNY Canton who has since graduated), so I gave it a try and managed to land a sailfish. I’m really in no position to judge, but the simulation felt real to me and it took both hands to hold the fishing rod and to reel it in. Pretty cool!
This past weekend, the National BassMaster Fishing Championship was held in Waddington, a very pretty village on the St. Lawrence River. My mom, Jill, Mark, and I went up on Saturday and there was a pretty good crowd there–some 30,000 people were expected. Both SUNY Canton and the upcoming St. Lawrence Film Festival had booths there, so we walked around and checked them out.
There were lots of other booths selling fishing gear, as well as crafts, food, wine slushies, and other good things. There were also various bands playing different genres of music, so we had a nice time. We were going to get together with Melissa Evans (our Director of Admissions) for a boat ride on the river, but at the appointed hour, the sky looked treacherous so we put if off until Sunday. Good thing too, since there was plenty of rain and lightning just a few minutes later.
We got together on Sunday at 12:45 and the weather couldn’t have been nicer. Melissa, her mom, and her cousin were already on their boat when we got there. We all got on, with Melissa taking the helm, Mark taking the co-pilot’s chair, and the rest of us in the back enjoying the ride.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the houses in Waddington and Massena are really nice from the street side, but on the boat, you get to see their river side and some of them are just spectacular! We all had a great time cruising around for several hours and enjoying each others’ company.
Trip to Delhi
Speaking of nice places, I was down in Delhi for a presidents meeting of the Colleges of Technology on the 21st. The drive down to Delhi was quite scenic, and almost all of it was on roads I have never been on before in my life, through little villages I’ve never heard of, despite having grown up in New York. The route starts off familiarly enough, taking US-11 down to Gouverneur—that’s the road that goes on to Watertown and then to Syracuse. In Gouverneur, you turn off onto NY 812 south, which goes through Fullerville, Harrisville, and Croghan. I stopped in Croghan for a bite to eat at a diner. Continuing on, just after Croghan, you take some local roads to make a short-cut to bypass Lowville, and get on NY 12 south, which goes through Martinsburg, Port Leyden, Boonville, and Remsen down to Utica. From there, it was I-790 for a minute to get off on NY 8 south until it intersects US 20 east to Richfield Springs. I’d been on the US 20 part before, since that’s part of the way I used to go from Syracuse to New England, back in the day. At Richfield Springs, you go south on NY 28 through Cattown, and then NY 205 through Hartwick down to Oneonta (thereby avoiding Cooperstown, which gets very crowded, since that’s where the Baseball Hall of Fame is). Just outside Oneonta, you pick up NY 28 again, which twists and turns through beautiful hills and valleys through Meredith and then finally arriving in Delhi. The whole trip takes a bit over 4 hours.
The president of SUNY Delhi, Dr. Candace Vancko, had arranged for very nice guest rooms and parking spots on campus for me and for SUNY Farmingdale’s president Hubert Keen, the two presidents traveling from the greatest distance to Delhi. The room had a nice welcome basket with cookies, fruit, bottled water, and some other goodies. The campus is quite attractive, located on two or three levels on a hillside. There was a fair bit of construction and renovation going on, including in the building we were staying in. To go from the building I was staying in to the one we were meeting in (which was next door), I had to move one of those temporary fence barricades so that I could slip inside it. Anyway, the three of us had a very nice dinner at a restaurant that the College runs located by their golf course (Delhi offer a degree in golf course management), and then went up to see the president’s house—very spacious and attractive, overlooking some pretty hills in the back.
The next morning, we all went to breakfast at a pleasant café in town and then went back to the campus for the meeting. The meeting went well and we discussed a number of interesting points, including some proposals we’re going to submit jointly to SUNY’s Performance Improvement Plan, seamless transfer, and orientation for new presidents. During the meeting, a very nice lunch was provided by the campus food service. Dr. Vancko set a wonderful standard as hostess for the meeting. The COT presidents may be meeting in Canton this fall, and I’m looking forward to returning the favor.
And From There, To Albany
The meeting ended at about 2:00 PM and I hopped in the car for a trip to Albany for a meeting of the Social Media Responsibility Task Force that I co-chair. The ride to Albany was quite nice, following NY 10 east through the little towns of Hobart, Stamford, Jefferson, and Summit, until joining I-88 in Richmondville, and getting on the Thruway at the end. After checking into the hotel, I had their shuttle take me to my favorite Indian restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, it must have been the cook’s night off or something, because while the samosa appetizers were great, the entree (I had ordered a Tandoori mixed grill) was disappointing. When I got back to the hotel, I watched a little TV and fell asleep.
After breakfast in the hotel the next morning, I walked over to SUNY Central’s Courtroom Building (it’s only about a 5 minute walk, if that) where we were meeting. The meeting began with a presentation on threat analysis procedures, followed by a discussion on the realities of how to implement them. After lunch, we discussed how to outline the main points of the report we will be submitting to the Board of Trustees, and took volunteers as to who was going to draft each bullet. Each person will submit their draft, and the two co-chairs and David Belsky, our SUNY liaison, will put the individual drafts together to form a draft of the full report. Depending on how the Task Force likes the draft and how much additional work needs to be done, we’ll either handle things online or meet face to face for a final time.
The meeting finished about 2:00 PM and I walked back to the hotel to get the car and took off for home. As of late, I’ve been taking a different route through the Adirondacks that I like a little better and that’s a little faster. I go further up I-87 until the Pottersville exit, and go on a local road to Olmstedville. From there, it’s an easy ride to Long Lake on NY 28N, to NY 30 in Tupper Lake, and NY 56 and NY 68 to Canton, overall about 3.5 hours. The weather was gorgeous, and I couldn’t resist stopping a few times in Newcomb and Tupper Lake to take some pictures.
And All Around the North Country
On the 29th, I joined several other members of the North Country Regional Economic Development Commission for a tour of some of the new facilities that are promoting economic growth in our region that were supported by the NCREDC. The trip started at Jefferson Community College down in Watertown. We all got on the bus and went over to Fort Drum to see a facility that burns biomass to supply energy to the fort, operated by ReEnergy Holdings. It is a very interesting operation–trucks come in carrying wood chips and other biomass waste and back onto a “bridge” that can be raised or lowered. The “bridge” is then raised to more than a 45° incline, where all the biomass falls out onto a conveyor which sifts and sorts and carries it into the furnace. You can read a little more about the operation here.
From there, we drove over to see several housing facilities that were built in the Watertown area for soldiers and their families from Fort Drum. The strong level of support from the city and region are critical elements in maintaining the Fort in the area, which is (of course) critical to the economy. The good news is in the latest round of military personnel cuts, Fort Drum was largely spared.
Our next stop was in Clayton, NY, where we visited the beautiful 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. The Hotel is magnificent–beautiful rooms and facilities, located on a particularly lovely shoreline location on the St. Lawrence River.
After a brief tour of the hotel, we had lunch in its dining room, followed by a presentation by North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry F. Douglas and Clarkson University president Tony Collins to a New York state assessment team, about the importance of economic development in the North Country and the progress that has been made. The assessment team included Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone and Director of Upstate Economic Development Richard Tobe. You can read more about the presentation here.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s challenge dealt with musical hits from the ‘50’s. The winner was Bruce Tallon. Others will all five right included Paul Howley, Christina Lesyk, and Kim Woodard. Here are the correct answers:
- Elvis’ first major hit, about a place that’s “Down at the end of lonely street”. Heartbreak Hotel.
- His #1 songs from the 1950’s on the R&B chart include “Maybelline”, “School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)”, “Johnny B. Goode”, and “Sweet Little Sixteen”. Chuck Berry.
- Dick Clark hosted this television show that started in 1957. American Bandstand.
- Patti Page had the decade’s biggest hit, with a song about her “dancing with her darling”. Tennessee Waltz.
- His song, “Poor Little Fool”, was the very first #1 on the newly created Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. His other #1 was “Travelin’ Man”. Ricky Nelson.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
We move to more recent days in this week’s challenge, which deals with musical hits from the 1960’s. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- Anatomical song that was the Beatle’s first #1 hit in the US. Lyrics include “And when I touch you I feel happy inside, it’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide.”
- Rolling Stones hit that they sang a censored version of on Ed Sullivan; they replaced the words “the night” with “some time”.
- Bob Dylan song that asks “How does it feel?”
- 1963 The Crystals hit that starts “He walked up to me, and he asked me if I wanted to dance/He looked kinda nice, and so I said “I might take a chance”.
- Top song from 1960, it was recorded by Percy Faith and his orchestra, and was the theme from a movie starring Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee.