January 19, 2018

THE WEEKLY BLAB

Volume 12, Issue 6–January 19, 2018

 

 

Florida Trip

January is usually a heavy travel month, since there are fewer scheduled events due to the holidays and classes not starting until January 22.  This month is no exception, and the travel began with a trip down to Florida to meet with alumni.

I flew out of Ogdensburg on Allegiant airlines, which flies directly from there to Sanford, FL.  Sanford is fairly near Orlando, but its airport is much less busy, making it convenient to use.  It’s a full-size aircraft that carries some 150 people.  Since there are no jetways in Ogdensburg, you have to walk up a zig-zag ramp to get on the plane, but that wasn’t any problem.  I wound up being in Zone 5, which meant I was almost the last person on the plane, but there was no-one else in my row, so I could easily spread out, and I had a luggage bin pretty much all to myself.  The flight down was pleasant enough—the seats could be a bit more comfortable but they were OK, and you have to pay for any food or drink ($2 for a soda).

The plane landed almost exactly on time, and as I got off the plane, my phone received a text from the ever-intrepid Peggy Levato (our Director of Alumni and Development) that she was waiting in the texting lot to pick me up, and to let her know when I got off the plane.  I texted her that I was here, and just as I walked out the terminal door, she pulled up in the car.  The weather was rainy for the first few days—a downpour had ended just before I landed, and it rained periodically thereafter.  After stopping for a light lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, I checked into the hotel, near the Daytona Beach speedway.  That evening, we had dinner at the River Grille restaurant in Ormond Beach with Richard (’51) and Marcia McCormick, parents of our own Director of Facilities Planning, Mike McCormick.  They are delightful people and strong supporters of the College, and rightfully proud of the many successful facilities projects Mike has overseen on our campus.  The restaurant was very nice—it had an old-fashioned sort of feel and food was quite good.

The next morning, we drove to New Smyrna Beach to have breakfast with Carol Roche (’80) at her home.  Carol has a lovely house, painted on the inside in pastel colors, with many decorations that come from Nantucket, MA where she grew up.  The breakfast was excellent, since Carol is a very good cook and is always looking for new and interesting recipes.  Carol is an accountant and still has many clients in the North Country, as well as in Florida.  She has gone out of her way to help students in the years since she graduated.  From there, we drove a short distance to have lunch at Blackbeard’s Inn with John and Anne Goetze.  John was the Director of Facilities back when we made the transition from the old campus to our current campus, and knows a lot about the history of the College, which was interesting to hear. He has also held several other positions at SUNY Canton, and is a strong supporter.  The restaurant was very good, and I had a delicious red snapper there—a type of fish I’ve always liked but rarely run into.

From there, it was off to Norwood’s Eatery & Treehouse, where we had an alumni reception.  Many of the folks present live in the area, but some were from the North Country vacationing there.  It was really nice to see Joe (SUNY Canton’s 3rd president) and Dine Kennedy there.  They looked tan and fit, and I’m told exercise regularly at the local Y, a practice I should no-doubt adopt.

Other alumni and friends attending included:

  • Lewis and Janice Badura (both ’61)
  • Bernie Regan (our Foundation Chair, and class of ’65)
  • Richard (’51) and Marcia McCormick
  • John and Rosie Bartholomew
  • John and Anne Goetze
  • Gil White (’68) (Foundation Board Member)
  • William (’69) and JoAnne LaPierre (William is a professor emeritus from the Auto Tech program)
  • John and Chris (’93) Gray (John is the founder and managing partner of Gray & Gray and Associates, and Chris is a Foundation Board Member)
  • Carol Roche (’80)
  • Robert (’70) and Paula (’71) LaPierre (John is the Comptroller of the Adirondack Medical Center)
  • Harley (’54) and Patricia Burger, and
  • Carl (’57) and Betty Wenner

The reception was held outdoors in the “treehouse” part of the restaurant, which is very cool, and the rain held off throughout.  There were very nice hors d’oeuvres of various kinds, and I gave a short talk about what’s new at the College that was well received.  It’s always nice to be able to meet our alumni and hear about their days at Canton, and the many things that they’ve been able to accomplish since graduating.  The reception broke up at about 8PM, and from there I was off to Stuart, FL with Geoffrey VanderWoude, SUNY Canton’s Director of Planned Giving.  When I got to my room in the hotel, I was thoroughly exhausted, but not so much so that I didn’t have a little carrot cake for dessert first at the hotel’s bistro.

Friday morning, we drove down to Fort Lauderdale to have lunch with Doug Zeif (’13), who has made a major name for himself in the hotel and hospitality industry.  He is currently the principal at Next! Hospitality Advisors, and was recently a speaker in our Excellence in Leadership lecture series.  Doug teaches online courses in the hospitality area for us, and we’re exploring other ways he might be able to be involved in some of our future activities. We ate at the Kaluz Restaurant, which has outside seating, and we sat at a very nice table overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

While we were eating our lunch, the wind managed to catch our table’s umbrella just right, sending it flying into the air pole-first, and hitting a lady the next row in.  Everyone was scurrying around trying to make sure she wasn’t hurt, and making sure that the other umbrellas were anchored down so that it wouldn’t happen again.  They never replaced our umbrella, which was a problem when it started to rain at the end of our meal, so we had to dash under an awning.

That evening, we met with John Maines (’77).  John is a journalist and database editor for the South Florida SunSentinel newspaper.  He has written multiple articles about growth and development, many making correlations from databases and leading to greater public safety.  He is the co-winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service.  Geoffrey kept the name of the restaurant secret for me, leading me to suspect it might be an Indian restaurant, and I was right.  It was very nice to see John again and we had a nice discussion about the current state of the newspaper business and what might be done to improve it, and how politics was being covered in South Florida.  John will be receiving an honorary degree from SUNY Canton this Spring at Commencement.

We checked out of the hotel on Saturday morning and made the trip up to Sanford to catch our flight back to Ogdensburg.  The first thing to go wrong was just as we walked into the terminal, I got a phone call from my father, telling me he had been robbed—his laptop computer and iPhone had been stolen.  I quickly called Verizon to stop service on the line, and “froze” the phone on the “Find My Phone” app.

As I was doing this, I saw Gil White across the waiting area and waved hello.  We all got on the plane and it took off on time (1:23 PM), but when they tried to land in Ogdensburg three hours later, the airport said they couldn’t land because they needed another 30 minutes to clear it from the snowstorm from that morning and the previous night.  We circled the airport for the 30 minutes, but they then reported that the airport said it would be two hours before we could land.  The pilot announced we would be landing in Syracuse and refueling there and would then proceed back to Ogdensburg.  After sitting on the ground for more than an hour, I got a phone notification that the flight was rescheduled to leave Sanford at 6:59 PM (of course, we had already left on time) and would get to Ogdensburg at 10PM.  I showed this to the stewardess, who said they hadn’t gotten this message, but in any event, if we didn’t leave in the next 30 minutes, they’d have to take us off the plane since we had sat on the runway so long.  About 45 minutes later, they made an announcement that someone on the plane had a medical issue and we’d have to wait for the paramedics.  They came onto the plane via a set of stairs about 15 minutes later, accompanied by firetrucks, an ambulance, and a maintenance vehicle.  After discussing the matter with the family for about 20 minutes, a paramedic went off the plane and came back with a wheelchair, taking the person and two members of their family off the plane.  After waiting for the firetrucks and ambulance to leave, we finally taxied to another location at the airport—an exit door near baggage—and were allowed to get off the plane at about 7:15.  We had to go down a set of icy stairs and were told that the baggage would be brought out on the adjacent carousel, and they had arranged for busses to take us to Ogdensburg.

After waiting for a while for the baggage, we heard the terminal manager talking to the airline headquarters in Las Vegas asking when the buses were schedule to come (9:10 PM, we were told), and asking why they hadn’t notified the terminal that the plane was being diverted there.  The bags finally came off the plane at about 8:00, and we decided that we would rent a car and drive.  We got the last car at the airport from Enterprise, and Geoffrey (driving), Gil, and I got to Ogdensburg at about 11:15.  One more problem—my car had a snowdrift behind it, more than a foot of snow in front of it, and about a half-inch of ice covering the windshield.  Even with the blowers and heater on full blast, it was so cold out (-5°F) that they could only make a little headway.  After about 15 minutes, I could clear enough to see a little, and pulled the car forward onto a plowed area.  After about 15 minutes more, I was able to clear enough ice off to drive (Gil and Geoffrey left at this point to drive to Potsdam), and finally got home to Canton at 12:15!

The next morning, I called the customer service number they emailed me asking “How was your flight”.  When I told them all that had happened, they quickly agreed to refund my ticket.

 

More Coming Up!

On Sunday, I’ll be off to Albany again for the Chancellor’s State of the University speech, and the Business Council’s Legislative Reception afterwards.  I come home on Tuesday morning, and then turn around and leave again on Wednesday through Saturday for alumni visits to a different part of Florida than before.  That wraps up January, and February only has a quick trip into Albany at this point.  March?  Well, that’s a different story.

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest had to do with songs about New York.  Our fastest responders with all five correct were Robin Gittings, Mary James, Terri Clemmo, Alan Gabrielli (from Georgia!), and Kevin Elliot.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Frank Sinatra 1980 song that says “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” New York, New York.
  2. In the Drifters and George Benson both had massive hits with this song, saying “The neon lights are always bright” there. On Broadway.
  3. Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 song, saying “Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last.” The 59th Street Bridge Song.
  4. According to Duke Ellington, the quickest way “to go to Sugar Hill, way up in Harlem”. Take the “A” Train.
  5. Rolling Stones song with lyrics: “Friends are so alarming, My lover’s never charming, Life’s just a cocktail party on the street, Big Apple, People dressed in plastic bags, Directing traffic, Some kind of fashion.” Shadoobie!  Shattered.

 

 

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

This issue’s challenge will continue a series about songs, this time being songs connected to Upstate New York. There are a lot fewer of these than about New York City!  As usual, the first five with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Frank Baum from Chittenango wrote the book, and Harold Arlen from Buffalo composed this theme song sung by Julie Garland in the movie The Wizard of Oz.
  2. In the Broadway show 42nd Street, a couple goes on their honeymoon here, with the lyric: “To ______ in a sleeper, there’s no honeymoon that’s cheaper, and the train goes slow. Ooh-ooh-ooh.”  And no, it’s not the city that they’re shuffling off to.
  3. In the Grateful Dead’s song Truckin’, while going to this upstate major city, the lyric goes “Been thinkin’, you got to mellow slow. Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.
  4. In the folk song Erie Canal, the lyric goes: “Get up mule, here comes a lock, We’ll make _______ ‘bout six o’clock.” It’s a small city, just past Utica.
  5. Name of Bob Dylan’s song about professor Jeffrey Owen Jones (who taught film at the Rochester Institute of Technology) that starts off: “You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand; You see somebody naked and you say, “Who is that man?”; You try so hard but you don’t understand; Just what you will say when you get home. Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is; Do you Mr. Jones?”
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