THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 13, Issue 08–November 9, 2018
Has It Been That Long?
It’s been almost a month since the last BLAB. How have you all lived without it? I offer my usual excuse—it has been so busy, I just haven’t had the time to get to it.
On the home front, we’re in the process of getting a generator installed the house and it’s a complicated procedure. The generator was delivered about a week ago, and yesterday, the transfer switch was installed in the house and wired in. The transfer switch is the thing that detects when there’s a power outage and turns on the generator to provide electricity to the house. When the power comes back on, it switches back and turns the generator off. I’m told that the process takes less than a minute each way. The person installing the transfer switch noticed another smallish electrical box in the basement and asked me what it was supplying power to. I had no idea. At first, he thought it might be a stove, but when the box was disconnected, the stove still worked. The same was true about our dryer, whirlpool bath, and most of the attic. However, when in the attic, I noticed that the lights in the “man cave” there (where we keep our DVDs, books, and view-master collection) no longer would switch on. He went down to the wood room underneath the man cave and lo and behold, there was a switch box down there that I never knew about. It may also be supplying power to the separate garage building that I don’t even own (it was sold to someone else at some point before I bought the house), but I’m not sure if that’s true. Anyway, mystery solved. The people who will hook the generator up to the gas are coming today, and hopefully the job will be complete.
My father will be returning to his winter home in Las Vegas on Monday, so I’ll be driving him up to Ottawa that afternoon. His flight has only one stop, in Chicago and a short layover. He usually stays in Las Vegas between November and May, coming back to Canton when the weather gets too hot. He always has a good time up here, playing basketball and exercising in the CARC most mornings, giving talks about his history, and being with friends in the area. Not bad for someone who’s 91 years old! In fact, he, my wife Jill, and I attended the moonlight madness event for our basketball team last week, and while waiting for it to begin, he decided to try to throw some 3-pointers.
He missed the first few by a little but then got one in, and the folks who had gotten there a little earlier began to applaud. He missed two more but then sank the second 3-pointer, and everyone in the crowd cheered. I guess he felt that he had accomplished enough, so he waved his hat and sat down. The whole Moonlight Madness event was a lot of fun. I had been invited to judge the slam-dunk competition (with three other judges), and it was great, with a lot of fancy moves.
Visit from the Chancellor
On the afternoon of November 6th, Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson visited SUNY Canton for the first time. Her visit began with a brief one-on-one with me in my office, where we talked about the College’s goals and how SUNY could help. I also shared that we had something in common that she didn’t know about—we had both been featured in comic books, her as a super-hero when she was elected for membershipin 2015 to the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her work on Polarization-Control Technology.
Chancellor Johnson’s National Inventors Hall of Fame Photo
We then drove down to Nevaldine South, where she was immediately pleased when she noticed the electric vehicle charging station there. Since our Chancellor is an environmental engineer, naturally our first stop was to visit Dr. Adrienne Rygel’s class in the Environmental Engineering lab.
We proceeded from there for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the esports Arena, where Chancellor Johnson was interviewed by local media, presented with her own esports jersey, and took the time to talk to several students about how participating in esports also helps them with their studies.
From there, we walked past the various awards SUNY Canton has won for its Steel Bridge Team, including our first place in the nation finish in 2009. We will be hosting the national competition next year.
The next stop was in the Southworth Library, where Chancellor Johnson met with student representatives.
A selfie of our student leaders with Chancellor Johnson
Then, in the Miller Student Center, she met with representatives of our faculty and staff. From there, she came to Cook Hall where she toured our Early Childhood Education classrooms and saw several exhibits of our students’ project work, and was greeted by a visiting delegation from Xi’an, China.
We then walked by the Business program’s Trading Room and the Chapel for our Funeral Services Administration program’s lab and Chapel.
The final meeting was in the MacArthur Hall Conference Room, where we had a nice discussion about what makes SUNY Canton a unique institution, critical to the economy of the North Country. Chancellor Johnson was presented with a monogrammed laboratory coat (with her name and a picture of our mascot, Roody), safety glasses, and a decorative bag of North Country goodies for her trip home.
As she left, Chancellor Johnson told me that she had thoroughly enjoyed her visit and was very impressed by what she saw and the many people she met on campus. A report about her visit and her impressions appeared in the Watertown Daily Times and in the Courier Observer, which you can read here.
As everyone is all too aware, there have been a series of horrible events across our country indicating that racial, religious, and political hatred are still all too common. In the last week in October, two African-Americans were murdered at a Kroger grocery store (after the killer had tried unsuccessfully to break in to the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly African-American church); eleven Jewish worshipers were murdered at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh while attending services; and pipe bombs were sent by mail to more than a dozen political critics of the President. Several other murderous incidents have taken place since, including 12 murdered at a dance club in Thousand Oaks on November 7.
There have been many ways that our local community has come together to express solidarity with the victims of these horrible events. Many local churches offered prayers, sermons, and held discussions. Memorial prayers and a moment of silence were offered at the Aviva Chernick concerts held at Temple Beth El in Potsdam on October 29 and at SUNY Canton on October 30. Non-Jewish members of the community joined in services (which were organized by the Four-College Hillel group) at Temple Beth-El on November 2 to show support. The Hillel students also held a vigil at SUNY Potsdam on November 4.
On November 3, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton held a vigil entitled “We Will Arise” to remember the victims and to raise funds for HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the charity organization that was targeted on social media by the Pittsburgh Synagogue gunman). The ceremony was beautiful and meaningful, involving religious leaders of many faiths and members of the community of many backgrounds.
It was quite moving to see so many people turn out in our small village, joining together to pray, sing songs of solidarity, light candles for the victims, and lay down stones in their memory. The Jewish prayer for the dead, El Maleh Rachamim (G-d, Full of Mercy), was recited, which goes:
“G-d, full of mercy, who dwells in the heights, provide a sure rest upon the Divine Presence’s wings, within the range of the holy, pure and glorious, whose shining resemble the sky’s, to the souls of the departed for whom charity was pledged to the memory of their souls. Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect them forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie their souls with the rope of life. The Everlasting is their heritage, and they shall rest peacefully upon their lying place, and let us say: Amen.”
As promised, we have been holding some open forums to get faculty and staff opinions about our push to incorporate Industry 4.0 at SUNY Canton as well as how to make our financial position at the College even stronger. Three have been held for faculty and staff, and a third session with our Campus Leadership group was held last week. The discussions have been interesting, with lots of good ideas being shared. I’d like to thank everyone who has attended and participated—I think this will be an excellent opportunity for our College and graduates and am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.
We had another wonderful Open House on October 20, with excellent attendance of students and parents. Thanks to our terrific Admissions team and the many faculty and staff who participate, Open House is always a good time and it’s great to talk to the prospective students and parents. When I spoke to the whole group and told them about our Student Opinion Survey results, the audience spontaneously burst into applause!
Speakers and Performers on Campus
SUNY Canton has hosted a number of visitors speaking or performing on campus recently.
- On October 16, Jennifer Stevenson (Class of ’88), the owner of Blue Heron Realty in Ogdensburg, spoke as part of our Excellence in Leadership Series.Jennifer is a loyal friend of the College who also regularly co-sponsors alumni events.
- On October 22, Casey McCue (Class of ’92), Director of the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services for the NY Department of Agriculture and Markets spoke as part of our Excellence in Leadership Series.He serves on multiple state-wide and national committees associated with milk and agricultural production.
- On October 23, Ricky Richard Anywar, the inspiration for the novel “Soldier Boy” gave a short talk about his experiences as a child soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army during the Ugandan Civil War as part of our Living Writers Series. He subsequently founded the charity Friends of Orphans to help other LRA Children. He was joined by Keely Hutton, the author of the novel, who had spoken on our campus earlier in the year.
- On October 30, Aviva Chernick, a Canadian singer from Toronto who performs in Ladino (a Spanish/Herbrew mixture) and Hebrew gave a concert of songs about love, exile, and home in the Cyber Café. She was accompanied by Joel Schwartz on guitar. The concert was great!
- Also on October 30, Mary Karr, award winning poet and best-selling memoirist, spoke as part of our Living Writers Series. She read selections from her recent poetry collection “Tropic of Squalor”. She is also the author of “Lit”, “The Liar’s Club”, and “Cherry”, which were best-sellers.
- On November 4, Bart Tuttle, Plant Manager at Corning, spoke as part of our Excellence in Leadership Series. One interesting fact is that both his parents worked at Corning as well—his mother as a secretary (working for them even before the Canton location opened), and his father in production. Thus, there has been a member of his family working at Corning in Canton throughout its entire history!
SBDC Trip to Plattsburgh
On Friday October 26, I drove over to Plattsburgh for the ribbon-cutting for SUNY Canton’s second Small Business Development Center, located on the campus of Clinton Community College. As everyone should know, we have hosted an SBDC on our campus for many years which provides services to businesses and entrepreneurs across the North Country, helping them establish themselves, develop business plans, expand, and transition. It’s a vital link in the economic development chain.
The ride to Plattsburgh was beautiful—it was a lovely sunny day, with the only problem being that the sun was always in my face the entire way. Clinton Community College has a beautiful setting right on Lake Champlain, which could easily be seen from the room in which the ceremony took place.
The event went very well, with several local government leaders telling me how glad they were that SUNY Canton had stepped up to operate the Plattsburgh SBDC.
President Ray DiPasquale
A nice article about the event appeared in the Press-Republican, entitled “Big Effort Gives Rebirth to Business Assistance Organization”, which you can read here.
While at Clinton, I had the opportunity to tour their recently opened Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, which has excellent engineering facilities. CCC’s President Ray DiPasquale and I also spoke about ways our two colleges can work together even more closely in the future.
L-R: Dale Rice (Director of SUNY Canton’s SBDC), Tammy Mooney (Asst. State Director of the SBDC, me, Brian Goldstein (Director of the State SBDC), and Angela Smith (Asst. Director of the SUNY Canton SBDC at Clinton Community College)
Aerial view of Clinton Community College’s Institute for Advanced Manufacture
Hurrying Back to Canton That Afternoon for Trunk or Treat
I had to hurry back to Canton right after the Plattsburgh ribbon cutting to pick up Jill and Mark to participate in “Trunk or Treat”, a really fun Halloween activity. For those who don’t know, Trunk or Treat means that you park your car to a particular location (French Hall, in this case), open the trunk, and give out candy from there. The event was organized by SUNY Canton’s Early Childhood Program, whose faculty and students put on a wonderful variety of events throughout the year for the local community.
Many of the people participating dressed in costumes for the occasion and many decorated their trunks in Halloween themes. I had to leave (see below) after setting up, but Jill and Mark stayed on for the fun and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. We gave away candy, of course, but also children’s DVDs and toys. About 300 children from Canton came by, and a wonderful time was had by all.
Jill in her witch’s hat giving out candy
A big thanks to the Early Childhood faculty, Maureen Maiocco and Christina Martin for organizing the event.
I had to hurry away from Trunk or Treat because I was double booked—there was also an Alumni Hockey gathering at exactly the same time. I walked down from French Hall to the CARC (SUNY Canton’s beautiful Athletics Facility) where the gathering was being held in the mezzanine. I enjoyed meeting the many alumni who had been members of our Hockey team in the past, as well as parents of current players, and friends of the program. It was a nice event, and SUNY Canton won the game that followed, beating Wilkes University 6-4. Go Roos!
Last Time’s Trivia Contest
There was none!
This Time’s Trivia Challenge
This issue’s challenge has to do with yet more abbreviations. I give the initials, you tell what they stand for or what they mean.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.